By Priam Nepomuceno

STAY UNITED. AFP chief Gen. Romeo Brawner Jr. talks to the troops of the Western Mindanao Command during a visit to the unit’s headquarters in Zamboanga City on Sunday (Feb. 4, 2024). He also reminded troops to remain focused on their mission and continue improving their capabilities to further boost the nation’s security. (Photo courtesy of the AFP)

MANILA – Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief Gen. Romeo Brawner Jr. on Sunday expressed confidence in the professionalism of Filipino troops, noting that a united and robust military is among the foundations of a strong nation.

“When we entered the service, we swore an oath that we will always follow the chain of command, be loyal to the Constitution and our duly constituted authorities,” Brawner said in his visit to Western Mindanao Command (Wesmincom) headquarters in Zamboanga City and 101st Infantry Brigade in Isabela City, Basilan on Sunday.

Brawner visited Wesmincom and the 101st Infantry Brigade to assess the military campaigns and welfare of its personnel.

He also reminded troops to remain focused on their mission and continue improving their capabilities to further strengthen the country’s security.

Brawner noted that in the Wesmincom area alone, the AFP is facing a great challenge, with all the possible threat groups and problems facing the area– communists, local terrorists, lawless groups, other peace spoilers, and territorial defense and cross-border crimes.

“Let us stay focused on our mandate, keep improving our capabilities, and harness our love for our country to become better servant leaders that our country can rely on for the stability and security of our nation. Let us continue to show that with a strong and united AFP, we will have a strong and united Philippines,” he said.

On Saturday, Brawner visited the 10th Infantry Division in Mawab, Davao De Oro and the Eastern Mindanao in Panacan, Davao City, where he also told troops to be wary of enemy efforts to infiltrate various sectors of society and challenge the AFP and the nation’s unity.

“I am not worried because I know that the new breed of soldiers are professionals. Let us remain united and loyal to the Constitution and the chain of command,” he said.

He also visited the units to assess the status of humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations and peace and security campaigns in the area.

PNP: No to division

The Philippine National Police (PNP), meanwhile, said the force would exert all efforts to suppress any attempt to divide the nation.

PNP chief Gen. Benjamin Acorda Jr., in a press briefing at Camp Crame, Quezon City, any secession attempt would put the sacrifices of Filipino heroes in vain.

“I am very confident that the PNP is 100 percent opposed to any division attempts and would stand united in defending the nation and protecting what is embodied in the Constitution. These are all defined in our Constitution – our territory and sovereignty,” he added.

Acorda also said police commanders on the ground have also committed to rally behind the government and support its peace and development initiatives. (with Lloyd Caliwan/PNA)