ARMED Forces Spokesman Col. Arnulfo Marcelo Burgos Jr. has been assigned as the new commander of the Army’s Civil Military Operations Group (Cmog).
Burgos is the longest-serving head of the Armed Forces Public Affairs Office and he also served as spokesman.
His new posting became effective on May 1.
“Yes, I’m so grateful to the Army chief, Lt. Gen. Noel Coballes, for designating me as commander of the Army’s Civil Military Operations Group,” Burgos said, confirming his new assignment.
“I would like to thank also the Armed Forces chief of staff, Gen. Emmanuel Bautista, for giving me the opportunity to serve under him and for allowing me to further my growth and career in the military profession.”
Burgos’s new assignment will qualify him for his first star.
Although Armed Forces chiefs of staff can appoint their own spokesmen, Burgos, a member of the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) “Maringal” Class of 1988, served as information officer and spokesman under former military Chiefs of Staff Delfin Bangit, now Bureau of Immigration Chief Ricardo David Jr., now Transportation Undersecretary Eduardo Oban Jr., and Jessie Dellosa.
The batch has Vice President Jejomar Binay as honorary member. Binay is a reserve colonel in the Marine Corps.
“If you were chief of staff, you don’t want Col. Burgos out of your sight, out of your radar,” the former Armed Forces vice chief of staff, Lt. Gen. Reynaldo Mapagu, said.
“You need this guy, a very dependable officer; he can take you out of trouble, especially from media scrutiny,” Mapagu said.
However, he added, “Colonel Burgos has to move up on the ladder of promotion, the normal tour of duty for any senior officer in the service.”
Before becoming Armed Forces spokesman, Burgos served as the Army’s public affairs chief and as commander of the 80th Infantry Battalion in Occidental Mindoro.
“His managerial skill is really excellent,” retired Lt. Col. Samuel Sagun, a former deputy of Burgos at the Army Public Affairs Office, said.
The year 2011, when the military found itself mired in corruption scandals, was the “hardest and most challenging chapter” in his stint as military spokesman, Burgos said.
Brig. Gen. Domingo Tutaan Jr. was sworn in Sunday as the new spokesman of the Armed Forces.
Tutaan, a former head of the Armed Forces Human Rights Office (HRO), is also the concurrent head of the military’s Office of The Internal Auditor (OTIA). He is a member of the PMA “Dimalupig” Class of 1981 like Bautista.
Reportedly, Tutaan was strongly recommended by his classmates for a division commander position after he was not able to get the top position at the Armed Forces Civil Relations Service (CRS) but his “lack of field duties” or “tour of duty in the field” worked against such appointment.
On Monday Tutaan will turn over the HRO to Col. Rhoderick Parayno, the Philippine Army HRO chief.
“Having served as the face and voice of the military in various human-rights issues and developments, Brig. Gen. Tutaan will assume a much bigger role of speaking on behalf of the 125,000-strong military as spokesman,” Burgos said.
As head of the OTIA, Tutaan will be in charge of overseeing the fiscal administration of military units and offices.
“Under my stewardship, the office shall be proactive in setting and implementing our agenda in order not to simply react on situations. We will aspire without compromise to have transparency in all our actions. The judicious and prudent use of resources, most especially our funds, must be the primordial consideration on all our undertakings,” Tutaan said.
As Armed Forces spokesman, he said: “I would not call it a hot seat, rather a cooperation between the military and the media to bring forth discussions on various issues and concerns for the public to be aware of. It is also a partnership towards a common goal for peace and development in the spirit of bayanihan.”
The military calls its anti-insurgency program, the Internal Peace and Security Plan Bayanihan.
Bautista is also reportedly considering taking on Brig. Gen. Rolando Jungco, chief of the AFP-CRS, as alternate spokesman.
Meanwhile, Maj. Ramon Zagala, who will soon be promoted to lieutenant colonel, will take over the Armed Forces Public Attorney’s Office from Burgos in turnover ceremonies in Camp Aguinaldo on Monday.
A product of the Officer Candidate School, Zagala is Special Forces qualified and the son of a former Army commander.
Zagala is a graduate of the De La Salle University.
At present, Zagala is the assistant chief of staff for civil-military operations of the Special Forces Regiment of the Army’s Special Operations Command based in Fort Ramon Magsaysay, Nueva Ecija.