PRESIDENT Duterte has designated AFP Southern Luzon Command chief Lt. Gen. Gilbert Gapay as the new commander of the 97,000-strong Philippine Army, vice Lt. Gen. Macairog Alberto.
Gapay, a member of the Philippine Military Academy class of 1986, will assume the top Army post tomorrow when Alberto, his PMA classmate, reaches the mandatory retirement age of 56.
“Gen. Gapay is highly revered and emulated, having rose through the military hierarchy after graduating No. 1 in the Philippine Military Academy ‘Sinagtala’ Class of 1986,” said AFP spokesman Brig. Gen. Edgard Arevalo.
Arevalo described Gapay as a “well-rounded general officer who has excelled in the domains of operations, training, and resource management.”
“He has served with distinction in various sensitive positions in both garrison and field assignments at the Philippine Army and the General Headquarters,” Arevalo added.
Arevalo said Gapay “possesses both the expertise and experience in command, leadership, and management” that he said are “essential” in leading the Philippine Army, which is in the forefront in the fight against communist, terrorist and other threat groups, adding Gapay’s “attributes of integrity and competence is beyond reproach.”
Before assuming command of the Lucena City-based Solcom in January this year, Gapay served as the commander of the Army’s Mechanized Infantry Division in Tarlac.
Before that, he served as the deputy commander of the AFP Eastern Mindanao Command based in the President’s hometown of Davao City and concurrent commander of the AFP’s Joint Task Force Haribon, a counter-terrorist force.
Gapay also played a big role in the capture of Camp Abubakar, the headquarters of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front in Maguindanao, during the government’s all-out war against the rebel group in 2000.
The MILF signed a peace agreement with the government in 2014. The Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao had been established as part of the peace pact.