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t’s the time of the year when the incumbent administration makes a reckoning of its performance in steering this nation and the entire Filipino people towards the much desired progress and development. It is also the time when the nation’s assessment is sought in evaluating the performance of the administration and the effects of the government programs in improving the socio-economic condition of our people. H.E. President Benigno S. Aquino, III delivers his third State of the Nation Address this July, and will appraise the nation of the various programs being undertaken. This administration’s pre-election promise of progress and social transformation for its people was anchored in transparency and good governance. Thus, all programs and initiatives that are aimed to improve this nation and its people will be measured not only by – “Are we any better off today than yesterday?” but more importantly, if all of these programs are being implemented well within the parameters and the ambit of the promised transparency and good governance. Effective governance has so many intricate complex details in itself. Making
A Time for Assessment and Reckoning
every initiative work for the benefit of the majority, notwithstanding the countless dayto-day problems that we all encounter, is a tough task to accomplish. More so, in our kind of democratic system, every leadership is not spared from the harsh criticisms from those who refuse to see any good or potential good from the programs being undertaken. For them, any programs not theirs is not good for them. Each administration faces the rigors of balancing available resources and priorities amidst the interconnected symbiosis of economics, politics and social issues. In the six years given to any elected national leadership, every day counts to institute the reforms and programs needed to accomplish the goal set at the beginning. Every leadership must thread carefully in its dealings and ensure that every cent the taxpayer pays is worth every program that comes to action. In the case of the Department of National Defense, its own programs and initiatives will also be assessed if they run parallel and in synch with the administration’s set objectives. Much has been done already and yet much is still needed to be done. Despite the resource limitations that the Department faces in accomplishing its tasks, these limitations are not seen as an obstruction but instead as a challenge to find the legally proper and appropriate solution. President Aquino has clearly demonstrated his serious and sincere intent to make the country able and capable to defend itself against any threats from internal and external forces. The current initiatives sanctioned by the President have brought much hope to the troops, whose ability to serve and function properly was stunted in the past. It can be said at this point, ‘to serve in the military nowadays can be best described as entering very interesting dynamic times.’ No stone will be left unturned in finding the legally appropriate solution(s) to make the defense of this nation’s people, territory, resources and patrimony current, relevant and respectable. As the Department presents its accomplishments for the past year, we also await the invaluable comments and suggestions of our people. In these times, it is not just a moment to pat our own backs with rhetoric of achievements, but also, it is the time to hear from the public on what else is needed to fully and effectively accomplish our goals.
No Hype, Just the Facts
July is the time of the year when we account for the accomplishments of the past year. It also the time to proclaim what other things will be done for the coming year. Under the leadership of H.E. President Benigno S. Aquino, III, the “boss,” needs to be informed of the state of affairs, to
know and better understand where our humble nation will course through in the coming months. Like among the multiple stakeholders in the affairs of government, the Department is one among the many moving and dynamic components that churn the wheels of this nation. We’ve made our report and we leave it to the general public to assess whether or not much has improved since last year. One thing is for certain, there is still much to be done. There are many things that needs to be resolved and institutionalize programs that will lead to the optimum
compliance to the mandate given to the Department, and in the process, sufficiently and substantially perform its duties to the general public, and to the people it directly serves – our soldiers and our veterans/retirees. Let our performance speak for itself as the country’s defense establishment enters into a more interesting period in its entire history. We stand before the general public and let the records show of where we are and where we are going.
There are so many inspiring and things that are simultaneously happening across
he Armed Forces of the Philippines has undergone countless transformations in recent years, making it more resilient and adaptive to the conditions of the present times. Among the many innovative changes being seen and is being welcomed is the presence of women officers who are actively taking part in various mission critical activities of the AFP’s operations. Case in point is 1st Lieutenant Zeerah Blanche L. Lucrecia, (Cav), P.A. 1Lt. Lucrecia hails from Cagayan de Oro City and is currently assigned to the Light Armour Division of the Philippine Army. She is a tank driver. At first glance, Lucrecia looks like one of the boys. Up close, one can notice his good looks, only to realize as we got closer that he is actually a SHE. As we started our interview with her, she could look and sound as if just like one of the boys. She can hold on to a conversation with men, but her femininity stands out. Other than driving and commanding light tanks in areas of operations, 1Lt. Lucrecia is also a flyer. She also serves as an Army Aviator and as a Cavalry officer. As a proud member of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, 1Lt. Lucrecia sees women in the AFP as being empowered to do their duties to the utmost of their abilities. When asked on what’s her message to others like her, especially other women aspiring to serve the country under the Armed Forces, “I would like to encourage the Filipina youth of today to join the AFP, most especially those with the keen determination and strong heart to serve our country and our people.”
