Assessing RP’s National Security Strategies: The Alternate Views (3rd of 3-part series)
The trend towards negotiations and peaceful resolutions of conflict presents an opportunity for the country to continue exploring nonviolent ways and means of resolving its domestic insurgencies, as well as getting involved in constructive engagements with other countries like China vis-à-vis the Spratlys dispute. The country’s close ties with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) continue to be an opportunity towards enhancing its national security as well.
The respondents have also identified the potential of charter change, development initiatives in Mindanao, and a possible move towards federalism as among the opportunities the country can take advantage of. There are some analysts as well who argue that the adoption of a federalist system of government would enhance governance and national security, claiming that a significantly decentralized system of government would allow the different provinces to develop according to their own self-determination, thereby lessening the gridlock that has characterized the relations between the central administration in Manila and the enclaves in the provinces. Meanwhile, the development initiatives undertaken in Mindanao present an opportunity for the southern communities to finally redirect their focus away from perennial conflict towards lasting peace and development.
Tired of the endless and increasing rapacity of crime in our midst, there are respondents who advocate the adoption of stricter laws to punish offenders even at the expense of certain civil liberties, much like what is being done in Singapore. For instance, the adoption of harsher punishments for offenders – like caning – is advocated.
The general public is grappling with the question of how and why both the 1986 EDSA 1 and the 2001 EDSA 2 have failed to bring about social justice and improvement in quality of life. A closer study of what failed in translating the original motivating spirit and principal objectives of both revolutionary events should be a priority research agenda.
Public awareness is now ripe for self-critique and analysis. People want to know why and how, after nearly sixty years under a showcase democracy and despite having been the second most progressive country next only to Japan in the early 1960s, our country has managed to retrogress and become one of the most economically backward and politically unstable countries in the Southeast Asian region.
The answer perhaps lies in the fact that, at the moment of change of political power, the new leaders and the general public went about pursuing separate objective, and failed to institutionalize the values, attitudes, social interaction habits, processes, and structures of governance for genuine social justice to improve quality of life. As a result, the status quo eventually recovered. Only the names and faces have changed. The more things changed in the Philippines, the more they remained the same.
On geopolitical affairs, the US has for years premised its growth on a bubble economy, financing its expenditures by printing more US currency. Because of the economic globalization that it initiated, America has also lost much of its former manufacturing capabilities, as its profit-driven companies considered it more advantageous to relocate to China or other countries where labor and other costs of doing business are much lower. As a result, American jobs have been lost to the Chinese.Meanwhile, the cost of supporting military activities in Iraq and security expenditures in Afghanistan is proving to be a great drain that siphons funds away from needed social services for the American public, not to mention the cost of rebuilding damaged infrastructure wrought by the two hurricanes that successively hit the Gulf states.
Beyond its domestic concerns, for the first time in history, the US is now confronted by a China that it cannot defeat militarily nor overcome economically. In this overall distracted condition and as both countries pursue their respective national interests, it is possible that American foreign policy may allow us to become a self-reliant and strong nation, as a counterfoil to China’s growing influence in the Asian region, pursuing a foreign policy path that balances US and China in a manner that will promote our own national interests.
Together with other influential sectors of Philippine society (i.e., religious, youth, academe, and media), the more progressive elements of former ideological adversaries (i.e., the military and the so-called left) are slowly becoming more open-minded to the possibility of collaboration in areas of public welfare and national interest. If both sides practice mutual verification in the fulfillment of their respective commitments and advocacies, then confidence building, societal reconciliation, and future unification can proceed at a faster pace.
Weaknesses and strengths of Philippine national security
Based on two rounds of in-depth interviews with the sixteen experts, the following weaknesses and strengths of Philippine national security are identified.
Among the observed weaknesses of the country’s administration of its national security according to expert opinion are: A weak AFP; an uninformed population; a weak economy; an unstable political situation; lack of patriotism; and globablization.
