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Tuesday, December 5, 2023

National Security under Marcos and Teodoro

The national security objectives outlined in the new NSP have been formulated by evaluating the evolving strategic landscape and aligning them with the country’s socio-political values, fundamental laws, and core national interests.

The new NSP encompasses several key national security priorities within each of these core areas: National Sovereignty and Territorial Integrity, Political Stability, Peace, and Public Safety, Economic Strength and Solidarity, National Identity, Harmony, and a Culture of Excellence, Ecological Balance, and Climate Change Resilience, Cybersecurity, Information Security, and Cognitive Security, as well as Regional and International Peace and Stability.

To implement the NSP 2023-2028 effectively, a set of guiding principles has been defined, including: Fostering Inclusivity; Promoting Trust and Optimism and Strengthening Leadership Resolve; Ensuring Strategic Alignment; Benchmarking Against International Norms and Best Practices; Anticipating the Future and Being Proactive; Promoting Consistency and Continuity; Sustaining Wealth Creation and Generation; Measuring Effectiveness and Collecting Feedback; Constituting Oversight and Developing Advocacy Plans.

To achieve success, the NSP 2023-2028 relies on a comprehensive approach that involves the entire government and nation.

All government departments, agencies, and other entities of the government should incorporate and synchronize the NSP with their own plans, programs, and strategies.

Additionally, policymakers can use this document as a guiding tool when crafting legislation related to national security matters.

Likewise, the government seeks the support and active participation of the Filipino public in contributing meaningfully to the realization of the NSP’s vision and objectives.

It is only through national unity that the Filipino nation can confidently anticipate a more prosperous, secure, and promising future.

The West Philippine Sea issue has now become the primary national security concern for the Philippines.

This is consistent with the statements of Defense Secretary Gilberto Teodoro who clearly has a comprehensive and strategic view of national security.

The country asserts its sovereignty, sovereign rights, and jurisdiction over the West Philippine Sea in accordance with the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea and the legally binding South China Sea Arbitration Award of July 12, 2016.

Despite the clarity of these principles in international law, other claimant states persist in making territorial claims in this strategic waterway.

These differing claims and the methods employed by claimants to assert their positions continue to present strategic challenges.

These challenges not only threaten the Philippines’ territorial integrity but also jeopardize the legitimate rights, safety, and well-being of the Filipino people.

Marcos gave his endorsement to the National Security Policy 2023-2028 via Executive Order 7 on August 10, shortly following an incident where Chinese Coast Guard ships and Chinese military militia obstructed and used water cannons against Philippine vessels while they were en route to Ayungin Shoal for a resupply mission.

In this regard, the Marcos Jr. administration has made it a top focus of his foreign policy to address the Philippines’ maritime conflict with China, bolstering diplomatic and security alliances with the nation’s partners to counter China’s increasing presence in Philippine waters.

Additionally, President Marcos Jr. has pledged to safeguard the nation’s interests while fostering positive international relations.

This more assertive stance is in stark contrast to the cozy dalliance by the Duterte administration with China.

The Philippines is also worried about the impact of any conflict on its economic stability, the possibility of an influx of refugees, and the welfare of its overseas populations.

A military conflict in the Taiwan Strait would unavoidably affect the Philippines due to the close geographic proximity of Taiwan to the Philippine archipelago and the presence of more than 150,000 Filipinos in Taiwan.

The NSP document underscores a range of external challenges, including the ongoing strife in the Taiwan Strait and the Korean peninsula, as well as Russia’s engagement in military conflict within Ukraine. Climate change and other global challenges is also highlighted.

In contrast, during the preceding administration led by Rodrigo Duterte, the focus was primarily on addressing internal issues. Core policies during Duterte’s leadership revolved around an intense crackdown on illegal drugs, characterized by a rigorous “war on drugs,” along with the continuous identification and pursuit of individuals purportedly linked to the Communist Party, a practice often referred to as red-tagging, among other key initiatives.

In the Marcos policy, this approach is rejected but on the ground there is still this obsession with illegal drugs and the insurgency.

The one gap in the Marcos national security policy is the inadequacy of its approach to the peace negotiations with the Communist Party of the Philippines and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines.

That guarantees that the longest communist insurgency in the world will continue beyond the Marcos administration. A comprehensive permanent peace settlement is the only path to end such an urgency. Local initiatives can only do so much.

Overall, however, the Marcos National Security Policy for the years 2023-2028 is a visionary and all-encompassing approach aimed at protecting the Philippines’ vital interests, preserving its sovereignty, and tackling urgent global issues.

By steadfastly following its guiding principles and promoting a sense of national cohesion, the Philippines strives to ensure a future characterized by prosperity, safety, and promise in an ever-evolving and interconnected global landscape.

This ends my series on national security policy.

I will continue to monitor the implementation of the Marcos policy.

I am sure with Secretary Teodoro in charge of this the policy objectives articulated will be achieved.

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