Philippines

Sobejana can lead AFP amid fight vs. insurgency, terrorism: PRRD

Sobejana can lead AFP amid fight vs. insurgency, terrorism: PRRD

By Azer Parrocha and Priam Nepomuceno  

Newly-installed Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief-of-staff Lt. Gen. Cirilito Sobejana (File photo)

MANILA (Philippines News Agency)– President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday expressed confidence that newly-installed Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief-of-staff Lt. Gen. Cirilito Sobejana would lead the military to new heights to address threats to the country’s peace and security.

In a speech at the Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City, Duterte welcomed Sobejana as AFP chief after thanking outgoing chief Gen. Gilbert Gapay for his successful tour of duty.

“I am confident that under Lt. Gen. Sobejana’s leadership, the AFP will achieve even more milestones in the campaign to address the insurgency and terror, and put an end to all these threats to our national security,” he said.

Duterte enjoined government troops, under Sobejana’s leadership, to continue being vigilant and pro-active in performing his duties.

“It is my hope that this new beginning will ensure a more fruitful collaboration as we strive to be a source of great moral strength to our people,” he added.

He also assured the government’s full support for the promotion of the military’s improved welfare as well as the upgrading of their capabilities in securing the safety of the people.

“As keepers of peace and order, you are instrumental in building a safe environment where our people can live without fear from lawless elements,” he said. “Through our joint effort in building the road to recovery during the pandemic, I am confident that we will move closer in achieving our shared aspirations for a better and stronger Philippines.”

Courage, compassion

Meanwhile, Sobejana said the country’s strength lies in the courage and compassion of all Filipinos.

“History certainly teaches us that our country’s strength lies in our country men’s courage and compassion. These values are surely ingrained deeply in the Filipino spirit, empowering us to push our personal boundaries to be of service to one another,” he said in his assumption speech.

During time of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic, calamities and other security challenges, Sobejana said Filipinos should bring out the best in themselves and “demonstrate our resiliency.”

“We must remain steadfast as a nation united by a dauntless spirit that never give up but continue to fight on,” he said.

As the newly-installed AFP chief, he implored every Filipino to be one with be one with “every solder, sailor, airmen, marine and civilian human resource of the Armed Forces of the Philippines in our fight against the enemies of the state and other threats.”

He also believes that with unity and conviction, the country and its people can attain victory.

“This is a collaborative project. It requires the commitment, dedication and support of everybody, the military, the civil government and the people as a whole. We will adopt the whole-of-the nation approach to end the local armed conflict. Through this convergence, we shall nurture the concept of peace and progress,” he said. “Peace meaning people empowerment in addressing conflict environment and progress as patriotic response to opportunities geared to reinvigorate an economically sustainable society.”

He also assured the public that all their soldiers, airmen, sailors, and marines of the AFP will do their job following the rule of law, give due respect to human rights and strictly adhere to the provisions of the International Humanitarian Law.

“And in all that we do, we will exemplify the AFP’s core values of honor, service and patriotism as well as uphold our core purpose of protecting the people and security the state and before I end, I am pleased to let you know that in the name of public service, your AFP is neither above nor below you, we are always beside you,” Sobejana said.

Sobejana, a member of the Philippine Military Academy “Hinirang Class” of 1987, is the commanding general of the Philippine Army since July last year.

He also commanded the Joint Task Force Sulu, the Maguindanao-based 6th Infantry Division, and the Western Mindanao Command.

Sobejana is also a recipient of the Medal of Valor, the country’s highest military award that is equivalent to the Congressional Medal of Honor of the United States.

He earned his Medal of Valor award in 1995 after leading the fight with an estimated 150 Abu Sayyaf terrorists in Isabela town in Basilan despite sustaining crippling wounds in the encounter. (PNA)

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