Retired Philippine Air Force (PAF) Lieutenant General Rozzano Briguez.

Former Western Command (WESCOM) commander and retired Philippine Air Force (PAF) chief Lt. Gen. Rozzano Briguez has been appointed by President Rodrigo Duterte as the next head of the Philippine National Oil Company-Exploration Corporation (PNOC-EC).

A report by state-run Philippine News Agency (PNA) said Briguez’s appointment was announced by President Duterte on Thursday during the PAF change of command ceremony at the PAF Multipurpose Gymnasium in Pasay City.

“Today, we look back at the achievement of the Philippine Air Force or PAF under the leadership of Lt. Gen. Rozzano Briguez. I also congratulated Gen. Briguez for a job well done in his outstanding tour of duty as the commanding general of PAF and for his years of distinguished service,” the PNA quoted Duterte as having said in his speech.

“Now as good as any other time to tell you that from here, he will be heading an office, a critical one, (from which) I fired the (former head) for corruption. Pinalitan ko (The fired official will be replaced) and he (Briguez) is going to head the exploration division of the Philippine National Oil Company,” he added.

Briguez’ appointment came after Duterte fired PNOC-EC president and chief executive officer Pedro Aquino for entering into an unauthorized deal with Russian oil giant Rosneft Oil Company, the government-run news agency said.

The multi-lateral cooperation agreement for oil and gas was signed in June 2017 with Rosneft and Pionaire Finance Limited, a Hong Kong-based firm.

Duterte also lauded Briguez for “the reforms that the former had initiated to improve the capacity and effectiveness of the PAF”.

“In fulfilling his mandate, he has pursued reforms that professionalized and raised the morale of our troops, fostered camaraderie with our air forces, and upgraded thereby our fighter planes and airbases, improving the capacity and effectiveness of the PAF,” Duterte said.