SOFRONIO ESPAÑOLA, Palawan – Lt. Colonel Prisco Tabo Jr. took command Thursday morning of the Marine Battalion Landing Team-4 (MBLT-4), an infantry unit of the 3rd Marine Brigade (3MBDe) in southern Palawan, from Lt. Col. Darwin de Luna at Camp Daypo in Barangay Abo-Abo, Sofronio Española.
Tabo relieved De Luna in a morning ceremony that was presided over by Brig. Gen. Charlton Sean Gaerlan, commander of the 3MBDe and witnessed by officials of the civil force, branches of other armed services, representatives of the provincial government, mayors Abraham Ibba of Bataraza, Mary Jean Feliciano of Brooke’s Point, Celsa Adier of Aborlan, and other stakeholders in the southern area of the province.
During the ceremony, De Luna reflected on the accomplishments in southern Palawan of the MBLT-4, citing it now scarcely resembles what it was when he took command two years ago.
He made reference to planning and implementing focused military operations for peace and order aims and civic actions to enhance community relations in the municipalities in the Marines’ area of responsibility in the province.
Under his leadership, the MBLT-4 has been instrumental in the surrender of former members of the New People’s Army (NPA) in southern Palawan; recovery of rebel firearms and subversive documents; the arrest on October 4 of seven, including ranking leaders of the Bienvenido Vallever Command (BVC), and the surrender of Alimar Libuna Toting (Ka Allan), the top-ranking leader of the rebel group, and seven others on November 5.
Tabo said he is not new to Palawan.
“Way back 2002-2005, I was here in Palawan, operating in Dumaran, San Vicente, Roxas and Mangsee (Balabac) when I was still a second lieutenant,” he said in his speech.
He said he hopes to meet expectations in Palawan by employing the set of standards that is anticipated from a battalion commander.
For his part, Gaerlan congratulated De Luna for completing his billet as MBLT-4 commander in southern Palawan.
He said among De Luna’s accomplishments was blocking the NPA’s conduct of any tactical offensive o
“We all know what MBLT-4 has accomplished here in southern Palawan. Nakita naman natin ‘yong ating mga kampanya dito since last year and up to today. For the longest time, may instruction ‘yong Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) from Joma Sison na mag-conduct ng atrocities here in Palawan, but due to the leadership of Col. De Luna dito sa south ay wala po silang (NPA) nagagawang tactical offensive,” he said.
“Nakakagawa sila ng konting harassment, may napatay din silang tropa or may nagawa din silang ilang activities, pero ‘yong inuutos ng kanilang leader na tactical offensive ay wala pong nagagawa ang NPA dito,” Gaerlan added.
He told Tabo that he has a bigger task ahead of him in southern Palawan but his leadership and skills will help him also accomplish what De Luna had achieved.