Duterte names Clement 52nd AFP Chief of Staff; orders him to end armed conflict

by Manila Bulletin| September 20, 2019

Lieutenant General Noel Clement, commander of the Cebu-based Central Command (CentCom), was chosen by President Duterte as the 52nd Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), the military confirmed on Friday.

Malacañang expressed confidence that incoming Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief-of-staff Lt. Gen. Noel Clement will be able to uphold the soldiers’ integrity as he fulfills President Duterte’s marching order to continue the government’s efforts to end the local communist armed conflict.

“One of the marching orders of the President is (for him) to continue the government’s goal to end the local communist armed conflict — a task that is not new to General Clement,” presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo said.

He expressed confidence that Clement, who previously headed the AFP Central Command (CentCom), will be able to uphold the “high degree of professionalism, the dedication, and the integrity” Filipino soldiers have displayed to the flag and country.

Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said that competence was one of the factors the President considered in choosing the next AFP chief-of-staff.

Nograles also said that Clement will be able to fulfill his duties even if he only has four months left before his retirement.

“Alam mo naman ang mga sundalo, bigyan mo ng trabaho, bigyan mo ng order, bigyan mo ng objective, gagawin nila (You know how soldier works. Give him an order, an objective, he will do it),” he said.

“So even with a few months left, I’m sure he will hit the ground running,” he added.

Brigadier General Edgard Arevalo, AFP spokesperson, confirmed Clement’s appointment in a statement sent to reporters.

“The AFP welcomes the selection by the President and Commander-in-Chief Rodrigo Roa Duterte of Lieutenant General Noel Segovia Clement as the 52nd Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines,” Arevalo said.

Arevalo said Clement “has vast experience in command and leadership which prepared him to competently address contemporary challenges of ending local communist armed conflict; the local terrorist groups in Sulu, Basilan, and Central Mindanao; and the implementation of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao.”

Defense Sec. Delfin Lorenzana confirmed on Thursday night that Clement was the chosen successor of outgoing AFP Chief of Staff, Ge. Benjamin Madrigal Jr.

“It’s Lt. Gen. Noel Clement but we have yet to receive the papers,” Lorenzana said in a text message when asked about who President Duterte had chosen to be the next AFP Chief of Staff.

Clement said he was honored that he was chosen to be the successor of General Benjamin Madrigal Jr.

“Of course I am honored with the designation and nagpapasalamat tayo kay (we thank the) President for giving me his trust and confidence,” he said.

By Martin Sadongdong and Argyll Cyrus Geducos, September 20, 2019