Calls on AFP to secure peace amid unpredictable world situations
President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. on Monday warned of a “constantly changing world wrought with conditions and situations that are hard to predict” as he rallied members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines to remain steadfast in the commitment to securing the peace.
During the change of command ceremony at Camp Aguinaldo where Lt. Gen. Bartolome Bacarro assumed the post of AFP Chief of Staff—the first to serve with a fixed three-year term—Marcos underscored the challenges that his administration, and the military, will face.
“As we look and think about a world that is constantly changing, a world wrought with conditions and situations that are hard to predict, a world full of elements and forces that can wreak havoc on its domain, the kind of leadership that you possess: the strong presence, the administrative and operational proficiency, unmatched discipline, and unwavering commitment will come in useful for the work that you are facing ahead of you,” the President said.
“I know that you know well that the journey will not be an easy one. It will be sometimes treacherous, always complex. It will be difficult and at times seemingly unbearable. But with the AFP beside us, assisting and putting in place the fundamental prerequisites for nation-building, we shall overcome and emerge victorious in the end,” he added.
Marcos described Bacarro, the 58th leader of the AFP, as a “reliable partner” as his administration begins “the difficult undertaking of rebirth and restoration of the Republic, transforming the country into a haven that is safe, secure, peaceful, and prosperous for all present and future Filipinos to enjoy.”
Before becoming AFP chief, Bacarro, a Medal of Valor awardee, served as commander of the Southern Luzon Command.
In his speech, Bacarro underscored the need to move forward with the military’s self-reliant defense posture program to make the AFP at par with that of other nations in the region.
“Through this, we shall be one of the many faces of national strength that our Commander-in-Chief has emphasized. Attaining this minimum credible defense posture will allow us to adapt more quickly and discover new techniques to help us deliver services that are geared towards attaining peace and protecting the sovereignty of our country,” he said.
Bacarro also vowed to ensure judicious spending, especially for AFP modernization projects.
“Given our country’s continuing struggle to overcome the health and economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, no one can deny that government resources are currently stretched to the limit,” he said.
“Aligned with our modernization efforts, we will carefully monitor our acquisition based on the upgrade tranche. We will facilitate these new and upcoming capabilities. ensuring that the delivery and related processes are followed to the dot,” Bacarro added.
“The use of force must always be reasonable, justifiable, and only undertaken when necessary. Execution of authority must be fair, it must be impartial, and it must be devoid of favoritism or discrimination regardless of race, gender, socio-economic status, political affiliation, religious belief, and the like. It is only then that you can effectively sustain with great respect and wide support the authority that you possess as uniformed servicemen of the Republic,” he added.
PNP chief Gen. Rodolfo Azurin Jr., for his part, vowed to sustain the gains of the country’s “hard-won” democracy.
“Our collective dedication and focus enabled us to strengthen peace and security and promote public order and safety where it mattered the most, at the grassroots where quality police service is most needed by the Filipino people,” Azurin said.
Yesterday’s event marked the founding of the country’s first insular police force, the Philippine Constabulary, on Aug. 8, 1901.