PNP CHANGE OF COMMAND. President Duterte hands over the marksman rifle from outgoing Philippine National Police (PNP) Director General Ronald dela Rosa to newly-installed PNP Director General Oscar Albayalde during the PNP Change of Command Ceremony at Camp Rafael Crame in Quezon City. (Richard Madelo/Presidential Photo)
By ALFRED GABOT
CAMP AGUINALDO, Quezon City – The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) have new chiefs who have vowed to cleanse and strengthen their organizations and protect the Filipinos from all enemies.
Earstwhile Western Mindanao Command head Lt. Gen. Carlito Galvez formally assumed as the 50th chief-of-staff of the 120,000-strong Armed Forces during the change of command ceremonies held in Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City and witnessed by President Rodrigo Duterte, former Presidents Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and Fidel V. Ramos and other officials and the diplomatic corps.
Galvez replaced Chief of Staff Gen. Rey Leonardo Guerrero who reached the compulsory age of retirement of 56 and was immediately appointed by Duterte as administrator of the Marina Industry Authority (MARINA).
Duterte announced Guerrero’s appointment during his speech at the AFP Change of Command ceremony at Camp General Emilio Aguinaldo in Quezon City.
Erstwhile National Capital Region Police Office chief Oscar D. Albayalde took over as PNP chief from Director General Ronald Dela Rosa in ceremonies at Camp Crame in Quezon City. Abayalde was installed by Duterte to his top post during the ceremonies.
Dela Rosa was appointed by Duterte as director of the Bureau of Corrections which is in charge of the National Penitentiary in Muntinlupa City and penal colonies of the country.
Abayalde immediately said discipline within the ranks and weeding out scalawags and misfits will be the hallmark of his stint as the country’s top cop.
Albayalde said he is committed to continue a policy of internal cleansing as well as to professionalize all police officers.
In his inaugural address, Albayalde, the 22nd PNP chief, thanked Dela Rosa and vowed to continue the latter’s programs particularly on improving discipline and the campaign against illegal drugs.
“We shall impose and breathe discipline 24/7 and implement reforms in all levels in the PNP, we will show respect to both to ourselves and to the public. Because genuine public service I believe is anchored on respect. Self-respect is what guide our morals as individuals and our collaborative action as an organization — we wear our uniforms properly and with pride, we do not sleep while we are on duty, and we do not betray our oath of office by engaging illegal activities,” Albayalde said.
He added that he will require unit commanders to conduct regular surprise inspections in the 2,766 police stations throughout the country.
“If we want to win the trust of the Filipino people who pays our salary –which the President doubled recently — we will serve with all honesty, honor and integrity,” he said.
Albayalde said he would carry on with the programs of the previous leadership particularly the Oplan Double Barrel, adding that “continuity is important to maintain the momentum” but said he would introduce reforms to those programs that need to be more responsive to our existing situation.
“We will strengthen the oversight committee which will regularly evaluate the performance of all commanders on the ground,” the new PNP chief added.
In his speech in Camp Aguinaldo, Duterte expressed confidence that the AFP “will continue to move forward in the right direction” under Galvez.
“With an excellent and motivated workforce behind General Galvez, I am optimistic that the AFP will sustain its gains and remain at the forefront of our fight against all threats to our sovereignty,” he said.
The President also urged the soldiers to support the leadership of Galvez.
“Armed with our people’s unwavering trust and confidence and fueled by the highest degree of professionalism and competence, it is only through our combined efforts as a people and as a nation that we can achieve lasting peace and sustainable development,” Duterte said.
As he formally assumed command of the military, Galvez vowed to carry out his mission of defending the Filipinos from all enemies to best of his abilities.
“As I assume command of the Armed Forces, I now address my fellow officers, the men, women and civilian employees of the AFP. Our Commander-in-Chief has directed us to defend the Filipino people from all enemies of peace and democracy. With your unwavering support, (I) intend to carry this order to the best of my abilities,” he added.
Galvez also said that it is time to reconcile with “misguided Filipino brothers and sisters” and walk the path of peace.
“It is the time to rebuild and reconcile with our Filipino brothers and sisters. We must now walk the path of peace. I now extend to our misguided brothers and sisters a chance to end all conflict. Hundreds of our comrades have already (stacked) arms and abandoned your hopeless cause and they have seen by themselves that our government is a just and fair government,” the new AFP chief emphasized.
The new AFP chief also said violent extremism remains a threat as shown by the destructive fighting in Marawi City which was attacked by Maute Group terrorists in May 23 last year.
