PGMA okays Bangit's retirement, Gen. Ochoa named acting AFP chief

June 21, 2010 9:48 pm 

MANILA, June 21 —President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo approved on Monday the early retirement of Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Delfin Bangit.

President Arroyo also designated AFP Vice Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Nestor Ochoa as acting AFP chief, according to Presidential Spokesman Ricardo Saludo.

The AFP Board of Generals recommended to President Arroyo the designation of Gen. Ochoa as acting AFP chief of staff as replacement to Gen. Bangit who is set to retire on Tuesday, June 22, after more than 36 years of military service.

”As recommended by the AFP board of generals, the President has designated Vice Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Nestor Ochoa as acting chief of staff after Gen. Bangit retires,” Saludo said in a text message to Palace reporters.

Bangit decided to retire after President-elect Benigno Simeon “Noynoy” Aquino III said that he would not retain Bangit as AFP chief once he assumes the presidency on July 1.

Ochoa will take command as the acting AFP chief Tuesday in a retirement and change-of-command ceremony at the post parade grounds.

Bangit assumed as AFP chief last March 10 and is supposed to reach the retirement age of 56 in July next year.

He recognized that the CSAFP position “serves at the pleasure of the President.”

With Bangit’s retirement, the systems in place in the AFP will ensure that the military organization, in the performance of its duties, will not be affected.

Succession of command as practiced in the military will function.

The AFP Board of Generals deliberated on the matter and formalized the designation of the Chief of Staff in an acting capacity.

In his earlier statements, Bangit said: “I’ll leave without any regrets because I know that my early retirement would be good for the AFP.”

“I’m bowing out of the service for good, not for anything else. I don’t even call it a sacrifice because I know that what I’m going to do is the right thing to do.” Bangit said for the past few days.

Bangit visited AFP units, which started Monday last week at the headquarters of the 2nd Infantry Division in Rizal as well as units in the Visayas and Mindanao in the following days.

On Thursday, he visited the Navy and the Air Force followed by the Philippine Military Academy on Saturday, thanking the soldiers for being non-partisan and delivering a very peaceful election. He was also scheduled to visit the Army Headquarters on Monday.

In his visits to AFP units, Bangit repeatedly said the words: “Thanks to you, we have reached a very high level of professionalism. This, we can be very proud of. If I would ask you one thing before I go, it would be this: Please stay that way. Please stay professional no matter who your commanders are. Stay professional no matter who your Chief of Staff is, and no matter who your Commander-in-Chief is.”

Bangit expressed his confidence that the Armed Forces under Ochoa is ready for a smooth transition of government.

Ochoa became the second Commander of the AFP National Development Support Command (NADESCOM) on November 2009, where he got his third star.

In concurrent capacity, he was called to assume the second highest position in the Armed Forces of the Philippines as the Acting Vice Chief of Staff and now as the incoming Acting AFP Chief of Staff.

The AFP Board of Generals will again convene to deliberate on who will be recommended as the next Chief of Staff to the incoming President.(PNA) RMA/VR and rudyma

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