A significant weakness is the weakness of the AFP itself. The AFP is appallingly poorly equipped and trained. However, it may not even be for the AFP to fight such wars entirely on its own. The nature of insurgency wars is a case in point. Nevertheless, how can a nation defend itself when its technology and equipment are obsolete? An army must be modern enough to meet the soldiers’ needs to improve their capacity to perform essential missions which require adequate weapons, communications, mobility, night-fighting capability, medical support, and other special items in the three dimensions of war: Land, water, and air. The AFP modernization that has been approved during the Ramos administration must be pushed through in order for our military to acquire the necessary equipment it needs to deal with insurgents and terrorists who may already possess more advanced weaponry and equipment.
The country likewise has a very large proportion of its population that is uninformed. Thus, this segment of the population is prone to manipulation and propaganda by just any sector of society – be it the administration, the opposition, or leftist groups with strong grassroots ties.
Owing to a weak economy, the perennial lack of resources is experienced not only by those engaged in the business of national security but by the entire government bureaucracy.
Poor economy and poor investment climate also affect the socio-politicoeconomic conditions of the country and its people. With low economic performance, the country loses a lot both domestically and more so internationally. It has likewise lagged behind its neighbors in attracting foreign investors and having them stay for the long term. With our unstable political condition at the moment, such investors and other business people are having doubts on whether or not investing in the Philippines is a good option.
The volatile political situation in the country is certainly causing a lot of negative effects on the Philippines’ image, both domestically and internationally. As a result of political bickering and infighting, the Republic is being polarized, drifting without purpose and direction such that some respondents even assess the Philippines to be on the verge of collapse. Many foreign investors have shied away and many businesses are closing down.
Some respondents also cited the antagonistic taxation system against business and labor as among the weaknesses of the country. The impact of this on national security is by way of its effects on the economy as a whole. Although taxation is an accepted means of generating revenues for government, it can also drive away investors and workers if they perceive the taxes to be beyond their means to pay.
Compounding our political problems is the serious issue of graft and corruption which undermines not only the amount of generated revenues that are actually remitted to the public coffers but also our moral fabric as a nation. A nation cannot be secure if many in government service are dishonest and only think of advancing their own personal interests ahead of the state’s.
The Philippines has been characterized by various political and social scientists as an elite democracy, cacique democracy, boss-democracy, patrimonial oligarchic state, and a weak state captured by oligarchic forces. What these characterizations basically point out is that democracy in the Philippines is not exactly the rule by the people and that economic and political power are still very much in the hands of an entrenched elite.
The greatest weakness to democracy and national security in our country is the oligarchic elite which seek to maintain the Philippines as a deficient or truncated formal democracy, preventing it from becoming a substantive democracy. It is due to the rule of this increasingly plunderous oligarchic elite that other anti-democratic forces such as the CPP/NPA, militarist elements in the AFP, and Islamic extremists have managed to gain adherents. The main national security weakness of the Philippine state lies in its very nature: That it is controlled by a patrimonial oligarchic elite without any collective sense of national consciousness. For as long as such an elite control the state, the latter will always be weak. It will always encounter opposition from below – from the poor and marginalized. Its weakness, over the longer run, also partly emanates from the decadent nature the oligarchic elite progressively adopts in its bid to sustain its hold on power.
Infidelity and the lack of commitment to national values by the people are also cited as weaknesses. Without a strong sense of nationhood, we will find it difficult to overcome our many debilitating problems. By sense of nationhood is meant not a xenophobic nationalism that feeds on the hatred for and mistrust of foreigners for wrongdoings, real or imagined, committed against us or against some of us. This sense of nationhood would mean a love of country that transcends love of self, or love of family, or love of tribe, a common enough sentiment in most societies, but which is glaringly weak in ours.
A politicized public service undermining meritocracy and competency requirements of public service also weakens our efforts toward national security. Although political spoils are allowed by our system of government, these should not undermine the basic requirements of public service for unblemished integrity and impeccable credibility. This is related to another identified weakness which is the perceived lack of accountability by many public servants. This deficiency can work both ways. It may concern only the erring public servant. However, it may also include those involved in auditing or accounting for public conduct or the use of public property.
