DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 17 December) — A military officer who has continuously followed the developments in Marawi City and neighboring towns — from the siege to liberation to the ongoing rehabilitation efforts — is the new commander of the 103rd Infantry Brigade.
Col. Romeo Brawner, Deputy Commander of Task Force Ranao and Commander of the Philippine Army’s Civil-Military Operations Regiment, takes over the command on Tuesday, December 18. But his Marawi assignment began in July 2017 while the war was still raging between government forces and the IS-inspired Maute Group and its allies.
MindaNews asked Brawner what his mission statement is as brigade commander, given, among others, a restive population, particularly those in Ground Zero or the Most Affected Area who have remained displaced since the start of the Marawi Siege in May 2017; two electoral exercises next year – the plebiscite on the Bangsamoro organic law on January 21 and mid-term elections on May 13; and dealing with remnants of the Maute Group.
Brawner replied that his operational objectives are to “run after the remnants of the Daesh-Inspired Maute-ISIS group and prevent the recruitment of new members; make sure that the elections next year will be credible, honest, orderly and peaceful; and continue to support the rehabilitation of Marawi City through Task Force Bangon Marawi by ensuring a secure environment so that the rehabilitation can proceed unhampered.”
He said his administrative objectives are to “pursue higher levels in our Army Transformation Roadmap by reconstituting the Brigade Multi-Sectoral Advisory Board (MSAB); improve the camp facilities to enhance the security and living conditions of the soldiers and their families; and improve further the state of discipline of the soldiers starting with road discipline.”
“We should be the first ones to model the observance of traffic laws and regulations. Counterflow will only be done in emergency cases or when the security situation warrants,” he said.
The MSAB, Brawner explained, “will provide a venue for open, honest and productive dialogue with various partners and stakeholders.”
The Baron of Class1989 of the Philippine Military Academy andtop among the cadets who joined the Army, Brawner holds three masters degrees: Master of Science in Information Management from the Ateneo de Manila University; Master of Business Administration from the Asian Institute of Technology in Thailand and from the European School of Management in Oxford, United Kingdom; and a Master in Strategic Studies from the United States Army War College which he finished in June 2017, just before his deployment to Marawi.
He had served as Company Commander of the 6thSpecial Forces Company, Battalion Commander of the 2ndSpecial Forces Battalion, Operations Officer of the Special Forces Regiment, Chief of Staff of the 6thInfantry Division, spokesman of the Philippine Army, and spokesman of the Armed Forces of the Philippines.
Brawner was among the awardees of The Outstanding Soldiers of the Philippines in 2013.
Brawner takes over from Brig. Gen. Generoso Ponio who will be commander of the Joint Task Force Ranao vice Maj. Gen. Rey Ramiro who is now the commander of the Special Operations Command or Socom. (Carolyn O. Arguillas / MindaNews)