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Knowing DOTMLPF In Connection to the AFP Modernization Program

Modernizing an organization on a large scale is something that requires changes in setup, hierarchical structure, and guidelines wherein things from top to bottom can accommodate the changes that are taking place. 

As for the AFP Modernization Program taking place at present, most of the reports usually deal with purchasing the military assets which in its way shows the physical changes that provide the image that the whole Armed Forces is set to be capable enough for minimum deterrence.

Well, there are more things to consider beyond the scope of military purchases and brand new assets.

From Doctrine to Facilities, each and every component is essential
for an Armed Forces to keep upholding its mandate to protect
the country and the constitution.
Photo from PTV News.
It is taken note that the AFP Modernization Program as of this posting is now in Horizon 2 and is on the roll. Most discussions in the local defense community usually concern about either military purchases or current events that are taking place in the country which is in relevance to defense and security-related issues. While the latter is the usual thing that comes in main news outlets, the former is something that is usually discussed with purchasing military assets means additional capabilities to the armed forces.

However, the procurement of this various weaponry and support assets isn't as easy as purchasing a shirt from a store or ordering a scale model of, say, a jet fighter in an online market. At first sight, the procurement process is stringent given that the negotiations are about millions, if not billions of pesos of projects in the hopes that the Philippines is capable to provide a minimum credible defense for itself where the funding allocated finds its worth on protecting the lives of innocent citizens on their normal lives as well as for the nation's sovereignty. In planning on military purchases in this case, however, does not rely on funding alone. 

Many considerations need to look upon and assess where, for military purchases, the main leaderships of each branch together with its respective Technical Working Group (TWG) are creating the plans that guarantees the smoothness of operations as Modernization is on the process intending to do its mandate most efficiently and effectively available, with proper protocols, guidelines, and procedures in place.

Now, one may ask: "How do the high ranks in the armed forces assess themselves in terms of their mandate and the capabilities they have to deliver it?" The usual answer that may come out in this manner is that SWOT Analysis may apply to the military since just like any other organization, it points out its Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. 

This analysis, however, only applies to the organization in general and does not tackle technicalities in terms of the capabilities of the armed forces. This is where DOTMLPF analysis comes in. At first glance, a civilian with little or no military background may find the acronym difficult to understand. Just for us to know, DOTMLPF is essential for military operations wherein its analysis comes the way as to how the Armed Forces shall operate and conduct its mandate.

Operating the aircraft and showcase its firepower is one thing.
Maintaining it and providing spare parts is another.
Photo credits to its owner.
The acronym "DOTMLPF" folks refer to these areas that the military considers when it enhances its capabilities. These are Doctrine, Organization, Training, Materiel, Leadership and education, Personnel, and Facilities. In each and every way, these areas are essential where it defines the procedures that each and every component in the military observes ranging from an organizational chain of commands to proper operations and maintenance of essential military assets.

This acronym was coined by the United States Department of Defense in its Joint Capabilities Integration and Development System (JCIDS) Manual and was cited in the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Instruction (CJCSI) 3170.01I in which the United States Armed Forces uses these measurements for its Capabilities-Based Assessments that identify capability gap that a military experiences in conflict or wartime period. From there, the inefficiencies are to be addressed so that the organizational mandate will be further carried by its components which safeguards its duties and responsibilities further wherein it ensures the safety of the citizenry and the welfare of national sovereignty. In the local Philippine Setting, this capabilities-based analysis and approach is something that the higher ranks do consider where, through the years, the capability gaps of the Armed Forces of the Philippines can be seen clearly throughout history such as the Chinese hegemony in the West Philippine Sea, Zamboanga Siege, Marawi Conflict and various skirmishes against local Communist and Moro insurgents as well as on addressing natural disasters. The Republic Act. 10349, also known as the Revised AFP Modernization Program, is set to address these insufficiencies in the hopes that capability gaps on national defense and security matters, in general, will be closed with minimum credible defense in mind.

Now that we understand the general definition of the DOTMLPF analysis, let us go further in-depth for us to understand deeper so as its importance to the Armed Forces to have especially in its warfighting capabilities, given the fact that capability enhancement is definitely beyond just buying military assets that pack firepower. 


The word "doctrine" according to this online definition obtained from Merriam-Webster Dictionary, are defined as follows:
1. archaic : teaching, instruction 
2. a : something that is taught 
b : a principle or position or the body of principles in a branch of knowledge or system of belief : dogma Catholic doctrine
c law : a principle of law established through past decisions 
d : a statement of fundamental government policy especially in international relations the Truman Doctrine 
e : a military principle or set of strategies
In the case for this discussion matter, the nearest definition we can get is on the letter E wherein it embodies the principle of the military coming from its mandate as stipulated in the constitution and the country's laws as well as a set of strategies that the military plans and enhances on the premise of the assessment in national territory, the complexities of threats in both internal and external areas, present capabilities and the way to improve it further, and so on. This also factors with the compatibility and interoperability with key alliances where these forces go together hand in hand. Doctrines by nature also refer to the military principle on the use of specific equipment in its inventory where sets of rules and procedures are needed to follow to ensure and safeguard that things are in order in terms of engagement, protocols, and use.

