BY GILBERT P. BAYORAN
Armed Forces chief, Gen. Cirilito Sobejana, is now making exit visits to various military camps, especially the 3rd Infantry Division and its infantry units in Negros Island, where he started his military career in 1987.
Sobejana, a native of Zamboanguita, Negros Oriental, is reaching the mandatory age retirement of 56 on July 31, 2021.
During his recent visit to the 11th Infantry Battalion in Siaton, Negros Oriental, Sobejana recalled his memorable assignment and experience as a young platoon leader of the 11IB assigned in Brgy. Cabacungan, La Castellana, Negros Occidental, in 1987.
“This unit was my assignment after graduating from the Philippine Military Academy in 1987. 11IB has been my home. I am proud of this unit, Sobejana said.
The 11IB had another AFP chief in 2009, who is also a Negrense, now retired Gen. Victor Ibrado, who used to be the battalion commander of 11IB, where Sobejana had served as a company commander.
“Our ranks and positions are just incidental to public service. As we do our jobs as public servants, our feet should remain on the ground. As soldiers, we are always expected to serve the people,” Sobejana told 3ID soldiers, in his visit to Camp Macario Peralta in Jamindan, Capiz, on July 3.
Sobejana, a member of Philippine Military Academy Class 1987, is considered as one of the country’s living heroes, being a recipient of the Medal for Valor, the highest military honor bestowed for demonstrating bravery and sacrifice above and beyond the call of duty, when he fought about 150 Abu Sayyaf terrorists in 1995.
Two other PMA Class 1987 members assigned in the Visayas are also retiring from the military service. They are Lt. Gen. Roberto Ancan, AFP Central Command chief, and Maj. Gen. Eric Vinoya, 3rd Infantry Division commanding general.
Ancan is also a resident of Victorias City, Negros Occidental, and used to serve with the 11th Infantry Battalion that had its headquarters in Brgy. Burgos, Cadiz City. He is scheduled to retire on the last week of August, and followed by Vinoya a week later.*