Monday, August 26, 2013

The Grand Eyeball – Filipino Middle Class Uprising

from Million People March Facebook page 
By Chester B Cabalza

Blogger's Notes:
Commentary of an Academic (Copyright @ 2013 by Chester B Cabalza. All Rights Reserved).

The Million People March is currently held today at the Quirino Grandstand and simultaneously conducted in various major cities in the country as far as Tuguegagaro City in northern Luzon down to Davao City in Mindanao. Pockets of successful global protests by the Filipino communities in other parts of the world converged in New York, California, Ontario, Rome, and Riyadh. However, the ongoing gatherings send a powerful message to abolish or scrap the pork barrel, formally known as the priority development assistance fund (PDAF) of legislators.

The spontaneous anti-corruption movement led by Filipino middle class converged through the power of the social media against greedy politicians who are misusing public funds are gaining waves of support as vigilant taxpayers outburst their sentiments in celebration of the National Heroes’ Day.

Peoples from different walks of life or supposedly President Aquinos's bosses are disgusted by the rampant corruption and malversation of public funds by public officials. In my previous article on abolishing the pork barrel, I discussed about institutionalized corruption and the graft-tainted pork barrel (see

Since this is a middle class initiative, there are no clear leaders rising out in the uprising, until smiling Archbishop Luis Antonio Tagle appeared in Luneta Park at noontime to voice out his sermon on heroism and his stance on anti-corruption.

When Archbishop Tagle sang a Christian song to set the tone on accountability during the rally - that is the core message he wants to send to greedy politicians. Although, President Benigno Aquino hastily denounced the misuse of PDAF and chanted anti-pork barrel last Friday before the Million People March today, there were speculations that the president’s message was a preemptive move to pacify angry middle class who felt robed of their taxes.

Although, corruption is one of the vicious cycle internal threats the Philippines faces with. Recently, this issue has been magnified after Janet Napoles flaunted her questionable lifestyle and false non-government organizations as her employees later on whistle blows her ill-gotten wealth.

According to reports, Janet Lim Napoles first appeared on the Senate’s radar in connection with the fertilizer fund scam. She also has had hobnobbed with representatives and senators in the Congress which commenced the probing of the 10-billion peso pork barrel scam.

Her daughter Jeane Napoles’ selfie snapshots document her excessive lifestyle and prestige goods, lavish partying with Justine Beiber, and glitzy birthday bash in Beverly Hills vented anger of scores of netizens.

The grand eyeball is our answer to our government’s blind and deafly reactions to rampant corruption in the bureaucracy and congress. I will not allow any senators and representatives whom I voted to just fatten their pockets and misuse ill-gotten wealth from pork barrels which I heavily contributed as an obedient taxpayer!

I denounce corruption by greedy politicians! Abolish pork barrel! Don’t just rename it once you scrap it. Legislators job is to craft laws and not to accumulate botcha pork barrel!

TAMA NA SOBRA NA! Prosecute corrupt politicians!!!

Monday, August 19, 2013

Media Ninja - are you one of them?

By Chester B Cabalza

Blogger's Notes:
Commentary of an Academic (Copyright @ 2013 by Chester B Cabalza. All Rights Reserved).

For the past few years, Brazilian-Japanese or Brapanese models have been invading Manila. Perhaps their Catholic values and Latin-Asian cultural fusion keep on charming scores of local Filipinos, alike. 
Maybe this is our simple imaginings about Brazil – the land of most vibrant economy in South America today representing the gigantic economic bloc of BRICS (including Russia, India, China, and South Africa), perceived as the new drivers of global economy.

This Portuguese speaking, carnival-crazy, samba dancing, and football superpower is the biggest country in South America and in the Latin American region.  It is the sixth largest economy by nominal gross domestic product (GDP) and seventh largest in terms of purchasing power parity (PPP) in the world. Brazil stands tall today as a leading financial center in the Americas.

Despite the vibrancy of its inward-oriented economy, an estimated one million protesters and anti-government demonstrators rallied in the streets of Rio de Janeiro and across the country as they clashed with law enforcers in June primarily due to lackadaisical economic performance over the last two years.

Increasing unemployment rate, government spending, and credit crunch have slowly crippled the region’s largest financial system. Brazil’s magic wand is diminishing as it tries to aspire for transformational changes in its humungous society. It was hailed in the past decade by the international community for successfully alleviating about 35 million poor people to the middle class that has reshaped the country’s political economy framework.