More Schooled Defense Experts Needed
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No Hype, Just Facts
the whole Defense establishment at a near frenzy pace. At present, there is an up swelling of expectations and positive morale with the various on-going initiatives and programs that are being implemented under the leadership of President Benigno S. Aquino, III. The course of the modernization is in full swing, faster but carefully laid out compared to previous times; reforms in the entire defense process are carefully being set into motion; welfare and benefits for soldiers and veterans are being complied with despite limited resources; and the way we view natural disasters and safety
of our population has transitioned to proactive from the previous reactive. We’ve chosen this photo collage as a symbolic reminder that the President is ‘snappy’ and really means business when it comes to implementing and managing defense related programs, and assuming the role of a visionary Commander-inChief who has risen above the ranks to ensure the able and capable defense of the whole nation. We salute back Mr. President for looking after the welfare and well-being of our troops!
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he Armed Forces of the Philippines Chief of Staff General Jessie D Dellosa issued a General Headquarters (GHQ) Circular requiring all Air Force and Army Colonels and Navy Captains to take the Master in National Security Administration (MNSA) prior to their promotion to the ranks of Brigadier General and Commodore. As stipulated in this circular, the MNSA program administered by the National Defense College of the Philippines (NDCP) becomes a prerequisite for all full-fledged Colonels and Navy Captains who eye promotion to O-7 positions or Brigadier General for Philippine Army (PA) and Philippine Air Force (PAF) and Commodore for Philippine Navy (PN) starting 2015 and onwards. To this effect, all O-6 officers or FullFledge Colonels who are projected to occupy O-7 positions from year 2013 to 2014 and all officers currently holding O-7 positions are exempted to take up the MNSA program; however, they are required to attend the Senior Executive Course on National Security (SECNS) to qualify them to said positions. SECNS is a three-week course being conducted by the NDCP. The circular was also in line with the recommendations of the Commission on Audit (COA) for the military sector to be at the forefront of the MNSA Program. In a recently published news article, the COA reasoned that the military is the sector directly involved in national security and is the first line of defense for the country from actual and perceived threats thus the participation of their key-officers in the MNSA program must be mandatory. The agency further recommended that the National Defense College of
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In the succeeding pages, our footnotes feature selected quotes from H.E. President Benigno Simeon Aquino, III’s speech during the 114th Proclamation of Philippine Independence on June 12, 2012, held at the historic Barasoain Church in Malolos City, Province of Bulacan.
Barasoain Church — the cradle of our Constitution. It was here where the representatives of different provinces came together to decide on how best to care for and nourish the hard-won freedom they had fought so hard for. It was here where our forebears decided to take the future of our country into their own hands, and show the world that the Philippines is for Filipinos.
Develops Teflon-Coated Bullets for Calibre 45 and 9mm Training Ammunition
by Maj. Noel M Tiu, PN and Engr. Kath Reotutar
o address the needs of the AFP, PNP and other law enforcement agencies, especially on training ammunition, the Government Arsenal (GA) has come up with the study on in-house manufacture of Cal .45 and 9mm training ammunition with Teflon-coated lead core instead of the usual full-metal jacket (FMJ) type. The idea was conceived not only to meet the training ammunition requirements of aforesaid agencies but also to produce such ammunition at much lower cost and at the same time lengthen the barrel life of small arms. The bullet being coated with a nonmetallic material like TFE will eventually eliminate metal to metal contact between the projectile and the barrel, thus, reducing the risk of early erosion of the latter without sacrificing the accuracy
undergoing production has two (2) variants; one is the semi-wad cutter (SWC) with a weight of 190 grains (12.311 grams) and the other is the round-nose type (RN) with a weight of 210 grains (13.607 grams). Initially, about 10,000 rounds were manufactured and passed ballistics tests. The 9mm bullet on the other hand, is also undergoing development following the same principle as that of Cal .45 bullet.
of the bullet. TEFLON paint, is made of Polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE), a synthetic fluoropolymer of tetrafluoroethylene (TFE) resin which was first discovered in 1938 by DuPont chemist Roy Plunkett. The Cal .45 teflon-coated bullet now perseverance characterize the real state of our Philippine Air Force personnel in the execution of their constitutional tasks and responsibilities. Let us clap for the pilots, airmen and civilian employees of our Philippine Air Force! Our Air Force has been humbly devoting its very limited resources in support of the Constitutional duty of our Armed Forces, to protect our people and secure the sovereignty of our state and the integrity of our national territory. For 65 years, the commitment and dedication to duty of its officers and men and women have been beyond question. The courage and patriotism of our pilots and airmen have been manifested in their readiness to undertake any air operation missions, and their willingness to offer the supreme sacrifice whenever necessary. Our Philippine Air Force has been into both traditional and non-traditional roles. Its functions involve the pursuit of all forms and facets of our national endeavours – be it political, social, or economic.
