World Bulletin / News Desk
Philippine President Benigno Aquino III appointed a new military chief Friday as the country’s security forces continue dealing with different armed groups in the south and a communist insurgency across the archipelago.
Lt. Gen. Hernando Iriberri pledged to secure peace countrywide and transform the armed forces with commitment, consistency and focus during a ceremony that saw him take over the top military post from former chief Gen. Gregorio Pio Catapang in Manila.
"By the end of 2016, the goal is for peace to reign in all the provinces in our country," ABS-CBN News quoted Iriberri as saying in a speech at Camp Aguinaldo. "Winning the peace is not the end but only the beginning of another chapter in our internal security operation."
He stressed that the armed forces pledged to not only win peace, but secure it as well.
Security forces across the Philippines are regularly clashing with numerous armed groups including the Communist Party of the Philippines’ armed wing the New People’s Army, which has been waging one of Asia’s longest running insurgencies in the country.
While the country’s one-time largest Muslim group, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), is currently engaged in a peace process with the government, others have refused to give up their arms.
They include the MILF’s splinter group the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters and the Moro National Liberation Front, whose seige on the predominantly Christian city of Zamboanga left more than 300 people dead and thousands displaced in Sept. 2013.
Iriberri also assumes the post amid increased tension with China over what the Philippines considers to be “aggressive” actions in disputed parts of the potentially energy-rich South China Sea -- which Manila calls the West Philippine Sea.
China claims almost the whole of the South China Sea, which Manila calls the West Philippine Sea, but several other Asian nations have also laid claim. Recent reports on large-scale reclamation activities in disputed islets and reefs have drawn widespread concern.
During Friday’s ceremony, Aquino also called on Iriberri to ensure peace during the upcoming 2016 presidential election.
"Let us remember, the election is approaching. Included in your [Iriberri’s] duties is to make sure the election is clean and peaceful," the president stressed.Güncelleme Tarihi: 10 Temmuz 2015, 14:33