LIEUTENANT GENERAL CIRILITO ELOLA SOBEJANA PA
55th Chief of Staff, AFP
LIEUTENANT GENERAL CIRILITO ELOLA SOBEJANA assumed as the 55th Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines on 04 February 2020.
Prior to his assignment as the top general of the AFP, he led the Philippine Army as its 62nd Commanding General.
Considered as one of the country’s living heroes, the Chief of Staff is known for his heroic combat exploits. He is a recipient of the country’s highest military award, the Medal for Valor, an award equivalent to the Congressional Medal of Honor of the United States of America.
He started his military career when he entered the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) in 1983 and graduated in 1987.
The General then commanded various units that earned recognition during his stint. These include the 1st Scout Ranger Company, adjudged as Best Company in 1994; 3rd Scout Ranger Battalion, awarded as Best Battalion in 2009; 601st Infantry Brigade, named Best Brigade in 2016; and 6th Infantry Division, Philippine Army, awarded as Best Division in 2018.
He also served as the Commandant of the Scout Ranger Training School; Commander of the Civil-Military Operations Group (now Regiment), Philippine Army; Commander of Joint Task Force Sulu; Commander of the 6th Infantry “Kampilan” Division, Philippine Army; and, prior to his current position, Commander of Western Mindanao Command.
Lieutenant General Sobejana also held various staff positions in the following capacities: Deputy G3 and G8 of the 1st Scout Ranger Regiment; Director, General Services of the Army Management Information Center; Head of the Plans, Policies, and Materiel Development Division of the Army Support Command; Chief of the Firepower Division at the Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Logistics, J4, Armed Forces of the Philippines; Executive Officer of the Army Resource Management Office; and Deputy G7, and G3 of the Philippine Army.
He was deployed under the auspices of the United Nations Mission in East Timor as Military Observer from 2003 to 2004, and in the Truce Line between Syria and Israel, where he became the first Filipino Chief of Staff of the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force from 2013 to 2014.
The Chief of Staff is a Ranger, Special Forces, paratrooper, and scuba diver. He took the Nuclear, Biological, and Chemical Training in Stockholm, Sweden; Operations Research Analysis Course at the US Army Logistics Management College in Fort Lee, Virginia; and Advance Security Cooperation Course at the Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies in Honolulu, Hawaii. He also attended seminars and workshops in Japan, Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia, and Bangladesh.
He finished his Command and General Staff Course at the AFP Command and General Staff College and underwent Executive Course on National Security Administration at the National Defense College of the Philippines. Lieutenant General Sobejana is a fellow on Corporate Governance and a holder of a Master’s Degree in Public Administration.
His other decorations include a Distinguished Conduct Star, five Distinguished Service Stars, a Gold Cross Medal, a Philippine Legion of Honor (Degree of Officer), Military Achievement Medals, a Gawad sa Kaunlaran, six Bronze Cross Medals, a Wounded Personnel Medal (Purple Heart), several Military Merit Medals, Commendation Medals, and Certificates of Appreciation and Recognition. In 1995, the General was adjudged as the Outstanding Philippine Soldier (Combat Category). In February 1997, he was also awarded the PMA Cavalier Award, the highest recognition given by the PMA Alumni Association Incorporated to an alumnus who excels in his field.
In 2012, he received the Award of Excellence for Public Service from the Governor of his province of Negros Oriental. In February 2019, Lieutenant General Sobejana received the Award for Continuing Excellence and Service (ACES) of the Metrobank Foundation, Inc. as one of the 40 exceptional men and women who have set a worthy example for every Filipino to emulate.
In May 2019, President Rodrigo Roa Duterte bestowed him the Philippine Legion of Honor (Degree of Legionnaire), for exceptionally meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding service rendered to the Philippine Government, particularly to the Armed Forces of the Philippines.
In July 2019, the Minority Group, First Parliament, Bangsamoro Transition Authority of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao passed Resolution Number 18, commending him for his unwavering support in the peace process and commitment in bringing peace in the Bangsamoro homeland.
With his contributions to the peace efforts and the development of the Bangsamoro Region, he was also adopted by the Municipality of Rajah Buayan, Maguindanao, earning for himself the name “Datu Masla.” In a similar manner, the Commanding General was also declared son of the Municipality of Lugus, Sulu, which was affirmed by a resolution signed and declared by the local chiefs of the said municipalities. He was also conferred the rank of Datu by the Sultanate of Sulu and North Borneo, named “Datu Al Quader.” He was also adopted by the peace-loving Teduray tribe of Maguindanao, as declared by Minister Ulama of the Ministry of Indigenous Peoples Affairs, Bangsamoro Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao and witnessed by tribe leaders and some Teduray members.
Lieutenant General Sobejana is happily married to the former Edna Iturriaga and blessed with three daughters and two sons.