Thursday, July 12, 2012

AFP's new military force in Metro Manila activated Thursday

MANILA, Philippines - A new military task force that will secure Metro Manila and will replace the Armed Forces National Capital Region Command (NCRCOM) will be launched Thursday.

The inauguration of the Standing Joint Task Force NCR will coincide with the retirement of Maj. Gen. Tristan Kison, the incumbent commander of the NCRCOM.

The deactivation of the NCRCOM is in line with the Defense department’s planning guidance, which seeks to restructure the military to ensure the efficient use of resources.
Maj. Warden Zamora, spokesman of the NCRCOM, said the Standing Joint Task Force NCR would have the same functions as that of its predecessor.

He said the task force would also support the Philippine National Police in maintaining order in the metropolis. The task force would also secure the government’s seat of power and would also serve as an anti-coup unit.

Unlike the NCRCOM, which is handled by a three-star general, the Standing Joint Task Force NCR will be led by a one-star general.

“The Standing Joint Task Force NCR will be composed of the officers and personnel of the NCRCOM,” Zamora said.

Col. Manuel Ramiro, the deputy commander of the NCRCOM, will serve as acting commander of the task force.

The task force will report directly to the Armed Forces General Headquarters in Camp Aguinaldo.

Zamora said there are plans to transform the task force into a national maneuver force, which will deploy soldiers to areas that need additional troops.

The plan is to incorporate troops from elite units like the Joint Special Operations Group and the Light Reaction Battalion in the task force in 2014.

“But these are just plans and nothing is final yet,” Zamora said.

Under the Defense department’s planning guidance for 2013 to 2018, troops that used to belong to NCRCOM would be placed under a new unit called Northern Command (Northcom).

Northcom is expected to handle all military forces in Luzon except those in Palawan, which will still be under the Western Command. The Defense department wants Northcom activated by next year.

NCRCOM has been tasked to curb uprisings in Metro Manila and to support disaster response and civil disturbance management efforts.
It covers 16 cities, one municipality, and 1,695 barangays with a total population of around 12 million. The unit is based in Camp Aguinaldo in Quezon City and is tasked to secure the seat of the government.

Alexis Romero | The Philippine Star | July 11, 2012 | Article Link

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