Brigadier General Tolentino turns over leadership of 703Bde

    Fort Magsaysay, Nueva Ecija – Brigadier General Rowen S. Tolentino turned over the leadership of the 703rd Infantry (AGILA) Brigade on August 22, 2019 at the Headquarters, 703Bde in Bongabon, Nueva Ecija.

    Taking the helm of the 703Bde is Colonel Andrew D. Costelo, the former Chief of Staff of the 9th Infantry (SPEAR) Division, Philippine Army based in the Bicol Region.

    Under the leadership of Brigadier General Tolentino, the 703Bde successfully dismantled the Kilusang Larangang Guerilya (KLG) Caraballo in Region III. Said accomplishment earned the Plaque of Kapayapaan for the 703rd Brigade which was personally awarded by General Benjamin R. Madrigal Jr., Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, to Brigadier General Tolentino.

    KLG Caraballo is communist terrorist group that has terrorized Region III for so many years and was a major hindrance to development in the isolated communities of the Region. As it is no longer a threat to Region III, it can now focus on further strengthening its communities to usher in peace and development.

    Among the distinguished guests during the Change of Command Ceremony were Brigadier General Ramon Evan T. Ruiz, the Deputy Commander of the Northern Luzon Command; Retired Brigadier General Abraham Claro C. Casis AFP, former 703rd Brigade Commander; Brigadier General Henry A. Robinson Jr. AFP, the Assistant Division Commander of 7ID; Colonel Audrey L. Pasia, the Commander of 702nd Infantry (Defender) Brigade; Police Colonel Victor Leon Rosete, the Provincial Director of Nueva Ecija Provincial Police Office; Mayor Allan A. Gamilla of Bongabon, the members of PMA Makatao Class of 1989, the members of PMA Bigkis-Lahi Class of 1990, the PMA Ladies of the respective PMA classes, the Region III media guests, other valuable stakeholders, close friends and relatives.

    Major General Lenard T. Agustin, Commander of the Army’s 7th Infantry (KAUGNAY) Division, Philippine Army, under which the 703Bde is under, was the guest of honor and speaker.

    The 7ID Commander conveyed his gratitude and congratulations to Brigadier General Toletino for clearing the Region of KLG Caraballo and achieving the first semester goals of the 7ID. He further commended some of the provinces of Region III for supporting the “whole-of-nation approach” by declaring that the members of CPP-NPA-NDF are persona-non-grata in their provinces, and called on the rest of the provinces, municipalities and barangays under Region III to do the same.

    Said provinces in Region III that declared persona non grata are Aurora, Bulacan and Zambales.

    During his speech, Brigadier General Tolentino attributed his success in the accomplishment of the Brigade’s mission to the full and unwavering support and cooperation of different stakeholders. He likewise attributed it to the dedication of his troops, whose needs and concerns were his priorities. He provided them with improved basic services in the brigade headquarters and listened to them as well.

    "The rest worked out on its own, for when the troops are cared for and given value for their worth, they will give back equal value to their work," added Brigadier General Tolentino.

    Accepting the responsibility for the Brigade, Colonel Costelo said that he carries with him the hand of peace, but will bring the full force of the Brigade to those who will sow terror. He also said that he will endeavor to continue the organizational and operational development that Brigadier General Tolentino started, and that under him, the Brigade will be an active partner of local government units and non-government organizations.

    “We will be servant warriors and thinking warriors,” concluded Colonel Costelo, as he promised to promote the good name and image of the Philippine Army.

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