MANILA, Philippines — An Army general leading the fight against communist rebels in southern Luzon and the Bicol region has been appointed the new commanding general of the Philippine Army, the Department of National Defense announced Tuesday.
Lieutenant General Alexander Yano, the current Southern Luzon Command chief, will replace Army Chief Lieutenant General Romeo Tolentino, who will retire on Friday, the DND said in a statement.
Yano’s new position will put him at the forefront of the fight against the Abu Sayyaf in Sulu, the DND said.
“We will continue the fight against the Abu Sayyaf as directed. We will sustain the operations as directed,” said Yano.
President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has transferred the Army headquarters from Fort Bonifacio in Manila to Zamboanga City after a series of encounters in Sulu that have left 27 soldiers and 41 bandits killed.
Joining Yano in Zamboanga is Marine Commandant Major General Nelson Allaga, who was tapped to replace Western Mindanao Command (Westmincom) chief Lieutenant General Eugenio Cedo, who will retire on September 6, the DND said.
National Capital Region Command (NCRCom) chief Major General Ben Dolorfino will replace Allaga, it said.
Eastern Mindanao Command (Eastmincom) Lieutenant General Rodolfo Obaniana will replace Yano at the Solcom, it said.
Lieutenant General Cardozo Luna, Central Command (Centcom) chief and Yano’s chief rival for the Army chief post, will take over Obaniana’s post, it said.
Major General Victor Ibrado, Army Special Operations Command chief, will take over Centcom, based in the Visayas, it said.
Army 2nd Infantry Division chief Major General Fernando Mesa will replace Dolorfino at the NCRCom, it said.