Cabunoc leaves Army’s 33IB; bids IPs farewell

By Edwin Fernandez

February 24, 2019, 1:27 pm

<p>Troopers of the Army’s 33rd Infantry Battalion install a solar lamp post in Sitio Datal Bonglangon, Barangay Ned, Lake Sebu, South Cotabato on Saturday (Feb 23). <em><strong>(Photo courtesy of 33rd IB)</strong></em></p>

Troopers of the Army’s 33rd Infantry Battalion install a solar lamp post in Sitio Datal Bonglangon, Barangay Ned, Lake Sebu, South Cotabato on Saturday (Feb 23). (Photo courtesy of 33rd IB)

PRESIDENT QUIRINO, Sultan Kudarat – Lt. Col. Harold Cabunoc on Saturday emotionally handed over the leadership of the Army’s 33rd Infantry “Makabayan” Battalion based here to Lt. Col. Elmer Boongaling, as he leaves the unit for another field assignment.

Prior to the change in command, Cabunoc spent the past four days by bidding goodbye to the Indigenous Peoples (IPs) of Sto. Nino village in Bagumbayan, Kudarat, and in Sitio Datal Bonglangon, Barangay Ned, Lake Sebu, South Cotabato.

In his message to the IPs, he assured them that the new leadership of the 33IB will sustain the gains in the campaign against the communist terrorists by facilitating the delivery of essential services.

The two villages were once strongly influenced by the East Daguma Front of the Daguma Sub Region Party Committee (formerly known as Guerrilla Front 73) until in March 2018 when the 33rd IB came to the area.

Employing civil support operations and intelligence-driven coercive combat operations, the 33rd IB, with the support of the Philippine National Police Special Action Force, were able to defeat the communist terrorists in the area.

“At least 90 communist surrenderers came from the East Daguma Front,” Cabunoc told reporters here after the turnover of command.

Prior to the intervention of the 33IB, the two villages once hosted the communist Platoon Arabo, enabling the rebels to organize the community with a communist shadow government called Kilusang Rebolusyonaryong Barangay, and a military arm called Platoon Cosmod (composed of recruits from the village).

While still commander of 33IB, Cabunoc had numerous accomplishments, including the neutralization of Islamic State-linked Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters, settlement of blood family feuds or “rido” in his areas of assignment, electrification of far-flung communities, delivery of basic government services to the upland villages, among others.

For his part, Boongaling assured the people under the 33IB that the battalion will continue serving the people and protect their interests against lawless elements and peace saboteurs.

Cabunoc will be moved to the Philippine Army headquarters in Manila where a new assignment awaits him. (PNA)

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