President Rodrigo Roa Duterte on Monday, December 21, joined the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) in celebrating its 85th anniversary expecting the organization to remain committed to its sworn duty of protecting the Constitution and upholding the country’s sovereignty.
In a speech during his virtual participation to the AFP event, President Duterte recognized the contributions of the country’s security forces in battling the coronavirus pandemic.
“This year, we were faced with the most daunting health crisis in recent history. This invisible enemy – COVID-19 – caused a global pandemic that swept across the world and radically changed our way of life,” President Duterte said.
“Despite its very insidious nature, the entire nation witnessed how the AFP fought proudly at the frontlines alongside our valiant health workers.”
The AFP, he said, played a crucial role in crafting the National Action Plan Against COVID-19 and complemented it by deploying military personnel at various quarantine and swabbing facilities and local communities to contain the virus.
Aside from battling the contagion, the members of the AFP also played an important role in disaster response after the country was ravaged by numerous typhoons and other natural calamities.
“In the middle of these disasters, you bravely shielded our people from harm and helped them rise above the ruins, risking your lives in the process,” President Duterte told AFP personnel.
“On behalf of a grateful nation, I express my most profound gratitude to you for your willingness to serve at the frontlines as our nation faced these natural disasters, calamities, and a global pandemic.”
AFP’s involvement in those efforts enabled the government to remain on top of the situation and maintain order, he added.
Also during his speech, the President reiterated his commitment to pursue the full implementation of the AFP Modernization Program.
He vowed to continue enhancing the skills of AFP members through capacity building initiatives and the procurement of modern equipment that will enable them to fulfill their mandate with the highest degree of expertise and professionalism.
Despite the current health emergency, it is also a fitting time to celebrate the founding of the AFP – an institution that was built to withstand these hardships and serve the Filipino people at all costs, the President said.
“Let us look forward to the coming year without losing sight of all that we have been through as a nation. May the history of our struggle for freedom, peace and inclusive progress rekindle the patriotism in your hearts that made you join this elite organization,” he stressed.
“As we celebrate this milestone, I ask you to remain committed to your sworn duty to protect the Constitution, uphold our sovereignty, and look forward to healing and genuine progress.” PND