FORT BONIFACIO, Taguig City - Joint ceremonies for the Activation of Light Reaction Regiment and 23rd Founding Anniversary of the Special Operations Command (SOCOM), Philippine Army will be conducted at the SOCOM Headquarters in Fort Magsaysay, Nueva Ecija on Thursday, January 16.
AFP Chief General Emmanuel T Bautista and Philippine Army Commanding General Lt Gen Noel A Coballes will grace the activity.
Coinciding with the celebration of its 23rd Founding Anniversary, the Army's Special Operations Command (SOCOM) welcomes the activation of the Light Reaction Regiment which is the lead counter-terrorist unit of the Philippine Army.
Formerly the Light Reaction Battalion, the Philippine Army has decided to transform the Battalion into a regiment size composed of six companies.
In an earlier statement, Army Chief Lt Gen Noel A Coballes said that the Light Reaction Battalion has proved its effectiveness in the Armed Forces of the Philippines's counter-terrorism efforts when it was deployed in Zamboanga City to contain rogue MNLF members that seized and staged attacks and held as hostages about 200 residents.
The Light Reaction Regiment (formerly LRB), has currently three companies. The 4th Light Reaction Company is expected to be activated this year, while the 5th and 6th Light Reaction Companies will be formed not later than 2015.
Col Teodoro A Llamas is designated as the Acting Commander of the Regiment which was provisionally activated on January 1, 2014. Its mission is to organize, train, equip, provide and sustain counter terrorist unit and conduct counter terrorist operations in support of the Philippine Army's mission.
The unit is capable in hostage rescue and personnel recovery operations, special reconnaissance mission, special operations target interdiction, direct action operations, and counter-terrorist operations.
Recognizing SOCOM troopers.
The 23rd Founding Anniversary celebration of the Special Operations Command, the Army's unit of elite forces, will be highlighted by the awarding of its personnel who distinguished themselves not only in combat but also in administrative duties.
Lt Col Ferdinand B Napuli of the Special Forces Regiment (Airborne) will receive the Distinguished Service Star award for his meritorious and valuable service as Commanding Officer of the 3rd Special Forces Battalion.
The Gold Cross Medal will be awarded to 1Lt Carlo Caneco V Irriberi and Cpl Nathaniel A Ayco, both of the First Scout Ranger Regiment. 1Lt Irriberi and Cpl Ayco were among those deployed in Zamboanga City last September 2013 during the height of the Zamboanga siege.
SSg Renato A Calumpit of the Special Forces Regiment (Airborne) shall receive the Bronze Cross Medal.
Military Merit Medals will also be conferred to a number of SOCOM personnel who took part in liberating Zamboanga City against the rogue MNLF members, and in the campaign against communist insurgency.
Meanwhile, Command Plaque will be presented to the 1st Special Forces Battalion, 2nd Special Forces Battalion, 1st Scout Ranger Battalion, and the Light Reaction Battalion.