Latest Stories

Aquino names new Army chief, NFA head

By , ,

Philippine President Benigno Aquino III. AP

President Aquino will preside over the turnover of command in the Army’s top post Tuesday afternoon at the Army headquarters, a day after appointing the new Army chief, who led a Scout Rangers unit in several military operations against the Abu Sayyaf bandits in Mindanao.

Lt. Gen. Noel Coballes will take over from Lt. Gen. Emmanuel Bautista as Army commanding general in a change of command ceremony at the Army Grandstand in Fort Bonifacio in Taguig at around 3 p.m. Tuesday.

Other appointments:

  • Orlan A. Calayag, a 38-year-old businessman from the United States, was appointed National Food Authority (NFA) administrator on Jan. 17, replacing Lito Banayo who resigned late last year amid the controversy over rice smuggling into the country.

  • Ma. Teresa de Guzman was named acting deputy director of the Science Education Institute under the Department of Science and Technology.

  • Alexander Ayco, Jane Sta. Ana and Francisco Vicente Lopez were reappointed members of the board of the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. from July 1, 2012, to June 30, 2013.

Before his appointment, Coballes, a graduate of the Philippine Military Academy Class of 1980, was AFP vice chief of staff, and before that, commanding general of the Western Mindanao Command.

Bautista formally assumed the post of Armed Forces of the Philippines Chief of Staff in turnover rites presided over by Mr. Aquino in Camp Aguinaldo last Thursday.

Seasoned combat officer

The military welcomed the appointment of Coballes.

“General Coballes is a seasoned combat officer. Most of his assignments in the field [were in Mindanao]. He has gone through command positions in infantry units and also in the Scout Rangers as regiment commander,” the AFP spokesperson, Col. Arnulfo Burgos Jr., told reporters.

“He is a battle-hardened soldier. Since most of his assignments were in the field, we can say he has been in touch with our soldiers [on the ground]. He spent 14 years of his career in Mindanao,” he added.


Burgos expressed confidence that Coballes would continue to implement the Army’s development programs, particularly the Army Transformation Roadmap, initiated by his predecessors.

“The Philippine Army will pick up pace under General Coballes,” he said.

A native of Tuguegarao City, Cagayan, Coballes first saw action in Mindanao as platoon leader of the Army’s 26th Infantry Battalion before he was designated to lead the line companies of the 2nd Scout Rangers Battalion.

Coballes was also tasked with heading four different Task Group Panthers, which supervised the elite Scout Rangers unit in running after Moro rebels and bandits in Mindanao.

Abu Sayyaf’s nemesis

A news release from the Army said Coballes headed the Scout Rangers in launching successful military offensives against the Abu Sayyaf in Basilan in 1995.

“[He] was credited for the neutralization of several Abu Sayyaf terrorists who were responsible for the kidnapping of civilians in the area,” the statement read.

“He personally led his unit in many decisive battles, earning him the admiration and respect by his peers and subordinates,” it added.

For his stint in Maguindanao, Coballes was awarded twice with the Distinguished Conduct Star, the second highest combat medal for bravery in the military.

He also received three Distinguished Service Stars, five Gold Cross Medals for gallantry in action, two Bronze Cross Medals and several military merit medals.

Alcala’s former aide

Calayag hails from Dolores, Quezon and is a former chief of staff of Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala during his first term as congressman of Quezon.

“He has my trust. I knew him personally … and I worked with him during my first term as congressman,” Alcala told reporters on Monday.

Alcala, a two-term congressman of Quezon’s second district before he was picked to lead the agriculture department, recommended Calayag to the President.



Alacala described the new NFA administrator as a “balikbayan” whom he had convinced to go back and serve.

Calayag held various positions in the private sector in the United States. He was a former patient services specialist at Swedish Medical Center in Washington after he served as auditor of Bellevue Sheraton Hotel, loan officer of the Bank of America, and relationship manager of KeyBank.

The new NFA head was also executive director of the Progressive Community and Ecological Services Organization, a nongovernment organization helping farmers, fisherfolk, the youth, women and other sectors in the areas of livelihood, job generation and environmental protection.

During his oath-taking at the agriculture department’s headquarters on Monday, Calayag promised that he would ensure that the country’s food security was protected and the prices of rice and corn were stable to benefit both the farmers and consumers.

To do that, Calayag said he would ask for the trust and cooperation of every NFA employee, which are crucial to a more aggressive palay procurement operations.

