President Benigno S. Aquino III is escorted by AFP Vice Chief of staff Lieutenant General Gregorio Pio Catapang Jr. during the President's arrival at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminal II on Tuesday night (June 24, 2014) after attending the Summit Meeting & Working Lunch with Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in Tokyo. The President also attended the Consolidation for Peace for Mindanao Conference in Hiroshima organized by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and the Research and Education for Peace of the Universiti Sains Malaysia. (MNS photo)

President Benigno S. Aquino III is escorted by AFP Vice Chief of staff Lieutenant General Gregorio Pio Catapang Jr. during the President’s arrival at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminal II on Tuesday night (June 24, 2014) after attending the Summit Meeting & Working Lunch with Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in Tokyo. The President also attended the Consolidation for Peace for Mindanao Conference in Hiroshima organized by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and the Research and Education for Peace of the Universiti Sains Malaysia. (MNS photo)

MANILA (Mabuhay) – President Aquino exhorted members of the military to stay neutral and not to allow themselves to be used by those with vested interests.

During the 79th AFP Day celebration at Camp Aguinaldo, Aquino also told the troops to ensure peaceful elections in 2016.

Huwag kayong magpapadala sa tukso o magpapakaladkad sa sinumang nagbabalak na ilihis tayo sa tuwid na landas,” Aquino said.

Nalalapit na po ang 2016, at alam naman po natin na sa panahon ng halalan, talagang may mga magpupumilit pa ring gamitin kayo para sa pansariling interes. Ang atas ng taumbayan: Tungkulin nating siguruhin ang katiwasayan pagdating ng halalan. Inaasahan ang inyong hanay na manatili sa panig ng taumbayan.”

The AFP paraded its latest equipment as a result of the military’s modernization program.

Aquino said more will be coming and left strong words directed at those he said who would want to bring back the old system.

“…Sa mga nagnanais pang ibalik ang inyong institusyon sa lumang kalakaran: Mahiya naman kayo, at matakot din. Hindi titigil ang reporma, at hindi titigil ang aming pagsisikap para masigurong mananagot ang mga tiwali,” Aquino said.

Aquino lauded military personnel who served in notable missions, including disaster response, peacekeeping efforts in Golan Heights, and the supply mission to Ayungin shoal.

Awards were given to 28 outstanding personnel, including leaders of Filipino peacekeepers in Golan Heights and Ebola-stricken Liberia.(MNS)