Major General Carlito Galvez Jr, the new Western Mindanao Command chief, brings his rich combat and administrative experience to the critical military post
CRITICAL POST. Major General Carlito Galvez Jr assumes leadership of the Armed Forces of the Philippines Western Mindanao Command. Photo by Richard Falcatan/Rappler
A battle-seasoned general is the new chief of a critical military command in Mindanao.
Major General Carlito Galvez Jr replaced Western Mindanao Command (Wesmincom) chief Lieutenant General Mayoralgo dela Cruz in a change of command ceremony Tuesday morning, January 17.
Dela Cruz is moving to the headquarters in Manila to become the military's inspector general.
Galvez now heads the military command responsible for fighting local terrorist groups and protecting peace talks with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), two areas that President Rodrigo Duterte had directed the military to focus on.
The 53-year-old Galvez brings to the post a rich combat and administrative experience dealing with threat groups in one of the most violent areas in the country, as the Duterte administration strives to implement a peace deal with the MILF.
Galvez had served as the commander of the 6th Infantry Division based in Maguindanao. He was then tasked to protect the government's ceasefire with the MILF based in the province, and to deal with various peace spoilers such as the MILF breakaway group, the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF).
Galvez had worked with MILF leaders to keep the ceasefire intact after the January 2015 Mamasapano bloodbath that killed elite cops and sparked national outrage.
Galvez also fought the Abu Sayyaf Group in Basilan when he became the youngest commander of the 104th infantry brigade from 2012 to 2013. He led military operations to prevent rogue members of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) based in Basilan from reinforcing the fighters led by Habier Malik during the Zamboanga siege in 2013.
He also served critical administrative positions. Before getting the 6th ID post, Galvez was AFP deputy chief for operations and, before that, Wesmincom's deputy commander for the peace process.
Galvez is a member of the Philippine Military Academy Class of 1985.