Brawner installed as new AFP chief

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(Photo from the Presidential Communications Office)

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, July 21) — General Romeo Brawner Jr. was formally installed as the 60th chief of staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) in a ceremony on Friday, where he laid out his priorities for the organization.

In his speech during the change of command ceremony, Brawner said he wants the AFP to focus its efforts on strengthening its capabilities through modernization, and actively enhancing ties with ally nations.

“In line with the president's pronouncement of not giving an inch of our territory, the AFP will endeavor to modernize its personnel, equipment, facilities, processes and systems so as to enable it to be a lethal and competent fighting force capable of defending our territory from external aggression,” said Brawner, who replaced Gen. Andres Centino.

Part of such efforts is ensuring the military can deal with cybersecurity threats, he added.

"I see cyber as a great equalizer, and we have great potential to be a player in the cyber domain," Brawner said.

The new AFP chief also said he wants to prioritize fighting insurgency, as well as the normalization process in the Bangsamoro region, particularly the disarmament and reintegration of former Moro Islamic Liberation Front fighters.

President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., who graced the ceremony, expressed confidence in Brawner's capability in helping ensure the country's security.

"Given your extensive experience in safeguarding peace in conflict affected areas, I urge you to recalibrate our internal security operations so that we can deliver public services in geographically isolated and disadvantaged communities," Marcos told Brawner.

The president also called on the entire AFP to "work towards an armed forces that is agile and prepared for any contingency."