Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief of Staff Gen. Felimon Santos Jr. conducted his farewell visit at the headquarters of the Philippine Army (PA) in Taguig City and Philippine Navy (PN) in Manila on Tuesday.
Santos, after almost 40 years in service, will retire from the military on August 4.
During his farewell visit, he was received by Army Chief Lt. Gen. Gilbert Gapay at Fort Andres Bonifacio.
Santos was awarded with a Combat Commander’s Kagitingan Badge, an award given to Army officers and enlisted personnel who have commanded combat and combat support units for at least one cumulative year.
Santos took the opportunity to personally talk and bid farewell to the men and women of the Army, and ensured that their morale and welfare are well taken care of especially amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.
“We aim for operational and organizational excellence, modernization, strong partnerships with stakeholders, and the well-being of our personnel. I am delighted that these improvements exemplify the fulfillment of these thrusts,” Gapay said in his speech.
Meanwhile, Vice Admiral Giovanni Carlo Bacordo, Navy Chief, bestowed an honorary Flag Rank Command Badge to Santos during his visit at the Naval Station Jose Andrada.
In his remarks, Santos lauded the Philippine Navy for its “steadfast commitment of providing comprehensive maritime security for the whole archipelago.”
He also praised the Navy leadership for its “remarkable” involvement in the national campaign to address the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The Navy’s versatility in confronting this challenge signifies another big leap in the enhancement of the organization’s core competency as we steadily and effectively increase our readiness and adaptability,” Santos said.
“I urge you to take pride in what you have accomplished during my term as well as your feats in the future. I am truly proud and honored for the opportunity to lead an organization that is composed of dedicated and committed men and women,” he added.
Bacordo thanked Santos for giving the commanders “the sense of empowerment and trust, [and] letting them at the different levels of command to have freedom of action guided by a clear sense of direction and intent.”
President Duterte has yet to decide who will succeed Santos, or whether his stint will be extended. There are 10 generals reportedly vying for the top AFP post.