The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) has welcomed Major General Ariel Caculitan as the 33rd Commandant of the Philippine Marine Corps (PMC), replacing now retired Major General Nathaniel Casem.
Vice Admiral Giovanni Carlo Bacordo, Flag Officer in Command of the Philippine Navy, presided over the joint change of command and retirement ceremony held at the Marine Barracks Rudiardo Brown in Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City last Friday.
Bacordo expressed confidence that the Marines will be able to sustain its operational gains under the leadership of Caculitan, whom he described as “an accomplished and highly-skilled Marine officer.”
Caculitan belongs to the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) “Makatao” Class of 1989 and has several top notch awards under his name.
He graduated on top of his class at the AFP Command and General Staff Course Class 45 in 2007. He also earned the “Best Flying Award” as a naval aviator and an awardee of the 2015 “Ten Outstanding Filipino Soldiers” by the Metrobank Foundation.
Prior to being the Marine commandant, Caculitan held various key positions in the AFP. He served as the commander of the Naval Reserve Force Command since 2019; and deputy commandant of the Philippine Marine Corps from 2018 to 2019.
He also became the Commander of the Combat and Service Support Brigade; Superintendent of the Marine Corps Force Development Center; and Chief of Staff of the Philippine Marine Corps from 2015 to 2018.
Caculitan was the first Marine officer to become the Assistant Chief of Naval Staff for Personnel from 201 to 2015, and the first to become the Commander of the Naval Air Group — which was adjudged as the best unit of the Philippine Fleet from 2013 to 2014.
In his early career from 2009 to 2011, Caculitan served as the Commander of the Philippine Peacekeeping Contingent to Haiti; became the Director of the Naval Personnel Management Center, and Commanding Officer of the Marine Battalion Landing Team 4 based in Maimbung, Sulu which was adjudged as the best battalion in the military in 2009.
As the Commandant of the Philippine Marine Corps, Caculitan said he will prioritize the development of the Marines’ national maneuver amphibious force, coastal defense, special operations, and humanitarian and disaster response (HADR) capabilities to improve the performance of the service unit.
He said he will also focus on the integration of the Marine reservists into the regular force and the unit’s subject matter expertise exchanges to beef up and enhance the force of the service unit.
Meanwhile, Bacordo thanked Casem for his services as he retired with a stellar record.
Casem is a member of the PMA Class of 1987 and is a highly-decorated Marine general who hails from Bayombong, Nueva Vizcaya.