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Murdered general's son named new Army chief

President Benigno Aquino III has picked Maj. Gen. Emmanuel Bautista as the next commander of the Philippine Army, replacing Lt. Gen. Arturo Ortiz who will be retiring on Nov. 13 when he reaches the mandatory retirement age of 56.

"His (Bautista) record has been exemplary, both in the field and in staff positions," said deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte Tuesday in announcing Aquino's pick for the next Army chief.

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Bautista is the son of Brig. General Teodulfo Bautista, who was killed by Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) rebels who pretended to surrender in Sulu in 1977. An Army camp in the province is named after the elder Bautista.

The younger Bautista, a member of Philippine Military Academy (PMA) Class of 1981, is currently the commander of the 3rd Infantry Division responsible for peace and security operations in Central Visayas, which is composed of the provinces of Bohol, Cebu, Negros Oriental, and Siquijor. He will assume his new position on Nov. 9.

"With his appointment, the President believes that the Philippine Army will be able to build on the foundation of reforms instituted by Bautista’s predecessors in the Philippine Army, and will continue these reforms while orienting the Army to be a force for the maintenance of peace," Valte said.

Reached by GMA News Online, Bautista said of his new designation: "I am honored and humbled by the designation. I will take it as a challenge and motivation to do good for the Army."

Bautista said he would be focusing on two subject matters soon as he assumes the top Army post: the Internal Peace and Security Plan-Bayanihan and the Army Transformation Road Map.

He said he would be elaborating on these during the Army change-of-command Wednesday at Fort Bonifacio.

In welcoming the President's designation of Bautista, military information chief Col. Arnulfo Marcelo Burgos said: "With the Aquino government committed in shifting the focus of peace and security efforts on the people, MGen. Bautista led the formulation of the AFP medium term plan Bayanihan through the conduct of a series of conferences and workshops involving various stakeholders. The 6-year plan involves innovative approaches and paradigm shifts and is now the blueprint of the AFP in winning the peace."

Second Army chief of PNoy

Bautista, 53, is the second commanding general of the Philippine Army to be appointed by Aquino, who assumed office in June 2010.

Bautista, who has been decorated seven times in combat, is known as the brains behind the military's Internal Peace and Security Plan, also known as “Bayanihan."

"He shepherded the development of the plan from its conceptualization, development, writing, launching and implementation," Valte said. "The plan involves innovative approaches and paradigm shifts and is now the blueprint of the Armed Forces of the Philippines in winning the peace."

Bautista is also a graduate of the Joint & Combined Warfighting Course at the Joint Forces Staff College, Virginia, USA; the Grade II Staff and Tactics Course in New Zealand; as well as a Masters Degree in Business Administration from the University of the Philippines, Diliman.— Amita O. Legaspi/KBK/RSJ, GMA News


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