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Freeman Metro Cebu

Cebuano named Naval Forces Central head

The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines - A Cebuano native has been named new naval chief in yesterday's "change of command" ceremony at the Naval Forces Central based in Lapu-Lapu City.

Commodore Ronald Joseph Mercado is now the new naval chief assigned for the Visayas region replacing Commodore Reynaldo Yoma who will now head the Naval Forces Western Command in Zamboanga City.

"For the past years, we have experienced natural calamities. The focus right now is on humanitarian assistance and disaster response, particularly on this part of the year. We know this is the typhoon season. We should be prepared for it," said Mercado to the media.

"Let's not have the same suffering and the sad experience in the past. We need to be more prepared (since) we have experiences from which to learn our lessons," he added.

The primary mandate of Navforcen, according to Mercado, is to support the Central Command in maintaining security, peace and order, as well as to help provide a good business and tourism environment in the Visayas.

Under his administration, Mercado expects the men and women in Navforcen to be more responsive during calamities.

The new naval chief added that they will also continue to collaborate with civilian and military stakeholders "to ensure that the Philippine Navy's presence in this part of the country will embody the honorable service, such as maritime security in the operational areas."

Mercado, whose roots hail from Banawa, Cebu City, entered the Philippine Navy in 1983.

He said he had always wanted to be assigned in his hometown. The closest assignment he had within the Visayas area was in Iloilo City onboard a ship for only six months before he was then transferred to Guinsaugon, Leyte for another assignment.

"We should have a balanced assignment as far as geographical assignment is concerned," Mercado said after Yoma told him earlier that most Cebuano officials are not assigned in their respective towns.

Present in the ceremony yesterday were Lapu-Lapu City Mayor Paz Radaza, acting police director Senior Superintendent Armando Radoc of Lapu-Lapu City Police Office,  outgoing naval chief Reynaldo Yoma and Philippine Navy Chief Vice Admiral Jesus Millan.

Mercado is the outgoing commander of the Offshore Combat Force and will turn over his responsibilities to Captain Ingemar Pernes on Friday.

A CEBUANO

CAPTAIN INGEMAR PERNES

CEBU CITY

CENTRAL COMMAND

COMMODORE REYNALDO YOMA

COMMODORE RONALD JOSEPH MERCADO

ILOILO CITY

MERCADO

PHILIPPINE NAVY

VISAYAS

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