Viscom chief Arevalo retires, passes baton to Canlas

(L-R) Lt. Gen. Benedict Arevalo, outgoing Visayas Command chief, General Romeo Brawner AFP Chief of Staff, and Navy Commodore Oscar Canlas, the interim successor. (Dolly Yasa photo)

By Dolly Yasa

CEBU CITY—Lt. Gen. Benedict Arevalo formally retired from military service on Thursday as he turned 57, handing over Visayas Command leadership in ceremonies presided by General Romeo Brawner Jr., the Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces.

Having commanded the 303rd Brigade in Negros Occidental and the 3rd Infantry Division in Capiz, Arevalo concluded his military career at Visayas Command in Camp Lapu-Lapu City in Cebu. His tenure totaled 38 years, one month, and three days.

Commodore Oscar Canlas of the Navy steps in as officer in charge, awaiting the appointment of a permanent successor by President Marcos Jr., as stated by Brawner.

In his remarks, Brawner charged Canlas to uphold the mandates of VISCOM with dedication, overseeing the responsibilities of the interim position. VISCOM, which integrates the Army, Navy, and Air Force across three regions in the Visayas, stands as a “priority command” in the nation’s internal security operations.

Brawner lauded Arevalo’s achievements, noting his pivotal role in VISCOM’s high performance and resilience. Under Arevalo’s command, from November 14, 2022, to the end of his duty, VISCOM led 195 government-initiated encounters, neutralizing 670 rebels, including the surrender of 521 and the capture of numerous high-value individuals.

Arevalo’s parting advice to soldiers underscored the power of words in shaping relationships and events, particularly with stakeholders and the media. He urged the military to maintain politeness and use constructive language to positively influence situations and avoid conflicts.

On the anti-insurgency front, Arevalo exhorted brigade commanders to remain vigilant and proactive, highlighting the government-initiated nature of operations against insurgents.

Responding to his new role, Canlas affirmed his commitment to meet VISCOM’s direct requirements steadfastly.