CAMP AGUINALDO, Quezon City - Lieutenant General Bartolome Vicente O Bacarro assumed as the new Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, replacing General Andres C Centino on Monday, August 8, in a Change of Command Ceremony presided by President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr.

A member of the Philippine Military Academy Maringal Class of 1988, Lt. Gen. Bacarro held command and staff positions that prepared him for his present designation. He is the current commander of Southern Luzon Command (SOLCOM), which covers CALABARZON, MIMAROPA, and Bicol regions. Prior to his stint as SOLCOM Commander, he was the commander of the 2nd Infantry Division, Philippine Army, and Commander of the 502nd Infantry Brigade.

In 2014, he was designated as the Chief of Staff of the 4th Infantry Division. He later assumed as the Assistant Chief of Staff for Operations, G3, Philippine Army, Commandant of the Philippine Military Academy, and The Internal Auditor, AFP.

Lt. Gen. Bacarro is a recipient of the Medal for Valor, the highest award for combat in the AFP, which he received in 1991 for his bravery in combat during a 10-hour encounter with 150 fully armed communist terrorists in Maconacon, Isabela.

He also earned five Distinguished Service Stars, one Silver Cross Medal, two Bronze Cross Medals, two Silver Wing Medals, and other awards for his performance in various assignments in the past.

Meanwhile, General Centino was awarded by President Marcos Jr the Philippine Legion of Honor (Degree of Commander) for successfully steering the AFP as Chief of Staff since November 12, 2021.

He capped a successful military career that included serving in various command and staff positions such as Commanding General of the Philippine Army; Commander, 4th Infantry Division; Commander of the 401st Infantry Brigade; Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations, J3; Commanding Officer of the 26th Infantry Battalion; Secretary Army General Staff among others.

As AFP Chief of Staff, Gen. Centino implemented four significant thrusts in the AFP: operational efficiency, optimal use of resources, advancement of professionalism and meritocracy within the organization, and capability development. Under his leadership, the AFP enhanced the application of AFP’s Joint Operating Concept, strengthening the interoperability of the Philippine Army, Philippine Air Force, and Philippine Navy.

Under his leadership, the AFP neutralized 1,391 communist and local terrorist personalities. The AFP was also instrumental in deradicalizing over 3,000 communist terrorists, dismantling 20 guerilla fronts, recovering 1,600 firearms, and clearing 565 barangays.

He also pushed for the completion of capability development projects amounting to Php37.6-billion as part of the modernization of the AFP.

(Photos by TSg Obinque/PAO, AFP)