June 27, 2022 @ 8:24 PM 2 months ago

Retired General Jose “Boy” Faustino Jr., the 56th Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, was appointed by President-elect Bongbong Marcos (BBM) to be Senior Undersecretary and Officer-in-Charge of the Department of National Defense.

According to Presidential Spokesperson-designate Atty. Trixie Angeles-Cruz, General Faustino “would later assume as Secretary on Nov. 13, 2022, in compliance with the one-year ban on the appointment of retired military officers under Republic Act 6975.”

She explained that General Faustino’s situation was similar to that of current DILG Secretary Eduardo Año, whom President Duterte designated as officer-in-charge but later assumed the Secretary position once the appointment ban expired.

While in the AFP, General Faustino was nicknamed “Tuklaw,” in reference to venomous snakes, as were his predecessor BGen. Arrojado who was “Cobra,” and others once they assumed command of the 35th “Makamandag” Infantry Battalion, one of the Philippine Army’s most combative battalions against terrorists in Mindanao.

After graduating from the Philippine Military Academy in 1988, General Faustino joined the elite First Scout Ranger Regiment and was deployed throughout the country’s conflict zones. He previously led the 11th Intelligence Service Unit in Davao City and the 501st Infantry Brigade in Sulu.

Thanks to his predecessor, BGen. Allan Arrojado, who was like a brother to me, I had the privilege to become friends with the soon-to-be SND when he was still a colonel leading the 501st Brigade of the Philippine Army in Sulu.

There, I witnessed General Faustino’s commitment to his job as well as the respect he received from his superiors, peers, and subordinates. We discussed a variety of topics, including strategies for combating terrorism in Sulu.

We also discussed family and everyday issues, just like normal friends. I never imagined he’d one day become the nation’s top defense official.

When I met him again a few years ago while he was still commandant of cadets at the Philippine Military Academy, he said he preferred being out in the field, that he missed it and wished to return, which he eventually did when he took command of the 10th Infantry Division in Davao, the Eastern Mindanao Command, and the AFP as a whole.

During his military career, he was credited with dismantling va­rious New People’s Army formations and shadow governments across the country, as well as pushing the “Whole-of-Nation” approach to ending local communist armed conflict.

He is also well-versed in a wide range of peace and security initiatives, not only in Mindanao but throughout the country, having served in different capacities in va­rious AFP units.

Outgoing Secretary of National Defense Delfin Lorenzana expressed confidence that General Faustino would continue the department’s momentum in internal security and external defense operations, as well as the modernization of the armed forces and the entire defense organization, because of the latter’s years of dedicated service as a military officer.