“Excellence should not be our standard, it should be our way of life.”
MGen Perfecto M Rimando Jr, Commander, 5ID
The 5th Infantry (Star) Division, Philippine Army metamorphosed from a mere Brigade, 37 years ago into an Infantry Division at Camp Melchor F Dela Cruz, Upi, Gamu, Isabela on May 21, 2018. The Command reminisced its rich history that earned its trademark as the “Guardian of Northern Luzon”.
For more almost four decades, the Command has continously lived up to the ideals and and values that made it one if not the best division in the AFP.
Thus, the theme for this year, 5ID: moving towards perfection @ 37.
Thirty -seven years ago, before 5ID was formally organized, the whole of Northern Luzon had been already a hotbed of insurgency. Most of us know that a Battalion of Communist NPA Terrorist (CNT) was organized, trained and operated in the Marag Valley in Apayao. But little is known of an equally strong CNT organized and trained in Mt Sipitan in Brgy Aguid, Sagada, Mt Province and was once called as the National Headquarters of the Terrorist rebels.
With the creation of the 5ID, and the implementation of its different campaigns, the Communist Terrorist influence gradually decimated to a 20-man group along the way. The Star Troopers fought the Communist Terrorist- face to face in different military campaigns in the following places; Paco Valley in Apayao, Zinundungan Valley in Cagayan, Mataragan-Bangilo Complex in Abra, Marag Valley, Mabiga-Buguin-Banban Complex both in Apayao, and in the Jones Echague, San Mariano, San Guillermo and Angadanan Complex or JESSA Complex in Isabela Province. We also include in the list, the Mt Sipitan in Sagada where the Battalion of Communist Rebels also suffered defeat at the hands of the Star Troopers.
More than three decades had passed and the CTN groups never recovered their former bases in the Star Troopers areas of responsibility. Yes, the group had still remaining members operating and still post challenges among our troops, but their strength remained lower than before.
At the celebration of the Command 37th Anniversary, the command never failed to acknowledge the effort of the officers and men involved in those campaigns. Some of the young Lieutenants and privates during that time were now holding positions in the different Army units to include the 5ID.
The 5ID with its new generation of warrior troopers never ceased to continue the legacy of their mentors and soldiers ahead of them. A total of 120 Communist Terrorist leaders, members, Militia ng Bayan and local contacts were either killed, apprehended or surrendered in different surgical operations launched by our troops. On the other hand, 49 High powered Firearms and 9 low powered firearms were captured from the terrorist groups. An improvised explosive devices (IED) totaling to 83 pieces were also recovered from the CNT. The recovery had saved hundreds of lives and millions worth of properties.
The Star Troopers from the 1st day of its transformation up to the present, never stopped to develop and enhance its capability to adapt to the ever changing environment. We are near perfection, our programs and strategy to eradicate the CNT in Northern Luzon was a challenged, yet it was attainable. Now, the new breed of Star Troopers can focus on its efforts towards territorial defense.
At 37 years, the Star Trooper is continuously transforming and perfecting is strategies for the Filipino People and for the defense of our state. Kudos to our present Officers and men – our modern Star Troopers.