The Special Operations Command (SOCOM) welcomes the appointment of its new commander in a Change of Command ceremony at the SOCOM Headquarters in Fort Magsaysay on Monday, January 21 at 9:00am. Lt General Emmanuel Bautista, the newly appointed AFP Chief, will preside the solemn turn over rites that will be attended by senior military officers and their loved ones. Brigadier General Jet B. Velarmino is appointed to head the AFP’s elite forces, replacing Major General Romulo Bambao who is set to retire from the military service upon reaching the mandatory retirement age of 56. Velarmino will hold the post in an acting capacity while awaiting the designation of the permanent commander.
Velarmino is regarded as a highly respected and professional military officer. He is lauded for his exemplary services both in the field and in staff positions. Prior to his appointment, Velarmino was the Deputy Commander of SOCOM. He also served as Commander of the 101st Brigade of the 1st Infantry Division in Mindanao. He also became the Chief of Staff of the 1st Infantry Division; Inspector General, 7th Infantry Division; Defense and Armed Forces Attache to Malaysia and Inspector General, Intelligence Service Armed Forces of the Philippines. He also commanded the 51st Infantry Battalion, 1st Infantry Division for two years.
Out of the Army Special Warfare Brigade (ASWABde) that was organized in 1978, SOCOM continued to evolve and is now a home to the Army’s elite forces – Special Forces Regiment (Airborne), the First Scout Ranger Regiment, and the Light Reaction Battalion.
The First Scout Ranger Regiment specializes in anti-guerrilla warfare and is credited to the various successes in combat in the past years..
The Special Forces Regiment (Airborne) is also trained in the art of counter-insurgency operations. It is primarily trained in unconventional warfare operations and psychological warfare operations.
It is the lead counter-terrorist unit of the Philippine Army trained by American military advisers from the 1stBattalion, 1st Special Forces Group. The LRC was first deployed in Mindanao to combat Abu Sayyaf Group terrorists responsible for abducting several foreign hostages.