MAJ. Gen. Hernando DCA Iriberri is the new commanding general of the 85,000-strong Philippine Army.
President Benigno Aquino 3rd, who is the commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), installed Iriberri as the 56th Army chief in Friday’s changed of command ceremony in Fort Bonifacio following the mandatory retirement of Lt. Gen. Noel Coballes who turned 56 on Friday.
In a statement, the AFP said the new Army chief is known for his leadership, wealth of experience and exemplary performance in all the high-level and sensitive positions he has handled.
He bested Northern Luzon Command chief Lt. Gen. Gregorio Pio Catapang, Central Command chief Maj. Gen. John Bonafos and Fourth ID chief Maj. Gen. Ricardo Visaya.
Iriberri is a member of the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) “Matikas” Class of 1993. He was the commander of the Seventh Infantry Division (ID) prior to his appointment to the Army’s top post.
He commanded the 503rd Infantry Brigade in the Cordillera Region and served as chief of the United Command Staff and the Southern Luzon Command and as senior military assistant to Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin.
Most of Iriberri’s combat duties were in Mindanao. As a young lieutenant, he was the platoon leader of Delta Company, executive officer of Alpha Company and company commander of Bravo Company, all under the 23rd Infantry Battalion, Fourth ID.
From 2002 to 2004, he commanded the 25th Infantry Battalion that was then deployed in Cotabato and Davao and in 1995 he led the Task Group Panther of the elite First Scout Ranger Regiment.
He also served in various capacities including as chief, operations division, Office of the Deputy Staff for Operations (OJ3); chief of staff, PMA; executive assistant to the commanding general of the Army; head executive assistant to the AFP chief of staff; and chief of the Military Operations Department, Training and Doctrine Command.
In 2000, he also served as the chief of the office of the Army Chief Public Affairs and was the Army spokesperson.
Early on his career, he was also into intelligence work at the Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Intelligence (OJ2) and was detailed for a while with the National Intelligence Coordinating Agency.
He has also finished several courses both here and abroad. Among them are the Strategic Human Resource Management Course at the Asian Institute of Management, the International Visitor Leadership Program at the United States Department of State, the United Nations Staff Officer Course in Sweden, the Master of Management in Defense Studies at the University of Canberra in Australia and the Australian Command Staff Course also in Canberra, Australia.
In his 34 years in active military service, he was the recipient of five Distinguished Service Starts, two Gold Cross Medals, a Bronze Cross Medal, several Military Merits Medal and Military Commendation Medals.
Iriberri was born in Cantilan, Surigao del Sur on April 22, 1960. He is married to Agnes Carolina Samson Iriberri with whom he has two daughters and two sons.