AFP's 'longest-serving spokesperson' retires

Published July 17, 2021, 1:29 PM

by Martin Sadongdong

Marine Maj. Gen. Edgard Arevalo formally relinquished his posts as spokesperson of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and commander of the Education, Training, and Doctrine Command (ETDC) as he bowed out of military service Friday, July 16.

Maj. Gen. Edgard Arevalo (second from left) retires as spokesperson of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and commander of the Education, Training, and Doctrine Command (ETDC) on July 16, 2021 in a ceremony held at Camp Aguinaldo in Quezon City. (Photo courtesy of AFP)

Arevalo will turn 56 years old on Sunday, July 18, the mandatory retirement age for uniformed personnel.

A graduate of Philippine Military Academy (PMA) “Bigkis Lahi” Class of 1990, Arevalo proved his mettle as an AFP spokesperson as he served under eight Chiefs of Staff spanning around five years since 2016.

He described himself as “the longest-serving spokesperson” of the AFP.

He served under former military chiefs Eduardo Año, who is now the Secretary of the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG); Rey Leonardo Guerrero, now the Commissioner of the Bureau of Customs (BOC); Carlito Galvez Jr., a key figure in the national government’s COVID-19 pandemic response and the current Presidential Peace Adviser; Benjamin Madrigal Jr., now the Administrator of the Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA); Noel Clement; Felimon Santos Jr.; Gilbert Gapay; and current AFP Chief Cirilito Sobejana.

Arevalo played a crucial role in serving as the mouthpiece of the AFP during various critical moments in the military including the Marawi City siege; President Duterte’s intensified campaign against insurgency and terrorism; and humanitarian and disaster response (HADR) operations during tragedies and calamities, as well as the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic.

Arevalo was replaced by Brig. Gen. Francisco Ariel Felicidario III as the commander of the AFP ETDC in a joint retirement and change of command ceremony held at Camp Aguinaldo in Quezon City.

Meanwhile, the AFP has yet to announce a new spokesperson. Among the frontrunners to take the spot is Capt. Jonathan Zata, chief of the AFP public affairs office (PAO).

“Throughout his military service, MGen. Arevalo competently fulfilled various critical roles in the AFP. As the commander, AFPETDC and concurrent AFP spokesperson, he continued to perform these crucial and demanding positions,” said acting AFP Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Erickson Gloria, who presided over the ceremony in behalf of Sobejana.

Sobejana is reportedly representing the AFP at the Defense Exhibition Athens 2021 (DEFEA) in Athens, Greece.

Prior his post as ETDC commander, Arevalo was the assistant deputy Chief of Staff for Civil Military Operations, J7; acting commander and deputy commander of the Civil Relations Service AFP; chief of the Public Affairs Office; and commander of the Philippine Navy Civil Military Operations Group, among other different positions.

He was awarded four Distinguished Service Stars, a Gold Cross Medal for Gallantry, a “Kapanalig sa Kapayapaan” award, a Meritorious Achievement Medal, two Chief of Staff AFP Commendation Medals, and four “Gawad sa Kaunlaran” award among others.

“He exemplified the highest standards of professionalism and excellence in the service and the AFP will always be grateful to you,” Gloria told Arevalo.

Asked about his plans now that he is retired, Arevalo told reporters: “I’ll get my much deserved vacation.”

“It was [a] fruitful experience with you in a journey of a thousand miles,” Arevalo said as he deacribed his career.

Meanwhile, BGen. Felicidario served in Mindanao as the brigade commander of the 102nd Infantry Brigade and 101st Infantry Brigade; assistant division commander of the 11th Infantry Division; and chief of the AFP Peace and Development Office (AFPPDO), the last post he held prior to the AFP ETDC.

“With your brand of leadership, wisdom, and wealth of experiences, you are more than ready to face any challenge in the days ahead as well as sustain the momentum established by your predecessors,” Gloria told Felicidario.

Felicidario will be replaced by Colonel Marvin Licudine as chief of the AFPPDO in a Change of Chief of Office scheduled on July 19.