This definitely the military guide on which direction will it go in terms of improving its capabilities in terms of manpower, materiel, organization, and other areas specified within the DOTMLPF acronym where it can address the threats and can defend the nation accordingly to the principles that embody the Armed Forces.


Organization in Armed Forces terms is the thing that structures the hierarchy within its ranks where Chain of Command in many sense is definitely essential in its own worth. Add also that the Organization of the Armed Forces of the Philippines consists of three branches such as the Air Force, Army, and Navy with the latter still having its own branch that is the Marine Corps. This military organization in its sense is under the Department of National Defense where in turn is under the Executive Branch of the Philippine Government with the President as the Commander in Chief and the Secretary of Defense overlooking the Armed Forces. Coming from the AFP Website, here is how the Philippine Military structured organizationally.
The Organizational Structure.
With the AFP Modernization improving the capabilities of the military, this comes the changes in the organizational structure of the armed forces where there is a specific division within either of the three branches that specializes on that kind of capability where it further diversifies the roles of assigned personnel in this organization that generally focuses on defense. In this way, an organization in DOTMLPF analysis is something that organizes the Armed Forces with different roles playing in the battlefield. Like, an air force having different air divisions with one for airlift, another for air interdiction, and one more for close air support or an Army having multiple battalions assigned across the country plus a plethora of task force specialized on aiming or achieving the purpose of the assignment.

This approach definitely affects the smooth operations of the organization with mechanisms and specialties in place that are performing effectively and efficiently which is definitely applicable to all managerial-type organizations whether it may be in government or not, uniformed or civilian.


From the word alone, this is considered one of the essentials of the DOTMLPF chain where an aspirant, a reservist, or a cadet will or may undertake stress tests and familiarization programs where it enhances skills and capabilities needed in uniformed personnel to carry such tasks. Before the purchase of sophisticated weaponry especially when it is a new capability for the armed forces to have, training is a prerequisite for military personnel to have the know-how with regards to the operational use of the asset as well as maintaining it. 

In every military asset purchased comes the importance of this attribute where the capabilities of such equipment such as a warship or a tank are used in its very potential, putting it into the right hands. 

Talking about right hands, that means troops in the battlefield obtaining the skill to fight that inflicts more damage on the enemy while taking less on their own while technicians assigned to repair materiel and maintaining them are performing their skills at best so as for weaponry to perform as designed as well as lengthening its useful life within its active service. 

Add also that fighting in the war zone or assigned field requires physical strength and endurance as well as psychologically stable where each military objective will be carried accordingly with minimum fatigue whenever possible. Just to take note, recent conflicts that the Armed Forces of the Philippines undertake especially the ones that take place in Mindanao provides a benchmark in a way that it helps military personnel train further where at times, it comes with a military exercise between the country and its ally to improve skills further, aside from interoperability and exchange of bits of knowledge it provided.

From these tough requirements, it is of no surprise to why training is as important as the rest of the areas in the DOTMLPF analysis given that military skills, coupled also with discipline instilled which is necessary for combat, is something that defines victory from defeat, in each on its own worth.


This is the portion that is being usually talked about across defense platforms including this one. Materiel in military terms really talks about assets, weaponry, and tools that provide the firepower and support that puts a specific armed force in an advantage. 

Usually, as the first three attributes, the doctrine, organization, and training are in place, it comes a time that the key decision-makers will opt for negotiations unto the perspective suppliers of materiel (aerospace industries, weapon-making companies, etc) either in a form of a direct Government-to-Government (G2G) deal or bidding process where each and every arsenal offered will be assessed, measured, and checked whether it fits the criteria that the armed forces looked for specific weaponry that serves as an advantage with regards on working on its mandate. In doing assessments and measurements, the procurement team or a Technical Working Group determines the offer of various suppliers with regards to the package that pertains to a project. Packages, in this case, vary from after-support to familiarization training on maintenance and operations, spare parts hulk/logistics support, features that may or may not included in the platform, and the most important, its capability to do its necessary operations where it is essential for the mandate instilled in the Armed Forces.

Hence, choosing military materiel or asset/weaponry for the armed forces to obtain is vital for the effectiveness of the mandate instilled by each and every military personnel using it, where both efficiency and effectiveness matters with results that counts rather than basing from sheer looks and perceptions of its capabilities and firepower.

Leadership and Education
Leadership is instilled in various ways. One is thru advanced ROTC
Photo Source.
Having an effective armed force comes with an effective manager or leadership that will overlook the organizational operations and activities in line with the rules, regulations, doctrine, and principles that the military personnel maintains.

