Friday, February 27, 2015

Soldiers, Police celebrate EDSA 1 Anniversary through ‘Unity Walk’


From the Website of AFP
Story Links:  http://www.afp.mil.ph/index.php/8-afp-news/256-general-catapang-orders-all-out-offensive-against-biff


Soldiers, Police celebrate EDSA 1 Anniversary through ‘Unity Walk’

CAMP AGUINALDO, Quezon City – At least 600 members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and Philippine National Police (PNP) marched together along the historic Epifanio Delos Santos Avenue (EDSA) to commemorate the 29th anniversary of the People Power Revolution today, February 25.

Dubbed as “Unity Walk”, it marks the AFP and PNP’s expression of continued solidarity in serving the Filipino people.
“This shows that the AFP and PNP are united, cohesive, and focused in our respective missions to protect the people and secure the sovereignty of the state,” Brigadier General Joselito E. Kakilala, AFP Civil Relations Service Commander said.

From Camp Aguindalo’s Gate 2, soldiers met with some 300 PNP personnel along MRT Santolan station where they link their arms together signifying the spirit of “Kapit-Bisig” while marching towards the People Power Monument along EDSA.

“This signifies the moment when we attained full democracy and at the same time, the strength and unity of AFP and PNP was also demonstrated during this momentous event,” Kakilala said.

Kakilala led the contingent from the AFP composed of its three major services, Army, Air Force and Navy; GHQ and HSC personnel; and Reserve Forces. PCSupt Nestor Quinsay, Director of the Police Community Relations Group on the other hand, led the PNP forces.
The activity is reminiscent of the 1986 “Salubungan” when ordinary citizens and members of the religious sector stopped military tanks along EDSA and convinced other soldiers to join them in driving away the Marcos dictatorship.

Unity

One of the participants from the PNP is PO2 Jennifer Estretra who has been part of the Unity Walk for seven years.

“I am happy to be part of this activity that reminds us the importance of our history,” she said.

For AFP Sergeant Major Guillermo Francisco, the activity not only reminds our people about the history of EDSA People Power Revolution. “This shows that there is unity among AFP and PNP members,” he said.

Francisco has been a participant of the unity walk for seven consecutive years.

All female

At the front of the parade march are six female officers from the Army, Air Force, Navy, Marines, and PNP. They were carrying the banner of the Unity Walk; in it is the activity’s theme: “EDSA 29: Ituloy and Pagbabago!”

“We are here to give importance to the hardship and sacrifices of our comrades in the AFP and PNP during the EDSA Revolution,” said Captain Marin Bello, one of the female officers.

“This is also to show our people that whatever challenges or adversity that may come to our organizations, there will always be unity between AFP and PNP,” she said.

Honoring our heroes

Leading the ceremony at the People Power Monument is President and AFP Commander-in-Chief Benigno S. Aquino III.
He led the wreath-laying ceremony at the sculpture of towering people to honor the heroes of EDSA Revolution who fought against the Marcos dictatorship to bring back democracy for the country.

Aquino was joined by high-ranking security officials including Secretary of National Defense, Voltaire T. Gazmin; Secretary of Interior and Local Government, Mannuel Roxas; AFP Chief of Staff, General Gregorio Pio P. Catapang Jr.; and PNP Officer-in-Charge, Deputy Director General Leonardo Espina.

Also present were members of the EDSA People Power Commission led by Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa Jr., and Commissioner Ogie Alcasid.

The ceremony was simple and was attended by more or less 300 civilians from different sectors and the marching forces from the AFP and PNP. (Photos by SSg Randulf Obinque PAF/PAO-AFP)


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CAMP AGUINALDO, Quezon City---After the conclusion of the Senate hearings on the Mamasapano Incident on February 24, General Gregorio Pio Catapang Jr., the Chief of Staff, Armed Forces of the Philippines, has ordered the Western Mindanao Command to conduct all-out offensive operations against the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) effective today (February 25).

General Catapang said that he intends to protect the communities against the armed attacks by the BIFF. 

"I am saddened by the news that at least 20,000 people had been displaced by the violent attacks perpetrated by the BIFF in the hinterland villages. We will do our best to protect the people and allow them to go back to their homes," he said.

Catapang has also reminded all unit commanders to conduct the joint law enforcement operations with the Philippine National Police within the framework of the ceasefire mechanisms in order to avoid clashes with the MILF.  

He said that the government forces must remain strong and united against a common enemy.
"We must remain united in our common fight against lawlessness and terrorism. Let us show the enemies of the state that we are a formidable force that will continuously pursue them anywhere they go," he said.
Catapang has likewise directed the subordinate commanders to support the DSWD and the local government units of Pagalungan and Pikit in providing humanitarian assistance to the innocent civilians who were displaced from their homes due to the sporadic attacks launched by the BIFF.



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