Former General Roy Cimatu graduated from the Philippine Military Academy in 1970s and spent the early part of his career in combat in rebellion-wracked Mindanao, where he rose from army platoon leader to a brigade commander. Cimatu, is also a pilot, trained in the US Army Command and Staff College at Forth Leavenworth, Kansas.A native of Bangui, Ilocos Norte and once chief of the Armed Forces Southern Command and commands 40 percent of the country’s 130,000-strong military. During the all-out war waged by deposed President Joseph Estrada in 2000, Cimatu was chief of the 4th Infantry Division based in Cagayan de Oro. Then Commander of the Southcom Infantry Division, General Roy Cimatu took the helm of the Southcom and was the 29th AFP Chief of Staff of the Arroyo Administration.
As SouthCom chief, Cimatu was the pointman in the Philippine government’s operations to crush the Abu Sayyaf and rescue the remaining hostages, Martin and Gracia Burnham and Filipina nurse, Ediborah Yap.
During the time when he was appointed as AFP Chief of Staff, Cimatu still in the jungle base of the Army Scout Rangers in Cabunbata, Basilan crushing Abu Sayyaf, the last mission he had in the field of his military career.
Throughout his stint as Southern Command Commander, Cimatu impressed both Philippine foot soldiers and American top brass with his excellent and aggressive campaign plans against Abu Sayyaf. He was then called “Pacman” by many and dubbed as a “Thinking General” and a “Smiling General”.
His boldness in the application of science and innovative application of conventional warfare that he had made fashionable during his war records, all of these today become part of the doctrine of Philippine Military warfare.
However, for 4 months in office as AFP Chief of Staff, no available record he had accomplished maybe because of the short period of his reign.
After he retired from service, the Arroyo administration appointed him as the Special Envoy to the Middle East with a title “Ambassador”. He was the chief negotiator for the released of the OFW kidnap victims in Iraq years ago. Also the head of the panel that oversees contingency measures for the welfare of OFW’s in the Middle East in times of troubles.
Now, he is one of the visiting Government officials currently in Saudi Arabia in an official visit. He will be leaving for Jordan today (April 1, 2006) as part of his Middle East itineraries.
His name is one in the lists of appointees submitted to Malacanang as the next Ambassador to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Whatever decision he is going to make, to accept the appointment or not, it is his prerogative. If ever —- WELCOME SIR! ## BongA