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Marines commander in Sulu relieved of post

By: - Reporter / @BLozadaINQ
/ 06:54 PM October 02, 2014

Sulu-mapMANILA, Philippines—A colonel has replaced a general as the commander of the core group of Marines that the Armed Forces of the Philippines deploys against Al-Qaeda-linked militants in Sulu.

Colonel Max Ballesteros would take upon the responsibilities as Deputy Brigade Commander of the 2nd Marine Brigade and take the reins from Brigadier General Martin Pinto who would now report to the General Headquarters in Camp Aguinaldo in the Intelligence division of the Armed Forces of the Philippines.

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Vice Admiral Jesus Millan, Philippine Navy Chief, said the relief of Pinto from Sulu is a normal procedure for officers.

“This is the advancement of our officers, especially for the Marines,” Millan said.

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He added that Ballesteros, who was part of the ’85 class of the Philippine Military Academy, is a seasoned veteran who is waiting for his spot that Pinto, part of the ’84 class.

Millan downplayed the previous “friendly fire” incident where Pinto’s group figured in the accidental death of six troopers from the Joint Special Operations Group, which requested support from the 2nd Marine Brigade.

“We did not reach into that, what happened is normal rotation of officers,” Millan said.

Colonel Edgard Arevalo, Philippine Navy spokesman, said the relief of Pinto is “a rite of passage that every commander goes through.”

“This movement is actually an opportunity for him to exercise his other functional field of specialization in a higher and bigger capacity,” Arevalo said.

Prior to Ballesteros’ new post, he was Deputy Commander for Marine Operations in Naval Forces West in Palawan.

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TAGS: Al qaeda, Armed Forces of the Philippines, Colonel Max Ballesteros, commander, Jesus Millan, Martin Pinto, Nation, Philippine Marines, Philippine Navy Chief, post, relieved, Sulu
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