Marcos confident Bacarro is 'right leader' for AFP

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, August 8) — The country has a 'reliable partner' in the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) under its new chief, Lt. Gen. Bartolome Vicente Bacarro, President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. said Monday.

In his speech during the Change of Command Ceremony, commander-in-chief Marcos said he is "certain" that Bacarro is the "right leader" to lead the country's military toward a "much improved and stronger AFP in the days ahead."

"I am sure that we will all now know that we have a reliable partner in the AFP under the helm of Gen. Bacarro as we commence the difficult undertaking of rebirth and restoration of the republic," Marcos said. "Transforming the country into a haven that is safe, secure, peaceful, and prosperous for all, present, and future Filipinos to enjoy."

The President described Bacarro as "fearless in combat" noting the top military official's 10-hour firefight against around 150 armed communist rebels in Isabela in 1991, which earned him the Medal of Valor, the highest award for military combat in the AFP.

"The kind of leadership that you possess, the strong presence, the administrative and operational proficiency, unmatched discipline, and unwavering commitment will come in useful for the work you are facing ahead of you," Marcos told Bacarro.

Bacarro was officially installed as the 58th Chief of Staff of the AFP during the ceremony presided over by Marcos at Camp Aguinaldo in Quezon City.

The new AFP chief used Marcos' call for "unity" as the guiding acronym for his five-pronged priorities for the armed forces under his leadership.

"U for unparalleled professionalism, N for noble utilization of our resources, I for invigorating capability development, T for tenacity in sustaining our gains, and Y for yearning for service excellence," Bacarro said.

Bacarro is the first top military official to be covered by the recently signed law which grants him a fixed term of three years. 

Meanwhile, Marcos awarded the prestigious Legion of Honor to Gen. Andres Centino, commending him for his "exemplary service" and "unwavering commitment to excellence."

As Centino relinquished his post, he claimed during his speech that there were no reported incidents of human rights violations under his more than eight months of heading the AFP.