Faustino formally assumes post as AFP chief
Lt. Gen. Jose Faustino Jr. formally assumed his post as the 56th Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) in a change of ceremony on Saturday.
The change of command and retirement ceremony for Gen. Cirilito Sobejana was led by Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana.
In his speech, Lorenzana stressed how the AFP needs to "work doubly hard" to complete military projects before the end of the term of President Rodrigo Duterte on 2022.
"The armed forces need to work doubly hard to accomplish the recurring projects of the administration particularly in winning a just and lasting peace conducive to inclusive development. Rest assured that the defense department will be supporting you," he said.
In his recorded message, Duterte thanks and congratulated Sobejana for his "invaluable contribution in the advancement of the AFP".
" I hope that the entire organization under its new leadership will be inspired by your example. Thank you for your service to the country," he said.
Faustino, former head of the Eastern Mindanao Command chief, said he "intends to pursue a reliable and appropriate defense posture for the attainment of lasting peace" in the country.
"To accomplish this, we will follow a direction based on experience and best practices learned over decades of service and collective effort to achieve the goal of having a safe and peaceful country for our people,'' he said.
''First, the AFP's overall military disposition, condition of readiness and strength shall be finetuned to respond to the challenges we are now facing, the country's internal and external security issue, the present COVID-19 pandemic and of course natural disasters," he said.
"The AFP must also support socio-economic development programs that will protect our territory and sovereignty to keep the AFP relevant as it ... the security concerns of the country amidst the pandemic the challenge that every soldier, airman, sailor and marine must face and fight an invisible enemy whose threat is very real will not be easy," said Faustino.
"It is only through mass vaccination and strict adherence to the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases health protocols that will allow us to have some degree of protection against COVID-19 as we discharge our duties in protecting the people and securing the state but first we must protect every man and women in the AFP because this is the most important step in securing our people and our country," he added.
Faustino, who will reach his compulsory retirement age of 56 in November , was previously appointed as Philippine Army chief.
He was relieved in May as his appointment which was previously explained by Lorenzana is a violation of the law which state that "no general officer will be designated as chief of services including in Army, Navy and Air Force if they have less than one year in the service before his compulsory retirement". Robina Asido/DMS