• GILBERT P. BAYORAN
The Army’s 303rd Infantry Brigade in Negros Occidental will have a new commander starting January 31 in the person of Col. Orlando Edralin, the outgoing deputy commander of the Army’s 301st Infantry Brigade stationed in Panay Island.
Edralin will replace Col. Michael Samson, who served as the acting 303rd Infantry Brigade commander for more than a month. He was also the 303IB deputy commander for more than three years.
The incoming 303rd Infantry Brigade commander has served with the elite Special Forces Regiment and Special Operations Command (SOCOM) of the Armed Forces of the Philippines.
On the other hand, Samson is a strong contender for the position of 301st Infantry Brigade commander, as reported earlier by Lt. Gen. Benedict Arevalo, chief of the AFP Visayas Command and concurrent commander of the 3rd Infantry Division.
The leadership of 301st Infantry Brigade is currently vacant, following the assumption yesterday of Brig. Gen. Marion Sison as the new Assistant Division Commander of 3ID.
Sison, a former 301st Infantry Brigade commander, replaced Brig. Gen. Noel Baluyan upon the latter’s retirement from the military service.
Edralin, Samson, Sison and Brig. Gen. Leo Peña, 302nd Infantry Brigade commander, who is also up for a higher position, are all members of the Philippine Military Academy Class of 1991.
The 301st, 302nd and 303rd Infantry Brigades are all under the supervision of 3rd Infantry Division.
It has not been established on who will succeed Arevalo as 3ID commander.
Prior to his present position, Sison also served as Joint Intelligence Task Force Sulu Commander, Philippine Army Assistant Chief of Staff for Personnel and Intelligence, G2, Philippine Army, 3ID’s Assistant Chief of Staff for Logistics, and acting commandant of the 3ID Division Training School.
He also served as commander of the 79th Infantry Battalion in Negros, where the unit was adjudged as best 3ID battalion in 2011 and 2012.
Arevalo is expected to preside over the change of 303rd IB leadership on Jan. 31 at Camp Maj. Nelson Gerona in Brgy. Minoyan, Murcia, Negros Occidental.*