Challenge accepted: New PSG Commander assumes post

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(File photo) Presidential Security Group (PSG) Commander Col. Rolando Bautista says he's ready to "rise up to the challenge" of securing the safety of President Rodrigo Duterte.

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — New Presidential Security Group (PSG) Commander Col. Rolando Joselito Bautista formally assumed his post Saturday with a pledge to protect the two highest officials of the country.

Personally handpicked by President Rodrigo Duterte, Bautista is aware of the big task ahead of him. But he said he is up to the challenge.

“The PSG collectively, under my leadership, shall rise up to the challenge of securing the President according to established and tested security protocols,” Bautista said during the PSG change of command ceremony.

Bautista earlier said the PSG "will have to adjust" to meet Duterte's requests. Back in the campaign trail, Duterte said he does not want a lot of PSG members tailing him, and that the PSG does not have to keep an eye on him when he's in his bailiwick, Davao City.

Bautista asked for the PSG's “whole-hearted cooperation” in securing the safety of Duterte, Vice President Leni Robredo, and their families.

“Fellow officers and men of PSG, I enlist your whole-hearted cooperation and support in working towards the attainment of a harmonious interpersonal relationship,” Bautista said.

He urged the men and women of PSG to join him in transforming it "into a cohesive, socially relevant and incorruptible unit."

Bautista said they should follow the fitting example set by the President – from his simple inauguration and genuine humility. He also thanked Duterte for his trust and confidence in allowing him to lead the PSG.

Bautista took over the post previously headed by Rear Admiral Raul Ubando, his mistah in the Philippine Military Academy Sandiwa Class of 1985.

For his part, Ubando thanked former President Benigno Aquino III and the rest of the Aquino family for the opportunity to serve them.

“To the past President Benigno Aquino III and his family, please accept my sincere gratitude for the trust and confidence that you have given me,” Ubando said.

He also cited his achievements during his term including the successful visit of Pope Francis, the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit; and the visits of heads of states including U.S. President Barack Obama, and Japanese Emperor Akihito.

Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief Lt. Gen. Ricardo Visaya was present in the event and said he's confident Bautista will do his job well after being handpicked by the President himself.

Duterte, who is back in Davao City, was not present in the turnover ceremony, but his executive secretary, Salvador Medialdea attended on his behalf.

CNN Philippines' Eimor Santos contributed to this report.