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PNoy appoints Dela Cruz as new Air Force chief

MANILA — President Benigno Aquino III has appointed Major General Lauro dela Cruz as the new Commanding General of the Philippine Air Force, replacing Lieutenant General Oscar Rabena, who opted for early retirement.

Aquino officiated the turnover ceremonies at the Philippine Air Force Headquarters in Villamor Airbase Tuesday (January 10).

Before his appointment, Dela Cruz was the chief of Air Staff. He is a member of the Philippine Military Class of 1980. Dela Cruz will retire on April 30, 2014.

In his speech during the Change of Command ceremonies, Aquino acknowledged the remarkable work of outgoing Air Force chief Lt. Gen. Oscar Rabena in maintaining peace and order and defending the country’s sovereignty.

Rabena’s stint as PAF commanding general has been very helpful in the Aquino administration’s initiatives to uplift the lives of the PAF personnel as well as in upgrading their equipment. These developmental programs include housing and facilities of the military bases in the country.

Aquino expressed full trust and confidence to the new PAF chief, saying that under De la Cruz’s stewardship, the “Airmen” will surely continue to be dedicated to service for their fellowmen and will focus on doing their duties based on righteousness.

“Tiwala akong sa bagong pinuno ng Philippine Airforce na si Heneral Lauro Catalino dela Cruz lalo pang titibay ang dedikasyon ng inyong hanay sa pagsisilbi ng tapat sa sambayanan at patuloy na isasapuso ng mga sundalong Pilipino ang makatwirang paninindigan,” he said.

Among those present during the event Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa Jr., Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin, Armed Forces of the Philippines Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Jessie Dellosa and Philippine National Police Chief General Nicanor Bartolome.

Dela Cruz assumed the position as the 32nd Commanding General of the PAF after Rabena’s early retirement from military service after almost four decades.

In his remarks, Dela Cruz said that under his leadership the people could expect a better Air Force as “Wings for Peace and Defenders of Freedom” responding to territorial defense as well as disaster response.

The newly installed PAF chief held key positions in the military force among which are — Chief of Air Staff, Wing Commander of the 205th Tactical Helicopter Wing, Deputy Wing Commander of the 205th Tactical Helicopter Wing, and Deputy Wing Commander of the 710th Special Operations Wing.

He also served as flight instructor, training officer, management and operations officer and pilot instructor at the Philippine Air Force Flying School.