FORMER 4th Infantry Division commander Lt. Gen. Benjamin Madrigal is set to take over as the new chief of the Eastern Mindanao Command today.
Marine Col. Edgard Arevalo, chief of the Armed Forces’ Public Affairs Office, said Madrigal takes over the post vacated by Lt. Gen. Rey Leonard Guerrero who rose to become Armed Forces chief of staff in late October.
Before his new assignment, Madrigal served as chief of the military’s Southern Luzon Command.
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 “Sandiwa” Class of 1985, was Camp Evangelista commander based in Cagayan de Oro before he assumed the post of Solcom chief in Aug. 18.
Three months later, Madrigal will be serving as Eastmincom chief. He is set to assume his new post today.
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 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 Army.
He also held major positions in the Armed Forces’ 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 Air Force. 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 is 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 in Nov. 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)