Oban takes helm as chief of graft-tainted AFP

MANILA—President Benigno Aquino has designated a decorated military strategist, Lieutenant General Eduardo SL Oban, Jr., as the new chief of staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines.

Lieutenant General Eduardo Oban

The appointment, announced Sunday morning by Aquino before 196 graduating cadets of the Philippine Military Academy in Baguio City, comes amid allegations of high-level corruption in the military.

Oban took command Monday as the 42nd chief of the 130,000-strong AFP, replacing retiring General Ricardo David, with marching orders from Aquino to weed out corruption in the military.

For the last six months, Oban, while serving as deputy chief of staff of the Armed Forces, “provided significant strategic inputs and overall supervision in the formulation of the AFP’s Internal Peace and Security Plan ‘Bayanihan’,” the AFP said in a statement.

“Bayanihan” is a six-year campaign that involves a shift in military strategy from “defeating the enemy to winning the peace.”

David, who served the military for 37 years, said that Oban’s extensive knowledge in the AFP’s modernization program will lead the institution to capability development and continuous professionalization of the Armed Forces.

“Oban’s stint as TDCS along with his extensive assignments in various staff, directorial and command positions at different levels taking over different responsibilities and managing diverse resources has definitely prepared him to the rudiments of the job of a [military chief],” David said.

A native of Castilla, Sorsogon, Oban is a member of the Philippine Military Academy “Matapat” Class of 1979. He obtained his master’s degree in Business Economics at the University of Asia and the Pacific.

Oban held various key positions in the military. He was in charge of the AFP’s strategic plans, Self Reliant Defense Posture Program and Modernization Program.

A seasoned military pilot, Oban assumed post at the Philippine Air Force as the Vice Commander Assistant, Chief of Staff for Operations, Commander of the Air Defense Wing and Commander of the 1st Air Division.

He was a former Squadron Commander at the 5th Fighter Wing, Group Commander of the Tactical Operations Group 12 and as Director for Operations of the 5th Fighter Wing.

Oban also received numerous awards and recognitions, including four Distinguished Service Stars, a number of Military Merit Medals, a Golden Aviator Award, two Group Commander of the Year Award, PAF Group Commander of the Year Award and Military Commendation Medals.

The AFP is currently embroiled in fund scandal after whistle-blowers accused top brass military officials of receiving millions of pesos as “welcome and send off money.”

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