Transparency in the Military

Our Asia 21 Philippine Young Leaders talk about the issues of military transparency and how we can help solve them.

MANILA, Philippines – With the occurring Zamboanga crisis and issues revolving around the Armed Forces of the Philippines, the value of upholding military transparency and accountability has become vital in the nation-building process.

Asia 21 Young Leaders Initiative, Philippines, in partnership with Young Public Servants, addressed this need by organizing the “Transparency in the Military” social discussion. Last, September 25, 2013, the speakers and participants were intimately involved in a discussion about the current state of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the steps that the AFP is taking towards the image of an “army to be proud of”.

Migel Estoque, Program Officer for Asia Society Philippines Foundation, Inc. started the discussion with a brief message about the congruence of the “Transparency in the Military” forum with the Integrity Initiative. It was followed by an introduction of the first speaker, Attorney Arnel Casanova, President and CEO of the Bases Conversion and Development Authority.

Attorney Casanova talked about the recent problems that the BCDA has encountered when it comes to the properties owned by the AFP. Riddled with bureaucracy, corruption, and red tape, cases involving these properties are being pushed to the front lines of proper resource management. Attorney Casanova noted the optimistic results that the BCDA has produced in the recent years, but he mentioned that in order to achieve the goal of prime military optimization, there is still much to be done.

Major Dondi Pambid, Chief of the Program Development Branch of the Philippine Army, presented the ongoing project of the AFP called the Army Transformation Roadmap. In the Army Transformation Roadmap or ATR, the Philippine Military aims to fully modernize its assets and capabilities by the year 2018. With the support of the Lieutenant General Emmanuel Bautista, the current AFP Chief of Staff , the ATR is on higher gears. Also, with consultations with a Multi-disciplinary Board, graced with key personalities like Winnie Monsod, the ATR is a huge step towards the transformation of the Armed Forces of the Philippines. Major Pambid, shared his opinion that he is hoping that “he is hoping for a time that the military will become irrelevant because there is lasting peace. ”

The last speaker, Attorney Lesley Cordero of the PCOO, complimented the talks of the two previous speakers by sharing the need for the involvement of the civilian population towards “true change” within the military. It is true that the Armed Forces of the Philippines are capable fighters, but they could use volunteers who can help in other activities of the AFP, particularly in the creative field. The presentation of the speakers was followed by an open forum in which the participants and the speakers were able to freely discuss and contemplate the issues and solutions presented at the forum.

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