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Assumption of Command of the Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines
Speech of His Excellency
Benigno S. Aquino III
President of the Philippines
Upon the Assumption of Command of the Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines
[July 2, 2010, Camp Aguinaldo]
Ito ang unang pagkakataon kong makasama kayo bilang inyong Pangulo at inyong commander-in-chief. Ngunit noong Miyerkules, natanggap ko na ang inyong unang parangal: hindi lang ako, kundi ang buong sambayanan ay nagalak sa propesyonalismo, disiplina, at kurtesiyang inialay ninyo hindi lang sa akin, kundi sa buong bansa.
I commend all of you: officers and men and women of our Armed Forces, for the dedication to duty you displayed during the last elections. Kayo ang tagapagtanggol ng ating estado: ito ay nakasaad sa ating Saligang Batas. Karapat-dapat lamang na ang unang pahayag ko sa inyo bilang inyong Pangulo ay ang pagpapaabot ng pasasalamat ng sambayanang Pilipino sa pagganap ninyo ng inyong mga tungkulin sa nakaraang kampanya at halalan: wala kayong kinilingan kundi ang mamamayang Pilipino. Wala kayong piniling panig kundi ang pagpapalakas lamang ng ating demoksraya.
Sa araw na ito, nais ko kayong kausapin nang tapat at nang walang paliguy-ligoy. Marami tayong haharapin na pagsubok. Alam ko na pinakinggan niyo ang aking Inaugural Address at alam na ninyo na malapit kayo sa aking isipan. Makakaasa kayo na ang inyong mga pangangailangan ay tututukan ng aking administrasyon.
Katulad ng sinabi ko noong Miyerkules, nagsisimula ang wastong pamumuno sa pagpili ng mga wastong pinuno. Our Constitution explicitly provides for civilian authority over the military. That is why your commander-in-chief is a civilian, and his alter ego for the Department of Defense is one, too. This is why the Secretary of National Defense, while a distinguished veteran officer, has spent ample time in civilian life. This is also why your senior officers must undergo confirmation by the Commission on Appointments of Congress.
Within the Armed Forces, there is a structure that places a general officer at the head of the officer corps together with your major service commanders. This is why we have a chief of staff who is appointed by the commander-in-chief.
Noong Hunyo 29, aking ipinakilala si retired Lt. Gen. Voltaire Gazmin bilang aking Secretary of National Defense, at si Lt. Gen. Ricardo David bilang susunod na AFP chief of staff. Nandito tayo ngayon upang saksihan ang assumption of command ni General David, at upang ipaabot ko sa kaniya, at sa inyo, ang mga magiging patakaran ng ating pamahalaan.
I expect of you professionalism, integrity, discipline, valor, and hard work. You can expect the same of me.
Ang inyong propesyonalismo – ang pagsusunod sa mga utos na legal, sa wastong paraan ng walang pasubali – ay posible lamang kung nagsisimula ang propesyonalismong ito sa mga hanay ng inyong Pangulo at mga heneral. Wala akong duda na nais ng ating officer corps na panatilihin ang kanilang integridad. Makakasiguro kayong lahat na ang inyong Pangulo at ang ating Kalihim Gazmin ay hindi gagamitin ang sistema ng pagpili at pagpromote upang pairalin ang pansariling interes.
Ang iba sa ating mga officers na kamakailan lamang ay hindi nakaabot sa deadline ng Commission of Appointments, ay makakasiguro na ang kanilang mga promotion ay isusumiteng muli sa simula ng sesyon ng Kongreso. Katulad ng sinabi ko noong Pangulong-halal na ako, sisiguraduhin lang natin na basta’t dumaan sa wastong proseso ang mga promosyong ito, ipapadala natin ang mga ito sa lehislatura.
Ngunit kahit nakatanggap na ang inyong mga koronel at heneral ng karapat-dapat na promosyon, kung ang ating mga kawal ay kulang sa kagamitan, benepisyo at tirahan, wala sa atin ang makakagawa ng ating mga tungkulin.
