New 3ID chief offers ‘hand for peaceful negotiation’ to rebels

Brigadier General Marion Sison

By Jennifer P. Rendon

If Brigadier General Marion Sison would have his way, a peaceful negotiation with rebels is an option to end the decades-long insurgency.

Sison emphasized the subject as he assumed post as commander of the Philippine Army’s 3rd Infantry Division during the turnover of commander ceremony on Sunday, Feb 26, 2023, at the 3rd ID headquarters in Camp Macario Peralta, Jamindan, Capiz.

Sison said that the New People’s Army (NPA) has been most potent in the Visayas for a long time.

However, “I am confidently saying that in recent years, 3ID has done an excellent job in enhancing the region’s security condition,” he said.

With the series of neutralizations and surrender of its leaders and members, the NPA has incurred substantial losses, Sison claimed.

“That’s why, for those remaining active members of the CPP-NPA, I am offering my hand for peace through local peace dialogue engagement,” he said.

Sison said that rebel surrenderers could always avail and benefit from the government’s Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP).

“We can be friends,” he said. But for those who insist on doing terrorism, “I can be your worst nightmare for the rest of your lives.”

Sison said he will carry out all standing orders and policies that his predecessor, Lieutenant General Benedict Arevalo, has issued.

When Arevalo assumed post more than a year, he adopted the mantra, “Loved by the people, feared by the enemy.”

“We will continue to be loved by the people and feared by the enemy,” Sison assured, as he assured his groups that he will give his best efforts to ensure their morale and welfare.

He assured that he valued each one of the 3rd ID soldiers akin to that of a family.

“Let us be united in achieving our missions. But let us not forget to take good care of ourselves, too – to be fit and healthy not only physically but also mentally, emotionally, and spiritually,” he said.

A soldier who is at his best can deliver, Sison noted.

“Collectively, we will continue to respect and support each other as members of the Spearhead troopers in its broadest sense. We will constantly remind ourselves that the ability of this command is not rendered by a selected few by each and every one of us,” Sison said.

The challenges are enormous. That’s why Sison asked that they should continue to work as a team.

“As your commander, I am as strong as the weakest team member. The way the team plays determines its success. I may have the best officers and enlisted personnel but if we don’t play together, we will not be successful,” he said.

Sison has also assured stakeholders of his full commitment.

“Rest assured that we will remain true to our pledge of genuinely serving you to the best of our capabilities, anchored on the time-honored values of honor, patriotism, and duty,” he said.

Sison also pledges to closely work together with the stakeholders to defeat the enemy.

Sison made his vow of commitment in the presence of Lieutenant General Romeo Brawner, Jr. Philippine Army chief and his subordinate commanders, elected officials from Iloilo and Capiz provinces, his family, and retired AFP officers.