EASTERN Mindanao Command (Eastmincom) commander Lieutenant General Rey Leonardo Guerrero was appointed by President Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday, October 25, 2017 as the next Armed Forces of the Philippine chief of staff.

Guerrero, who was one of the four who were recommended to the president earlier, officially assumed the post during the turnover ceremony yesterday held at Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City and replaced General Eduardo Año days after the war in Marawi City ended.

The newly-appointed chief of staff is the former commander of the Army’s 3rd Infantry Division based in Capiz; 701st Brigade in Davao Oriental; Task Force Davao and senior military assistant of President Gloria Arroyo.

He is a member of Philippine Military Academy (PMA) Class 1984.

For two months, he will lead the AFP organization before he reaches his mandatory retirement age of 56 in December this year.

Año has earlier said that he submitted four names to President Rodrigo Duterte for his replacement.

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana confirmed that the short list of the Board of Generals of the Armed Forces of the Philippines he submitted included Western Command Chief Lieutenant General Carlito Galvez, Vice Chief of Staff Lieutenant General Salvador Mison Jr. and Deputy Chief of Staff Vice Admiral Narciso Vingson.

"I trust and believe and I will fully support whoever the President will pick," Año said earlier.

In an interview yesterday, Eastmincom spokesperson Major Ezra Balagtey commended Guerrero’s appointment.

With the vast experiences of Guerrero in the AFP service, Eastmincom is confident that he will be able to lead the organization towards the attainment of its goal.

"General Guerrero is a well-rounded professional and dignified commander; he has wealth of experience that qualifies him to be Chief of Staff. He is focused and sharp; strategic, dynamic & people-centered characteristics needed for a Chief of Staff of the AFP this time," Balagtey said.

"His astuteness in civilian-military engagements were outstanding such that he is widely respected in the civil society circles. A factor to carry out the attainment of the objectives of Transformation and DSSP Kapayaan," Balagtey said.

Eastmincom has the largest number of insurgents but with Guerrero's leadership and military operations, the number decreased.

Balagtey also said that Guerrero remains to be the Eastmincom commander as a relieve order has not yet reached their office.

"But in as far as sino ang papalit sa kanya, wala pa tayong nakita and I think si General ang mag re-recommend kung sino ang papalit sa Eastern Mindanao Command," he said.

Guerrero, as head of Eastmincom, has taken the lead to carry out military operations against the New People's Army (NPA) which led to the decline of NPA manpower and firearms.

Also, terrorists were arrested in his area of responsibility including Cayamora and Farhana Maute - financial source of the group, Former Marawi Mayor Fahad Salic and 19 other Maute relatives as of September.

Meanwhile, Public Safety and Security Command Center (PSSCC) head Benito de Leon lauded the appointment of Guerrero as CSAFP who served the city which becomes the source of pride for Dabawenyos. This development will further assure that security concerns confronting the city will be readily addressed.

"That is a welcome news to have a former commander who served the Davao Region as the AFP's Eastern Mindanao Command and who served particularly Davao City as Task Force Davao Commander - not only is his designation a pride for Dabawenyos, but a sense of assurance that the military requirement to address the city and the region's security concern will always have a special consideration," he said.