Noy to military: Protect people’s right to choose leaders
Noy to military: Protect people’s right to choose leaders
Aurea Calica (The Philippine Star) - January 18, 2013 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - President Aquino called on the military yesterday to protect the people’s right to freely choose their leaders.

Speaking at the change of command at the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) at Camp Aguinaldo between Lt. Gen. Emmanuel Bautista and Gen. Jessie Dellosa, Aquino said the military must always side with the Constitution and the people.

“My challenge to all of you: the AFP, along with the police, has the obligation to ensure that the elections will be conducted peacefully and with integrity,” he said.

“We want the people’s voice to prevail and not be gagged by guns, fear and violence.” 

Aquino said he was confident Bautista could use his experience as a distinguished soldier and leader to guide the Armed Forces on the straight path.

“The order of our bosses: Put an end to wang-wang (blaring siren or abusive) mentality; turn our backs on temptations of wealth and power and respond to problems with all efficiency instead of excuses, trying to earn brownie points and complaining very often,”  he said.

Aquino said improvements in the people’s trust and recognition of the military had been seen, along with the positive gains brought about by the straight path, like economic progress and more funds for social services.

“This is an advocacy that we want to continue not just in our term but in the next administration,” he said. 

“The question now is: Do we want to continue treading the straight path that brought us to where we are now? The people themselves will respond to that question come elections in May.”

Aquino said the past year had been marked by both challenges and successes for the military, including the framework peace agreement between the government the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.

The New AFP Modernization Act was signed in November to provide more training for soldiers and better equipment for the military to defend the country’s sovereignty and to be on the frontlines during disasters, he added.

Aquino thanked Dellosa for his contributions since the time he became the first commander and founder of the Special Reaction Unit of the Presidential Security Group during the administration of President Corazon Aquino.

Dellosa defended the Constitution against coup attempts until he fought in Mindanao and Northern Luzon.

Aquino said Dellosa’s retirement would open a new chapter in the history of the Armed Forces with Bautista at the helm.

He is confident that Bautista would be able to lead the country in achieving true peace, he added.

Aquino cited Bautista’s role in forming the internal peace and security plan Bayanihan to encourage communist rebels to turn their backs on violence and work for peace.

A P77-billion fund had been allocated for the military’s modernization in the next five years, he added.

The military will have new helicopters, modern vessels, firearms, as well as decent and affordable housing now totaling 53,000 units, Aquino said.

In his assumption speech, Bautista said the military would be insulated from politics during the elections as soldiers are sworn to protect the country’s democratic institutions and processes.

“Your AFP shall remain non-partisan in the upcoming May elections,” he said.

“You can count on us to assist in ensuring honest, credible, orderly and peaceful elections.” – With Alexis Romero




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