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Año is new Armed Forces chief

President Duterte has appointed Philippine Army commanding general Lt. Gen. Eduardo M. Año as the new Armed Forces of the Philippines Chief of Staff.

Año, the 48th AFP Chief of Staff, replaced his classmate at the Philippine Military Academy, Gen. Ricardo Visaya, who formally retired after 37 years of service.

Both men are members of PMA Class of 1983. Año is also a cum laude graduate of the Baguio City-based military school.

Año will serve as AFP chief until he reaches the mandatory retirement age of 56 on October 26, 2017.

Duterte presided over the change of command ceremony in Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City between Ano and Visaya who was AFP chief for five months.

The Chief Executive offered a government post to Visaya. The President said Visaya could “choose” his position in government, even dangling the Cabinet portfolio of Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana.

In his speech, Año promised to continue to build upon the momentum of Visaya’s success to bring about the transformation and positive change in the AFP.

He added that as AFP Chief of Staff, the military is one with the Filipino’s aspiration of peace change and for the country.

“Certainly the position is daunting as it is truly a great honor and an enormous responsibility. I thanked President Rodrigo Roa Duterte and the Secretary of National Defense Delfin Lorenzana for the trust and confidence bestowed on me to lead the Armed Forces of the Philippines, I accept the challenge,” Año said.

“I will ensure the competent performance of the AFP’s mandate, the attainment of this I will give my honor,” he added.

To effect change, Año said this must start within the people. “As your AFP chief I will lead our transformation with fervor to realize our vision of a strong, modern and credible Armed Forces as source of national pride of the Filipino people,” he said.

Among those who attended the event were former President Fidel V. Ramos, former President now Pampanga Rep. Gloria M. Arroyo, former President now Manila Mayor Joseph E. Estrada, Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Zhao Jinhua, US Ambassador to the Philippines Sung Kim, and Lorenzana.

Año was credited with the capture of Communist Party of the Philippines chairperson Benito Tiamzon and wife Wilma in Alonguisan, Cebu on March 22, 2014. (Francis T. Wakefield)