Let us take note that the core values of the Armed Forces of the Philippines are centered on these said principles: Honor, Patriotism, and DutyThe leadership of the Armed Forces emphasizes these principles that go in line with the duties, responsibilities, and the mandate of the AFP as a whole which is to protect the nation and the Filipino people against the enemies of the state. Such a role is written in Article II Section 3 of the 1987 Philippine Constitution. 

The organization is lead by the Commander-in-Chief which is the President of the Republic followed by the Defense Secretary and the Joint Chief of Staff representing the military. To add more note in this matter, the Army, Air Force, and Navy in their plans such as the Transformation Roadmap, Flight Plan, and Sail Plan, respectively include the enhancement of the organization where leadership efficiency and effectiveness is also part of the improvements alongside military asset procurement and facility building where a proper leadership and education may set an example and have the necessary will to lead and direct the whole organization into a more capable and more effective one, supporting the people in the mandate of national defense.

From there, it is from assessments that determine whether leadership or educational restructuring may place where, the primary rationale or objective in doing so is part of setting goals in both short term and long terms of time, addressing shortcomings and obstacles where key, ideal people will be the ones that will resolve these things in the principle of a modernized and functioning organization like the Armed Forces.


Operating a highly-sophisticated military asset will be nothing more than a static display if not for the military personnel that is assigned to operate them. For the ground troops that are battle-ready with a bulletproof vest on their body, helmets on their mind, rifle in their hands, and boots on the ground with full battle dress uniform, having some hands-on in combat is as helpful as the support assets wherein going hand-in-hand determines the victory at hand.

In this manner, with the increase of the number of military platforms also comes the number of recruitments and job vacancies within the Armed Forces where many in the citizenry are interested to join. Being in such an organization, just like any others is a privilege where with sacrifice and determination where an individual, being part of a cause of protecting the country and its citizens is heartwarming on its own worth. 

From there, each personnel on various skills and areas focused will be assigned in each area wherein it comes with training, orientation, and classroom learning where through the process, helps these individuals the fitness, discipline, and skills needed to operate in their respective assignments. Hereon, we can see a properly, fully-functioning Armed Forces where, just like any organization, are operated by various individuals that are upon doing their duties and responsibilities with the usual aim of getting things done, accordingly and properly. 

Pools for manpower for Armed Forces use comes from multiple sources such as being a graduate of Philippine Military Academy (PMA), being a draftee in any of the services applied within the Armed Forces (a usual AFPSAT exam passer and eligible), or through being active reservists wherein its roots came from ROTC with the inspiration to join either coming from there or from the High School Citizen Army Training or C.A.T.

Hence, with the financial benefits and the will of protecting the nation is in the minds of the draftees that joined the Armed Forces, it might as well be nice for their morale to be kept boosted wherein the enhancement of other areas in the DOTMLPF mix may provide the necessities in order to keep motivations on defending the country and its integrity in line.

Dry docks such as this one help warships such as BRP Gregorio Del Pilar
in a way that routine maintenance is needed to keep it seaworthy.
To complete the abbreviation in the DOTMLPF analysis in determining the ideal organizational functions of the AFP, this area of consideration is definitely essential especially with regards to shelter troops on duty, storing ammunition and equipment, depots for conducting maintenance, and other essentials in which it will help retain the morale of each military personnel as well as lengthening the useful life of each and every military asset that are in service.

In the flow of logical knowledge with regards to this matter, it is usually ideal that when a military asset is being purchased (materiel) for its use for capability enhancement, there shall be the anticipation in which alongside training with respective personnel that is soon to be assigned on these new platforms, feasibility studies on the construction of facilities are usually done in the process so as the assurance that things are in place with the premise that there shall be no problems along the way in the future to the dedicated area needed to keep things operational and combat-worthy. 

Should these things consider, as well as the spare parts and the materiel itself, makes a procurement project much more expensive than intended given that every aspect from building storage and mechanical services facilities to purchase parts hulk and stockpiling it comes with its respective cost ranging from shipping to manpower and purchase of construction materials. 

Nevertheless, after these costs are incurred, things will definitely worth it that guarantees to care for military equipment and weaponry obtained as well as ensures its service life to be lengthened a bit until a more sophisticated one takes its place.

Just like any other things, a shelter or facilities, in this case, is a necessary part of the DOTMLPF analysis chain in the sense that both personnel and materiel are stored in order as well as providing the services needed especially in maintaining military assets that will keep it operational and active in case of a conflict. 

From there, it might as well be a considerable note that it is worthy to see these platforms functional and doing its job, rather than spending more time mooring at the port, in the military garage, or as hangar queens.


As the in-depth details of DOTMLPF unravel, those points provided the insights with regards to the areas that an Armed Forces consider in connection to its organizational functions and the ways it manages its personnel and equipment which are both essential in securing the country and its national interests.

