Negros Oriental, Philippines – The Chief of Staff, Armed Forces of the Philippines, General Cirilito E Sobejana, reminisced his younger years as a Lieutenant in the 11th Infantry (Lapu-Lapu) Battalion, Philippine Army, during his visit yesterday, June 28, 2021 (Monday) at Headquarters, 11IB, Barangay Salag, Siaton, Negros Oriental.
General Sobejana, who is about to retire from the military service upon reaching the mandatory retirement age in a few days, recalled his memorable experience as a young blooded Second Lieutenant in the 11IB, his first field assignment in the army after graduating from the Philippine Military Academy in 1987.
The 55th Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines served as a Platoon Leader of Charlie Company 11IB from August to November 1987; Tactical Officer of Headquarters and Headquarters Company 11IB from November to December 1987; Executive-officer/ Platoon Leader of Charlie Company 11IB from January 1988 to January 1989; Executive-officer/ Platoon Leader of Delta Company 11IB from January to July 1989; Officer in Charge of Alpha Company 11IB from July to October 1989, and Company Commander of Alpha Company 11IB from October 1989 to October 1992.
One of the highlights of his visit is the meet-and-greet session with his former subordinates, former Lapu-Lapu troopers, and their families.
Master Sergeant Cirilo Canillo Descallar (Ret), former platoon member of then 2LT Sobejana, in his speech, “I have known the good general during the early years of his military service, he was young back then, and so was I. In those years, I saw a man full of passion for his work. His service was beyond question as his dedication was beyond comparison. He was a natural-born leader who blazed trails for us who were following him. His example had left an impact on the lives of the neophytes in the military service, including me.”
“To General Sobejana, thank you for bringing AFP’s name to a higher level. Your left-hand salute is a statement of how far a hero can do for his country and people; it will be forever remembered,” Retired MSg Descallar added.
The AFP Chief also conveyed his message to the troops while checking on their well-being.
“This unit is my first assignment after graduating from the PMA in 1987. 11IB has been my home. I am proud of this unit as I witness once again your unit’s hard work and sacrifices. Through your continued successful military operation, along with your close relationship with various peace groups and LGU’s has contributed to the people’s positive feedback and growing trust with the AFP,” General Sobejana said.
“Let us continue to work hard and hold true to our oath as professional, capable, and reliable public servants. May your unit find strength in the conviction that you are loyal and dedicated soldiers capable of fulfilling our vision to become world-class armed forces, source of national pride,” Gen. Sobejana further said.
“Our service to our country and people does not stop when we hang our military uniforms; we continue to live on and offer ourselves more for the good of our nation. The wound in my right hand is my proof of how I sacrificed myself for our people,” he added.
His mother – Mama Takya, who is also present during his visit, told the story of how brave his son is, how he eagerly decided to go back into the field after being severely wounded in a combat encounter in Basilan in 1995 and how he endured the several medical operations conducted here in the country and abroad. “His dedication and love of service are incomparable – worthy of emulation and praise,” Mama Takya proudly said.
Sobejana is a native of Zamboanguita town in Negros Oriental. Last month, he was honored as a Distinguished NegOrense by the Provincial Government of Negros Oriental, being the 1st NegOrense to become the Armed Forces of the Philippines, Chief of Staff, and a widely known recipient of the Medal for Valor Award – the highest military award that the country bestowed to a person in the military service, an award equivalent to the Congressional Medal of Honor of the United States of America. (PR)