Finally, crime and lack of respect for the law are also identified weaknesses of the state. Again, this works both ways. It may concern only the erring individual. However, if the environment or the system encourages the wanton commission of crime or wrongdoing, the system becomes equally guilty and may even exonerate the offender who becomes merely a victim of a dysfunctional system.
Taken in conjunction, the twin tools of cooptation and patronage, applied on critical events in our national history, have aborted our ability to understand how and why our societal problems evolved to their present complexity. Fixated on personality-oriented politics and not having sufficient discernment on the roots of our ills, much less a common agreement on what needs to be done about them, it is not difficult to see why we Filipinos have become so dangerously polarized and divided. The dangers of a failed state and the violent upheaval that it can bring should make us think.
In a world no longer divided according to traditional understanding of Western democracy versus Communist power blocs, our political and military leaders still approach national security according to obsolete Cold War terminologies and ideas. World economic and political power is now multi-polar, shared by the North American continent, the Asia Pacific area (Japan), and the European Union. China, India, and the Commonwealth of Independent States (formerly USSR) are gravitating together to form a condominium that will eventually challenge America’s prominence.
Over the past few years, the influx of Chinese and Korean nationals – either as students, merchants, or illegal/undocumented aliens – has gone on quietly, not eliciting any significant concern among our immigration officials and the Filipino public. Arriving through provincial ports where the presence of immigration officials is minimal, and given the relative ease with which some government functionaries can be induced to look the other way and see nothing, the volume of alien arrivals is understated.
There are a number of disturbing signs which are indicative of the inimical effects of their unregulated entry into our country: Agricultural lands being acquired by alien investors through Filipino dummies and organized into farms for high value crops exported to Asian markets; the proliferation in Divisoria of Chinese traders from the mainland who cannot speak any Tagalog or a local dialect but who sell dirt cheap Chinese manufactured items; and mushrooming communities of Korean students living as bed spacers in rented private residences maintained and operated by a Korean landlord.
If the unmonitored and unregulated entry of illegal aliens into our country is not carefully managed, and given the prolific reproductive rate of the Chinese, it is very possible that, within the next twenty years, our economy will no longer be dominated by Philippine-born Chinese but by those coming from mainland China, and that our population mix will show unmistakable signs of Chinese lineage.
Starting with the repeal of the Retail Trade Nationalization Law, domestic trade and commerce have progressively been captured by local Chinese investors from former Filipino businessmen. The influx of wealthy and aggressive investors from mainland China is threatening to displace even natural-born Filipino-Chinese. At the same time, strong lobby and public relations campaigns are being waged in Congress for the lifting of existing Constitutional limitations, prohibitions, and safeguards against aliens buying and owning land, or acquiring controlling ownership over industries and businesses that are vital to our national interests and the welfare of Filipino citizens.
On the other hand, the perceived strengths of the country’s administration of its national security are given as follows: The AFP; strong workforce; national resilience; political reforms; Philippine geography; strong family ties; and Mindanao initiatives for growth and development.
Despite its weaknesses, the AFP is still acknowledged by the respondents as a significant strength towards national security. The AFP is described as experienced and officered by well-educated and disciplined men and women. Many in the military are also perceived to be hardworking and selfless.
The Philippines likewise has a very strong workforce which could handle any job or die trying. Filipinos are perceived to be intelligent and vibrant who, if given the chance, can make a decent, honest living contributing to the nation’s overall economic, social, and political health. Filipinos are also resilient and can rise above any challenge. Philippine history throughout the Spanish, American, and Japanese periods proves this observation.
Parents and the youth in general still place great value to obtaining a college education as a stepping stone to potential economic advancement. Were it not for financial constraints, the student population would be considerably larger.
Proficiency in the English language still affords our employable manpower some advantage over other non-English speaking competitors for overseas jobs. However, this edge is slowly narrowing, as China and Korea are investing heavily in training their nationals which could thereby snag business opportunities for outsourced services from First World economies in the future.
Reformists in certain departments and agencies as well as some local government units are also a source of strength for Philippine national security. For instance, Davao City and Puerto Princesa City are cited for their effective governance strategies which have advanced development and peace and order in their localities.
