MAJOR GENERAL ROMEO L GAPUZ AFP O-8327
MAJOR GENERAL ROMEO LOPEZ GAPUZ, ARMED FORCES OF THE PHILIPPINES is the 31st Commander of the 6th Infantry (KAMPILAN) Division who assumed post on 28 February 2013 to 26 May 2014.
He was born in Kaloocan, Tondo, Manila on 26 May 1958. He entered the prestigious Philippine Military Academy in Baguio City in 1976 and graduated with the PMA “Dimalupig” Class of 1981 on 15 March 1981 which also commissioned him as a regular officer of the AFP. He took up his Master in Management at Philippine Christian University-Manila and eventually graduated on 24 January 1998.
To further hone his military expertise, MGEN GAPUZ took-up military trainings, both domestic and abroad, to wit: Scout Ranger Orientation Course at the Special Warfare Brigade (SWAB), Philippine Army (PA) in 1981; Ordnance Officer Basic Course at the Ordnance and Chemical School, Training Command (TRACOM),PA in 1984; Intelligence Officer Basic Course and Academic Instructors Course at the Special Intelligence Training School (SITS, Intelligence Service AFP (ISAFP) in 1985 and 1987, respectively; Foreign Officer Tactical Intelligence Course at the School for Military Intelligence in Australia in 1991; Infantry Officer Advance Course and Battalion Commanders Course at the Training and Doctrines Command (TRADOC), PA in 1993 and 1997, respectively; and Command and General Staff Course at the Command and General Staff College (CGSC), TRADOC, PA in 2001.
These trainings equipped MGEN GAPUZ with the necessary proficiency in holding various command and staff positions that led to a sterling and colorful military career. He started as a Platoon Leader, and, later on, as the Executive Officer of Charlie Company, 31st Infantry Battalion (31IB), 1st Infantry Division (1ID), PA, then stationed in Mindanao, from September 1981 to Aug 1984. This was followed with a stint at the SITS, ISAFP from February 1985 to August 1987 occupying various as Assistant Training Officer, Tactical Officer, Branch Chief, Course Director and Desk Officer; he served as Secretary to the General Staff at Headquarters 2ID, PA from 01 June 1988 to 01 June 1989; on June 16, 1989 he was assigned with the Presidential Security Group until January 1999 where he held various positions such as Stag Commander, operations, intelligence officer, AC of S G4 and CO, PG Battalion. He is one of the few AFP officers if not the only one who has served three Presidents in succession (Pres Cory Aquino, Fidel Ramos and Joseph Estrada). Likewise, he was given the privilege to become security officer of Foreign Ministers/Presidents. Notably among whom was American President Bill Clinton during APEC summit in 1996 in the Philippines, Chancellor Helmut Kohl of Germany, President Roh Tae Woo and Prime Minister Jiang Xiamen. He became the Battalion Commander of 34IB, 8ID, PA from 01 February 2002 to 03 January 2005. He was assigned in the CENTCOM from 01 Dec 2004 to 7 Jun 2008 where he held various positions such as ACUCS for Operations, U3; Chairman of the Project Gold Rust 7, Chairman and subsequently the Deputy Task Force Commander of the TWG on ASEAN SUMMIT; He also became the Chief of Unified Command Staff and Inspector General at 3ID, PA from 01 August 2008 to 03 August 2010; he became the Brigade Commander of 403rd Brigade, 4ID, PA from 04 August 2010 to 15 August 2012; he was the Assistant Division Commander of 4ID, PA from 15 August 2012 to 28 February 2013 before he assumed post as the Division Commander of 6th Infantry Division on 28 February 2013.
He is a recipient of numerous awards and decorations such as: Four (4) Distinguished Service Stars; Two (2) Outstanding Achievement Medal; Bronze Cross Medal; Gawad sa Kaunlaran Medal; Thirty Three (33) Military Merit Medals; several Commendation Medals; various Service and Campaign Badges; Letters of Commendation and Plaques both from the military and civilian entities. MGEN ROMEO L GAPUZ AFP is blessed with one (1) son, Romeo Augustus Caesar.
The 6th infantry (kampilan) division, philippine army traces its roots from the former 6th infantry brigade (provisional) 4th infantry division, philippine army which was activated pursuant to general order # 201, h4id, pa dated 07 march 1973 in order to provide command and control to combat units in central mindanao tasked to break the initial onslaught of the milf uprising.
On 01 may 1974, the 6th infantry brigade (provisional), 4id, pa was deactivated and further designated as the 1st infantry brigade, 3rd infantry division, pa later known as the 1/3 brigade. It was this unit, with the other units in mindanao, which took the brunt of the milf rebellion at the close of 70s.
On 01 may 1986, the 1/3 brigade was deactivated and the then 12th infantry brigade (separate) was activated to take its place.
On 24 october 1987, the 12th infantry brigade (separate), pa was upgraded into a regular division and subsequently designated as the 6th infantry (kampilan) division, pa pursuant to general order # 616, ghq dated 19 november 1987.
Since its birth, the command, in the pursuit of its mission had spent almost all of its existence in combat operation resulting to a remarkable accomplishment and conspicuous performance despite of some debacles encountered along the way. In the series of operations confronted against ctm, milf and the algs, the command had recovered numerous items in which no ordinary division can outreach this performance.
Esome of the exploits where the command has shown exemplary performanc were
the battle of malmar complex in carmen wherein the command was tasked to secure the malitubog-maridagao irrigation project (mmip), a national government flagship project. However, due to the strong opposition of the milf and the atrocities conducted by them to include the kidnapping of the korean and filipino engineers and the killing of two pnp personnel in the area, a twenty three (23) day conflict between the troops and the milf resulting to the killing of five (5) enemy killed and the recovery of four (4) hpfas. More importantly, the battle won led to the eventual completion of the irrigation project, paving the way for the agricultural development in the nearby municipalities.
