Aquino bids farewell to AFP as commander-in- chief

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President Benigno Aquino III gives his farewell salute to the men and women of the Armed Forces of the Philippines. Aquino could be best remembered by the AFP for giving exceptional importance on military modernization.

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — President Benigno Aquino says he is leaving the Armed Forces in way better shape than when he took over.

He formally bid farewell to the A-F-P in what was described as a toned-down sendoff ceremony here in Camp Aguinaldo this afternoon

As in previous speeches before a military audience, the president boasted about his administration's defense spending.

Kung naaalala niyo, noong magsimula tayo, ang sabi natin: Puwede na muling mangarap,” Aquino said. “Ang malungkot na katotohanan noon: Ni segunda mano ay wala tayong pambili. Ngayon, kita naman po ninyo, meron na tayong apat [na C-130 aircrafts]; at may isa pang paparating. Nitong nakaraang buwan, dumating na rin ang BRP Tarlac, ang pinakamalaki na nating barko.”

[Translation: If you remember, when we started, we said: We can now dream again. The sad reality before is that we can’t even buy second hand. Now as you can see we already have four (C-130 aircrafts), and there’s another one coming. This past month, BRP Tarlac, our biggest ship, arrived.]

Under the expanded AFP modernization program, the Aquino government spent close to P66 billion for the military's capability upgrade — that's more than double the amount spent by three previous administrations combined.

The president also spoke highly about the troops — from those guarding the country's borders at the West Philippine Sea to those who were in the front lines during disasters.

Dito natin nadadama kung gaano kakapos ang pagsasabi lang ng maraming, maraming salamat po sa inyong lahat. Palagay ko po, talagang kinakatawan ko ang sambayanang Pilipino na damang-dama nila lahat ng sakripisyo, lahat ng pinagdaanan niyo para sa kanilang kapakanan,” the President said.

[Translation: We really felt how insufficient it is to just say thank you very, very much.  I think, I represent the Filipino people, who really feel your sacrifices and everything you go through for their sake.]

Also read: Aquino ready to turn over power to Duterte as president  — Coloma

The Army's 32nd Infantry Battalion gets a presidential honor for its role in stopping a rebel attack in Zamboanga City in 2014, as well as continuously pursuing Abu Sayyaf bandits in Basilan.

He also paid tribute to military men literally closest to him — those who provided him security throughout these past six years — the Presidential Security Group.

Of course, the President has had his share of controversies as the AFP's Commander-in-Chief.

He was blamed for the mishandling of the 2015 Mamasapano encounter, that almost drove a wedge between the military and police forces.

But overall, President Aquino could be best remembered by the AFP for giving exceptional importance to military modernization, although the country still has a long way to go in upgrading its defense capabilities.

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