President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday, October 26, led the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Change of Command Ceremony as he thanked outgoing AFP Chief of Staff Eduardo Año for his distinguished leadership that led to a stronger Armed Forces.
“I consider it an honor to be with you today as we congratulate General Eduardo Año for his successful tour of duty as Chief of Staff of the AFP,” President Duterte said in his speech during the Change of Command Ceremony held at Camp Aguinaldo in Quezon City.
“General Año’s distinguished leadership resulted to a stronger AFP that did not just secure our nation, but also secured our people’s trust and confidence in the military establishment and the soldiers that it represents,” he said.
President Duterte noted that General Año was able to successfully supervise AFP’s humanitarian assistance and disaster response operation following the earthquake in Surigao as well as the onslaught of typhoons “Nina” and “Auring,” when he was still new to his post.
This, the President said, proved Año’s capability outside combat.
“Of course, the crowning jewel of his impressive career is none other than the Battle for the Liberation of Marawi, which resulted to the neutralization of almost a thousand ISIS-inspired insurgents which include high-value targets being [hunted] around the world,” Duterte said.
The President said that General Año would be the next Secretary of the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) after a one year ban.
“He would head the Department of Interior and Local Government. But while he is prohibited from assuming the task for one year, and that is the law, from the military service to the civilian sector, you have to wait for one year,” he said.
“Either he takes the title of Special Assistant to the President or the Undersecretary, whichever is tenable legally. And he will now supervise the Philippine National Police, together with General Lito Cuy,” he said.
President Duterte meanwhile urged the men and women of the AFP to support the leadership of new Armed Forces Chief of Staff Lt. Rey Leonardo Guerrero.
“As we begin rebuilding from the ruins of war, we welcome Lt. General Rey Leonardo Guerrero as the new chief of staff with the hope that the AFP will remain at the forefront of our battle against all threats against our nation— external or internal,” he said.
“I therefore enjoin our troops to support the leadership of General Guerrero by remaining committed to your mission of ensuring [the] safety and security of our nation,” he added.
The President then ordered the new Chief of Staff to oversee the destruction of all seized illegal firearms.
“I will now request the Chief of Staff General Guerrero to supervise the destruction of all arms whether high-powered or hand guns, all of it will be destroyed in some place to show that we are also able to meet the challenges of terrorism and violence,” he said.
The President assured the AFP that his administration will do its best to enhance its capabilities, promote the welfare of the soldiers, and look after the needs of their families.
“I will see to it that the wounded soldiers will be attended to. And for those who are into forced retirement, that we will have a program with them to make their lives happier in the next phase of their service to the country,” he said.
“While this may not be enough to repay them for their sacrifice, I am nonetheless hopeful that it would make them feel that our nation recognizes their bravery, heroism and love of country,” he added.
Prior to his new post as AFP Chief of Staff, Guerrero was the Commander of the Eastern Mindanao Command of the AFP. He is a member of the Philippine Military Academy “Maharlika” Class of 1984.
Also present during the event were Vice President Leonor Robredo, and former Presidents Fidel V. Ramos and Gloria Macapagal – Arroyo. ###PND