Thank you for your kind introduction, our Chief of Staff, Armed Forces of the Philippines, General Andres Centino; former President and now Congresswoman Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo; AFP Chief of Staff General Centino; Philippine Army Commanding General Lieutenant General Romeo Brawner; officers and enlisted personnel of the Philippine Air Force led by Commanding General Lieutenant General Connor Anthony Canlas Sr.; foreign military attachés in attendance; ladies and gentlemen.
First of all, I want you to take your seats. [applause]
First and foremost, I think it is only appropriate that one of the first — my first acts as President is to join you at this momentous 75th Year Anniversary of our very own, The Philippine Air Force.
I congratulate the entire team, the brave, courageous men and women, officers of the Philippine Air Force as commanded by Lieutenant General Connor Anthony D. Canlas. Your loyalty and commitment and love of country are definitely worth emulation for not only those in the military but of all citizens of the Philippines.
As we fly and aim high for our country and people, given the resounding and historical mandate that this administration has received, it is a most opportune time, this today’s event is a perfect time to recognize our nation’s continued enhancement in air strength over the years. The air capability that we have used and continue to employ in our national effort towards nationhood.
The ongoing defense modernization effort is in coordination with the basic prerequisites that would complement this administration’s vision for a stronger, bigger, and effective Air Force capable of defending and maintaining our sovereign state, and of assisting our people in times of dire consequences and today’s reality that this dictates.
A more modern, aerial, and surveillance capability is all the more felt given the territorial disputes that we in the Philippines are involved in. This enhanced capability is also proven to be very critical in the Philippine military’s efforts to protect the nation from local communist insurgents and the extremist groups in the south.
As our country is defined by more than 7,000 islands, several of which are located in active volcanic zones or in a pathway of some of the strongest typhoons ever recorded in history, natural disasters are certainties we all expect now to happen.
Transport aircraft, helicopters and the like, are important facilities that only the Philippine Air Force can suitably and sufficiently provide, especially during humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations.
All these are just some of the most fundamental and significant functions that we have come to expect from our Air Force.
At this point, it is but proper that we honor, acknowledge, and appreciate the Philippine Air Force’s outstanding personnel and units for today is their day and deservingly so.
Congratulations to all the awardees. All of you are worth our emulation, our respect, our admiration. You are what makes this 75th Year even more meaningful and essential than it already is.
Thank you all to the officers and men and women of the Philippine Air Force. Mabuhay po kayong lahat! And I thank you once again to be part of the 75th celebration of the establishment of the Philippine Air Force.
Magandang hapon na po sa inyong lahat. Marami pong salamat. [applause]
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SOURCE: PCOO-PND (Presidential News Desk)