‘New normal is to cry’: General turns over Basilan command in emotional rites

/ 10:29 PM July 10, 2020

ISABELA CITY, BASILAN—A teary-eyed Brig. Gen. Fernando Reyeg turned over command of the anti-terror Joint Task Force Basilan to its new head, Col. Domingo Gobway, in a ceremony rare for the outpouring of emotion and the outgoing task force chief’s candor in admitting where he failed.

The turnover was witnessed by ranking officers and battle-hardened soldiers in Basilan at the headquarters of the Army’s 101st Brigade here.


Reyeg held the post for two years, starting in July 6, 2018. He is set to assume his new post as assistant deputy chief of staff for education and training in the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) headquarters.

Reyeg graduated from the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) in 1991.


“Today, with all humility, I leave you the beautiful island of Basilan ready for further development,” Reyeg said.

He, however, admitted to failing to bust Abu Sayyaf leaders Furuji Indama and Radzmil Janatul.

“Based on the given mission and essential tasks, I am not proud that during my tenure, I was not able to get the two high-value targets, and I take full responsibility for this,” Reyeg said.

He was emotional when he addressed his family, assuring them that he “will be home soon.”

During his tenure, Reyeg ensured the continuity of a multi-sectoral program, that included the Army, in combating violent extremism in the province.

Lt. Gen. Cirilito Sobejana, head of the military’s Western Mindanao Command, presented a plaque of appreciation to Reyeg for outstanding performance as commander of Joint Task Force Basilan.

The turnover ceremony was presided over by Maj. Gen. Generoso M. Ponio, head of the Army’s 1st Infantry Division.


Ponio said the “new normal in the change of command, is to witness officers crying” out of “love to the troops, love of the work, the accomplishments and your good relationship with the people and the communities.”

“We Rangers are hard-hearted, we don’t cry. (But now), the new normal is to cry,” Ponio said, as he challenged Gobway to keep the 101st Brigade’s performance at a high level.

A graduate of the PMA in 1990, Gobway, 52, served as inspector general of the 8th Infantry Division that operates in Samar and Leyte provinces.

His early years in the Army was spent in Cotabato province before serving in the Visayas for almost 14 years.

“As I assume command of this brigade, expect that we will work as a team and together we will outsmart our enemies and put premium in working hand-in-hand with our stakeholders,” Gobway said.

He said he expects “full cooperation from the local governments” in Basilan.

Aside from military officers, the ceremony was also attended by Basilan officials led by Gov. Jim Hataman-Saliman.

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TAGS: abu sayyaf, AFP, Army, Basilan, brigade, candor, emotion, General, Turnover
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