President Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday, April 18, commended outgoing Armed Forces of he Philippines (AFP) Chief of Staff Gen. Rey Leonardo Guerrero for his successful stint in the AFP, including the handling of the Marawi City reconstruction efforts, and announced that Guerrero will be leading the Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA).
“Alam mo sir, matagal ng bakante ‘yan eh. You know, I had to extend your services because of what was ongoing war in Mindanao, specifically ‘yung Marawi. Kaya ‘yung MARINA, ‘yung director, ang silya doon multo na ang nakaupo. It’s about time na you report to that office by next week perhaps,” Duterte said in a speech during the AFP change of command ceremony.
The President congratulated Guerrero for a successful tour of duty as the 49th Chief of Staff of the AFP.
Noting that there was great expectation from Guerrero after the liberation of Marawi City, the President underscored General Guerrero’s exemplary leadership in successfully facilitated the clearing and reconstruction efforts in Marawi.
“All while preventing the resurgence of any terrorist threat that could have escalated to another conflict and hampered the city’s progress,” Duterte said.
The President likewise noted that among the accomplishments of General Guerrero during his short but impressive stint as Chief of Staff is the unparalleled number of communist and terrorist surrenderees.
“From less than 800 prior to his assumption, the number of surrenderees rose to more than 5,000 during his tour of duty. Congratulations, sir,” he said.
“Within his six months [as] AFP Chief, General Guerrero has competently and effectively continued the tradition of dedication and hard work [by] those who came before him and left a legacy of his own for future leaders to follow. His efforts have strengthened the foundations of not only a stronger [and] a better military, but also [of] a safer and more secure Philippines,” he added.
President Duterte meanwhile expressed confidence that new AFP Chief of Staff Carlito Galvez will continue to lead the AFP in the right direction.
“Therefore, I ask our troops to support the leadership, including all in government, of General Galvez’s term and remain steadfast, of course, General Galvez… in your mission [of] ensuring safety of our people and the security of our land,” he said.
General Galvez, a graduate of Philippine Military Academy “Sandiwa” class of 1985, is the commander of the AFP Western Mindanao Command. He has been in the military for more than 34 years.
He has degrees from prestigious academic institutions here and overseas such as Masters in Project Management from the University of South Wales in Australia, and Executive Education from Harvard University in the US.
The new AFP chief also studied Infantry Officer Course in Fort Benning in Georgia, Military Operation Research Symposium in Singapore, Crisis Management Course in Hawaii and Counter terrorism and Rules of Engagement in San Remo, Italy.
Galvez also played a key role during the military operation in Marawi City that resulted to the neutralization of Isnilon Hapilon and the Maute brothers.
A decorated military officer, Galvez is a recipient of Philippine Legion of Honor, three Distinguished Service Stars, two Outstanding Achievement medals, six Gold Cross Medals, eight Bronze Cross and 40 Military Merit and Commendation medals.
He is married to former Marissa Pascua, an international flight pursuer of the Philippine Airlines. The couple has a daughter, Mary Frances Therese.
President Duterte clarifies issue with Australian nun
Meanwhile, President clarified that he ordered authorities to investigate the Catholic nun from Australia for disorderly conduct.
“It was upon my orders implemented by the Bureau of Immigration. And I take full responsibility legal or otherwise for this incident,” he said.
“You know in our laws, the Philippine laws provide that I can deport you or refuse you entry if you are an undesirable alien,” he said.
An attack or insult from a foreigner is a violation of the country’s sovereignty, according to President Duterte, noting fhat he is from the Executive Department and can give orders. He vowed to screen those who comes in and goes out of the country.
The President likewise brushed off accusations of a looming dictatorship or oppression in the Philippines, stressing that the military will not allow a despot to govern the country.
“They are bound by that rule of that flag. They are not bound to nurture loyalty to me and I do not like it,” he said. ### (PND)