Monday, May 07, 2012

AFP to deactivate anti-coup unit

MANILA, Philippines - After abolishing its development arm, National Development Support Command (NADESCOM), the military will deactivate next its anti-coup unit National Capital Region Command (NCRCOM), sources revealed yesterday.

Military sources said NCRCOM might be scrapped upon the retirement of its commander Maj. Gen. Tristan Kison.

A graduate of Philippine Military Academy (PMA) class ’79, Kison will hang up his uniform on July 12.

“Talks are rife that the NCRCOM would be deactivated after General Kison bows out of the service,” a senior military officer told The STAR.

Another source confirmed plans to deactivate NCRCOM this year but revealed there is no formal order yet from the higher leadership. “As long as there are no orders (calling for the scrapping of NCRCOM), we will continue to do our duties,” the official said.

The plan to abolish NCRCOM is in line with the Defense Planning Guidance 2013-2018 issued by the Department of National Defense (DND) last year.

The planning guidance aims to incorporate “hard but necessary” force restructuring measures to ensure the efficient use of military resources.

Under the plan, a copy of which was obtained by The STAR, troops under NCRCOM would be placed under a new unit called Northern Command (Northcom).

Northcom will be activated in 2013 and will handle all military forces in Luzon except those in Palawan, which will be under the Western Command.

NCRCOM covers 16 cities, one municipality, and 1,695 barangays with a total population of around 12 million. The unit based in Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City is tasked to secure the seat of government.

Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) spokesman Col. Arnulfo Burgos Jr. could not confirm whether NCRCOM would indeed be deactivated in July.

Burgos, however, assured the military’s mission would not be jeopardized by the restructuring plan.

“We will make sure that the safety and security of the public will remain a primary concern. In case we decide to replace a unit, we will make sure that its responsibilities will not be left out,” Burgos said.

On Thursday, the military abolished NADESCOM, a unit that formed partnerships with private groups to implement development projects in far-flung areas.

The deactivation of NADESCOM came as the military is implementing security plan Bayanihan, which was supposed to focus on development projects. 

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Alexis Romero | The Philippine Star | May 7,2012 | Article Link

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