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Military to focus on disaster response missions

MANILA, July 4, 2016 - The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) will focus on its humanitarian assistance and disaster relief response missions, newly appointed AFP chief Lt. Gen. Ricardo Visaya said.

"We will consolidate and ready our forces to become first responders and take proactive roles to protect our environment and mitigate the effects of climate change. we will then enhance our efforts to work closely with other agencies non government organizations and the private sector to firm up our mechanisms to realize these advocacies," Visaya said.

The Philippines is located in the so-called "Pacific Ring of Fire" and has recorded more casualties and devastation brought about by national disasters and calamities.

Aside from improving competencies in combat, soldiers would also be involved in the crackdown on criminality and terrorism, after Pres. Rodrigo Duterte has ordered the military to join the anti-crime campaign.

"As I always intimate to our troops in my numerous field units we must instill in ourselves the desire to excel in all our endeavors and to continue our quest for excellence even beyond the call of duty. Every soldier is a fighter, a law enforcer, a rescuer, and above all a reformed man," he said.

In doing the job, he assured that they will "always be guided by the principles of transparency accountability and adherence to human rights, international humanitarian law and the rule of law."

"These values will never be lost despite massive change in the way we think and operate," Visaya added.

Visaya is a member of Philippine Military Academy Class of 1983. He replaced Lt. Gen. Glorioso Miranda who served as acting AFP chief last April.(PNA)

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