However the same middle class uprooted from poverty are putting more pressure to the Brazilian government bringing political unrest and societal divide as powerhouse Brazil hosts the World Cup next year.

Birth of the Mídia Ninja

In an enticing teaser presented by, it offers a motivating question of who would not want to become a ninja? Ninjas are perceived to be strategic, smart, and sneaky and get to wear those strong black clothes.

However, all of the media ninja around are not required to wear the black ninja uniform. Obviously, in this technologically driven and globalized world, who would not want to become a discreet social media ninja? It's free for all concerned global citizens.  

In my mind, there are (un)written rules that must be obeyed like in planning, choosing strategic battles, changing the game, experimentation, and realizing that you are not alone! If one becomes a real media ninja, he can certainly appoint himself as a media agent and independent journalist. 

In fact, one of the pilot test areas which gave birth to the success of citizen journalism began when pockets of mídia ninjas boldly covered Brazil’s recent political turmoil in the purview to offer an alternative to major media outlets. The name of the organization certainly originated in Portuguese but when translated in English it promotes independent journalism and action. 

The reports during the recent visit of Pope Francis – Brazil’s newest ambassador of goodwill that the Mídia Ninja are perceptibly claimed today as the best known group to emerge and has used social media to plan, broadcast, and report on major happenings.

Be a media ninja

Certainly there are perils to becoming media ninjas, notwithstanding, the risk of covering major news events and street protests to write and broadcast blow-by-blow accounts in the purview of balanced social media.

The Philippines can learn from Brazil’s Mídia Ninja as an emerging form of citizen journalism. As our global village decongests, there is now increased interactions among people from all continents of the world to create, share, and exchange rapid information and ideas in virtual communities and networks.

As myriads Filipino netizens of today have the power to enter the realm of cyberspace, we have become more critical to social commentaries of national, regional, and global importance. Certainly, these potentials and empowerment will definitely aid us to converge together and present real stories in the information superhighway. It is our mission to foster citizen journalism in our deterritorialized world.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Home for the Urban Poor

By Chester Cabalza

The five-hectare Baseco compound in Manila colorfully paints the portrait of urban poor settlements in the Philippines. It consists of Engineer’s island and two stone breakwaters that extend out from it into Manila Bay.

Photo from Emily Sealy's blog
In 2001, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Pasig River Rehabilitation Commission (PRRC) identified the island as a high priority for urban renewal. But land tenure security is a necessary condition for the bank’s urban renewal work. In 2004, the Gawad Kalinga (roughly translates as ‘to give care’), a non-government organization, facilitated by politicians and ‘civil society’, was invited to rehabilitate the Baseco compound and constructed multihued modest houses for urban poor settlers whose formerly depressed houses were ravaged by fire.

However, behind the colorful houses and village granted to urban poor beneficiaries, they still aim for their dream home. They formed a people’s organization to lobby to the government land tenure security and social housing projects. And despite the many advantages urban settlements provide, the poorest residents often live in exceptionally unpleasant and unhealthy conditions. 

Theoretical implications and social constructions in understanding the issues of slums, housing and land tenure in many metropolitan cities had been studied by various scholars such as, Escobar 1995, Seabrook 1996, Gopal 1997, Low 1999, Appadurai 2004, Caldiera 2005, and Racelis et. al., 2010.  

Nevertheless, the concept of “home” among slum dwellers has always been problematic. Community members in urban informal settlements are themselves migrants from rural areas, aspiring for better employment and opportunities in urban city, or they work as overseas contract workers in foreign countries to support the needs of their families.  

Some would often link informal settlements as one of the curses of fast-changing urbanization and with the inevitable and unstoppable development recently experienced by Asian cities, issues on home and family relations become dysfunctional. And what more the deprived urban poor families in slum areas in different cities?

This ethnographic paper shall present narratives of an urban poor man-leader in Baseco Manila on how he struggled to build his ‘dream house’ and ‘colorful village’ for his fellow indigent neighbors as they struggled and aspired for to live in a community with a reputation for outbreaks of violence, gang activities, demolition, street protests, crime, drug syndicates, trafficking, teen-age pregnancy with disobedient, unruly, out-of-control youth who have abandoned their society’s cultural values.

But ultimately, what is “home” for the urban poor settlers in booming Asian cities? 

