Message of MGen. Glenn J. Rabonza, CG, 8ID, PA during the Change of Command Ceremony
“Securing lasting peace
takes more than introducing more troops. Force of arms, as we all know,
cannot win lasting peace nor a permanent victory…”
Greetings . . .
Before I deliver my message, allow me to formally
present to the Commanding General, Philippine Army my tour of duty report.
With it is a special issue of the 8ID Troopers Newsmagazine which contains
selected readings and images during my 23 months duty as Commanding General,
8th Infantry Division.
(see related news)
When I assumed command on 10 February 2003, I
accepted the challenging task of leading the 8ID in bringing peace and
stability in Region 8. Today, I relinquish command content that I have done
my best to accomplish the mission. The citation of the Distinguished Service
Star just awarded to me summarizes what the men and women of the 8th
Infantry Division have accomplished together during my watch. I take pride
of these accomplishments for they represent the collective work, sacrifices
and heroism of the 8ID Team.
Talking about sacrifices and heroism let me tell
you what American author Brian McAllister Linn wrote in his book the
Philippine War 1899-1902. The book describes the war led by Gen Vicente
Lukban against the U.S. Forces in Samar over 100 years ago.
He wrote, “Samar has also become symbolic within the United States Marine
Corps for sacrifice and heroism: for many years after the campaign, veterans
would be saluted in mess halls with the toast
Stand, Gentlemen, he served in Samar!”
Today, as I leave the 8th Infantry
Division I would like to share with my 8ID Team that same toast and
accolade. May I call on my three Brigade Commanders led by BGEN JUANITO
CABAYAO to stand up; the nine Battalion Commanders led by LTC MANUELITO USI,
the longest serving Battalion Commander; newly relieved CO, 34IB and
incoming U3, CENTCOM COL ROMEO GAPUZ; members of the General and Special
staff led by my Chief of Staff COL HERBERT YAMBING; Post Unit Commanders and
Staff lead by my Camp Commander, LTC FELIX ESPERA; other 8ID officers, men,
women and civilian employees; my Assistant Division Commander for the past
one year, BGEN BONIFACIO RAMOS.
Ladies, and gentlemen; our
guests; please stand-up, these are the members of the 8ID TEAM serving in
Samar and Leyte. Please give them a big round of applause.
Securing the peace and
maintaining stability is essentially work in progress and is never done. The
resurgence of the Eastern Visayas Regional Party Committee (EVRPC) of the
Communist Party of the Philippines
remains unabated despite over three decades of relentless campaign against
the local communist terrorists. During the period 2000–2004, their strength
and firearms inventory have increased at a rate higher than the national
average. The number of barangays where they exercise varying degrees of
influence have increased by an annual average of 80% compared with the
annual average increase nation–wide at 23% during the same period.
In 2003, the local CTs (Communist Terrorists)
conducted a series of high impact tactical offensives which attracted the
attention of the public and our national leadership. Maj Danilo Billon was
killed in Catarman by NPA assassins in January. On March 8, Calbiga MPO in Western Samar
was raided, followed by the attack on Quinapondan MPO in Eastern Samar on June 22. Four days later, on June 26, the Cagpili
Detachment of 52IB in Oras, Eastern Samar was over-run by the NPA resulting to the death of
five soldiers, 10 CAFGUs and the wife of one of the soldiers. We lost 24
HPFAs, communication equipment and assorted ammunition. The detachment was
lost – burned by the NPA. Within 24 hours, of the Cagpili incident, HHqs
decided to return 14IB from Jolo to its former AOR in Eastern Samar. Later 20IB
and 62IB were returned to 8ID from Mindanao. With the re-filling of 46IB,
8ID became a full-sized infantry division of 3 brigades and 9 battalions.
While violent terrorists actions have
significantly declined after the introduction of more troops in mid–2003,
non-violent actions continue to hamper efforts of establishing a physically
and psychologically secured environment conducive to development. These
include NPA extortion and harassments, imposition of permit-to-campaign
fees, recruitment of NPA fighters including children and an ever-widening
united front campaign.
Securing lasting peace takes more than
introducing more troops. Force of arms, as we all know, cannot win lasting
peace nor a permanent victory. 8ID responded to these realities through the
conduct of integrated civil-military efforts in partnership with the local
officials and local government agencies. Working closely with Presidential
Assistant Victor Domingo, we have actively participated in poverty reduction
programs of the Regional KALAHI Convergence Group. Convergence of efforts as
prescribed under the NISP’s Strategy of Holistic Approach is becoming a
reality in Region 8. Some of these significant convergence efforts are the
ALPS/Literacy cum Livelihood
PNOC, TRANSCO, and other vital facilities
Today, there is relative
peace in our AOR. Our conduct of ISO, no doubt has contributed to the peace.
