Loyalty to the Constitution

Article excerpt

In the coming commencement exercise of PMA Masiglahi Class of 2009, we are publishing the message of Defense Secretary GILBERT C. TEODORO delivered during the PMA Alumni Homecoming 2009 at Fort del Pilar, Baguio City on February 21, 2009 containing his vision of the country’s future.SSEMBLED here today in "hallowed ground" are soldiers, heroes, political leaders, captains of business and industry; entrepreneurs, professionals; even men of the cloth, the whole spectrum of Philippine society is captured in this field. Philippine history has been shaped and influenced in no small part by this institution and by those who had the privilege of being educated in it through the beneficence of the Filipino people.It is therefore fitting to speak not merely of the PMA, its ideals, and its importance or consequence to our country but of a broader topic: that is some random thoughts about our country’s future and the significance of this institution and its role in molding leaders, and perhaps of leadership itself.Our country today stands at a crossroad of complex and dynamic political and social phenomena – be they conflicts, problems, or movements, which include the effects of a worldwide economic downturn. I believe however, that within this vortex lies a path for prosperity – the opportunities for our country to shine and prosper precisely because of these problems and their effects on people’s consciousness. In a zero sum world other problems are our potential benefits. Although we have been less affected than our neighbors from the effects of the global financial meltdown, through no doubt prudent fiscal stewardship of Her Excellency, the President, we continue to face difficult challenges – conditions of peace and order, to include separatist movements, terrorism, the so-called communist insurgency is a prime concern; infrastructure gaps, quality education, quality healthcare, political reform to include capacity-building of not only, our existing local government units, but of regional political infrastructure, and an archaic legal system, are but a few of such problems.These challenges can be met effectively only through stability engendered by the exercise of perspicacious institutional leadership and collaterally through a responsible political system. Perspicacity meaning not only wisdom but discernment. I feel though unfortunately that the atmosphere today is clogged with partisan politics - a race for a political position as the crown jewel of a political exercise – rather than the achievement of a strategic political, social and economic vision. In military parlance, it is much too tactical. Real thinking and real work need to be continued and to be sustained.A campaign plan, so to speak, not of the electoral variety but akin to military one, must be crafted whereby the strategic goal must be set not of merely making the Philippines a better place for Filipinos, which is a must in any case, but a Philippines which will be geopolitically and economically a regional force, at the least. Rather than evolve a plan based on an inward looking strategy, we must operationalize a plan to make a vibrant, stronger Philippines in the ASEAN or even the Asia Pacific region in twenty or so years. It must be based on a strategic vision of the Philippines being a stable platform of domestic and foreign investment, with strong and accountable public institutions, both local and national, to provide basic services, ensure peace and order, and provide for the efficient and transparent delivery of public goods. We have the assets at our disposal: a stable economy due to prudent fiscal stewardship by the President, a highly literate population although the quality of literacy must improve, abundant natural resources, especially for agriculture and for tourism, a liberal culture with highly cherished and guarded freedoms. We need to craft the public mechanisms, the political infrastructure, to channel these strengths into a coherent force rather than to allow them to dissipate uselessly in the air. …