The Point on DND Secretary's Challenge for Army's Desire of Performance Improvement

On the recent news coming out from the Defense Secretary's mouth comes the airing concerns about what is to be the shortcomings that the organization obtains at present that is apparently concerning in a way mounting casualties among troops gets a bit more disappointing, as it may mean a waste of manpower through collaterals taken on combat.

Pitz Defense Analysis Note: This is the newest form of article writing on this website which is the short analysis format of providing views about defense matters. The approach is done in a way that points are tackled directly while making the whole writeup as short as possible, while not taking the burden of providing lengthy writeups on our Facebook page. 

The Philippine Army is doing its effort to improve its capabilities, and
it seems not enough in the views of Sec. Lorenzana. 
Photo Source: YouTube
Every March 21, the Philippine Army celebrates its 122nd founding anniversary where this organization, forming one of the branches of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, stand strong in the midst of the conflicts and wars that have taken place throughout the country's history.

And here comes the Defense Secretary, speaking right in front of the ranking officials and other personnel attended on what was been the recently-conducted senior leader's conference done in Taguig City - on the area that's been the Fort Bonifacio.

It is expected that in an anniversary, the speaker will be uttering multiple instances of motherhood statements and heart-welcoming messages as well as speeches that provided a background on the heritage or a sort of heroism that the troops have done through the years. However, that's not what has been uttered on this highlighted event of the organization.

The Secretary of Defense Mr. Delfin Lorenzana instead provide his frustrations, sentiments, and challenges to those who were in the venue, citing things that can be seen as an obstacle on the duties and responsibilities as mandated by law which is to protect the citizenry while taking the account the safety and survivability of the troops on the ground, keeping casualties as low as possible. It was uttered on the linked article highlighted above that the cases of casualties incurred in an encounter as well as the ones considered as "missing in action" are leaving a bad taste to the Defense Secretary, making him a bit disappointed with these shortcomings.

And so here comes the frustrations that hamper the organization's role which it ranges from what it seems to be the lack of quality on the training made to the troops before deployment (or for any trainee-combatant joining the army) to faulty rifles that render ground troops vulnerable or ineffective in combat. Those concerns overall are aiming to what is to be questioning the organization's capability on fighting, as far as the Defense Secretary is concerned.

Given Sec. Lorenzana's background being part of the Philippine Army, all of those shortcomings are considered challenges to the current echelon of officials that composes the organization as well as their subordinates in the field or in respective army bases where their combat readiness needs enhancement for it to be more effective in combat, whether it may be another jungle warfare or urban combat like those in Zamboanga way back 2013 or in Marawi just took place two years ago.

The Kooryong MLRS is considered by the Philippine Army.
There are no other updates about it aside from the fact that
it comes delayed. 
Obtained from Splendid Isolation Naver Blog.
The Philippine Army is currently implementing its Modernization Process, under the organization's flagship "Army Transformation Roadmap 2028" which exhibits their desire to be a world-class army that is seen or envisioned as a more capable organization that carries its mandate better than what it can at present.

The highlighted article we provided above contains the developments that the organization undertakes for them to achieve this ultimate goal wherein it in itself is worth commendable. One may take a token of a Modernization project that the organization currently obtains which is the M-113s that are Armed with sophisticated Remote-Controlled Weapons System obtained from Israel, not to mention numerous other projects that is currently slated on its pipeline, from Light Tanks to Artilleries capable of saturation bombardment such as the Kooryong MLRS from South Korea that the Philippine Army may consider.

While the developments can be seen here regarding the efforts done for them to improve the organization's overall capability in providing the tools needed aside from recruiting more applicants and providing benefits to the ones in active service, the frustrations that the Defense Secretary aired on a venue are a push for the key officers in this military service to work more to satisfy not only the people in the Defense Department but also to the nation as a whole as their duties and responsibilities guarantee the overall safety that a citizen needs. Not to mention that each personnel's service is also for their family in a way that they guarantee a safe, peaceful and progressive country for the next generation to cherish it.

