Defense moving forward

MIKE ABOUT TOWN - Mike Toledo - The Philippine Star
Defense moving forward
The author with Secretary Gilberto “Gibo” Teodoro, Jr.

The mandate of the Department of National Defense (DND) is to secure the sovereignty of the State and integrity of the national territory as enshrined in the Constitution. We will strictly enforce this mandate whether externally or internally.”

Words no less from our very own secretary of National Defense Gilberto “Gibo” Cojuangco Teodoro Jr. considering recent internal and external threats to the country’s sovereignty.

After all, our current defense secretary is no patsy or slouch. The way I know him personally, he is very much a no-nonsense, hands-on, very determined leader who will not back down from the face of aggression.

Gibo had previously served in the same post from 2007 to 2009 under the administration of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

Both a Lasallian and an Isko ng Bayan, he graduated from UP Law and topped the Bar exams in 1989. He earned his Master of Laws from Harvard Law School, and once served as congressman for Tarlac’s 1st District from 1998 to 2007.

He had also served as the chairman of the Philippine Air Force Multi-Sectoral Governance Council (PAF MSGC), of which I am also a member.

It is good that we have Gibo in public service and at the helm of the Defense department. President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. (PBBM) could not have appointed a more deserving person to the position.

Just recently, the Manila Overseas Press Club, or MOPC, had occasion to hold a Defense Night with no less than Secretary Gibo as its guest of honor and speaker. It was my honor to serve as emcee and moderator for my good friend in this event.

The MOPC, the oldest and most prestigious press club in Asia, was founded in 1945 by foreign correspondents who came with American general Douglas MacArthur when he landed in Manila after Liberation. It counts among its members the owners of the largest media organizations, top businessmen, and professionals — some of the most experienced, senior and influential journalists and media practitioners in the country.

The MOPC is currently headed by another no-nonsense guy, Tony Lopez, and it is likewise my honor to be a member of this venerable organization.

During the MOPC Defense Night, held at the ballroom of the Fairmont Hotel in Makati City, Secretary Gibo tackled such pivotal issues as the West Philippine Sea, national security, and the future of our Armed Forces.

According to the defense chief, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) is now embarking on a “comprehensive archipelagic defense concept” to ensure that the country will benefit from the natural resources that are to be found in its exclusive economic zone (EEZ). This transformation is initially aimed at allowing the AFP to protect and guarantee “Philippine nationals, Philippine corporations, and those authorized by the Philippine government the unimpeded and peaceful exploration and exploitation of all natural resources within our EEZ and other areas we have jurisdiction.”

First row, from left: Lily Lim , Atty. Ceferino Benedicto Jr., Justice Rogelio Quevedo, Victor Garcia, Connie Garcia, Comm. Nona Ricafort, Jose Leviste Jr., Atty. Fe Barin, Mary Ann Susano, Atty. Dindo Donato Garciano, Atty. Reynaldo Maulit, Atty. Rodolfo Reyes and Atty. Eduardo Balauro (second row, from left:) MOPC Board of Governors Jimmy Policarpio, Sara Soliven De Guzman, Maloli Espinosa Supnet, Eric S. Canoy, Elizabeth H. Lee, Jose Rodriguez and Tony Lopez with Secretary Teodoro (fifth from Left).

Secretary Gibo said that this concept will also allow the Philippines to project its military power into areas that must be protected and preserved, pursuant to the Constitution.

He mentioned that “other than a forward-looking concept, we are evolving into a defense concept which projects our power into our areas where we must by Constitutional fiat and duty, protect and preserve our resources.”

Secretary Gibo also cited the importance of protecting Philippine interests and Filipinos in an increasingly volatile and unpredictable world, hence the need to develop the AFP capable of carrying out such missions in the future. He said that these tasks are not simple and involve more efforts aside from the acquisition of new equipment to beef up the AFP’s capability.

Secretary Gibo also spoke about the “Rehorizon 3” capability and enhancement modernization program of the AFP, which was recently approved by President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. This will give the military an array of capabilities that will boost its capability in protecting the nation.

During the Q&A, Secretary Gibo also emphasized that the “illegal encroachment by one country on us cannot be justified by a big power play or big power competition. He added that this act is “plain and simple denial” of the Philippines’ right interest and the narrative that the country is being party to a superpower rivalry is being used as a “deflection mechanism” to hide the real intention of the occupation of “almost all, if not all, of the South China Sea.”

Secretary Gibo also stressed the need to create a credible deterrent capability to face present and future threats.

“We have to create a capable, agile, sustainable, secure, credible in all defense establishment with a credible deterrent capability. Whatever the threats are, that is what you need to secure your territory because we are not only talking about one area, but we are also talking about the Philippine Rise, we are talking about other threats in the future,” he said.

Truly, our national defense needs the support of all Filipinos, and we should rally behind PBBM, Secretary Gibo, the DND, and the AFP on this one.


Congratulations to the MVP Group of Companies for dominating the recent 20th Philippine Quill Awards, considered the nation’s most-esteemed business communication awards program and organized by the International Association of Business Communicators, or IABC.

Acknowledging the impact of these award-winning communications strategies to stakeholders, chairman Manuel V. Pangilinan, or MVP, said that “there is power in clear and transparent communication, and these recognitions inspire us to continue communicating with transparency and impact — ultimately driving positive change and progress in the communities we serve.”

Congratulations, too, to the FIBA Local Organizing Committee and to the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas, as well as to the private sector and all concerned government agencies and instrumentalities, for the recognition given by the Philippine Senate for the successful hosting of the 2023 FIBA Basketball World Cup.

The recognition was contained in Senate Resolution No. 857 introduced by Senate President Migz Zubiri with Senators Sonny Angara, Joel Villanueva, JV Ejercito, Nancy Binay, Win Gatchalian, Grace Poe, and co-sponsored by Senator Pia Cayetano.

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