PUERTO PRINCESA—Know and protect your own backyard.
Bemedalled Marine Lt. Gen. Juancho Sabban did just in his last three years in active military service as the straightforward, no-nonsense chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines Western Command (Wescom) based in Palawan.
As WesCom commander from 2010 up to on Monday, when he reached the mandatory age retirement of 56, Sabban had directed 14,000 security operations in his area of responsibility.
Sabban said the bulk of these missions comprised of “sovereignty patrols” at the height of the country’s territorial dispute with China over the Philippines’ regime of islands in the Spratlys.
In his speech at Monday’s turnover rites, Armed Forces of the Philippines Chief of Staff Gen. Emmanuel Bautista cited Sabban’s strategy of combining “diplomatic, informational, military, economic, and sociopolitical initiatives” in Palawan through partnerships with key local leaders.
The strategy resulted “in a shared concept of security that brings a quick and encompassing and coordinated response in the emerging security situation in the West Philippine Sea,” Bautista said.
Sabban’s successor, Marine Maj. Gen. Rustico Guerrero, assumed the post of Wescom commander. Nikko Dizon