NOLCOM AFP lighted candles for peace inside Camp Aquino

By Jason de Asis


CAMP AQUINO, Tarlac City, February 11, 2011-To signify the institution’s will to remain as the “knight in shining armor” of the citizenry, the men and women of the Northern Luzon Command (NOLCOM) jointly lighted candles, Tuesday Amidst controversies hounding the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) in respond to the calls of Armed Forces Chief of Staff Gen. Ricardo David, Jr. to all military personnel to remain strong and united.


The candle lighting took place in a covered court here and was voluntarily participated in by dependents of uniformed men and residents living nearby who believe in the peace and advocacy of the AFP.


“The candle lighting was done simultaneously with similar activity spearheaded by the general headquarters at Quezon Memorial Circle in Quezon City, participated in by the AFP major services, some non-government organizations (NGOs), civil society organizations, government agencies and was replicated in other military camps nationwide,” NOLCOM Spokesman Major Rosendo Armas said.


NOLCOM Chief Lieutenant General Gaudencio S. Pangilinan said that the symbolic lighting of candles was very timely considering the issues currently besetting the AFP, referring to allegations of corrupt practices in the organization particularly the so-called “pasalubong” and “pabaon” given to top-brass AFP officials, saying that sometimes it pays to know and experience a disease to be able to make the right dose of medicine for that particular ailment, nevertheless, he believes that after all these trying times for the organization, the AFP will emerge much stronger than before.


To prevent abuses, Pangilinan emphasized that so many reforms in the system have been  already instituted, pointing out that no conversion is happening right now in all AFP units including NOLCOM and instead, they resort to cash advance to be able to give timely support especially for the troops in the field. Check and balance are also in place.


Pangilinan urged to give peace a chance by actively supporting the Internal Peace and Security Plan of the AFP, adding that the Bayanihan is not new to the local populace because Filipinos are well-known for the spirit of cooperation.


“There is a need that the people should be one hundred percent behind us, every step of the way the AFP can accomplish many things to scrap rebels and that is the reason why soldiers are calling on the support of all stakeholders so that if everybody is united, there is a lasting peace in the community. Peace can be won,” he ended.


Earlier, AFP Chief of Staff Gen. Ricardo David, Jr. ordered all military officials and soldiers to remain loyal to and yielding of their sworn duties to the country and its people, saying that the ongoing investigation on corruption against some former top-brass officials of the AFP is “part of the past” that “serves as basis for fixing the system and creating tight reforms.”


“What is important is to maintain the trust, respect and support of the public to Filipino soldiers,” David asserted.


While David expressed dismay over things that has been exposed in the senate trials on the alleged corrupt practices in the AFP, the highest ranking military official still believes that the AFP can still walk with pride as it faced the controversy with valour considering that what has transpired would give way to further solidifying the strength of the military force.


David ensured authorities of the AFP’s, as well as of the Department of National Defense’s full cooperation in the ongoing investigation relative to the alleged corrupt practices in the military. (Jason de Asis)

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