THE Northern Luzon Command (Nolcom), which plays an important role in territorial defense, has a new commanding general.
Named as new commander of the Nolcom is Maj. Gen. Felicito Virgilio Trinidad Jr., replacing Lt. Gen. Gregorio Pio Catapang Jr., who was appointed as the vice chief of staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) last month.
Military spokesperson Lt. Col. Ramon Zagala on Sunday said Trinidad will formally assume office on June 9 in a change of command ceremony to be held in Camp Aquino, Tarlac City.
Under Catapang’s command, according to Zagala, Nolcom was able to successfully facilitate the Cordillera’s Liberation Army closure-integration component under Executive Orders 49 and 18, and declared the provinces in Central Luzon and Northern Luzon insurgency-free.
Zagala said Nolcom’s role in territorial defense also got a needed boost through Catapang’s efforts to push for the construction of littoral observation stations to increase maritime domain awareness.
The Nolcom has jurisdiction over Regions 1, 2 and 3 that include the disputed Scarborough Shoal until it was transferred last February to the Western Command.
Trinidad, a member of the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) Class of 1982, is best remembered as the overall ground commander in last year’s Zamboanga crisis.
He previously held the position of commander of the 1st Infantry Division (ID), the Army’s primary anti-guerilla unit based in Camp Sang-an, Zamboanga del Sur.
Trinidad also served as the battalion commander of 14th Infantry Battalion of the 8th ID based in Eastern Samar but was redeployed to Sulu province from 2002 to 2003 at the height of the AFP’s campaign against the Abu Sayyaf and rogue members of the Moro National Liberation Front.
He later became the director of the Directorate for AFP Modernization, and later as director of the Army Modernization Program Management Office from 2005 to 2007.
During the AFP’s 78th anniversary celebration last year, Trinidad received the Philippine Legion of Honor (Degree of Commander) in recognition of his efforts during the defense of Zamboanga.
He also took specialization courses and military training here and abroad.
Trinidad completed the Executive Course on National Security Administration at the National Defense College of the Philippines and the UN Peacekeeping Operations Course in Rhode Island in the United States.