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CGPA to focus on mental health, welfare of soldiers 

Philippine Army chief Maj. Gen. Romeo Brawner Jr.

THE NEWLY designated Philippine Army chief Maj. Gen. Romeo Brawner Jr. vows to take care of soldiers, enhance skills and competencies, and push for more resources. These measures will allow the Army not only to be victorious against the enemies, but also be ready for the elections next year.

In his assumption message on Friday at the headquarters Philippine Army, Fort Bonifacio, Taguig city, Brawner said that he would focus on taking care of troops’ health, morale, and welfare and honing their skills and competencies to ensure that they can accomplish the mission given to them.  

He said he will continue the accomplishments of his predecessor, Lt. Gen. Andres Centino.

“My task is to make sure that our soldier’s are highly competent, skilled, and well equipped so that they can perform their tasks,” Brawner said.

“So we’ll continue what General Centino has done but more especially, on releasing resources down to the units. We have to fill not just financial resources but human resources,” he added.

One of his advocacies is also on mental health because soldiers are also humans with their respective personal problems.

Lastly, “we will push down the needed resources to our units in the field all over the country so that your army soldiers and units are capacitated to perform their assign task effectively and efficiently,” he further said.

He said he will pursue these measures, in part, to accomplish the marching order of President Duterte, which is to end the local armed communist armed conflict before the end of his term.

Further his thrusts will allow the army to perform another important task that is to help the Commission on Elections to ensure that next year’s election is credible, orderly, and peaceful.

Ending local armed conflict 

“As of now, we are looking at the target. It’s a tough job and we still have a lot of work to do to reach that. But we will do our best to meet the target set by our President, which is defeating the local communist armed conflict by dismantling the guerilla fronts and neutralizing the New People’s Army,” he said. 

Brawner assumed the leadership of the 100,000-strong Philippine Army from outgoing chief, Lt. Gen. Andres C. Centino, in a ceremony presided by Defense Secretary Delfin N. Lorenzana.

As commander of the 4th Infantry Division (4ID), Brawner led the division in neutralizing high-ranking communist terrorist groups in Northern Mindanao and Caraga regions, including the head of the NPA’s national operations command Jorge “Ka Oris” Madlos. This feat demoralized the NPA nationwide, resulting in the mass surrender of CPP-NPA-terrorists (CNTs), he said.

Brawner held various key positions in the AFP, such as a commanding officer of the 2nd Special Forces Battalion, chief of staff of the 6th Infantry Division, spokesman of the Philippine Army, and the Armed Forces of the Philippines, and regiment commander of the Civil-Military Operations Regiment.

During the Marawi Siege, he was designated as deputy commander of the Task Group Ranao and spokesperson of Task Force Marawi. 

Later, he assumed the position of brigade commander of the 103rd Infantry Brigade based in Marawi City. He then became the commandant of cadets at the Philippine Military Academy (PMA), where he considered the eradication of hazing as his most significant contribution. 

Brawner was also the first deputy chief of staff for financial management, J10, of the Armed Forces of the Philippines.

The new CGPA is a graduate of the Philippine Military Academy “Makatao,” Class of 1989, where he graduated salutatorian and was a “Baron” or regiment commander of the Cadet Corps. 

 He acquired three masters degrees – Master of Science in Information Management from the Ateneo de Manila University, Master of Business Administration (Management of Technology) from the Asian Institute of Technology in Thailand, and the European School of Management in Oxford, United Kingdom, and a Master in Strategic Studies from the United States Army War College. 

Meanwhile, Sec. Lorenzana commended Lt. Gen. Centino for his outstanding tour of duty as the 64th CGPA and challenged Brawner to build upon the foundations laid by his predecessors with utmost integrity, dedication, and professionalism. 

 Centino pursued four significant thrusts: implementing intel-driven operations; optimal use of resources; advancement of professionalism and meritocracy within the organization; and perfection of ownership of military camps and reservations for capability and base development.

 He has visited remote detachments and patrol bases as part of his commitment to boost the troop’s morale, check their readiness to perform their duties, and reiterate the AFP’s drive to eradicate insurgency within the June 2022 deadline set by the Commander-in-Chief.

Centino has also directed commanders to “lead from the front” and make their presence felt even in the remotest parts of their respective areas of responsibility. He ordered the establishment of the new forward operating detachments to support and boost anti-insurgency operations.

The outgoing CGPA assumed as the 57th chief of staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines last Nov. 12.

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