By Genalyn Kabiling
President Duterte has directed the Philippine Army (PA) led by new commanding general Major Gen. Macairog Alberto to continue to preserve the peace and defend the nation’s freedom.
At the Army change of command ceremony in Taguig City, the President also asked the troops to support the leadership of Alberto amid efforts to sustain the gains of government reforms.
Alberto replaced Army chief Lt. Gen. Rolando Bautista who retired from service during the turnover rites. Bautista has been designated as the new secretary of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).
“To General Alberto, know that we will constantly face threats and challenges as we trudge the noble path of realizing lasting peace and sustainable development. I trust that you will take up this action as our Army’s new Commanding General,” Duterte said.
“The Filipino people counts on the Philippine Army to remain steadfast in its mission of preserving the peace and defending the freedoms we enjoy today,” he said.
Prior to his appointment, Alberto served as commander of the Intelligence Service of the Armed Forces of the Philippines. Macairog, a graduate of Philippine Military Academy Class of 1986, was a former commander of Task Force Davao.
The President also thanked Bautista for his service to the country and the people, citing his accomplishments to combat terrorists, communist insurgents and other lawless elements.
He said Bautista orchestrated more than 100,000 combat operations, mostly against communist terrorists, that led to the neutralization and apprehension of hundreds of rebels and the recovery of hundreds of firearms.
Under Bautista’s watch, he said the Philippine Army also provided support to the police in operations that led to the arrest of Abu Sayyaf leaders and other lawless elements.
“You can be assured that the Army you will hand over to your successor, Major General Macairog Alberto, is a professional workforce that is stronger, more empowered and even more dependable,” he said.
Duterte also announced that he has chosen Bautista as the new Social Welfare Secretary due to his honesty and competence.
“Ang DSWD ay bakante. So we are now talking I am looking for an honest and competent guy and I choose Rolly Bautista to be the next secretary,” he said.
“Civilian ka na diyan but you will be called Secretary Bautista,” he said.