Balay Mindanao, MisOr bid MGen Felix farewell

Balay Mindanao, MisOr bid MGen Felix farewell

By BONG FABE, Correspondent

THE provincial government of Misamis Oriental and the Balay Mindanao Group of NGOs (BMG) have recently tendered a testimonial dinner as a send-off to their peace and development partner, Major Gen. Victor Felix, outgoing commander of the 4th Infantry “Diamond” Division.

“Thank you on behalf of the people of Misamis Oriental. We are eternally grateful for your support and partnership,” Gov. Oscar Moreno told Felix during the testimonial dinner at the roof deck of the BMG building in Bulua last week.

Felix is set to retire after 33 years in the military service on his 58th birthday on September 8. He was 4th ID commander for 2 years.

He will formally turn over command of the 4th ID today (September 4) in a ceremony to be presided by Lt. Gen. Emmanuel Bautista, commanding general of the Philippine Army.
Felix was the one who formally turned over the internal security operation (ISO) of Misamis Oriental to the provincial government under Moreno on September 21, 2010.
That move enabled the MisOr LGU “to be closer” to the people of Sitio Lantad in Barangay Kibanban, Balingasag, said Teddy Sabugaa, executive director of the Provincial Peace and Order Council (PPOC).

“Lantad was transformed because the LGU owned up and corrected the mistakes of the past and brought the government closer to the people. And it was the 4th ID who was instrumental in having the LGU reach out to Lantad,” he said.

Ariel C. Hernandez, senior director of BMG, said that among all the 4th ID commanders it was only Felix who formally introduced himself to the CSO community in the city and province through the BMG, a group of NGOs advocating and working for peace, development and equity in Mindanao.

“You’re the first one to introduce yourself formally and you’re the first one to say goodbye formally. It is an act of being human; not just a simple act of very professional officer but an act of friendship,” Hernandez said.

Felix officially broke the “sad news” of his retirement from the service to Charlito “Kaloy” Manlupig, founder of Balay Mindanaw Foundation, Inc. (BMFI), the mother NGO of BMG on August 8 during the Operation Peace Course (OP Kors!) Reflecting on the Peace Practice workshop at the International Center for Peace (IC Peace) in Mindanaw.

Hernandez said that the BMG officers and staff were surprised that Felix walked in at the BMG office on August 25, 2010 and asked: “Pwede bang makipag-partner?”

“We were very surprise of the humility, professionalism and right move of this division commander,” he said, adding that with such offer of partnership towards peace and development from the highest ranking officer of the 4th ID, the BMG readily accepted.

“Sino ba ang hihindi? Tinanggap naming ang offer of partnership hindi dahil opisyal siya, hindi dahil mataas ang kanyang rank, kung hindi dahil mahirap hindian ang kanyang dating—his humility, his professionalism. At tsaka, sobrang gaan niyang kausap,” he added.
Hernandez said that the tragedy that struck Cagayan de Oro on December 16, 2011 brought to the fore the leadership quality of Felix.

“When everyone wanted to be covered, to be interviewed on national television networks, Felix deliberately refused to be the face and voice of the 4th ID’s response to Sendong. He deliberately shunned the limelight and preferred to work silently on the sidelines. Tahimik lang siya pero walang tigil and trabaho,” he said.

Because of that, Hernandez started calling Felix “idol.”

Edicio dela Torre, board member of BMFI, expressed happiness that even for a very short time he was able to know Felix and the kind of gentleman and officer that he is.

“For two years, you were experience by Balay and the community. But you will be remembered much, much longer and the remembering will be different everytime it happen. There will be many forms of remembering. I am happy that I am part of BMG’s collective remembering,” he said.

The PPOC also presented Felix with a Plaque of Recognition “for demonstrating exceptional service during his stint as commander general of 4th ID. His sterling leadership deserves special note as we have succeeded in reinforcing civilian-military partnership. Our collaboration has sustained the efforts in achieving peace and development in the province and further advanced the mission in bringing the government closer to the people. It is with great privilege and honor working with an illustrious officer and gentleman who had exhibited gallantry, commitment and dedication to public service.”

It was signed by Moreno, Sabugaa, Hernandez and Vice Governor Norris Babiera.

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