At the onset of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic, the year 2020 has brought enormous challenges not only in our beloved country the Philippines but also throughout the world. We have never seen in our lifetime such a magnitude of effects in all aspects of our lives that has pushed us to the limits of our strengths and resources. But the Filipino spirit of resilience and Bayanihan has brought us together to face and endure the difficulties caused by Covid-19.
Notwithstanding the problems of the health crisis, our government has exerted more serious efforts to finally end the armed communist insurgency. The Zamboanga del Sur Provincial Task Force To End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) along with its city and municipality counterparts have been exerting massive campaigns and various programs to spur development in far-flung areas of the province.
Comprehensive programs were also launched to encourage the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) rebels to surrender and go back to the folds of the law. We have seen in 2020 that numerous members of the CPP-NPA have been enlightened to see the real color of such a godless organization that has been causing more miseries to our people.
Your Matapat Troopers have also initiated different programs to empower and strengthen the interrelationship of Christians, Muslims, and Indigenous People communities with the aim of creating harmonious and peaceful environments in our province.
With the full support from our Provincial Government, Representatives, City and Municipality Governments, to the remotest barangays in the hinterlands, your Philippine Army never ceased in its passion and enthusiasm to serve our fellow-Filipinos and secure our communities towards peace and development even in times of crisis. The pandemic has provided your 53rd Infantry “Matapat” Battalion more opportunities to fulfill our mandate to serve and secure the people of Zamboanga del Sur.
You could count on the Matapat Troopers’ continuous efforts in initiating more measures to strengthen our relationship to the communities and striving with our sincerity and loyalty to the people we have sworn to serve and protect.
May the coming New Year lead us to happiness, peace, and prosperity. As we look forward to a better, brighter, and peaceful New Year in 2021, let us all be united with a positive outlook that we will make it through this crisis.
LTC JO-AR A HERRERA INF (GSC) PA
53rd Infantry “Matapat” Battalion, Philippine Army