AFP special forces units now under one command

MANILA — The Armed Forces of the Philippines on Sunday activated the AFP Special Operations Command (AFPSOCOM), which effectively places control of all special operation units of major services under one command.

AFP chief-of-staff Gen. Rey Leonardo Guerrero said the activation of AFPSOCOM was the “result of lessons learned in the Zamboanga City attack in 2013 and the Marawi siege in 2017″.

“I have personally seen the need for a joint SOCOM, having been a Brigade, Division, and Area Commander. In the Eastern Mindanao Command, I saw the need for a single unit that would oversee the proper employment of the different major service special operations forces deployed in the area,” he added.

“I expect that all of the gaps and challenges we encountered in joint operations involving our SOFs will be addressed with our activation of the AFPSOCOM. (These) organizational improvements will ensure that the AFP remains responsive and adaptive to current and emerging challenges in the global security environment,” Guerrero stressed.

Lt. Col. Emmanuel Garcia, AFP public affairs chief, said the AFPSOCOM is headquartered in Fort Magsaysay in Nueva Ecija, adding that the activation process took place last April 6.

With the AFPSOCOM now online, the former Special Operations Command was deactivated and its officers and enlisted personnel form the core of the new command.

Garcia said AFPSOCOM will take command and supervision of the Special Operations Wing of the Air Force, the Naval Special Operations Group from the Navy; the Army’s Scout Ranger Regiment, the Army’s Special Forces Regiment and Light Reaction Regiment; and the Joint Special Operations Group of the AFP General Headquarters.

“We are all very thankful because our dream of being under one umbrella has been realized. This has been our dream because we know the intricacies and peculiarities of special operations,” AFPSOCOM head, Maj. Gen. Ronnie Evangelista, said.

“Now that we have an AFP special operations command controlling special operations units down the line, the utilization of special operations forces will be more efficient and effective,” he added.