To sum it up, this analysis is very essential to the functions of the Armed Forces in its entirety wherein this determines the roles of each asset and personnel in the military in the sense that units are in their respective assignments where they can carry out their duties and responsibilities in accordance to what the DOTMLPF analysis is provided. This means that littoral vessels, offshore patrol, and combat forces have their respective capabilities, duties, and assignments where they are specifically designed for a particular threat, a way that an organ like the Liver or Lung functions specifically within a Human Body or an Animal. Add to that also that an acquisition program needs to have considerations such as this wherein an absence in one of these areas may definitely affect the capabilities of the Armed Forces in general, as well as their mandate, was given that the way they deliver it may get hampered.

So, the next time that military procurement planning and reports are coming into place, take to consider these things - from doctrine to facilities in a sense that assessment on its feasibility is determined where, if such knowledge comes into mind, may be helpful on exchanging ideas in a way that each and everyone gets further understanding and knowledge with regards to dealing with military and defense-related issues.

Austal, the Good PR from SecDef and the Philippine OPV Program

The Department of National Defense through its Secretary discloses through reports the desire of the Philippine Navy to obtain ships that come where the process about the program isn't getting traction given that the group assigned is still doing its job. This calls to re-composition of the fleet to obtain newer hulls which will further enhance the patrol capabilities than the ones available at present of the fleet as part of its Sail Plan.

A Cape-class patrol vessel of the Australian Border Force. From Austal Website.
The Armed Forces of the Philippines and its Modernization Drive is now on the Second Horizon in which multiple projects are either being planned or on the process of materialization. One of those things belongs to the Philippine Navy in which it desires to obtain a platform capable enough to be a deterrent such as submarines and vessels that will replace a portion of old, World War 2-era vessels such as the Offshore Patrol Vessels (OPVs) in which its program calls for at least six (6) units.

Now, such plans for Offshore Patrol Vessels recently became more known in mainstream media as Secretary of National Defense Mr. Delfin Lorenzana surprisingly discloses that the Philippine Navy will acquire such number of OPVs, as he said, from an Australian-based shipbuilding company Austal in which it obtains a shipbuilding facility in Balamban, Cebu City. From that point of view alone, this announcement a first comes with both enthusiasm and doubt in the sense that while this may mean more pride for the Filipino workers of the shipyard where they will build OPVs for the country and its national interest, it may also mean that the thoughts of the Technical Working Group of the Navy at that moment was seen to get set aside in which it may get problematic unless resolved. Nevertheless, the desire of the Defense Department to have this project on the roll is still a good thing considering that this is one of the plans that the naval force is ought to prioritize so as this will define the future patrol capabilities of the Naval fleet. And with the announcement with regards to the deal, things remain to be seen given that the works made by the Technical Working Group about it are still on-going, all in which they still assess supplier proposals as well as determining the specifications in which they see fit for the Navy to have in its Offshore Patrol Vessel Program.

With the hype such an announcement brought in the defense community, it is of no doubt that the interest with regards to the company itself, its products, and other details will be increased in the sense that these things may complement the needs of the Naval fleet if it proceeds, as it will get composed of newer hulls as the time passes by.

From the producers of U.S. Independence-class LCS
(In partnership with General Dynamics). 
Photo Source.
See website: https://www.austal.com/

On its website, Austal describes itself as an Australian-based shipbuilder, defense contractor, and a partner of choice with regards to maritime technology. Given its Global Footprint, it serves its product to a wide range of customers which are both military and civilian in nature. Its main base is in Henderson, Western Australia with shipyards situated in Mobile, Alabama USA, and Balamban, Cebu City Philippines. Both the Australian and U.S. shipyards are specialized in defense-related vessels while civilian-ones are presently produced in the Philippine Queen City of the South (ref).

The shipbuilding company is notable with regards to the vessels it produced where several of it comes as revolutionary with regards to the design. Such ships definitely include the U.S. Independence-class Littoral Combat Ships where it was produced with the partnership of the U.S. shipbuilding company General Dynamics. It also produced numerous products in which it used aluminum as its primary material in which they consider as "high performance" where it is considered their expertise in terms of shipbuilding and construction. With regards to the Philippine Navy Offshore Patrol Vessel (OPV) Program, the shipbuilding company submits its tender along with its competitors which a bit provides some significance to the statements made by the National Defense Secretary. This shows that the Australian shipbuilding company, alongside its competitors, is keen to bag the award for this project wherein they can penetrate the Philippine military market in a way that these vessels serve as a foundation with potentials rising up to be a prospective supplier given if these things go in this way.

With this shipbuilding company submitting its design to the Navy, it is worth discussing the tender itself, given that specifications in-detail aren't available as for the moment, with the technical working group perhaps still taking its time to form the criteria that they are looking for especially in an Offshore Patrol Vessel in which the Naval fleet being the end-user.


