Defense Secretary Gilbert “Gibo” Teodoro Jr. (File photo)

MANILA – Adopting new national defense strategies will support President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr.’s agenda to ensure that the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone (EEZ) will not be “forever lost to brazen incursions” by foreign invaders.

Alumni officials of the National Defense College of the Philippines (NDCP) made this remark after Defense Secretary Gilbert “Gibo” Teodoro Jr. announced that the Philippines has embarked on implementing the Comprehensive Archipelagic Defense Concept (CADC) to secure the nation’s waters.

Aldin Cuña, secretary general of the NDCP Alumni Association, said that funding new defense strategies to protect the EEZ is essential “when the stakes are high,” noting that “such spending will reap the greatest yield in food and energy security, to name just two.”

“Thus, the CADC is about guarding the riches future generations should enjoy, bounties we should not lose during our watch, part of national patrimony we should develop to improve the lives of our people,” Cuña said in a news release.

“CADC is one patch, but a major one, in our larger national security fabric,” he added. “We believe despite limited resources, there is fiscal space that can finance urgent acquisitions.”

Commodore Jerry Simon, a member of the alumni board, said the CADC “strengthens other components in the material, like diplomacy and alliances, which must be reinforced as well because it is the multiplicity of complementing initiatives that our rights are defended and national interest is upheld.”

“It is because of CADC’s great value to national interest that we are fully supporting it, as we urge all our members, in whatever capacity they can help, to rally other stakeholders to extend the same,” Simon said.

“But we are aware that (to) operationalize CADC, investments should be made in boosting our capabilities, for that is how a plan becomes a success if spent on, and not merely spoken of.”

Prof. Vladimir Mata, another member of the NDCP alumni board, said “when threats evolve, so must responses, for one cannot apply the strategies of the old to challenges which are new.”

Mata hailed the CADC as “the big picture that underlines our narrative, and hopefully, the best response to the many volatilities we are confronting.”

“In enhancing our national security, plans and programs must be updated too, because modernization does not apply to armaments alone, but to approaches as well,” Mata said of the new defense concept.

“This is the great importance of the DND’s Comprehensive Archipelagic Defense Concept, which amidst a seascape change in our security situation, prescribes common courses of action. The CADC embodies the unity of thinking that should guide us forward so that actions, isolated they may seem, actually serve the greater purpose.”

In implementing the CADC, Teodoro said the Department of National Defense (DND) and Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) “are developing our capability to protect and secure our entire territory and EEZ.”

This, he said, would “ensure that our people and all the generations of Filipinos to come shall freely reap and enjoy the bounties of the natural resources that are rightfully ours within our domain.”

“I emphasize that this is a strategic action and will not need constant directives to carry out. I, thus, urge our commanders and units in the AFP to exert all efforts to operationalize the CADC,” Teodoro said. (PNA)