Friday, August 16, 2013

Terror in Egypt and the Return of Morsi

Photo from
By Chester B Cabalza

Blogger's Notes:
Commentary of an Academic (Copyright @ 2013 by Chester B Cabalza. All Rights Reserved).

The July people power ‘revolution’ that would spark social and political reforms anew in Egypt has been wasted. The bloodshed and chaos ongoing in Cairo manifests rivalry of power between pro and anti-Morsi.

The deposed authoritarian Mohamed Morsi was Egypt’s fifth president and the first ever democratically elected President who sat in office for only a year since June 2012. His abrupt ouster occurred when his country’s powerful military connived with angry protesters and set a deadline last July 3 of this year after Morsi disappointed myriad of Egyptian people to set massive reforms. This resulted for his overthrow from his office at that time when he held under house arrest.

The dissatisfaction brought by Morsi’s poor governance resulted from his unfulfilled promises and increasing internal security threats such as, rising food prices, long fuel lines, and frequent electricity cuts that triggered to anarchy in Egypt of which some of the revolutionaries are calling on the army to return to politics. This affirms how polarized Egyptians are to their leaders.   

Egypt celebrated and his countrymen wished for a new chapter in their post-modern history. The military began to mop the memory of his government and detained the former president in an unknown and secret place. What complicated the political unrest, Brotherhood’s chief strategist, Khairat al-Shater, captured and detained. A military-led interim government was installed but confronted with continuing conundrums.

The Muslim Brotherhood protested and they wanted to restore the overthrown Morsi to power and continue his reign as president. The Muslim Brotherhood is the largest Islamist religious, political, and social movement in Egypt. The Muslim brotherhood emerged into power in elections after Egypt’s 2011 Arab Spring uprising against former president Hosni Mubarak. It also played a major role in the country’s elections back in 2012 by naming then Muslim Brotherhood candidate Morsi, who lacked charisma and oratorical skills, as Egypt’s first post-revolution and first civilian president. 

The unending failure and breakdown of law in the streets of Cairo which has endangered social peace is blamed to the movement. Even during Muslim holy month of Ramadan, there were small distractions in the constant standoff.

Egyptian progressive intellectuals are thorn with the political unrest. After eight weeks of imminent danger in Cairo’s public squares, military-backed government assaulted civilian protesters. Some may think of the chaos as a war between Egypt’s people and Egypt’s armed forces. Thousands has been injured and hundreds of death toll has been reported as the continuing saga unfolds.

International community’s reaction

US President Barack Obama confirmed that his country would cancel biannual Bright Star joint military exercises with Egypt set next month. This sign of displeasure would entail the freezing of billions of dollars of US annual aid to Egypt as the leading superpower can withhold individual arms packages to the beleaguered Middle East country. The United States, however, has also been blamed for the political unrest in Egypt by not exercising its greater yet perilous influence in the region.

In his remarks Obama said the US or the West is blamed of the mess by the two conflicting factions in Egypt. But the American leader wishes for Egypt's lasting peace, democracy, and prosperity. 

Leaders of the European Union are also calling for Egypt’s rulers to step back from a growing confrontation with the Muslim brotherhood. United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has condemned and felt deeply disturbed by the continuous killings as violence further escalates in the streets of Cairo. Meanwhile, the Philippines continuously advised its Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) for possible repatriation due to deteriorating peace and order situation in Egypt. It has raised alert level after police allegedly massacred Morsi loyalists.

On the other hand, Saudi Arabia is pleased with the turn of events in Egypt, particularly the ouster of the Brotherhood, since the reforms it initiates do not support monarchies but wants to propagate Islamic caliphates.

Leadership in Crisis

It is clear to all observers that there is apparent leadership crisis in Egypt. The disturbing death toll and escalating violence in Cairo will not stop unless Egyptian stakeholders will decide conscientiously who will lead their country. The fate of their country lies in the good hands of their own good and wise people.  

Dialogues must be fostered amongst parties. Errors must be rectified and military-backed Egyptian government must initiate democratic process in the form of clean election. The whole corrupt system must be overhauled and Morsi will still play a major role in taming the Muslim Brotherhood to reform Egypt’s politics.   

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Gilas Pilipinas – Pride of the Philippines!

Photo from
By Chester B Cabalza

We are a country united by basketball and we should be reminded that basketball remains to be our favorite national past-time.

