AN officer who led the fight against a band of Muslim extremists has been designated as the temporary head of the Western Mindanao Command (WestMinCom) after its current chief is set to take over the reins of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).
Maj. Arnel de la Vega, commander of the Philippine Army’s 6th Infantry Division (ID), is general officer-in-charge (GOIC) of the WestMinCom, succeeding Lt. Gen. Carlito Galvez Jr.
Capt. Arvin Encinas, 6th ID spokesman, said that de la Vega assumed the post as the WestMinCom GOIC last April 12 after Galvez left the command after President Rodrigo Duterte named him as the new AFP chief.
“Because the commander [of the WestMinCom]is not there so for the meantime General de la Vega will be sitting there or before someone will be officially assigned to that position,” Encinas told reporters.
He added that Galvez was also not present during the takeover of de la Vega.
De la Vega, as 6th ID commander, led the fight against the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) and prior to that, fought the Abu Sayyaf terrorists during his stint as commander of the Joint Task Force Sulu.
He is also considered as one of the youngest in the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) “Sandiwa” Class of 1985, along with Maj. Gen. Noel Clement, commander of the Army’s 10th Infantry Division. DEMPSEY REYES