Central Command (CENTCOM)
The mission of Central Command (CENTCOM), Armed Forces of the Philippines, is to conduct joint operations against threats in the Visayas in order to establish a secured environment, and assist local government agencies in their development activities.
Growth of the insurgency in the Visayas in the 1980s made the area strategically important to the Armed Forces of the Philippines. In addition to the AFP's counter insurgency program, there was an increasingly clear need for development in the region.
In response to the emerging threats, the AFP saw a need to restructure and tailor its forces in order to effectively address the situation. In 1981, the Regional Unified Commands were organized as the controlling operational headquarters for counter-insurgency operations, with each region in the archipelago being covered with a Regional Unified Command. In the Visayas, which had 3 regions, 3 Regional Unified Commands were formed: Regional Unified Command 6, 7 and 8.
In 1987, the AFP made a decision to again restructure, based on the observation that the Regional Unified Commands needed to be streamlined in order to optimize utilization of personnel and assets of the AFP. A Joint Air-Ground-Sea Force was conceived to perform not only security operations, but also to serve as a major contributor in the development efforts of the National Government in the countryside. On 29 March 1988, the Visayas Command (VISCOM) was activated pursuant to Letter of Instruction Number 8, also known as Pagbabago Echo. VISCOM was intended to exercise control over all military and paramilitary forces deployed to suppress anti-government forces in its area of responsibility and to sustain other units that supported the internal security efforts there.
On 1 December 2001, VISCOM was reorganized and redesignated as Central Command (CENTCOM), pursuant to General Orders Number 8, General Headquarters, Armed Forces of the Philippines, dated 3 January 2002. This reorganization was in line with the AFP Modernization Program, and was designed to enhance command and control essential for a compact, effective, efficient and responsive organization to properly address the insurgency problems and maintain cohesiveness and unity of efforts of all AFP forces in the area to combat existing threats.
In August 2008, the CENCTOM pledged to contain the insurgency on Negros Island by the end of that year. In light of this mission, Lieutenant General Pedro I. Inserto, Commander, Central Command, reminded all military commanders on the ground, from brigade to company level, to put into practice absolute respect for human. According to Lieutenant General Inserto: "Soldiers who will be caught committing human rights violations will be dealt with punitive actions, there should be absolute respect for human rights."
CENTCOM proposed to solve the insurgency problem in Negros through convergence of local government units, line government agencies, non-government organizations, media, religious groups, the military and the Philippine National Police. At the same time there would be no let up on combat operations to eradicate the New People's Army. Conducting developmental projects (infrastructure, livelihood projects, etc) with the help of the local government units in the area would encourages barangay residents not to support armed groups. CENTCOM would also offer cash rewards and livelihood assistance in coordination with local government agencies, through Balik-Baril program, to surrendered armed rebels and for recovered firearms.
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