The recent win of Gilas Pilipinas over swelling powerhouse South Korea in the semifinal round of the Federation of International Basketball Association (FIBA) Asia Championship held at the Mall of Asia’s Arena in Manila proves our long-lost desire to bring back the golden years of Philippine National Basketball Team when it was touted before as Asia’s best and one of the world’s most admired basketball teams.   

This fervor triumph is our assured passport to the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup to be held in Spain.

Without doubt, this year's batch of Gilas cagers etched history as they unleashed the Korean curse that usually impede our bid to our basketball world cup dream. 

The surprising yet formidable teamwork and unfaltering heart of the country’s basketball men’s squad in an intense game against a giant squad from South Korea took a center stage with lively support of Filipino hoop enthusiasts that elevated worthy senior cagers to idol status led by captain ball Jimmy Alapag as he awed revelers with his pair of triples. Ranidel de Ocampo executed estimable defense despite asset San Miguel naturalized star Marcus Douthit’s exit in the court because of an injury.

But Danica Sotto’s hubby Marc Pingris raised the roof and pegged dramatic chants in the arena as nationalistic shout outs posted across the social media after the best game so far by team Philippines in FIBA. In the post-game press conference, Pingris even recounted that they (Gilas Pilipinas cagers) were ready to give up their lives for the country. Indeed, that’s so patriotic!

National coach Chot Reyes must also be given due recognition in his effort to win the team in the die or never game plan. The electrifying sea wave of basketball devotees truly inspired our best players in our home court.

The Philippines versus South Korea hardcourt duel ended as a classic match between David and Goliath. Medium yet talented Filipino basketball players capitalized on their big fighting heart during one of the hardest showdown to proudly raise the Philippine flag as frontliners and heroes inside the arena before avid Pinoy basketball supporters and to all thrilled watchers glued in televisions and the net. 

The sweet victory over South Korea last night unearthed sports analysts throw back tantrums of all the bitter defeats in the past with our Korean cager friends since 1986.

In Francis Ochoa’s article, he wrote that in 1998, Coach Tim Cone’s Centennial Team lost a classification game to the Koreans in the Bangkok Asian Games. In 2002 Busan Asian Games under Coach Jong Uichico, Filipino basketball superstars denied of winning a medal due to tearjerker semifinal loss to South Korea. And in 2011 FIBA Asian Championship, Gilas Pilipinas, under Coach Rajko Toroman, lost a heartbreaker of a game in the battle for third.    

Meet the Gilas Pilipinas

The Smart Gilas or Gilas Pilipinas national basketball team is composed of the original team members of the 2012 William Jones Cup coming from the pool of best players of the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) stars and rookies.

Gilas in Tagalog-based Filipino language means elegance. Perhaps, the skills and talent of Gilas cagers exuded in their exceptional games in this year's FIBA season is their most elegant yet. 

The team is heavily supported by business maverick Manny V Pangilinan (MVP) who owns the Smart communications. This is a reason behind the brand Smart attached in the Smart Gilas Pilipinas team.

The Gilas has been rigorously trained under European style of play. The young team has been representing the Philippines in various international basketball tournaments like the Asian Basketball Association (ABA), R. Williams Jones Cup, FIBA Asia Championship, and the Asian Games. But the main objective in founding the team leads to the aspiration of our country to join the league of the world’s best basketball teams and win a medal in the Olympics.

Basketball fever

We Filipinos have a soft heart for sports. We bet, we revel, we cry, and we idolize our sports icons and we love the best games they strongly play. Sports is the unifying element in our complex Filipino society since it bridges any political and social divide.

We have seen the rise of Filipino Hercules Manny Pacquiao as the pound-for-pound king in the firmament of the boxing ring. The Azkals – Philippines national football team continues to bring laurels for the country and became household name after their teeth-clenching victory over soccer powerhouse Vietnam in the 2010 Suzuki Cup, known as one of the tournament’s biggest upsets ever. The Volcanoes – represents the Philippines in the international rugby union and also makes a name in the realm of Philippine sports.  

Although, some doubts if basketball should remain as the country’s national past-time, primarily due to our cagers’ short and medium heights against gargantuan players of other teams during international tournaments. But we cannot deny that Filipino talents inside the court are extraordinary regardless of height.

