Relinquishment Remarks LTC JOSE C FAUSTINO JR (GSC) PA Outgoing Commander, 35th Infantry Battalion, 1ID, PA

Claro M Rector, Maigo, Lanao del Norte / 17 January 2009

Today marks another momentous occasion not only to me, but to the incoming Battalion Commander, and the officers and men of 35th Infantry Battalion. This is both a beginning and an end. Today marks the end of my stint as a Battalion Commander and the beginning of new chapter in the lives of these remarkably courageous officers and men under the new leadership of LT. COL BONGOLAN. When I first took command of this unit, I knew that I am going to take the challenge of leading one of the Army’s finest Battalions. This Battalion is no ordinary Battalion, having been reborn in the battlefields of Sulu and raised by no less than COL ALAN “COBRA” ARROJADO and COL PAUL “VIPER”LORENZO. This Battalion is no stranger to combat, in fact, it lives by it. The unit is respected by civilians and by the enemy as well. Back then, I felt that the unit had high expectations from me, and I was up to the challenge. The opportunities that had been handed to me these past two years had been numerous and had taken in different forms – professional and personal. I learned two different and interesting cultures, Tausug and Maranaw, that most of us take for granted. My tour of duty here provided me with opportunities to learn that these cultures no matter how different have the same thread with that of the mainstream culture that we are accustomed to. These cultures are imbibed too with respect and love and just like the culture we grew in, would like to live in peace. Living in these parts showed me how tolerance and respect for each other are important fibers in the pursuit of peace. I learned that these threads can lead to meaningful friendship. Living in these parts also gave me an opportunity to learn more about myself, that my resolve to help find peace is strong and unwavering. Peace is not just a duty or mission but more of a personal credo. In the pursuit of this elusive peace, the challenges are staggeringly many. But these challenges no, matter how many or how difficult have been somehow assuaged because they were shared by the courageous men of 35th Infantry “Makamandag” Battalion. The sacrifices and struggles that my officers and men had to go through became meaningful because we are all in it not to wreak havoc or bring in the so-called “militarization”, but to protect and to bring peace to the lives of our friends and brothers. I am deeply privileged to have fight hand in hand with these truly honorably men. “I salute you for your manifested commitment and bravery.”

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We have been together form Sulu to Lanao, from Marang to Camp Bilal, from Mt Tumatangis to Mt Peoray. Despite the unforgiving weather and terrain and the heavily entrenched enemies, we were able to press on and make the enemy retreat. But we didn’t just do combat operations. We conducted as much civil-military operations in our AO. We did our part in alleviating the socio-economic status of the people of Lanao del Norte and Sulu, with the help of the LGUs, LGAs, NGOs and our US counterparts. We have also proven that the best CMO is a disciplined soldier. For that is the mark of a true Makamandag trooper, “mabait na kaibigan, mabangis na kaaway!” That is why, while today is a new beginning for me – a step forward in my carrier, I am touched with sadness to part ways with these men. But I am comforted that I leave them well equipped with skills to fight and carry on the struggle for the greater good of our nation. LT COL BONGOLAN sir, I am proud to run over to you dedicated, well trained, and highly motivated officers and men. With this, I salute every Makamandag trooper for your gallantry, valor and steadfast dedication in the performance of your duties. You have not failed the country. You are all heroes. Our success is brought about by the cooperation of everyone in this unit. From its mess stewards to the guards on post, from the rifleman to the 90RR gunners, from the drivers to the supply sergeants, from the platoon leaders to the company commanders to the battalion staff, each did his job well. The unit is gifted to have such hardworking soldiers, exemplary NCOs, and competent officers. As your commander, I could not ask for more. This is truly a unit every commander would wish he has. In as much as I want to do some more, the time has come that I will now relinquish my command of this unit. To all Makamandag troopers, carry on and keep up the good work. Maraming salamat sa inyong lahat!

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