Geography is also cited as a Philippine strength. The country’s strategic location puts it right at the center of global socio-politicoeconomic commerce which, if properly harnessed, can certainly work towards the enhancement of national security.
Up to a certain extent, strong family ties and the moderating influence that the Church is able to exert on public sentiment and behavior are two factors which point toward societal cohesiveness and avoidance of violent confrontation. While our family-based attitudes and behavior tendencies may pose as hindrance to socio-civic maturation and the evolution of the idea of a civic community of citizens, these attitudes can also be strengths if properly harnessed toward collectivism and nationalism relative to other nationalities.
The 1996 Final Peace Agreement between the government and the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) ushered in the pursuit of development initiatives in former conflict areas, most notably in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM). While a tripartite review is yet to come up with the indubitable gains from these efforts, armed clashes have dramatically gone down in recent years as former combatants are reintegrating into mainstream society. Mindanao is perceived to be gaining ground in efforts at interfaith and intercultural dialogues for lasting peace and development.
Assessing the consistency of current national security strategies
Are the strategies pursued by the government consistent with the ends of national security given contemporary Philippine conditions? Some experts expressed a cautious agreement to the conduct of foreign affairs, specifically on the country’s involvement in international economic cooperation, defense alliances, United States (UN) peacekeeping missions, and the Coalition of the Willing against global terrorism. It was observed, however, that these foreign alliances are not maximized to target the enemy strategic center of gravity.
Two respondents also cited the climate provided for interfaith dialogues as a strategy that is consistent and relevant given contemporary threats and opportunities.
In general, the respondents find much to be desired in the consistency and relevance of current national security strategies. They point to the inadequacy of government responses to national problems, which is indicated by twelve experts as stemming from a fundamental failure to grasp the complexities of the national security requirements.
According to five respondents, there is failure of institution-building which subsequently erodes the effectiveness and stability of the family, the educational system, and the Church. Eight observe that the current socio-politico-economic system is designed to maintain the sociopolitico- economic order dominated by the oligarchic elite. It was also observed that the weak Philippine economy prevents us from fully riding on the wave of technological advancement and globalization and that we fail to maximize allied support in this regard.
Expert recommendations for NSS
The data provided by the sixteen experts consistently turn up seven recommendations on NSS elements to be pursued.
All sixteen cite the need to strengthen national consciousness, national identity, and patriotism through value formation and institution building.
Twelve respondents respectively find imperative the need to resolve current political instability, institutionalize political reform, and win the insurgency war at the soonest possible time. The first could be done through emphasizing procurement integrity, competence, and meritocracy in the government structure. The second would involve preferential option for the poor and the waging of a revolution from above or from the center towards a more substantive, participatory, and egalitarian democracy. The last requires addressing the root causes of insurgency.
Six experts recommend the pursuit of a long-term economic plan and population management policy while five counsel the continued engagement and strengthening of international alliances, as well as the delineation of geographical territory.
SWOT summary of strategic factors
In order of priority derived from the rankings given by the sixteen experts, the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (SWOT) to the formulation and pursuit of a comprehensive Philippine NSS are shown below:
STRENGTHS (In order of priority)
1. Competitive human resources
2. National resilience through institutions like the Filipino family, church, etc.
3. Presence of reformists in government
4. Armed Forces of the Philippines
WEAKNESSES (In order of priority)
1. Unstable political situation
2. Widespread socioeconomic inequity
3. Weak AFP/organization for national security
4. Resource constraints
OPPORTUNITIES (In order of priority)
1. Political reforms through charter change, possible move towards federalism, consensusbuilding among various sectors and ideologies, etc.
2. Defense and socioeconomic alliances/cooperation with allies like the US, ASEAN, China, and other countries
3. Trend towards domestic and international dialogue to settle disputes
4. International market for overseas workers
5. Technological development
THREATS (In order of priority)
1. Political instability
2. Local insurgencies (CTM/SPSG/ASG)
3. Economic instability
4. Global terrorism
5. Social crisis due to family breakups and dislocations, educational crisis, migration, globalization, etc.
Deriving alternate strategies through TOWS analysis
Through the use of a TOWS matrix, this study further attempts to find the appropriate mix of strategies to address the assessed deficiencies given by the experts. The resulting strategies are validated against the experts’ recommendations and are now being forwarded as alternate strategies to advance Philippine national security.
