The commander of the Philippine Army’s 4th Infantry Division will be sitting as the new chief of the military’s Southern Luzon Command (Solcom).
Maj. Gen. Benjamin Madrigal served as the commander of the 4th Infantry Division but prior to that he was the chief of staff of the Philippine Army and was designated as acting division commander of the 10th Infantry Division.
Madrigal has a master’s degree in Management Studies from the University of South Wales in Canberra, Australia, in 1999 and a master’s degree in Public Administration from the Philippine Christian University in 2006.
He will be replacing Lt. Gen. Ferdinand Quidilla, a member of the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) “Matikas” Class of 1983.
Madrigal is a member of the PMA “Sandiwa” Class of 1985.
A source told reporters that President Rodrigo Duterte signed the appointment papers of Madrigal early last week, designating him as the new chief of the “security-sensitive” part of the country, the Solcom.
Solcom is a unified command unit under the Armed Forces of the Philippines that has battled communist rebels from the New Ppeople’s Army since the 1970s in Southern Luzon, a hotbed of Maoist insurgency.
For Madrigal, a native of Los Banos, Laguna, “unified” efforts among Solcom men would be of assistance for the whole command to develop and has expressed confidence that he can “suppress” the NPA rebels.
“It’s easier to do here than in Mindanao. In Mindanao, lots of enemies are there, in Southern Luzon, it’s basically what is remaining here [Solcom] are remnants,” he said.
“Of course, the atmosphere of development is also important. The government is working and [enemy]propaganda will not take effect. Everybody will have their own goal and everybody is contributing,” Madrigal added.
The Army general sought assistance from stakeholders and residents in addressing possible security threats in Southern Luzon.
“I am envisioning participation coming from stakeholders here in our campaign against lawless elements surrounding the area,” according to Madrigal.
But despite his campaign in neutralizing NPA rebels in Solcom, Madrigal said there is nothing to fear with his leadership.
A military source told reporters that Maj. Gen. Ronald Villanueva of the Intelligence Service of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (ISAFP) will be assuming the previous position of Madrigal as commander of the 4th Infantry Division.
Brig. Gen. Macairog Alberto of the 1001st Infantry Brigade will sit as the new chief of the ISAFP.
Aside from Quidilla, Lt. Gen. Romeo Tanalgo of the Northern Luzon Command will be retiring in September but his replacement is yet to be announced.