SEPTEMBER 20, 2019 – Incoming Armed Forces chief Lt. Gen. Noel Clement on Friday said he plans to enjoin more sectors in the military’s bid to quell communist insurgency in the country.
President Rodrigo Duterte named Clement for the top military post days after he declared anew an all-out war against the Communist Party of the Philippines and New People’s Army.
“I think I will have to engage more sectors para mas marami tayong lumalaban and mas mapabilis nating matapos yung problema,” Clement told reporters.
He also vowed to address the decades-long insurgency, describing it as a national problem.”
“Ang pinaka-critical factor kasi ngayon is how to bring in everybody onboard against this fight kasi hindi pwedeng ‘yung Armed Forces lang or ‘yung local government units natin ang lumalaban sa problemang ito, it has to be the whole country,” he added.
Clement, however, clarified that he will also pay attention to the campaign against terrorism and build the country’s territorial defense.
“There are continuing programs na kasi sa mga ‘yun and some of them are going to take long term, like yung territorial defense natin we still have to develop the capability so medyo ipagpatuloy natin ‘yung modernization program natin para maaddress natin ‘yun,” he said.
The incoming AFP chief is currently the commanding general of the military’s Central Command in Visayas. He also served in the Philippine Army’s 10th Infantry Division in Davao region where Duterte came from.
Clement was among the military officers tagged in the kidnapping and disappearance of activist Jonas Burgos in 2007, but was later cleared for lack of evidence. He was serving as commander of the Philippine Army’s 56th Infantry Battalion in Bulacan at the time.
“That’s a very old issue,” Clement responded when asked about the case which may be raised by human rights groups with his appointment.
“I will not honor them by answering that so if they want to make that an issue that’s their problem, eh sila ang magpatunay kung may katotohanan ‘yun,” he furthered.
Malacañang also vouched for Clement’s character as it announced his selection as incoming chief.
“The Palace is confident that with General Clement at the helm of the AFP, he will continue to uphold the high degree of professionalism, the dedication and the integrity our soldiers have displayed to the flag and country,” Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said in a statement. (Karen Macalalad/ AAD)