“New ISAFP chief fit for the job.”
This was the description issued by the Armed Forces of the Philippines about the incoming intelligence chief of the military, Brig. Gen. Macairog Alberto, one of two alumni of the Development Academy of the Philippines Graduate School of Public and Development Management under its Development and Security Programs who were recently appointed to sensitive positions in the military. This came even as the military braces for more challenges in the face of the ongoing conflict in Marawi City and signs of extremist activities reaching the country.
The other alumni, Alberto’s predecessor as intelligence chief, Maj. Gen. Ronald Villanueva, has, on the other hand, been designated as the new commander of the Philippine Army’s 4th Infantry Division following the transfer of its former commander, Maj. Gen. Benjamin Madrigal Jr., as head of the AFP’s Southern Luzon Command.
Col. Edgard Arevalo, AFP public affairs chief, described Alberto as the “man fit for the job” as the former commander of the Army’s 1001st Infantry Brigade took over the position as chief of the Intelligence Service of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (ISAFP).
The move was part of a reshuffle that followed Madrigal’s transfer as head of the Southern Luzon Command, handing his former post with the Army’s 4th Infantry Division to Villanueva.
“He is the man fit for the job. He is expected to deliver especially at this time (that the AFP) is faced with challenges when it comes to violent extremism,” Arevalo said of Alberto. “In fact, our President (Rodrigo Duterte) had said that after (the conflict in) Marawi, he will be focusing on counter-insurgency.”
Alberto is actually a member of the DAP’s Class of 2012 under the Master in Public Management, major in International Development and Security (MPM-IDEVSEC), a customized program designed by the DAP for military officers that seeks to build the competencies of future leaders “within the overarching framework of development and security” with the element of international environment injected into it.
While earning his master’s degree, Alberto was awarded by the DAP along with his group with a bronze medal for coming up with the Best Action Plan and Project, the equivalent of a thesis under the program.
Alberto is also the recipient of various medals and awards with the military, including the Distinguished Service Star, Gold Cross Medal and Bronze Cross Medal.
Villanueva, meanwhile, took over the leadership of the “Diamond” division of the Army after having had stints as ISAFP Chief, commander of the 1002nd Infantry Brigade stationed in Sarangani Province from 2014 to 2016, chief of staff of both the 4th and 7th Infantry Divisions (2012-2014), head of the AFP’s Counter Intelligence Division (2010-2011), commander of the Defense Intelligence and Security Group (2007-2010), Defense Group Commander of the Department of National Defense, commanding officer of the 28th and 26th Infantry Battalions, and company commander under the 53rd Infantry Battalion.
Villanueva has a diploma in International Development and Security from the DAP, earning it in 2011, while also holding a master’s degree in National Security Administration from the National Defense College of the Philippines. A diploma in International Development and Security just lacks the equivalent of a thesis, which is the Action Plan and Program under the program.
He took over Camp Evangelista, the base of the 4th Infantry Division in Cagayan de Oro City, where his father also served once as commander.
“Camp Evangelista has been home for my family. I grew up here since my father led this division from 1988 to 1990. Who would have thought that someday I would be standing here delivering my remarks as division commander just like my father did 29 years ago?” Villanueva remarked. “We need to work harder so progress would continue unhampered, and peace and order maintained. We will also continue to work with all stakeholders.”
Alberto is a member of the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) Sinagtala Class of 1986 while Villanueva is a member of the PMA Sandiwa Class of 1985.