Idealism, Self-Sacrifice, Courage in the AFP; (Speech Delivered at the Change of Command Ceremony of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, Camp General Emilio Aguinaldo, Quezon City, August 15, 2005
Byline: President GLORIA MACAPAGAL ARROYO
UNA sa lahat, kagaya ng sinabi ni General Senga at sinabi na rin ni General Efren Abu, gusto kong pasalamatan ang ating Sandatahang Lakas para sa matagumpay ninyong pagbabantay sa ating demokrasya lalung-lalo na itong mga nakaraang buwan. At binanggit ni General Senga iyong July 8, 2005, maraming salamat sa inyong lahat.
Thank you for your steadfastness. Si General Abu, sana ay magre-retire ilang linggo ang nakaraan. Ngunit hiningi ko na manatili siya para maisigurado na iyong pinaghahandaang eleksyon sa Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) ay matupad. And I take this opportunity to congratulate the Armed Forces under the leadership of General Abu for the peacefulness of the elections in the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao.
May I also add that this is the first election in the Autonomous Region in which the president of the Philippines did not interfere. I chose to break tradition because I want to make true and meaningful the autonomy of the region of Muslim Mindanao and thus put forward and move forward the upholding of our democracy and the rule of law. For as long as the rule of law is enforced by the integrity of the uniform and the professionalism of good soldiers, our nation will endure, our nation will survive any upheaval or crisis. This ceremony is symbolic of the permanence of our high ideals as a nation and people.
Today, we face not only domestic controversies but also an oil crisis of global proportions compounded by a global resurgence of terrorism. You have forced through your role, soldiers of the Philippines in a battle against terrorism. You have forced through your role, soldiers of the Philippines in a battle against terrorism. But even in oil crisis, you are called upon to face material constraint even as you are called upon to give the offensive and the initiative against the enemies of the state.
For the rest of us in civilian government, we are called upon to break our partisan bickering and focus our national energy, on the oil and energy crisis even as we assure, and I assure as Commander-in-Chief that all the Armed Forces shall enforce the rule of law.
When I installed General Efren Abu as Chief of Staff last year, as he said, I bade him to implement specific instructions, focus lastingly for the legacy of the Armed Forces. I bade him to implement a fresh wave of reforms in the Armed Forces in line with the findings of the joint defense assessment with the United States and also the Feliciano Commission. Pinanindigan niya ang aking pagtitiwala sa kanyang kakayahan. Kinuwento nga ni General Abu sa atin iyong mga ginawa niya sa mga repormang ito. Iyong mga paglilitis na sinimulan niya. And his overhaul of military headquarters especially the abolition of the J-6 but also going beyond that. All of these resulted in a leaner organization and a most effective and transparent distribution and utilization of personnel, logistics and financial resources.
Congratulations, General Abu!
And now, I welcome General Gene Senga to the helm of the Armed Forces. And as I do so, let me tell you a personal story about him.
A few years ago, General Senga was chosen by the board of generals to head J-2, one of the most important, most glamorous, most powerful, most sensitive position in the Armed Forces. But as the assignment was being implemented, a top official of the national security establishment vigorously objected. Thus, the move was unceremoniously aborted.
I am sure, causing General Senga no small amount of disappointment and embarrassment. Nonetheless, his true mettle showed in that crisis in his career. He accepted the unusual notices of the unusual to save the least, the unusual change of instruction in midstream with the perfect discipline of an officer and a gentleman. And he moved on, he moved on to win the battle of Bulyok and then, to oversee the rehabilitation of that community.
General Senga may not have made it to J-2 but, how he handled himself in that situation and afterwards, affirmed in my mind the conviction by many that he indeed deserves to be Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines.
Congratulations, General Senga!
I revealed this story because we need role models especially for the young officers. Especially at a time like this, as General Abu said, when there are so many attempts to drive a wedge within the senior officers and the young officers. Some of those who tried to do this, tried to do this out of sheer on professionalism. But others tried to do this because of real effort to cause breaks in the chain of command.
As General Abu have said, our mass media has been returning to the nation different faces of the young officers of the Armed Forces of the Philippines. We have seen of course, the heroic faces of the young officers who sacrificed their lives in the line of duty. But we have also seen reports on young officers accused of conduct unbecoming of an officer and a gentleman and finding themselves in controversial roles. All of these young officers who pledged themselves to serving the country right in difficult careers in the AFP. But it is important, at this point in time, when there are so many efforts to drive this wedge, it is important for the leaders of the AFP especially under someone who has personified the behavior of an officer and a gentleman under extremely difficult circumstances through himself and his career like General Senga to define for the entire organization the correct path to be fostered. Idealism, self-sacrifice and courage are not the monopoly of youth for I have seen in our senior officers like General Senga the same outstanding quality.
I have seen that in General Abu. I have seen that in many other senior officers. Thus, I instruct the new AFP leadership under General Senga to engage in renewed dialogue with the young officers to show them that all officers regardless of length of service are equally committed to the values for which they have dedicated their lives.
Public attention is continuously focused on the unusual circumstances of those who engaged in mutiny, for those who stray into criminality or those who stray into political controversy for notoriety and scandal may sometimes highlight the dark side of the military institution, the dark side of other very institutions in this degenerated political system. A system that has continuously degenerated over the years, we must constantly tell the tales of our heroes, senior as well as junior officers and enlisted men and women who have sacrificed their lives so that the nation may survive.
We must always remind ourselves, as General Abu said, that the vast majority of the Armed Forces are still true heroes of the Republic of the Philippines.
General Senga, I expect you to knit the Armed Forces of the Philippines within the Constitution. Do not allow any partisan quarters to undermine the chain of command. I expect you to further reform and professionalize the chain of command as your predecessors had initiated this effort. I expect you to finish off the terrorists wanting to squander the peace process. I have seen you in action. I have seen your military prowess, as I said, the battle of Bulyok and others. But I have also seen you commitment to the peace process in the rehabilitation of communities in the Liguasan Marsh. I expect you to help our country in the fight against poverty by upgrading the role of the engineering brigade in this fight, whether in remote, country road or in major infrastructure project that needs to catch up with a quick deadline.
General Senga, may I say, as I said to General Abu, I am proud that he was my Chief of Staff. Today, I tell General Senga, I am proud to have you as the new Chief of Staff. And I am proud of the Armed Forces of the Philippines.
Maraming salamat sa inyong lahat.…
Questia, a part of Gale, Cengage Learning. www.questia.com
Publication information: Article title: Idealism, Self-Sacrifice, Courage in the AFP; (Speech Delivered at the Change of Command Ceremony of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, Camp General Emilio Aguinaldo, Quezon City, August 15, 2005. Contributors: Not available. Newspaper title: Manila Bulletin. Publication date: August 16, 2005. Page number: Not available. © 2009 Manila Bulletin Publishing Corp. COPYRIGHT 2005 Gale Group.
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