Duterte tells PH Air Force: More terror threats to fight in Mindanao
PAMPANGA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte called on the Philippine Air Force (PAF) to prepare for more operations against terror threats in Mindanao, where the military had just ended a 5-month operation against local terrorists in Marawi City.
"I enjoin our troops to continue performing their duties well, especially as martial law remains in effect in Mindanao, and there are persisting threats of terrorism and [insurgency]," Duterte said at the Air Force change of command ceremony in Clark Airbase on Tuesday, October 24.
During the event, outgoing Philippine Air Force chief Lieutenant General Edgar Fallorina relinquished his duties to his successor, Lieutenant General Galileo Kintanar Jr.
PH Air Force commanding general Lt Gen Edgar Fallorina officially relinquishes duties to new commanding general Lt Gen Galileo Kintanar Jr pic.twitter.com/SkkEdq5Bbr
PH Air Force commanding general Lt Gen Edgar Fallorina officially relinquishes duties to new commanding general Lt Gen Galileo Kintanar Jr pic.twitter.com/SkkEdq5Bbr— Pia Ranada (@piaranada) October 24, 2017
Duterte lauded the sacrifice of PAF personnel in military operations, especially in Marawi.
"We recognize the valor and the sacrifices of the PAF personnel who were killed and wounded in action, particularly the casualties caused by the conflict in Marawi City," he said.
The PAF's role in the Marawi conflict came under the spotlight after two of its airstrikes killed Philippine soldiers.
The Armed Forces has completed its probe into the May 31 incident, where 10 soldiers were killed, but had refused to make the findings public until after military operations in Marawi.
Duterte made no mention of the friendly fire incidents in his speech.
The PAF deployed over 400 personnel and several aircraft to Marawi City to provide combat support and help move troops.
He emphasized the debt of gratitude owed by the nation to PAF personnel.
"That you have left your families and the comfort of your homes to serve the country is truly praiseworthy. Indeed, the Philippines and our people are indebted to you because of the sacrifices you have made every single day," Duterte said.
New commanding general
Outgoing PAF chief Fallorina, who served in his post for one year and 7 months, cited the role of the PAF as a "game changer" in the war in Marawi.
He thanked Duterte, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, and AFP chief General Eduardo Año for helping improve the PAF's capabilities.
Kintanar, new PAF commanding general, promised to improve the PAF's ability to accomplish missions and to defend Philippine sovereignty and sovereign rights.
He also grew emotional as he dedicated his new position to his late father.
"I have fulfilled your dream today....I know you are here today," said Kintanar.
Lorenzana announced the end of military operations in Marawi on Monday, ending 5 long months of conflict. – Rappler.com