Basketball has also been used for soft power diplomacy in the tug-of-war in the West Philippine Sea. Yao Ming, China’s former popular star in the National Basketball Association (NBA) and owner of Shanghai Shark basketball team recently came to the country for a friendly visit. This is partly to soften China’s hard power image; although, some Filipino media people received cold meeting with the Chinese basketball superstar.

NBA superstar LeBron James lately descended to the basketball crazy Philippines with warm reception briefed by his Filipino-American coach Eric Spoelstra, notwithstanding, that Americans brought this kind of sports in the country. Reports are spreading like wild fire that Kobe Bryant will soon visit Manila. 

In light of the 2013 FIBA Asian Championship in Manila, South Korean basketball icon Shin Dong-pa visited the city to cheer Korean squad in last night’s semis. Shin is regarded as one of the best Asian players in his prime back in 1960s and 1970s who was part of the Korean team that lost to the Philippine squad led by basketball legend Robert Jaworski that went on to compete in the 1974 World Basketball Championship.

Tonight is the big night for the Philippine basketball as we battle against the gargantuan Iranian ballers for the FIBA 2013 Finals.

Get that Gold Gilas!!!

Friday, August 2, 2013

NDCP @ 50 (The Golden Anniversary)

By Chester B Cabalza

Blogger's Notes:
Commentary of an Academic (Copyright @ 2013 by Chester B Cabalza. All Rights Reserved).

Institutional Identity

The National Defense College of the Philippines (NDCP) or the Dalubhasaan ng Tanggulang Pamabansa ng Pilipinas was founded on 12th August 1963 as the highest educational institution in the country dedicated to the conduct of advanced studies in national security administration.

The College is also known for its reputation of “where admission is an honor.”

Executive Order No. 44, signed by President Diosdado Macapagal in Malacañan Palace on 12th August 1963, by virtue of the powers vested in him by the Constitution (1935 Constitution as amended in 1940) and by the National Defense Act, established the National Defense College of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (NDCAFP). By 9th September of the same year, the College was activated as a unit of the AFP and placed administratively under the Chief of Staff.

The said law explicitly stipulated that “the mission of the National Defense College shall be to prepare potential defense leaders to assume and discharge the responsibilities of high command, staff, and policy – formulating functions within the National Government and the national and international security structure.”    

Looking at the historical and legal contexts, one of the rationales of  NDCAFP’s creation, primarily because after its almost two decades of political independence from the United States, the Philippines does not have yet an educational institution dedicated to the specific mission of training military leaders and civilian executives for top positions of leadership in the Department of National Defense, the National Security Council, and other Executive Departments of the Government, which they may be called upon to fill in case of national emergency. This background is expressly written in E.O. No. 44 and subsequently supported by five objectives.

A decade later, President Ferdinand Marcos promulgated Presidential Decree No. 190. The law was signed in Malacañan Palace on 11th May 1973. Circulated by virtue of the powers vested on him by the Constitution (1973 Constitution as amended in 1976) as Commander-in-Chief of all Armed Forces of the Philippines, and pursuant to Proclamation No. 1081, dated 21st September 1972, and General Order No. 1, dated 22nd September 1972, as amended. It has had integrated and modified bills of House No. 1447 and Senate No. 597, which thereby renamed NDCAFP as the National Defense College of the Philippines.

Thusly, the NDCP has been highlighted as an educational institution of the Armed Forces of the Philippines as explicitly stipulated in Section 1 of the said presidential decree.   

P.D. No. 190 superseded E.O. No. 44 on the creation of NDCP. The new law also provides the formation of the College’s Academic Board. In Section 4 of P.D. No. 190, it states that the Academic Board of NDCP shall assist the President of the College in the discharge of the following functions, such that they shall supervise the academic affairs of the College; recommend academic consultants, lecturers, professors, and instructors of the College; and, recommend the course of study which shall include, but not necessarily to, all facets and elements of national power.

This new law also fostered the institutionalization of NDCP to basically provide for continuing and intensive studies of the diversified problems relative to national defense and security that has long been felt in the DND.

Secondly, the government is strongly committed to the proposition that the defense of the State is the prime duty of every citizen such that the preparation, mobilization, and execution of plans which involve the financial, industrial, economic, social and moral forces and resources of the nation are responsibilities which should be borne not only by the DND but also by the other branches of the Government as well as the private sector.

And lastly, there is an urgent need for a highly reputable educational and doctrinal center to turn out needed qualified military leaders and civilian executives.