However, the EVRPC remains capable of launching major tactical offensives
and may reach their mid-80’s peak if their resurgence is not arrested. Since
counter-insurgency is a political campaign requiring a multi-dimensional
response rather than a purely military response, may I submit to you the
implementation of the Strategy of Holistic Approach (SHA) needs to be
strengthened. Tactical commanders must be challenged and made more
accountable for its implementation. In like manner, our civilian
counterparts must be given clear mandates to address the root causes of
insurgency so that convergence among civilian, police and military efforts
are better achieved in priority areas.
2. The resurgence of the EVRPC was partly
caused by the vacuum when army forces were transferred from Region 8 to Mindanao. Never
again should we take too much risk until the government has mobilized our
communities to resist NPA incursions and developed LGU’s (local officials,
mayors, etc) capability to hold the ground.
3. Commanders must
be provided greater wherewithal in the fight against the insurgency. The
passage of an anti-terrorism and / or an internal security act will
strengthen our campaign against the Communist Terrorist Movement.
4. A review of the command relationship
between the Armed Forces of the Philippines and Philippine
National Police is highly recommended. We need greater unity of efforts
against the Communist Terrorist Movement. The deployment of Provincial
Mobile Groups and police personnel in the municipalities must be optimized
for ISO in priority areas. The Malaysian and Thai experiences in their fight
against their own insurgents in the 60’s and 70’s may be worth adopting for
Today, I am also closing my
more than 38 years and 9 months of military service. I now join the
countless military professionals who retired from the AFP wishing and
praying that we could finally put an end to the communist menace and achieve
economic prosperity. I thank the men and women who have worked with me,
supported and helped me accomplish modest contributions to our armed forces.
I wish to thank our local officials, members of the media and NGO’s, our PNP
partners in peacekeeping; your invaluable support and cooperation made our
work less difficult. Thank you for responding to our challenge of working
together so that we can persuade many of our mis-guided brothers to return
to their communities, live peaceful lives and become productive members of
I wish to re-echo that same
challenge today as I turn-over the leadership to a capable and dedicated
military professional, BGEN BONIFACIO RAMOS. He brings with him the wealth
of experience gained during his one-year duty as my reliable assistant
division commander. Moreover, as a native Leyteño from Maasin, I’m confident
he will bring the 8ID to higher levels of achievement.
Finally let me thank the
Almighty who guides the destinies of men and nations, for giving me the
strength and wisdom in my pursuit of a successful military career.
Mabuhay ang 8th
Mabuhay ang Philippine
the Birth of Jesus Christ not Christmas
By RUFINO 'Pinoy' GONZALES II
December 24, 2004
There was a period in the scriptures that separate during the time of
Nehemiah to the time of the birth of Jesus Christ. This was called the
silent years. This was the time when God cut off all communications with his
chosen people. They were rebellious, they ignored the laws, so he allowed
them to suffer under the heavy hand of the
400 years had passed by since God had spoken to the children of Israel and
they where always expecting the Messiah.
God has set the stage in heaven where Jesus Christ the Creator of the
universe, the King of Glory, God the Son, the second person in the Trinity
is about to leave for earth. Our planet becomes the center of attention in
all the universe.
In the sixth month, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in
A virgin pledge to be married to Joseph a descendant of King David is
completely unaware that she is the angel's mission.
"Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you" said Gabriel
When she saw him she was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what
kind of greeting this might be, (Luke
"You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give the
name of Jesus," (Luke 1:31). "... The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and
the power of the Most High will over shadow you. So the holy one to be born
will be called the Son of God", Gabriel added (Luke 1:35).
As the scripture goes, Mary became pregnant and her wedding was still in the
future, but she had to break the news to Joseph and at the same time keep
it from her nosey neighbors. Because once it became obvious she would be
accused of being a prostitute. The Jews during that time lived under the Law
of Moses which states, "she shall be brought to the door of her father's
house and there the men of her town shall stone her to death...",
When Joseph knew about her situation, being a righteous man, he did not want
to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly,
Then an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, "...Do not
be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her
is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give
him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from sin", (Matthew
When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and
took Mary home as his wife, (Matthew 1;24).
During this time the devil through Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a
census should be taken of the entire Roman world ... and everyone should
register in his ancestor's hometown, (Luke 2:1-3). This means Mary who was
heavy with child must travel with Joseph to
the city of his birth which is a grueling 90 mile journey over rugged
terrain. But God protected them along the way.
