The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) celebrated its 84th founding anniversary in a ceremony at the Lapu-Lapu Grandstand in Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City on December 18, 2019.
President Rodrigo Duterte led the anniversary rites which highlighted the various accomplishments of the AFP in the past year.
Also present in the ceremony were Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, other government officials, foreign dignitaries, and former leaders of the military.
AFP Chief-of-Staff, Gen. Noel Clement led military officers, enlisted personnel and civilian human resources from the Army, Air Force, Navy and General Headquarters who attended the celebration.
“Capitalizing on the trust and confidence of the Filipino people, the AFP stands united and driven by our goal, we remain strong and unyielding in our continuous pursuit of lasting peace and sustainable development for our country,” Clement said.
For the past year, the AFP has sustained operational gains, particularly in its internal security campaign anchored on the government’s Development Support and Security Plan (DSSP) “Kapayapaan”.
It has seen tremendous gains in its military, intelligence and civil-military operations that pushed the communist terrorists out of the communities where they were used to be comfortable and constricted them in far-flung areas.
The bulk of the AFP’s gains come from the trust and confidence of former New People’s Army members and supporters who now have chosen to return to the fold of the law and abandon the armed struggle.
“The communist terrorist group is in disarray due to the continuous neutralization of its members, particularly the high-ranking personalities. This is manifested by the minimal number of atrocities committed by the group, which are mostly unsuccessful harassments,” Clement added.
The past year also marked a significant victory for the AFP against local terrorist groups, particularly the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG).
Among these feats is the successful rescue of the British couple Hyrons from the bandits in Sulu last November 25.
“We have contained the local terrorist groups in Western Mindanao. We have neutralized three suicide bombers that could have inflicted massive death, injury and destruction were if not for the vigilance of our soldiers,” he added.
The AFP also noted significant improvements in the security situation and development of Mindanao due largely on the implementation of Martial Law in the region and on the general optimism on the Bangsamoro Organic Law.
Nevertheless, efforts are continuously being exerted both militarily and through non-conventional interventions through the AFP’s preventing and countering violent extremism programs (PCVE).
“The year 2019 has been a fruitful and meaningful year for your Armed Forces. Rest assured that we will always be ready to adapt, change and transform as we come closer to realizing our vision to become a world-class armed forces, truly a source of national pride,” Clement said. (Priam Nepomuceno, PNA)