The new Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief-of-staff has vowed to protect Filipinos against looming threats from terrorists.
“As I assume command of the Armed Forces, I now address my fellow officers, the men, women and civilian employees of the AFP,” said Western Mindanao Command head Lt. Gen. Carlito Galvez.
“Our Commander-in-Chief has directed us to defend the Filipino people from all enemies of peace and democracy. With your unwavering support, [I] intend to carry this order to the best of my abilities,” he added.
Galvez also noted he would seek for a reconciliation with “misguided Filipino brothers and sisters” and help them realize peace with the government.
“It is the time to rebuild and reconcile with our Filipino brothers and sisters. We must now walk the path of peace. I now extend to our misguided brothers and sisters a chance to end all conflict. Hundreds of our comrades have already [stacked] arms and abandoned your hopeless cause and they have seen by themselves that our government is a just and fair government,” he said.
Recalling the five-month battle in Marawi City, Galvez stressed the military will strengthen its force to defend the public from terrorism.
“We have won many battles but we have yet to win the war. Violent extremists and their corrupted ideology remain a threat, too much [blood] has been spilled, too many lives have been lost to terror and hate,” he said.
The new AFP chief also called for unity among Filipinos.
“Hence we shall support all peace initiatives of the government, we shall more vigorously work hand in hand with government agencies, non-government organizations and other stakeholders to address the underlying cause of conflict. We shall keep our door open with all peaceful possibilities,” Galvez said.
“Toward this end I enjoin all peace loving Filipinos most especially our Muslim brothers and sisters to stand with us in the fight against all forms of violent extremism. We will pursue with even more vigor our campaign to end insurgency and terrorism which with your help we will definitely win,” he added.