When they arrived in
the town was crowded with people and the time came for the baby to be born
(Luke 2:6), but the only place Joseph could find was a manger cause there
was no room for them in the inn (Luke 2:7). Think of this, the Creator of
the universe... Jehovah ... in the form of a little boy, born in a smelly
stable in Bethlehem. He was in the world and though the world was made
through him, the world did not recognize him (John 1:1).
The only ones who got word that Jesus was born were the poor ragged
shepherds who were tending their sheep when an angel of the Lord appeared to
them saying, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will
be for all people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you;
he is Christ the Lord (Luke
The angel told them they would find the baby lying in the manger, so off
they went hurriedly and found Mary, Joseph and the baby lying in the manger
(Luke 2:12-16). They became the first visitors to meet the King of Kings.
During that time 33 days after baby Jesus was circumcised, his mother Mary,
went to the great Jewish temple in Jerusalem to fulfill one more law set by
Moses ... the sacrifice of two turtledoves as a sin offering (Exodus
13;2,12-13), (Leviticus 12:8), because the Bible say's "There is no one
righteous, not even one," (Romans 3:10), "For all have sinned and fall short
of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23). The only person the Bible refers to
without sin is the Lord Jesus, "He committed no sin, and no deceit was found
in his mouth" (1 Peter 2:22). And so being a faithful servant of the Lord,
Mary fulfilled her obligation, (Luke
The wise men
After Jesus was born in
in Judea, ... Magi (wise men, note that there is no mention of 3 kings
whatsoever here) from the East came to
and asked, "Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his
star in the East and have come to worship him" (Matthew 2:1-2). When King
Herod heard this he was disturbed and all Jerusalem with him, (Matthew 2:3).
It might have been a very big caravan so it could pass safely through those
crime infested deserts, and remember it said all Jerusalem was disturbed
when they enter the city.
King Herod asked his chief priest and teachers of the law where the Christ
was to be born. In
in Judea," they replied, "for this is what the prophet has written' (Matthew
2:4-6), (Micah 2:5). So Herod sent the Magi on their way and told them to
report to him so that he can go and worship him also.
Once outside the Palace, the wisemen again saw the star and it guided them
to the house (not manger,) where the child (not a baby anymore because
biblical experts say that Jesus may have been more that a year old, and that
simply say's why he was not in a manger anymore when the magis arrived but
in a house) and his mother Mary was living, (Matthew 2:9-11). They bowed
down and worship Lord Jesus only, (Matthew 2;11). And having been warned in
a dream not to go back to Herod, the wisemen returned to their country by
This is the scriptural account about the Birth of Jesus Christ not
was Samar doing when MacArthur waded ashore 60 years ago?
CHITO DELA TORRE
"It’s a characteristic of Samareños not to celebrate impact moments of their
Samareños may not be as
aware as the Leyteños in appreciating the significance of the yearly
commemoration of the Leyte Landings of October 20, 1944 that led to the
liberation of the entire Philippines
and ultimately the end of World War II. That is why, not a single town
except perhaps Guiuan in Eastern Samar - yet this one remains to be actually seen, puts up
flags and floats at least on display, if not on a parade, every October
20th. If at all, then every town could have been in the thick of
preparations since about the month of August - September being too close to
There’s no one to blame for
this. It’s a characteristic of Samareños not to celebrate impact moments of
their own history. For instance, little concern is there for a continued
research on exactly what date should be fixed for the observance of a Samar
Day, other than a day in November or August. Even if Samar province began
with some pompous celebrations for its own day, those efforts never enticed
searching minds to go deeper into Samar Island’s
most remote past. Contented, plainly, we can say of ourselves?
as in accepting hook-like-and-sinker whatever is already in place or an
inveteracy - like, a community not collectively pointing an accusing finger
at those whom it very well knows are druglords and at law enforcers who are
in the service of these lords of social evils.
In fact, nobody cares why
fiestas are continually being celebrated or why a so-so saint is being
venerated as a patron. Just because tradition already kept them, everyone
looks forward to attending a fiesta year after year.
Liberation anniversary this
year is on its 60th. What care could Samareños manifest for it, and very
particularly for the day for which its commemoration has to be grand
yearly? Schools and colleges should lead in finding a reason. Yes, except
for profit, no government agency, not even a true-bloodied Samarnon
non-government organization, is interested to take up the cudgel.
