Panay army unit welcomes new commander

Published June 18, 2021, 11:00 AM

by Tara Yap

ILOILO CITY – Lieutenant Colonel Harold Garcia is the newly-installed commander of the Philippine Army’s 61st Infantry Battalion (61 IB), which oversees the southern and western portions of Panay Island.

Garcia took over Colonel Joel Benedict Batara in a change of command ceremony presided by Major General Eric Vinoya, commanding general of the 3rd Infantry Division (3ID) at Camp Monteclaro in Miag-ao town, Iloilo province.

Prior to his assignment in Panay, Garcia was the executive officer of the 303rd Infantry Brigade (303 IB) in Tanjay City, Negros Oriental province.

Vinoya challenged Garcia to sustain the gains made by Batara against the New People’s Army (NPA) in southern Iloilo and Antique province.

“This unit notably inflicted serious losses to the enemy especially the Southern Front of Komiteng Rehiyon in Panay through series of encounters which resulted to several body counts, numerous captured personalities, firearms, ammunition, and improvised explosive devices in the area of operation,” Vinoya said.

Meanwhile, Batara was awarded with the Military Merit Medal.