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Military welcomes Duterte’s PSG chief

The military said yesterday Col. Rolando Bautista, being a true military professional, is a very good choice to secure incoming President Rodrigo Duterte as head of the Presidential Security Group (PSG).

Duterte on Sunday announced the appointment of Bautista, former Joint Task Group Basilan chief, as PSG commander.

“Col. Rolly Bautista is a classmate I have personally known since our cadet days being in the same company for four years. I also worked with him in various capacities in the field when we were assigned in the same area commands. In more than three decades of seeing him work, I can say he is undoubtedly hardworking, self sacrificing, a dedicated and committed serviceman,” said Brig. Gen. Restituto Padilla, spokesman of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).

He further described Bautista, a member of the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) “Sandiwa” class of 1985, is as a true military professional with uncompromising values.

“He will definitely make a good PSG commander,” said Padilla.

Col. Noel Detoyato, chief of AFP public affairs office, said Bautista is “a well rounded officer, an operations man and also adept in intelligence.”

Bautista, for his part, said “it’s an honor and pride to serve the incoming president.”

“Apparently, we have existing protocols and procedures on how to secure a president that we observe. These have been tested and institutionalized. But of course, there will be additions and innovations depending on the desire of the President,” he added.

Detoyato provided a brief bio sketch of Bautista, who is currently commander of the Army 104th Brigade based in Basilan. One of his significant operations resulted in the neutralization of a foreign bomb-making instructor and a Moroccan terrorist during an encounter in Al Barka, Basilan in December 2015.

“The bio sketch is an indicator that he is a very good choice,” according to Detoyato.

After graduation from PMA, Bautista joined the First Scout Ranger Regiment to be involved in the anti-insurgency drive against the New People’s Army in the late 80s.

He also served as a UN Military Observer in East Timor, became the commander of the 73rd Infantry Battalion covering the area of Davao City and Davao del Norte from Feb. 2005 to Feb. 2007, and continued to perform staff positions at 10th Infantry Division from Mar 2007 to July 2010.

He was the commander of Joint Task Force Gensan before he became the commander of Joint Task Group Basilan at the same time of 104th Infantry Brigade where he exceptionally reduced the capability of the Abu Sayyaf.