Aquino to give outgoing military chief new government post

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Friday, July 18, 2014

PRESIDENT Benigno Aquino III will appoint to a new government post Lieutenant General Emmanuel Bautista, who has officially retired from his post as Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief of staff.

The Chief Executive said this in his speech during the change of command at the AFP headquarters in Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City.

"Doon po sa mga nanghihinayang sa pag-alis ni Manny Sundalo (referring to Bautista) sa AFP at sa serbisyo publiko, huwag po kayong mag-alala. Pagkatapos ng napakahabang bakasyon—mga isang buwan raw, ang sabi niya sa akin—ay magbabalik siya para ipagpatuloy ang paglilingkod bilang sibilyan," he said.

Bautista, who will reach the mandatory retirement age of 56 on Sunday, was replaced by Lieutenant General Gregorio Pio Catapang Jr. The two belong to the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) Dimalupig Class of 1981.

While the President did not identify the post, he commended Bautista for his stint as AFP chief, citing his humility, diligence and expertise.

The President mentioned the difficulties Bautista had gone through, including the Sabah crisis, the Zamboanga siege, the kidnapping of peacekeepers in Golan Heights, the earthquake in Bohol and Cebu, and Typhoon Yolanda in the Visayas.

"He has been weighed so many times. His skills and dedication have been put to the test… No one could say that he did not succeed," he said.

During the event, Aquino conferred on Bautista the Presidential Legion of Honor with the degree of Chief Commander for his valuable and meritorious service to the country.

In the same speech, Aquino directed Catapang to continue ongoing reforms in the military.

"Kay Lieutenant General Catapang: Ngayon ngang nagbago na ang mukha ng Sandatahang Lakas, nawa’y sagarin mo ang bawat pagkakataon sa iyong liderato upang lalo pang tumibay at lumakas ang ating institusyon, sa ngalan ng makabuluhang paglilingkod sa ating kapwa at bandila," the President said.

Catapang is highly qualified to lead the AFP, he said.

Catapang has been assigned in Mindanao, and has led the 7th Infantry Division and the Northern Luzon Command of the Philippines Marines, before his appointment as AFP vice chief-of-staff.

The President described him as an "all-around" official of the armed forces, who is responsible, reliable, and has extensive knowledge in running the military.

"Kay Lieutenant General Pio Catapang: Hindi naman sa pine-pressure kita, pero bilang bagong tagapagtimon ng AFP, hindi lamang 125,000 sundalo natin ang nakasalalay sa iyong pamumuno; maging ang 98 milyon nating mga Boss ay umaasa sa tapat mong pagseserbisyo," he said. (SDR/Sunnex)

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