One of the architects of the government’s anti-insurgency campaign has been named as the new head of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), Malacanang announced late Tuesday.
Incumbent Army chief Lt. Gen. Emmanuel Bautista will be the 44th military chief to replace General Jessie Dellosa, who is set to retire on Jan. 20, deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said.
“We look forward to the stint of the incoming AFP Chief of Staff in continuing the reforms set in motion by the President and implemented by his predecessors,” Valte said.
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She added that Bautista is seen to enhance the country's defense capabilities.
"We thank outgoing AFP Chief of Staff Dellosa for having served the country and our uniformed personnel with exemplary dedication and commitment,” Valte said further.
The new Army chief will assume post in a change of command ceremony at Camp Aguinaldo on Jan. 17.
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Dellosa is bowing out three days ahead of his Jan. 20 retirement date to accommodate President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III’s schedule, Valte said.
In a separate statement, the AFP leadership welcomed the appointment of Bautista, who will be the fourth AFP chief to be appointed by Aquino after General Ricardo David Jr., Eduardo Oban and Dellosa.
Bautista's appointment is timely as the implementation of Internal Peace and Security Plan (IPSP) Bayanihan, the AFP Public Affairs Office said.
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The counter-insurgency IPSP program, which is now on its third year of implementation, was crafted when Bautista served as AFP Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations in 2010.
“Being the chief architect of IPSP Bayanihan and now at the helm of the AFP, we are highly optimistic that he would be able to lead and enable the organization to make vital progress and significant development which will help the organization and its partner agencies and stakeholders to achieve the shared goals of a just and lasting peace for our country,” the AFP said.
“We are also optimistic that with his leadership, our Modernization and Capability Upgrade Program will further take a momentous step forward in our intent to achieve a minimum credible defense posture,” it added.