CAMP DELA CRUZ, Upi Gamu, Isabela – The Philippine Army installed today a Phd holder as the new Commander of the Army’s 5th Infantry Division.
Brig. Gen. Paul T Atal, a member of the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) “Maharlika” Class of 1984, was designated as the new commander, replacing Maj. Gen. Lysander A Suerte, who retired from the military service this August.
In his relinquishment speech, Suerte said that one of the significant accomplishments of the 5th Infantry Division is the completion of the military’s commitment to the CPLA agreement.
Atal, as the new commander, will continue the interagency coordination to ensure the commitment of other government agencies in the implementation of the peace agreement with the CPLA.
Prior to this new position, Atal served as the Assistant Division Commander of the 4th Infantry “Diamond” Division located in Mindanao. During his stint, he supported his commander in the implementation of campaigns against the CPP-NPA; Bayanihan Team Activities; peace and development programs, like “One Nation for Peace” caravans; and disaster risk reduction programs, like OPLAN “Luwas Katawhan.”
He also served as Human Rights Officer, and later on as Commander of the 503rd Brigade under 5ID.
Atal also commanded the 75th Infantry Battalion and 38th Infantry Battalion, under the 6th Infantry Division. He was awarded a Bronze Cross Medal in 2007 for the successful apprehension of the two suspects in the bombing of two malls in Tacurong City on December 2006 by the 75th Infantry Batallion.
Another testament to his good leadership is the Philippine Polytechnic University ROTC Unit’s recognition as the Best ROTC Unit in the whole country in 2002, under his guidance.
Atal was also one of the few general officers in the Philippine Army who has a Doctorate Degree in Public Administration.
With his strong leadership and dedication to public service, the 5ID is expected to remain on track in helping achieve the goals of the Army Transformation Roadmap and the Internal Peace and Security Plan “Bayaninah.”
Meanwhile, after the Change of Command, the retirement ceremony for Suerte followed. During the ceremony, he requested all attendees to recite the “Panatang Makabayan.”