Whenever a Commander visits his units or commands under him, there is a “protocol” to be followed as part of the customs and traditions of the military service. The “protocol” consists of the following: (1) arrival honors; (2) introduction of the officers and key soldiers of the command; (3) presentation of briefing to the Commander on the prevailing situation in the area; (4) snacks or lunch while having an informal talks with the officers and ranking soldiers; (5) giving of souvenirs/gifts/mementos to me; (6) talk to the men and get feedback from the soldiers; and (7) departure honors.
Since this visit was my last visit to the units under me and I had been regularly visiting them for the past one year and two months, I entirely changed the “protocol” and shortened the activities. I directed the commanders of the units I was scheduled to visit to remove/dispense with the arrival and departure honors; there will be no briefings; and lesser preparation in food (only native chicken tinola & pinakbet/vegetables) to be served; and no gifts to be given to me. Instead, I told them to prepare to have a group picture with me before I leave their respective camps.
So, the “drill” to my visits consisted of introduction to the officers and key enlisted personnel; talk to the men & feedback from the men; a brief inspection of the facilities (I usually visit their bathrooms/comfort rooms to gauge the degree of cleanliness & orderliness of the unit); lunch/snacks; and picture-taking with the officers & men (with headgear and without a headgear!). It is in my Talk To The Men that I tell the soldiers the accomplishments and gains they had done during my stint as their Commander in our fight against insurgency in the area and personally thank them for their efforts and unstinted support to accomplish our mission in the area. Lastly, I challenge them to do some more and support the programs of the government and maintain the highest degree of discipline that makes the individual soldier distinct from other institutions of the government.
The following were some of the pictures taken during my last visit to my units in Panay & Negros Islands:
Before leaving the camp where I visited my troops, I see to it that there is always a group picture with them, with headgear and without headgear! These are my officers and men in Panay Island stationed in Dingle, Iloilo.
Sometimes, I asked to be briefed by looking at the pictures displayed as one enters the office of a command. The pictures show the activities being conducted by the soldiers to solve the problem of insurgency in the area, from combat operations to civic-military operations and development programs. Yes, the members of the Philippine Army are ACHIEVERS!
One of “Talk To The Men” sessions during my last visit. I was talking with my men in Tanjay, Negros Oriental.
The Battalion Commander usually introduces his officers and key enlisted personnel immediately after my arrival in the camp.
Another “Talk To The Men” with the Officers and Men of one of the Battalions deployed in Siaton, negros Oriental. This Battalion was instrumental in the clearing of the whole Bohol Province from the insurgents.
These are the young officers and soldiers who cleared Bohol Province and had been in Negros Oriental for the past one month and they are on the right track to clear another guerrilla front by the end of June 2008.
These are the officers who are leading our Philippine Army troops in Negros Occidental. The officer in black beret is the Commanding Officer of the Scout Ranger Battalion operating in the Central Part of Negros Island.
Another “Talk To The Men” to the Officers & Men deployed in Central & Northern Parts of Negros Occidental.
I am the “slimmest” and the “youngest-looking” among my officers and soldiers! Ha! Ha! Ha!