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Publication Detail
PB 2020-04: COVID-19 in the Philippines: Potential Implications in Modernizing the Armed Forces of the Philippines

This policy brief underscores the need for the Philippines to reexamine its national security agenda and review the new AFP modernization program (AFPMP) in line with its current experiences related to the COVID 19 pandemic. To adjust to the “new normal,” defense and military officials must evaluate the current doctrines, plans, and programs related to nontraditional threats as well as reexamine the priorities of the AFPMP. This entails a reevaluation of the current AFP philosophy on military operations other than war (MOOTW), its impact on Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) readiness, and its obvious link to chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear (CBRN) defense principles. Congressional support must also be sought in connection with this expanded thrust of the AFPMP. This primarily involves the expansion of its current transportation/mobility capabilities. Improvement of the current logistical support and mobility capabilities of the AFP can provide the national government with additional flexibility in responding to non-traditional/HADR situations. AFP’s engineering and medical units can also augment their civilian counterparts during HADR events. A key idea here is to enable these units to quickly expand during times of crisis and for this, the mobilization of reserve forces is crucial. The capabilities of handling pandemic-related tasks should be improved. The investments made on humanitarian assistance and disaster relief (HADR) capabilities must also be expanded and sustained. Efforts must be made to locally source the needed items to ensure a stable logistical chain. This can be achieved by developing the local defense industry. Finally, the AFP must have the required systems and expertise to enable its active participation in events promoting international cooperation such as the ASEAN Center for Military Medicine and ASEAN Militaries Ready Group. This must be supported by a solid research program. This will enable the AFP to exercise leadership in the study of non-traditional threats and the new role of military organizations

DLSU-Jesse M. Robredo Institute of Governance
Authors Keywords
Ona, Sherwin E.; Tor, Rodolfo A.; ; COVID-19; national security; AFP modernization;
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