Retirement honors given to outgoing AFP chief of staff

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(Photo: David Santos/CNN Philippines)

Baguio City (CNN Philippines, April 15) — The Philippine Military Academy (PMA) gave retirement honors to outgoing Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief, General Rey Leonardo Guerrero on Sunday.

Guerrero, the AFP's 49th Chief of Staff, graduated from the academy at the top of his class in 1984.

Prior to pursuing a military career, he recalled being recruited to join a left-leaning organization at the University of the Philippines.

"Siyempre, it's most fulfilling, 'saka sabihin na lang natin most satisfying career, having been able to serve our country, in the highest position sa ating AFP," Guerrero said.

[Translation: Of course, it's most fulfilling, and let's say the most satisfying career, having been able to serve our country in the highest position of our AFP.]

Guerrero was appointed as AFP chief in October last year.

Before that, he held a string of military positions in Mindanao – including as Chief of the Eastern Mindanao Command based in Davao City, President Rodrigo Duterte's hometown.

Gurrero's term was supposed to end in December, but the President extended it to almost four months.

Guerrero will formally bow out of the service on Wednesday, April 18th.

President Rodrigo Duterte earlier hinted Guerrero's next appointment could be as head of the Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA).

He said, "Prepared naman tayo for any position. Sabi nga, ang training naman natin as a military man, hindi lang naman sa tactics and operations, but more on management."

[Translation: I am prepared for any position. As they say, our training as a military man isn't only for tactics and operations, but more on management.]

If it pushes through, Guerrero would join a growing list of former military men holding key positions in the Duterte government, including National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon, Interior Department Officer in Charge, Eduardo Año, and Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu.

Guerrero said, "Choice ng Presidente natin 'yan e, pinipili niya whoever he thinks na, would be able to contribute doon sa organization."

[Translation: It's the President's choice, he chooses whoever he things would be able to contribute to the organization.]

Western Mindanao Command Chief, Carlito Galvez, will replace Guerrero as AFP chief.

Galvez, a member of the Philippine Military Academy's class of 1985, was Guerrero's strongest rival for the top AFP post.

"General Galvez is a very competent officer, nakita naman namin, nakita natin [we all saw], he has proven himself, in terms of his ability to lead 'yung ating forces," Guerrero said. "Apart from that he had special duties sa ating peace process, and most recently, he has distinguished himself as a Western Mindanao Commander during the Marawi siege. So he's more than capable."

Guerrero said he has formed a team to ensure a smooth transition, putting emphasis on internal security operations and territorial defense, as well as the AFP's modernization and transformation roadmap.