Sadly, 60 years later from
1944, even those who survived from the Leyte Landings - of course it was not
all Japs killed!, by goodness! - some local veterans could only be talking
about their benefits or forgotten American citizenship. Never are they
coming out to tell what they did at least in the hours before General
Douglas MacArthur walked ashore - so, how could today’s generation or those
who had not witnessed their deeds be expected to sympathize with their
The absence of such
interest, and alas, awareness!, however, should not frustrate Samarnons from
finding out at least what role did the people of Samar play in making the
October 20, 1944 Liberation the way it did.
MacArthur’s Promise Was Not
Meant For Samarnons!
Never mind if you were in
Dulag or Palo town of Leyte or in Guiuan of Eastern Samar on October 18, 19 and
20 of year 1944. Never mind if you were in the service of the United States
Armed Forces at the time, as a soldier, a member of an auxiliary corps, or a
laundrywoman, or maybe even an entertainer (like today’s guest relation
officer, or escort), or a carrier of bags of ammunitions for running Leyteño
soldiers and armed members of the Liberation Forces then under the command
of world famed World War II (which erupted on December 8, 1941) hero General
Never mind at all, if you
were that Samareña or Samareño.
After all, Gen. MacArthur’s
promise of “I SHALL RETURN” was not meant for you. It was intended
only for the Leyteños. After all, he did not care for the Samareños and the
Samareñas -just like how those stupid American soldiers vituperated upon the
rights of the Samarnons in Balangiga town. MacArthur loved only the people
of Leyte, although on Oct. 20, 1944, he eventually wanted the “people of the
Philippines” that he also cared for them, after all. Thus he declared: “People
Philippines: I have returned. By the grace of Almighty God, our forces
stand again on Philippine soil - soil consecrated in the blood of our two
peoples. We have come, dedicated and committed to the task of destroying
every vestige of enemy control over your daily lives, and of restoring upon
a foundation of indestructible strength, the liberties of your people.”
These premises decidedly
spring forth explanations why since even on October 20, 1944, and every year
thereafter, not a single Samareño or Samareña soul cares about celebrating
the day when MacArthur fulfilled his promise or returning.
the book General MacArthur’s REMINISCENCES, the article “THE RETURN
TO LEYTE, PHILIPPINES” is found. It is written by MacArthur himself. The
title of the personal account strongly tells readers of the whole world that
MacArthur was narrating his promised “Return” and that it was his “Return to
Leyte” and not to anywhere else. This also hints at the fact that MacArthur
had been to Leyte, and not to Samar. Verily. For he spent lovely and
wonderful hours in Leyte, and more than that, he found Leyte to be ideal for
the launch of his “proposed invasion” because the success of that landing on
Leyte “would presage the eventual reoccupation of the entire Philippine
Verily. No one could go back to where he had not been to. You first have
to be in a place, and leave it, before deciding to return to it.
the people of Leyte, he promised: “I SHALL RETURN”.
did not say that to the people of Samar.
Moreover, he did not choose Samar for his invasion. This meant that Samar
was not ideal. Not even was Mindanao. Wrote he: “The operation to take Leyte without a preliminary landing in Mindanao was a most ambitious and
difficult undertaking. The objective area was located over 500 miles from
Allied fighter cover. It was at the same time in the center of a Japanese
network of airfields covering the Philippines.”
the same article, he said: “Leyte was to be the anvil against which I hope
to hammer the Japanese into submission in the central Philippines - the
springboard from which I could proceed to the conquest of Luzon, for the
final assault against Japan itself.”
Too, bad to be true. If that’s what your position is, think
again. Perhaps, if you rethink, you would care, even if MacArthur returned
for the Leyteños only.
Effect of economy on population growth
BART SAUCELO, M.D.
October 25, 2004
“…the low economic
level of the Philippines is the major cause of an accelerated growth of
population rather than the population explosion as a major cause of poverty
of the country.”
I enjoyed reading the
article - “Poverty of Filipinos” by Plutarco Benedictos of May 29, 2004 in
the Insight page of samarnews.com. He is calling our attention to this
major problem in our homeland. The subject makes us ask some questions about
ourselves and analyze our attitudes, culture, idiosyncrasies, creativity and
Sometimes when we look
at a problem we confuse the effect from the cause or vice versa. This is
exemplified by the recent “Wallace Report” under the title of “ECONOMIES
GROW FASTER IF POPULATION GROWS SLOWER” when the fact is - POPULATION GROWS
SLOWER IF ECONOMIES GROW FASTER.
I believe poverty is
just a symptom of a disease with multiple causes although poverty in turn
causes other problems as crime, breakdown of families and physical illness
like malnutrition, depression, etc. We cannot cure a disease by just getting
rid of the symptoms because the symptoms will just keep coming back and the
disease will just keep getting worse. So, to alleviate poverty we have first
to find its causes.
