President Rodrigo Duterte confers the Army Governance Pathway Institutionalized Medallion award on Maj. Gen. Noel Clement, then the 10th Infantry Division chief, during the 121st Founding Anniversary of the Philippine Army (PA) at the PA Headquarters in Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City on March 20, 2018. TOTO LOZANO/PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO

President Rodrigo Duterte has appointed Lt. Gen. Noel Clement as chief of staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), replacing Gen. Benjamin Madrigal Jr. who is set to retire on Sept. 24.

Clement, commander of the AFP Central Command (CentCom) based in Cebu, is a classmate of Madrigal in Philippine Military Academy Class of 1985.

Clement had led the 10th Infantry Division, 602nd Infantry Brigade and the 56th Infantry Battalion, and was also AFP deputy chief of staff for operations.

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

“The Palace is confident that with General Clement at the helm of the AFP, he will continue to uphold the high degree of professionalism, the dedication and the integrity our soldiers have displayed to the flag and country,” he added.

The AFP spokesman, Brig. Gen. Edgard Arevalo, cited Clement’s track record against terrorism.

“[T]he incumbent Commander of Central Command, 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,” he said.

“He is known to his superiors, peers, and subordinates as a team player, silent but hardworking, a visionary leader and an advocate of professionalism among officers, enlisted personnel and civilian human resource under his command,” he added. (