The year 2010 saw the Armed Forces of the Philippines accomplish milestones after milestones in the performance of its duties and responsibilities throughout the country as it looks forward to a bright new year.
Significant among these feats is ensuring an honest, orderly and peaceful May 2010 presidential and local elections that paved the way for the assumption of Benigno Aquino III as the President and the commander-in-chief of the 120,000-strong Armed Forces.
Casted with doubts, the military establishment redeemed its image from its lackluster role in the 2004 elections that generated ugly allegations that it took in the cheating of the results of that political exercise.
It put up its Task Force Honest, Orderly and Peaceful Elections (HOPE) a few months before the elections and took off to a good start, containing armed groups that threaten to supplant the right of the people to elect their true leaders.
The AFP also made moves to ensure that no one among its officers and men would be accused or get involved in any partisan political activity. Had it embroiled in another controversy, it would have lost its credibility.
Three months later, the military also played significant role for a sound synchronized barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) elections even if it was pursuing relief and rehabilitation efforts in Isabela that was devastated by typhoon Juan.
With the new President taking the oath of office on June 30, the military also saw changes in leadership on July 1 and in other key positions. The incumbent AFP chief, Gen. Ricardo David, made great strides to keep the military and its troops aboveboard.
Initially, the position met some criticisms from some sectors who alleged that the postings were product of what they described as “prostituted” promotion system. The military leadership confronted this issue in public and succeeded in doing so.
Up to this time, AFP spokesman Brig. Gen. Jose Mabanta said these changes were part of the dynamics in the military to keep pace with the changing environment.
“The AFP is a dynamic and highly institutionalized organization. It has to keep pace with the constantly changing factors that greatly affect the affairs of the military establishment. Changes in the leadership and key command positions is just part and parcel of the dynamics of the institution,” said Mabanta.
“Everything goes through a rigid but clearly defined procedures. Placing the right man for the right job has been the primordial concern in the selection process.
Professionalism, competence, character and service reputation are among the criteria being considered in this regard. Favoritism like the ‘bata bata system’ is taboo and is never practiced in the military,” said Mabanta.
While the military accomplished many feats in 2010, the military is also looking forward to a better 2011 especially as they are enforcing starting January 1 its Bayanihan –the AFP’s new internal peace and security plan.