Lt. Gen. Ernesto Torres Jr. formally takes over as the Commander of Northern Luzon following his donning to the third-star rank during the Change of Command ceremony presided by the AFP Chief of Staff Gen. Andres Centino at Camp Aquino, Tarlac City Monday.
Torres was the former Commander of the 10th Infantry Agila Division which reportedly successfully dismantled 3 guerilla fronts in Mindanao and neutralized a total of 280 communist rebels including multiple terrorist high-value targets in just a span of 8 months.
Under his leadership as the Commander of the 1003rd Infantry Brigade which oversees Davao City, and parts of Davao del Norte and Bukidnon, the unit reportedly arrested Leftist personalities such as Bayan Muna Representative Satur Ocampo and ACT Teachers Party list Representative France Castro, in addition to the successful dismantling of Guerilla Front Committee 54, and three NPA formations in the unit’s area of operations from the year 2017 to 2019.
With his success and accomplishments on his previous assignments, the new commander vowed to vigorously sustain the momentum set by his predecessors, Lt. Gen. Arnulfo Marcelo Burgos Jr and Maj. Gen. Costelo, to totally defeat the remnants of the Communist terrorist group and other threats to the security of Northern and Central Luzon.
“Through the whole-of-nation approach spearheaded by the NTF-ELCAC, we shall endeavor to aggressively support the programs to end internal dissension through a progressive and sustainable campaign that would address its root causes,” said Torres.
NoLCom being the AFP’s unit responsible for protecting the biggest maritime area in the country calls for extra attention to its regional situation, protection, and development in its territorial waters as the new commander subtly noted.
“We shall likewise contribute in maintaining the country’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, particularly in the country’s northern borders,” he added.
Torres vowed NoLCom will march in cadence with the Filipino people to attain the national vision: Para sa isang matatag, maginhawa at panatag na pamumuhay para sa bawat Pilipino.
Meanwhile, Gen. Centino lauded the committed service and accomplishments of the Command under the leadership of Maj. Gen Andrew Costelo, the outgoing commander who took the added responsibility on top of his duties as the Commander of the Joint Task Force Kaugnay.
Centino said, “I am confident that NOLCOM will deliver more victories and successes to the AFP as it continues to fulfill its mission of combating terrorism, facilitating development, and securing our borders in the North,” said Gen. Centino as he reminded the troopers of their mission to end the local communist armed conflict before the end of President Duterte’s term.