– by GMA News
Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana on Saturday vowed to transform the Department of National Defense (DND) into a “credible defense organization” that will ensure security in the Philippines.
In his first officially issued guidance to the DND, Lorenzana charted the department’s future direction, affirming President Rodrigo Duterte’s pronouncement on continuing the Armed Forces of the Philippines’ (AFP) modernization program.
“The SND’s guidance is to continue the implementation of the AFP Modernization Program,” the DND said in a press release.
To enhance the military’s capabilities, the DND will prioritize acquisition of aircraft and other equipment which will support internal security operations.
“The Department shall also expedite acquisition activities on the pipeline and prioritize acquisition projects intended to enhance internal security operations capability,” it said.
Lorenzana also directed the AFP to submit proposals that would execute Duterte’s decision to convert the BRP Ang Pangulo into a hospital and the utilization of air assets of the 250th, Presidential Airlift Wing.
The DND will also improve the responsiveness of AFP to disasters.
In his directive, Lorenzana underlined increased efforts to eliminate the terrorist groups in the Philippines.
“The Department shall relentlessly focus military operations against terrorist groups and terrorist cells and likewise intensify its support to law enforcement agencies,” the guidance said.
Recently, there has been a spike in the number of kidnappings by the Abu Sayyaf Group.
The bandit group abducted 14 Indonesian and four Malaysian tugboat crew members in three separate incidents from May to June.
Lorenzana is set to meet the Defense chiefs of Malaysia and Indonesia on the first week of August to address the issue.
He stressed that the department will support the peace processes, and adhere to the principle of human rights.
Lorenzana also mentioned the importance of the Philippines becoming a strategic player in the Asia Pacific region.
“Defense cooperation with ASEAN and other key allies was identified as critical to stability and progress of the region and protection of a rules based international order,” the DND chief said. —Jessica Bartolome/ALG, GMA News