Alam nating lahat na kakambal ng isang masiglang ekonomiya ang kapayapaan at seguridad. Without stability we cannot expect people to invest in our country. Achieving and maintaining stability is your obligation. Ngunit, naiintindihan ko na mahirap itong makamit hangga’t hindi sapat sa kagamitan at kaalaman ng ating hukbong sandatahan. Hangga’t hindi natutugunan ang mga pangangailangan ng bawat sundalo, paano matutugunan ng bawat sundalo ang pangangailangan ng sambayanan?
Tell us what you need and we will give it to you, as long as they are based on principles of professionalism and utilitarianism; as long as they will benefit the whole institution and not only the interests of a few. If we use and allocate our resources efficiently, we will not only be able to improve the well-being of our armed forces but also that of our citizenry. With a livelier and more responsive economy, we will be able to further address your needs.
Kaya inatasan ko si Secretary Gazmin na siguraduhin na ang modernisasyon ng ating hukbong sandatahan ay hindi lamang maitutuloy, kundi higit na magiging instrumento pa para sa pagpapatibay at pagpapalakas ng inyong pagmamahal at pagsisilbi sa sambayanan. Kasama na dito ang pagpapalawak ng inyong hanay, dahil habang dumoble na ang ating populasyon, nanatili pa rin ang inyong bilang. Sibilyan man o militar, hindi kailangang puro pagtitiis ang tadhana ng Pilipino. Uulitin ko ang sinabi ko sa bayan at sa mundo: hindi tama na ang nagmamalasakit ay kinakawawa.
Therefore, the things I expect of you, and which you can expect of your commander-in-chief, are things necessary to undertake the modernization of our armed forces. If all of us follow the rules, and insist on professionalism, integrity is enhanced. If we undertake our tasks with discipline, we can confront all challenges with the valor the history of our country has proven we all have. If we all work hard, we can find creative solutions to our problems, assured of strategic harmony within the armed forces, and between the civilians and the military.
I say strategic harmony because we must confront the reality that over the past years, strategy took a back seat to tactical considerations. I believe that the military functions best when the civilian and military leadership all share a clear understanding of the national security, and have crafted a clear plan which in turn can properly inform tactical decisions.
Ang ating bagong chief of staff ay nagpatunay na ang mga konsiderasyong ito ay maisusulong niya anuman ang pagsubok na haharapin.
We will need the experience, the expertise, and known probity of General Ricardo David, who shares my view that our national security objectives should be a multi-stakeholder effort focused on protecting our rights and civil liberties. He brings with him years of experience as NOLCOM commander which, I am confident, will likewise benefit the rest of the nation, not just Luzon.
In General David, I expect not only decisive leadership, but an innovative spirit that would drive reform in the Armed Forces, as well as the effective and efficient realization of the national defense and security thrusts that I have just outlined. I ask everyone to support your new chief of staff, to follow the chain of command and to look forward to proud and glorious days ahead.
As our country suffered, so have our soldiers, and the situation could only worsen unless priorities are met. Simple problems and deficiencies have compounded over the years due to corruption, which our administration has vowed to stop. I expect the entire Armed Forces of the Philippines to be the vanguard of the government’s quest to reform itself, to clean up its own backyard and to serve as the model and inspiration for other government agencies.
With your long tradition of sustaining the high military ideals of honor and discipline, sacrifice and dedication to serve the people and country, I am certain that the Armed Forces will once again take the lead in delivering our country and our people lasting peace and stability, development and social progress.
Men and women of the armed forces: to adopt the words of Winston Churchill, I will give you the tools to do your job. I will hold all of you to the highest standards not because I doubt you, but precisely because I have the fullest confidence in all of you. You have done well and will do even better; I will be fair, just, and supportive. I expect you to be the same. Our people expect no less of all of us, and I know that you will further consecrate yourselves to defending our democracy, and that you will fight for our Republic, for the liberty and prosperity of our people.
Sa ating kasundaluhan, kasama ninyo ako sa adhikaing magkaroon ng repormang makabuluhan, makatao, maka-diyos at maka-bayan.
Maraming salamat po sa inyong lahat! Mabuhay ang Hukbong Sandatahan ng Sambayanang Pilipino!