The Philippine Army’s 53rd Infantry “Matapat” Battalion (53IB) and its stakeholders successfully launched the book entitled “Tug of War | Victory in Time of Convergence: How the 53IB and Stakeholders Ended the Local Communist Armed Conflict in Zamboanga del Sur” in a book launching ceremony with Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Secretary and Cabinet Officer for Regional Development and Security for Region 9 (CORDS-9) Sec. Rolando Joselito D. Bautista as Keynote Speaker on March 30, 2022, at 53IB Headquarters, Camp Sabido, Guipos, Zamboanga del Sur.
“Tug of War is a compendium of the feats and achievements of 53IB and its stakeholders against Communist Terrorist Groups (CTGs) in Zamboanga del Sur, valuing the Matapat troops’ heroism in genuine public service and securing the province for the appreciation of the present and next generations,” said 53IB Commanding Officer Lt. Col. Jo-ar Herrera in his welcome remarks during the program.
Tug of War author Ms. Leonilyn Costino-Balaod, a pride of Tambulig, Zamboanga del Sur, expressed her gratitude to the 53IB for giving her the opportunity to write the said book.
“I thank the Officers, men, and women of the 53IB for their support in this endeavor. I also thank those Officers who answered my queries even in the dead of night,” said Ms. Leo Balaod.
“Let me also thank Lt. Col. Herrera for giving me this opportunity, and for Mr. Marlon Magtira, my publisher, for his untiring efforts in this book,” Ms. Balaod added.
Meanwhile, Army’s 102nd Infantry “Igsoon” Brigade Commander Brig. Gen. Leonel Nicolas congratulated Ms. Balaod and the whole of 53IB for the publication of Tug of War.
“May this book account of the 53IB’s best practices guide other military leaders and partner stakeholders in their quest for peace, security, and progress,” said Brig. Gen Nicolas.
Keynote Speaker Sec. Bautista in his message commended the 53IB for documenting the successful implementation of Executive Order 70 through the Tug of War.
“The gains of the PTF-ELCAC are a testament to the commitment and dedication of the whole Zamboanga del Sur in securing the prosperous future of its next generation,” said Sec. Bautista.
“May the 53IB and stakeholders continue to strengthen these convergence efforts to lead our families and communities to the path of inclusive and sustainable peace and development,” Sec. Bautista added.
The publication of this book will boost the efforts of the Strategic Communications (StratCom) Cluster, one of the 12 lines of efforts of the ELCAC.
It is the ELCAC cluster that shall conduct strategic communications efforts to disseminate information on government programs and counter the national propaganda of the CTGs, while creating external mechanisms to facilitate public engagement and policy support.