MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Roa Duterte on Tuesday led the 84th-anniversary celebration of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) asking the nation to rally behind the Armed forces for its significant role in national security and disaster response.
“Let me take this occasion to recognize your significant contributions not only in defending our nation from external and internal security threats but also in humanitarian and disaster response in times of natural and man-made calamities,” President Duterte said during the event held in Camp Emilio Aguinaldo.
The public relies on the AFP in times of distress particularly with the recent earthquakes that rocked Mindanao and the storm and flooding that inundated parts of Luzon and some areas in the Visayas.
“Ang sundalo kasi natin, sundalo ng bayan at utusan ng bayan at runner ng bayan at lahat na. Kagaya nangyari sa Mindanao, may earthquake, nandoon sila. ‘Pag magbaha, nandoon sila. ‘Pag may pumutok na volcano, sila ‘yung nauna,” he said.
“If there is a disorder, they establish order. If there is a lawless environment, they provide stability. Ang sundalo natin, atong mga sundalo, they are everything and that is why you should love your soldier. Tayong mga Pilipino, tulungan natin.” he added.
The President also enumerated various security challenges that the country still has to address such as the New People’s Army (NPA), kidnapping-for-ransom groups, Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) and drug traffickers.
The government is fighting for the survival of the nation, he stressed.
“We have to assure that the next generation will be freed of these vagaries of life, especially itong droga for it will affect the quality of our nation tomorrow,” said the President.
“We cannot afford to get something like one-fourth of the population disoriented, insane because of drugs. It is our sworn duty to protect them,” he further said.
The Chief Executive said the administration continues to intensify efforts to eradicate the ills that still plague the society, adding that he expects the AFP to also fight corruption within its halls through internal reforms that will not only improve the financial state of its soldiers but also develop their character, competence and capacity to fulfill their mandate.
The President has expressed optimism that the AFP will remain committed in its duty as the primary force in realizing lasting peace and sustainable development across the country.
The Filipino people will continue count on each member of the AFP, he said, asking the country’s security forces to remain steadfast in their noble mission to defend the sovereignty and maintain peace.
“Protecting the People, Securing the State,” is AFP’s 84th founding anniversary theme. (PND/IAMIGO/CNS)