CONGRATULATIONS are in order for retired Major General Nolasco Mempin whom I learned was recently appointed by President Marcos as Undersecretary of the Department of Education.

According to news reports, he was hired by DepEd in March as a “highly technical consultant” for a six-month period, with a monthly remuneration of P80,000.

Prior to his retirement on January 28, 2023, he served as commander of the 10th Infantry Division of the Philippine Army in Davao, as well as former Task Force Davao commander when Vice President Sara Duterte was mayor of Davao City,

My group, the Mindanao Humanitarian Volunteers for Peace, had the opportunity to meet then-Colonel Mempin for the first time during our humanitarian mission in Bukidnon while he was 103rd Brigade Commander. People genuinely admired him because of his pleasant and friendly attitude. People close to him told us to keep a close watch on this officer because they believed he would achieve great things. We shared this optimism since he is one of the generals we know who goes out of his way to engage stakeholders.

Despite complaints of certain concerned parties of his appointment,  Mempin is indeed a force to be reckoned with. As commander of the 10th Infantry “Agila” Division, he was credited with dismantling “11 units of the Communist Terrorist Group composed of four Sub-Regional Committees, three Guerilla Fronts, and four Vertical Units of the communist group New People’s Army. He also led the Division in achieving an Insurgency-Free Davao Region – the third in the country to do so.”

This is most likely why Vice President and concurrent DepEd Secretary Sara Duterte entrusted him initially with the role of DepEd consultant. In this capacity, he was tasked with delivering high-level policy advice on confidential matters, as well as providing direction, technical oversight, and expert advice in the development, implementation, monitoring, and evaluation of various programs pertaining to safety and security at all levels of governance.

Before I delve further into the impressive accomplishments of this man, let me return to the anecdote I intended to share.

On December 17, 2021, at the height of Super Typhoon Odette, Veronica Ringor, a former student of mine, reached out to me in distress, seeking help for her kababayans in Kabankalan who were stranded on rooftops due to extreme flooding. Many families, including those with young children, had gone for hours without food and were in desperate need of assistance.

I immediately relayed the information to Representative Cheding Alvarez, whose brother happened to be the mayor in the area. Alvarez informed me that telecommunications were down, and they were unaware of the unfortunate situation until then. She also requested assistance in evacuating the stranded individuals. I quickly contacted Mempin, who was then commander of the AFP’s J7 (Office for Civil-Military Operations). He promptly relayed the information to Colonel Batara of VISCOM and with the 3rd Infantry Division. Major General Benedict Arevalo swiftly mobilized DRU teams in inflatable boats and engineers from the 302nd Brigade, as well as a helicopter, to Kabankalan. I thank  Mempin for his assistance.

With individuals like Undersecretary Mempin in govern­ment, we know we are in good hands.