THE Armed Forces’ Western Mindanao Command (Westmincom) in Zamboanga City has a new commander.
The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) installed Saturday Marine Lieutenant General Rustico Guerrero as the new commander of Westmincom vice Lieutenant General Rey Ardo.
Naval Forces Western Mindanao (NFWM) command chief Rear Admiral Isabelo Gador presided the turnover of command on behalf of AFP chief-of-staff General Emmanuel Bautista.
Guerrero said that on top of Ardo’s priorities is to support the peace process between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).
Ardo’s other priorities are: the review of the campaign plans to asses where the command stands, and enhance security setup, geared to improve contingency planning to be ready for any contingencies in the future.
Guerrero said his designation as the commander of Westmincom does not mean the command’s area of responsibility will be filled up with Philippine Marine troops since he is a marine officer.
“I’m here as the area commander although I’m from the Marines. This (Westmincom) is a joint headquarters. It is a combination of the Air Force, Navy, and the Army,” Guerrero said after the turnover of command ceremony.
He said that commanding the Wesmincom is a big challenge for him citing “almost all threat groups are here.”
He called for the cooperation of all the stakeholders, including the media, so they will be able to accomplish the command’s tasks.
Guerrero is the commander of the AFP’s Western Command based in Palawan prior to his designation as the new Westmincom chief. He also served as the commander of the Sulu-based Joint Task Force Comet as well as the commandant of the Philippine Marine Corps. Guerrero is a graduate of the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) Class 1981.
Zamboanga City Mayor Ma. Isabelle Climaco-Salazar said she envisioned a strengthened the coordination between the local government and Westmincom.
Salazar said on top of it is the communication link between the local government and the Westmincom headquarters and the provision of troops for this city “in the event that we need it.”
“We also want to strengthen the Task Force Zamboanga,” Salazar said citing she wanted that the TFZ would be converted into a command of combined forces: Army, Navy and Air Force.