Speech of Sec. Voltaire T. Gazmin during the 65th Anniversary of the Philippine Air Force held at Fernando Basa Air Base in Lipa City, Batangas, read on July 6, 2012
n reiteration of my advance greetings during your Air Power Symposium two weeks ago, I now happily convey my warmest congratulations to the Philippine Air Force family as you commemorate your 65th founding anniversary today. Let me also greet all of our awardees this morning. Your outstanding deeds have greatly contributed to the attainment of the mission of your proud command. Without doubt, you are truly deserving of the honour accorded to you by the thankful Filipino nation within the modest means of your Defense Department. Let us give a big hand to our awardees!
My personal greetings likewise go to the officers, airmen and women, and civilian employees of the Philippine Air Force on this most welcome occasion of your foundation day. Many of them are not with us now. But they are in our air bases and stations, in our airfields and airstrips, in our aircraft on air operations. And they are performing their duties without question. Some of them are in distant islands and islets of our archipelago. Be it in West Philippine Sea, or in Sulu and Tawi-Tawi, they do not cease to perform their duties in utter oblivion and anonymity. Personal dedication, sacrifice, and
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Our predecessors were well aware of the principle that keeps our democracy alive: that true power emanates from and belongs to the Filipino people, and that it must necessarily be used for their benefit. They chose representatives not to rule, or to reign supreme, but to guide our country to the right direction, and to serve the common citizen.
Realization of the Minimum Defense Capability Goals
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More Schooled Defense ...
the Philippines (NDCP) strictly enforce the age limit; make representations with defense and military officials to make the MNSA course mandatory for senior military officers. The candidates for MNSA and SECNS who will be recommended by Major Service/Technical Administrative Service (TAS) Board of Senior Officers (BOSO) must have at least five years remaining in the service reckoned from the convening date of the course. They must be O-6 in rank or holding a position of major responsibility; must be a Command and General Staff College (CGSC) graduate and have passed the qualifying written and oral exam administered by the NDCP. Furthermore, they must have secured a medical certificate of physical and mental fitness from the AFP Medical Center, and must have a certificate of non-pending administrative, criminal or court martial case. The quota allocation for every class in the MNSA is also stated in the approved circular; twenty from the Army, nine from Air Force, nine from the Navy, and two from the TAS. The quota allocation for each SECNS class is; 15 from the Army, seven from the Air Force, seven from the Navy, and one from the TAS. On the other hand, the NDCP will be responsible for the accreditation of MNSA equivalent courses taken outside the country. Officers who took up an accredited MNSA course shall be required to undergo the Executive Course on National Security (ECNS) to qualify for O-7 position. The MNSA Program is a scholarship program offered by the NDCP which is located inside the AFP GHQ at Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City. "The AFP is committed to fortify professionalism within its ranks. The appointment of officers in the military institution’s key-units and offices is part of our organization’s continuous dynamism which is essential in carrying out our mandate more effectively and efficiently,” Gen Dellosa said.
n the past few months we have seen modest but concrete steps towards the realization of a more responsive and better equipped AFP, part of the national government’s continued efforts to upgrade the capability of our soldiery. This, according to Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin, is a concrete proof that “the vital and expeditious goal of modernizing our Armed Forces has been the serious consideration of our national leadership.”
Php120M pesos. As we go to press 16 projects are also close to completion, with a total budget of Php4.4B. Another 57 projects worth Php20.4 B are well on the way. “I am happy to let our people know that through our Defense System of Management (DSOM), the upgrade and modernization program for our armed forces is presently on full swing. This is limited only by the maximum amount of financial resources that our government can afford to allocate,” Gazmin said
23 Frontloaded Projects - surface attack aircraft lead-in fighters, multi-purpose attack craft, two frigates, close air support aircraft, in addition to the expected delivery of the remaining multi-purpose combat utility helicopters.
