MANILA: The Philippines on Friday inaugurated army officer Lt. Gen. Andres Centino as the new chief of the country’s armed forces and policeman Lt. Gen. Dionard Carlos as the new head of police.
Both Centino and Carlos were part of the Philippine Military Academy’s “Maringal” class of 1988.
Centino took the helm of the Armed Forces of the Philippines in a ceremony presided over by Defense Undersecretary Cesar Yano. He replaces Gen. Jose Faustino, who formally retired from the service on Friday.
“An outstanding military commander, Lt. Gen. Centino will bring to the post his expertise and commitment to the achievement of lasting peace and development in the country,” Department of National Defense spokesperson Arsenio Andolong said in a statement.
“I am confident that Lt. Gen. Centino will ably lead our men and women in the AFP in the pursuit of a higher degree of excellence and professionalism.”
Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque congratulated Centino on the new role.
“We wish the success of Gen. Centino in his new role as AFP Chief,” he said in a statement, adding: “We are confident that Gen. Centino will continue the initiatives of his predecessors to bring lasting peace and development in the country while securing the State and upgrading our defense capability.”
In his inaugural speech, Centino vowed to end all armed conflicts in the country before the end of President Rodrigo Duterte’s term in June 2022.
“The commander-in-chief has entrusted us with a crucial responsibility,” he said. “Let us all be mindful to accomplish this task before the set deadline.”
“As I assume the leadership of the more than 150,000-strong Armed Forces of the Philippines, I enjoin everyone to maintain our momentum, sustain our gains, and remain victorious.”
The Philippine government continues to face several nonstate armed groups such the New People’s Army, the armed wing of the rebel Communist Party of the Philippines, which has been fighting the government since the 1960s.
Other armed groups, operating especially in Mindanao in the country’s south, include the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters and the Daesh-affiliated Abu Sayyaf Group, which is known for beheadings and kidnappings for ransom.
In a separate ceremony, presided over by Interior Secretary Eduardo Año, Carlos assumed duties as the new chief of the Philippine National Police. He replaced Gen. Guillermo Lorenzo Eleazar.
In his inaugural speech, Carlos vowed to ensure peaceful and orderly 2022 elections and to continue the police force’s programs to tackle crime, drugs and corruption.
He said: “While we are deeply grateful to the president and the past PNP leaderships and the supportive community for this achievement, we are not resting on our laurels, but are instead even more challenged to surpass the gains we have achieved, and provide a truly safe and peaceful environment where every Filipino can live and work without fear of crime or lawlessness in his heart.”