Vice Admiral Ferdinand S. Golez—Philippine Navy
The global economic downturn has been taking its toll, affecting the big world economies much more than third-world countries. This inevitable event reached the shores of the Philippines and had been anticipated by the Philippine Navy.
For more than a decade the navy has pushed the implementation of modernization programs to upgrade its capability to effectively address the country's mid- and long-term plans of greatest concern. This long period was primarily caused by the Asian financial crisis in 1998 and was aggravated by changes in our defense and security environment.
It has been the navy's desire to soar high despite these challenges. To achieve this, a Sail Plan (commonly termed a "road map") was developed, setting a vision that "by 2020, the Philippine Navy will be strong and credible that our maritime nation can be proud of." Beyond this, the navy recently restarted the planning and programming of various projects and activities in line with its stalled modernization program, the Philippine Defense Reform Program, and the Navy Sail Plan 2020. While some projects and activities have been delivered with others in the pipeline, the majority are still in the identification stage. Despite the intricacies of the process, the navy, supported by the defense department, is very hopeful that its efforts will soon come to fruition.
However, we anticipate that the economic downturn will hinder our efforts. So as not to lose momentum, the navy is focused on adopting non-material alternatives to sustain the implementation of our plans, continue our high-impact roles, and win the support of our stakeholders. Hence, some of the ensuing initiatives were developed to attain our modest goals.
- Development of highly motivated professionals as the foundation of our Sail Plan. The success and strength of any organization depends to a large extent on its personnel. The Philippine Navy has a responsibility to keep its personnel—from the highest-ranking officer to the lowest-ranking enlisted personnel and civilian employees—motivated and highly competent.
- Force restructuring and organizational development. The current structure of the navy predates computers and advanced technologies. Thus, the Philippine Navy is conducting an intensive organizational review aimed at optimizing the use of our most valuable resource, our personnel.
- Advocacy for naval awareness-prominence-dominance. Faced with the challenges of limited resources, as well as the opportunities for promoting regional partnerships, the navy focuses its operations based on its basic doctrines and core competencies. In a nutshell, our navy advocates the importance of maritime domain awareness and aspires for prominence and then dominance in all defense mission areas: internal security, territorial defense, disaster risk management and emergency response, support to national development, international defense and security engagement, international humanitarian assistance and peacekeeping operations, and force-level command and control, training, and support.
- Efforts to promote regional and common maritime concerns. This involves the conduct of a wide range of military and non-military activities designed to promote regional peace and security and enhance maritime security cooperation. Moreover, the conduct of training, exercises, and potentially even actual operations in partnership with allied navies is explored to restore our basic capabilities for maritime surveillance and interdiction operations, enhance the capabilities of our fleet marine forces, and accomplish bilateral or regional objectives.
In the face of the challenges besetting our country, the Philippine Navy stands firm with its responsibility to the Filipino nation, a partner in securing not only the country's physical borders but also serving as an integral advocate for our country's interests and development.
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