“This has become a must in our pursuit of many operational plans and endeavours for internal peace, security and stability,” the Defense Chief said. From FY 2002 to FY 2011, PhP 48.1 Billion has already been made available for the AFP Modernization Program from general appropriations and other sources. Another Php 13.8 Billion will be made available this year, raising the total to a projected amount of Php 61.9 Billion. “We have been relentless in our goal of acquiring new and potent replacements for our old and now unreliable equipment. We are now very determined in our intention to modernize,” Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin said. Sixty two projects have already been completed for a total of Php17.5B. Of these 62 projects, 24 projects were completed for the Philippine Army, amounting to Php11.5B, 8 projects for the Philippine Air Force amounting to Php2B, 19 completed projects for the Philippine Navy amounting to Php3.4B, 10 projects for the GHQ amounting to Php812.7M and 1 project of the Government Arsenal in the amount of As identified by the Defense Senior Leaders, there are 23 frontloaded projects, including the acquisition of surface attack aircraft lead-in fighters, multi-purpose attack craft, two frigates and close air support aircraft, in addition to the expected delivery of the remaining multi-purpose combat utility helicopters within the year. Among the 77 projects consolidated under the Defense Acquisition System (DAS) under DSOM, 22 projects are ready for procurement, 29 approved for acquisition decision memorandum (ADM), 22 other projects on various stages provided for under the DAS (first and second passes). “Our planned acquisitions are meant to develop a reliable defense capability worthy of securing our sovereign state and its territorial integrity. This is premised from the mandate of our Constitutional duty: ‘The Armed Forces of the Philippines is the protector of the people and the state. Its goal is to secure the sovereignty of the state and the integrity of the national territory,” Gazmin said.
The Constitution that was meant to be the refuge of the common citizen became a plaything in the hands of those who wielded power with impunity. They acted as if they held the blindfold of justice in their hands, as if they were licensed to amend, reduce, change, and distort our Constitution.
A Review of the DND Accomplishment:
Are We There Yet?
nchored on the ideals of transparency, accountability and good governance, the Department of National Defense (DND) remains committed to its mandate as the protector of our people against external and internal threats, and truly supportive of the government’s socio-economic development programs.
Military Trucks worth USD 1,090,176 from the Republic of Korea.
Building the Capacity for the Office of Civil Defense
AFP Capability Upgrade
In building the capability of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), 13 projects were completed or delivered in 2011 and 50 more are under various stages of implementation. The capability upgrade will not only prepare the AFP to address national security challenges but also support socio-economic programs of the national government and respond to disasters. Probably the most notable acquisition in 2011 is the BRP Gregorio del Pilar (PF15) which arrived in December 2011. This was made possible with the allocation of USD 117,409,800 (PHP 1.00 = USD 0.0237) for the acquisition of equipment and weapon systems to protect vital energy resources in the West Philippine Sea, specifically the Malampaya Gas to Power Project by the Department of Energy (DOE), in coordination with the DND. The department also established the DND Public-Private Partnership Office (DPO) to explore ways to generate funds through the utilization of idle, unutilized, and underutilized assets/properties of the defense department. This paved the way for several joint venture proposals for the GA Estate and its development. Discussions with other countries such as the US, South Korea, Indonesia, Malaysia, Italy, Spain, Israel, Poland, UK, New Zealand, Russia, China, and other countries have been instrumental in the acquisition of equipment, including the 270 units of 2½ ton Military Trucks worth USD 21,760,131 and 20 units of 1¼ ton
For 2011, the OCD conducted five (5) major training programs on disaster preparedness and management. To increase public awareness on strengthening disaster risk reduction and management system, the OCD produced and disseminated educational materials on Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) to local government and national government agencies all over the country. To coordinate, supervise, and monitor Disaster Response, Recovery and Rehabilitation Initiatives, the OCD disseminated early warning messages and monitored and reported minor and major incidents, including typhoons. The OCD released a total amount of USD 92,430,000 for emergency assistance and rehabilitation operations. Another key milestone for the OCD was the approval of the NDRRM Framework, which aims to raise awareness and understanding among the different levels of government and the people on the country’s disaster risk reduction and
management goals. Recognizing that disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation are strongly interrelated, the NDRRM Framework also included climate change adaptation as one of its cross-cutting pillars. Notably, DRR is the first line of defense against impacts of climate change, thus complementing climate change adaptation measures and coping mechanisms being undertaken by communities to enhance climate risk management in the longterm.
Providing Welfare for
Now that our nation has gathered momentum along the straight and righteous path, we will not allow ourselves to lose our way in the darkness of the past. The Constitution states that it is from the people that our country draws its strength. So it is only just that they are the ones who benefit from the fruits of our endeavors.
In line with the Internal Peace and Security Plan (IPSP) Bayanihan, 49 projects were already completed and 18 are undergoing various stages of completion. The majority of these were school buildings and farm-to-market roads. Upcoming Bayanihan partnership projects amounting to US$ 2,109,300 are to be implemented in Eastern Mindanao.
Reforms that works for everyone ...
Veterans and Retirees
For the fiscal year 2011, the Philippine Veteran’s Affairs Office (PVAO) ensured that pensions were conveniently remitted through the Direct Remittance Pension Servicing System. PVAO likewise intensified its information campaign targeting AFP Retirees, who are entitled to pensions when they reach the age of 65 by 2012, and widows and dependents of AFP soldiers who were killed in action (KIA). This campaign aims to minimize delays in their claim application. As early as March 2011, PVAO has requested for the list of AFP Retirees turning 65 by 2012 resulting in 207 retirees being recommended for approval. Instead of waiting for their applications, 59 widows of soldiers killed in action were sent application forms, which allowed them to avail their benefits. In terms of other veterans’ benefits, namely burial assistance, education, and hospitalization subsidies, PVAO serviced 12,720 beneficiaries. Under its expanded hospitalization program, additional medical benefits/ services included payment of cataract services, orthopaedic implants, dentures, and hernia mesh. The PVAO and Veterans’ Memorial Medical Center (VMMC) also partnered with 599 government-accredited hospitals enabling veterans to avail of the facilities and services of these hospitals.
Enhancing National Security Education Services
For 2011, 38 students graduated from the National Defense College of the Philippines, bringing to a total of 1,921 alumni from the 46 Regular Courses conducted since 1967. At present, it is conducting its 47th Regular Course with 39 students, four (4) of whom are foreigners. To complement the Master in National Security Administration (MNSA) program, the College also conducted non-degree training and seminar - workshops to 337 participants, and held various policy fora on national defense and security issues for more than 250 participants. The quality and effectiveness of the research outputs are also enhanced by inviting major stakeholders who are also end-users of the recommendations being presented. For 2011, the College produced a total of 38 policy research papers which include: 38 MNSA theses, 11 policy briefs, and Quick Response Papers (QRPs), which were submitted to DND and other requesting government agencies.
Supporting National Development
in the Philippine Veterans Affairs Office are in full swing as concrete results are seen after a sure and steady campaign to overhaul the system and clean-up the processes concerning pension and veterans claims. PhP 224.2 Million in overpayments to already deceased beneficiaries and 309 fraudulent claims were recovered. As of 2011, the list of pensioners has gone down to 251,435 and PhP 274.3 Million was recovered as a result of cleaning up the list. In January to April 2012, the list of Veterans went down to 244,455, with PhP 23.7 Million recovered. With the new systems in place, PVAO has assured that AFP Retirees are truly well and being cared for. A total of PhP 6.6 Billion worth of pensions were paid to 115,702 AFP Retirees. Education, hospitalization and burial benefits given to veterans and their dependents are also given primacy. In 2011, PVAO and Veterans’ Memorial Medical Center (VMMC) partnered with 599 government-accredited hospitals enabling veterans to avail of the facilities and services of these hospitals.
For the year 2011,the defense department has forged partnerships with the private sector and other government agencies for community projects with high impact to the residents in depressed and remote areas. These efforts led to the funding and execution of projects, in conflict-affected communities, amounting to USD 2,251,500.
It is only fitting that each Filipino—from those in the most secluded mountainsides, to the farthest islands, and those seeking their future on other shores—feels that what we commemorate on the 12th of June is a nationwide celebration; that its spirit is what fuels our desire to be free.
ith the increasing complexities in the global, regional, and national security environments, engaging strategic partners has been useful and fruitful for the Philippines. Not only have these engagements enabled the department to avail of opportunities for both capacity enhancement and capability improvement, these engagements have also allowed it to make a modest contribution to global and regional peace and stability. Along this line, the Department substantively made efforts to enhance its bilateral defense cooperation mechanisms, as well as consistently involved itself in regional multilateral cooperative platforms. Convened in 2011 were existing bilateral mechanisms, such as the Mutual Defense Board/Security Engagement Board with the US, PH-Australia Joint
global and regional security and economic issues. Likewise sustained in 2011 are military exercises and training activities with the US, Australia, Indonesia, and Malaysia. These activities not only enhance the capacity of Filipino soldiers to interoperate with regional forces, but have likewise promoted interpersonal linkages among the participants. One key result of these engagements is the formalization of defense ties with Spain through the Memorandum of Understanding Regarding Defense Cooperation which was signed in 2011. The MOU will provide the framework for PH-Spain cooperative endeavours. Another key result of these engagements is the enhanced capability upgrade and support for the AFP. High-level exchanges are also another
Office of the Assistant Secretary for Strategic Assessment
Engaging the Region and the World
platforms is the ASEAN Defense Ministers’ Meeting (ADMM) which convened for the 5th time and had a retreat (informal meeting) in Indonesia. Other multilateral mechanisms are the Asia-Security Summit (The Shangri-la Dialogue), the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) Defense Officials’ Dialogue (DOD), and the ARF Security Policy Conference (ASPC). Within the ambit of the ADMMPlus, a legal seminar on peacekeeping operations was likewise organized and hosted by the Philippines and New Zealand in 2011. The two are co-chairs of the ADMM-Plus Expert’s Working Group (EWG) on Peace Keeping Operations. The Legal Seminar gathered legal officers and peacekeeping operations officers from New Zealand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Laos, Singapore, Brunei, Vietnam, China, South Korea, Australia, US, and Japan to discuss legal and policy considerations in the conduct of peacekeeping operations. After the seminar, the participants agreed to conceptualize a workshop that will assess
Sec. Gazmin is flanked by US Senators (left) John MCain (R) of Arizona and Joseph Lieberman (D) Connecticut after the 2012 Shangri-la Dialogue · ASEAN Defense Ministers Meeting.
