From the Business Mirror (Sep 30): Creation of defense university pushed
In Photo: President Duterte addresses troops during his visit to the 2nd Mechanized Brigade on May 26, 2017, on the outskirts of Iligan City in southern Philippines. At left is Armed Forces chief Gen. Eduardo Año and at center is Defense Chief Delfin Lorenzana.
AN official of the National Defense College of the Philippines (NDCP) is pushing for the creation of a National Defense University (NDU), which is envisioned to produce a greater number of Filipinos with defense and security backgrounds and elevate the subject of security to a national level.
The establishment of an NDU could not be more timely and appropriate, as the country is facing both internal and territorial threats, with the domestic challenge coming from a three-pronged threat, including terrorism.
NDCP Executive Vice President, retired Major Gen. Rolando Jungco, said a draft on the creation of the proposed NDU has already been submitted to Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana for review prior to congressional submission.
This early, the proposal already earned the support of several legislators, including Sen. Loren Legarda and Rep. Rozzano Rufino “Ruffy” Biazon of Muntinlupa.
Legarda, like a few number of lawmakers, is a graduate of the NDCP and is a reserve officer of the Philippine Air Force. Biazon, on the other hand, is a former Customs commissioner under the Aquino administration and son of retired Armed Forces Chief of Staff Rodolfo Biazon, also a former senator.
The proposed NDU, if approved by Congress, shall offer baccalaureate and postgraduate degrees in defense and security courses. It is eyed to initially rise at the compound of the NDCP inside Camp Aguinaldo in Quezon City.
IN pushing for the creation of an NDU, Jungco noted that the Philippines is the only country in the region without such a school, which is an irony, as the country counts the most number of security challenges among the states in Southeast Asia.
Jungco said that in Indonesia and Thailand, you cannot be a lawmaker unless you have gone through their defense universities.
China, on the other hand, has two defense schools—one for defense and another for science and technology.
The Thai and Indonesian examples are what Jungco and the other proponents of the NDU want the Philippines to emulate.
Jungco said the NDU should have as students members of Congress, noting that some lawmakers do not have a full grasp of, or could not fully understand, national security and its surrounding issues.
He said its intention is to develop, harness and encourage the lawmakers to think strategically for defense and security.
Defense Act revision
WHILE there may have been support for the creation of an NDU from members of Congress, it may take time, however, before it could be set up, as the proposal has to be incorporated into an updated National Defense Act of 1935.
Jungco said the law only talks about the military. The Department of National Defense (DND) along with its other attached agencies are not even mentioned in the law.
The military, or the Armed Forces of the Philippines, falls under the DND.
In revisiting the Defense Act through the creation of the NDU, Jungco said they also proposed the inclusion of the DND and its agencies, including the Philippine Veterans Affairs Office, the NDCP, Office of Civil Defense and the Government Arsenal, in the law.
The National Defense Act of 1935 is the only defense law in the country.
If the creation of the NDU materializes, it will have a mixture of civilian and military students.
Jungco said the students of the university should include lawmakers, all generals of the AFP with no exemption, and others in the civilian sector, including businessmen.
“Ideally, it would be under the Commission on Higher Education, but focusing more on defense and resource management,” Jungco said.