New AFP WestMinCom acting chief named

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) on Monday identified Major General Corleto Vinluan as the acting commander of the Western Mindanao Command (WestMinCom), succeeding now Philippine Army commanding general, Lieutenant General Cirilito Sobejana.

Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP)

Major General Edgard Arevalo, AFP spokesperson, said Vinluan has been recommended by the Board of Generals for the post but his appointment paper has yet to be signed or released by President Duterte.

"Kaya acting pa lang dahil mayroon na silang recommendation pero hindi pa lumalabas ang kanilang paper na pinirmahan ni President (There is already a recommendation but the paper signed by the President is not yet released)," Arevalo said.

Prior to the post, Vinluan was the commander of the Joint Task Force Sulu and the 11th Infantry Division (11ID) where he spearheaded combat operations that led to the neutralization of several Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) militants and other foreign terrorists operating in the hinterlands of Sulu. 

Brigadier General William Gonzales took over from Vinluan's vacated post at the 11ID.

Among the most recent accomplishments of the 11ID and JTF Sulu under Vinluan's command was the killing of two alleged Egyptian bombers in November 2019, who were about to execute a planned suicide bombing in Metro Jolo in Sulu.
Vinluan had also led a joint task force which helped in the liberation of the Marawi City from the Maute terrorist group during the siege in 2017.

He had also strategized various combat operations against terrorist groups from Zamboanga Peninsula to Central Mindanao. 

Meanwhile, Arevalo said Gonzales "is a true blue Scout Ranger" as he expressed confidence the officer will be able to fill in the gaps left by Vinluan in the 11ID.

Gonzales is a graduate of both Scout Ranger Training School in Fort Magsaysay, Nueva Ecija and the US Ranger School at Fort Benning in Georgia, USA.

He served as the commander of the First Scout Ranger Regiment and 3rd Scout  Ranger Battalion that operated in Basilan Province. He was also a former Chief of Unified Command Staff of the WestMinCom. 

"These significant posts gave him a vital grasp of the WestMinCom areas of operation," Arevalo said.

"Both Maj. Gen. Corleto Vinluan and Brig. Gen. William Gonzales are seasoned military commanders whose leadership abilities borne of acquired education and training, wealth of experiences, and exposure to combat operations are remarkable," he added.