The TOWS analysis has resulted in the identification of a number of strategies which incorporate a cross-sectional mixture of the factors in a manner that attempts to optimize the benefits to be derived from each factor. In essence, these recommended strategies are more comprehensive and more scientifically derived than those mentioned in the foregoing section.
The summary of these alternative strategies is shown below:
TOWS analysis of strategic factors
SO 1: Continue projecting competitive human resources into global labor market
SO 2: Involve competitive human resources in technological development
SO 3: Involve reformists in the needed political reforms
SO 4: Enhance AFP strength with allied support
WO 1: Resolve unstable political situation through the opportunity offered by political reform
WO 2: Resolve widespread socioeconomic inequity through the opportunity offered by political reform
WO 3: Project unemployed/underemployed into global labor market
WO 4: Compensate with allied support AFP/ONS weakness especially in terms of resources
WO 5: Maximize nonviolent resolution of any potential international conflict given the AFP’s weakness
ST 1: Harness competitive human resources to help alleviate economic instability, e.g., OFW remittances
ST 2: Harness national resilience through the family, church, and schools to survive national ills
ST 3: Involve reformists in the needed political reforms
ST 4: Direct AFP to maintain order and stability amidst political instability/chaos
ST 5: Support AFP in order to end long-running insurgencies
ST 6: Direct AFP to continue in its supportive role in times of disasters
WT 1: Control graft and corruption to minimize adverse effects on already unstable socio-politicoeconomic situation
WT 2: Control graft and corruption to minimize adverse effects on already precarious state of the environment which is prone to disasters
WT 3: Minimize civilian abuses so that this does not add fuel to already prolonged insurgencies
WT 4: AFP to sustain focus and contain strategy due to resource constraints
WT 5: Since government budget is already limited, minimize graft and corruption so as not to further decrease the budget left for development and governance
WT 6: The possibility of civil war from a decadent socio-politico-economic system that only widens the gap between rich and poor should warn us about exacerbating the situation through our apathy
The alternate strategies developed and how these are derived at are discussed below. Firstly, by looking at both strengths and weaknesses, the following alternate strategies are:
SO 1: Continue projecting competitive human resources into global labor market. This strategy combines the strength of competitive human resources with the opportunity offered by the international market for OFWs. This strategy not only provides jobs to Filipinos but also helps the Philippine economy due to the US$7 billion annual OFW remittance to the Philippines which improves our balance of payments (BOP).
SO 2: Involve competitive human resources in technological development. This strategy marries the strength of competitive human resources with the opportunity offered by the advancement of technology. If successfully orchestrated by government, this augurs well for the country’s competitive edge in scientific development.
SO 3: Involve reformists in government in the needed political reforms. This strategy combines the strength of the presence of reformists in government with the opportunity offered by impending political reforms to be undertaken by government. This strategy will not only encourage the proliferation of like-minded reformists in government, but will restore the trust and confidence of the people in the government thereby improving the deteriorated political situation and allow much needed socioeconomic progress to continue.
SO 4: Enhance AFP strength with allied support. This strategy combines the relative strength of the AFP with the opportunity offered by the country’s defense and socioeconomic allies. This strategy will not only enhance whatever strengths the AFP has towards the furtherance of national security, but will likewise enable the country to access capabilities that it could not possibly undertake on its own.
Secondly, by combining both strengths and threats, the following alternate strategies are:
ST 1: Harness competitive human resources to help alleviate economic instability, e.g., OFW remittances. This strategy combines the strength of competitive human resources with the threat posed by economic instability. This strategy will not only address the threat of economic instability against our national security, but will also take advantage of the competitive edge that Filipinos possess in the global labor market.
