Guerrero leaves AFP leadership 4 reminders before bowing out

Carmela Fonbuena
Guerrero leaves AFP leadership 4 reminders before bowing out
'Being in the military service is not about you. It is about the institution. It is about the country. It is about the people we serve and secure,' newly retired AFP chief General Rey Leonardo Guerrero reminds the officers of the Philippine military

MANILA, Philippines – Newly retired Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief General Rey Leonardo Guerrero left 4 important reminders to military leaders before bowing out of the service on Wednesday, April 18.

In his valedictory speech on Wednesday, Guerro reminded them of the importance of staying professional. “It is about the country. It is about the people we serve and secure,” he said.

The professionalism and independence of the Philippine military is crucial as it wields vast powers with the continued implementation of martial law in Mindanao. In Manila, political calisthenics intensifies as President Rodrigo Duterte is criticized for dictatorial tendencies in his clampdown on critics. 

Guerrero himself helped douse talk of a revolutionary government last year. (READ: Talk about revolutionary gov’t not doing PH any good – AFP chief)

Duterte’s supporters wanted the Chief Executive to write a new constitution supposedly to give himself the powers to address the country’s problems. Guerrero dismissed the talks, which apparently did not sit well with some allies of Duterte. 

Guerrero will stay in government service. He was appointed administrator of the Maritime Industry Authority (Marina), an agency that regulates all seagoing vessels and shipping activities in the country.

Here are the 4 lessons he shared to military officers on his final day as their chief.

1. It’s not about you. It’s about the institution.

“Being in the military service is not about you. It is about the institution. It is about the country. It is about the people we serve and secure. In everything that you do, think of the institution and the nation above all else before yourself,” Guerrero said.

“Remember always that the AFP is a professional organization. It is not a social club. Too often professionalism and excellence are overlooked in the effort to live up to social norms and expectations. Stay the course, stay true to our core values of honor, service, and patriotism. And live up to the ideals of soldiery and public service,” he added.

2. Lead with vision, direction, and action.

“Leaders set the tone and point the way. Those who lead must know where to go and how to get there. Lead your men and women with vision. Lead with direction. Lead with action. And always remember that your example is the benchmark for everyone else. So do good, keep your integrity, loyalty to the flag, and country,” the retired military chief said.

3. Keep your word.

“Keep your word. Deliver on your promise. Fulfill your oath every single day. By our fidelity to our oath and by sincerity to your actions, are you measured and appreciated. At the end of the day, it is your character and track record that will tell your story,” Guerrero said.

4. ‘When in doubt, remember our pledge.’

“Stay true, stay strong. follow your mandate at all times. when in doubt, remember our pledge,” the former AFP said.

In his speech, Guerrero said his leadership was guided by the core values of the AFP, the Philippine Military Academy, the Masonry, and UP Vanguard. 

Guerrero was a student at the University of the Philippines in Diliman when he took the PMA entrance exams. He is a member of the PMA “Maharlika” Class of 1984. 

He focused his military service on the fight against the communist insurgency. Before becoming AFP chief, he was chief of the Eastern Mindanao Command (Eastmincom), in charge of the area where communist rebels continue to have a strong presence.

He was Eastmincom chief when the military and the New People’s Army, the armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines, observed a 6-month-long ceasefire to support the peace talks. The talks collapsed when both sides accused each other of abusing the ceasefire.

As AFP chief, he boasted of leading the campaign that resulted in the surrender of over 5,000 tagged communist rebels and supporters. –

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