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Anna Mae Yu Lamentillo

Dec 15, 2021

Who is AFP Chief Andres Centino?

Lieutenant General Andres Castor Centino was appointed last November as the new Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP). His first directive to the 150,000-strong military is to end the communist insurgency before the term of President Rodrigo Duterte ends.

In an interview, Lt. Gen. Centino told me that this will be his priority.

He recalls his early days in the service when, as a lieutenant in the Army, he had to lead soldiers, mostly older than him, in firefights against insurgents. He would give orders under fire and was placed in situations where no one could be sure of getting out alive or uninjured. It was a responsibility given to him, thus, he vowed to perform to the best of his ability.

Today, with the same resolve, he wants to accomplish the task at hand. He said that he will “ensure that the Armed Forces, with all its resources available, be able to comply with the mandate to end the local armed conflicts in the country.”

High regard for public service

AFP Chief Andres C. Centino

Lt. Gen. Centino grew up with high regard for public service, seeing his parents perform their jobs dutifully. His father was a military officer and his mother was a school teacher. They were his role models, thus, not only did he dream of entering government service, but also aspired to do his best.

His motivation also comes from the heroism, sacrifices, and professionalism shown by our soldiers in the field. He says they are in the worst conditions, but they still continue to do their jobs. He feels he owes it to them to give nothing but his best.

He is thankful that he has very loving and supportive wife and children, who even in his extended absences, continue to understand and appreciate the job that he does. He even dreams that his children would not only grow up to be responsible, law-abiding citizens, but would also give themselves in serving others.

Decorated military career

CHANGE OF COMMAND CEREMONY – Armed Forces of the Philippines Chief of Staff LtGen Andres C. Centino PA relinquishes his post as Commanding General of the Philippine Army to MGen Romeo S. Brawner Jr. PA in a Change of Command ceremony presided by Secretary of National Defense Delfin N. Lorenza on Friday, Dec. 10, 2021, at Fort Bonifacio in Taguig City. MGen Brawner Jr., will now lead the 100,000-strong Army personnel.

Prior to leading the country’s military, Lt. Gen. Centino’s feats were exemplary. Under his leadership, the 4th Infantry “Diamond” Division of the Philippine Army was adjudged as the “Fightingest Division” and best Army Unit in 2020.

He also effectively and efficiently performed in various command and staff positions such as the Commander of the 26th Infantry “Ever Onward” Battalion, 4th Infantry Division; Secretary Army General Staff; Chief of Staff, 4th Infantry Division; Commander, 401st Infantry “Unity” Brigade; and Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations, J3, AFP.

BLACK HAWK HELICOPTERS – Armed Forces of the Philippines Chief of Staff and concurrent Commanding General of the Philippine Army LtGen Andres C. Centino PA joins Secretary of National Defense Delfin N. Lorenzana in the formal acceptance, blessing, and turnover of five additional Black Hawk S-70i helicopters at the Clark Air Base on Friday, Dec. 3, 2021. Said Black Hawks are the third and final batch of S-70i helicopters. Sixteen units of these were ordered, with the first six delivered in November 2020, while the other five were received in October this year.

Lt. Gen. Centino graduated Cum Laude of Philippine Military Academy “Maringal” Class of 1988. He finished his Command and General Staff Course at the AFP Command and General Staff College, where he graduated as part of the top 10 of his class.

He is a holder of a master’s degree in Management from the University of the Philippines and a Master of Science degree in National Resource Strategy from the National Defense University, Washington, DC, United States. He is also a graduate of the Strategic Business Economics Program from the University of Asia and the Pacific.

He furthered his military leadership, intelligence, and war-fighting competencies by undergoing both local and foreign trainings such as the Basic Airborne Course; Infantry Officer Basic Course; VIP Security Operations Training; Scout Ranger Course, where he had graduated at the top of his class, Counter Intelligence Operations Course, Intelligence Officer Course; Military Intelligence Collection Course; 

Training Development Course; and Infantry Officer Advance Course.

A soldier more than a chief

HOSPITAL VISIT – AFP Chief of Staff LtGen Andres C. Centino PA visited and gave Christmas gifts to over 200 troops recovering at V Luna Medical Center, AFP Health Service Command on Wednesday, Dec. 8, 2021.

He may have reached the highest point of his career, but Lt. 

Gen. Centino’s statements in my interview proved that he will always be a faithful soldier through and through. He is one who is not oblivious to the hardships of the soldiers, especially those in the field.

‘COMBAT GENERAL’ – CGPA LGen Andres C. Centino PA, the ‘Combat General,’ in one of his visits to the soldiers at the frontlines and far-flung Forward Operation Detachment.

When he was the head of the Philippine Army, he visited the troops in the most remote patrol bases in the field, provided for their needs, and installed communication equipment. It was heartwarming for him to see the troops in high state of morale being visited by their commanding general for the first time.

He affirms that he will continue to give his wholehearted commitment to public service, stressing that “It is a calling and one has to give more to others than to oneself.”

As the AFP Chief of Staff, he aspires that the AFP continues to be the organization that our people can rely and depend on, and can be trusted to protect them from threats and respond to any calamities and disasters.

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