Western Command (WESCOM) celebrates its 43 years of service on Friday, March 29, 2019, with Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief of staff Vice Admiral Gaudencio Collado Jr. (left). Under the leadership of Vice Admiral Rene Medina, the WESCOM anniversary's theme is “Team WESCOM @ 43: Kaakibat sa Paglilingkod, Kabalikat ng Palaweño Tungo sa Patuloy na Kapayapaan, Kaunlaran at Matatag na Palawan.” (Photo courtesy of WESCOM Public Affairs Office)

The Western Command (WESCOM) of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) is intensifying its role as the “protector” of the province of Palawan as it marked its 43rd Anniversary on Friday.

Vice Admiral Gaudencio Collado Jr., AFP deputy chief of staff, said the military’s higher command will always sustain its full support to the WESCOM that is in charge of maintaining Palawan’s peace and order, including Kalayaan municipality in the West Philippine Sea.

“We highly recognize the Bayahinan [spirit] that remains instilled in this Command and its advocacy for peace. To everyone, thank you for being one with us in protecting and maintaining peace in the area of Palawan and the well-guarded West Philippine Sea,” Collado said during the anniversary program.

WESCOM commander Vice Admiral Rene Medina (seated 1st from left) with AFP deputy chief of staff Vice Admiral Gaudencio Collado Jr., WESCOM deputy commander, Brigadier General Lauro Tianchon, and the awardees during the Command’s 43rd years of service on March 29, 2019.

Collado represented AFP Chief of Staff General Benjamin Madrigal during the event.

WESCOM commander Vice Admiral Rene Medina, meanwhile, recognized his unit’s success in conducting air, land, and naval operations.

“We are looking forward to the support and commitment of the province of Palawan, particularly on peace and security. We believe that we really need to strengthen our [combined] efforts so that we can maintain the image of Palawan as a [prime] tourist destination in the Philippines. We will not accept it if there will be any untoward incident that will transpire in Palawan, particularly kidnapping,” Medina said.

During the event, WESCOM recognized its outstanding personnel, units, and assets.

The Combat Service Support Company of the Year Award was given to the Joint Task Force Peacock (JTFP) while the Combat Company of the Year award was bestowed to the 212th Marine Company (MC) of the Marine Batallion Landing Team-12 (MBLT-12).

The other awardees were BRP Ramon Alcaraz (PS16) as Best Ship of the Year; NV312 as Best Aircraft of the Year-Fixed Wing, and PZL W-3A SOKOL as Best Aircraft of the Year-Rotary Wing.

The uniformed and civilian personnel who were awarded were Commander Emerson David as Officer of the Year; TSgt. Sheryl Debraliz Petalver as Enlisted Personnel of the Year; Winifredo Paduga as Civilian Employee of the Year, and Judy Sonio as Citizen Armed Force Geographical Unit (CAFGU) Active Auxillary of the Year.

Awarded with the Kalayaan Group of Island Campaign Medal and Ribbon (KGICMR) were S2GM John Philip Mendez, S2RD Axel Betita, S2QM Jose Evanecer Sevilla Jr, S2ET Jerwin Basallote and F2MR Henry Luis Fernandez.

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is the chief of correspondents of Palawan News. She covers defense, politics, tourism, health, and sports stories. She loves to travel and explore different foods.