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The Manila Times : Ferdinand Edralin Marcos and 2022

News & Interviews
6 January 2022

By Jose Jimenez 3rd | The Manila Times

ON behalf of the Harvard Kennedy School Alumni Association of the Philippines, and of its chairman, Rafael M. Alunan 3rd, and president, Anthony A. Abad, I would like to wish all a prosperous, peaceful and promising 2022.

Allow me also to personally thank Manila Times President Dante Klink Ang 2nd, lead key Benedict Carandang and our editors for this more than five-year partnership with more than 250 articles published.

This article has nothing to do with the coming elections. It is about the Self-Reliant Defense Posture Program that the late President Ferdinand E. Marcos initiated.

On March 19, 1974, President Ferdinand E. Marcos issued Presidential Decree 415, authorizing the Secretary of National Defense to enter into defense contracts to implement projects under the Self-Reliant Defense Posture Program (SRDP). The SRDP is envisioned to protect the country's interests from foreign control and promote limited dependence on outside support for our defense requirements. Self-reliance on our country's defense manufacturing capabilities coupled with the full utilization of our own natural resources are its foundations. And with clear instructions and a mandate, the Philippines ventured successfully into many projects which include: Project Santa Barbara's Bukang Liwayway and Sumpak, Projects BongBong 1 and 2, the Delta Mini Cruiser (produced with a joint venture agreement with Toyota Japan), the UHF and VHF radios by Vetronix, among others.

On Feb. 23, 1995, Republic Act 7898, or the "Armed Forces of the Philippines Modernization Act," was made into law under President Fidel V. Ramos. The Act was to modernize our Armed Forces to a level where it can effectively and fully perform its constitutional mandate to "uphold the sovereignty and preserve the patrimony of the Republic of the Philippines." The law was intended to last for 15 years with an initial budget of P50 billion for the first five years, but funding was stopped due to the Asian financial crisis until the law expired in 2010.

On Dec. 11, 2012, Republic Act 7898 was amended by Republic Act 10349, which extends the modernization program for another 15 years with an initial budget of P75 billion for the first five years in order to continue modernizing all the branches of the AFP. The amended law was made under President Benigno S. Aquino 3rd. It is aimed at building a defense system capable of addressing the assessed threats at a time when the Philippines is locked with a sea dispute with China in the contested Spratly Islands along with Taiwan and other Southeast Asian nations like Brunei, Malaysia and Vietnam. The revised program is divided into three horizons. The first was implemented from 2013 to 2017, the second from 2018 to 2022, and the third will be from 2023 to 2028.

On June 20, 2018, President Rodrigo R. Duterte approved the Armed Forces modernization program's shopping list for Horizon 2. Fully supportive of the military, what Duterte has achieved during his six-year term is unprecedented, from the acquisition of new equipment to salary increases and benefits of all uniformed personnel.

Moreover, the Department of Science and Technology established linkages with the security sector to create various systems that will provide our countrymen with the "building blocks of survival and livelihood." Without going into much detail, some of these projects include the Project Buhawi and the Nova-SAR satellite. In addition, Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro L. Locsin Jr. also confirmed the acquisition of two submarines. And just over a week ago, Defense Secretary Delfin N. Lorenzana signed the contract for the acquisition of two brand-new corvettes for the Philippine Navy with anti-ship, anti-submarine and anti-warfare capabilities. These will be manufactured by the Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI) which also built our Rizal-class frigates, BRP Antonio Luna and BRP Jose Rizal.

You should be proud of your Armed Forces, proud of what its leaders have done and achieved through the years. Your Air Force, your Army, and your Navy have their websites and social media pages, visit them and learn about the excellent work they have done and are currently doing amidst all these challenges. The new commander in chief will have control over an Armed Forces we can all be proud of.

"We taught and we have learned our lessons well that we should never build our defenses on the shifting sands of mutual defense agreements, and it is time we build it on firmer foundations. For while we have faith in our allies, we should not be completely dependent upon them. For while we believe in their courage and their capability, they also have their own national interest that may sometimes conflict with ours. For in matters of defense the guarantee of friends can be modified to suit their needs and interest, as the history of nations vividly shows." – President Ferdinand Edralin Marcos

Jose B. Jimenez 3rd took a degree in psychology from the University of the Philippines and completed two executive programs at Harvard University, first in 2005 at the Harvard Kennedy School in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and the second in 2015 at the Kadir Has University in Istanbul, Turkey. He has a master's degree in national security administration and has the rank of Commander in the Philippine Navy and is an awardee of two Bronze Cross medals.