By Martin Sadongdong
Newly installed Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief of Staff, Lieutenant General Felimon Santos has been promoted to the rank of General (4-star) — the highest military rank in the Philippines — while three other senior officers donned the next higher rank, producing the country’s first female commodore.
Santos received his fourth star from Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana in a ceremony held at the Department of National Defense (DND) headquarters in Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City on Monday.
On Tuesday, Santos presided the donning of rank ceremony for Major General Roberto Ancan who was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant General (3-star); Brigadier General Ernesto Torres Jr. to Major General (2-star); and Navy Captain Luzviminda Camacho to Commodore (1-star) at the AFP General Headquarters in Camp Aguinaldo.
Santos’ ad interim appointment was approved by President Duterte effective January 14 after he assumed as the 53rd AFP Chief on January 4, succeeding the now retired General Noel Clement.
Military honors at the AFP General Headquarters Canopy were accorded to the newly promoted general after the ceremony.
Meanwhile, Ancan is the current commander of the Cebu City-based Central Command (CentCom). He previously led the 1st Infantry Division based in Zamboanga del Sur. He is a member of the Philippine Military Academy “Hinirang” Class of 1987.
Torres, on the other hand, is the current commander of the AFP Civil Relations Service. He previously led the Joint Task Force Haribon based in Davao City and served as deputy commander of the Eastern Mindanao Command (EastMinCom). He is a product of the PMA “Makatao” Class of 1989.
Lastly, Camacho made history as the first female commodore of the Philippine Navy, according to Captain Jonathan Zata, AFP public affairs office chief.
Commodore is a Navy rank which is equivalent to Brigadier General (1-star general) in the Army and Air Force.
Camacho is the current and first female chief of the AFP Office for Legislative Affairs.
She also made her mark as the first woman to command a Navy ship, and first female commander of peacekeepers sent by the Philippines to Haiti in 2013.
According to Zata, the promotion of generals and senior officers in the military signify the advancement in their career as soldiers.
“It also implies the bigger and more crucial responsibilities that they have to carry towards the attainment of AFP’s mission,” he added.