AFP reestablished ‘effective presence’ in West Philippine Sea: AFP chief cites arrival of new assets

Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief-of-Staff General Gilbert Gapay has cited the arrival of big ticket items under the AFP modernization program during the culmination of AFP 85th founding anniversary celebration on December 21.

“I am proud to report that with all these equipment, we have once again established effective presence in the West Philippine Sea in assertion of our sovereignty,” General Gapay said.

Among the cited assets were BRP Jose Rizal, FA50 jets, Super Tucano ground attack aircraft, and six of the sixteen S-70i Black Hawk combat utility helicopters.

“Soon to be delivered to the Philippine Army are light tanks, self-propelled artillery pieces, and modern riverine equipment. With all these acquisitions, the AFP continues to build its momentum and is steadily moving forward towards the realization of our modernization goals and objectives,” General Gapay added.

He also vowed to sustain the military’s achievements in the past year. He cited the military’s accomplishments starting from the eruption of Taal Volcano in January to the successive typhoons that hit the country in October and November.

“These accomplishments of your Armed Forces speak of our commitment and dedication to serve and protect. The wars and battles in the AFP’s history have successfully honed each Filipino soldier with unwavering tenacity and resilience,” General Gapay said.

“The AFP significantly degraded the armed capability of the CPP-NPA and the local terrorist groups, such as the Abu Sayyaf, the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters, and the Dawlah Islamiah-affiliated terror groups. Their manpower, firepower, and mass base support are on the decline,” General Gapay added. “We could now see light at the end of the tunnel, and we’re confident that these internal armed conflicts will be permanently put to rest before the President’s term ends in 2022.”

“However, we are aware that there is still so much to be done to enable us, your Armed Forces, to sustain the momentum of our operations and to realize our ultimate objective of attaining genuine peace and development for our nation and the Filipino people,” General Gapay said.