In this project, Austal submits its design in which it is derived from the Cape-class Patrol Boats of the Royal Australian Navy and Australian Border Force where it complemented with the Armidale-class patrol boats on patrol roles in which several of such vessels participated in joint maritime patrols in areas like the waters of Zamboanga City.

Although it is derived from the Cape-class Patrol Boats, these vessels offered by Austal will be larger with 80 meters in length, the steel used in building the hull of the vessel, and obtains a helicopter deck as well as Austal’s MarineLink ship control system and ride control technology. To take note, the Cape-class Patrol Boats in service with the Royal Australian Navy is at 57.8m in length and produced in aluminum that Austal usually uses in its ships.

With little details regarding the specifications in which the Technical Working Group may still working on, perhaps a little idea may be provided with inputs coming from the members of this defense forum. To surmise the notes there, the considerations will definitely include the features that the Cape-class vessels presently obtain plus features added in their submitted design such as having RHIB davits and funnel on the midsection portion of the vessel, giving space for the helicopter landing pad on the stern of the ship. Add also that the Navy with its technical group considers that such OPV shall be armed with a 76mm cannon, two 30mm secondary guns with spaces provided for short air defenses, and anti-ship missiles. These weapons will definitely make these vessels more armed than a usual OPV provided that if these systems push through along the program with the hull. Other than the design features that Austal disclosed, the aspirations of the technical team might as well be hopeful that such weapons will be fitted given if the ships are found to be within their criteria. Otherwise, their assessments may consider other vessels in which, results may not much as clear until things are getting clear and settled. 

On the tender given by Austal as well as numerous others in this project, it comes with hopes and aspirations that a right choice shall be made in part of the technical team where, if all push through, will definitely end the problems to the fleet especially with regards to its operations to the old hulls that badly needs rest. From there, the naval fleet may become more efficient in its operations given that newer hulls have lesser maintenance demands to keep it operational compared to the ones that it will replace. 

Not only that, but these replacements also come with a better fleet wherein it will these things get armed more to the teeth, will help the organization deliver its mandate better in a sense that territorial seas that as better secured as what it is today.


Now, here is the gist to the words given by the Defense Secretary as well as the works of the technical working group at the moment. As discussed once again with the folks in the main Philippine Defense Forces Forum thread regarding the OPV project, it seems to be that the whole Offshore Patrol Vessel Program is still on its inception phase which explains the reason to the unavailability of the specifications on the project as of the moment.

While the Defense Secretary may have himself mistakenly provided those details the media and the people especially the defense community at the moment, the thoughts in this manner are that this is not really seen as "bad news at all." 

In fact, the statements made by a Government Official may be considered as a good Public Relations (PR) stunt favoring a shipbuilding company like Austal in the sense that the news outlets cover the story, with them on the picture in a way that their image gets better as well as their exposure amongst the people. Still, with the fact that this company submits its bid proposal to the technical group provides that chances are there for them to bag a deal in the same way that other shipbuilders participated also having such chances to bag the program and eventually penetrating the local Philippine military market. 

While the Technical Working Group is taking its time evaluating proposals in line to the prospective project provided and determine the ideal specifications for the OPV project, things may definitely wait until the first stage of bidding takes place where participating suppliers may have a chance whether to proceed or not, depending on the capacity they obtain to keep up to the specifications on a given budget or not. 

Now, given that the SecDef's announcement about a project that is not yet a done deal and still on its first step, this may serve as a chance for other suppliers to stand by their product proposals and prove their worth for Philippine Navy, in the same way as Austal submitted their tender only having a nicer PR on their side.

Damen OPV 1400 - A usual design for an Offshore Patrol Vessel. Photo Source
With messages that are mistakenly getting across and coming from an official, it definitely caught the people that are witnessing it, unaware of what is really going on where it arises more interest with regards to what would it be if such shipbuilder was chosen and if such product was offered.

These things simply make the project for Offshore Patrol Vessels much interesting wherein at its primary stage it gets covered by news sources to a wider audience in a sense that, like any Horizon 2 projects like the Corvette Project (which apparently is ahead than this one) is being materialized as the efforts of the Armed Forces are on its greatest in the sense that, in all of the works made by every military personnel within the organization, the primary goal is for them to deliver their respective mandate effectively and efficiently in the same way as businesses deliver their products and services for the satisfaction of the end-user which makes lives more significant as it ever be. From there, the role of a technical working group is always and definitely be that essential given that their job, as well as their qualifications on various technical fields, will make or break the capabilities of the Armed Forces as a whole where military systems that operate effectively and efficiently is something that influences the course of combat alongside the skills exhibited by assigned personnel.

Hence, with these Offshore Patrol Vessels, along with others comes with the hopes, dreams, and aspirations where, a minimum credible force is with the nation that guarantees the security and integrity of the Philippine Republic in a sense that the fleet composition will no longer have consisted of old vessels of today but rather, it will consist of better, more capable vessels of tomorrow. As for Austal, it might be nice for them to keep on competing and conform with the specifications provided in the best offer they can give in the sense that the Navy aims for an ideal OPV which is worth tax money spend on protecting territorial waters of this archipelagic nation.


