One week 'punishment' for new AFP chief
MANILA, Philippines – It's a punishment that newly appointed Armed Forces chief Lieutenant General Gregorio Pio Catapang Jr welcomed wholeheartedly: 10 push ups in front of Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin.
Gazmin, a former Army general, has applied a military tradition to congratulate newly promoted generals. He would ask them to do 10 push ups, an equivalent of a one-week punishment for soldiers. Philippine troops go through this "punishment" when they complete training for elite units, for example, to show their strength and fitness.
On Thursday, July 17, Gazmin gave Catapang the news of his appointment while they were at the Operations Center of the Office of Civil Defense (OCD) monitoring Typhoon Glenda (Rammasun). Right there and then, in front of Executive Secretary Pacquito Ochoa Jr, a member of the disaster management council, Catapang served his punishment.
"It was a really funny thing.... I had to do the push up in front of the Secretary of National Defense while Executive Secretary Pacquito Ochoa was watching. It was really a funny incident," Catapang told reporters Thursday.
It was also Ochoa, as executive secretary, who signed his appointment.
"It's a symbolism that you have to maintain your physical strength. If you are given a command, you execute it immediately," said a laughing Catapang, an Army Scout Ranger himself.
Catapang is replacing General Emmanuel Bautista, his classmate in the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) Dimalupig Class of 1981. The change of command ceremony is scheduled on Friday, July 18.
Catapang was commander of the Northern Luzon Command (Nolcom) before his appointment as vice chief of staff in May. He also served as chief of the 7th Infantry Division. – Rappler.com
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