The five-month conflict in the city ended after the AFP neutralized Omar Maute, one of the leaders of the Maute Group, and Abu Sayyaf leader and ISIS Emir in Southeast Asia, Isnilon Hapilon, in October 2017.
“The Abu Sayyaf and other local terrorist groups have long held (communities) in the grip of terror. Daesh and ISIS and the Battle of Marawi have just very recently shown us how truly destructive violent extremism can be,” he added.
“We have won many battles but we have yet to win the war. Violent extremists and their corrupted ideology remain a threat, too much (blood) has been spilled, too many lives have been lost to terror and hate,” Galvez emphasized.
And while professional soldiers and sworn to protect every Filipinos, the newly-appointed AFP chief said that they are always prepare to pursue the path of peace.
“Hence we shall support all peace initiatives of the government, we shall more vigorously work hand in hand with government agencies, non-government organizations and other stakeholders to address the underlying cause of conflict. We shall keep our door open with all peaceful possibilities,” Galvez pointed out.
“Toward this end I enjoin all peace loving Filipinos most especially our Muslim brothers and sisters to stand with us in the fight against all forms of violent extremism. We will pursue with even more vigor our campaign to end insurgency and terrorism which with your help we will definitely win,” he added.
By working together, Galvez said the military and the public cause of insurgency irrelevant for it can only thrive where discord prevails.
“Together we shall defeat the Abu Sayyaf and all other terrorist group for terrorism only works when people are divided and afraid. Together we shall drive Daesh and other violent extremists from our shores for extremism dies in the light of a people united and strong,” he added.
Also, Galvez said he reiterated his full support to the peace process with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front and the Moro National Liberation Front.
“We look forward to the final peaceful political resolution of conflict in Mindanao, we will strengthen our existing peace mechanisms and revitalize the peace and development offices at the Unified Command levels to more effectively address the grievances of the people of Mindanao and create conditions for a just and lasting peace in the south,” he pointed out.
Galvez, a member of Philippine Military Academy Class of 1985, replaced Gen. Rey Leonardo Guerrero, a member of PMA Class of 1984, who was honored with a testimonial parade and review and the prestigious award of the Philippine Legion of Honor (Rank of Commander).
Guerrero was appointed as AFP chief last Oct. 26 replacing then AFP chief-of-staff Gen. Eduardo Año, who stepped down after reaching the mandatory retirement age of 56. The former was supposed to retire on Dec. 17, 2017 but his term as AFP chief was extended by another four months by President Rodrigo Duterte.
During the turnover ceremonies, Duterte commended Guerrero for his successful stint in the AFP, including the handling of the Marawi City reconstruction efforts and announced his appointment as head of 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 his speech.
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 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, was 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.
In Camp Crame, Duterte renewed his call on the Philippine National Police (PNP) to continue the fight against criminals and illegal drugs “in accordance with the requirement of the law”.
“Just do your job in accordance with the requirements of the law in destroying and perhaps killing the criminals, I will be there for you,” Duterte said in his speech.
He assured the military and the police that he will never allow anyone of them “to go to jail unjustly for performing his duties”.
“In return, I ask the brave men and women of the PNP to continue performing their duties well, especially as we further intensify our war against criminality, illegal drugs, terrorism, and other threats to the security of our nation, our communities, our homes and our families,” the President said.
Duterte reiterated his personal commitment to pin down drugs and organized crimes “until the last day in office”.
“If we do not strive to put a stop to it, destroy and neutralize the infrastructure of drugs and the men and women behind it, we would have failed the nation,” he said.
The President also said that his administration would never allow the sacrifice of the police officers including the 44 elite forces of the PNP who died in Mamasapano incident in 2015 “to be taken for granted”.
“This government will give its full support to our uniformed personnel by enhancing their capabilities, modernizing their equipment, promoting their welfare and take care of their families,” he said.
The President commended Dela Rosa for a job well done during the latter’s 21-month tour of duty as PNP chief.
“It gives me great pleasure to join you today as we pay tribute to Director General Ronald Dela Rosa’s exemplary career as a police officer and his successful tour of duty as Chief of the Philippine National Police,” Duterte said.
Under Dela Rosa’s term, the PNP had cut down the total crime volume nationwide by 22 percent and recorded 10 percent improvement in the crime solution efficiency.
The anti-illegal drug operations netted arrests of more than 130,000 drug suspects, 1.2 million drug personalities surrendered and confiscated PHP23 billion worth of illegal drugs.
“I also note General Dela Rosa’s crusade of cleaning the ranks of the PNP from within. Through his internal cleansing efforts, we were able to weed out scalawags who have long hampered the efficiency of our police force,” the President said. (Alfred Gabotemail@example.com)