As of September 26, 2018 -- 12:15pm PHT (GMT +8)

In its website, Austal presented its design which it will offer for the Philippine Navy for the Offshore Patrol Vessel Program. The specifications of the ship as provided on this website are as follows:

Length, Overall: 81.7 meters
Beam (molded): 13.3 meters
Maximum Hull Draft: 4 meters

This is what it looks like (especially the helideck is shown) in this photo below:
The Austal Offshore Patrol Vessel derived from Cape-class as offered
to the Philippine Navy.
As discussed in this article, this ship will be made with steel and to be produced in the country through their shipyard in Balamban, Cebu should this proceed. Its intended role as what the supplier discloses in its website will not only be limited to maritime patrol roles such as anti-piracy and anti-smuggling operations in areas like the Sulu Sea or open sea interdiction in areas like the Philippine Rise and the West Philippine Sea but it is also helpful for Search and Rescue and Humanitarian Assistance/Disaster Response matters if a calamity takes place. 

Nevertheless, if the shipbuilding commenced from that time comes, it will join ships like the BRP Tagbanua and the BFAR Multipurpose Patrol Vessels (MPPVs) made in Josefa Slipways as these aforementioned ships were made in the Philippines, catering jobs to the employees of these companies and are worthy to be called as "Vessels that are proudly built in the Philippines".

Hence, it might be nice to witness more of this development wherein these ships will define the capabilities of the Navy to patrol its waters as well as to provide the presence of such vessels in areas that need such a thing wherein it enhances maritime security and domain awareness.

The Citizenship Advancement Training Program

National Service, especially defense-related ones, usually comes with this thing that with lessons being shared where discipline and patriotism, in its own respective way will create a better citizen amongst the people in particular the students of different schools across the country. 

From that impression alone, a person can say that it may pertain to Reserve Officers Training Corps or ROTC program wherein at present is under the National Service Training Program or NSTP before any proposals for mandatory ROTC for students. 

However, here is one program wherein it functions the way ROTC and other NSTP do only applied in Secondary or High School Students.

Like ROTC, CAT also obtains the number of marches, minus
the assembly and disassembly of rifles. A Pitz Archival Image.

Being in a high school, just as in college, usually deals with lessons and various activities encouraging and molding the students into better citizens of their own worth. It is like forming a citizenry with camaraderie in mind which they determine the way the nation will operate in the next generation. That also includes defense-oriented matters where generation after generation, there will be draftees that are willing to serve and sacrifice for the beloved motherland.

It was taken note before in topics discussed here in this outlet that mandatory ROTC obtains advantages and disadvantages as well as the understanding of what it really means to be a patriotic citizen serving the country. Things that are already instilled in this program wherein it definitely flows with nostalgia among the people that were once under this activity (depending on what experience it maybe). 

Such experiences range from a field, institutional duty to community services that the development of the surroundings, an embodiment of an improving nation if gone multiplied. Like ROTC, being in this program may come with nice and not-so-nice experiences but nevertheless, those moments are ought to go with memory and lessons that pertain in loving the country or at some sense, a motivation to serve it in the name of protecting the sovereignty and integrity of the Philippine Republic. 

This topic is regarding a nice thing for a discussion given that this program in its own way instills more knowledge with regards to patriotism and being a better citizen in a sense that this complements the classroom discussion about it as well as the way parents teach their children.

Citizenship Advancement Training, Talisayan National High School, Zamboanga City, Batch 2012
A parade and review formation under the Citizenship Advancement Training.
A Pitz Archival Image.

Pitz Defense Analysis Note: This section is based on what experience or insights that the author sees about the program itself. Each and respective experience that any individual has on the matter may conflict with this one. 

Well, for this article, let us share the experience especially from your very own author, with regards to this program where teaches the means of contributing to society, at least in the context of what was once a high school student.

In my own alma mater, the CAT program is nicely implemented given the ever-energetic instructor of the time providing the necessities and proper sanctions at his disposal. Passed-Failed grading basis was implemented at that time in the same way as to how the ROTC program rates college students. 

There was the time where, advanced officers are deployed in other school or institution serving as "honor guards" for various celebrations with mock-up swords and marches composing the formation in a sense that an entourage of visitors given the honor on those swords stuck out, much to the aesthetic effect of a celebration such as a usual Mr. and Ms. (name it up) event in a place where several chosen kids have participated. 

Add also to the picture the community service in each and every way was implemented where tree planting projects, community cleanup projects, and classroom improvements were done where responsibility is instilled among students, a necessity in any workplace especially in the military. 

