January 30, 2023 @ 11:42 AM 2 months ago

 I believe most people in the media know Colonel Benjie Hao, the newly-installed commander of the Civil-Military Operations Regiment of the Philippine Army.

He is well-known especially to the Defense Press Corps, having previously served as chief of the Philippine Army’s Public Affairs Office. But I believe he followed the same public relations path for most of his career. Despite his roles in various capacities outside of the public eye, I periodically saw him on radio and television programs, podcasts, and the like.

While the new law, Republic Act 11709, which changes the terms of office of some AFP senior officers, is currently going through a rough patch, it is already being studied and discussed at length by Congress and the Armed Forces of the Philippines for amendments. This new law—or its consequences—seems to have suited Hao well. The reported rumblings in the military as a result of the legislation appeared to have subsided as a result of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.’s mass appointment of AFP star positions based on seniority. Officers from the Philippine Military Academy and Officers Candidate Classes 1990 and earlier are now being appointed to positions. Many of their juniors have been promoted ahead of them in the previous administration.

The appointment of Hao, a member of PMA “Bigkis Lahi” Class 1990, was a vindication of sorts for senior officers. The CMOR is a star-rank position, thus, when Colonel Hao receives his star before his birthday this year, he will serve a three-year term, or until the age of 59, when he retires from government service, as mandated by Republic Act No. 11709.

Hao finds the four-year long wait to be a “fulfilling experience” for three reasons.

         “First, the long wait helped me to know more about myself. Second, the long wait made me realize that there are people who really have trust and faith in me—those who wanted me to succeed. And third, I think the long wait allowed me to see many things in different contexts and perspectives,” he stated during the change of command ceremony.

The turnover of command from Acting CMOR commander Colonel Marces Gayat to Hao was held on January 26, 2023 at the CMOR Headquarters in Fort Bonifacio with Army Chief Lt. Gen. Romeo S. Brawner Jr. as presiding officer. Gayat assumes his previous post as Deputy Commander of CMOR and remains the Chief of its Ethical Standards and Public Accountability Office.

In his remarks,  Brawner praised  Gayat for exemplifying outstanding leadership in the unit, and  Hao for being an equally capable and competent leader to command the regiment.

         On behalf of my fellow members at the CMOR’s Multi-Sector Advisory Board, I would like to extend a cordial welcome to presumptive Brigadier General Benjie Hao. Rest assured that we are as eager as ever to help CMOR fulfill its mission and vision.