Tuesday, 15 June 2010

Bangit opts to retire early

By ELENA L. ABEN
Manila Bulletin
http://www.mb.com.ph/articles/262024/bangit-opts-retire-early

In the wake of controversies on his tenure as Armed Forces Chief of Staff, Gen. Delfin Bangit has decided to go on early retirement as he started making farewell visits to different units of the AFP, starting with the 2nd Infantry Division where he called on soldiers to support their incoming Commander-in-Chief.

Bangit, a member of the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) Class 1978, is originally scheduled to retire on July 31, 2011 when he reaches the mandatory retirement age of 56.

However, the decision of President-elect Benigno Aquino III to replace him after June 30 has triggered Bangit’s decision to retire early from the service.

Lt. Col. Arnulfo Burgos Jr., AFP spokesman, said while Bangit has yet to mention the date of his retirement, the AFP Chief has started to make his rounds of the AFP units to personally thanks and bid the soldiers goodbye.

Burgos said Bangit’s series of farewell visits started with the 2nd Infantry “Jungle Fighter” Division in Camp Capinpin, Tanay, Rizal.

“With the incoming President of the Philippines speaking on his intention to assign a new Chief of Staff and understanding that the CSAFP “serves at the pleasure of the President”, Gen. Delfin Natividad Bangit decided to begin his farewell visits where he spoke to all available personnel of the 2nd Infantry Division after the successful role of the soldiers in the conduct of the May 10 elections and seeing that the nation is ready for a smooth transition of government,” said Burgos.

Burgos said the AFP Chief chose the 2ID as his first stop in his series of farewell visits because it is where Bangit grew up as a company commander then later became a battalion commander and division commander.

In his message to the troops, Bangit said, “Just as an aging person reminisces his childhood, so do I, who have reached the peak in the military service, would want to revisit the places credited for my growth.”

“I am here today not just because I want to see this place again and reminisce, but also because I cannot leave without thanking you all. The past election period has been an achievement for all of us. It was an achievement for the AFP and an even greater achievement for our people,” said Bangit.

“I cannot imagine what would have happened if you did not heed that call to be non-partisan. Perhaps, we would all be in trouble now while our countrymen see us in disdain. But you obeyed and you have shown that indeed, a Filipino soldier is worthy of the honor, dignity, and respect not only from his comrades, but also from his countrymen in general”, the AFP Chief told the troops.

“Thanks to you, we have reached a very high level of professionalism. This, we can be very proud of. If I would ask you one thing before I go, it would be this: Please stay that way. Please stay professional no matter who your commanders are. Stay professional no matter who your Chief of Staff is, and no matter who your Commander-in-Chief is,” he further stated.

According to the AFP Chief, “Leaders come and go, just as I have come and I will go. But a Filipino soldier stays. He sacrifices with honor and dignity for his country. He strives to give his best as long as he serves. He toils like no other, and gives up his life no matter that it is the only life he's got.”

“You cannot always expect other people to understand that. The only thing you can do is to act like a dignified and honorable Filipino soldier and protect your institution if you must. A soldier does not fight for himself alone. He fights for his country, for his institution, and for his countrymen. Always remember: You are a soldier of the republic and not of anyone else,” Bangit reminded the soldiers.

He ended his message to the 2ID troops by saying, “The best years in my life have been the years when I served this country, as a Filipino soldier. I will never forget that. I may cease to be your Chief of Staff, but my love for the soldiers will stay. Thank you very much.”

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