Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Gen. Noel Clement visited here Thursday for the first time as chief of staff to congratulate the troops in Palawan on their accomplishments in the government’s campaign against local insurgency and to boost their morale in upholding the protection of the country’s interests in the West Philippine Sea.
A member of the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) Sandiwa Class of 1985, Clement was welcomed at the headquarters of the Western Command (WESCOM) by its commander, Vice Adm. Rene Medina, and the other commanders of the joint task forces, officers of operational control (OPCON) units, enlisted personnel, and civilian employees.
Before talking to the troops, Clement was given a comprehensive briefing about various issues and concerns on territorial defense, internal security, humanitarian assistance and disaster response/relief (HADR), and support to national development and law enforcement in the province.
“After the briefing given by your commander, I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate Team WESCOM for a very good job in accomplishing its task here in your area of responsibility,” Clement said.
“Naiintindihan ko na marami kayong kino-confront dito. Ang sabi ko nga sa mga commanders ninyo, probably WESCOM is nag-iisang unified command na nagpe-perform ng lahat ng ating mga mission areas. Merong problema sa local insurgency, you are confronting terrorism, meron kayong territorial defense, may HADR when it comes to mga sakuna dito or mga disasters — so ibig sabihin lahat ng mission areas ay meron kayong ginagampanan na tungkulin,” he added.
Clement said despite all these and with “limited resources and personnel”, WESCOM is able to accomplish its tasks and responsibilities.
He said it is an indication that Medina and the other commanders are contributing towards the accomplishment of the AFP’s mission.
“Let me just emphasized that we have the opportunity right now to get done the conflicts that we are having internally. If you look at the mission of the AFP, very specific doon that our mandate is to secure the sovereignty of our territorial waters. Napaka-importante ng mandate na ‘yan na protektahan ang ating bansa,” he said.
Clement said it is important for the AFP to end the internal conflict so it could move forward towards achieving its task in securing the country’s territorial waters from “any foreign aggression”.
Clement also shared with the troops the objective of the AFP to become a world-class armed force.
“Iyong ating armed forces right now is moving towards ‘yong objective natin of becoming a world-class armed force. Kung mapapansin niyo, we have a lot of new equipment and a lot of new platforms that are coming in. ‘Yong navy natin is procuring new and bigger ships which have more capabilities and more facilities onboard so, we will have a better grasp of securing our territorial waters,” he said.
Before becoming the 52nd chief of staff, Clement served as commander of the 56th Infantry Battalion, the 602nd Infantry Brigade, and the 501st Infantry Brigade.
He also served as a member of the Presidential Security Group.