Burgos Jr. relinquishes Nolcom post after 37 years of distinguished service


The outgoing commander of the Armed Forces of the Philippines Northern Luzon Command (AFP- Nolcom) relinquished his post on Wednesday after reaching the mandatory retirement age of 56.

Lt. Gen. Arnulfo Marcelo Burgos Jr., who logged more than 37 years in service, was replaced in an acting capacity by Nolcom Deputy Commander Brig. Gen. Andrew Costelo during a ceremony presided over by the Armed Forces Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Andres Centino.

Costelo would only hold the post for days as he would be installed as the commander of the Army’s 7th Infantry Division based in Nueva Ecija this coming Friday.

“Back then I could only hope that together we could accomplish our big dreams. Now I look back at what we have achieved together, and I am just overwhelmed with pride. We were faced with an extraordinary challenge of accomplishing our mission amid a pandemic. Did we ever slow down? We did not. We put on our masks, followed safety protocols, and carried on,” Burgos said.

During the term of Burgos Jr, three guerilla fronts were dismantled and a total of 2,285 members of the New People’s Army were either killed, captured or have surrendered.

The Nolcom significantly reduced the rebels’ ability to commit atrocities with the seizure of a total of 340 firearms along with 300 improvised explosive devices.

Air and naval assets under the operational command of the Nolcom were also able to conduct more than a thousand flying hours of maritime patrols, maritime air surveillance and support to maritime law enforcement operations (MARLEN) and almost 2,000 hours of maritime surface patrols and sealift support operations.

A total of 13 sovereign markers have been installed in uninhabited islands in Batanes and Babuyan Group of Islands for security and strong assertion against foreign intrusion. To further assert Philippine sovereignty, a solidarity maritime patrol was also conducted in Commemoration of the Philippine Rise on June 12, 2021.

A desalination plant was also constructed in Mavulis Island to provide a potable source of water to support fishermen and the troops deployed in the area.

Meanwhile, the Nolcom promptly responded during calamities and Covid-19 pandemic. Thousands of individuals were evacuated and rescued during the onslaught of typhoon Ulysses, Maring and Kiko.

Nolcom units also supported local government units and other stakeholders in checkpoint operation, food and monetary assistance distribution, mobile patrol and information operation to help mitigate the spread of Covid-19.

Rebel returnees were ensured of various aid under the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (ECLIP). They were provided with support in their new lives, which also allowed the command to sustain its operational gains and contribute to development goals of the government.

As the Nolcom area is home to 30 percent of the country’s Indigenous People (IP), Burgos Jr. led the activation of an IP Affairs Desk to sustain their campaign against the exploitation of our IPs living in North and Central Luzon.

This is the first and only desk created for IPs at the Unified Command Level in the whole AFP.

In enhancing organizational efficiency, the Nolcom was accorded a Gold Trailblazer Award of the AFP Transformation Roadmap Institutionalization Pathway and received the highest rating among all Unified Commands.

The Internal Auditor of the AFP also reported NOLCOM’s excellent handling of its funds. The AFP Inspector General, on the other hand, declared that Nolcom has the highest grade of 95.82 percent among all Unified Commands and rated 96.78 percent or Outstanding in all three areas of Leadership and Management; Discipline Law and Order and Morale and Welfare Survey.

Centino lauded Burgos, his classmate at the Philippine Military Academy’s (PMA) Maringal Class of 1988, for what he has accomplished in over 37 years of military service.

“My classmate and my friend for many years, the men and women of the AFP, the Philippine Army, and your classmates at PMA can never be prouder with what you have attained, serving various capacities in the AFP,” Centino said.

Image courtesy of AFP Photo

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