Army unit in Negros Island has new commander

Major General Benedict Arevalo (center), 3ID commander, leads the turnover of command of incoming 94th battalion commander Lieutenant Colonel Van Donald Almonte, and outgoing battalion commander Lieutenant Colonel Angelo Guzman in rites held at the 94th IB headquarters in Barangay Tambo, Ayungon, Negros Oriental last week. (Photo courtesy of 94th IB)

By Glazyl Y. Masculino

BACOLOD City – Lieutenant Colonel Van Donald Almonte assumed as the new commander of the Army’s 94th Infantry Battalion (IB) in Negros Island.

Major General Benedict Arevalo, commander of 3rd Infantry Division (ID), led the turnover of command in rites held at the 94th IB headquarters in Barangay Tambo, Ayungon, Negros Oriental last Friday.

Almonte is a member of the Philippine Military Academy “Banyuhay” Class of 2002.

He is the fourth commander of the 94th IB and was previously designated as executive officer of the 303rd Infantry Brigade (IBde), before replacing Lieutenant Colonel Angelo Guzman who served the battalion for two years.

During Guzman’s stint, the Army said that more combat operations were conducted which significantly helped reduce the numbers of the New People’s Army (NPA) in the hinterland communities of Binalbagan, Himamaylan City and Kabankalan City in Negros Occidental and the towns of Jimalalud, Tayasan, Ayungon, Bindoy and Manjuyod in Negros Oriental.

Under his leadership, there was also a surge of surrenders from the NPA as well as mass supporters which weakened the Central Negros 2 as a guerilla front, according to the Army.

Meanwhile, Arevalo lauded the military troopers of the 94th IB for being one of the best battalions in the island.

He also commended Guzman for his efforts in maintaining the excellence among the troopers of the battalion.

“You don’t need to be anxious on your next assignment, finishing your tour of duty as the 94th battalion commander is enough for you to have the confidence in dealing with your future assignments,” Arevalo said.