New Army chief fixes crosshair on modernizing his force
MANILA, Philippines—Maj. Gen. Andres Centino assumed his post as new Army chief, expressing hope there would be major strides in building a modern land force.
Centino took over as the 64th commanding general of the 100,000-strong Philippine Army on Thursday (May 18), replacing Lt. Gen. Jose Faustino Jr., who was relieved to comply with a law that barred the appointment of officers with less than a year left in service to major services.
“The Philippine Army plays a key role in our nation’s defense,” said Centino in a speech during turnover ceremonies. “Thus we will sustain our endeavor to modernize. Acquisition of new equipment and technology shall be prioritized,” he said.
The new Army chief said another priority under his watch would be the welfare and discipline of personnel.
“We will improve on the foundation and the bedrock of our success— our personnel. I want to emphasize the value of discipline among our soldiers,” he said.
“The people we serve put their trust on soldiers who possess commitment and competence,” he added.
Centino said the Army would recruit only the most qualified applicants, underscoring the importance of raising the standard of competence among soldiers and civilian employees.
Evaluation ratings will be strengthened “to maximize meritocracy as a basis for designation to promotions to higher ranks.”
He also vowed to continue improving readiness and logistics for the Army.
Prior to his appointment, Centino was commander of the 4th Infantry Division in Northern Mindanao, which he said was on “a winning path against the insurgents” despite the pandemic and natural calamities striking the area. He also served as deputy chief of staff for operations (J3).
He is the seventh Army chief since President Rodrigo Duterte took power in 2016.
Centino graduated cum laude as a member of the Philippine Military Academy “Maringal” Class of 1988. He will reach the mandatory retirement age of 56 on Feb. 4, 2023.
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