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New AFP chief outlines plans, warns troops

New Armed Forces Chief Lt. Gen. Jose Faustino Jr. on Saturday outlined plans aimed at further improving the military’s performance and called on troops to set aside politics.

In a ceremony installing him as the AFP’s 56th chief of staff, Faustino said he will “fine tune” the military’s disposition of strength so soldiers can better help address issues in internal and external security, the Covid-19 pandemic, and natural disasters.

Deployment of the military’s reserve forces will also be reviewed and augmented, he said.

Faustino, who only has until November to serve in the military, said he also plans to establish “centers,” or facilities, that would study actions countering violent extremism and promote a self-reliant defense posture.

During his term, the military would also aim to develop more plans and tactics, and mitigate those that adversaries can use, he said.

Faustino also vowed to prioritize soldiers’ welfare, enhance the AFP’s cyber security, and expressed continued support to anti-criminality efforts by the National Police and other law enforcement agencies.

“Place patriotism over politics” and “Stay positive in the course ahead” were among Faustino’s first orders to troops.

Before ascending to the military’s top position, Faustino served as head of the recently-created AFP Joint Task Force Mindanao, acting commanding general of the Army, and head of the AFP Eastern Mindanao Command who covers President Rodrigo Duterte’s hometown Davao City.

Faustino replaced battle-wounded and medal of valor awardee Gen. Cirilito Sobejana as AFP chief.

Sobejana, who reached mandatory retirement age on Saturday, vowed to make up for lost time with his family but said he would gladly serve in the military again if he was younger.

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