MANILA, Philippines - A former senior military aide of former President Corazon Aquino is now chief of staff of the 130,000-strong Armed Forces of the Philippines.
In a change of command ceremony and testimonial review in Camp Aguinaldo Monday morning, Lt. Gen. Jessie Dellosa assumed leadership as the 43rd Armed Forces chief of staff of the country.
In his speech Dellosa cited four goals of his leadership: territorial defense, strengthen internal peace and security plan, disaster preparedness and organizational reforms.
On the ongoing territorial disputes in the West Philippine Sea, Dellosa said that he will continue the policy to strengthen the country's naval and air forces and assert the country's sovereignty and rights over the Spratlys Island.
President Aquino said the government will continue to help the military fight insurgents by continued capability upgrade and modernization.
He also promised to continue to look after the welfare of the soldiers.
The President also said that he has a lot of confidence with Dellosa whom he has known for the past three decades. He said Dellosa has the values of integrity, honor and honesty needed to lead the AFP.
Before assuming as AFP chief of staff, Gen. Dellosa was head of the Northern Luzon Command, Commander of the second infantry division. As a young officer, he was group commander of the Presidential Security Group during President Cory Aquino and helped in defending Malacañang from several coup attempts.
He was also senior military aide to the former President.
For his part, outgoing AFP chief of staff, Gen. Eduardo Oban, joked in his speech that he became AFP chief as an Oban and will step down as an Oban but without "baon." This is in reference to the previous practice during the Arroyo administration exposed by former Col. George Rabusa of giving millions of pesos of conversion funds to former AFP chiefs of staff.
Oban said reforms implemented during his term ensure there are no more thieves in the AFP. He said his administration successfully redeemed the honor of the military by implementing reforms to prevent corruption. Both Dellosa and Oban are graduates of Philippine Military Academy class 1979.