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By Francis Neil G. Jalando-on

Maj. Gen. Stephen Parreño, a Centralian, was formally installed as the 39th Commanding General on December 20, 2022 in a ceremony held at the Villamor Air Base in Pasay City led by President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. He is a graduate of the CPU Kindergarten 1976, CPU Elementary School 1982, CPU Development High School 1986 and studied at the CPU College of Engineering before going to the PMA.

Parreño is a highly skilled pilot who graduated salutatorian from the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) “Sambisig” Class of 1991. He was the lone “Starman” in that batch which means he graduates with high distinction as a cadet in both academics and conduct. Parreño was heavily involved in the PAF’s air mobility efforts during the 2017 Marawi siege where he flew as a flight commander of C-130 flights.

In his speech, Parreño said, “This moment, this place where I am standing right now used to be an unreachable summit. As a boy, I have never imagined that this day will come.” He also thanked his family, the people who contributed to his success especially his seniors, mentors and classmates in the PMA. He also especially mentioned his batchmates at the Central Philippine University Development High School for their support and confidence in him.

According to his classmate and buddy, Engr. Job Gimay, Maj. Gen. Parreño was not only good in academics but also excellent in music and sports. As a varsity of the CPUDHS Basketball Team, he was called as the “black Chip Engelland.”

Replacing Lt. Gen. Connor Anthony Canlas Sr., who retired, Maj. Gen. Stephen Parreño will serve a three-year term. Before becoming chief of the PAF, he served in various positions which included as its acting vice commander; chief of air staff; inspector general; deputy commander of Air Logistics Command; deputy commander of Air Mobility Command; and wing commander of the 220th Airlift Wing.

The leadership of Maj. Gen. Parreño is evident since his High School days at Central Philippine University. He was the Governor of the CPUDHS during his time. Dr. Nelson Pomado said, “‘Steph’ was an achiever during his High School days. He possesses the qualities of an effective leader as member of the Boy Scout Troop of CPU High School, and a respectful, helpful, and obedient student as well. I am so happy and proud of him as his former High School teacher and Scoutmaster for his promotion as Chief of the Philippine Airforce. My congratulations!”

Prof. Rea Angelica Faulan-Villeza, the current Department Head of the Religion and Ethics of the CPU College of Theology, sent her thoughts on the appoint of her classmate:

“My warmest congratulations to my elementary and high school classmate, Maj. Gen. Stephen Parreño on his recent appointment as Commanding General of the Philippine Air Force. I am very happy and proud of his recent remarkable accomplishment. To be appointed to the highest position in the Philippine Air Force is no ordinary feat, and is only reserved to a few good men whose credibility, integrity and leadership skills are beyond mediocrity. But I am not surprised that Stephen has been entrusted with such a tremendous responsibility. Even when we were in High School, he had already shown leadership potential when he was elected governor during the CPUR elections and graduated salutatorian of our Batch. I am confident that with the Christian education that he had received from CPU and the training he had in the Philippine Military Academy and other institutions he went, he will be able to perform excellently the tasks that his position as Commanding General mandates him to do. His faith in God and the core values he hold dear in his life will certainly guide him as he serves the country and the people with integrity, sincerity, and dedication. May God empower him to achieve greater things for His glory.”

Atty. Peter Irving C. Corvera, the former Chairman of the CPU Board of Trustees, a member of the CPU Corporation and a classmate of Maj. Gen. Parreño since kindergarten up to high school sent this message:

“The recent designation of MAJOR GENERAL STEPHEN P. PARRENO as the new COMMANDING GENERAL OF THE PHILIPPINE AIR FORCE brings personal pride to me as a very close friend, and immense collective pride to the entire CPU Community considering that Stephen is one true-blooded Centralian. We both graduated from the CPU Kindergarten in 1976, from the CPU Elementary in 1982, and from the CPU High School in 1986 where he was our Class Salutatorian (he eventually also became the Class Salutatorian of PMA Class of 1991). He was already destined to be a leader when he was elected as the CPUR Governor of High School and an officer in the school chapter of the International Order of DeMolay. He became the youngest Brigadier General of the AFP at the age of 51 and the youngest Major General at the age of 52. With his assignment as the CG, PAF, Stephen will surely reach greater heights in his military career with several more years to go in his public service. And with each accomplishment, he brings glory to Central Philippine University which readied him for this distinct and honorable challenge and responsibility.”

Parreño, a native of Passi City, was one of the seven alumni achievers in the AFP that were honored during the Alumni Homecoming and General Assembly last September 28, 2019.


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