ST 2: Harness national resilience through the family, church, schools to overcome national ills. This strategy combines the strength of national resilience through institutions like the Filipino family, the church, and our schools with the threat posed by our collective national ills. When properly harnessed by government, this strategy will go a long way in sustaining our national values which form the foundation of our collective identity as a people and our strength to weather all challenges to our national existence. Government must therefore see the family, the church, and schools as its allies even if these institutions often criticize government.
ST 3: Involve reformists in government in the needed political reforms. This ST strategy merely echoes SO 3.
ST 4: Direct AFP to maintain order and stability amidst political instability/chaos. This strategy combines the strength of the AFP with the threat posed by political instability and chaos. In a worst case scenario wherein the overall internal situation descends into chaos and anarchy, only the AFP will be in a position to maintain order and stability until legitimate political authority is restored.
ST 5: Support AFP in order to end long running insurgencies. This strategy combines the strength of the AFP with the combined threat posed by our protracted local insurgencies. Although the AFP does not possess all the answers to resolve the insurgency problem, it certainly plays a significant role in the resolution. However, for the insurgency problem to end, the AFP needs the all-out support of all instrumentalities of government and the people in order to effectively address this multi-dimensional problem. For instance, the AFP could use more hardware in its air force and navy so that it can project credible combat power in these dimensions of warfare. The AFP could also use political support in terms of lesser corruption by political leaders, which becomes evident once lieutenant colonels start flocking before the Commission of Appointments (CA) for confirmation prior to their promotion to full colonel. Political corruption undermines the military’s sacred values of professionalism which include, among others, duty, honor, integrity, discipline, and competence. If these values are lost, the AFP loses its effectiveness as a nonpartisan protector of the sovereign will and national integrity.
ST 6: Direct AFP to continue in its supportive role in times of crises and disasters. This strategy combines the strength of the AFP with the threat posed by crises and disasters which annually visit Philippine shores. Relative to other government agencies, it is the AFP that has the muscle, discipline, efficiency, firepower, leadership, and to a certain extent resources like transport, communications, and manpower needed in times of crises and disasters. This strategy is made more critical by the increasing occurrence of global scourges like AIDS, SARS, and the potentially catastrophic bird flu pandemic. The era of globalization has exacerbated the potential of so many transmittable exotic diseases brought by mutating viruses that have become immune to ordinary medication.
Thirdly, by factoring in weakness and opportunity, alternate strategies derived at are the following:
WO 1: Resolve unstable political situation through the opportunity offered by political reform. This strategy combines the weakness of unstable political situation with the opportunity offered by impending political reforms to be undertaken by government. Even if the country is currently experiencing an unstable political situation, the promise of political reforms – through charter change, for instance – presents an opportunity for resolving the situation. It is imperative that a nation must have a stable political situation in order to move forward.
It is recommended that the process of managing nationalism be employed. All areas of national policy formulation, program development, and executive implementation – in short, the entire gamut of national security – must adhere to three indivisible and essential values of selfreliance, social justice, and national interest. Managing nationalism is premised on the following:
a. Self-reliance – The foundation of genuine national independence. Self-reliance lays the groundwork for strengthening our weak and externally dependent national economy by reigning in our unbridled consumerism and deconstructing our conditioned gullibility at having allowed the demise of our local industries. It affirms the truth that a nation’s wealth is ultimately based on what it can produce for its people’s needs, not on what its currency can buy. Simplicity in lifestyle, both individually and collectively as a society, is the companion of self-reliance because austerity avoids profligate consumerism and unnecessary consumption. Frugality generates national savings, which can then be subsequently mobilized and invested for recovering our lost agricultural and industrial capabilities.
b. Social justice − The true basis for national reconciliation, lasting internal peace, and genuine social unity. Social unrest traces its roots to our culture of self-seeking behavior and predatory social interaction patterns that characterize the relationships of Filipinos with one another. This mold of social behavior has worsened the disparity in the distribution of economic wealth and an inequitable access to the means for attaining a better quality of life.