They are also involved in each and every flag ceremony and flag retreats, doing the "entrance of the colors" in the school each day where they are responsible for raising and lowering the Philippine Flag. Then, there were the drills such as the one shown in the first photograph of this article wherein being part of a certain school-oriented celebration, provides the color in festivities as well as showing the effectiveness of the program wherein marching in the field, doing the inspections per se is the thing that showcases the basic knowledge of what the others say the so-called military training. 

Of course, this was not the ROTC one where 11 General Orders and map-reading are being taught, but this idea shares with ROTC in a sense that in marching, there instills the complement of classroom lesson of patriotism and parental lesson of discipline at any degree. One perhaps may say that those two aforementioned things may suffice the needs without implementing the CAT program, but perhaps it may also be good for such programs to take place so as for further molding of the youth to be as better individuals contributing what is best for the nation to have.

Those things, in this manner, are what embody the program as far as our viewpoint is concerned. Just to take note, each individual that undertakes the program may have various experiences wherein it ranges from a memorable one to a not-so-pleasant one. Hence, the inputs aforementioned may not go as related to several of the readers. Nevertheless, with such a program existed, with militaristic attributes, is something worthy of a discussion.

Cadets and Cadettes in a small Army Drill, 
or otherwise a simple inspection. Photo Source

Before the K-12 program changed the setup of learning for both primary and secondary schools, the old Basic Education Curriculum or BEC provides the necessities for a Citizenship Advancement Training Program, which requires Graduating High School Students or Fourth Year as per curriculum to undertake such program regarding the stipulations written in this Department of Education (DepEd) Department Order 52 implemented the year 2004.

Given the 2004 format, its provisions are parallel to, if not related to its collegiate counterpart where National Service Training Program or NSTP is divided into three subparts - CWTS or Community Welfare Training Service, LTS or Literacy Training Service, and of course, Reserve Officers Training Corps or ROTC which is the military-related one concerning the civilian-related activities of both CWTS and LTS. 

Add also that it is more likely to be a school-based prerogative so as what kind of CAT program will it be given to the students, either be a civilian-based national service one or a basic, military orientation with training and ceremonial drills omitted. This became the foundation of Voluntary ROTC that is far more appreciable that provides the youth multiple options whether to join or not than the restrictive, mandatory parts. 

That being said, all of these things embody the requirement necessary for each and every student to learn which is to serve the country even in the simplest of activities like cleaning up the community or instilling the knowledge given for self-betterment, a catalyst of an ever-developing nation.

To go further back in time, the Citizenship Advancement Training Program in its own sense was originally called "Preparatory Military Training" or "Citizen's Army Training" which predates way back year 1935 where the Commonwealth Act No. 1 was passed by the National Assembly of the Philippines, which was still under the rule of the United States of America. The said act was called "The National Defense Act of 1935". 

The provisions in the making of Preparatory Military Training were stated in Title III, Article I Section 52 where able-bodied citizens of the Philippines are required to take this program, starting at a young age, in place of Section 51 that all citizens are liable to take military service. 

These are considered one of the necessities to have the Defense of the Philippine Republic. As per AFPR G 314-033, the Preparatory Military Training was termed as Citizen Army Training of what it is abbreviated today as C.A.T, albeit the changes of terminology as the restructuring took place at a later date.

Later on, the Guidelines for Citizen Army Training was stipulated in the DO 17, s. 1985 of the Ministry of Education, Culture, and Sports (MECS, the forerunner of DepEd or the Department of Education) where the Armed Forces of the Philippines is obligated to run the program alongside the authorities of the respective schools or institutions. 

The said Department or Ministerial Order simply provides the guidelines which can be still seen at present, such as the use of school uniform alongside military-prescribed uniform, the medium of instruction such as in English or Filipino, instructions regarding on drills and inspections as well as other matters that will show up eventually in the restructured Citizenship Advancement Training. 

To add some notes folks, each school or institution with their respective C.A.T at that time may be managed by any of the three branches of the Armed Forces in a way ROTC also functions. In the case of experience written above (also indicated further in the first photograph), the local school C.A.T program was managed by the Philippine Air Force with the use of "flights" or "squadrons" in grouping the cadets into formation.

This program was reconstructed in the year 2003 where the abbreviation C.A.T, once called "Citizen Army Training" has become what is known at present as the Citizenship Advancement Training as per the revised rules and regulations of the National Service Program issued directly from the Department of National Defense

This Department Order Is known as "Implementation of the Citizenship Advancement Training (CAT) at the Fourth Year High School Level" or the DO 35, s. 2003 [alt]. This was further enhanced by another Department Order from the DepEd which is the DO 52, s. 2004 where it, as aforementioned, calls the implementation of the CAT in both all Secondary Private and Public schools across the country. 

Just to take note once again folks, the restructuring itself goes inline it's equivalent in college, the National Service Training Program (NSTP) where, the same purposes are met ranging from Community Service to Military Orientation, limited to discuss matters with drills and ceremonies, as stipulated together with military training, in general, are badly prohibited. 

