MANILA – President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday, October 5, reminded the members of the Philippine Army to remain loyal to the Constitution and to the people as he led the Philippine Army’s 58th change of command ceremony at Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City.
“Maintain your loyalty to the Constitution and to the flag. Do not nurture a personal or a person diyan,” the President said in his address before the troops.
“Kaming lahat diyan sa gobyerno, dumadaan lang. But it behooves upon you, I said, to see to it that this country will grow, prosper until the end of time,” he said.
The President also said he wants to leave the presidency with a strong army and police that can respond to simultaneous attacks. But to achieve that goal, the Armed Forces and the Philippine National Police must upgrade their equipment and capability to cope with the present challenges, especially in fighting terrorism, he said.
One of the President’s suggestions is for the Armed Forces to use its properties and forge join ventures with the private sector. The AFP could enter into long-term lease agreements to fund its modernization program.
“I’ll give you this place. Lahat ito with a one sole condition. ‘Yung lahat kikitain ninyo diretso sa inyo. At gawain ninyo ang gusto ninyong gawin tomodernize. Pera ‘yan. Malaking pera ‘yan. Just start to lease here — trillion ito. But I would need the money in the coming years also to meet your expenses,” Duterte said.
“Buy all the equipment you need to meet the challenges way, way ahead,” he said. He also said that soldiers and policemen will also receive a higher pay by January next year.
The President meanwhile praised the country’s soldiers after a recent survey showed that the Philippine Army got an impressive +75 net trust rating in the first semester of 2017.
“It’s a testament of the troops’ commitment to protect the people and defend the democratic rights,” Duterte said.
Duterte also commended the AFP and the PNP for their efforts to quell rebellion in Marawi City.
“As an experience from the Middle East, it takes a lot, about half a year or three months. And I am not surprised and you should not be surprised that it has taken this long really to move inch for inch. Because of the prepositioned maneuvers by the enemies and the fact that you have to breach semento pati bakal. And that takes a lot of hard work,” he said.
“Maswerte tayo dito, in a very short time and I would credit it to the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the toil of the Philippine National Police. Hindi ho madali ‘yung trabaho na ‘yan,” he added.
The President also mentioned the ongoing campaign against communist insurgents. “We are fighting the New People’s Army. At this stage, I am not ready to talk to them because it is not good for the country. Eh kung para lang sa bayan, okay ‘yan. But the way that it is now, ayaw ko. And maybe it would take some time to… maybe another President to do it,” he said.
President Duterte meanwhile said outgoing Army chief Lt. Gen. Glorioso Miranda will join the board of the Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA). Major General Rolando Bautista, former head of the Presidential Security Group (PSG), succeeded Miranda as Army chief. (PND)