By Francis Wakefield
The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) activated recently the Joint Task Force (JTF) Bicolandia in Legazpi City, Albay with the aim of combining the military’s land, air, and naval capabilities and efficiency in the Bicol region.
AFP Chief of Staff General Carlito Galvez Jr. was present last Monday at the ceremony activating “JTF Bicolandia” which was placed under the command of Major General Jesus Mananquil, Jr., Philippine Army 9th Infantry Division (9ID) commander.
JTF Bicolandia is directly under the supervision of the AFP Southern Luzon Command, headed by Lieutenant Gen. Danilo Pamonag.
In integrating the AFP’s land, air, and naval capabilities, JTF Bicolandia is seen to more efficiently and effectively secure the entire Bicol region with its six provinces, including the offshore island provinces of Masbate and Catanduanes.
Included in this integration is the entire 9ID, supported by the Tactical Operations Group 5 (TOG-5) and the Naval Forces Southern Luzon (NavForSouth).
Mananquil said JTF Bicolandia will perform the vital task of protecting from security threats the region’s budding economic landscape, vast agricultural sector, and popular tourist hubs, as well as in orchestrating joint operations in response to emergency situations.
“The formal activation of the Joint Task Force Bicolandia is a clear indication of our persistence to usher in the best improvements for the AFP and is a concrete step that we have taken to further fortify the quest of the AFP, particularly the Southern Luzon Command, to bring and sustain peace and security in the Bicol Region,” Galvez said in his speech during the activation ceremony.