MANILA -- President Rodrigo R. Duterte on Saturday night greeted his troops and their families ahead of Christmas, assuring them that the government will continue to pursue the modernization program of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).
As we celebrate the Holidays, I would like to extend my greetings to our troops' respective families and loved ones who have also shared the risks and sacrifices of our soldiers as they faced today's security challenges, Duterte said in his speech at Camp General Manuel Yan Sr. in Compostela Valley.
Duterte particularly recognized the AFP's 10th Infantry Division for their efforts in combating communist insurgency in Mindanao noting that the surrender of almost 8,000 communist rebels and the recovery of some 700 firearms this year was a feat on its own.
He called on troops to remain committed to their sworn duty to protect Filipinos and at the same time assured them of his full support as the government continues to ensure the security of Mindanao.
The President also vowed to continue the government's AFP Modernization Program to allow them to perform their duties more effectively and look after slain soldiers' families.
Meanwhile, Duterte expressed confidence that the AFP will continue to ensure peace across the nation in the years to come.
He said although he could not include another visit to see his troops in his schedule on Christmas day, he reiterated his commitment to watch out for their welfare.
Merry Christmas, especially to your family. We'll just pray that you're in good health and just be careful, Duterte said.
In the same speech, Duterte urged the military to destroy communist rebels as he insisted on his refusal to subscribe to their five-day holiday ceasefire declaration.
We do not subscribe to their ceasefire. We are ready for anything and I said change your paradigm. Do not fight them. Destroy them. Destroy them. Kill them, Duterte said. (PNA)
Source: Philippines News Agency