It may be as bad as it seems to be, but military orientation definitely suffices the needs wherein Voluntary ROTC may provide the basic military training later on. From here, the program, with the difference in its orientation, exposes the fourth year high school students in a more realistic form of having duties and responsibilities beyond the corners of the classroom where some, especially when exposed on the military orientation portion of the CAT, provides inspiration for them to enlist and eventually, part of the service within the Armed Forces to serve the country, its citizens and its national interest. 

It goes with truth as per experience where, several friends that find inspiration in this program entered ROTC during collegiate times and eventually, joined either of the branches in the AFP whether it may be the navy (incl. marines), the army, or the air force.

One may ask: how does the rate or grading take place given that the program only issues a pass or fail mark on its students? The answer lies to the operational rules and procedures of the program that usually goes in the way as this certain high school or institution issues it

There are three things that a CAT Commandant or a Corps Commander to issue which are the following: Bangs, Demerits, and Merits. To give a summary on these three things that constitute the remarks of a Cadet or a Cadette, Bangs are simply punishments on misconduct with no grade bearing that serves as a precedent to demerits should it be repeated, demerits being deducted on the cadet's CAT grade due to repetitive or severe misconduct and Merits providing the positive remark on the cadet, increasing his or her CAT grade in the process.

From this information provided, it might be a nice thing to say that being in High School and in college definitely includes National Service programs (not necessarily militaristic in nature) that are considered a prerequisite to the next phase of student learning where Citizenship Advancement Training or Citizen Army Training for that matter are considered part of the experience that is incurred during that period in time as these students are slowly learning on what it means to be a productive citizen of thy dearly Republic such as the Philippines. Moreover, this program is still existing at the present date as part of a new curriculum which is the K-12 program.


As the present curriculum gets into the system since it was implemented, the secondary school format or structure changes so much in a sense where adding two years of secondary education, especially for senior high school students, are a something that will make these students more competitive in real-world situations especially if it means drafting into service, making huge sacrifices and in turn, reaping those hardships and downturns into fruitful, better lives.

As for the Citizenship Advancement Training program, there aren't that much of a change given the fact that this is still provided among Grade 10 (4th Year in the old curriculum) students. The main bearing for this program in the current K-12 curriculum is the DepEd Order No. 50 s. 2005 wherein several division offices like this in Pangasinan or in Baguio City providing respective memos over the matter. 

The said order goes in line to the succeeding order which pertains to Order No. 52 which, to take note once again, the program is limited more on either community service or military orientation, with ceremonies or drills prohibited. As this thing gets discussed with people with backgrounds oriented to secondary school management, this idea usually limits to mere community service in which students are to render service in their respective communities for cleanliness matters. 

But with the stipulations of the Order No. 52 still in the basis on the Citizenship Advancement Training program in this K-12 curriculum, a discussion for military orientation as well as law enforcement is still a thing where nominal cadets are still doing minor inspections and drills which is different from ceremonial drills that are prohibited in the order.

Hence, the sense of having a national service in its own worth is still there, which is in its way go in similarity to Voluntary ROTC programs that provide more learning in a way that is more productive in its own worth with the sense that National Service is something that is presented in a way that it encourages the youth to love the country in ways other than military training.

Philippine Air Force, Citizenship Advancement Training, Talisayan National High School
The old days.

Citizenship Advancement Training, as initiated throughout the years, is primarily a national service program with originally being purely militaristic in the orientation where it involves military marches, drills, and even proper decorum with regards in aspects of following orders of the superiors, executing orders, and providing the basics in military orientation. Such aspects were tamed down eventually with community service and other "society-contributing" factors coming in as part of the restructuring of that program alongside ROTC went from being mandatory to voluntary, a branch within National Service Training Program or NSTP.

This program was originally created with primary national service in mind wherein from there, training goes with learning the attributes of what it really means to love the country in the close, military-and-defense aspect or ideology that not all of the students share. Hence, its restructuring provides a better idea of national service wherein there are other ways of helping the nation without doing the necessary military training unless if it is done voluntarily. 

Moreover, the learning that is being embodied in the new program is being emphasized with orientation on basic military knowledge makes it much more interesting than providing the drills where, although helpful and aesthetic enough on its own worth, does not suffice the needs for learning especially if a student does not want to enlist later on.

Therefore, the present sense of national service covers various aspects which are up to the students' taking, where the definition of these abbreviations C.A.T. now loosely correlates to its past that was being a "Citizen Army". Nevertheless, the Voluntary aspects of ROTC in college is still there to cover up the void, where aspirants are still taking the chance to enter and eventually, to enlist. 

As for the men and women that were once students of the past and some of the present, joining up the Citizen Army Training or Citizenship Advancement Training is the gateway for understanding the basics of what it means to serve the country, either it is militaristic or not. 

(c) 2018 PDA, edited 02-21-2023.




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