The concept of security and defense of Mindanao under a military command dates to the time the Philippine Army was formally organized by virtue of the National Defense Act of 1935. To efficiently carry-out the provisions of this act, the country was divided into ten military districts, with the security of the entire island of Mindanao placed under the jurisdiction of the 10th Military District. In December 1950, with the inclusion of Palawan in its Area of Responsibility, this District became the 4th Military Area.
With the birth of the secessionist movement in the early 70’s, Southwest Command was formed to take care of Southwestern Mindanao and Palawan, while Central Mindanao Command covered the rest of Mindanao. Later, Southwest Command was renamed as the Southern Command or SOUTHCOM and was activated pursuant to General Orders Number 733, General Headquarters Armed Forces of the Philippines dated 01 May 1976. With its activation, its primary mission is to totally secure and defend the entire Mindanao Island and the island provinces of Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi from internal and external threats.
With its 30 long years of existence, SOUTHCOM underwent various changes and transformations, adapting to challenges throughout the years and emerging as a most responsive, effective and resilient area command of the AFP. Notwithstanding, it confronted a complexity of threat groups. While the other Unified Commands mostly confronts the CTM within their respective AORs, SOUTHCOM confronts various threat groups that are widely dispersed and operating in most areas. This situation eventually called for dynamism in addressing internal security operations in the region.
Thus, on 15 July 2006, GENERAL GENEROSO S SENGA AFP, the then CSAFP approved the concept of dividing SOUTHCOM into two (2) Unified Commands, namely; the Western Mindanao Command and the Eastern Mindanao Command. Subsequently, this was implemented with the deactivation of Southern Command and the subsequent activation of Western Mindanao Command pursuant to General Orders Number 1035 GHQ, AFP dtd 23 Aug 2006 with LTGEN EUGENIO V CEDO AFP being designated as the first Commander of Western Mindanao Command effective 28 August 2006.