Manifestation of support to the senior officers of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, led by General Romeo Brawner, Jr.

I rise to express my support to the gallant generals, senior officers and unformed personnel of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, led by their Chief of Staff General Romeo Brawner, Jr. 

The AFP has been hogging the headlines recently due to the tense situation in the West Philippine Sea. Sa kabila ng banta sa kanilang buhay, pananakot at panggigipit ng isang superpower, hindi po nagpapasindak ang ating mga bayaning kawal. Our brave men and women in uniform have remained loyal to their calling with utmost patriotic fervor and performed their constitutional mandate as defenders of the Filipino nation. My snappy salute to all of you!

Let me also put into the record my support to the confirmation of the ad interim appointment of Lt. Gen. Brawner as a four-star full-fledged general. When I had an official visit in Fort Bonifacio, Philippine Army last April as Chairperson of the Senate Committee on National Defense and Security, I mentioned that Gen. Brawner had the makings of the next AFP Chief of Staff – because of the way he talks, he presents and conducts himself, and the manner he effectively leads the biggest component of the AFP. At hindi nga po ako nagkamali, or should I say, nag-dilang anghel po ako. 

Congratulations and we look forward to a strong leadership in the AFP amidst all the issues surrounding the defense establishment – from the continuing maritime disputes and foreign incursions in the West Philippine Sea, the urgency of implementing the modernization of military assets and building a credible defense posture, up to the simmering discontent within the ranks arising from the proposed reforms in the MUP pension. 

Tutulungan po kayo ng inyong Senado, sa ilalim ng pamumuno ni Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri, upang kayo ay magtagumpay sa inyong mabuting hangarin para sa ating Sandatahang Lakas sa susunod na tatlong taon ninyong maximum tour of duty bilang AFP Chief of Staff. 

Also, let me put on record my personal endorsement to Major General Rommel Roldan, the Deputy Chief of Staff for Personnel or J-1, who has been of great help to the Senate Committee on National Defense in the passage of the bill amending RA 11709, which has since been enacted as RA 11939. Kasama ko po siya sa mga briefings dito sa Senado, at kahit ipapatawag namin ng Linggo, dumarating po siya. He has been patient and very professional in our sessions. He has also been helping us and the economic team in doing the rounds nationwide, in major military camps from Baguio to Zamboanga, to explain to our soldiers and solicit their insights about the proposed reforms in their pension. 

Thank you, Mr. President.