Retiring AFP chief to start farewell visit to troops | Inquirer News

Retiring AFP chief to start farewell visit to troops

/ 04:02 PM June 08, 2015
catapang

Gen. Gregorio Pio Catapang Jr. INQUIRER.net FILE PHOTO

ARMED Forces chief Gregorio Catapang Jr. will start bidding farewell to troops next week as the day of his mandatory retirement nears.

“He will start making rounds to different units and the schedule is already being ironed out. The visit has not yet started because of the pressing concerns at General Headquarters,” AFP public affairs office Lieutenant Colonel Harold Cabunoc told reporters on Monday.

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The “pressing concerns” were high-level meetings, which require the presence of the AFP chief.

Catapang will reach the mandatory retirement age of 56 on July 11.

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Cabunoc said the units to be visited include all the AFP area commands — Northern Luzon Command in Tarlac; Western Command in Palawan; Southern Luzon Command in Quezon; Central Command in Cebu; Eastern Mindanao Command in Davao and Western Mindanao Command in Zamboanga City.

The AFP chief will also visit Maguindanao and Sulu, Cabunoc said.

It is still uncertain if Catapang would visit Pag-asa Island (Thitu) in the Kalayaan Island Group (Spratlys) in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea).

During his visit last month on the disputed island, Catapang said he would return there before his retirement.

“It’s still uncertain if he will come back but we assure the soldiers there that the General Headquarters is behind them. The Wescom does regular visits to the islands,” Cabunoc said.

Catapang will also skip foreign visits to other military chiefs in the region, as he had already made his exit call two months ago.

“He will not go abroad. He already made his farewell to his counterparts in the region during a meeting in Brunei about two months ago,” Cabunoc said.

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Asked what the AFP chief wanted to be remembered for, Cabunoc cited Catapang’s mantra to troops: “Kawal disiplinado, bawal abusado. Dapat asintado.”

Catapang’s replacement

Catapang was the AFP Vice Chief of Staff of about two months when he was named the AFP chief in July 2014, replacing his mistah, then Gen. Emmanuel Bautista. Both were from Philippine Military Academy “Dimalupig” Class of 1981.

He also served as the chief of Northern Luzon Command.

President Benigno Aquino III has not yet announced the replacement of Catapang, but among the contenders include Army chief Lt. General Hernando Iriberri of PMA Class of 1983 and Air Force chief Lt. Gen. Jeffrey Delgado of PMA Class of 1982. AC

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