• Armed Forces names anti-coup force head

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    COL. Vicente Gregorio Tomas has been named acting commander of the government’s anti-coup force.

    The Armed Forces of the Philippines’ (AFP) Joint Task Force-National Capital Region (JTF-NCR) will honor its outgoing commander, Brig. Gen. Apolinario Alobba on Monday at the General Headquarters parade grounds in Camp Aguinaldo in Quezon City a day before his retirement on July 5.

    A member of the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) Class of 1982, Alobba spent most of his time in Mindanao through numerous tours of duty, particularly in the 1st Infantry Tabak Division (ITD).

    Prior to his leadership of the JTF-NCR, he served as the commander of the 101st Infantry Brigade based in Zamboanga del Norte.

    Alobba was also the chief of staff of the 1st ITD and before that, the deputy brigade commander of the 403rd Infantry Brigade in Bukidnon.

    He earned various awards including the prestigious Philippine Legion of Honor, three Distinguished Service Stars, Bronze Cross Medals and numerous military merit and commendation medals.

    Meanwhile, Tomas, a member of the PMA Sandiwa Class of 1985, was previously assigned as chief of staff of the 2nd Infantry Division in Tanay, Rizal.

    He is a cavalry officer who served as commander of the 5th Light Armor Battalion and contingent commander of the 12th Philippine Contingent to Liberia.

    Besides being the government’s anti-coup force, the JTF-NCR is also involved in conventional and unconventional warfare, anti-guerrilla operations and crowd control management.

    It also functions as a support unit of the National Capital Regional Police Office of the Philippine National Police in maintaining peace and order in Metro Manila.

    FERNAN MARASIGAN

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