Sunday, August 13, 2017

WESCOM welcomes new chief (Photo/Bio Data)

From the Philippine News Agency (Aug 12): WESCOM welcomes new chief
Lieutenant General Raul del Rosario handed over the leadership of the Western Command (WESCOM) to Major General Galileo Gerard Kintanar Jr. in a change of command and retirement ceremony that was presided by Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief Eduardo Año here Friday afternoon.
Palawan Governor Jose Alvarez, key military officials, civilian personnel, and various guests from non-government and government organizations witnessed the military tradition that represented the formal transfer of leadership and responsibility of the WESCOM.

Kintanar is a member of the Philippine Military Academy’s (PMA) Sandiwa Class of 1985, where he graduated with distinction and ranked fourth out of 209 cadets.

He was assigned at the 15th Strike Wing, where he honed his flying skills as a pilot of the AT-28D “Tora-Tora,” and was recognized with a Distinguished Graduate Award after taking the Squadron Officer Course in Alabama, USA in 1994. He pursued his Defense and Strategic Studies Course at the Australian Defense College in Canberra and Deakin University, Australia.

Before his assignment in Palawan, Kintanar held various positions in the Philippine Air Force (PAF) before his assumption as the 15th Commander of the Air Education and Training Command, and 1st Commander of the Air Education, Training and Doctrines Command.

Año in his speech said "Kintanar's capabilities and persistence make him perfectly suitable to be the next WESCOM commander as he has a very good grasp of how to promote peace and progress in Palawan and the West Philippine Sea (WPS). 

From left : Col. Nestor Herico, deputy brigade commander of the 3rd Marine Brigade; Governor Jose Alvarez of Palawan; outgoing WESCOM commander Lt. General Raul del Rosario; and Major General Galileo Gerard Kintanar Jr.

In an earlier interview with the Philippine News Agency (PNA), Del Rosario who is due to retire on August 13, reflected on his leadership’s take on the WPS, terrorism, and insurgency in Palawan.

Del Rosario said the WPS kept him on his toes not only because he is the WESCOM commander but because he is the head of the Area Task Force (ATF) that directly reports to the National Task Force (NTF) on the WPS under the office of National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon.

On the province’s insurgency problem, Del Rosario said that when he assumed the leadership of WESCOM, the briefing he was given was that “Palawan is on its way to being completely peaceful and ready for development.”

This was because only a few barangays were affected by insurgency, and only a few rebel names and the number of their firearms came up. But when intelligence updates were made and the peace talk collapsed, the true picture of the problem surfaced.

“After the peace talk failed, we saw violent activities, and we saw even activities that are offensive. For one they started liquidation… they killed, and they were very open in claiming they did it,” he said.

“We did something to address the insurgency problem by having more focused military operations, and we will do more. I personally supervised what measures we needed to do to ensure this will not go on,” Del Rosario added, saying he did his best for Palawan to remain safe.

On terrorism, Del Rosario said the WESCOM’s most important accomplishment was getting high end resorts in the province to coordinate their security postures with them, and monitoring coastlines no matter how open and hard they are to secure.

Del Rosario said that when he finally leaves the AFP, he will bring the memory of how he worked successfully with local governments in the province, who have been nothing but supportive.

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