The military has reactivated its Special Operations Command (SOCom), according to the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).
The President said that while he commends the military for neutralizing high-value communist and Islamic terrorists due to effective intelligence operations, they must sustain such gains.
“I could not stress enough the importance of timely, accurate and useful intelligence in securing the country and protecting our people from all enemies of the state,” he said in his remarks.
“May you further improve your intelligence and counterintelligence operations, and continue to work closely with other intelligence units and concerned stakeholders in the crucial tasks of gathering and processing intelligence information,” he added.
Reactivating the AFP’s SOCom brings control of special operation units from all major services of the military under one command with its headquarters in Fort Magsaysay, Nueva Ecija.
According to AFP Chief of Staff General Rey Leonardo Guerrero, “the activation of AFP-SOCom was the result of lessons learned during the Zamboanga City attack in 2013 and Marawi siege in 2017.”
The core of the AFP-SOCom will be composed of the former SOCom and its officers, together with other personnel from the Special Operations Units from the AFP are other major services.
It will take command and supervision of the Special Operations Wing of the Air Force; the Naval Special Operations Group; Scout Ranger Regiment, Special Forces Regiment and Light Reaction Regiment of the Army; and the Joint Special Operations Group of the General Headquarters.
“I have personally seen the need for a joint SOCom, having been a Brigade, Division, and Area Commander. In the Eastern Mindanao Command, I saw the need for a single unit that would oversee the proper employment of the different major service special operations forces deployed in the area,” Guerrero said in an activation ceremony held in Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City recently.
“I expect that all of the gaps and challenges we encountered in joint operations involving our SOFs will be addressed with our activation of the AFPSOCom. This organizational improvement will ensure that the AFP remains responsive and adaptive to current and emerging challenges in the global security environment,” Guerrero said.
Maj. Gen. Ronnie Evangelista, the AFP-SOCom commander, said he is thankful because their dream of being under one umbrella has been realized.
“This has been our dream because we know the intricacies and peculiarities of special operations,” Evangelista said.
“Now that we have an AFP Special Operations Command controlling special operations units down the line, the utilization of special operations forces will be more efficient and effective,” he added.