Palace: Marcos upbeat, encouraging as a leader

Helen Flores - The Philippine Star
Palace: Marcos upbeat, encouraging as a leader
President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. attended his first flag ceremony in Malacañang on Monday, along with the people who will work for his office.
Facebook / Bongbong Marcos

MANILA, Philippines — In his first few days in office, President Marcos is a picture of an “upbeat” and “encouraging” leader who is “well received” as he goes about his official functions, his spokesman said yesterday.

“So far he is upbeat, that’s the observation that we have made. He is very encouraging. He attended today’s flag ceremony, of course, as required… what I can say is that he’s always well-received,” Press Secretary Trixie Cruz-Angeles said at her first press briefing at Malacañang.

“So when he attended the flag raising, it’s also quite exciting for the people who are working with him. So far that’s what we can observe,” she said.

In his message during his first flag-raising ceremony as President, Marcos told Malacañang personnel not to worry about the changes in leadership style as he considers them “partners.”

“There will be changes but don’t worry. We are always – we consider you not as employees. You are our partners. We cannot do these without you,” the President said in mixed Filipino and English.

“And I’m very happy to see you all. You appear ready to go, very enthusiastic for this next administration. We need that. Keep it going. Keep up the good work that you have been doing for the years previous,” he said.

Angeles, meanwhile, declined to give details when asked about the President’s official residence.

“For security reasons, we cannot really divulge that yet. We’ll wait for the final announcement, we will wait for then,” she said.

In an interview with CNN Philippines last week, Philippine Ambassador to Washington Jose Manuel Romualdez, a relative of Marcos, said the first family will stay at the Bahay Pangarap (House of Dreams).

“From what I’m told, the First Family will be staying in the Pangarap, which is on the other side of the Palace. It is being renovated right now,” Romualdez said. “In the meantime, they’ll stay in another place.”

Bahay Pangarap is a rest house located inside the Presidential Security Group compound, which is on the opposite side of the Pasig River fronting the presidential palace.

New PSG chief

Meanwhile, Marcos installed yesterday his first commander of the Presidential Security Group (PSG), former Armed Forces of the Philippines spokesman Col. Ramon Zagala.

Zagala, who will also serve as Marcos’ senior military assistant, replaced Brig. Gen. Randolph Cabangbang.

“I trust that under your leadership, the PSG will be able to continue the excellent provision of security to the Office of the President and the First Family as well as visiting heads of state and diplomats,” Marcos said, addressing Zagala in a speech during the PSG change of command.

“Col. Zagala is a certified VIP protector as he is a graduate of VIPA Protection Course and held various positions in the PSG during his junior years,” the PSG said in a press release.

Zagala was part of the PSG’s first Light Armor Company from 1997 to 2000, and served as an aide-de-camp to former president Joseph Estrada.

He also served the following units of the Philippine Army: company commander of Charlie “Conqueror” Company of the 24th Infantry Battalion, 7th Infantry Division and battalion commander of the 28th Infantry (Kamagong) Battalion and 10th Infantry (Agila) Division.

“Col. Zagala is a seasoned combat officer with 33 encounters against the enemy that spans all levels from team leader, platoon, company and battalion commander,” the statement read.

Zagala also completed various career and specialization courses in the Philippines and abroad, including Special Forces Operations Course, Basic Airborne Course, UN Peacekeeping Operations, Armor Officer Advance Course, Public Affairs Officer Qualifying Course in Maryland and Master of Military and Defense Studies in Canberra, Australia.

Zagala, 52, comes from a family of military officials. His father, Maj. Gen. Rafael Zagala, was Army chief from 1972 until 1975 during the presidency of Marcos’ father.

Marcos, in his speech, also thanked the outgoing PSG chief. “Under his steady and unwavering leadership, the PSG was able to provide security for the First Family. I also laud Brigadier General Cabangbang for taking steps towards ensuring the completion of several key PSG facilities, including the PSG Station Hospital and the Women’s Auxiliary Corps barracks,” the President said.

“The completion of these key infrastructure will certainly help strengthen the PSG. It will also inspire the entire PSG to strive for excellence whatever their position may be,” he said.


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