He also hoped to upgrade the status of NFA as a government-owned and -controlled corporation.

Follow Us

Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter

Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Tags: Benigno Aquino , Government , Military , NFA , Philippine Army

Copyright © 2014, .
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94
  1. US teacher fired over comment on black president
  2. Enrile chief aide back in PH ‘to face charges’
  3. Filipinos, Dane re-enact crucifixion of Christ
  4. Magnitude-7.5 earthquake shakes Mexican capital
  5. Henares on Pacquiao bashing: I did not start this
  6. ‘No real progress in PH if dynasties not dismantled’
  7. Massive infra spending set
  8. More legal woes for Cedric Lee
  9. Easter crucifixions draw huge crowds
  10. Korea ferry captain arrested, divers spot bodies
  1. Kim Henares needs a reprimand, says Cayetano
  2. Suspect in Vhong Navarro mauling tries to leave PH
  3. More legal woes for Cedric Lee
  4. Fr. Suarez says last Mass on Easter before returning donated land to San Miguel
  5. ‘Mom, I love you,’ says text from student on sinking ferry
  6. MH370 co-pilot made mid-flight phone call – report
  7. ‘No real progress in PH if dynasties not dismantled’
  8. I’ll follow my conscience on Estrada, says JV Ejercito
  9. Massive infra spending set
  10. OFW brings MERS virus to Philippines
  1. KL confirms Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370 ended in Indian Ocean
  2. MRT passengers pass the hat for 6-year-old Ashley
  3. Rookie, lady cops lauded for quick response to MOA heist
  4. Model Helena Belmonte wished ‘to slash her wrist and hope to die’
  5. Malaysia averts another air tragedy; pilot lands troubled plane safely
  6. Revilla says he was joking; Lacson stands by his story
  7. Revilla ‘consulted’ Lacson on how he evaded arrest
  8. Police rule out foul play in Helena Belmonte’s death as boyfriend is ‘traumatized’
  9. Cudia, dismissed for lying, got 99% in conduct
  10. Hammer-wielding robbers cause chaos at Philippines’ Mall of Asia


  • Russia promises support to ending Ukraine crisis
  • Busted valve delays water interruption
  • Cardinal Tagle decries human ‘commercialization’
  • Religion builds bridges in ethnically split Cyprus
  • Iran general urges Tehran to make new UN pick
  • Sports

  • Vettel hoping for resurgence at Chinese GP
  • MLB pitcher donates $100,000 for Sewol ferry victims
  • Hamilton takes pole at Chinese Grand Prix
  • Duke’s Rodney Hood joining Jabari Parker in NBA draft
  • Phelps entered in 3 events at comeback meet
  • Lifestyle

  • Levine designs womenswear with help from fiancee
  • Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Nobel laureate, dies at 87
  • Ford Mustang turns 50 atop Empire State Building
  • Pro visual artists, lensmen to judge Pagcor’s photo contest
  • ‘Labahita a la bacalao’
  • Entertainment

  • Myx TV premieres Asian American ‘docu-series’
  • A nutty finale for ‘Scandal,’ TV’s craziest show
  • EXO postpones release of mini album ‘Overdose’
  • ‘X-men’ filmmaker slams ‘fabricated’ sex attack claims
  • Singer Chris Brown’s bodyguard on trial in DC
  • Business

  • Fiat-Chrysler to produce iconic Jeep in China from 2015
  • US commerce secretary spells out economic facet of ‘pivot to Asia’
  • Italy sells luxury state cars on eBay
  • Asian shares mostly up in quiet trade
  • Dollar up in Asia on US jobs data, Ukraine deal
  • Technology

  • Nasa’s moon-orbiting robot crashes down
  • Netizens pay respects to Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  • Nokia recalls 30,000 chargers for Lumia 2520 tablet
  • Facebook rolls out ‘nearby friends’ feature
  • Netizens seethe over Aquino’s ‘sacrifice’ message
  • Opinion

  • Editorial cartoon, April 17, 2014
  • A humbler Church
  • Deepest darkness
  • ‘Agnihotra’ for Earth’s health
  • It’s the Holy Week, time to think of others
  • Global Nation

  • DOH to continue tracking co-passengers of OFW infected with MERS virus
  • 5 Filipinos with MERS in UAE reported in stable condition
  • PH boosts MERS monitoring after UAE nurse scare
  • Canadians back PH plea to take back waste
  • We treasure our Sierra Madre
  • Marketplace