New Bicol Army commander vows to raise soldiers’ morale
By Juan Escandor Jr. PILI, Camarines Sur--- The newly installed commander of the 9th Infantry Division of the Philippine Army, the counterinsurgency unit in Bicol region, vows to raise the morale of the soldiers under his command by implementing programs that will benefit them. Major Gen. Jesus Manangquil, installed on Jan. 5 as the 14th commanding general of the 9th ID by Lt. Gen. Joselito Bautista, commanding general of the Philippine Army, said his leadership is oriented towards the improvement of the morale of the soldiers operating in the Bicol region. Manangquil replace Brig. Gen. Danilo Isleta as head of the 9th ID. Isleta, the acting commander of the 9th ID, was promoted as the Chief of Staff, the third highest rank in the Army as he left his position here. Both Manangquil and Isleta are members of the Philippine Military Academy class 1985. “I will guide the soldiers in the right way to accomplish their mission to achieve peace and prosperity in the Bicol region,” he said. Manangquil said he wanted to connect with the communist rebels on the agenda of peace because it will be the region to suffer if the fight continues. “There is nothing good if the fighting between Filipinos continue. We know that any area will not prosper if there is fighting,” he said. Manangquil said he will not negotiate with the communist rebels but he encourages them to go down from the mountains and join the efforts to develop the region. He defended President Duterte saying the Commander in Chief has not closed its doors to peace. Managquil claimed that because the communist rebels in Mindanao understood the call for peace of the president, 700 of them surrendered last year. Before his appointment as the commanding general of the 9th ID, Manangquil has served as the commander of the Joint Task Force of the National Capital Region. He was also assigned in Mindanao as the commander of the 101st Battalion and later as deputy commander of the Western Mindanao Command. Manangquil hails from General Santos City.