FORT BONIFACIO, Taguig City – Outgoing Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief General Emmanuel T Bautista visited his former home, the Headquarters Philippine Army, and “talked with the force” in anticipation of his retirement from the military service on July 20.
The AFP Chief, who was also the former head of the 80,000-strong Army, was welcomed by Army Chief Lt Gen Hernando DCA Iriberri together with Army Officers, Enlisted Personnel, and civilian employees.
Also present during the farewell visit of Gen Bautista to the Philippine Army were the Division Commanders of the different Army units nationwide; Commanders of the Army’s Training and Doctrine Command, Special Operations Command, and Light Armor Division; other Unit Commanders; Combat Support and Combat Service Unit Commanders; as well as senior Officers of the General Headquarters.
He was accorded with full military honors.
“This is indeed a nostalgic afternoon for all of us. The man we pay tribute is not only a leader in name and title, he is leader in thought, words and deed. The man we look up to as an exemplary soldier is known to the people he serve as ‘Manny Sundalo’,” said Lt Gen Iriberri in introducing Gen Bautista.
Lt Gen Iriberri also emphasized the milestones and highlights of Gen Bautista’s career, among which are drafting the Army Transformation Roadmap (ATR) and spearheading the Internal Peace and Security Plan (IPSP) Bayanihan.
As the Commanding General of the Philippine Army, Gen Bautista fully advocated the implementation of the Internal Peace and Security Plan (IPSP) “Bayanihan”. He likewise vigorously pursued the Army’s organizational transformation through the Army Transformation Roadmap (ATR).
In his speech, Gen Bautista thanked the Army personnel and the Philippine Army for their support when he assumed as Chief of Staff of the AFP.
“Andito ako para personal na harapin kayo lahat at magpaalam bilang Chief of Staff. Enero nung isang taon nang umupo ako bilang Chief of Staff na malakas ang loob, kumpiyansa, dahil alam ko na nasa likod ko ang Hukbong Katihan ng Pilipinas. Kaya maraming salamat sainyong lahat, sainyong suporta na binigay sa akin, hindi lang bilang Chief of Staff ng AFP, kundi bilang Commanding General ng Philippine Army,” said Gen Bautista.
“Salamat sa inyong mga kabayanihan na ipinamalas sa ating pagse-serbisyo sa bayan. Salamat sa serbisyong ginawad natin para sa bayan, sa buong-pusong paglilingkod sa ating mga kababayan. Salamat sa lahat ng tagumpay at accomplishments ng Philippine Army. Iyan ay nangyari dahil sainyong lahat, dahil tayo’y nagkakaisa bilang isang Hukbong Sandatahan ng Pilipinas sa tunay na diwa ng bayanihan,” he added.
The outgoing AFP Chief also expressed his confidence that the Philippine Army, the AFP in general, can withstand the challenges that are yet to come.
“Marami tayong nilagpasan na hamon at tayo ay nagtagumpay dahil tayo ay nagkakaisa. Marami pa tayong hamon na haharapin sa darating na mga araw at panahon, ngunit kumpiyansa ako na kayang lagpasan ito dahil tayo lahat ay tapat sa ating tungkulin, sa ating organisasyon, at sa bayanihan,” Gen Bautista further said.
Gen Bautista also urged the Army personnel to stay focused on the goal and vision of the ATR and IPSP Bayanihan.
“Iisa ang ating direksyon na nakalatag sa IPSP Bayanihan at sa ATR..Tayo ay nasa transpormasyon. Naniniwala ako na tayo ay magiging tapat sa ATR. Walang ibang daan kundi ang daan tungo sa isang ‘world-class Army that is a source of national pride’,” he said.
“Manatili tayong tapat sa ating mandato na maging tagapagtanggol ng ating mamamayan, tagapagtanggol ng ating bansa, at alam ko na tayo ay mananatiling tapat dito. Iiwan ko sainyo ang Bayanihan, iiwan ko sainyo ang transformation roadmap, at iniiwan ko sainyo ang imahe ng isang kasundaluhan na tapat sa serbisyo, na tumutulong sa ating kapwa, at buo ang loob na magtatanggol sa ating bansa,” the AFP Chief concluded.
Gen Bautista also received a Command Plaque and a Plaque of Appreciation from the Philippine Army.
Gen Bautista is the 44th Chief of Staff of the AFP and served as the 54th Commanding General of the Philippine Army.
(Photo by Pfc Elmar P Duero and Pfc Cesar Lopez)