SURREAL. Army officers and guests all wearing surgical masks at the video teleconferenced 7ID change of command ceremony. Contributed photo
FORT MAGSAYSAY, Nueva Ecija – A first-ever change of command ceremony aired live via video tele-conferencing (VTC) was held at the 7th Infantry “Kaugnay” Division Wednesday, March 25.
This, with the division’s commander, Major Gen.Lenard T. Agustin, AFP turning 56, the mandatory age of retirement in the military service.
In light of the threat of Covid-19, and in observance of the enhanced community quarantine being enforced by the government, the 7ID decided to forego the traditional testimonial parade and review given to retiring commanders. Instead, it opted to conduct a change of command ceremony inside the Kaugnay Officers’ Clubhouse in this fort, with just the selected relatives and officers, adhering to safety protocols to avoid contracting the deadly virus.
Acting as the presiding general officer during the ceremony was Lt. Gen. Gilbert I. Gapay, commanding general of the Philippine Army, who was also the keynote speaker. Gapay presided the ceremony via VTC at the Philippine Army headquarters in Fort Bonifacio, Metro Manila.
The ceremony took on surreal air as Army officers in uniform and guests were all wearing surgical face masks while listening to the messages via VTC. Agustin humorously quipped that the current situation caused by Covid-19 made his retirement ceremony all the more “unforgettable” and “unique”.
In his message, the former 7ID commander said that he “could not have asked for a more competent and supportive team,” referring to Team Kaugnay which performed very well and achieved several awards during his term as division commander, which well reflected his kind of leadership. He also said that he has long understood that his purpose in life is to contribute to the country’s quest for peace, of which he is very proud of.
Brig. Gen. Alfredo V. Rosario, Jr. takes over from Agustin as the 29th commander of the Kaugnay Division. He is also a former Kaugnay officer for more than six years, with his last stint being the 7ID chief of staff.
“Sa panahon ngayon na ang ating trabaho bilang mga sundalo ay hindi pangkaraniwan, panatilihin nating malusog ang ating mga sarili, gayundin ang ating mga pamilya, upang magampanan natin ng mas maayos ang tungkulin sa pagtulong sa ating mga kababayan. As our government confronts this contagion, the Covid-19, let us align all our actions to the strategic guidance of our President. We play a very vital role of maintaining order to prevent the occurrence of social unrest during this difficult time…I am certain that with our collective effort… and above all, by God’s grace, we shall win the war of combating this unseen enemy…” the newcommander said.