Sobejana bows out of military service; Faustino assumes post

Maris Federez   •   August 1, 2021   •   660

MANILA, Philippines — Armed Forces of the Philippines Chief of Staff General Cirilito Sobejana relinquished his post in a Retirement and Change of Command Ceremony on Saturday (July 31).

An AFP statement released Saturday said Sobejana bowed out of service as he reached the mandatory retirement age of 56, after spending over 38 years in the military.

Sobejana who is a Medal for Valor recipient, has been replaced by LtGen. Jose Faustino, the current commander of the Joint Task Force Mindanao, the statement said.

“My tenure as the 55th Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines has truly been full of challenges and trials; but together with more than the 200,000-strong men and women of the AFP whose tenacity, strength, and heart have made us overcome all odds,” Sobejana said in his farewell speech.

He also expressed his respect and gratitude to all the personnel in the military forces for their invaluable service.

“I have only the highest respect and admiration for our soldiers who have, and continuously, dedicated the best years of their lives in the name of public service. Sa lahat ng sundalo ng ating Sandatahang Lakas, taas-noo at buong puso ang aking pasasalamat sa inyong walang katapat na serbisyo,” he added.

Sobejana spent most of his military career in Mindanao where he commanded different AFP units as he rose the ranks since graduating from the Philippine Military Academy in 1987.

Prior to his stint as the AFP Chief of Staff, Sobejana assumed the post of Army Commanding General and the Commander of the Western Mindanao Command.

In May 2019, President Rodrigo Duterte bestowed him the Award of Philippine Legion of Honor (Degree of Officer), for exceptionally meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding service rendered to the Philippine government, particularly to the Armed Forces of the Philippines.

He received another Philippine Legion of Honor (Degree of Chief Commander) for “laudable and meritorious conduct in the performance of his duties as the 55th Chief of Staff,” the statement said.

Meanwhile, incoming AFP Chief of Staff LtGen. Faustino called on the men and women in the military to stay united and committed to providing service to the country.

“It is my belief that the true measure of a Filipino soldier is not in the badge or rank we wear, not about the position we attain or appointed to. It is the loyalty and integrity of every man and woman serving the AFP that will keep us going in the right direction,” Faustino said.

“As I embark on this new journey with each and every one of you belonging to Team AFP, allow me to say to every soldier, airman, sailor, and marine– let us stay positive on the course ahead, bind together as one family, commit with open minds, participate actively, work towards the attainment of our shared goals, develop good ideas and innovate to suit our domain,” he added.

Prior to his designation as AFP chief, Faustino was appointed as the Commander of JTF Mindanao in June, following a successful stint as the Acting Commanding General of the Philippine Army.

A member of the Philippine Military Academy “Maringal” Class of 1988, he likewise had been Battalion and Brigade Commander in Western Mindanao particularly in Basilan and Sulu, the statement said.

COMELEC formally deputizes PNP, AFP for conduct of 2022 polls

Robie de Guzman   •   January 20, 2022

MANILA, Philippines – The Commission on Elections (COMELEC) has formally deputized the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) to ensure the conduct of “free, orderly, honest, peaceful, and credible” May 9, 2022 national and local elections.

Under Resolution No. 10755 promulgated on Wednesday, January 19, the COMELEC listed the following duties and functions to be performed by AFP and PNP personnel as its deputized agents:

  • Provide security to polling places, polling centers/voting centers, canvassing centers, and such other places or buildings, including election paraphernalia, equipment, forms, and supplies, that will be used in connection with the elections;
  • Provide security to the personnel of the Commission, its deputies, and other persons performing election-related functions;
  • Deploy, at the least time possible, troops for election duty in coordination with the concerned Regional Election Director, Provincial Election Supervisor, and Election Officer;
  • Make available, at the least time possible, land, air, and watercraft assets, communication systems, and other equipment, in connection with the conduct of the elections;
  • Look into the existence of any armed group organized to commit, or which is committing or attempting to commit, acts of terrorism, or threats to intimidate or coerce any person to vote for or against a candidate, and to suppress or prevent said acts of terrorism or threats;
  • Assist the Commission in implementing more effectively election laws and/ or rules and regulations, particularly the laws governing prohibition against military, policemen and provincial guards acting as bodyguards or security guards for the candidates, the use of armored vehicles and air or watercraft, and the prohibition on bearing, carrying or transporting firearms and other deadly weapons in public places;
  • Provide security escorts to candidates, subject to the conditions and restrictions on the Resolution imposing the ban on the carrying of firearms and other deadly weapons and the ban on the use of security personnel or bodyguards; provided that, the AFP can provide security escorts only in the absence of personnel of the PNP and other law enforcement agencies;
  • Conduct a periodic assessment of the peace and order conditions in critical areas and recommend measures which may be adopted by the Commission in the interest of free, orderly, honest, peaceful and credible elections;
  • Comply with and/ or implement directives or resolutions of the Commission, which shall take precedence over and above the orders and directives issued by any other office or agency of the Government, except the Supreme Court and those issued in habeas corpus cases;
  • Render periodic reports on action taken in accordance with this Resolution

