MANILA Efforts to improve the Armed Forces of the Philippines' (AFP) capability to protect the country's territories will continue, newly-appointed AFP chief-of-staff Lt. Gen. Noel Clement said Tuesday.
"Our military continues to develop its capability in the area of territorial defense, securing our archipelagic region is sustained. In line with the government's pronouncements, we will abide by the peaceful resolutions on matters concerning disputed territories," Clement said in his speech during the change-of-command ceremonies in Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City Tuesday.
"I seek the support, dedication and commitment of the entire AFP family in carrying out this administration's inclusive socio-economic and development programs which entail the AFP's relentless pursuit in efforts that promote peace and stability, equal opportunities, uphold the democratic principles and support for the rule of law. collectively, we the people's officers, soldiers, airmen, sailors, marines and special forces shall abide by our marching orders and carry on courageously with the nationalistic discharge of our duties," he added.
Clement also noted that the AFP is on track in further professionalizing the military profession.
"In keeping with our transformation roadmap we remain focused on our vision, thus far, we are on track. the professionalism of our personnel is bannering outstanding results. Our capability development has seen the upgrade of our systems, assets and equipment to help us in the execution of our duties," he added.
Also, in the internal security efforts, Clement said he will continue to anchor the AFP's thrust in contributing to the implementation of Executive Order 70, which created the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict and institutionalized the whole-nation-approach in attaining inclusive and sustainable peace.
The new AFP chief said the military will remain committed to ending the threat posed by the communist armed insurgency.
"On our operational engagements, we will remain committed to ending the armed insurgency, similarly our focused operations will be sustained and surgically conducted on those who threatened the peace in our communities," he added.
Clement, a member of the Philippine Military Academy Class of 1985, succeeded his classmate at the PMA, Gen. Benjamin Madrigal Jr., who left the service as he will be reaching the mandatory military retirement age of 56 on September 28.
The newly appointed AFP chief said the "enemies of peace will be dealt with accordingly."
Clement also urged all remaining communist rebels and their allies to return to the path of peace like what their former colleagues in the insurgency movement have done.
"I, therefore, call on the leftover of a lost cause, peace is not elusive. we have worked with your comrades. We have worked with our people; we engage communities who now partake of the fruits of our peaceful endeavors. Therefore, I enjoin the remaining peace spoilers to work with us," he added.
Clement said under his watch, the AFP will remain professional, non-partisan, a staunch defender and advocate of human rights, and respectful of International Humanitarian Law but at the same time assuring the Rule of Law.
"My leadership aims to highlight values, advocates for the collective good of most people, and our uniformed personnel," he said. Clement, who was born Jan. 5, 1964 in Lipa, Batangas, studied at DOLE Philippines School, Stella Maris Academy of Davao and had his first year in Bachelor of Science in Commerce at Ateneo De Davao University, before entering the PMA in 1981.
Prior to his appointment as AFP chief, Clement was designated as the head of the Cebu-based Central Command on Nov. 16, 2018. He also commanded the 10th Infantry Division, 602nd Infantry Brigade, and the 56th Infantry Battalion and Joint Task Force Sulu.
A multi-decorated officer, Clement earned four Distinguished Service Star medals, an Outstanding Achievement Medal, three Bronze Cross Medals, two Meritorious Achievement Medals, among others.
He is also happily married to Geraldine Anne Valerio and is blessed with two sons, Cheeno and Carl Angelo. (PNA)
Source: Philippines News Agency