President Duterte yesterday named Army Lt. Gen. Rey Leonardo Guerrero as the next Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief of staff.
In a speech in Davao City, the Commander in Chief introduced Guerrero as the one who will replace the incumbent AFP Chief Eduardo Año who was earlier designated as the next Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) secretary.
“We have Lt. Gen. Rey Leonardo Guerrero, the chief of staff,” Duterte said.
“(The incumbent chief of staff) will resign this June as he will serve as DILG secretary,” he added.
Año was earlier quoted in a report that he is going on an early retirement next month. He is supposed to call it quits by October this year.
Guerrero is currently the chief of the Eastern Mindanao Command (Eastmincom) based in Duterte’s hometown, Davao City.
Like Año, the incoming AFP chief is used to battling communist New People’s Army (NPA) rebels.
Guerrero will be the third AFP chief under the Duterte administration, succeeding Año and Ricardo Visaya.
Belonging to the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) class of 1984, Guerrero is set to retire December this year.
Meanwhile, Año said he will be focusing on fighting drug syndicates instead of lowly drug personalities when he assumes as secretary of the DILG.
Just like the insurgency problem, Año said that addressing the illegal drug menace should start in solving its root causes – which is cutting out the supply.
?gWhat we will do is really focus on the drug syndicates that supply these drugs to the communities. We need to address the source itself…just like insurgency, we should address the root causes,” Año said.
At the same time, Año said that he will be aligning the programs of local governments with Duterte’s campaign against illegal drugs and terrorism.
He said he would also promote good governance and faster delivery of government services to the local level.
According to Año, he is still awaiting orders from the President when he will officially assume as DILG chief. He said June would be the earliest.
But definitely, Año would be retiring earlier than October 26 when he reaches the mandatory retirement age of 56.
?gI have not received official order. I will just have to prepare…the earliest is the month of June,” Año said.
He expressed optimism that he could easily adjust to his duties at the DILG – having dealt with DILG agencies like the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the local government units during his stint as a military officer.
?gI believe I have enough knowledge and information how to run the team in the DILG,” Año said.
?gWhenever there are changes, you have to make adjustments. We were trained for that and I am ready for those adjustments,” he added.
Duterte last week announced that Año will be his next DILG chief – citing the problem on illegal drugs and terrorism. He, however, did not say when would Año assume the post.
The DILG top post was vacated in March after Duterte sacked Ismael Sueno following reports of irregularity in the procurement of firetrucks and other issues raised against Sueno by his three undersecretaries.