On the 25th of September 2010, the UP ROTC Commandant, LtCol Rolando R Rodil (INF) GSC PA, gave a lecture entitled “The AFP Today in NATIONAL SECURITY” to College of Science CWTS students. They were held at the College of Science (CS) Auditorium, CS Administration and Library Building, University of the Philippines, Diliman.
“The times have evolved”, opened the Commandant. “The army, your army, has also evolved.” In this fast-changing world, even the rigid military must bend to today’s zeitgeist.
He started off his talk by explaining the basic dynamics of national power, a brief history on the establishment of the new world order, and the implications of these on the military and on national security. With the advent of globalization came the rise of transnational crimes. Transnational crimes operate on more diverse dimensions such as political, economical, sociological, and many more different dimensions, thus forcing the army to work on a broader scale. Natural and man-made calamities also pose a threat to the security of the nation and, most importantly, its people. Today, what with global warming and climate change causing innumerable disasters and calamities, the army must not only protect the people from external forces but also protect the people from the wrath of nature. “Bottom line is maraming kalaban ngayon,” said LtCol Rodil.
After a brief background on the AFP, LtCol Rodil then talked about Threat Groups and National Security Concerns, chiefly focusing on the MILF (Moro Islamic Liberation Front) and the CPP-NPA-NDF (Communist Party of the Philippines – New People’s Army – National Democratic Front). “There are no other people who want peace more than the soldiers,” said the Commandant. “They, who are at the frontline of each fight.” Our soldiers are, first and foremost, Filipino men, not violent creatures driven by blood lust and the urge to kill. Peace talks are being held at present with the groups in the hope of a more peaceful and diplomatic way to resolve their issues.
The times have changed and so has the AFP. The Current AFP Thrusts are:
“In the Armed Forces, we are the soldier of all, we are the soldier of the people,” said LtCol Rodil. Today, the duties of the AFP are not solely bound to warfare. Today, the AFP also contributes to National Development, Support for International Solidarity, and Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Response. Army engineers work to give roads and electricity to far-flung baranggays deep in the mountains. Indeed, these soldiers are the only presence of the government that some of these places have ever felt. The army is also active in support of the UN, and in the promotion of international solidarity. During the face of a disaster, the army does not sit idly by as the people suffer, they jump into action at once to protect and give help to the people, as was the case when the typhoon Ondoy hit the Philippines.
Indeed, these are troubled times we face. But we must not lose heart for we are not defenseless. “You can sleep soundly, assured that there are people guarding the peace,” assures the colonel.