Lt. Gen. Ernesto Torres Jr., newly-installed commander of the Northern Luzon Command (Nolcom), vowed to sustain and strengthen efforts on addressing the internal security and even territorial defense challenges confronting the country.
When he formally assumed the new post as the 32nd commander of Nolcom on Monday, Torres committed to exerting his utmost efforts in leading the command as one of the key units of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).
“I commit to doing my level best to live up to the expectations that this position entails, all in God’s graces. This is what is expected of me, and rest assured that I shall give nothing less,” he said during the virtual change of command ceremony.
Torres replaced acting Nolcom chief Major General Andrew Costelo, who is now the commander of the 7th Infantry “Kaugnay” Division, Philippine Army.
Through the whole-of-nation approach spearheaded by the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC), he said the Nolcom will continue to aggressively support the programs to end internal dissension through a progressive and sustainable campaign that would address its root causes.
He called for the support of the local chief executives, non-government organizations (NGOs), media, civil society groups, and other stakeholders for continuous collaboration and cooperation toward ending local communist armed conflict.
“I humbly ask for your untiring and unwavering support, cooperation, dedication, and commitment. Through these efforts, we can collectively put pressure on what remains of the communist terrorist groups (CTGs), and other armed groups, to shun the use of arms and violence, and replace such a culture of violence with a culture of security, peace, and development,” Torres said.
Aside from addressing the country’s internal security, he likewise stressed the importance of securing the sovereignty of the state and the integrity of the national territory.
“While much of our efforts are focused on internal security, we shall not lose sight, however of our constitutional mandate of protecting the people and securing the sovereignty of the state and the integrity of our national territory,” he added.
As defenders of the nation, Torres asked all the joint task force commanders and task group commanders components under Nolcom to always be abreast of the regional situation and development.
“As we remain steadfast in our internal security operations and ever vigilant in securing the territorial integrity of our national territory, we should be also prepared to confront an unseen adversary such as climate change and the current pandemic we are facing,” he said.
Torres encouraged everyone to be good and professional at all times.
“As your commander, I call on every soldier, airman, and sailor to always maintain a balance by developing a character that is, “loved by the people but feared by the enemy,” he said.
Torres is a member of the Philippine Military Academy “Makatao” Class of 1989.
Fresh from the Philippine Military Academy, he served as a platoon leader and a personnel officer in the 44th Infantry Battalion of the 1st Infantry Division in 1989.
His tactical proficiency and brilliance were recognized by his alma mater when he served as an instructor and a tactical officer in Philippine Military Academy in 1995.
In 2002, he became the deputy to the assistant chief of staff for Intelligence G2 in the 2nd Infantry Division.
In 2013, he became the assistant chief of staff for Operations G3 in the 7th Infantry Division.
Torres also assumed various civil-military operations positions.
He led the Research and Special Studies Branch of the Plans and Programs Division of the Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Civil-Military Operations J7, AFP in 2000.
He also became the operations officer in East Timor in 2001 as a part of the Philippine United Nations Contingent.
In 2006, Torres was appointed as spokesperson of the Philippine Army as well as the chief of the Office of the Army Chief Public Affairs and eventually, chief of the Public Affairs Office and spokesperson of the AFP in 2008.
In 2009, he headed the Civil Affairs Division of the Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Civil-Military Operations J7, AFP.
Source: Philippines News Agency