The poll body reminded that despite being deputized, soldiers shall continue with the conduct of all Internal Security Operations or its own functions and responsibilities and that no changes in the assignments of police personnel can be effected except upon prior written permission of the commission.

The resolution shall take effect after its publication in two daily newspapers of general circulation in the Philippines, the COMELEC said.

 

 

Duterte names new chiefs for AFP Western, Northern Luzon commands

Robie de Guzman   •   January 19, 2022

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte has designated new chiefs for the Northern Luzon and Western Commands of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), Malacañang said Wednesday.

In a statement, the Palace said Duterte has approved the appointment of Rear Admiral Alberto Carlos, the current commander of the Philippine Navy, as the new chief of the AFP Western Command.

He will replace Rear Admiral Roberto Enriquez starting January 24.

Duterte also appointed Major General Ernesto Torres Jr., the current commander of the Philippine Army 10th Infantry Division, as the new chief of the AFP Northern Luzon Command.

He will replace Lieutenant General Arnulfo Marcelo Burgos Jr. effective January 7.

“We wish both officers all the best in their new tours of duty, and we are confident that they will continue to perform their mandate to serve our people and to secure our nation with professionalism, integrity, and dedicated service,” the Palace said.

In a separate statement, Department of National Defense (DND) Secretary Delfin Lorenzana welcomed the appointment of the new officers to the two commands of the AFP “tasked with protecting the country’s northern and western frontiers.”

Lorenzana also confirmed the assumption of Major General Nestor Herico as the new commandant of the Philippine Marine Corps effective February 21. He will replace retiring Major General Ariel Caculitan.

“As these gentlemen assume their new roles in the organization, I am confident that they will rise to the occasion and effectively lead our troops in securing our nation and our people,” the DND chief said.

Alleged Daulah Islamiyah leader behind recent Cotabato bus blast killed in gov’t ops

Robie de Guzman   •   January 18, 2022

An alleged leader of Daulah Islamiyah (DI) terrorist group, who was said to be behind the recent bombing of a passenger bus in North Cotabato, was killed in a manhunt operation over the weekend, the military said.

In a statement, the Armed Forces of the Philippines Western Mindanao Command (AFP-WestMinCom) said the suspect, identified as Norodin Hassan, alias Andot, was known as the emir for military affairs of the Daulah Islamiya.

He was neutralized during an operation conducted by the military and police in Barangay Tonganon, Carmen, North Cotabato on January 15, 2022. Three of his cohorts were also killed during the operation.

 The AFP said Hassan was the planner and perpetrator of the explosion inside a Mindanao Star Bus bombing in Aleosan on January 11, 2022. A five-year-old child was killed and six others were wounded during the incident.

Colonel Jovencio Gonzales, Commander of 602nd Infantry Brigade identified two other slain individuals as Abdonillah Hassan alias Don, and Abdonhack Hassan alias Abdon. The third one has yet to be identified.

The military said firearms and war materials were seized from the suspects, including a 7.62mm M14 Rifle, a caliber 30 M1 Garand Rifle, several rounds of ammunition and magazines of different calibers, analog cellphones, solar panels, ICOM radios, and other subversive documents with high intelligence value.

Since the last quarter of 2021, the AFP said the Joint Task Central neutralized several high-ranking Daulah Islamiyah personalities including Salahuddin Hassan, Emir of Daulah Islamiya – Philippines; alias Adsam, sub-leader of DI; and Asim Karinda alias Abu Azim, newly appointed emir of DI.

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