HONOR… SERVICE… PATRIOTISM…
Living by the standards of professionalism, selfless service and heroic bravery, the Filipino soldiers continue to adhere to what they are mandated to do, “Protect the People and the State.”
Western Mindanao Command is composed of Filipino soldiers who play a major role in advancing peace and development in the society. By utilizing its land, air, and naval capabilities, it continues to maintain stability of the internal security in its area of responsibility.
Western Mindanao Command’s active participation in the Whole-of-Nation Approach helped sustain a peaceful environment which contributed to progress in the society. This approach encouraged various stakeholders to establish active partnership with the Command in order to reinforce the advocacy of peace and development in Western Mindanao.
TRANSITION TO HISTORY
Western Mindanao Command’s untiring commitment to peace and development can be traced back to as far as the 1950s. Since then, it continues to address security threats and implement peace initiatives in order to ensure a safe society for the people to reside.
Going through the pages of history, the concept of security and defense of Mindanao under a military command dates back to the time the Philippine Army was formally organized by virtue of the National Defense Act of 1935. To efficiently carry-out the provisions of this act, the country was divided into ten military districts, with the security of the entire island of Mindanao placed under the jurisdiction of the 10th Military District. In December 1950, with the inclusion of Palawan in its Area of Responsibility, this District became the 4th Military Area.
With the birth of the secessionist movement in the early 70’s, Southwest Command was formed to take care of South Western Mindanao and Palawan, while Central Mindanao Command covered the rest of Mindanao. In later years, Southwest Command was renamed as the Southern Command and was activated pursuant to General Headquarters, Armed Forces of the Philippines General Orders Number 733, dated 01 May 1976. With its activation, its primary mission is to totally secure and defend the entire Mindanao Island and the island provinces of Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi from both internal and external threats.
With its 30 long years of existence, Southern Command evolved with the various challenges throughout the years and emerged as the most responsive, effective and resilient Area Command of the Armed Forces of the Philippines. While the other Unified Commands confront the Local Communist Movement within their respective areas of responsibility, Southern Command confronts a complexity of threat groups that are widely dispersed, that calls for dynamism in the conduct of internal security operations in Southern Philippines.
Thus, on 15 July 2006, GENERAL GENEROSO S SENGA, the former Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, approved the concept of dividing Southern Command into two Unified Commands, namely: the Western Mindanao Command and the Eastern Mindanao Command. The Southern Command was subsequently deactivated to pave the way for the activation of Western Mindanao Command pursuant to General Headquarters, Armed Forces of the Philippines, General Orders Number 1035, dated 23 August 2006 with LTGEN EUGENIO V CEDO as its first Commander effective 28 August 2006. It was also during this date that the area covering the provinces of Basilan, Sulu, Tawi-Tawi, Lanao, Misamis Occidental, and the whole Zamboanga Peninsula, was officially turned-over to Western Mindanao Command as its area of responsibility.
From then on, Western Mindanao Command was able to address all the challenges in its area of responsibility under the sterling leadership of respectable commanders.
On 01 February 2013, the Armed Forces of the Philippines implemented an operational reconfiguration to make the current Internal Peace and Security Plan campaign more responsive to the unfolding security situation in Mindanao. As a result, Maguindanao, Sultan Kudarat and part of North Cotabato were included under its area of responsibility.
Since then, as the Armed Forces of the Philippines shifts to its high gear for the IPSP “Bayanihan” campaign, Western Mindanao Command set the pace with its paradigm shift from winning wars to winning the peace thru people-centered and whole-of-nation approaches under the leadership of outstanding military officers. It is during this chapter in the history of the Command when the fight against all threat groups became more focused, stakeholders’ engagements were more intensified, and cooperation and collaboration with other agencies and other partners became more synchronized so that people in respective communities will be peaceful and ready for further development.
With the conclusion of the IPSP “Bayanihan” in 2016, the Western Mindanao Command updated its campaign to align with the AFP’s Development Support and Security Plan “Kapayapaan” 2017-2022, or simply the DSSP, which aims to sustain the gains of the IPSP by “Sustaining the Peace” thru Whole-of-Nation Approach that seeks to bring about a concerted efforts towards national peace and security and promote a shared concept of security among all stakeholders.
It was in 2017 when General Carlito G Galvez took over command of the WestMinCom to steer it to where the command has never been before. It was during his stint when the Filipino soldiers proved to the world that it will never tolerate terrorism to triumph while ensuring that the human rights of the Filipino people are protected especially when Martial Law was declared at the onset of the Marawi Siege on 23 May 2017 until the liberation of the city on 22 October 2017.
With the assumption of General Arnel B Dela Vega as its 10th Commander on 23 May 2018, Western Mindanao Command continuously endeavored to adhere to the interplay of security, development, and good governance as the main component of its strategic framework in addressing the different threats and threat groups confronting the region.
Still, the primary thrust of the campaign is to end the menace brought by various threat groups to the area of responsibility. It also highlights the direction to support the present Administration’s thrusts and campaigns against illegal drugs, corruption, and other criminalities that is embedded in the Executive Order No. 70 that was signed by President Rodrigo Roa Duterte on 04 December 2018.