The Philippine Army will have its first-ever female brigade commander, Army spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Ramon Zagala said Monday.
Colonel Joselyn Bandarlipe is set to lead the 53rd Engineering Brigade in Camp Lapu-Lapu in Cebu after President Rodrigo Duterte approved her appointment papers, Zagala told ABS-CBN in a phone interview.
"She will be the first woman to command a brigade in the Philippine Army," said Zagala.
Bandarlipe graduated from the Armed Forces of the Philippines Officer Candidate School in 1990.
Zagala noted that in the past, women were only allowed to serve in the Army's reserve ranks and technical services as part of the Women's Auxiliary Corps, where Bandarlipe also served.
The enactment of Republic Act No. 7192 or the Women in Development and Nation Building Act in 1993 granted women the right to become trained combat soldiers.
"From the Women's Auxiliary Corps, Ma'am Jo moved as a line officer of the regular force," said Zagala.
Zagala added that other women in the past have made marks in the Army, citing Brigadier General Ramona Go, the first female general.
Zagala said regardless of gender, "everyone is given equal opportunity" in the Army.
"Colonel Bandarlipe qualified and has performed in the past in her assignment as an engineer officer, as a combat engineer, thus she was chosen," he said.
Bandarlipe will assume her post on March 26.