The concerns aired aim more on the following: training, faulty firearms, and careerism. Regarding the training, it may a nicer thing to simply exhibit or train the applicants the basic things the Defense Secretary uttered or if it is already provided, enhance or emphasize it while sending the message across that such training, on the hardships and sacrifices it provides comes the lesson they needed to survive the ordeal of being in the battlefield, fighting off the enemies that pose a real threat to the state's peace and survival. 

In this way, given the number of conflicts that this country obtains throughout the years from the colonialists to the communists and Islamic separatists, provides the insight and knowledge needed to be more effective in combat on a way that the knowledge can be provided from one generation of soldiers to another, something that Bilateral exercises such as the Balikatan exercises with the United States aim to have which is to exchange combat knowledge between troops alongside camaraderie and brotherhood.

The next concern talks about faulty firearms when in combat as well as accountability in terms of ammunition provided in combat. While the statements are made by the Defense Secretary based on the complaints made by the troops on the ground, such a concern really defines so much in terms of the combat effectiveness that the troops obtain for them to gain the upper hand in the outcome of a battle. 

It can be of no surprise if the number of casualties is caused by a faulty weapon that might be susceptible to jamming or overheating that renders it useless and ineffective. 

If this is due to a manufacturing defect, then it may be rectified by recalling such weapons and provide a more effective one that is lesser on making problems when firing. If it is because of failure on maintaining a rifle, then the solution comes on the first concern regarding the training of both applicants and active personnel which is to provide a proper maintenance culture of disassembly, cleaning, and assembly of components to provide the overall reliability needed for its use. 

The ammunition meanwhile can be resolved by having it properly stored in an area less susceptible to rust as well as reprimand or "demerit" a troop that is caught selling ammunition on the black market.

Lastly, on the issue of careerism. It is worthy to take note that the Philippine Army, just like any uniform and nonuniform organization/agency under the Philippine Government are subject to have a prime principle of serving the public whose aspiration is for the best of the country as a whole. So, it may be at best for those who are in this field to change the point of view from being self-centric to a patriot who thinks that serving in an agency is a whole-of-nation approach of getting things done that goes with the satisfaction of the people that is after the service of the government. 

Perhaps one may provide an example or model that any agency is apolitical in nature, and the performance provided is professionally sound and helpful for the country's development. This point though is what a public servant or an employee working in government aspires and aims to achieve in which serving the nation is heartwarming, at least as far as we are concerned.


The points uttered out by the Defense Secretary is for the Philippine Army to shape up in a way a father shapes up his children to face the realities life has to bring. For the Philippine Army, the challenge provided is something that needs to work upon as this comes to the opportunity for them to prove that by the time comes, they improve more alongside the hardworking efforts that the Army Transformation Roadmap 2028 has to bring for them.

Moreover, on the lessons taken through the years as they combat various OPFOR that poses a threat to the country's state of peace, the challenge is a motivation for the key officers to shape up its incoming applicants as well as its existing military personnel that composes its organization. 

From there, basic programs that deal with survival, combat, and weapons handling/maintenance may go emphasized as it will provide the understanding that these things, the lessons provided throughout the course are essential for each and every army personnel to remember and practice so that its real combat applications will be realized in a way that it goes to their advantage. 

The challenge posed in its entirety has its message loud and clear: to have a more professional, world-class army that they themselves aspire as part of the Transformation Roadmap that is currently being attained and being part of its aim on what it may be the status of the organization nine years at present.

So, it remains to be seen to what extent the Modernization efforts, as well as their objectives, will be attained. Nevertheless, the efforts of the Philippine Army to improve its combat effectiveness are commendable of its worth, as people involved provide their effort to make this possible, although it can be seen at present on several Modernized wares that the organization currently obtains. 

Only time will provide the outcome of their efforts as well as heeding the challenge of the Defense Secretary in the aims of having a better combat composition needed in making a battle victorious, putting the Government and the people it represents on the advantage as part of aspirations on peace, growth, and development.

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