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Duterte says Filipinos demand excellence and professionalism from soldiers

President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday reminded the military officers and enlisted personnel of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) that Filipinos expect them to serve with the “highest standards of excellence and professionalism.

In his speech during the oath-taking of the newly-promoted AFP generals and flag officers in Malacañang Palace, the President paid tribute to soldiers as keepers of peace and protectors of the nation.

“I depend on you to stand with us at this important time in our nation’s history,” the President said. “As your Commander-in-Chief, I share your pride and honor in achieving this significant milestone in your careers.”

Duterte noted that despite the significant progress to counter illegal drugs, corruption, and criminality, the Philippines is not yet safe from harm and danger.

He, however, expressed optimism that the country can prevail against the challenges “if we work together as a people and as a nation.”

“I hope that you remain steadfast and vigilant in sustaining our efforts as we strive to eradicate these social ills fully,” he said.

“It is for this reason that I look to our newly appointed generals and flag officers to serve with integrity and uphold the rule of law,” he also said.

The President asked the newly appointed officers to lead the men and women of the AFP and hone them into exemplary and reliable soldiers

He assured them that he would stand by them as they start their respective tasks.

“In return, I ask that you help me restore the people’s faith in their government,” he said.

“We will see to it that the nation that we hand over to the next generation of Filipinos is one that is more stable, harmonious and progressive,” he added.

At the same time, President Duterte said he has always advocated for the merit system and stressed that he does not interfere in the chain of command.

“I do not, and I have not to this day interfered in the chain of command nor in the promotion or transfer or anything that is within your province. I have kept my distance, I have kept my promise that everything shall be on merit,” he said.

The President then called on the officers to help him stop graft and corruption.

“I have only one demand: that you help me. You are not — but help me stamp graft and corruption. That was my main promise,” Mr. Duterte said.

“I won the presidency, not because of anybody. That is why to our credit, nobody but nobody, no politician ever, ever calls me or intercedes for anybody in matters that are, I said, within your jurisdiction,” he further said.

After the oath-taking rites, the President presided over the joint AFP-Philippine National Police Command Conference.#