The battle of reina regente where the milf conducted series of treacherous attacks against the government troops and the local leaders in their attempt to control the reina regente where camp didagen, a heavily fortified milf camp was located. However, with the superior government troops, the known stronghold of the milf was dissipated and the government control over the said area was upheld. The battle of the nabalawag mountains in midsayap, cotabato where the milf have been in control of until 23 august 1999 when not only they where soundly beaten in a bitter conflict by the operating troops but more so, the road from midsayap going to the municipality of datu piang maguindano became one of the main route of travel by the civilians.
The fierce 10-day gun battle between the government troops and the milf which started on 16 january 1997 along barangays kabuayan and garigayan, all of buldon, maguindanao resulting to thirty three (33) killed (bc) and the recovery of 17-m16 rifles, 1-rpg with 5 rounds live ammo for rpg and three hh radios.
The battle of raja muda, considered then as the second biggest camp of the milf erupted between 16-27 june 1997. The army operating troops, equipped with armored vehicles and artillery assets reinforced with a squadron of helicopter gun ships proved to be too much for the enemy as it yielded an estimated 245 killed on their side.
Suffering from their great loss physically and psychologically, like a wounded tiger, the milf, through 2 foreign assassins, staged a suicidal attack at the division headquarters targeting no less than the then commanding general of the division then mgen raul s urgello but was repulsed by the guards on duty and the alert elements of the division headquarters while still at the front gate of the headquarters.
From october- november of 1998 saw armed skirmishes between the government troops and the milf along the municipalities of shariff aguak, datu piang and talayan all of maguindanao province with the enemy, despite of the signing of the ceasefire agreement, continuously attacked military positions along the msr to include the setting up of road blocks and hostage taking of civilians. This was aggravated when the milf leadership adopted a hard line position on its pursuit for an establishment of an islamic state in mindanao.
In view of this development and in compliance with southcom’s conplan “sovereign shield”, the command formulated oplan “temperance” and oplan “fortitude”.
From 15-21 february 2000, following the series of milf transgression, the command implemented the oplan “valiancy” in the areas of shariff aguak-datu piang-talayan complex resulting to the seizure of camp omar complex and the milf’s satellite camps within its vicinity.
On 15-21 march 2000, oplan “audacity” was implemented in carmen-banisilan complex clearing camp usman.
Oplan “dominance”, with the mission to clear the narciso ramos highway in order to restore government control and bring peace and development in the area of operations, was launched on 29 april 200-03 june 2000. The fall of the milf main camp, camp abubakar paved the way for development and control of the government in the area.
With the guidance from comsouthcom regarding the conduct of southcom operation along the quad-boundaries of maguindanao, lanao del sur, bukidnon and cotabato provinces, the command launch oplan “constrictor” with the mission of conducting operation at the northern part of the command aor in order to compliment with the operations to be conducted by other divisions.
The capture of camp abubakar and other milf major and minor camps had forced them to splinter into smaller groups. This however did not stop them from conducting atrocities and terrorism. This include their pact with the kfrgs and other terrorist groups which have been active most especially the group of tahir alonto,a notorious kfrg operating within the command aor.
At the onset of 2003, in the commands’ effort to destroy once and for all the terrorists, particularly alonto tahir, the leader of the notorious pentagon kidnap-for-ransom group operating in the aor, the command conducted series of offensive operations in the tri-boundaries of columbio, sultan kudarat; tulunan, cotabato; and datu paglas of maguindanao;
on 10 january 2003, ghq, afp issued operational directive 09-2002 directing southcom to conduct offensive military operations against the terrorists known havens, training camps and support bases in central mindanao. To implement this directive, 6id launched oplan “alab lahi’ to conduct pursuit operation against the group of tahir terrorist groups and the wanted criminals in the liguasan marsh and destroy their sanctuaries in these areas.
The clearing, capture and control of buliok and its surrounding areas, used by the milf/terrorists as haven, training ground and logistic base leading to the restoration of the local government control and authority over these areas. It also confirmed reports that milf elements are supporting these terrorists, as they provided the resistance, including counter-attacks against the operating troops.
With the attacks of the milf not only against the government troops but also on the urban communities, no less than hepgma issued a directive to the afp to conduct punitive actions against the milf responsible for the conduct of the said atrocities. In compliance with the directive, the command launched oplan “tag-unos” aimed at destroying the milf/terrorists base and neutralize their top leaders at vicinity barangay libungan torreta in pigcawayan, cotabato in order to prevent them from using the area as staging ground in conducting atrocities against the civilians and communities particularly in the municipalities of midsayap, libungan and pigcawayan, all of cotabato and at the same time neutralize the perpetrators of the koronadal city bombing. The operation resulted to the recovery of huge amount of explosives and the discovery of an milf camp along the kabuntalan being used in the manufacture of bombs and other munitions being used in the conduct of bombings and other terrorist acts on the government installations and urban areas.
In compliance with the operation “matrix” of southcom, the command formulated oplan “kalasag” dated 07 july 2003 with the mission to destroy the abu sayaff group (asg) at vicinity maculi point, barangay ligua, sultan kudarat and other areas in 6id aor that the group may seek refuge in order to put a stop to their terrorist activities and/or bring them to the bar of justice.
Today, the 6th infantry (kampilan) division continues to serve the people in central mindanao with unstained honor and integrity. It remains to stand proud as the guardian of the people against any threat that attempts to trample the democracy and sovereignty of our country.
pursuant to general order # 616, ghq dated 19 november 1987, the 12th infantry brigade (separate) was upgraded into a regular division and was subsequently renamed as the 6th infantry (kampilan) division pa on 24 october 1987.
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