Former PSG exec appointed head of elite Army counter-terror unit

The former deputy commander of the Presidential Security Group (PSG) has been appointed as the new commanding officer of the Special Forces Regiment (SFR) (Airborne), one of the Philippine Army (PA)’s most elite counter-terrorism units.

Col. Ferdinand Napuli assumed the post during the change-of-command ceremonies headed by PA chief Lt. Gen. Romeo Brawner Jr. during short ceremonies in Fort Magsaysay, Nueva Ecija on Wednesday.

“Incoming SFR(A) Commander Col. Ferdinand B. Napuli, previously designated as deputy commander of the Presidential Security Group, received the SFR(A) command symbol from CGPA (Commanding General Philippine Army) as he took the helm of the regiment from outgoing acting regiment commander, Col. Eliglen F. Villaflor,” Army spokesperson Col. Xerxes Trinidad said in a statement Thursday.

Both officers are members of the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) Class of 1992.

Trinidad said Napuli is a member of Special Forces Operations Course Class 70 and held key positions related to military operations, intelligence, and civil-military operations.

The new SFR(A) commander also commanded the 19th Special Forces Company and eventually became the commanding officer of the 3rd Special Forces Battalion from 2009 to 2012.

Napuli also served as the Commandant of the Special Forces School in 2014.

“He is also well experienced in education and training after holding key posts at the PMA and Combat Arms School of the Philippine Army’s Training and Doctrine Command. Col. Napuli holds a Master in National Security Administration from the National Defense College of the Philippines and a Master in Public Management from the University of the Philippines. He also holds a Postgraduate Degree in Arts from New Zealand’s Massey University,” Trinidad said.

Meanwhile, Villaflor will return to his earlier post as deputy regiment commander. Trinidad said Villaflor instituted key projects geared at making SFR(A) more relevant and responsive to the fast-changing security landscape of the country.

He spearheaded the creation of the first Filipino-designed parachute, the Philippine Army Maneuverable Canopy “Haribon”, and the enhancement of the regiment’s riverine capability through the procurement of platforms and scuba equipment.

The regiment, under his leadership, also conducted combined bilateral training activities such as the annual “Salaknib” with the US Army Pacific in March 2022 and “Kasangga” with the Australian Defense Force last month.

“I am grateful to Col. Villaflor, for his sterling leadership while looking over the morale and welfare of the paratroopers. This right blend of courage and determination we also see in Col. Napuli,” Brawner said.

The PA chief likewise called on SFR(A) troopers to remain steadfast in their mission to serve the people and secure the land.

Source: Philippines News Agency

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