Japanese Parliamentary Senior Vice-Minister of Defense Shu Watanabe is welcomed at the DND by Sec. Gazmin for the Philippines-Japan Defence Meeting.
Defense Cooperation Committee and Defense Working Group Meetings, PHIndonesia Border Crossing Conference, and PH-Malaysia Combined Committee on Defense Cooperation. New bilateral mechanisms have also been convened such as the 1st PHUS Bilateral Strategic Dialogue and the PH-New Zealand Defense and Security Dialogue. While the Philippines and the US have robust military-to-military interaction, the Bilateral Strategic Dialogue enables the two allies to consult with each other at the senior officials’ level on a wide range of
mechanism for cultivating bilateral ties. The Secretary of National Defense received General Liang Guanglie, Minister of Defense of China, and Constantino Mendez Martinez, Secretary of State for Defense of Spain. During these visits, agreements on military aid gratis from China and the MOU Regarding Defense Cooperation with Spain were signed. Multilateral avenues for defense cooperation have also been prioritized, with the Secretary of National Defense himself, together with other senior officials being involved. Among the key multilateral
peacekeeping capability in the region. The Philippines will co-host the seminar in 2012. Overall, these engagements did not only enable the Philippines to cultivate ties but more importantly, provided an avenue where the DND could communicate its thrust and policies to the external public. At the same time, they have provided an effective venue for the DND to cultivate support for its programs as well as articulate its views on the regional and national security landscape.
The Constitution states that it is from the people that our country draws its strength. So it is only just that they are the ones who benefit from the fruits of our endeavors. This is why all the reforms we institute—from the jobs we are able to give our countrymen, to our thrust to ensure justice for all; from the reconstruction of our social systems, to the responsible allotment of our funds—mirrors the principle that was strengthened in this very church in 1898.
here is no greater tribute to our heroes than showing them the fruits of what they have fought for ... said Pres. Benigno Simeon C. Aquino III during the anniversary of the Leyte Gulf Landings on October 20, 2011. Thus, during the 70th Commemoration of the Araw ng Kagitingan this year, he personally announced before thousands of veterans and their families who trooped to Mt. Samat, Pilar, Bataan the good news on the improved hospitalization benefits under the Veterans Hospitalization Program (VHP) pursuant to his directives. “This state honors its veterans, and I believe that they must be given proper care and compensation in return for their sacrifice. Allow me to deliver some good news to you: If you have not heard yet, as of the 31st of March of this year, our veterans will be able to receive their health benefits in a more convenient manner: 599 hospitals in our country have been accredited by the Veteran’s Memorial Medical Center as regional or provincial extensions. We have also expanded the services that can be subsidized by the VMMC to include cataract operations, coronary angiograms, and cardiac bypasses,” the President said. At present, the VMMC is the only medical facility exclusive for veterans and their dependents. These dependents include their spouses, unmarried minor children, children who are mentally or physically incapacitated regardless of age, and dependent parents or foster parents regardless of the veteran's civil status. It boasts of up-to-date diagnostic, therapeutic, and rehabilitation equipments to include among others dialysis machines, CT scan, and magnetic resonance imaging.
With only one veterans hospital in the Philippines that is located in Quezon City, healthcare and hospitalization benefits are hardly accessible to eligible beneficiaries residing in the provinces. Taiwan, a smaller state with fewer veterans has eight veterans hospitals while the United States of America has more than 150 veteran’s hospitals in the United States and numerous outpatient clinics nationwide. These VA hospitals and clinics are part of some 23 Veterans Integrated Service Network or regionally administered healthcare system. Since healthcare and hospitalization needs are among the foremost pressing concerns of pensioners, majority of whom are based in provinces, the clamor is for the establishment of at least one veterans hospital in the Visayas and another one in Mindanao.
