CAMP EVANGELISTA, Cagayan de Oro City – In a simple Change of Command Ceremony, Major General Andres Castor Centino AFP officially assumed command as the new Commander of the 4th Infantry “Diamond” Division, Philippine Army promising to sustain the government’s campaign to end the local communist armed conflict. The ceremony was held at the 4ID’s Alcoseba Hall in Camp Evangelista, Patag, Cagayan de Oro City on Friday, May 29, 2020.

MGen Centino addressed his subordinate commanders to be up to the standard of excellence that 4ID is known for, and to work as a team with dedication and professionalism. The 4ID has gained headway in the campaign against the communists armed group but cited that there is a need to do more to finish the task of serving the people and protecting our territory.

LtGen Gilbert I Gapay, the Commanding General of the Philippine Army, presided the turnover of leadership from the outgoing 4ID Commander, MGen Franco Nemesio M Gacal AFP, to the incoming 4ID Chief. The ceremony was also attended by LtGen Jose Faustino Jr AFP, Commander of the Eastern Mindanao Command, brigade and battalion commanders under the 4ID.

According to MGen Centino, ending insurgency takes more than just confronting the armed component of the Communists Terrorist Group (CTG). It needs the collaboration among partner agencies. “I enjoin our partners in the civilian bureaucracy to continue our collaborative efforts in harnessing our skills and capabilities to address the scourge of insurgency,” Centino bared.

The new commander assures the people of Northern Mindanao and Caraga regions that under his leadership, as the newly installed 4ID chief, he will continue to be their reliable partner in the implementation of Executive Order Number 70.

“To our stakeholders in Northern Mindanao and Caraga region, inter-agency partners, local government executives, officials, and constituents, be assured that 4ID will continue to be your committed partner to serve our people and secure our community against the local communist threats, including the threat posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. We will be your reliable partner in nation building in times of peace and in times of calamities and we will exert more effort to empower people and our communities especially in areas affected by conflict,” Centino added.

Centino assures the outgoing 4ID Commander, “we will put premium in the improvement of training systems, leader’s development program, Non-Commissioned Officers empowerment, Reserve Force development, and Civilian Human Resource Component strengthening.” “I will sustain your gains and ensure that what you have set out to do shall come into fruition,” addressed Centino to Gacal.

During the ceremony, accomplishment of the outgoing 4ID chief were presented. Under MGen Gacal’s leadership for more than a year, the 4ID were able to clear 151 CNT affected barangays; recovery of 351 high-powered and 386 low-powered firearms; seizure of 205 enemy camps; neutralization of 93 NPA personalities thru encounters; surrender of 1,807 CNTs; withdrawal of support from the Communist Terrorist Group (CTG) of 4,754 Underground Mass Organization (UGMO) members; and the activation of 10 CAA companies that eventually led to the clearing of Guerilla Front 14.

“As the new division commander, we will engage the enemy hard and this will be my top operational priority. We will brace for the challenge ahead. Considering the limited time, we will be relentless in our pursuit against the insurgents. To the Diamond troopers, follow me, and I will lead you in winning the peace in the regions of Caraga and Northern Mindanao,” MGen Centino concluded.