The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) designated Major General Arturo G. Rojas of the Philippine Marine Corps (PMC) as the new commander of the Special Operations Command (SOCOM) effective Wednesday, Jan. 25.
Rojas took over from Col. Ranulfo A. Sevilla, who has been leading the unit in an acting capacity and will remain as its deputy, in a Change of Command ceremony presided by Gen. Andres Centino, AFP Chief of Staff, at Fort Magsaysay in Nueva Ecija.
“The AFP is confident in your capability to extend the same brand of excellent leadership and sincere commitment to duty that you have exemplified throughout your service,” Centino told Rojas.
The SOCOM is tasked to plan, conduct, and support the special operations of the AFP. Its forces are adept in unconventional warfare, special reconnaissance, counter-terrorist operations, high-value target raids, and humanitarian assistance and disaster response (HADR) operations.
Rojas appointment came less than a week after he received his second star last Jan. 20 just as he stepped down as the acting commander and concurrent deputy commander for external defense operations of the Western Mindanao Command (WestMinCom).
The Koronadal City-born Rojas has held various command positions and was deployed in Sulu, Bulacan, Cotabato City, Quezon, Basilan, Zamboanga, and Kalinga-Apayao.
Among the recent posts he led were the 2nd and 4th Marine Brigades, Marine Special Operations Group, and the Center for Naval Leadership and Excellence.
After graduating from the De La Salle Zobel in 1986, Rojas immediately entered the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) and graduated on Feb. 18, 1990 as part of the “Bigkis-Lahi” Class.
He holds two masters degrees namely Master of Science Degree in Defense Analysis Curriculum from the United States Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California (2004); and Master in Public Management Major in Department and Security from the Development Academy of the Philippines (2011).
Throughout his career, Rojas earned several awards and decorations including four Distinguished Service Stars, Distinguished Service Medal, Outstanding Achievement Medal, Gold Cross Medal, two Distinguished Navy Crosses, a Bronze Cross Medal, and Military Merit Medals among others.