Ladies and gentlemen, good morning. Allow me first to greet all of you a happy new year. It feels good to be with you today, not in the battlefield but in a traditional new year’s call. As the Secretary of National Defense had said, this is our version of the red carpet that is famous among celebrities. Well, for us in the military, this is the traditional and humble way of starting our year to renew and reaffirm our commitment that we swore to uphold.
With all our accomplishments and development efforts for the past year, I would like to express my deepest gratitude for your contributions and strong support in pursuing our mission.
My fellow WestMinCom troopers, as your commander, I address you today with so much hope for this year. Despite the numerous constraining events and devastations brought about by man-made and natural calamities just before 2018 ended, I personally believe that we can still make beautiful things happen. Since our past year had been quite challenging, it is just but fitting that we face 2019 with hopes and more determination as we continue our mission.
Through the guidance of the Chief of Staff, Armed Forces of the Philippines, the Western Mindanao Command will continue to perform its mandated task. Our Chief of Staff calls for everyone’s commitment and support in order to achieve the AFP’s end-state in 2019 that is to achieve the president’s desire to ultimately win the peace and finally put an end to the local communist armed conflict.
Hence, he is reminding us of his command guidance which he laid down during his assumption of command last December 2018. As he reiterated, we will prioritize the attainment of the breaking point of the communist terrorist groups and its consequent collapse, and the decisive defeat of the terrorist groups ASG, Maute group, BIFF, and other foreign and local terrorist groups.
With the tasks at hand, I am enjoining everyone to again give your full commitment and support in all peace efforts of WestMinCom. Let us continue to enthusiastically work with the different stakeholders on the ground by utilizing the combined strategic convergence — the afp’s ‘population-centric’ strategy, in order to bring everyone together and to fulfill our common purpose.
We shall also take full advantage of our solid partnership with our PNP counterparts, other law enforcement agencies, and foreign armed forces in the discharge of our duties for us to pull off fast, decisive, and successful undertakings, may it be combat operations or CMO activities.
As we all know, few days from now, we will be witnessing and assessing how far the peace talks have gone over the past years. But what is more important is that we are prepared to address any eventualities that may arise. I really wish that much long political settlement in Mindanao be, once and for all, fulfilled through the Bangsamoro Organic Law.
While we desire to achieve our goals and objectives for calendar year 2019, the welfare of our troops, to include our civilian work force, should not also be forgotten. Let us keep on motivating and inspiring them by initiating force protection measures and innovating existing tactics, techniques, and procedures in order to raise their productivity levels and to increase their survivability rate.
As you go back to your respective units, kindly extend my greetings and heartfelt thanks to our soldiers who are in the front line; those who had continually served even during new year’s eve so that others may be able to celebrate their parties without getting disturbed. I feel honored for their bravery and gallantry and i truly appreciate their commitment and dedication to duty.
This year, I wish you all to be more optimistic and forgiving. Start living a new way of life with new perspective and be joyful about the chance to correct all the things done wrong in the past. Be optimistic of the new possibilities and feel fresh to celebrate god’s bounty. Likewise, be forgiving to those who had done you wrong for we can never go back in time and change what has happened. We should rather work on the present to make a wonderful future and better relationships with others.
Let us also altogether celebrate life as one family or one team. Let us stand steadfast amidst the challenges that come our way during our journey. I encourage everyone to go that extra mile to achieve new heights in our life as soldiers and citizens of the Philippines who are working for peace in this part of the country.
In closing, let me again thank you all for your presence here today. This gives me the assurance that you are still with the entire team WestMinCom in advancing our peace agenda.
Once again, happy new year and good luck to all of us!!!