Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief of Staff General Gilbert Gapay officially received his fourth star in a donning of ranks ceremony held at Camp Aguinaldo in Quezon City Wednesday.
Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana administered the donning of Gapay’s fourth star at the Department of National Defense (DND) Building. The ceremony was witnessed by senior military officers led by Vice Admiral Gaudencio Collado Jr., AFP Vice Chief of Staff, and members of Gapay’s family.
“We remain dedicated to the performance of our mandate. This achievement is a realization of not only the sacrifices which we have already made, but also of the obligations we have yet to fulfill for our country and its people,” Gapay said.
“I am hopeful that the AFP will continue working collectively to provide a secure and peaceful environment for every Filipino,” he added.
Gapay’s appointment to the rank of General was endorsed by the Commission on Appointments (CA) last September 2, but was only approved by President Duterte last Monday, October 5, explained Captain Jonathan Zata, AFP public affairs office chief.
A graduate of the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) “Sinagtala” Class of 1986, Gapay took over as the 54th AFP Chief last August 3, replacing now retired General Felimon Santos Jr.
He graduated on top of his class and gained prominence as the most decorated cadet in the history of the PMA, bagging 13 awards during their graduation.
As the AFP Chief, Gapay was immediately surrounded by controversy when he expressed intention to include the “regulation” of social media in the implementing rules and regulation (IRR) of the newly passed Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020.
Gapay later clarified that he only wanted to have a stricter monitoring of terror groups’ online activities, and not curtail the right to free speech of the public amid concerns that the anti-terror law may be used to stifle dissent.
Gapay has since outlined four areas of priorities during his leadership namely operational effectiveness, organizational efficiency, personnel development and well-being; and stakeholder collaboration.