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New Army chief Brawner eyes boost in troops’ competency on road to defeating rebels



Newly appointed Army chief Maj. Gen. Romeo Brawner Jr. said he seeks to enhance soldiers’ competency in war fighting, in order to meet President Rodrigo Duterte’s deadline to end communist insurgency by June next year.

“Magpo-focus tayo sa trabaho natin sa core competency which is war fighting, dun natin ide-develop ‘yung capability Army soldier and the Army as an organization,” Brawner told reporters.

This, he said, is aimed at finishing the task given by President Duterte to defeat the New People’s Army by the time the chief executive’s term ends.

“Force provider ang CGPA (commanding general, Philippine Army) eh, so ang puwede kong gawin is i-capacitate ‘yung sundalo so that we can finish the task,” Brawner said.

He expressed confidence that the Army will meet the goal as different government agencies under the National Task Force for Ending Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) are now bringing basic services to far-flung areas — a job that soldiers previously shouldered along with their traditional role of combat.

President Duterte appointed Brawner as Army chief on Tuesday, replacing Lt. Gen. Andres Centino who is now serving as Armed Forces chief of staff.

Brawner comes to the Army’s helm while concurrently serving as commander of the 4th Infantry Division, a Mindanao-based unit frequented by encounters with the NPA.

He was commanding the 4th ID when government troops killed top ranking NPA leader Jorge “Ka Oris” Madlos in Bukidnon last October 30.

But before enhancing competencies and meeting the deadline to end insurgency, Brawner said he would look into how to further improve health care, welfare, and the morale of soldiers and their families, as these form the troops’ foundation.

Brawner has more than two full years of military service left before he reaches mandatory retirement age on March 23, 2024.