Past attempts at societal reform, whether through revolution or peaceful means, have all failed to accomplish their goals because these did not build the civic structures to establish the justice that the people had struggled and fought for. This failure, in turn, is rooted in the tendency of those in power to manage the process of change by the kind of politics that guarantees their primacy, rather than to assist in the building of a new and truly democratic government. The result is a nominal democracy, held and controlled by a privileged few, with the greater masses marginalized and lacking any meaningful participation in national affairs.
c. National interest − The motive and ultimate objective of foreign policy. When other nations see that Filipinos practice self-reliance in all aspects of our national life, and that our dealings with fellow citizens are premised on the habitual practice of social justice for all, then our efforts to safeguard and promote Filipino national interest become dignified, credible, and governed by mutually beneficial considerations among sovereign equals.
The conduct of foreign policy must be based on the five principles of peaceful coexistence: Non-aggression; non-interference in internal affairs; mutual respect of sovereignty and territory; mutual benefit; and peaceful coexistence.
Then, too, national interest requires that we must ensure the unhindered operation of certain indispensable conditions for genuine national reconciliation:
1. Critical analysis of the historical truth. Uncritical reconciliation is self-defeating in the long run because it glosses over the antithetical character of the nation’s patriots and pretenders, victimizers and their victims, the plunderers and the plundered. A people that is successfully misled by its leaders to gloss over the historical truth and uncritically accept convenient and self-serving ambiguity learns to readily forgive and hence to also easily forget. Without a clear understanding of the historical truth, any social change that may subsequently arise will only legitimize and prolong the contradictions and infirmities of the status quo.
2. Rectification through acknowledgment. Unity cannot come about without rectification and restitution. Unity for unity’s sake fails to resolve the fundamental injustice between the wrongdoer and the victim(s). While the victim(s) may voluntarily forgive, this initiative does not resolve the unbalanced situation. Full rectification of societal relationships requires a corresponding acknowledgment and acceptance of the injustice resulting from the wrongful act(s) committed.
3. Sincerity about the search for truth requires an openness and honesty of mind that is not hobbled by selective memory and biased understanding. Critical attention and analysis must be directed at the instruments of policies and activities that contribute to our economic retrogression and the retardation of our political evolution and democratic maturation process.
4. Restitution through amends. Recovery of plundered national resources must accompany the search for historical truth. To heal the deep wounds of our society, concrete acts are needed to make amends for past self-serving activities which cumulatively resulted in so much grief, destruction, and suffering and worsened the contradictions of our social, economic, and political situation.
5. Inclusiveness as basis for national unification. True national unification must embrace all segments of Philippine society regardless of their ethnic origin, religious beliefs, political affiliation, and ideological leanings. Every Filipino has an inherent and inalienable stake in the future of our country.
6. Consistency and verification. Those who consider themselves leaders or who aspire for leadership must show consistency between actions versus statements of principles and social advocacy. Every Filipino must fulfill in daily life the duties and responsibilities which citizenship entails. Only through a constant verification process will it be possible to distinguish genuine leaders from the glib, unworthy pretenders.
7. De-ideologize the process of national reconciliation and unification. Some fear that highlighting the historical truth might invite being tagged as leftist. This concern shows the Cold War mental baggage still conditioning the minds and hearts of many leaders, including the more thoughtful segments of our society, and prevents us from taking constructive steps to address the causes of our social ills. Instead of letting labels undermine our resolve, we must de-ideologize the process of consensus-building, and practice the principles of selfreliance, social justice, and national interest. By following these principles we can finally reconcile, unite in the spirit of enlightened nationalism, and build a strong nation that is truly our own.
WO 2: Resolve widespread socioeconomic inequity through the opportunity offered by political reform. This strategy combines the weakness of widespread socioeconomic inequity with the opportunity offered by impending political reforms to be undertaken by government. Political reforms may encompass anywhere from the enactment of laws to the radical transformation of an entire political structure. In the Philippines, political reforms which could effectively address the huge gap between the few rich and the many poor would go a long way toward enhancing national security for there will be fewer people who would be enticed by insurgents with the promise of an alternative socio-politicoeconomic structure that would address the grinding poverty of the masses.
