President Rodrigo Duterte on Saturday ordered the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) to continue its fight against lawlessness and terrorism under the leadership of new military chief Gen. Felimon Santos.
Duterte made the call during the change of command and retirement ceremony for outgoing AFP chief of staff Gen. Noel Clement at Camp Aguinaldo in Quezon City.
In a keynote speech, the Commander-in-Chief expressed confidence that the AFP would further achieve more milestones in protecting the country’s freedom and democratic values under Santos’ watch.
He is optimistic that the AFP, with Santos at the helm, would implement programs that are meant to “elevate competence, the probity, and integrity of our uniformed personnel.”
“To our soldiers, I assure you that you will always have my full support and confidence as we build a more stable and peaceful future for our people. Be assured that this administration will always assist the men and women of the Armed Forces of the Philippines as we overcome the challenges we face as a nation,” Duterte said.
“I trust that you will work in unison with the incoming Chief-of-Staff Lt. Gen. Felimon Santos Jr. as you remain steadfast in protecting our country against lawlessness and terrorism,” he added.
Santos, a member of PMA Class 1986, served as commander of AFP Eastern Mindanao Command prior to his appointment as military chief.
Santos has been involved in various peace and security programs in Mindanao.
Duterte also thanked the AFP personnel for their dedication to push for a “more peaceful future for all.”
“May this momentous occasion renew your commitment to defend our homeland from lingering and emerging security threats as you uphold the safety of our families and communities,” he said. “Thank you for your service at mabuhay ang sundalong Pilipino (and live long, Philippine soldiers).”
Duterte, meanwhile, recognized Clement’s “successful” tour of duty as AFP chief, saying the latter would be remembered for his “principled and irreproachable leadership in fighting insurgency and securing our sovereignty.”
The President also hailed Clement’s efforts in leading the humanitarian assistance and disaster response of the AFP.
“With faithful adherence to the military professional service inspires your troops to continue serving with valor, heroism, and selflessness,” he told Clement. (Ruth Abbey Gita-Carlos/PNA)