PRESIDENT Rodrigo R. Duterte has appointed a veteran Army intelligence officer who served in his hometown of Davao City as the new Armed Forces chief, according to a copy of his appointment paper released by the presidential palace on Thursday.

Lieutenant General Felimon T. Santos, Jr., who used to head the Eastern Mindanao Command, will replace General Noel S. Clement, who is retiring, effective Jan. 5.

Mr. Santos headed the 11th Intelligence Service Unit based in Davao City and the Philippine Army’s Intelligence Service Group.

He helped quash communist rebellion in the Mindanao region, with almost 700 Maoist rebels surrendering, 85 being arrested and 6,283 mass supporters dissociating themselves from communist rebels during his watch, according to a military report posted on Facebook last month.

“We will continue the campaign plan,” Mr. Santos told reporters in Davao City on Thursday, a video of which was streamed on Facebook. “Maybe we will enhance it, especially with our focus on local peace talks. We want to fast-track our peace initiatives with local governments,”

Mr. Santos also headed the Army’s 7th Infantry Division in Nueva Ecija, which led the campaign against the New People’s Army in Central Luzon. — Gillian M. Cortez