WO 3: Project unemployed/underemployed into global labor market. This strategy combines the weakness of widespread socioeconomic inequity with the opportunity offered by the international market for overseas foreign workers. Again, this strategy not only provides jobs to many unemployed and underemployed Filipinos but also helps the Philippine economy through OFW remittances that improve Philippine BOP.
WO 4: Compensate allied support for AFP/ONS weakness especially in terms of resources. This strategy combines the relative weakness of the AFP/ONS with the opportunity offered by the country’s defense and socioeconomic allies especially in terms of logistics. This strategy will not only compensate for whatever weaknesses the AFP has towards the furtherance of national security but would also enable the country to access capabilities that it could not possibly undertake on its own due to resource constraints.
WO 5: Maximize nonviolent resolution of any potential international conflict given the AFP’s weakness. This strategy combines the relative weakness of the AFP/ONS with the opportunity offered by the trend towards domestic and international dialogue to settle disputes. This strategy would be a realistic course of action towards resolving domestic or international disputes given the reality of the AFP’s very limited resources and combat power.
Finally, both weakness and threat are underscored to derive alternate strategies as shown below:
WT 1: Control graft and corruption to minimize adverse effects on already unstable socio-politico-economic situation. This strategy combines the weakness of graft and corruption with the threat posed by the country’s unstable socio-politico-economic situation. If graft and corruption which undermines the already unstable situation cannot be completely eradicated, its minimization so as not to make matters worse would still advance national security.
WT 2: Control graft and corruption to minimize adverse effects on already precarious state of the environment which is prone to disasters. This strategy combines the weakness of graft and corruption with the threat posed by disasters and a deteriorating natural environment. If graft and corruption cannot be completely eradicated, its minimization would still advance national security. For instance, the control of graft and corruption could regulate illegal logging and help protect the environment against disasters.
WT 3: Minimize civilian abuses so that this does not add fuel to already prolonged insurgencies. This strategy combines the weakness of civilian abuses, an occasional indiscretion committed by some members of a weak AFP, with the threat posed by local insurgencies. If the long running insurgency is to be effectively addressed, abuses against civilians must be stopped. The AFP has long understood that atrocities committed against civilians only manage to multiply the numbers of those joining the ranks of the enemy. This strategy is consistent with the AFP’s strategy of winning the hearts and minds of the people through effective civil-military operations.
WT 4: AFP to sustain focus and contain strateg y due to resource constraints. This strategy combines the weakness of resource constraints with the threat posed by the local insurgents. Since the AFP is continually saddled by the perennial issue of resource constraints, it is but logical for the organization to adopt a strategy of focusand-contain (in NMS) which observes the principle of mass concentration of resources at the proper time. Timing and sequencing are therefore crucial elements of this strategy.
WT 5: Minimize graft and corruption so as not to further decrease the budget left for development and governance. This strategy combines the weakness of resource constraints with the threat posed by rampant graft and corruption. The former Secretary of the Treasury Leonor Briones once explained that there is really very little left in the national budget for development.By minimizing graft and corruption, the budget needed for development is consequently increased despite resource constraints.
WT 6: The possibility of civil war from a decadent socio-politico-economic system that only widens the gap between rich and poor should warn us about exacerbating the situation through our apathy. This strategy combines the weakness of the unstable socio-politico-economic situation with the threat posed by social crises due to family breakups and dislocations, educational crisis, migration, globalization, and decadent values leading toward apathy. The long term consequences of an unstable socio-politico-economic situation characterized by the widening gap between the few rich and the many poor could be catastrophic if not properly handled by the national leadership. A class war could develop and deteriorate into a national security nightmare.
Current strategies employed by the RP are designed to maintain the present political and social order – the domination of the politicoeconomic elite. The current strategies that allow the dominant elites in Philippine society to have their way hinder the attainment of substantive democracy and genuine national security.
For the Philippines to attain genuine national security, the present deficient or truncated formal democracy has to be transformed into a more substantive, more participatory, and more egalitarian democracy. But will the oligarchic elite, the primary beneficiary of the present political and social order, allow this to happen? It would be against human nature to expect the controlling elites to pursue an NSS that goes against their interests. Genuine national security, however, cannot come about without structural transformation in society.