ZAMBOANGA CITY – The Philippine Army has activated a new infantry brigade to beef up its forces in the fight against the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) in Sulu province.
Maj. Gen. William Gonzales, 11th Infantry Division (ID) commander, said Wednesday the activation of the 1103rd Infantry Brigade is a significant step towards sustainable and inclusive peace in Sulu.
Gonzales installed Col. Eugenio Boquio as 1103rd brigade commander in a ceremony in Camp Gen. Teodulfo Bautista in Jolo on Tuesday afternoon, marking the activation of the new brigade.
He said the 11th ID now houses three Army brigades and one Marine brigade, which solidifies the presence of the Army in the province.
The other two Army brigades are the 1101st and 1102nd and the marine unit is the 4th Marine Brigade.
The 1101st brigade is responsible for securing the southern portion of the first district of Sulu while the 1102nd is in charge of Patikul town in the northern portion of the same district.
The whole second district of Sulu falls under the responsibility of the 4th Marine Brigade.
The 1103rd brigade’s deployment has yet to be determined.
“As of now, 1103rd Infantry Brigade has a skeletal workforce composed of various personnel from other divisions. The creation of the new brigade is a significant step towards sustainable and inclusive peace in Sulu, as we intend to fill it up with Tausug recruits. This provides an opportunity for the people of Sulu to take an active and meaningful role in securing their land,” said Gonzales, who is also the commander of the Joint Task Forces (JTF) – Sulu.
“JTF-Sulu’s powerhouse team welcomes another brilliant officer to its line-up. To 1103rd Brigade Commander, Col. Boquio, I expect nothing less than excellent leadership and constant collaboration with other security forces, local government units and agencies, and the general public of Sulu,” he added.
Boquio expressed his gratitude for being given the opportunity to lead the brigade and pledged to live up to the expectations that come with his position.
Before taking on his new role, Boquio was chief of staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines’ Special Operations Command.
He also served as chief of staff of JTF-Sulu in 2017 and commander of the 1st Scout Ranger Battalion from October 2014 to March 2016. (PNA)