ON EMPOWERING THE FILIPINO PEOPLE
By FIDEL V. RAMOS
FORMER PHILIPPINE PRESIDENT
To ensure the sustained and focused implementation of our country’s National Security Policy 2017-2022 (NSP 2017-2022) through EO No. 16 dated April, 2017, that we featured last Sunday, the Office of the President published and distributed to all government instrumentalities its National Security Strategy 2018 (NSS 2018).
NSS 2018 is the Philippines’ first such official publication and implements the NSP 2017-2022’s overarching principle that national security and economic development are closely intertwined and mutually reinforcing concepts. As in NSP 2017-2022, NSS 2018 has the broad theme of bringing about meaningful and lasting socio-economic and political change aimed at building a stronger nation and improving the lives of the Filipino people.
NSS 2018 integrates the state’s major security policies, goals, responsibilities, and courses of action into a roadmap for the fulfillment of the national security vision. It seeks to foster better coordination, synchronization and cohesion of Government functions in order to improve efficiency and maximize the use of limited State resources.
NSS 2018 ALSO SERVES AS AN IMPORTANT VEHICLE TO ARTICULATE THE NATIONAL INTEREST, CONVEY THE STATE’S INTENTIONS, AND RALLY PUBLIC SUPPORT FOR GOVERNMENT POLICIES AND PROGRAMS. IN PARTICULAR, THE SUPPORT OF CONGRESS WILL BE CRUCIAL TO THE SUCCESS OF NSS 2018 IN TERMS OF ENACTING THE NECESSARY LEGISLATION RELATED TO NATIONAL SECURITY AND APPROPRIATING THEIR FISCAL REQUIREMENTS.
ROADMAP IN BUILDING A STRONGER NATION
IN HIS COVER MESSAGE, PRESIDENT DUTERTE EXPLAINS: “THE CONCEPT OF NATIONAL SECURITY HAS DRAMATICALLY EVOLVED FROM ITS TRADITIONAL FOCUS ON TERRITORIAL DEFENSE AND GOVERNMENTAL SURVIVAL TO THE PROMOTION OF ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT AND THE PRESERVATION OF NATURAL RESOURCES. GUIDED BY THIS SHIFT, WE CRAFTED THE NATIONAL SECURITY STRATEGY THAT ARTICULATES OUR ROADMAP IN BUILDING A STRONGER NATION.
“In order to protect our most cherished democratic institutions and way of life, we will create an environment where peace and economic development will complement each other. We will address urgent national security concerns and cope with the rapidly changing regional and global security environment in line with the objectives set forth in the NSP 2017-2022.
“To defend our sovereignty and the integrity of our national territory, we will develop and improve our defense, intelligence and law enforcement capabilities to enable our troops to end communist insurgency, terrorism and violent extremism.
“WE WILL ALSO BOLSTER OUR POSITION IN THE COMMUNITY OF NATIONS BY STRENGTHENING DIPLOMATIC RELATIONS WITH OUR TRADITIONAL ALLIES, ENGAGING NON-TRADITIONAL PARTNERS AND PURSUING AN INDEPENDENT FOREIGN POLICY…..”
STRATEGIC LINES OF ACTION
TO ACHIEVE THE NATIONAL SECURITY VISION AND PROTECT THE NATIONAL INTERESTS, THE STATE MUST ADDRESS THE VARIOUS THREATS AND CHALLENGES THAT CHARACTERIZE THE EVOLVING STRATEGIC SECURITY ENVIRONMENT. NSS 2018 PRESENTS THE GUIDING PRINCIPLES IN PREPARING THE STRATEGIC ACTION PLANS TO ADDRESS THOSE CHALLENGES.
The National Security Council (NSC) shall coordinate and oversee the day-to-day execution of the ongoing security agenda. Together with the agencies under the Cabinet Cluster on Security, Justice, and Peace (CCSJP) and the National Intelligence Board (NIB), the NSC shall ensure the cohesion of policies and programs for implementing the security agenda. Through the Cabinet and the Executive Committee of the NSC, the National Security Adviser (NSA) shall report to the President the status of their implementation.
NSS 2018 mandates that the fulfillment of the following specific action areas will help attain the above national vision:
1. Guarantee Public Safety and Achieve Good Governance. The strategy begins with the determination to protect the nation against the range of threats that directly impact on the safety and welfare of the Filipino people. These are terrorism, insurgency, and subversion; transnational crimes; criminality and illegal drugs; and graft and corruption.
2. Mitigate the Impact of Health-Related Threats. Health security today demands greater attention than before. New diseases are emerging and spreading; virus and bacteria are developing drug-resistant strains. The ease of global travel has increased the risk of rapid spread and contamination, as well as challenged existing containment protocols.
3. Develop a Dynamic, Inclusive, and Sustainable Economy. The prevailing challenge is how to achieve the competitive advantage. The issues of globalization such as economic integration and increasing competition have called for the development of strategic industries in the country’s pursuit of rapid economic development and comprehensive national security.
4. Achieve Food and Water Security. Food is the most important commodity in populous Philippines. Together with our military weaponry – which is now among the weakest in Asia – food is a major element of Philippine national power or lack of it….. Despite the abundance of water in the country, there has still been a decline of fresh water supply in many parts of the country due to decades of resource mismanagement, inadequate investments in infrastructure, and the growing threat of climate change.
