By Francis Wakefield
A “strategist” will assume as the new Commander of the Armed Forces of the Philippines-Eastern Mindanao Command (AFP-EastMinCom) in a Change of Command Ceremony in Davao City on Monday, January 21.
No less than AFP Chief of Staff General Benjamin Madrigal Jr. will preside the turn-over to be held at Naval Station Felix Apolinario, Panacan, Davao City.
Different peace stakeholders in Eastern Mindanao are expected to witness the assumption of Command of Major General Felimon T. Santos Jr., the Commander of the Army’s 7th Infantry Division based in Fort Ramon Magsaysay, Laur, Palayan Nueva Ecija vice Major General Ronald Villanueva, who acted as Commander in an acting capacity.
It was recalled that EastMinCom was put under the stewardship of Villanueva in an acting capacity after Gen. Madrigal assumed as Chief Of Staff of the AFP on December 8, 2018.
Santos is not new in the Mindanao situation and he is adept in a wide range peace and security programs not only in Mindanao but in the whole country having been assigned with the strategic offices of the AFP dealing with Operations, Intelligence and Civil-Military Operations.
He once headed the 11th Intelligence Service Unit based in Davao City and subsequently became the Group Commander of Intelligence Service Group, Philippine Army.
Furthermore, Santos after his graduation in the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) in 1986 spent his junior years with the Army’s 39th Infantry Battalion, a unit deployed in various provinces in Mindanao.
The former Chief of Operations of Central Command in the Visayas also once headed 703rd Infantry Brigade in Central Luzon, Battalion Commander of 63rd Infantry Battalion in Samar Province and Assistant Division Commander of 6th Infantry Division, Philippine Army based in DOS, Awang, Maguindanao.
Aside from Operations and Intelligence, his experience in Civil-Military Operations having been assigned with Civil Relations Service, AFP and headed the former Civil Military Operations Group, Philippine Army is expected to boost the peace and security effort in Eastern Mindanao more so in the advent of the implementation of Executive Order 70 which institutionalize “whole of nation approach” in fighting insurgency in the country. Aside from experience,
Santos is also equipped with the knowledge and skills gained from his schooling both local and abroad.