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AFP Change of Command Ceremony

Ph President leads Armed Forces change of command

AFP Change of Command Ceremony
AFP Change of Command Ceremony

QUEZON CITY, Philippines – President Benigno S. Aquino III on Friday led the change of command of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) in Camp General Emilio Aguinaldo in Quezon City.
Outgoing AFP Chief of Staff, General Gregorio Pio Capatang, Jr., passed the armed forces leadership to Philippine Army Commanding General, Lieutenant General Hernando Delfin Carmelo Iriberri.
During the ceremony, held at the Tejeros Hall of the AFP Commissioned Officer’s Club in Camp Aguinaldo, the President conferred on Catapang the Philippine Legion of Honor and presented him the AFP Command Plaque, encased Philippine Flag, framed medals and Plaque of Honorable Service.
In his speech, President Aquino recalled the first time he met General Catapang as an officer who stood against the dictatorship of former President Ferdinand Marcos.
“Naaalala ko nga po nang una ko siyang makilala noong panahon ng EDSA revolution: Isa siya sa mga pumanig sa ating mamamayan imbes na magtanggol sa diktador,” he said.
The President noted that Catapang’s experience after serving a tour of duty in Mindanao; leading the 7th Infantry Division of the Northern Luzon Command; and serving as Vice Chief of Staff the AFP, gave him the skills and deep understanding of the plight of the country’s uniformed men and women that made him qualify to lead the AFP.
“Hindi po niya tayo binigo. Sa katunayan, lampas-lampas pa sa ating inaasahan ang ibinigay niya sa atin,” he said, citing Catapang’s role in implementing the Internal Peace and Security Plan Bayanihan; in honing the disaster preparedness of troops; in keeping the peacekeepers in Golan Heights safe during the so-called “The Greatest Escape”; in maintaining the good relations between the military and the police following the Mamasapano incident; and in neutralizing high-value targets, among them leaders of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters Basit Usman, Mohamad Ali Tambako, and Abdulgani Esmael Pagao, as well as New People’s Army Commander Parago.
For his part, General Catapang said in his valedictory address that it has been an “amazing journey, full of ups and downs”.
“Tomorrow, as I step into civilian life, I will awake to a new dawn fulfilled and humbled, knowing that I leave behind a stronger, more credible and more stable armed forces,” he said.
Catapang acknowledged his wife, Vilma, and their children for their support. He also thanked the President and Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin for their “trust and vote of confidence” in him.
Also present during the ceremony were former President Fidel Ramos, former Chiefs of Staff, former defense secretaries, lawmakers, members of the Diplomatic Corps, and Foreign Armed Forces attachés.

Criselda Cabangon David, a happy mother of two kids, is a full-time Sociologist at the City Government of Lucena, Quezon Province. She is currently the Managing Editor of Ang Diaryo Natin Sunday News, a weekly local community newspaper in the Philippines and an active member of the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines.