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Key changes in vital military posts set this week

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Lt. General Roy Deveraturda. photo from Central Command website

MANILA, Philippines—Changes in crucial military posts are set to take effect this week with the retirement of a senior military officer.

Armed Forces of the Philippines chief General Emmanuel Bautista confirmed to reporters at Camp Aguinaldo on Monday the changes in some of the key military posts.

Western Mindanao Command (Wesmincom) chief Lieutenant General Rey Ardo will retire on Saturday and will be replaced by Western Command (Wescom) chief Lieutenant General Rustico Guerrero, a Marine officer and a graduate of Philippine Military Academy Class of 1981. Guerrero also previously headed an anti-terror unit in Sulu.

The Wesmincom, based at Camp Gen. Navarro in Zamboanga City, deals with terrorists and insurgents including the Abu Sayyaf, Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters and rogue members of the Moro National Liberation Front. The Wescom, meanwhile, is based at Camp Gen. Artemio Ricarte in Palawan and handles issues on the West Philippine Sea.

The incoming Wescom chief is Air Force Lt. General Roy Deveraturda, former chief of the Central Command based at Camp Lapu-Lapu in Cebu City. He is a member of the Philippine Air Force Flying School of 1980. He is also an attack pilot and instructor pilot.

“We usually appoint Navy or Air Force (officer for Wescom). General Deveraturda is very familiar (with Wescom) being formerly with J5 or Deputy Chief for Plans. He is familiar with strategic situations,” Bautista told reporters.

Set to take over the Central Command is Major General John Bonafos, chief of the Special Operations Command based in Fort Magsaysay in Nueva Ecija. He heads all the Army’s elite troops — the Special Forces, Scout Rangers and the Light Reaction Battalion. He is a member of PMA Class of 1982.

“He is a capable officer. He has been assigned to that area before. He is very familiar there,” the AFP chief said of Bonafos.

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