68IB troops end over 5-year stint in Basilan

ZAMBOANGA CITY – The Army’s 68th Infantry Battalion (IB) departed Basilan province after more than a five-year stint against the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) as the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) reshuffled some of its forces in the country.

Lt. Gen. Alfredo Rosario Jr., commander of the Western Mindanao Command (Westmincom), said Wednesday that the 68IB troopers will be replaced by the Army’s 14th Division Reconnaissance Company and the 17th Scout Ranger Company.

“These two companies will provide additional forces to the Joint Task Force (JTF)-Basilan in forging peace, security, and development in the province,” Rosario said in a statement.

The officers and enlisted men received military merit medals for their meritorious actions and invaluable services rendered as members of the 68IB in Basilan province since Sept. 6, 2016.

They also received a command plaque in grateful recognition of the Westmincom for their invaluable contribution in accomplishing their missions.

Col. Frederick Sales, deputy commander of the 101st Infantry Brigade (Bde) and JTF-Basilan, expressed his gratitude to the 68IB troops and wished them well in a send-off ceremony Tuesday held at the port of Lamitan City.

From Basilan, Brig. Gen. Domingo Gobway, 101Bde commander, said in a text message Wednesday that the 68IB’s next place of assignment is Mindoro.

Meanwhile, Rosario also extended his appreciation to the 68IB troopers for their deep sense of duty and commitment to service that led to the neutralization of the remaining ASG members under sub-leader Radzmil Jannatul alias Khubayb.

“Your achievements earned distinct honor and credit not only for your unit but also for the whole AFP,” he said. (PNA)