The original architects of the NDCP intended it to be directly under the Secretary of National Defense, primarily in order to attract the best candidates from the military, civilian government, and private sectors. Subsequently, Presidential Decree No. 452 dated 13th May 1974 placed the College under the supervision, direction, and control of the Secretary of the DND as one of its five bureaus. It was then Secretary of National Defense Juan Ponce Enrile who pushed for this effort and to upgrade the academic standards of the College.

The limited legal basis and political turn of events paved the way for the duality of personality of NDCP as a bureau of DND as well as a reputable academic institution. However, NDCP was transformed into a civilian organization only in 1988, two years after the EDSA People Power I.   

Historical Milestones

The NDCP is one of the oldest defense colleges in Southeast Asia. Its foundation originally concocted when an ambitious project designed to establish a Regional War College for member-countries of Southeast Asia Treaty Organization (SEATO) began.

Brigadier General Jose Syjuco deems that the project was proposed by the Philippines during the SEATO Military Adviser’s Meeting in Canberra, Australia in March 1957. However, the proposed project failed to progress. Two SEATO members, the Philippines and the United States, announced instead of a creation of SEATO War College and sponsored it through bilateral basis, renaming it as a Pacific War College. The joint project also failed due to lack of funding.    

The pioneer class of NDCP’s National Security Course eventually became the Master in National Security Administration (MNSA) Program which opened on 15th February 1966 in a temporary building at Fort Bonifacio. Regular Class (RC) 1 was composed of 20 military officers and nine civilian government scholars. On 14th December 1966, the graduation of the College’s pioneer class was graced by President Ferdinand Marcos.

RC 1 to RC 5 excluded students from private sectors. And for approximately eight years, the NDCP was placed under the administration of the AFP’s Chief of Staff. This historical context has placed NDCP’s MNSA program as a military course and misconstrued as a civilian course. Whereas, in today’s MNSA curricula, it is conceived as a civilian course; and that the highest military course for military officers to become full colonels can be obtained from the Command and General Staff College (CGSC).  

The NDCP played host to the first visiting students of the US War College, Thailand National Defense College, and the National Defense College of Korea since its inception. The NDCP has also been sending its MNSA students to other countries since 1996, which is now the equivalent of the Regional Security and Development Studies (RSDS) imbedded in the MNSA course as one of the culminating activities of the one-year government scholarship.

The said academic foreign travel is an opportunity for the College’s faculty and students to observe the political, economic, socio-cultural, military, environmental, and technological dynamics of host countries, and in the process, to draw insights into how these will impact on our own national security situation.

The very first countries NDCP visited include Southeast Asian neighbors Indonesia, Malaysia, and Thailand, and Northeast Asia’s Hong Kong. In the entire history of the College, faculty and students through the annual RSDS have had visited notable countries, chosen due to their key strategic values, such as, Australia, China, India, Cambodia, Myanmar, Singapore, Vietnam, Russia, Germany, and the United States.

The NDCP as a duly recognized premier education and training institute in the defense and security establishment and as AFP’s think tank continuously produce colorful College Presidents and “who’s who” or illustrious alumni in the realm of politics, public service, military, academe, and the private sector.

Brigadier General Roman Gavino, being the first NDCP President, played a very crucial role in the formative phase of the College. President Florencio Magsino became the first civilian President of the College who transformed NDCP into a civilian organization. Dr Clarita Carlos was appointed as the first woman President of the College under DND.

His Excellency Fidel V Ramos from MNSA RC 3 is the first NDCP alumnus to be elected as President of the Republic of the Philippines. The incumbent Vice President Jejomar C Binay is also a proud alumnus and currently the President of the NDCP Alumni Association. Other notable and successful personalities who obtained their MNSA degrees from the College are Supreme Court Justice Alicia Austria-Martinez, Senator Loren Legarda, former Senator Teresa Aquino-Oreta, Mayor Herbert Bautista, MMDA Chair Francis Tolentino, former National Security Adviser Alexander Aguirre, AFP Chiefs of Staff Arnulfo Acedera Jr and Genoroso Senga.

To sum it up, distinguished list of alumni is led by no less than the 12th Philippine President Ramos, 15th Philippine Vice President Binay, three Chiefs of Staff of the AFP, five Cabinet Secretaries, four Senators, twelve House of Representatives, two Supreme Court Justices, and twenty four dignitaries from Allied countries.   

