New AFP chief to focus on ending insurgency, promote localized peace talks

Maris Federez
LtGen. Felimon Santos, Jr.

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Roa Duterte has selected a new chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) in the person of LtGen. Felimon Santos, Jr., head of the East Mindanao Command.

Santos will replace LtGen. Noel Clement who will be retiring on Sunday (Jan. 5) at the age of 56.

Although he admitted that there are many qualified officers in the AFP, Santos said he is happy with the trust that the President has given him.

Under his leadership, Santos said, he will continue the course that the AFP has taken in fighting the communist group.

“Wala naman talagang reforms na talagang reforms. We will just enhance what is there na kita naman natin is very effective. The priority there is the urgency in ending insurgencies,” Santos said.

He further said that he will give attention to former members of the communist group who returned to the fold of the government and on localized peace talks.

“We will push with the localized peace talks kahit na may inaayos na national peace talks between the government and ‘yung grupo ni Joma Sison.  Now, pagka sinabi mong ‘insurgency’ sa isang probinsiya, it’s the problem of everybody especially the local chief executive,” Santos added.

Meanwhile, the Philippine National Police (PNP) leadership welcomed the appointment of the new AFP chief who was a “mistah” of LtGen. Archie Gamboa in PMA Sinagtala Class of 1986.

“We’re proud. We’re proud that he is a member of PMA Sinagtala Class of 1986. We hope for him the best and we will be in support of his leadership,” Gamboa said.

Clement will formally pass the AFP leadership to Santos at the Change of Command ceremonies on Saturday (Jan. 4). — (from the report of Harlene Delgado) /mbmf

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