There will not be much change in the mission, as the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) has achieved its primary goal of eliminating the New People’s Army (NPA) in Palawan, said Brigadier General Antonio Mangoroban Jr., commander of the 3rd Marine Brigade (3MBde).
Mangoroban stated that with the dismantling of the rebel group in the province, their focus now lies on preventing its resurgence by laying the foundation for this accomplishment.
“Our mission remains to maintain the peace and order in the province of Palawan, primarily on ISO (Internal Security Operation) so we will just continue to maintain whatever gains we have made from the past years,” Mangoroban told the media in an interview, Monday, July 10.
“Although we are [insurgency-free], nandyan [pa rin] yung danger na makabalik. And, of course, we are also guarding our shores against other lawless elements out to create terrorism,” he said.
Along with the mission of maintaining the insurgency-free status, he said 3MBde is also slowly setting its focus on humanitarian assistance and disaster relief (HADR) operations.
“If you noticed this past few years, yung mga hindi natin inaasahang sakuna ay nangyayari, dati sa north pero ngayon sa south mas pronounced na so we are preparing in coordination with the provincial disaster response office so that we can be more responsive to the needs of the province (in terms of disaster response and preparedness). What we are trying to do is learn more on the HADR. Hindi naman siya bago but we are trying to be more capable on that aspect in coordination with the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office,” he explained.
Furthermore, Mangoroban stated that the additional Marine Battalion Landing Team-9 in the province is also in line with the HADR operation readiness and more on the reorganization of forces due to the improvement of peace and order situation in other parts of the Philippines.
“We are just putting more personnel here to help us confront other issues aside from the ISO,” he said.
Meanwhile, Mangoroban expressed gratitude to what he called his support trinity in his recent promotion to brigadier general, a few months after assuming command of the 3rd Marine Brigade (3MBde), replacing Brig. Gen. Jimmy Larida in February.
“As I have mentioned when I was donned by the Flag-Officer-in-Command of the Philippine Navy last week, this would not have been possible without the constant prayers, inspiration and push of my so-called support trinity – my friends, my fellow marines, and my family,” he said.
“This promotion is for you as it is for me for i could not have done it alone,” he added, referring to the personnel of 3MBde.
He also made special mention of Sgt. Wilbert Mora, a marine soldier who was also with him when he was the commanding officer of Marine Battalion Landing Team-6. He said Mora got wounded and lost an eye during one of their combat operations.
“To this day, the burden of command is still with me, asking myself if i have made the right decision meticulously planned that operation and led them to such,” Mangoroban said
“That is remembered up to this day, and the big part of this promotion is because of them. My special salute to all of you,” he added.
Furthermore, he mentioned what his family had to go through during the early part of his career as a military officer.
“The final but not the least vertex of the triad is my family, who have endured a lot in the course of my service to the country and to this province. My children who have grown to be responsible citizens without my constant guidance and my wife who have filled my constant absence,” he said.
“My parents who have instilled in me the value of hard work early in my childhood. Utang ko sa kanila ang lahat ng ito,” he added.