Incoming AFP chief vows improved security posture

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    INCOMING Armed Forces chief Lt. Gen. Cirilito Sobejana yesterday said he will come up with a “very comprehensive plan” to improve the country’s security posture against all forms of threats.

    Sobejana, outgoing Army chief, said there will be better collaboration between the military and stakeholders upon his assumption as AFP chief.

    Sobejana is replacing Gen. Gilbert Gapay who will reach the mandatory retirement age of 56 on Thursday next week.

    He is the third recipient of the Medal of Valor, the highest military decoration in combat, to command the military. He is also the first Filipino to become chief of staff of the UN Disengagement Observer Force in Syria in 2014.

    Sobejana will be Duterte’s ninth AFP chief. He is due to reach the retirement age on July 31 this year but there are talks his term would be extended.

    Sobejana, a member of the Philippine Military Academy Class of 1987, vowed exert all “to achieve our goals and objectives, that is to bring in long and lasting peace and progress in our country.”

    He also said the Armed Forces under him will focus on the fight against the enemies of the state, referring to communist, terrorist and other threat groups.

    “The Armed Forces is primarily responsible for security issues so we will sustain our best efforts in addressing all the threats one after the other and I am looking forward to a better convergence among all stakeholders,” he said, noting that security is everyone’s responsibility.

    He said the military will continue to strengthen its capability so it would achieve its vision of “becoming a world-class (military) that is a source of national pride.”

    Malacañang announced Sobejana’s new post on Wednesday.

    Before becoming Army chief in July last year, Sobejana was commander of the Zamboanga City-based Western Mindanao Command, of the Army’s 6th Infantry Division in Maguindanao, of the Joint Task Force Sulu, and of the Army’s 601st Brigade based in Sultan Kudarat.

    PNP chief Gen. Debold Sinas welcomed Sobejana’s appointment as AFP chief. Sinas also belongs to PMA Class 1987.

    Sinas said Sobejana “brings with him the finest qualities of leadership to assume command of the AFP at this most critical point when the government is facing its greatest challenge and opportunity to end communist insurgency in the Philippines.”