MAJOR General Carlito Galvez Jr. of the Philippine Army has been named as the new commander of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Western Mindanao Command (Westmincom).
Galvez’s designation, according to a military official, was in line with the AFP’s target to decimate the extremist Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) and other terrorist groups that operate mainly in southern Philippines.
Galvez assumed command on Tuesday, replacing Lt. Gen. Mayoralgo de la Cruz, who was designated as the AFP’s Inspector General.
De la Cruz served Westmincom for one year and two months.
Vice Admiral Narciso Vingzon, the newly designated AFP deputy chief of staff, concurrently held the position of Inspector General that was left vacant after its former head, Maj. Gen. Oscar Lactao, was designated as commander of the AFP Central Command.
AFP Chief of Staff Gen. Eduardo Año ordered the decimation of the ASG and other terrorist groups within six months as ordered by President Rodrigo Duterte.
He described Galvez as experienced, trained and the most fit to assume command of the unit that would be responsible for neutralizing the ASG, the Maute Group, the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters and other terrorist groups in Western Mindanao.
“To achieve this difficult task, necessary adjustments in tactics and strategy, and in the approaches to neutralize the ASG, including changes in the leadership and composition of the team that will execute his plans, will have to be made. And this is part of the dynamism of the military profession,” Col. Edgard Arevalo, chief of the AFP Public Affairs Office, said.
He added that the designation of Galvez was part of the AFP’s tasks to finish off the terrorist groups in Mindanao.
“We could expect changes in techniques, tactics, procedures and our approaches, even deployment of units, changes, not necessary additions, all of them would be part of it [new AFP campaign to crush Abu Sayyaf],” Arevalo said.
Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana earlier disclosed that the AFP would be employing fresh approaches in dealing with terrorists.
One of them, according to him, is to designate new officers to make sure these new strategies would be carried out against terrorist and other lawless elements.
Año said by June this year, there would be an assessment of the AFP campaign against these groups and, by the time, there should be a “significant defeat” of the enemies.
Meanwhile, 11 ranking officers of the Philippine Army have been promoted to the next higher rank, five to the rank of major generals and six to brigadier generals.
Lt. Gen. Glorioso Miranda, acting Army commander, led the donning of ranks in a simple ceremony at the Army’s headquarters in Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City (Metro Manila) on Monday.
Promoted to major general were Joselito Reyes, the Army Inspector General; Rhoderick Parayno, commander of the 2nd Infantry Division; Jon Aying, commander of the 3rd Infantry Division; Paul Atal, commander of the 5th Infantry Division; and Herminigildo Aquino, commander of the Army’s Training and Doctrine Command.
Promoted to brigadier generals were Earl Baliao, deputy commander of the 6th Infantry Division; Bienvenido Datuin Jr., deputy commander of the 4th Infantry Division; Roseller Murillo, commander of the 101st Infantry Brigade; Roy Devesa, commander of the 503rd Infantry Brigade; William Alunday, commander of the 2nd Mechanized Infantry Brigade; and Arnold Fernandez, commander of the 52nd Engineer Brigade.
Miranda reminded the newly promoted generals that the new rank they received is an additional accountability that they need to internalize as part of their service, not only to the Philippine Army, but also to the whole nation as well.
Last week, five ranking AFP officials were promoted to the next higher rank.
On Friday, Año presided over the donning of ranks to generals, flag officers and senior officers of the Regular and Reserve Forces of the AFP in a ceremony held at the AFP Commissioned Officers Club in Camp Aguinaldo in Quezon City.
One of the promoted officers is the newly appointed AFP deputy chief of staff Rear Admiral Narciso Vingson, who is now a three-starred vice admiral.
He was joined by four other senior officers–Col. Isidro Purisima, commander of the AFP Command Center; Col. Gavin Edjawan, chief of AFP Pension and Gratuity Management Center; Col. Jesulito Calimag, the AFP Provost Marshal General; and Col. Ernesto Ravina, deputy commander of the AFP Southern Luzon Command, who were all promoted to the rank of Brigadier General.