ILIGAN CITY — The former spokesperson of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) during the 2017 Marawi siege has taken over on Thursday afternoon as commander of the Army's 53rd Infantry Battalion based in Guipos town, Zamboanga del Sur.
Lieutenant Colonel Jo-arr Herrera replaced Lt. Col. Marlowe Patria in a change of command ceremony held at the battalion's headquarters in Camp Sabido, Barangay Poblacion.
Patria is set to take post as the assistant chief of staff for Civil Military Operations of the 1st Infantry Division in Labangan, Zamboanga del Sur.
Herrera served as the media's point person of the now dissolved Task Group Ranao during the first two months of the siege before he was replaced by then Lt. Col, now Brigadier General Romeo Brawner.
A member of the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) Class of 1999, Herrera is a ranger who topped his class in Psyops Officers Course in Fort Bragg, North Carolina, USA. He is a graduate of Master of Arts major in Social and Development Studies in UP Baguio.
He also completed his Command and Staff Course in Goh Keng Swee Command and Staff College, Singapore, a requirement for the position he now assumed. During his assumption speech, Herrera thanked and expressed his gratitude to the command for considering him as the commmanding officer of the 53IB.
He also stated the importance of collaboration and convergence among stakeholders; committment and courage of troops to accomplish the mandated task. He further vowed to continue the legacy of his predecessor.
Maj. Gen. Generoso “Gene” Ponio, Commander of 1ID and the presiding officer, congratulated and thanked Lt. Col. Patria, the outgoing battalion commander, for the accomplishments during his stint.
“I am confident and sure that Lt. Col. Herrera will steer this unit into greater heights with his experience and leadership capabilities”, said Ponio. “I also urge the stakeholders to trust and support the new battalion commander in its goal for a more peaceful and progressive Zamboanga del Sur”, added Ponio.