DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/23 April) – Maj. Gen. Ricardo Rainer Cruz has assumed as commanding general of the Armed Forces’ Eastern Mindanao Command (Eastmincom) replacing Lt. Gen. Jorge Segovia whose retirement took effect on April 22.
Segovia, who retired a day before reaching the mandatory retirement age of 56, boasted about the success of the Peace and Development Outreach Program (PDOP) in the area of responsibility of the Eastmincom.
Both Segovia and Cruz belong to the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) “Mapitagan” Class of 1980.
Cruz was assigned as deputy commander of the Compostela Valley-based 10th Infantry Division before he became the commander of the 1st Infantry “Tabak” Division based in Labangan, Zamboanga del Sur in February 2012.
At the change of command ceremony on Monday at the Eastmincom headquarters, Segovia claimed that the PDOP under the AFP’s Oplan Bayanihan has freed 183 barangays in Davao Oriental from insurgency.
“Eastmincom has indeed accomplished the task of building partnerships, the partnerships that laid the groundwork for expanded team and propelled us to achieve our mission,” he added.
The three-star general acknowledged the contribution of the private sector to the relief and rehabilitation of the typhoon Pablo-stricken areas. “They are those who I cannot simply order around but nonetheless offered a hand and expressed willingness to get involved.”
Eastmincom covers Regions 10, 11, 12, 13 (Caraga) and the provinces of Lanao del Sur and Maguindanao, which are part of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.
Cruz, in his acceptance speech, called for an expanded partnership with and active participation by different stakeholders in the region.
“To the different government line agencies, let us continue the teamwork in bringing government closer to the people we have sworn to serve. We have already gained headway, we just have to sustain it,” he
Cruz also vowed: “Our military commanders under the Eastmincom, shall always be approachable and accessible to the information you need. Having that, we will not allow our audience to be misled and turned radical by the communists and militants.”
AFP Chief of Staff Gen. Emmanuel Bautista, who led the change of command ceremony, also lauded the efforts of the Eastmincom in being at the forefront in the rehabilitation effort for the typhoon-stricken areas.
“The whole world has witnessed your heroism in that tragic event,” Bautista said. (Keith Bacongco / Mindanews)