Duterte praises AFP for 'crucial role' in fight vs. Covid-19

By Azer Parrocha

December 21, 2020, 7:16 pm

<p>President Rodrigo Duterte. <em>(File photo)</em></p>

President Rodrigo Duterte. (File photo)

MANILA – President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday expressed his admiration for the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) for their “crucial role” in the government’s fight against coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) as well as their efforts to rescue victims affected by typhoons and other calamities this year.

In a video message during the AFP’s anniversary, Duterte praised the Philippine military for “85 years of selfless service to the nation”.

“This year, we were faced with the most daunting health crisis in recent history. This invisible enemy – Covid-19 – caused a global pandemic that swept across the world and radically changed our way of life,” he said.

Duterte took pride in how military personnel fought proudly at the frontlines alongside the country’s healthcare workers by manning Covid-19 quarantine and swabbing centers nationwide.

“Your crucial role in the crafting of the National Action Plan Against Covid-19 was complemented by the deployment of military personnel at various quarantine and swabbing facilities and local communities to help curb the spread of the virus,” he said.

He also lauded them for “bravely” shielding people from harm and risking their lives when communities were ravaged by numerous typhoons and other natural calamities.

“On behalf of a grateful nation, I express my most profound gratitude to you for your willingness to serve at the frontlines as our nation faced these natural disasters, calamities, and a global pandemic,” he said.

He said that the military’s involvement in response and rescue efforts enabled the government to remain “on top of the situation” and maintain order.

According to Duterte, the challenges this year emphasized the need to make the AFP “more responsive” to the most challenging situations.

He reiterated his unyielding commitment to pursue the full implementation of the AFP Modernization Program.

“We will continue to enhance your skills through capacity building initiatives and the procurement of modern equipment that will enable you to fulfill your mandate with the highest degree of expertise and professionalism,” he said.

Amid the pandemic and calamities, he said it was a fitting time to celebrate the founding of an institution “built to withstand hardships” and “serve the Filipino people at all costs.”

“Let us look forward to the coming year without losing sight of all that we have been through as a nation. May the history of our struggle for freedom, peace, and inclusive progress rekindle the patriotism in your hearts that made you join this elite organization,” he said.

In closing, Duterte urged the military to remain committed to their sworn duty to protect the Constitution and uphold sovereignty. (PNA)