New AFP chief named

New Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief of staff New Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief of staff Lt. Gen. Gregorio Pio Catapang

Lt. Gen. Gregorio Pio Catapang has been named by President Aquino as chief of staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), the Department of National Defense announced on Wednesday.

Catapang is the incumbent AFP vice chief of staff and will take the helm of the armed forces on Friday from Gen. Emmanuel Bautista, who is retiring two days ahead of his mandatory retirement at age 56 on Sunday, said defense department spokesman Peter Paul Galvez.

Catapang was a member of the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) “Dimalupig” Class of 1981 and the former commander of the Tarlac-based Northern Luzon Command (Nolcom).

Catapang had also served as commander of the Army’s 7th Infantry Division based in Nueva Ecija.

He has been assigned to various military positions in Mindanao and other conflict-stricken areas.

President Aquino will install Catapang as commander of the 125,000-strong military during the turnover rites scheduled on Friday.

“A testimonial parade and review will be held on Friday here at the General Headquarters parade ground in honor of the outgoing chief of staff General Bautista, followed by a change of command ceremony to be presided over by the commander-in-chief,” said Lt. Col. Ramon Zagala, AFP Public Affairs Office.

According to junior military officers, Catapang is a well-rounded officer who has more than a year to serve before retirement.

Also contenders for the post are Army chief Lt. Gen. Hernando Iriberri of PMA Class of 1983 and Philippine Air Force (PAF) chief Lt. Gen. Jeffrey Delgado of PMA Class 1982.

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