PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte has named the former chief of staff of the Philippine Army to head the “security sensitive” Southern Luzon Command.
Maj. Gen. Benjamin Madrigal of the “Sandiwa” Class of 1985 of the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) will replace Lt. Gen. Ferdinand Quidilla, a member of the “Matikas” Class of 1983.
A military source who was not authorized to talk to reporters said that Duterte signed Madrigal’s appointment papers early last week.
The Solcom is a unified command unit under the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) that sits on a region that has come to be known as the cradle of communist insurgency.
But Madrigal, a native of Los Banos in Laguna, expressed confidence that he could “suppress” the New People’s Army (NPA) in the area.
“It’s easier to do (that) 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.
Madrigal vowed to intensify the campaign against the communist rebels whose peace talks with the government have been stalled after the NPA, the armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), refused to halt its attacks against government troops.
Madrigal also served as commander of the 4th Infantry Division and 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.