Mapagu named new Army chief

March 11, 2010 10:40 pm 

MANILA, March 11 — The commander of the military’s anti-coup force in the National Capital Region, Maj. Gen. Reynaldo Mapagu, is the new Army chief.

Mapagu, the commander of the AFP NCR Command, will assume his new post on Friday. He will replace Lt. Gen. Delfin Bangit who took over as Armed Forces chief last Wednesday.

The appointment of Mapagu was announced by Defense Secretary Noberto Gonzales, through his executive assistant, Agapito Lugay. “It's General Mapagu, its final. The secretary asked me to pass it to the media,” said Lugay.

Mapagu is a classmate of Bangit at the Philippine Military Academy Class of 1978. The class includes President Arroyo as an honorary member.

Before he assumed as NCRcom chief last year, Mapagu was the commander of the Army’s 10th Infantry Division based in Camp Panacan in Davao City. Before that, he was the No. 3 man as Army chief of staff.

In February 2006, following the failed coup attempt by rebel officers to overthrow the Arroyo government, Mapagu was designated as commander of the Army’s First Scout Ranger Regiment. He succeeded Brig. Gen. Danilo Lim who was relieved due to his involvement in the plot.

Mapagu thanked the President, the military’s commander in chief, for the promotion. He vowed that he will do his best to perform his job as Army chief, including the government's goal of ridding the country of communist insurgency on or before June this year.

“I would like to promise to all of you that I will do my best to be able to do our job and with only the interest of the country at heart and perform really our mission with excellence,” said Mapagu.

On the coming elections, Mapagu said: ”We will be non-partisan. We will help the Comelec and in tandem with the Comelec in ensuring an honest, orderly, peaceful and credible election. That is what we are going to do and that will happen,” he said.

Also, Mapagu said that the Army will be committed to the protection of the people and the State and to uphold the Constitution. “Of course, we will put emphasis on the protection of human rights,” the official said.

Mapagu said the Army, during his stint as Army chief, will pursue the tempo of the anti-insurgency campaign, if not push it further.

“We have made a lot of gains (against insurgency) so we will sustain that and even push further our efforts so that we can really make the communist insurgency inconsequential by June, then we can undergo transition to external defense and at the same time perform our non-traditional roles like disaster relief and rescue as a result of the climate change,” he said.

“I take the appointment as a challenge and an opportunity to sustain the gains of the organization. Most importantly, I consider it as a sacred covenant between myself, our country and the people, a covenant to build an Army that the people truly deserve and that we can all be proud of,” he added. (PNA)

DCT/VR

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