By Ali G. Macabalang & Noralyn A. Macabalang
COTABATO CITY – The multi-awarded Philippine Army’s 6 Infantry Division (6ID) has changed guard following the retirement from service of its outgoing commanding general over the weekend.
Philippine Army chief Lt. Gen. Romeo Brawner Jr. officiated the retirement of Maj. Gen. Juvymax Uy on Saturday, May 21, and installed Brig. Gen. Eduardo Gubat as 6ID acting commander.
Gen. Brawner, who was once a 6ID key officer when he was lieutenant colonel, was hopeful Gen. Gubat will pursue various strides that earned citations for the Maguindanao-based military unit, according to sources present during the ceremony.
The 6ID covers the provinces of Maguindanao, Lanao del Sur, Sultan Kudarat, Sarangani, South Cotabato and North Cotabato and the cities of Cotabato, Tacurong, Koronadal and General Santos.
It has been cited for having completed all stages in the introduction and implementation of the Army Transformation Roadmap (ATR), and bested other Army divisions across the country in 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018, it was learned.
ATR is an 18-year strategic plan conceived with a vision to make the Philippine Army a “world class” military unit, an official narrative from Fort Andres Bonifacio said.
The 6ID has been in the frontline of combat against secessionist and communist insurgents as well as ideological extremists in Central Mindanao, playing an active role also in sustained strides that helped the government forge with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) major peace deals in 2013 and 2014.
The 2014 peace accord, known as the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB), served as major basis in the enactment in 2018 of R.A. 11054 for the creation of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM).
In the BARMM transitional government operation, the 6ID helps train decommissioned MILF combatants to become partners of equally trained soldiers and cops in the formation of Joint Peace and Security Teams (JPST).
The 6ID also plays a lead role in continuous training of BARMM resident-volunteers in emergency rescue activities to serve not only inside the infant autonomous region but also in outside communities during natural and man-induced calamities.
It has gained ground in helping civilian authorities persuade many combatants of the outlawed Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) to return to the folds of law in several batches.
In the implementation of the government’s “balik baril” program, the 6ID has collected thousands of loose firearms from civilian residents in Central Mindanao.
Hundreds of those collected loose firearms were ceremonially destroyed by road rollers at least twice, making the 6ID the first Army division to have introduced the spectacular act of putting illegal guns beyond use.