The Daily Tribune, Monday, January 3, 2010
President Aquino has appointed another member of the Philippine Military Academy Class of 1979 to a key position in the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) as commanding general of the Navy.
AFP spokesman Brig. Gen. Jose Mabanta Jr. said that Navy Vice Commander Rear Adm. Alexander Pama was appointed as incoming flag officer in command (FOIC) of the Navy.
Pama, a well-rounded Navy officer, will formally assume the top Navy post tomorrow Vice Rear Adm. Danilo Cortez, of PMA Class of 1977, who will retire from the active service.
The Commander in Chief, President Aquino, is expected to attend the turn over ceremonies scheduled at the Navy headquarters along Roxas Boulevard in Manila.
“It has just been announced the new FOIC will be Adm. Alexander Pama. The turn over will be on the 4th,” said Mabanta.
“This went through the mill, it was recommended to the Commander in Chief who approved the designation,” added Mabanta.
Mabanta cited Pama’s wide experience in the field and office works. Prior to his appointment as Navy vice commander, Pama served as inspector general of the Navy and commanding general of the Naval Forces-Western Mindanao and concurrent Task Force Trillium chief.
Pama also headed other military task forces assigned to run after terrorists in Mindanao region.
According to Mabanta, the changing of the guard at the Navy will be the first of series of movements in the AFP hierarchy with the scheduled retirement of top-ranking military officers during the first quarter of the year.
“There will be movements upward, several high ranking officers will retire,” said Mabanta. He added that several officials are reaching the mandatory retirement age of 56 this month and in February.
AFP Chief of Staff Gen. Ricardo David Jr. himself is reaching the mandatory retirement in March.
“The chief of staff is retiring in March, so there would be huge reshuffle, if you remove someone on top, it will cascade down below,” Mabanta said.
For his part, Pama vowed to fully support the AFP’s newly launched internal peace and security plan Bayanihan aimed at ending the decades-long insurgency problem in the country. At the same time, Pama said he would pursue the modernization program of the Navy.
Only last month, another member of the PMA Class of 1979, Brig. Gen. Tristan Kison, was appointed as commanding general of the National Capital Region Command, the AFP’s primary anti-coup unit.