PNOY Assures Veterans of Better Health Benefits
hile there are recent initiatives in the House of Representatives for the establishment of additional veteran’s hospitals for the other two major island groups of the country, the immediate solution adopted by PVAO to address the health concerns of its pensioners and their qualified dependents was the accreditation of government hospitals in regions and provinces to the Veterans Hospitalization Program (VHP) thereby extending the hospitalization and healthcare services of VMMC in the regions and provinces where majority of our pensioners are based. At present, a total of 599 public hospitals nationwide are accredited as VMMCoutreach / extension hospitals under the program. Of the 599 accredited hospitals, 68 are under the supervision and control of the Department of Health while the remaining 531 are directly administered by local government units. VHP provides daily medical subsidy based on a patient’s actual net bill not to exceed eight hundred pesos (P 800.00) per day of confinement for a maximum of 45 days per year per patient. In addition, the coverage of VHP was expanded for a wider variety of highly needed medical procedures and services which include the following:
True democracy for all Filipinos: this is the essence of our Constitution; this is the lifeblood of our free State. Cognizant of the mandate enshrined in our Constitution, we will not allow it to be infected, sullied or used by anyone who seeks only to best his fellow men, or wallow in power.
Philippine Military Academy: Adjusts Its Height Requirements for Applicants
the country. This year’s examination date is set on August 26, 2012. Other requirements for admission in the Philippine Military Academy are the following: Natural-born Filipino citizen, physically fit and of good moral character, single and has never been married, at least high school graduate, no administrative/ criminal case, must pass the PMAEE, and should have been born from April 01, 1991 to April 01, 1996. Being a PMA cadet gives an individual a noble privilege in serving the country. One is able to avail of a free college education with a well-rounded curriculum as well as receive monthly salary and allowances. After graduating from the Academy, one is guaranteed of a job a progressive career as an officer in the Army, Navy or Air Force.
he Philippine Military Academy will now be accepting interested applicants with a minimum height of 5’0 inches, both for male and female. The lowering of the height requirement from 5’4 for male and 5’2 for female, is expected to bring about increase in the number of applicants, considering that more Filipino youth will now have the chance to take the Philippine Military Academy Cadet Qualification Test (PMACQT) which is given annually in different examination centers throughout
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Our Air Force has been anywhere and everywhere in our country and our territorial borders and domains. Our aircraft and pilots are either in patrol and combat operations, in security coverage of our vital assets and installations; in airlift runs of personnel, supplies and equipment; in search, rescue, and rehabilitation missions during the advent of disasters and calamities, in the transport of the sick and wounded, and in countless errands in the name and for the good of our endeared republic. Nevertheless, the job of the Philippine Air Force cannot be done by the determination and enthusiasm of our air force personnel alone. We need to have potent and reliable air platforms for our air skippers and crew to operate and fly. As ever, we have been relentless in our goal of acquiring new and potent replacements for our old and unreliable air assets. And we are now very determined in our intention to modernize. The vital and expeditious goal of modernizing our Air Force and our Armed Forces, for that matter, has been the serious consideration of our national leadership. This has become a must in our pursuit of many operational plans and endeavours for internal peace, security and stability. Our extreme necessity to modernize is likewise meant to address the primordial constitutional duty of our Armed Forces, to “secure the sovereignty of the state
and the integrity of the national territory”. I am happy to let you know that through our Defense System of Management (DSOM), the upgrade and modernization program for our Armed Forces is presently on full swing. This is limited only by the maximum amount of financial resources that our government can afford to allocate. Your Defense Department is now working speedily on the approval of the contracts for the 138 upgrade and modernization projects of our armed forces, to be implemented over the next five years. The deadline that we have set for ourselves for the approval of all these contracts is on July 31, 2012.
These projects would surely provide the Philippine Air Force with brand new and reliable air assets for its air operations, along with the operational requirements of the Philippine Navy and the Philippine Army. This includes, among others, the acquisition of surface attack aircraft lead-in fighter trainer, attack helicopters, light transport aircraft, and medium transport aircraft, all of which are expected to be delivered within two (2) years from now. These are in addition to the four (4) multi-purpose combat utility helicopters (Sokol) that are scheduled to be delivered within this year. The placement of these assets in our Air Force inventory shall surely boost its air operations capability. The availability of these aircraft shall, once and for all, erase the ironic and naughty commentary that our present air force is “All air, Devoid of Force”. With these humble reflections, I wish to congratulate the Philippine Air Force for its unwavering obedience to our Constitutional mandate, even as I commend its officers, men and women, and civilian employees for their ever-burning patriotism for our beloved Philippines.
