New Defense chief vows to fight terrorism, drugs

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — Announcements have yet to be made.

But incoming Defense chief Delfin Lorenzana gives a preview on who will hold key positions at his department.

Among those he acknowledged during Wednesday's transition ceremony, were a number of retired military officers like him.

They included former Immigration officer Ricardo David, Eduardo Oban of the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) commission and Eduardo del Rosario of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC).

Aside from drafting policies crucial to national security, the DND regularly bids out big-ticket defense items, some worth multi-million pesos.

In a chance interview after the ceremony, Lorenzana spelled out his priorities.

"Ang uunahin natin ay ang Abu Sayyaf, kasi yan ang utos ng bagong presidente," he said.

[Translation: "We will deal first with the Abu Sayyaf, as per order of the new President."]

The recent kidnapping of Indonesian sailors prompted Indonesia to reduce coal shipment to the country.

There are fears this could eventually affect the country's power supply and economy.

Plus, the possibility of local bandits forming alliances with international radical terror groups, such as ISIS, could pose a bigger worry.

Lorenzana said this was the reason why the terrorist problem should be resolved right away to avoid such scenario.

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) will also support the police in its anti-criminality campaign, especially against drugs.

Outgoing Defense chief Voltaire Gazmin jokingly warned Lorenzana of long working hours and stressful deadlines.

Related: Gazmin bids farewell to AFP; incoming AFP chief eyes 24/7 ops vs. Abu Sayyaf

In an interview with Defense reporters, Gazmin looked back at the challenges in the Aquino government.

He said the West Philippine Sea issue was among the toughest he had to handle.

Gazmin and Lorenza worked together at the Presidential Security Group during the term of the late President Cory Aquino.

Gazmin added he was confident his former junior officer would do well, given Lorenzana's extensive service as defense attaché in Washington D.C.