President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday expressed confidence that the Philippine Navy will achieve more milestones under the leadership of newly-appointed PN flag-officer-in-command, Rear Admiral Giovanni Carlo Bacordo.
“Admiral Bacordo, I am confident that our Navy under your leadership will continue to achieve more milestones in the campaign to protect the freedoms and democratic values that we hold dear,” Duterte said in his speech during the change of command ceremony at the PN headquarters in Manila.
“It is my hope you will become the embodiment of integrity and valor as you lead your Navy in securing the seas and the future of our land,” he added.
Duterte also assured full support and that his administration will always assist in enhancing the PN’s capabilities.
Earlier, Bacordo vowed to ensure the sustainability and fighting form of the new ships and platforms the Navy is acquiring as part of its modernization thrust.
Bacordo said the maintenance and upkeep facilities are needed to ensure that the Navy’s ships and platforms won’t be rundown due to the lack of maintenance.
Meanwhile, Duterte also thanked outgoing PN chief, Vice Admiral Robert Empedrad for his successful tenure which will be remembered for fostering “a dependable and credible naval force”.
“Let me take this occasion to acknowledge your more than three decades of professional career in the Armed Forces of the Philippines. And on behalf of a grateful nation, I thank you for your remarkable service, sir,” Duterte told Empedrad.
Duterte said under Empedrad’s leadership, the Philippine Navy increased naval presence in Philippine waters, deterred various threats to territorial integrity, defended sovereignty from foreign elements, maintained peace and order in Mindanao during Martial Law, and protected people against terrorism, smuggling and human trafficking.
The President also lauded Empedrad’s efforts in spearheading humanitarian assistance and disaster response operations for compatriots working in Iran and those affected by the eruption of Taal Volcano.
He said he could attest to the outgoing Navy chief’s “faithful adherence to military professionalism and selfless dedication to duty”.
Duterte also recognized Empedrad’s support for the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Modernization Program which seeks to provide Navy personnel necessary equipment and skills to excel in their role as defenders of this nation.
He, meanwhile, urged officers and personnel of the Navy to rally behind Bacordo.
“Under his leadership, may you all remain steadfast in protecting our country against all threats in the seas,” Duterte said.
Bacordo, a member of the Philippine Military Academy Class of 1987, replaced Empedrad, who formally retired from the service Monday (Feb. 3) after reaching the mandatory retirement age of 56.
Empedrad is a member of the PMA Class of 1986 and served as PN chief since December 2017. PNA.GOV.PH