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Live and work without missing the fun: A day at the firing range

9ID Commander treats MSAB members to a gun-firing activity as part of MSAB meeting

CAMP ELIAS ANGELES, Pili, Camarines Sur (PIA)— 9th Infantry “SPEAR” Division Multi-Sectoral Advisory Board (MSAB) members experienced a new-fangled way of deviating from the usual “sit-down” meeting as the newly-installed Commanding General of the 9ID took them to the division’s firing range after a brief but extensive conversation.

9ID Commanding General MGEN Adonis R. Bajao decided to break from the traditional presentation of data and reports at MSAB meetings and provided MSAB members with an experience of productively mixing work and pleasure.

MGen Bajao and MSAB members discussed how to further strengthen the Army's services in conjunction with diverse sectors, particularly the rising community of peace-loving people, between the gun-firing lecture and the practical shooting exercise at the 9ID firing range.

MGen Bajao was pleased to note that the number of surrenderees has increased significantly in recent years, which denotes that more and more former rebels are returning to the folds of the law and embracing the government’s offer of a peaceful and worry-free life, away from danger and close to their loved ones.

“We at the 9ID are of course very happy with the turn of events, that’s why we continue to call on our brothers in the hinterlands to put down their arms and join us in our advocacy of ushering in a peaceful community.”

9th Infantry "SPEAR" Division. MSAB meeting with 9ID Commander MGEN Adonis R. Bajao, Feb. 8, 2023 at the Commander's Lounge, 9ID, Camp Elias Angeles, Pili, Camarines Sur. (PIA 5/Camarines Sur)

More sectoral representatives

9ID Governance and Strategy Management Office (GSMO) Chief Col. Angelo Z. Lutera proposed that Indigenous People (IPs) be included on the advisory board, which was instantly supported by the MSAB members present and MGen Bajao himself.

According to Lutera, the IP communities are vulnerable to harassment because most of them are unaware of their rights, notably their rights to ancestral domain.

 “I think we should have an IP representative in the advisory board so that we can also listen to their needs and concerns, particularly issues regarding their problems in their ancestral lands and other related laws that can protect their welfare as IP,” Col. Lutera continued.

9ID Assistant Division Commander BGen Jaime C. Abawag Jr., also shared his thoughts on looking for more sectoral representatives that will echo the sentiments of diverse groups. This, he said will greatly contribute to the mission of the Philippine Army to “win the peace” in order to help the Filipino nation create an environment conducive for sustainable development and just and lasting peace.”

This is also part of President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Philippine Development Plan 2023 -2028 which is to ensure a secure and peaceful community “where guns are silenced, food and basic services are sufficient and community life has normalized and shown sign of progress- this reality, he said is now within the reach of geographically isolated and conflict-affected communities.”

This is also the essence of the government’s whole of nation approach which aims to enjoin all agencies and sectors to work towards one common goal.

MGen Bajao listened intently to all the suggestions and kept notes of all the ideas to be discussed at the next MSAB meeting.

A day at the Firing range

MSAB members present during the meeting cum recreation found themselves at the 9ID firing range where MGen Bajao and other 9ID officials prepared a sumptuous merienda and lunch – and a whole bunch of ammunitions for 3 different kinds of pistols and rifles which will be used for the practice shooting.  

MSAB members composed of its Chairman, Msgr. Zosimo Ma. Sañado, MSAB Strategic Communication Committee Chairperson and Philippine Information Agency Camarines Sur Provincial Head Ana-Liza S. Macatangay, MSAB Governance Committee Chairperson and Bicol University Professor Dr. Herbert  B. Rosana, and MSAB Resource Generation Committee Chairperson Pedrito Servano appreciated the new ambiance, and the combination of the usual meeting with an added spice.  

Firing is not an entirely new experience for some members of the 9th Infantry “SPEAR” Division MSAB members, but they took pleasure in veering away from the usual four-corner room meeting and keeping their adrenalin rush by learning the basic rules in gun-firing.

9ID Range Officer SGT Joey A. Bernales discussed the four cardinal rules of gun safety before allowing the MSAB members to lay their hands on the pistols neatly lined up in the table. 

“First cardinal rule of gun safety is to always treat all guns as loaded. All guns are dangerous. You should never assume that a gun has no bullet in it.  Check if it’s loaded, and make sure that the pistol or rifle is clear of bullets. Second most important thing to remember is, do not point your gun to anything that you don’t want to destroy,” Bernales said.

He also stated that the muzzle of the gun, or the end of the barrel from which the bullet is fired, is directed downwards or in a specific direction. It's also crucial, he says, not to point it at dogs, cats, or humans, or anything else that might be harmed if it accidentally fires.

He went on to discuss the third guideline, which is to be certain of the aim while also considering who or what is behind the target. This is to ensure that no one will also get harmed and the last is, “always keep your trigger finger off the trigger, unless you are not ready to fire.”

At the 9ID FIring Range : (L-R) 9ID Asst. Division Commander BGen Jaime Abawag Jr., (far left); MSAB Governance Committee Chair, Dr. Herbert Rosana; (2nd to the left) MSAB Stategic Communication Chair Ana-Liza S. Macatangay; 9ID Commander MGen Adonis R. Bajao (center); MSAB Chairperson Msgr. Zosimo Ma. Sañado; MSAB Resource Generation Committee Chair Pedrito Servano and 9ID GSMO Chief COL. Angelo Z. Lutera (far right) [PIA 5/Camarines Sur]

These pointers were indeed valuable not just for MSAB members who had the feel of holding a gun and aiming it a target but also for gun enthusiasts and even professionals who oftentimes allow these cardinal rules to slip off their minds, thus resulting to various accidents and unfortunate situations.

The MSAB members went back to their usual role after the meeting, armed with new experience and perspective.  MSAB Chairman Sañado extended his gratitude to MGen Bajao for the activity and for being receptive and accommodating to all the ideas that the board openly discussed with him.

Also present during the meeting are Assistant Division Commander for Reservist and Retiree Affairs (ADC-RRA) Col. Jose Ricky A. Laniog, 9ID Chief of Staff Col. William P. Peñafiel Jr., Col. Zacarias B. Batalla  Jr., (DIG), Command Chaplain  MAJ Rommel F.Gacias, 9th GSMO Deputy Chief MAJ Edlan R. Sumpay and other Spear personnel.

Indeed, it was a day worth remembering. (PIA 5/Camarines Sur)

About the Author

Ana-liza Macatangay

Regional Editor

Region 5

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