NEXT week, we would be having two new military leaders—Philippine Army commanding general, Lt. General Gilbert Gapay as the new AFP chief of staff and, Western Mindanao (Wesmincom) area commander, Lt. General Cirilo Sobejana as the new CGPA.
Except for what I have been reading in the news, I never got the chance to personally meet these gentlemen, a very unfortunate thing, indeed!
But here’s my one cent worth of opinion as regards their taking over the two most important military posts: despite the short time given to them, we, the people, expect them to contribute in the attainment of our most cherished goal: lasting peace.
Lasting peace by effectively dealing with our Republic’s two most persistent armed terrorist enemies, the New People’s Army (NPA) and the Muslim extremists, particularly the BIFF and the ASG.
And I say “short time given to them” considering that Gapay would be reaching his mandatory retirement age of 56 by February 4, next year.
Sobejana, at least, would have a one-year term until he reaches the mandatory retirement age on July 31, 2021.
Despite this time “limit,” we note that while both of them are seasoned Army field officers, Gapay, given his previous stints covering Eastern Mindanao and the Davao regions, appears to be more “familiar” with the threats and machinations posed by the NPA.
On the other hand, Sobejana, thru his previous post as Wesmincom commander, appears to have a firm grasp on the threats posed by Muslim extremists.
Now, theirs should be a “good combination” because then as now, the threats to peace and national development posed by these two groups have long been the burden tying us down in our struggle to achieve a better life for all.
Take note that the armed communists have been around since the late 1930s while the Muslim secessionists have been around since the 1970s, and have even “mutated” into several terrorist factions since then.
But what is common between the NPAs and the Muslim terror groups is this: both are proponents of alien ideologies that they intend to impose thru armed struggle and other acts of terrorism.
We are sure that both military leaders are aware of this fact and probably too, Pres. Duterte and his military advisers are aware of the need to use the experience and talents of Gapay and Sobejana in simultaneously dealing with the NPA and the Muslim extremists to bring the result we all desire that they are now in their new respective positions.
And yes, let us hope both of them can effectively use the new law against terrorism.