By Priam Nepomuceno, January 12, 2023; Philippine News Agency

MANILA – Department of National Defense (DND) Secretary Gilberto Teodoro Jr. on Friday assured that the transformation program that started in 2023 to upgrade the agency’s capabilities will continue this year.

“We thank the whole defense family for the cooperation that they have shown last year in the midst of our attempts to transform our organization into a new defense organization with new skills, new paradigms, and new capabilities,” Teodoro said in his message during the New Year’s Call of the DND and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) in Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City.

Teodoro, who assumed as DND chief in June last year, said he will push for a “capital outlay” for the agency to build up its capabilities.

“And I would also like to add certain things that are important. We cannot continue to have a DND without a capital outlay for our own department. We need to build up the capabilities of this department as part of the national defense family. And I would like to state that (it is) one of my goals, to build up the capabilities of the Department of National Defense Proper,” he added.

These include developing expertise in program management, analytics, predictions, contracting, international relations, and building up the career track of DND employees.

Teodoro also thanked President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr.’s “unconditional support” and encouraged all members of the defense establishment to remain united.

“We shall be blessed because we are one, we are united, and we cannot be divided because we have a mission to preserve and protect the territorial integrity and sovereignty of the Republic of the Philippines; maintain peace and order; work together with allies to make, not only the Philippines but this region – the Indo-Pacific Region– and the world a better place to be in,” he added.

AFP sees more capability development

In the same event, AFP chief Gen. Romeo Brawner Jr. said they would focus on the continuous development of materiel and capabilities through the AFP Modernization Program this year.

He said AFP will also prioritize the organizational development of its reserve force.

“It is through these transformative efforts that we aim to elevate our military capabilities across all dimensions. The New Year marks the genesis of a more dedicated, professional and modernized AFP,” Brawner said.

“As we acknowledge the successes of 2023, we must recognize the honor, spirit and commitment of each and every member of the defense department and the AFP,” he added.

8 ranking AFP officials promoted

As this developed, the AFP chief donned higher ranks to eight newly promoted military officers in a ceremony held in Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City Friday.

These include Maj. Gen. Edmundo Peralta, chief of the Intelligence Service AFP; Maj. Gen. Allan Hambala, commander of the 10th Infantry Division, Philippine Army; Maj. Gen. Leodevic Guinid, Army vice commander; Maj. Gen. Ramon Zagala, commander of the Civil Relations Service AFP; Commodore Richard Gonzaga, deputy commander of AFP Education, Training, and Doctrine Command; Brig. Gen. Joselito Lopeña, chief of the AFP Pension and Gratuity Management Center; Commodore Brendo Casaclang, commander of Joint Task Force Malampaya; and Brig. Gen. Ranulfo Sevilla, deputy commander of Special Operations Command AFP.

“Please continue doing the good work that you are doing. Remember that we are doing all this for our country and I am sure that with your new ranks, you will be even more inspired to work harder for our people and our country,” Brawner said. (PNA)