Fort Magsaysay, Nueva Ecija – Lieutenant Colonel Rodrigo A. Mariñas Jr. was installed as the new Commanding Officer of the 81st Infantry (Spartan) Battalion, 7th Infantry (Kaugnay) Division, Philippine Army on 16 August 2019.
In a Change of Command Ceremony held at the Headquarters, 81IB in Barangay Bugbuga, Sta. Cruz, Ilocos Sur, Lieutenant Colonel Charles DZ Castillo formally turned over the leadership of 81IB to Lieutenant Colonel Mariñas.
The Guest of Honor and Speaker during the event was Major General Lenard T. Agustin AFP, Commander of the 7th Infantry (Kaugnay) Division, Philippine Army; while Mayor Teresita Corpuz Valle of Santa Cruz, Ilocos Sur was the special guest.
Other prominent guests were Mayor Joseph Simon B. Valdez of Santa Lucia, Ilocos Sur; Mayor Sherwin P. Tobias of Lidlidda, Ilocos Sur, Brigadier General Loreto Rirao AFP (Ret); Police Colonel Emmanuel H. Reyes, the Provincial Director of Ilocos Sur and other stakeholders from the unit’s area of operation.
Mayor Valle in her message assured that under her leadership, she will continue to support the programs of 81IB that would benefit the people. She also stressed that she was so impressed with the Community Support Program (CSP) of 81IB as it helped a lot of people, especially among her constituents. Further, she congratulated Lieutenant Colonel Castillo for a job well done and welcomed Lieutenant Colonel Mariñas Jr. and wished him well as the new Commanding Officer of 81IB.
For his message to the 81IB troops, Lieutenant Colonel Castillo said that all the accomplishments and the positive changes that 81IB went through during his stint as the battalion commander were all products of the concerted effort and hardwork of the men and women of the unit. He also expressed his appreciation to the support, cooperation and understanding of the troops during his tenure. In his parting words, he stressed how proud he was to have led a group of hardworking and professional soldiers, like the Spartans.
Lieutenant Colonel Mariñas Jr. for his part said that he will continue his predecessor’s programs that put the battalion in a very good standing. In addition he also stressed his command philosophy which is anchored on the word TEAM, meaning, everybody should be a team player, always pursue excellence, and maintain positive attitude, for the mission accomplishment. He also vowed to pursue peace and development initiatives in partnership with peace stakeholders in his area of operation.
Major General Lenard T. Agustin, Commander 7ID, congratulated Lieutenant Colonel Castillo for having completed his stint as Commanding Officer of 81IB with fine leadership, firmness, and unquestionable loyalty for the popular good. “You made a difference and I’m sure that you will be well remembered by your men and colleagues,” he added.
Addressing Lieutenant Colonel Mariñas Jr., Major General Agustin said that he cannot think of a better officer to lead 81IB on its mission to deliver excellence, better than him. “Your record speaks for itself, the fact that you steered 70IB for four months, a very short period of time to make a difference, but you brought to the unit a track record of excellence and clear passion for mission, people and their families.”
He further challenged him to bring the Spartans into a new level of military professionalism and performance.
Meanwhile, the 24th Infantry (WILDCAT) Battalion celebrated its 68th Founding Anniversary at its Headquarters in Barangay Tagodtod, Lagangilang, Abra on the same day.
The guest of honor during the anniversary was Governor of Abra, Honorable Maria Jocelyn Valera Bernos, represented by Provincial Administrator Michael Ronald Bersamira Jr. It was also attended by Major General Agustin and his staff.
Also seen during the anniversary celebration were the following stakeholders of the unit, namely: Mayor Nestor Bersamina of Lacub, Abra; Mayor Romando Bacuyag of Malibcong, Abra; Dr. Paulina Sawadan, Member, Executive Committee, Igorot Global International; Dr. Amador D. Garcia, Schools Division Superintendent, DEPED, Abra; Dr. Gregorio Turqueza Jr., President, Ara Institute of Science and Teachnology; Mr. Julius M. Paredes, Provincial Officer, PDEA; Police Lieutenant Colonel Francisco Bulwayan Jr., Deputy Provincial Director, Abra Provincial Police Office; Brigadier General Loreto Rirao AFP (Ret) of Abra Masonic Lodge; Engineer Benjamin Bentura, PENRO Chief, Abra; Mr. Richard Agustin, and Ednhel Balneg, Presidents of Youth For Peace of Ilocos Norte and Abra, respectively; Barangay Captain Nelson Pracidio of Barangay Tagodtod, Lagangilang Abra; and Reverend Father David Marck Taverner- Parochial Vicar, Lagangilang.