News Release

President Duterte to security forces: ‘Be neutral’ in 2019 Elections

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte witnesses the Change of Command Ceremony between outgoing Philippine Army Commander Lieutenant General Rolando Bautista and newly-installed Philippine Army Commander Major General Macairog Alberto at the Philippine Army Officers’ Clubhouse in Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City on October 15, 2018. SIMEON CELI JR./PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO

TAGUIG CITY — President Rodrigo Roa Duterte on Monday, October 15, commanded the nation’s security forces to be unbiased and remain non-partisan during the election season.

In a speech during the Philippine Army’s change of command rites here, the President asked soldiers to make a deal with the Filipino people.

“Let us make a deal here, promise, we make a commitment to the Filipino people. This election, strictly neutral tayong lahat,” he said in rallying support for the military and the police.

“The Armed Forces, the police, and the uniformed personnel of government, I am asking you not to indulge in partisan politics. Wala tayong susuportahan. Iyong mga kandidato ko, ako lang because this is a political position. But I expect everybody to respect that constitutional prohibition,” the President explained.

President Duterte ensured that next year’s election would be honest and nobody in his administration, not even his close allies, could use the government’s resources.

In presiding over the Army’s change of command, the President heaped praises on Lt. Gen. Rolando Bautista for his successful tour of duty as Commanding General of the Philippine Army.

During Bautista’s stint as Commander of the 104th Infantry Brigade and head of the Joint Task Force Basilan, he led the operations against the Abu Sayyaf and other IS-inspired terrorists, seizing several enemy camps and neutralizing two of the most dreaded foreign jihadists and bomb makers.

Upon assuming command of the Philippine Army, General Bautista orchestrated more than 100,000 combat operations, most of which were against the terrorist CPP-NPA.

This resulted in “the neutralization and apprehension of hundreds of rebels and the recovery of hundreds of firearms from various lawless elements,” the President said.

“Under his watch, the Philippine Army also provided crucial support to the PNP in law enforcement operations, leading to the apprehension of Abu Sayyaf leaders, members, and other fugitives as well as the surrender and neutralization of hundreds more,” he added.

Also during General Bautista’s tenure, the Army oversaw the development of training interventions and the activation of additional Infantry Battalions, a Light Armored Cavalry Troop and an Intelligence Security Unit to supplement the competencies of soldiers further.

With General Bautista’s accomplishment, his successor, Major General Macairog Alberto, will be inheriting a stronger professional workforce and a more empowered and dependable Army.

“To General Alberto, know that we will constantly face threats and challenges as we trudge the noble path of realizing lasting peace and sustainable development. I trust that you will take up this action as our Army’s new Commanding General,” the President said.

The President asked the troops to support the leadership of General Alberto as the government sustains the gains of its reforms, stressing the Filipino people count on the Philippine Army to remain steadfast in its mission of preserving peace and defending freedom.

President Duterte Honors Wounded Soldiers

Meanwhile, after presiding the Army change of command rites, President Duterte honored and extended financial assistance to injured soldiers recuperating here at the Army General Hospital in Fort Bonifacio.

Most of the soldiers, who received the Order of Lapu-Lapu with the Rank of Kampilan, sustained the injuries during combat operations in different provinces in Mindanao. Some of them are members of government forces who liberated Marawi City last year.

The soldiers who received the award and cash assistance were Pvt. Arjay Pascasio, Cpl. Claudio Turcolas Jr., Pfc. Arwin Mainar, Pvt. Jesson Abuhan, Pvt. Richard Angngad, Cpl. Olicito Tubos, Cpl. Donald Abuzo, Sgt. Renato Eucogco, Sgt. Rian Tanghinan, Sgt. Fernando Bacquiran, Ssg. Jose Soriano, Tsg. Michael dela Vega, Sgt. Torreon Domingo, Pfc. Bobbyn Pacas, and Sgt. Cirilo Navidad Jr.

The Order of Lapu-Lapu with the Kampilan Rank Medal is awarded to government workers and civilians who were seriously wounded or injured or suffered a great loss of property as a direct result of their participation to a campaign or advocacy of the President. ### PND