I believe that the major
cause of poverty in the Philippines is corruption. Foreign business do not
want to establish factories and other business enterprises in a country
plagued with corruption like the Philippines because the cost of doing
business becomes exceedingly high and unpredictable. It also causes an
unstable political and social environment not conducive to business.
Despite the fact that the Philippines has highly educated labor force that
are hard working and English-speaking and willing to work with
comparatively much lower wages foreign businessmen do not want to locate in
the Philippines and those that are already in the Philippines are moving out
to other countries. Even Americans who have some historical, cultural and
ideological ties with us now prefer to go to other countries as South Korea,
Malaysia, Thailand, China and India.
In South Bend, Indiana
where I have been living for the past 36 years, representatives are sent to
Japan to encourage Japanese businessmen to locate their factories to this
city by offering them a number of incentives. They have been successful
most of the time adding more employment to local residents and progress to
the city. Yet, America is already rich with so many industries.
In his speech at the
last Republican Convention, President Bush said - “To create jobs we will
make America the best place to do business“. Yet, America is already highly
industrialized and the richest country in the world. It is clear that the
Philippines must do the same and make it a priority project of the
government in order to attract foreign and local business and create jobs.
But the Philippines does
just the opposite. We build barriers and disincentives with corrupt
practices, red tape and arbitrary requirements to foreign business. So, we
have massive unemployment making the government so poor that it cannot give
decent salaries to its employees or improve the infrastructure and social
services while the people are wallowing in the mud of poverty. Thus, we
remain the “sick man” of Asia.
It is true that
population explosion in the Philippines aggravates the problem of poverty.
However, contrary to what some people believe, I do not think that the
Catholic Church is to blame for this. It is a well known fact that
population growth is highest in the third world countries and much lower in
industrialized countries. In fact, in the Wallace Report I mentioned above,
countries with high percentage of Catholics like France (90%), Ireland
(92%), and Poland (95%) have growth rate of only 0.5% while the Philippines
with 83% Catholics has 2.5 % growth rate. Italy with 100% Catholic has a
growth rate of only 0.2%.
Intelligence Review of Sept. 11, l998 found that 30 of 150 countries have
falling or decreasing population and 16 countries had zero growth and all of
them are industrialized progressive countries. In the U.S.A. the growth rate
is 0.6%. Perhaps this could even be much lower if not for the high rate of
immigration. The Philippines growth rate was reported as 2.04% in this
countries the average growth rate is 2% while in developed countries it is
only 0.4% to 0.7%. This seems to collaborate with the common observation
that the poor people we know have the tendency to have so many children
while the rich oftentimes have only two or three children.
What conclusion could we
draw from these statistics and observation? My nephew who was a rural
doctor in Samar participated in a government project promoting the use of
contraceptives in an attempt to help cut down population growth. It was a
failure and he jokingly told me that instead of giving them contraceptives,
we would be more effective if we give each family a television set. He said
that when people are poor they have no other pleasure except in the
bedroom. Most are unemployed so they stay home most of the time. They have
no sports, news, movies and programs to watch since they have no TV to
occupy their minds and they cannot afford to do much socializing. Perhaps
this is a better explanation why underdeveloped countries have higher growth
rate and the richer countries have decreasing or zero population growth
regardless of religious orientation.
growth is inversely affected by the economy of the nation or of a family.
The low economic level of the Philippines is the major cause of an
accelerated growth of population rather than the population explosion as a
major cause of poverty of the country.
Therefore, contrary to
the conclusion of the Wallace Report that ECONOMIES GROW FASTER IF
POPULATION GROWS SLOWER which blames population growth as cause of sluggish
economy I maintain that POPULATION GROWS SLOWER WHEN ECONOMIES GROWS FASTER.
I blame the poor economy as the major cause of population explosion rather
than the population explosion as the cause of the poor economy. But I have
to admit that our accelerated population growth is not helping our economy.
Improving the economic
level of the people is therefore a much more effective way of birth control
than any other method. Statistics also show that the Catholic Church is not
the cause of accelerated population growth in the Philippines.
Since we already have
this vast manpower the logical thing to do is to utilize it by providing
innovative projects and ways of producing wealth. This way we would then be
solving both problems of poverty and population explosion.
With this in mind,
GLOBAL FILIPINOS FOR PROGRESS is developing programs utilizing our most
valuable asset: people. Click on PROGRAMS in our website -
http://www.globalfilipinosforprogress.org and read about our
GFP UNITED LENDING PROGRAM (GFPULP). I also invite you to read Part I and
II of “BULLDOZERS AND PEOPLE” under ARTICLES which serve as background of