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Duterte calls on AFP to defend land, protect people from security threats


By Genalyn Kabiling

President Duterte has called on the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) under new chief of staff Gen. Benjamin Madrigal to defend the land and protect the people from national security threats.

Lt. General Benjamin Madrigal (PIA / MANILA BULLETIN)

AFP Chief of Staff  General Benjamin Madrigal

Speaking at the AFP change of command ceremony at Camp Aguinaldo in Quezon City, the President said the military should not fail the people who expected them to ensure a safer and more secure country.

Madrigal formally assumed the top post of the military, replacing Gen. Carlito Galvez who has been named the next Presidential adviser on the peace process. Madrigal, a member of the Philippine Military Academy in 1985, previously served as Eastern Mindanao Command commander.

“As we trudge the noble path of realizing lasting peace and sustainable development in our country, I trust that under General Benjamin Madrigal’s leadership, the AFP will achieve more milestones in the campaign to combat terrorism, end insurgency, and address lingering and emerging threats to national security,” the commander-in-chief said.

“The Filipino people count on the AFP to remain steadfast in its mission to defend our land and preserve the peace in our communities. Let us not fail them,” he said.

The President also directed Madrigal to keep peace and order as the government shifts to a civilian-led approach to put an end to the armed conflict involving communist rebels.

He noted that he signed Executive Order No. 70 creating the National Task Force to end local communist armed conflict.

“From the military-centric approach that gave us our recent successes against the communist movement, we now shift to a new civilian-led approach that will tap other government agencies and other private sector in bringing basic services and other development interventions that will address the root cause of the communist movement,” Duterte said.

“General Madrigal, you are now tasked with the responsibility of preserving peace and ensuring order as we shift to this new approach,” he added.

He also told the new military chief to “sustain the progress of those who came before you and create a legacy that will cause ripples of positive change in the years to come.”

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