MANILA -- President Rodrigo R. Duterte on Tuesday ordered new Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief-of-staff, Lt. Gen. Benjamin Madrigal, to be ready to take on a new approach to ending local communist armed conflict in the country.
Duterte made this remark during Madrigal’s assumption of command ceremony, which coincided with the AFP’s 83rd anniversary at Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City.
Madrigal replaced retired Gen. Carlito Galvez Jr., who was named new chief of the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP).
“General Madrigal, you are now tasked with the responsibility of preserving peace and ensuring order as we shift to this new approach,” Duterte said in his speech.
“Sustain the progress of those who came before you and create a legacy that will cause ripples (of) positive change in the years to come,” he added.
The “new approach” Duterte was referring to is stipulated under Executive Order No. 70, signed last Dec. 4, which creates a National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict.
The task force is expected to formulate a National Peace Framework, anchored on a Whole-of-Nation approach, which will serve as a mechanism for local peace engagements or negotiations and interventions within six months.
Duterte described the Whole-of-Nation approach as a “civilian-led approach” that will prioritize the delivery of basic services and social development packages by both government and private sector.
“From the military-centric approach that gave us our recent successes against the communist movement, we now shift to a new civilian-led approach that will tap other government agencies and the private sector in bringing basic services and other development interventions that will address the root cause of the communist movement,” Duterte said.
The President expressed hope that the new AFP chief will continue the programs started by Galvez to achieve lasting peace and asked AFP personnel to support him.
“I trust that under General Benjamin Madrigal’s leadership, the AFP will achieve more milestones in the campaign to combat terrorism, end insurgency, and address lingering and emerging threats to national security,” Duterte said.
“I now ask our men and women in uniform to support the leadership of General Madrigal so that we may soon realize our aspirations for a stronger armed forces and a safer and more secure nation,” he added.
Meanwhile, Duterte congratulated Galvez for his “successful tour of duty” as outgoing AFP chief-of-staff, noting that his accomplishments speak well of how he fulfilled his mission to foster a stronger armed forces and a safer country.
“General Galvez, as you hang up your uniform, you can stand proud knowing that the armed forces that you will pass on is one that is formidable and empowered,” Duterte said.
“Be assured that as you leave military service, you have inspired others with your work and have set an edifying example [to] the entire institution,” he added.
Duterte also confirmed that Galvez will replace Jesus Dureza as OPAPP chief. Dureza resigned over corruption allegations against his subordinates.
“General Galvez will join the Cabinet next week as the Secretary of the Peace Process Office. I think he is the ninth military man to join my government,” Duterte said.
Last week, Malacañang announced that Duterte mentioned in a Cabinet meeting that he is eyeing Galvez as new Presidential Peace Adviser.
Galvez, a member of the Philippine Military Academy Class of 1985, stepped down as AFP chief after reaching the mandatory retirement age of 56.
He had served the military for 30 years, including eight months as top official of the AFP. (PNA)