The College also salutes women in the sphere on national security. NDCP takes pride in being one of the first agencies in the defense establishments to implement gender sensitive policies. In the early 1970s, a time when Gender and Development (GAD) was still at the process of conception, the College already admitted its first female scholar, in the name of Attorney Leticia Celove. In due recognition, Lieutenant Colonel Evangeline Cruzado of MNSA RC 18 became the first female awardee of Academic Excellence or Class Valedictorian from the civilian sector.

The NDCP has also graduated 24 foreign students including five more in the current MNSA class. They are military officers with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel or full Colonel from their respective armed forces in countries like Australia, Malaysia, India, Nigeria, Pakistan, Thailand, and Sri Lanka.   

In 1997, the NDCP relocated to Camp Aguinaldo which was inaugurated by then President Fidel Ramos during the incumbency of Brigadier General Eduardo Cabanlig. A marbled marker was also unveiled last 12th August 2003 for the 40th founding anniversary of NDCP. This event was commemorated by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo during the incumbency of NDCP President Commodore Carlos Agustin in recognition of her father's signing of E.O. No. 44 by President Diosdado Macapagal which created the NDCAFP.

In 1999, by virtue of a Department Order, four institutes were created in NDCP which became the education, training and research arms of the College. These include the Institute for National Security Studies, Institute for Foreign Languages, Institute of Extramural and Continuing Studies which later became Defense Management Institute, and Emergency Management Institute of the Philippines which later renamed as Crisis Management Institute. However in 2010, all of the four institutes were abolished due to the implemented Rationalization Plan.

Last year, in the current administration of Brigadier General Fermin de Leon Jr., a new hotel-class Students’ Dormitory was finally brought into completion with Philippine Vice President Jejomar Binay himself led the inauguration of the new dormitory. In 11th February 2013, the NDCP Marker by the National Historical Institute was installed.

The Way Forward

In 2012, the College together with the Office of the Vice President, NDCP Alumni Association, Incorporated, and Career Executive Service Board formalized a Memorandum of Understanding which granted MNSA students an opportunity to obtain a Career Executive Service Officer (CESO) rank while taking the MNSA program. This additional hard-earned perks given to the regular milieu for civilian graduates increased the interests of applicants to take the course aside from being commissioned as Lieutenant Colonels or Commanders in the AFP Reserve Force.

Obtaining an MNSA degree from the pressure-cooker course consists of 39 units received through various forms of lectures, thesis writing, sub-national and regional security and development studies, debates, conferences, dialogues, and study tours with a curriculum that encompasses different dimension of national security administration which include politico-legal, economic, socio-cultural, techno-scientific, environmental, policy studies, research methods, and military.  

Today there are almost 2,000 graduates of the MNSA program since its first class that opened in 1966. It has also a wide network graduating thousands of distinguished participants from the various short courses offered by NDCP including the popular Executive Course on National Security and Disaster Management Course.  

As the College reaches its Golden Anniversary on 12th August 2013, it is planning to evolve as a defense university to compete with its counterparts in the region and the world. The P.D. No. 190 gave the NDCP the power to confer MNSA degree upon its graduates who rigidly pass a very scholastic and intellectual academic executive program.

Today, the MNSA program has been required as a mandatory graduate course for military officers who are earmarked for positions of higher responsibility before they be appointed for one-star general.

If the College has to evolve as a defense university, later on the National Defense University of the Philippines must confer doctorate degrees in national security administration or strategic or peace studies. That means to say, the organizational structure of the College from its administrators, faculty, and down to the staff must be re-organized and the curriculum must be further upgraded to meet higher and global standards to supply the demands of the country as a whole which can only be realized through legislative Acts of Congress.

The reality in today’s educational landscape proves that the College must really evolve and open its field into a wider spectrum of candidates or applicants since many young military officers, young professionals in the private sector, and getting younger career government officers are aggressive in obtaining graduate degrees. This is only an affirmation that the playing field has been leveled off for younger managers and captains of the industries.   

Furthermore, the dual personality of NDCP as civilian academic institution and bureau of DND must be conscientiously defined.

More power to the National Defense College of the Philippines! Continue in shaping the mind of your bright people!

Sources: Military Education in the Philippines (2001) by Jose Syjuco, NDCP website, and for some legal basis. Special thanks to Segfrey Gonzales and Geelyn Magante from NDCP research division for their initial research and substantive data.