National security: Should business worry? | Inquirer Business
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National security: Should business worry?

The Philippines continuously faces threats from both internal and external sources that can potentially affect our national defense and pose adverse impact on national development. A holistic approach is needed for defense and security beyond managing traditional military threats. The priority plans and programs to mitigate these issues were discussed by the Department of National Defense (DND) Senior Undersecretary Irineo Espino during the Sept. 20 Management Association of the Philippines (MAP) general membership meeting at the Ceremonial Hall of Marriott Grand Ballroom.

He said that the DND has a multifaceted role of not only addressing defense issues but is also committed to ensuring the well-being and development of the nation and the Filipino people. A whole-of-nation approach is needed to carry out this mandate.

Espino likewise assures that the insurgency will be cleared before the year ends. This will ease the worries of existing businesses and startups—and hopefully pave the way for their growth.


The DND intends to focus on external threats and come up with a capable defense posture to protect the country. The armed forces give priority to the commands that address external threats, and most of these are directed to China.


The DND coordinates with the United States for joint maritime activities. According to Espino, the continued aggressive actions in territorial and maritime disputes, such as the West Philippine Sea, will remain as a priority concern. Joint activities with our foreign counterparts are ongoing. Equipment from other countries are also being procured, such as naval vessels and aircraft, mostly donated by the US.

Modernization imperative

The Philippines needs to upgrade its weaponry through modernization. However, the challenge is the financial cost. The DND requires suppliers to include in their packages: training, maintenance and technology exchange. The DND aims to produce these in the future.

Aside from the hardware, the DND will also reeducate and reskill its personnel. The modernization shift pushes the DND to opt for an optimal deterrence and sustainability as it aims for a modern, self-reliant and combat-ready defense force.

Espino noted that the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) would be brought back to schools as a form of military training. This will be an orientation for emergency purposes for young people to be combat-ready. Other expertise will also be utilized, such as medical and other services.

The DND will continue its engagement with partners for joint development of technology and industries. It will continue its capacity-building through military training and improve coordination with both the national and local governments for disaster risk reduction.

The DND reassured that no war is being anticipated; yet, should a war arise, its plan to protect our people is in place. We can expect support from other countries, such as the US, Australia, Japan and Korea. The government continuously engages in bilateral talks to strengthen these alliances.


As to the preparation for the natural calamities, he cited preparations for the use of food stamps in strategic areas, including transportation and funding. Other agencies are prepared for any disaster while local government units will be the first respondents to report their requirements for immediate response. The DND calls for engagement and collaboration with the private sector.

A partnership between DND and MAP can help establish a well-secured Philippines not only for businesses but also for all Filipinos to live comfortably. In reciprocity, the MAP offered assistance, especially in management expertise, to help carry out the DND’s strategic shift from internal defense to external focus.

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The DND shared its vision for a better country. As Espino said, “Under the ambit of the DND’s core values of patriotism, professionalism and good governance, the department shall be able to fully and successfully transform into a modern, responsive, effective and future-oriented defense force capable of attaining its mandate.” INQ

The author is president of MAP and founding partner and CEO of Du-Baladad and Associates or BDB Law. Feedback at [email protected] and [email protected].
TAGS: Business, economy, Philippines

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