CAMP AGUINALDO, Quezon City—The 49th Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines General Rey Leonardo Guerrero has bowed out of service after 38 years in the military profession.
General Guerrero relinquished the AFP’s top post in a Change of Command Ceremony to Lt. Gen. Carlito Galvez Jr., the current Commander of the AFP Western Mindanao Command.
President Rodrigo Duterte presided over the turnover ceremony, today, April 18 at the Parade Grounds here, where General Guerrero was also honoured with a Testimonial Parade and Review and the prestigious award of the Philippine Legion of Honor (Rank of Commander).
While serving as Commander of the Eastern Mindanao Command before he became the Chief of Staff, General Guerrero has orchestrated the execution of Community Support Programs, a key component of the military’s new operation plan, the Development Support and Security Plan Kapayapaan.
During his term as the AFP Chief, the concerted efforts of AFP units in the conduct of focused military and intelligence operations alongside intensified stakeholder engagements resulted in the neutralization of 6,817 New People’s Army (NPA) personalities as of April 15.
A total of 6,709 of these have surrendered broken down as follows:
723 regular NPAs and Sangay ng Partido sa Lokal members;
513 Militia ng Bayan;
712 underground organizations members; and
4,761 mass supporters.
Moreover, 47 others NPAs were also killed and while 61 others were apprehended in legitimate focused military operations.
A total of 288 assorted firearms were also seized from the NPAs.
Meanwhile, the intensified efforts against the local terror groups and foreign fighters resulted in the neutralization of 457 various terror personalities composed of 81 killed, 280 apprehended/arrested, and 96 surrendered.
Marawi City Rehabilitation
Faced with an equally challenging task of rebuilding Marawi City from the devastation brought by the armed terrorist attack, the AFP conducted activities to support the overall effort of the government, spearheaded by the Office of Civil Defense, for the City’s recovery, reconstruction, and rehabilitation.
A total of 3,953 assorted unexploded ordnance (UXO) and 738 improvised explosive devices (IEDs) were found and disposed.
Currently, seven sectors out of the nine sectors in the main battle area are already cleared from UXOs and IEDs. The remaining two are still being cleared from explosives that may have been trapped within collapsed buildings.
The AFP also deployed engineering units to assist cognizant agencies in the construction of temporary shelters for Internally Displace Persons.
In partnership with the Department of Public Works and Highways together with the National Housing Authority, the AFP completed 250 units of temporary shelters in Barangay Sagonsongan and is currently supporting the construction of additional 570 units of temporary shelters in the area.
Force Structure Rationalization
Under the term of General Guerrero, the Letter of Instruction on Pagbabago “Juliet” was also issued, which revises and updates the Pagbabago “India” and reiterates the “force provider, force employer concept.” It defines and standardizes the command relationships of AFP units based on existing doctrines and current operational guidelines.
Several units and offices were also activated including the Tactical Operations Wings (TOW) that re-designate the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd TOWs and 579th Composite Tactical Wings into Northern Luzon, Central, Western Mindanao, and West TOWs respectively.
Five Infantry Battalions (IB) were also activated under General Guerrero’s term namely the 90IB, 91IB, 93IB, and 94IB following the increase in the number of Philippine Army personnel as ordered by President Duterte.
The Special Operations Command (SOCOM) of the Army was also reconfigured into the AFPSOCOM which will consolidate all AFP special operations forces under one commanding unit.
AFPSOCOM will take command and supervision of the Special Operations Wing of the Air Force, the Naval Special Operations Group from the Navy; Scout Ranger Regiment, Special Forces Regiment and Light Reaction Regiment of the Army; and the Joint Special Operations Group of GHQ.
The AFP Systems Engineering Office (AFPSEO) was also activated to manage the implementation of the AFP modernization and Self-Reliant Defense Posture programs.
The AFPSEO will act as the technical adviser to the CSAFP on matters related to the systems engineering design of the weapon systems and defense equipment that will be acquired under the Revised AFP Modernization Program with regard to their functional and material designs.
The activation of the AFPSEO will also put into place a dedicated office for the management and implementation of the various modernization projects along the five major components of the program, namely: Capability, Materiel and Technology Development; Bases and Support Systems Development; Force Restructuring and Organizational Development; Human Resource Development; and Doctrine Development.
Martial Law Implementation
Under General Guerrero’s guidance, the AFP judiciously utilized Martial Law in the implementation of the campaign against loose firearms. Various AFP units facilitated the surrender of a total of 1,424 assorted loose firearms with the cooperation of local government units and clan leaders in Mindanao.
This includes the 81 firearms surrendered by residents and officials in Lanao Del Sur on March 24 and March 26 and 106 firearms surrendered by local executives in Maguindanao last March 26 and 27. Hundreds of loose firearms were voluntarily surrendered by politicians and clans in various parts of Mindanao.
The AFP also launched over 85,930 checkpoint operations; 47,557 security patrols; and over 6,791 critical infrastructure and installations security.
“It is with great pride that I commend the AFP Chain-of-Command, the members of the Joint, Personal, and Special Staff, the Officers, the Enlisted Personnel, and the Civilian Employees who all together performed their functions well for the accomplishment of their respective units’ missions, not to mention the many sacrifices they made, that brought the AFP Organization to where it is now,” General Guerrero said.
“It was without a doubt that we have distinguished ourselves as an organization by performing our mandate with gusto and focus: to protect the Filipino people and the state. Rest assured, the AFP will remain a reliable force for peace and progress, securing the nation’s core and peripheral interests and rendering service to the country in collaboration with other agencies towards the attainment of lasting peace and stability in the country,” General Guerrero concluded.