Lorenzana turns over DND leadership to Covid-stricken Faustino

Secretary Delfin Lorenzana officially turned over his responsibilities as the head of the Department of National Defense (DND) to the new officer-in-charge, Jose Faustino Jr., in a virtual ceremony on Friday, July 1.

Secretary Delfin Lorenzana (Photo courtesy of DND)

DND OIC Jose Faustino Jr. (File photo courtesy of AFP Public Affairs Office)

Lorenzana stepped down from the post after serving for six years under the administration of former President Duterte while Faustino, a former Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), took over the helm under the administration of newly-inaugurated President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.

Faustino could not attend the physical transition ceremony at Camp Aguinaldo in Quezon City after he tested positive for Covid-19.

During the ceremony, Lorenzana handed over to Faustino the DND flag which symbolizes the supervision and control of the agency.

He also presented his Tour of Duty report which contains the accomplishments of the DND for the past six years.

“I hereby relinquish all authority and responsibility as the Secretary of National Defense and entrust to your care the discharge of powers and functions rested in the Secretary to fulfill the department’s mandate,” Lorenzana said in his speech.

Meanwhile, Faustino pledged to fulfill the mandate of the DND “to the best of my abilities.”

“I have big shoes to fill but with the grace of God, I vow to lead the department towards excellence, guided by the core values of patriotism, professionalism, and good governance,” he said.

Faustino has to serve as an OIC first pursuant to the one-year ban on the appointment of retired military officers to a Cabinet post as mandated by Republic Act 6975. He retired from the military service on Nov. 12, 2021.

As the DND OIC, Faustino has a lot on his plate as he is expected to face the continuing maritime row in the West Philippine Sea; problems on communist insurgency, terrorism, and other internal and external security threats; the continuation of the military’s modernization program, preserving and making new ties with international allies, and the challenges brought by the Covid-19 pandemic among others.