5. Safeguard and Preserve National Sovereignty and Territorial Integrity. The Philippines shall implement a strong independent foreign policy. In particular, the dispute in the West Philippine Sea depicts the immense historical, economic, legal, diplomatic and environmental complexities among the Philippines with other claimant-countries. Actions to address the WPS issues should look into the interplay of these dynamics and how Government efforts should be prioritized.
6. Heighten Consciousness and Pride on Filipino Heritage, Culture and Values. Prior to colonization, our indigenous peoples already had their distinct justice and governance systems, customs and traditions, arts, literature, music, dance and values. This was later influenced by the introduction of Islam, the coming of the Chinese, the Spaniards, the Americans, and the Japanese. Culture also varies according to age group, gender, spirituality and socio-economic class.
7. Promote Human and Ecological Security. Climate change, as well as natural and human-induced emergencies and disasters, have become significant human security concerns of our time. The Philippines is susceptible to both geological and hydro-meteorological hazards. In fact, the World Risk Report 2016 puts the country at third place among the countries with the highest disaster risk, next to Vanuatu (first) and Tonga (second).
8. Achieve Energy Security. Energy security is the uninterrupted availability of energy sources to all households and economic sectors throughout the country at an affordable price. The Philippines is committed to secure and protect energy supply throughout the country; sustain and develop existing energy sources; and develop alternative, sustainable and clean sources of energy for the survival of our country and people.
9. Ensure Maritime and Airspace Security. The Philippines has the third longest coastline in the world after Indonesia and Canada. The sea is extremely significant from an international navigational, economic, geopolitical and strategic perspective. There is an urgent need to develop a modern and adequately-equipped border security force capable of ensuring maritime and air space security.
10. Strengthen International Relations. An independent foreign policy shall be geared to bolstering cooperative and harmonious relations with all countries at the bilateral, regional and multilateral levels, promoting development through international cooperation and economic diplomacy, protecting the rights and welfare of overseas Filipinos, and advancing Philippine global stature through commitment to international obligations.
11. Provide Strong Cyber Infrastructure and Cyber Security. With advances in technology and innovations in the computer and mobile industry surging at a very fast pace, protecting its citizens and institutions from falling victims to cybercrimes has become a major challenge for the Government. Moreover, the easy access to the Internet has also been used by subversives, terrorists and other groups to promote their cause or practice their nefarious activities.
12. Improve Vital Transportation Infrastructure and Port Security. Developing an integrated and sustainable transport network to move goods, people, and services more efficiently and safely is an urgent concern of the government.
RELATEDLY, THE INCREASED THREATS POSED BY TERRORISM AND TRANSNATIONAL CRIMES PROMPT MORE STRINGENT INTERNAL SECURITY PROTOCOLS. MORE THOROUGH SECURITY MEASURES MUST BE IMPLEMENTED IN THE COUNTRY’S AVIATION, PORT AND CARGO, IMMIGRATION AND OTHER MAJOR GATEWAYS, AND AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE ALSO IN OUR EXTENSIVE ARCHIPELAGIC COASTLINES.
CONCLUSION: A CALL FOR UNITY
TO ACHIEVE THE NATIONAL VISION, THE STATE MUST HARNESS ALL THE ASSETS AND RESOURCES AT ITS DISPOSAL. THIS REQUIRES THE ENTIRE GOVERNMENT AND OTHER SECTORS OF SOCIETY TO WORK TOGETHER, SHOULDER-TO-SHOULDer, IN A MORE WELL-PLANNED, ORGANIZED AND SYNCHRONIZED MANNER TOWARD THE FULFILLMENT OF THE 12-POINT NATIONAL SECURITY AGENDA. ALL GOVERNMENT DEPARTMENTS AND AGENCIES SHOULD CRITICALLY EXAMINE THEIR POLICIES AND CONDUCT THEIR OWN INTERNAL ASSESSMENT OF THEIR ROLES IN REALIZING THESE NATIONAL GOALS.
FURTHER REFORMS ARE NEEDED IN THE NATIONAL SECURITY SECTOR TO MAKE IT MORE EFFICIENT AND PROACTIVE, ABLE TO RESPOND QUICKLY AND EFFECTIVELY TO NATIONAL EMERGENCIES AS THEY ARISE, AND TO PREDICT AND PREEMPT CRISIS SITUATIONS EVEN BEFORE THEY ARISE. THE NATIONAL SECURITY COMMUNITY MUST MAKE AN EFFORT TO CONSTANTLY SEEK SELF-PERFECTION, HONE AND LEARN NEW SKILLS, AND OVERCOME ITS MOST SERIOUS WEAKNESSES.
FINALLY, THE NSS REQUIRES NO LESS THAN NATIONWIDE COMMITMENT. IN OUR QUEST FOR A BETTER FUTURE, ALL CITIZENS AND SECTORS OF CIVIL SOCIETY ARE ENJOINED TO WORK HAND-IN-HAND WITH THE GOVERNMENT IN THE HIGHEST SPIRIT OF THE FILIPINO PEOPLE’S CULTURE OF “BAYANIHAN.”
AS EARLIER POINTED OUT, THIS NSS 2018 ROADMAP IS A RELATIVELY NASCENT PROCESS IN THE PHILIPPINES AND WILL THEREFORE BE UPDATED AS NEEDED. THIS IN ITSELF SHOULD BE VIEWED AS A NECESSARY PRECONDITION FOR NATIONAL RENEWAL AND SOCIETAL TRANSFORMATION.
KAYA NATIN ITO!!!
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