LT. Gen. Bartolome Bacarro formally assumed post on Monday as Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), replacing his “mistah” Gen. Andres Centino.
Bacarro was officially installed by President Ferdinand “Bongbong” R. Marcos Jr. in a ceremony at Camp Aguinaldo, which was attended by other government officials and military top brass.
Bacarro, a Medal for Valor awardee and a former commander of the Armed Forces Southern Luzon Command, succeeded Centino following the latter’s retirement. Both Bacarro and Centino are members of the Philippine Military Academy Class of 1988.
Bacarro is the first appointee of Marcos under the law that fixes a three-year term for the post of chief of staff and other key positions in the military.
In assuming military leadership, the newly installed chief of staff said he would pursue the government’s targets against terrorism and insurgency, while ensuring that soldiers will continue to adhere to the highest standards of professionalism.
He said mediocrity has no place in the military under his leadership.
The chief of staff said he would also ensure the “noble” utilization of military resources, with “time” as the primary guide. At the same time, he vowed to pursue the capability upgrade program of the AFP with the strictest monitoring of its processes.
Bacarro said his leadership would sustain the military’s accomplishments internally, in its various programs and in its campaign against threat groups, declaring that the organization cannot afford to squander its gains.
In his speech, Marcos recognized the qualification of Bacarro in his new post after rising from the ranks in the AFP with exemplary service record.
“He was fearless in combat and at the risk of life above and beyond the call of duty, he took on the most formidable foes, faced them head on and eventually emerged triumphant through sheer determination and courage,” the President said.
The President said with Bacarro’s leadership, AFP would be able to fend off national threats and help him achieve his goals for nation building.
“As we look and think about a world that is constantly changing, a world wrought with conditions and situations that are hard to predict, a world full of elements and forces that can wreak havoc on its domain, the kind of leadership that you [Bacarro] possess: the strong presence, the administrative and operational proficiency, unmatched discipline, and unwavering commitment will come in useful for the work that you are facing ahead of you,” Marcos said.
For his part, Bacarro thanked Marcos for entrusting him to lead the AFP.
“Sir, I will not take this responsibility lightly. I am fully aware that the challenges that will beset me will be daunting, but your trust and confidence will remind me to keep faith in your vision for this country,” Bacarro said.
Centino, for his part, said the military has gone a long way in its campaign against enemies of the state, dismantling even 16 guerilla fronts of the New People’s Army during the past six months.
It has also “accounted” for 1, 090 rebels during the same period.
He said there had been no single kidnapping in Mindanao during the past two years, while the government has already cleared at least 565 barangays from the influence of communist rebels. With Samuel P. Medenilla