This is what Barasoain Church reminds us of. In 1898, our ancestors gathered here in Malolos to uphold and strengthen our Republic. This was what took place in 1986, in EDSA, when we uprooted a dictatorship. And this too was what took place during the 2010 elections, which paved the way for our reforms. History’s blessings teach us: we will only achieve true freedom when each of us is ready for his soles to be callused, when each of us is ready to give his blood and sweat for our country.
All of his relatives decided to give up but before becoming a permanent resident of the penal system, his father bailed him out and took him in. His father had a different family already who never knew of Bryan’s existence. His father and step mother were both serving in the military at the time he was brought into their home. His arrival was not entirely a welcome event but time healed their animosities, slowly allowing Bryan to integrate himself into his father’s second family. Born and raised into a directionless life as a youth, Bryan’s wild early teenage years turned to a strict regiment of rules, a life being molded into the rules of military discipline. His father finally took him in but he should follow the rules and change for the better. Initially resistant to the idea of being dominated by a man who was never a father for the first two decades of Bryan’s life, the son decided to follow and cherish the opportunity to finally have one of his parents in his life. Bryan describes the feeling of being with his father, “I met him when I was still a little boy. An uncle said that my father sought me out when I was barely 4 years old. When we met, he gave me an ice cream. After that brief meeting, my father never came back to see me until my uncles decided to leave me with him when I was already a rowdy teenager.” It was never easy for Bryan but thanks to the military discipline his “Johnny-comelately” father imposed on his life, things changed and he finally found himself. His father was an active officer for the Army when Bryan was taken in and while living within the confines of Fort Bonifacio, Bryan found his direction - his wish for a parent and acceptance from his half brothers and sisters. When asked if he carries any bitterness towards his father, Bryan says, “There is always the bitterness for abandoning me and my mother, but what’s the use of keeping it inside? Bitterness only destroys and it’s much proper if we all just follow BETTERness.”
‘Military Discipline Changed Me’
compared to friends who comes home to a father and mother, the gapping emptiness festered a malignant anger that nearly destroyed his life. As a teenager, living like a ping pong ball among his uncles and aunts who were willing to give him a shelter, life for Bryan turned frustrating that further fuelled his anger. The only option he knew to get answers was to become destructive and defiant. He found his new “family” unit among friends who also shared similar experiences of a life growing without a father and a mother. However, these new friends became the fuse for Bryan’s spiral towards becoming a social nuisance. Bryan turned to drinking, smoking and to feed his needs for food and material things, he turned into a life of a petty thief and later graduating to stealing motorcycles. His life has turned into chaos where shelter meant a room behind bars. Bryan says, “I said to myself, no once cared for me, so why should I care for myself.”
ome of us are born into a near perfect happy family, but there are others born to none. There are those born into a so-called family set-up, yet it has no resemblance of an ideal family that we were all taught to imagine in our younger years. These days, no one can expect a perfect family no more but there are those who strive to build and live in one. Twenty something Bryan Huertas was born into a family that never got the chance to develop into one. His mother may have given birth to him but being a mother was not an option for her. His soldier father wanted to have a family of his own but circumstances of the heart led him to build instead a separate family that excludes Bryan and his mother. Huertas said, “I had no where to go. My mom was not well and could not focus on raising me. I was so young then and knew nothing of the problems we had.” As an infant, Bryan barely felt the warmth and love of a nurturing mother and the guidance of an endearing father. He grew up and learned the ways of life from different people – mostly relatives from his mother side who took him into their homes; fed him, clothed him, and educated him. yet there was something missing – real love. Bryan has no ill-feelings towards his relatives. For a fact, he is eternally gratified for being given a fighting chance to live his life. At first, he did not understand why his mother abandoned him, nor why his father never stayed around and chose to form a different family other than theirs. Bryan stated that, “I am forever thankful to my relatives who did not treat me like a different person but one will always ask questions on why I am different?” Admittedly, the bitterness for being left alone slowly crept into his mind and deep into his heart. As he grew up and started seeing the difference between his life
A photo taken while at Fort Bonifacio, a teenager re-discovering himself, a father he never knew and a life of transformation under military discipline.
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With heads held high, we will forge on towards a Philippines free not only from the clutches of foreign oppression, but also and more importantly, from corruption, hunger and injustice. Let us dismantle the bars of selfishness and disunity; let us break free from the culture of finger-pointing and indifference. This is the meaning of true freedom.