Davao City
December 21, 2020

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte lauded the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) during its 85th anniversary celebration for undertaking the crucial role of mitigating the spread of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) and its heroic actions when the country was ravaged by several natural disasters and calamities, among other achievements.

The Commander-in-Chief delivered his speech to the military officers and enlisted personnel of the AFP through a virtual teleconference in Davao City.

With the country experiencing several hardships and trials brought by the pandemic and natural disasters within the last few months, President Duterte reiterated his unyielding commitment to pursue the full implementation of the AFP Modernization Program.

“The trials we faced this year underscored the need to make the AFP even more responsive to the most challenging of situations,” said President Duterte.

“We will continue to enhance your skills through capacity building initiatives and the procurement of modern equipment that will enable you to fulfill your mandate with the highest degree of expertise and professionalism,” he added.

The Commander-in-Chief also conferred virtually the Order of Lapu-Lapu with the Rank of Kamagi on Colonel Ericson Rosana (Philippine Army), Commander Gilbert Villareal (Philippine Navy) and Corporal Dandin Lastimosa (Philippine Army) in a ceremony simultaneously held at the Lapu-Lapu Grandstand in Camp General Emilio Aguinaldo in Quezon City.

The said soldiers are being recognized ‘for their service rendered during the conduct of relentless close quarter battle and security operations against the MAUTE-ISIS that resulted in the liberation of Marawi City, neutralization of more than 800 terrorists, rescue of 1,750 hostages, and recovery of more than 800 assorted high-powered firearms and almost 2,000 unexploded ordnance and improvised explosive devices.’

“While this year has indeed been a very difficult one for all of us, it is also a fitting time to celebrate the founding of the AFP – an institution that was built to withstand these hardships and serve the Filipino people at all costs. Let us look forward to the coming year without losing sight of all that we have been through as a nation,” the Commander-in-Chief ended.

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