Albay Gov. Joey Sarte Salceda on Sunday morning assumed command of the 33rd Air Force Group Reserve (AFGR) after the Armed Forces of the
installed him as the Bicol regional reservist commander. Philippines
The reservist group is a vital force multiplier of the government troops ready to respond in the events of natural disaster and in times of war.
Rear Admiral Aurelio A. Rabusa, AFP deputy chief of staff for reservist and retirees affairs, led the installation of Salceda as regional commander of AFP reservists in the Bicol Region in a ceremony held at the Albay Astrodome here.
Salceda, UN senior global champion for disaster risk reduction and Asia’s model for climate change adaptation and mitigation measures, will be leading thousands of reservists currently on standby and ready as reserve force, Rabusa said.
Salceda is the first governor in Bicol who has been appointed to lead a reservist force and will be on call to lead humanitarian missions and respond in times of natural calamity to help in the government efforts in achieving its zero-casualty goal.
Rabusa said that at present, there are 350,000 reservists in the country on standby and ready to respond in times of emergency and serve as augmentation force to help in internal security.
Salceda's installation coincided with the graduation of 350 AFP reservist recruits across the region.
“Every Filipino citizen is mandated under our Constitution to serve the country personally and voluntarily in protecting our territory. The reserve force is in charge of protecting the citizens against lawless elements, help the government in times of war and respond during natural calamities,” Rabusa said.
He assured that with the governor’s expertise in disaster management and mitigation measures the government's goal to perfect disaster response and humanitarian missions will be even stronger and at its best.
Salceda’s installation was also attended by Brig. Gen. Raymundo Elefanfe, commander of Air Force Reserve Corps and AFP officials in Bicol region.
He accepted the appointment “with mixed feelings of joy and pressure.”
“Joy in the sense that it is my major accomplishment in the field of military service, especially in the reserve force, and pressure because of lots of things that need to be considered as the calling for the position of major responsibility starts,” Salceda explained.
He said the position requires full attention, same as he does in being the governor of the
“I know pretty well that the strong number of reservist personnel of the 33rd AFGR have high hope and expectations in me, being their link to the higher headquarters and to other officers in the Air Force,” the Albay chief executive said.
He noted that the Reserve Officers Corps of the 3rd Air Force Wing Reserve also expects no less than competent group commander they could count on in the furtherance of the overall mission of the reserve force organization, especially during the events of calamities and disasters where he has been very much involved in.
“I am ready to face the challenges squarely as I begin the journey in this new chapter of my public service. I believe in the dictum that the oath of duty connotes personal commitment to public service,” Salceda said.
He said that when he became the governor of Albay through the electoral mandate of his constituents, he pledged that he would honestly serve the people at his best.
“I promised nothing other than faithful and dedicated service for public's best interest. Now, I pledge the same commitment to work harder and do my share to contribute to the accomplishment of the command’s mission with the guidance of the military officers both in the regular and reserve forces and with all your support, especially my fellow reservists," the Albay governor said.
Knowing the work ahead, he urged his fellow reservists to work together in addressing the issues, with him as their group commander.
“I believe that when we are joined together, we can do a lot more for the organization. Remember, cooperation and teamwork, coupled with dedication and commitment, are the key to the unit’s success,” the Albay govenor said.
Salceda thanked the commander of the Air Force Reserve Corps for the trust and confidence given to him to assume the position of a major responsibility and for him, he said, it is a great opportunity to serve the Air Force, in particular, and the Armed forces of the Philippines, in general.