‘Bicol veteran’ is new Army commander

A VETERAN in Bicol’s counter-insurgency campaign will take the reins as the Commander of the Army forces in the region, a military official said.

Major Harold Cabunoc, the Spokesperson of the 9th Infantry Division said that Major General Josue Gaverza, 54, will assume command of the 5,000 strong Army Forces in the whole Bicolandia effective Saturday, March 26.

“General Gaverza is a well-rounded officer who had served as the Battalion Commander of the 31st Infantry Battalion based in Sipocot town in CY 2000. Through his excellent combat leadership, the 31st IB scored heavily against the NPA bandits when the main rebel camp of the Bicol Regional Party Committee was seized by the soldiers of his battalion,” said Cabunoc.

A father figure to his subordinates, soldiers of the 31st Infantry Battalion fondly remember him as a very caring officer.

Captain Marcial Lumanga, 35, who once served in the same battalion said that General Gaverza was still the talk among the soldiers as one of the best commanders that they ever had.

“He is best remembered as an intelligent tactician and for his excellent managerial acumen. My soldiers can attest to the fact that he made sure that every foot soldier was provided all necessary support as they carried out their delicate missions in the field,” said Lumanga.

He had served in the three largest islands of the Philippine Archipelago starting as a Platoon Leader of the 4th Infantry Division in Mindanao. He had also commanded the 303rd Infantry Brigade in the Visayas in 2008.

A widower, Gaverza lost his wife in a freak accident more than a decade ago. They are blessed with three sons Joshua Alexei, 24; Jean Karl, 20, and Justine Stefan, 17.

Major General Ruperto “Raffy” Pabustan, the outgoing Division Commander, has welcomed Gaverza as his replacement.

“I am confident that he can sustain the efforts that I have started here in the region. I am thankful that the Spear Warriors (9th ID soldiers) are in good hands,” said Pabustan in a statement.

The formal change of command ceremony was held at Camp Elias Angeles 10:00am.

Lieutenant General Arturo Ortiz, the Commanding General of the Philippine Army  preside the turn-over ceremony. Verlin Ruiz

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