General Andres Centino, Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), has cited the huge improvement of the Special Operations Command (SOCOM) in helping the military perform its task to serve the people and secure the nation.
Centino graced the SOCOM’s fourth anniversary celebration in Fort Magsaysay, Nueva Ecija on Friday, April 1, where he encouraged the troops to seek out new ways to enhance their warfighting skills.
“SOCOM plays a significant role in strengthening our ability to confront security challenges, particularly in the conduct of joint and combined operations involving Special Operations Forces, and in fostering interoperability between the different territorial functional units in the AFP,” he said.
“I encourage everyone to not only do a great job but also expand your horizons by overcoming your own limits. I am sure that through the guidance of your commander, you will continuously work on the perfection of your core competency that is warfighting which has surely contributed much to the mission accomplishment of the AFP,” the military chief added.
During the ceremony, Centino led the wreath-laying ceremony for the departed brothers of SOCOM and the subsequent recognition of outstanding active SOCOM members and former commanders.
He was accompanied by Major General Francisco Ariel Felicidario III, the SOCOM commander, and commanders of other Special Operations units.
Centino also presided over the reading of the recategorization order of SOCOM from being an AFP-wide Service Support Unit to a Combatant Command.
The SOCOM is a joint special operations command that is responsible for planning, conducting, and supporting special operations of the military. It traces its roots to the Philippine Army’s (PA) Special Warfare Brigade which was established in 1978 and composed of the two of the most elite units of the Army – the Special Forces and the Scout Rangers.
However, it was disbanded in 1986 and reactivated as the PA Special Operations Command in 1995. It was further expanded in 2004 to include the newly activated unit of the PA, the Light Reaction Company.
In April 2018, the PA SOCOM was categorized as a combatant command of the entire military organization and renamed AFP SOCOM.
The special operations units under the AFP SOCOM are scattered all over the country and considered the pillars of the unit that “proactively address security issues and challenges using their specialized skills and distinctive way of warfighting.”
Centino advised the troops to “always remain relevant as the organization adapts to ever-changing times’ in line with the theme of the celebration, “Excellence Amidst Changes,” particularly during the Covid-19 pandemic.
“With the encouraging development in our fight against Covid-19 and as cases had gone down in the past months, we must all the more remain cohesive and alert for any contingency that will require your special skills and proficiency,” Centino told the troops.