DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 13 Nov) – Lt. Gen. Benjamin Madrigal is the new chief of the Eastern Mindanao Command (EastMinCom), the Armed Forces of the Philippines’ Public Affairs Office announced Sunday.
Marine Colonel Edgard Arevalo, Chief of the AFP’s PAO, said Madrigal, Southern Luzon Command chief, will take over the post vacated by Lt. Gen. Rey Leonard Guerrero, who assumed the post of AFP Chief of Staff on October 26.
Arevalo also announced that Lt. Gen. Rozzano Briguez will assume the post of chief of the Western Command (WesCom) based in Palawan.
Brig. Gen. Perfecto Rimando, Jr. was named Acting EastMinCom chief when Guerrero vacated the post last month.
Madrigal, a member of Philippine Military Academy (PMA) “Sandiwa” Class of 1985, was commander of the 4th Infantry Division before he assumed the post of SolCom chief on August 18 this year.
Three months later, Madrigal will be serving as EastMinCom chief. He will assume the post on November 15.
Madrigal will be the 10th commander of the 11-year old EastMinCom. The Command during its activation in 2006 was given responsibility over South Eastern Mindanao, Central and Northern Mindanao with the mission of “conducting joint operations against all national security threats in the area.”
The New People’s Army’s biggest concentration of guerrillas nationwide is within the EastMinCom’s area of responsibility – in Caraga and Davao regions.
Madrigal had earlier served as Assistant Division Commander and later Acting Division Commander of the 10th Infantry Division in Compostela Valley, Davao region before becoming Chief of Staff of the Philippine Army.
He also held major positions in the Armed Forces of the Philippines’ General Headquarters as Chief of War Plans Division, Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Plans, OJ5; Secretary Joint Staff, AFP; and Head Executive Assistant to the Chief of Staff.
Arevalo said Madrigal is “mission-focused yet able to balance the welfare of the men … hardworking … a visionary leader and skilful manager.”
Briguez, a member of PMA “Sinagtala” Class of 1986, will command the country’s western frontier as he relinquished his post as Vice Commander of the Philippine Air Force (PAF). He will assume the post left by Lt Gen. Galileo Gerard Kintanar who was named PAF Commanding General.
Arevalo said Briguez joined the PAF and graduated as class topnotcher from the PAF Flying School in 1988.
Briguez was former Chief of Air Staff, PAF; Commandant of Cadets, PMA; Deputy Wing Commander, 250th Presidential Airlift Wing, Assistant Chief of Air Staff for Operations, A-3, Assistant Chief of Air Staff for Education and Training, A-8, and Commander, Tactical Operations Group 11.
Madrigal and Briguez donned their third star as Lieutenant Generals on November 13 at the Hall of Flags in Camp Aguinaldo.
The Eastern Mindanao Command originally had three Army Infantry Divisions: the 4th Infantry Division stationed at Camp Evangelista in Cagayan de Oro City; 6th Infantry Division in Maguindanao; and 10th Infantry Division situated in Compostela Valley but it in order to “focus against threats posed by the NPA,” it released control over 6th Infantry Division in 2012, except the eastern part of North Cotabato and the town of Columbio in Sultan Kudarat.
Also under the EastMinCom is the 52nd Engineer Brigade based in Manolo Fortich, Bukidnon; the Naval Forces Eastern Mindanao in Panacan, Davao City, and three Tactical Operations Group of the PAF. (MindaNews)