MANILA, July 27— The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) lauded President Rodrigo Duterte’s announcement that he will make the military strong and credible in two year’s time.
This plan will allow the 125,000-strong AFP to carry out its mandate of protecting the country against external and internal security threats, military spokesperson Brig. Gen. Restituto Padilla said Thursday.
“We strongly appreciate this proposal by the President as strengthening of the AFP will allow it to perform much better and efficiently its mandate,” he said in Filipino.
During a press conference after his second State-of-the-Nation-Address (SONA) Monday, the Chief Executive said he is pushing for the recruitment of 20,000 soldiers and 10,000 to 15,000 Special Action Force members for the Philippine National Police counter threats like insurgency and terrorism which are threatening to make foothold in the country.
As of this posting, the entire AFP, consisting of the Army, Navy and Air Force, has 125,000 officers and enlisted personnel.
Aside from additional troops, Duterte said he is planning to acquire all the needed weapons and equipment to further strengthen the AFP in its security role.
“Right at the very start of his tenure, the CinC assured the AFP that ‘he has our back.’ He has shown this many times and continues to do so this very day. He was on countless occasions genuinely shown his concern for our wounded and heroes and the families left behind,” Padilla added.
Aside from additional troops and equipment, Duterte also vowed to provide for the families of troops wounded or killed in the line of battle.
Assistance are in the form of shelter, healthcare, education and employment.
“It is not surprising then to hear the CinC announce the additional benefits for our fallen heroes’ widows and we are truly grateful. The AFP assures the Nation and the CinC of our continued dedication to serve and protect our country and our people,” the AFP spokesperson stressed. (Priam F. Nepomuceno/PNA)