Negros Oriental Gov. Roel Degamo on Friday lauded the 79th Infantry “Masaligan” Battalion for having done an excellent job in fighting the insurgency in Negros Oriental and helping the province in attaining real peace and order.

The governor was among those present Friday morning to send off the “Masaligan” battalion at the Dumaguete-Sibulan airport for a three-month Battalion of Excellence re-training at Fort Magsaysay, Nueva Ecija.

Speaking to about 500 men and women, led by the battalion commander, Lt. Col. Harold Anthony Pascua, the Negros Oriental governor said he has seen how this active and dynamic group worked hard to achieve peace that has led to the declaration of the province as conflict manageable and development ready.

The declaration means that the insurgency problem in Negros Oriental has been reduced to an insignificant level such that the province is now more conducive for development and economic expansion.

Gov. Degamo handed a plaque of appreciation to Lt. Col. Pascua as the province’s way of showing appreciation for a job well done.

Bidding them farewell, the provincial chief executive said it is just a temporary good-bye as he believes that the a more capable and better-equipped 79th Infantry Battalion will be returning to Negros Oriental in three to four months’ time.

While away on training, the 79th IB shall be replaced by the 20th IB headed by Lt. Col. Miguel Ceballos.

Meanwhile, Lt. Col. Christopher Estella, deputy commander of the 302nd Infantry Brigade, expressed the unit’s sincere gratitude and appreciation to the officers and enlisted personnel of the 79th IB for all efforts and services that significantly contributed to a much improved peace and security operations in the area of operations in Negros Oriental.

Estella, speaking in behalf of Col. Allan Martin, the brigade commander, noted that because of determination and professionalism, and unmindful of the hardships and being away from their families, the “Masaligans” did their job well.

“You r played an important role along with the LGUs, NGOs and other stakeholders in the spirit of Bayanihan by transforming Negros Oriental as conflict manageable and development ready”, Estella said.

According to him, the battalion’s departure is just temporary but the re-training of Philippine Army units has a purpose, one of which is that battalions must undergo such to improve on its fighting capabilities.

For his part, Brig. Gen. Francisco Patrimonio, deputy division commander of the 3rd Infantry Division in Jamindan, Capiz also congratulated the 79th IB for being a consistent, top performing battalion in the division.

Brig. Gen. Patrimonio assured the people of Negros Oriental to expect a stronger and more capable 79th Infantry Battalion when they return.

He also expressed the gratitude and appreciation of the 3rd Infantry Division to the battalion for untiringly performed their mandated tasks in winning the peace in the province with the highest standard of excellence and dedication. (PNA)