Camp General Emilio Aguinaldo, Quezon City
October 26, 2017
President Rodrigo Roa Duterte appointed Lieutenant General Rey Leonardo Guerrero as the 49th Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (CSAFP) during the AFP Change of Command Ceremony at the Camp General Emilio Aguinaldo in Quezon City.
In his speech, the Commander-in-Chief said that the leadership of the outgoing CSAFP, General Eduardo Año, resulted to a stronger AFP as he effectively supervised its humanitarian assistance and disaster response operations during Typhoons Nina and Auring, and the Surigao earthquake. He also lauded the efforts of General Año in authorizing the regular conduct of long range maritime, air, and naval patrols in the West Philippine Sea and the Benham Rise, also known as the Philippine Rise. The President added that this is complemented by General Año’s active pursuit of a trilateral cooperative arrangement with Malaysia and Indonesia to address security concerns in adjacent waters.
“The Philippine Rise belongs to the Republic of the Philippines and it is our territory. And let it be announced today, to the whole world that we are claiming it for our people and country,” he stressed.
According to the President, under the leadership of General Año, the AFP faced 800 armed confrontations which resulted to the seizure of almost 2,000 weapons and the neutralization of more than 2,000 enemies of the state.
“Of course, the crowning jewel of his impressive career is none other than the battle of the liberation of Marawi, which resulted to the neutralization of almost a thousand ISIS-inspired insurgents which include high-value targets being hunted around the world,” he added.
President Duterte also expressed his confidence that the AFP will sustain its gains due to its organizational and capability upgrades that included the acquisition of new air and sea assets, state-of-the-art communications and intelligence-gathering equipment, and the latest military hardware. These upgrades, initiated during the tenure of the outgoing CSAFP, were initially utilized in dealing with the insurgents in Marawi.
In his valedictory address, General Año thanked the President for entrusting him to be the AFP Chief of Staff. He gave the President a book entitled, ‘In Times of War, We Fight for Peace’ which documented his tour of duty as the 48th CSAFP.
“And if I am ever given the chance to go back in time, I will gladly and willingly join you in battle once more where the metal meets the meat, where I can share the risk and feel your struggles and see to it that you live in order to fight another day. And for those who have fallen through the night, rest assured that you’re always remembered in thoughts and in prayers,” General Año said before the foot soldiers, airmen, and naval and marine warriors present during the event.
Meanwhile, the newly designated AFP Chief of Staff, Lieutenant General Guerrero, vowed to sustain the goal of the AFP to finish the remaining terrorist groups, neutralize the communism insurgency threats, and support the law enforcement agencies in efforts against lawless armed groups.
“A soldier’s life is defined largely by the service he renders, his fidelity to the flag, and his unwavering dedication to securing the peace. All these I adhere to. All these I pledge as I take on the challenge of leading the Armed Forces of the Philippines as the 49th Chief of Staff,” Lieutenant General Guerrero assured.
Present during the ceremony were some of the former Presidents of the Philippines, members of the diplomatic corps, Cabinet Secretaries, foreign armed forces attachés, former National Defense (DND) Secretaries, former AFP Chiefs of Staff, officials from the Philippine Army (PA), Philippine Air Force (PAF), Philippine Navy (PN), Philippine National Police (PNP), as well as Quezon City local government officials, veterans, AFP affiliated organizations, and members of the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) Class of 1983.
* * *