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DND, AFP officials tackle internal, territorial security threats

CEBU CITY, Philippines  – Top guns of the Department of National Defense (DND) and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) assembled here on Friday for a closed-door conference to tackle the country’s internal and territorial security threats.

The mounting tension in the country’s territorial waters in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea) was foremost in the agenda.

Dubbed as Commanders’ Forum and Midyear Assessment held in the tightly guarded MIP Lounge of Mactan International Airport, the daylong conference hosted by the AFP’s Central Command was presided by AFP chief of staff Gen. Jessie Dellosa.

Only the three major service commanders, unified commanders and the AFP Joint Staff were allowed to attend.

The conference with Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin as guest speaker was aimed at setting parameters on international security operations.

“The AFP aims to lay down a yardstick on its internal security operations in line with the Internal Peace and Security Plan (IPSP) Bayanihan,” AFP spokesman Col. Marcelo Burgos Jr. said.

Burgos said that wide-ranging topics were discussed, including an update on the country’s territorial defense as well as the AFP ongoing capability upgrade program.

Administrative matters such as the continuing adherence to reform initiatives in AFP procurement, resource allocation and management, peacekeeping operations and information technology systems to enhance campaign execution and directives dissemination, were also taken up.

Burgos said Dellosa stressed the importance of addressing the internal armed threats soonest in lieu of the security developments in the West Philippine Sea.

The STAR, however, learned that Western Command (Wescom) chief Lt. Gen. Juancho Sabban discussed before his peers and other top defense and military leaders the prevailing security situation in the West Philippine Sea brought about by the aggressive behavior of China in laying its claim of the entire South China Sea as an integral part of its maritime domain.

Aside from territorial and internal security, topics also tackled were the military’s capabilities in humanitarian assistance and disaster response considering the country’s geo-hazard risks and vulnerability to man-made and natural calamities.

Gazmin informed military commanders that his department is doing its priority upgrade programs to address many security challenges that the country is facing.

“At the end of the conference, the participants came to a consensual agreement on the appropriate directives and plans for successful implementation of new and refined policies vital in resolving all pressing security issues,” Burgos said.

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Jaime Laude | The Philippine Star | July 22, 2012 | Article Link

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