One distinguished Philippine Australia Defense scholar rises to the top job; another retires
AUSTRALIAN ANGLE - Bill Tweddell (The Philippine Star) - August 2, 2014 - 12:00am

I had the honour of attending the recent Change of Command and Retirement Ceremony for the outgoing Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, General Emmanuel T Bautista. I believe I was the first diplomat to call upon him when he assumed office and I can confidently speak for many of my fellow Ambassadors in congratulating him on a distinguished career, highlighted by his determined and unwavering leadership during the security and humanitarian events of the past 12 months. I was particularly pleased when he travelled to Australia to thank personally our Chief of Defence Force and the men and women of the Australian Defence Force who came to Leyte last November to assist in the multi-national Typhoon Yolanda relief effort.

General Bautista’s successor, General Gregorio Pio Catapang, is no stranger to Australia either, as an alumnus of the Defence Strategic Studies Course in Canberra Class of 2006. In fact many current and former Service Chiefs, Unified Commanders and Senior Officers have studied in Australia under the Defence Cooperation Program. The program is available to all ranks from Army, Navy, Air Force, Department of National Defense and the Philippine Coast Guard. The youngest members are drawn from first-year Philippine Military Academy cadets that go on to attend a three-year degree course at the Australian Defence Force Academy. Many of the 800- plus former participants of the program belong to our Defence alumni organisation, the Philippine Australian Defence Scholars Association (PADSA).

I am very proud to have got to know many PADSA members but have perhaps had the most to do with Lieutenant General Roy Deveraturda, the current Commander of Western Command and former Commander of Central Command. He was responsible for the military support provided to the tragic sinking of the Thomas Aquino Ferry, relief efforts for the 7.2 magnitude Bohol earthquake and responding to the horrors inflicted by Typhoon Yolanda. His humility, courage and dedication to duty went far beyond that expected of the most valiant military officer.

General Roy, as I have come to know him, will leave military service in August after yet another eventful year, this time overseeing the security of the Western Philippines.

I know I speak for many in wishing General Deveraturda every success for a well-deserved retirement and General Catapang every success in his new role. Two outstanding alumni of whose association with Australia we are very proud.

It was support from such dedicated officers that allowed Australia’s broader assistance for post-typhoon rehabilitation and reconstruction to be efficiently received and put to work in the wake of Typhoon Yolanda. It is fitting, therefore, that nine months after Typhoon Yolanda struck, the HMAS Tobruk will return with its crew to the Philippines from August 6 to 9, Australian officers from the Tobruk will again engage with their Filipino colleagues during their visit as we continue the association between our Forces.

* * *

(Bill Tweddell is the Ambassador of Australia.)

 

AIR FORCE AMBASSADOR OF AUSTRALIA AUSTRALIAN DEFENCE FORCE AUSTRALIAN DEFENCE FORCE ACADEMY BILL TWEDDELL CANBERRA CLASS CHANGE OF COMMAND AND RETIREMENT CEREMONY CHIEF OF DEFENCE FORCE CHIEF OF STAFF OF THE ARMED FORCES OF THE PHILIPPINES COMMANDER OF CENTRAL COMMAND TYPHOON YOLANDA
  • Latest
  • Trending
Latest
Recommended
Are you sure you want to log out?
X
Login

Philstar.com is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

SIGN IN
or sign in with