MANILA – The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) on Thursday announced the appointment of Col. Fatima Claire Navarro as its first female Surgeon General.
“The AFP congratulates Col. Navarro as she assumes one of the most critical positions that will lead the military organization in the comprehensive delivery of health services to our soldiers and our people,” AFP chief-of-staff, Gen. Cirilito Sobejana, said in a statement.
President Rodrigo R. Duterte approved Navarro’s appointment on June 28 following the recommendation of the AFP Chief of Staff and the Board of Generals.
Navarro took over as the 56th Surgeon General in a ceremony held on Wednesday in Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City.
Her assumption of office coincided with the retirement ceremony of her predecessor, Col. Nelson Pecache, who retired after 30 years in the military service.
“I dream of an AFP health service that the soldiers can rely on and that the Filipino people can continue to count on. An AFP health service that will save lives, heal wounds and continuously give hope,” Navarro said.
The new Surgeon General is the former head of the Victoriano Luna Medical Center (VLMC) and has served as chair of the Hospital Infection Control Committee from 2009 to 2020.
She was designated as the Deputy Commander of the AFP Regional Task Force National Capital Region Comprehensive and Responsive Elements (RJTF NCR CARE) upon the outbreak of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic.
Navarro led the task force in providing operational support to the National Task Force against Covid-19.
As a resident of the VLMC, she has earned numerous awards within and outside the AFP circle.
Most notable of these awards were the 1997 UST Medical Alumni Association “Young Researcher’s Award”, 1997 Philippine Medical Association 1st prize in Inter-hospital Research Contest, 1998 Philippine Association of Military Surgeons (PAMS) Most Outstanding Resident for Research.
In 2016, she was awarded the PAMS Award for Excellence. Navarro will now take on the task as the Special Medical Adviser of the Secretary of National Defense and the AFP chief on all medical and health matters affecting the military organization.
The Office of The Surgeon General is currently leading the AFP’s vaccination efforts and operations to mitigate the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic. It exercises technical supervision over all medical treatment facilities and other units of medical service in the AFP.
“With her outstanding track record in medical research and studies, I am confident that Col. Navarro will continue to elevate the AFP’s ongoing efforts to ensure the safety of our members and our citizens against the threats of the Covid-19 pandemic,” Sobejana said. (PNA)