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Under Duterte’s administration, the Philippines’ credible defense posture has improved: DND

MANILA, Philippines — Delfin Lorenzana, the outgoing Secretary of the Department of National Defensive (DND), said President Rodrigo Duterte’s government has worked hard to ensure the Philippines has a credible defense posture to secure its extensive marine regions.

“Through priority infrastructure development in the Municipality of Kalayaan, construction of maritime domain awareness platforms, increased deployment of AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines) detachments in border islands, and procurement of game-changing assets, such as combat utility helicopters, missile frigates, close-air-support aircraft, unmanned aerial vehicles, air defense systems, and procurement of game-changing assets, such as combat utility helicopters, missile frigates, close-air-support aircraft, unmanned aerial vehicles, and air defense systems

Lorenzana also stated that the AFP greatly increased navy surface and marine air patrols to defend the country’s key border areas and exclusive economic zone.

“With these modern and multi-role assets added to the AFP’s inventory, as well as the upgrades and reforms we’ve implemented, we’re optimistic that the military sector’s upward trajectory will continue, resulting in continued peace and stability for the country,” he added.

Lorenzana is also delighted to mention that the AFP initiated persistent operations against communist rebels and violent extremists during his tenure, resulting in the diminishing of these serious security concerns.

“The DND, working with the AFP, continued operations that resulted in the communist terrorist group’s weakening and the government’s reintegration program for former rebels and violent extremists being revitalized. Thousands of rebels, violent extremists, and their followers have returned to the fold of the law since 2016, resulting in a significant loss of support on the ground “He went on to say.

Lorenzana added that the DND prioritized international military and security engagements, noting that agreements with conventional and non-traditional security partners were made, bringing the Philippines closer to becoming a key actor in the Asia-Pacific region.

The DND adopted good governance initiatives under the Duterte administration, aimed at improving the organization’s ability to carry out its mandate.

“The President enacted Republic Act 11709 in April this year, prescribing fixed terms for senior personnel to foster further professionalization and meritocracy in the AFP,” Lorenzana explained.

According to him, only the greatest officers in the AFP are eligible for the top military positions under Republic Act 11709.

“The main goal of this rule is to give general officers enough time to accomplish their responsibilities, i.e. three years time-in-grade. They are retired if they are not promoted to the next higher grade. This ensures that only the most capable officers progress up the leadership ladder. This also puts a stop to the AFP’s revolving door leadership system, which was created under a 1979 retirement law “Lorenzana said.

The AFP chief-of-staff, vice chief-of-staff, deputy chief-of-staff, chiefs of the major services (Army, Navy, and Air Force), unified command commanders, and inspector general will serve for three years “unless sooner terminated by the President,” according to the new law.

In times of war or other national crises proclaimed by Congress, the President may prolong the tour of duty of the AFP chief-of-staff.

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