MANILA – President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday gave his first order to newly installed Armed Forces chief Lt. Gen. Rey Guerrero, which is to destroy about 2,000 firearms seized by the military, including guns from the Marawi City siege.
Duterte said almost 2,000 weapons have been seized in more than 800 armed encounters under the leadership of then AFP chief Eduardo Año.
“I will now request the Chief of Staff General Guerrero to supervise the destruction of all arms whether high-powered or handguns, all of it will be destroyed in some place to show that we are also able to meet the challenges of terrorism and violence,” Duterte said in his speech during the change of command ceremony at the AFP headquarters in Camp Aguinaldo.
Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana later clarified to reporters that about half of the seized firearms were from Marawi City, where Islamic State-inspired terrorists were recently defeated following a five-month siege that devastated the city’s commercial district and displaced hundreds of thousands of residents.
Duterte said Año left the top post in the military with the victory in Marawi as the “crowning jewel” of his career.
“General Año’s distinguished leadership resulted to a stronger AFP that did not just secure our nation, but also secured our people’s trust and confidence in the military establishment and the soldiers that it represents,” he said.
The President also hopes that with Guerrero now at the helm, “the AFP will remain at the forefront of our battle against all threats against our nation— external or internal.”