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8th Infantry Division, Philippine Army celebrates its 26th Founding Anniversary

wreath laying for the fallen soldiers of 8ID

By DPAO, 8ID PA
August 2, 2014

CATBALOGAN CITY, Samar – The 8th Infantry (Stormtroopers) Division, Philippine Army celebrated its 26th Founding Anniversary on August 1, 2014.

Hon. Sharee Ann Tan-Delos Santos, Governor of Samar; Hon. Mel Senen S. Sarmiento, 1st District Congressman of Samar Province; Hon. Emil L. Ong, 2nd District Congressman of Northern Samar; Hon. Gracing the occasion was Lt. Gen. John S. Bonafos, Commander, Central Command, who was also the guest of honor and speaker. The activity was well-attended with the presence of key stakeholders throughout the region. Ronaldo S. Aquino, Mayor Calbayog City; Hon Antonio B. Delos Reyes Jr., Mayor of Biri, Northern Samar; Mr. Virgilio DC Galvez, Philippine Information Agency Region 8, Deputy Director General, Mr. Rommel Rutor, President, Stormtrooper Press Corps, PCSUPT Henry P. Losanes, Police Regional Director 8 and representatives from the Republic of Korea Armed Forces.

The celebration started with a field mass and was followed by wreath laying for the fallen soldiers of 8ID for the year 2013-2014.

Lt. Gen. Bonafos praised the active and exemplary performance of the Stormtroopers. In his message, “This is an opportune time to commend the Stormtroopers for the accomplishments and the successes you have made in weakening the enemy by constricting their movements and activities.”

In addition, Bonafos also praised the Stormtroopers for its part in the Humanitarian Assistance Disaster Response when super typhoon Yolanda struck the region. “Talaga namang nakakamangha ang ginawa ng mga sundalo ng 8ID at ito ay nasaksihan hindi lang ng mga kababayan natin ditto sa ating Bansa, kundi maging ang mga tao sa buong mundo.”

Meanwhile, as 8ID celebrates its 26th Founding Anniversary the following are its accomplishment for CY 2013-2014 in performing its mandate as the protector of the people and the state in Eastern Visayas: It has initiated 56 encounters against NPA rebels which resulted to the neutralization of 8 NPA rebels and the recovery of 22 high-powered and 16 low-powered firearms.

In addition, it facilitated the surrender of 50 NPA rebels to the government who brought along with them eight (8) high powered and 15 low–powered firearms. Under Comprehensive Local Integration Program (CLIP) of the Office of the Presidential Assistant on Peace Process (OPAPP), the Division was able to facilitate the release of P1.19M benefits for 21 of the surrenderees. Other surrenderees who have not yet received their benefits are still on process and due to be release anytime.

In performing its mandate, 12 of our comrades made the ultimate sacrifice of defending our beloved country, while 18 soldiers were wounded in action (WIA) during the same period.

The Division was also instrumental in the declaration of 20 of 26 towns of Samar and 21 out of 24 towns of Northern Samar as Manageable Conflict-Affected and Development-Ready areas. By year-end 2014 all the remaining towns are expected to be declared as MCADR. Meaning, peace and order will be stable as NPA influence and presence in the said towns will be minimal and can be adequately addressed by the local governments units thru the Philippine National Police.

Maj. Gen Jet B. Velarmino, Commander of the 8th Infantry Division in his message said, “During the 26 years of the 8ID’s struggle to maintain peace, its partnership with the peace-loving stakeholders of Eastern Visayas was the source of its inner strength in coping with the challenges along its path in the pursuit of peace and development. We were and are indebted with the people for the things that have we accomplished.”

“With the stakeholders as the partner of the Division in all its endeavors, I am full of optimism that the partnership will hurdle all the challenges that lie ahead,” he added.