By Elias O. Baquero
Sunstar Cebu, Wednesday, April 6, 2011
THE Philippine Navy yesterday said majority of the men and women in the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) are still honest in their mandate to protect the people.
Vice Admiral Alexander Pama, the Philippine Navy flag officer in command, said the public should understand that just because there are four or five military officers who illegally amassed wealth at the expense of the military budget does not mean the entire AFP is corrupt.
The officer made the remark amid a Senate investigation of alleged corruption in the service.Pama, who presided the change of command of the Naval Forces Central (Navforcen) from Commodore Armando Guzman to Commodore Zyril Carlos, said reports of anomalies in the AFP hurt them because they have unblemished records in public service.Guzman will assume as commander of the Zamboanga City-based Western Command that covers part of Mindanao, from Lanao to Tawi-Tawi.
“We are hurt by these bad reports. We pity those who give up their lives just to defend this country because of the public perception that the entire Armed Forces are corrupt. Let me clarify, that if four or five people have committed corruption, majority of the officers and men in the military are still honest,” Pama said.
Pama is hoping that the Senate investigation will result to the filing of charges against those who committed crimes, so servicemen and officers who are sincere in their mandate to protect the people will be cleared.
Pama is concerned about the latest public opinion wherein the AFP is perceived to be the most corrupt government agency.
“The result of the recent (Social Weather Station) survey showing that the AFP as most corrupt is definitely untrue and unfair for the officers and soldiers who have sacrificed for this country,” Pama said.
Meanwhile, Carlos told Sun.Star Cebu that his new assignment as Nav-forcen commander is challenging because the Visayas is an eco-tourism area, which contributes much to the country’s economy.
“We will ensure the security of tourists and at the same time support the role of the (Philippine) Army against dissidents,” Carlos said.
Carlos said they will enhance the capability of Navforcen in Barangay Looc, Lapu-Lapu City, especially since it is considered a strategic area in the country, wherein it can immediately respond to emergencies in the Visayas, Luzon and Mindanao.
“If you look at the geography, Navforcen is located at the center of the Philippines.
It can respond quickly if something happens in Eastern Visayas or in Sulu,” Carlos said.