AFP Chief lauds Salamat’s leadership in Northern Luzon Command

CAMP AQUINO, Tarlac City — Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) lauded the significant accomplishments of Northern Luzon Command (NOLCOM) under the leadership of outgoing commander Lieutenant General Emmanuel Salamat.

In his speech during the Change of Command Ceremony, AFP Chief of Staff General Benjamin Madrigal Jr. recognized Salamat’s efforts and contribution to NOLCOM and the country. 

According to Madrigal, NOLCOM remained unyielding in expanding peace and exemplifying the nation’s ownership and determination in safeguarding the maritime and strategic interests in the northern parts of the country making sure that every island is accounted for. 

He specifically cited various maritime security operations covering the areas of Bajo de Masinloc, Luzon Strait and Philippine Rise to ensure maritime presence, domain awareness and governance. 

“In collaboration with different local government units and stakeholders, LtGen Salamat had personally led and supervised the conduct of the biggest multi-agency flotilla and first all-Filipino maritime expedition, oceanic buoy casting and flag marker laying in the Philippine Rise,” Madrigal stated. 

Said expedition marked the first declaration of a portion of the Philippine Rise as a protected area. 

Relative to this, the chief of staff highlighted the enhanced security and enforcement of maritime law in Batanes that guarantee the regular visits of maritime patrols and troop. 

“A fisherfolks’ shelter was also constructed in the country’s northernmost island—Mavulis, internationally known as Y’ami, in a bid to provide refuge and safety to our fishermen during inclement weather,” he furthered. 

Aside from these, Madrigal noted NOLCOM’s continuous efforts to expand peace by extending military influence in indigent and far-flung communities dubbed as NOLCOM ‘3K’ Campaign Plan.

“The program’s successful implementation yielded significant results on the reduction of communist terrorist groups’ armed capabilities, dismantling of the Southern Front Committee and weakening of Kilusang Larangang Gerilya (KLG) Ifugao and KLG Caraballo,” he stressed. 

In terms of stakeholder engagements, various All-in-One Bayanihan activities were conducted to render social services to the people of Northern and Central Luzon, to cater their needs and to alleviate them from adversities.

“This provision of support efforts to the geographically isolated and displaced areas had also contributed to the increased rate of rebel returnees. NOLCOM’s quest to eradicate insurgency has proven that no guards are ever lowered,” Madrigal explained. 

He added community support program immersions were conducted to pursue peace building efforts and local peace initiatives. 

He likewise noted the outgoing commander’s direction and guidance in the conduct of various humanitarian assistance and disaster response operations during the onslaught of Typhoons Josie, Ompong and Rosita. 

Moreover, Madrigal mentioned the smooth flow of the conduct of search and rescue operations after the 6.1 magnitude earthquake in Central Luzon. 

“Allow me then to take this opportunity to commend the sterling leadership of LtGen Salamat. Team NOLCOM had surely traversed its way beyond the horizon and has proven that nothing is impossible with warriors whose hearts are set to answer the call of duty,” he said.