AFP's new chief eyes to 'secure lasting peace' in 2020

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 05 2020 09:13 AM | Updated as of Jan 05 2020 10:16 AM

Eastern Command chief Lt. Gen. Felimon Santos. EASTMINCOM

MANILA -- The Armed Forces of the Philippines' (AFP) vision for 2020 is to "secure lasting peace," its newly installed chief of staff said Sunday.

The AFP will continue its plan to end terrorism and local armed conflicts with communist rebels in line with President Rodrigo Duterte's orders, according to Lt. Gen. Felimon Santos Jr.

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"Humihina sila (communist rebels). That’s why they are forcing for national peace talks. We have so many surrenderees, even with the Abu Sayyaf may nagsu-surrender na rin, which is very rare," he told radio DZMM.

(Communist rebels are weakening, that’s why they are forcing for national peace talks. We have so many surrenderees, even with the Abu Sayyaf, which is very rare.)

"Lahat ng kawal natin, I encourage them to continue 'yung commitment natin, dedication, our integrity, and 'yung susundin natin 'yung mandate natin to protect our countrymen. The AFP’s vision for 2020 is to secure lasting peace para sa future ng ating country, para sa future generation."

(I encourage our soldiers to continue their commitment, dedication, keep their integrity and follow our mandate to protect our countrymen. The AFP’s vision for 2020 is to secure lasting peace for our country's future, for the future generation.)

Santos believes he could "contribute to speed up" the military's plan to end local armed conflict before his retirement on August 3.

"Yung natitira kong buwan, we will push for the advancement ng plano ng AFP for the end ng mga conflict na 'yan, ma-neutralize natin lahat ng threat," he said.

(In my remaining months as AFP chief of staff, I will push for the advancement of the AFP's plan to end these conflicts and neutralize all threats.) 

The AFP is "monitoring all aspects" in the conflict between United States and Iran, and is also prepared to defend the West Philippine Sea, according to Santos.

"All military is preparing for war pero kami ayaw namin mangyari 'yan," he said.

(All military is preparing for war but we don't want that to happen.)

"Sa West Philippine Sea, the Armed Forces is always preparing. 'Yung mga binibili natin sa modernization natin is towards the protection of our territory. Whatever the policy of our government, the armed forces is always prepared for anything."

(Regarding the West Philippine Sea, the Armed Forces is always preparing. The equipment we acquire in our modernization natin is towards the protection of our territory. Whatever the policy of our government, the Armed Forces is always prepared for anything.)

Prior to his appointment as AFP chief of staff, Santos headed the Eastern Mindanao Command. He previously headed 11th Intelligence Service Unit based in Davao City and the Philippine Army’s Intelligence Service Group.

A member of the Philippine Military Academy “Sinagtala” Class of 1986, Santos spent most of his junior years with the 39th Infantry Battalion tasked to fight communist guerrillas in Mindanao.