By Martin Sadongdong
The Department of National Defense (DND) committed to continue defending the country’s territory and integrity as it marked its 80th founding anniversary at Camp Aguinaldo in Quezon City on Wednesday night.
President Rodrigo Duterte graced the DND’s anniversary celebration, which bore the theme “Nagkakaisang Kagawaran Para sa Ligtas at Mapayapang Bayan” (A United Department for a Safe and Peaceful Nation).
In his remarks, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana underscored the importance of keeping the bureaus under the DND united to defend the country from foreign and local threats.
“We have persistently upheld our national interest and sovereign rights especially in the Philippine Rise and the West Philippine Sea, and likewise addressed internal problems and threats such as terrorism and violent extremism, and disturbances from foreign and local armed groups,” he said.
“It is indeed an honor to be part of the organization that shaped the country’s history. Humbled and proud at the same time, the One Defense Team has always strived to sustain, and even surpass, all the gains attained by those who came before us,” Lorenzana added.
During the ceremony, Duterte conferred the Outstanding Achievement Medal on Colonel Joel Paloma of the Philippine Army and Lieutenant Colonel Ma. Consuelo Castillo of the Philippine Air Force.
Paloma’s leadership was instrumental in the successful induction of the Army into the Palladium Balanced Scorecard Hall of Fame for “Executing Strategy.”
The Palladium Balanced Scorecard Hall of Fame is deemed the highest standard for strategic performance management. It publicly recognizes organizations around the world that use the Kaplan-Norton Strategy Management in executing their strategies successfully.
With Paloma’s efforts, the Army obtained validation that it has a place in an internationally competitive strategy, making its vision of a world-class organization in the coming years clearer.
Meanwhile, Castillo earned distinction for her achievement as the project manager of the development of the VVIP Flight Operations Handbook.
The handbook is the first ever published book which serves as a detailed guide for pilots and crew of the 250th Presidential Airlift Wing in the conduct of critical and delicate flight operations for the Philippine president, the First Family, visiting heads of state, local and foreign dignitaries, and other Very Important Persons (VIPs).
Top leaders and personnel of the Defense Department and its bureaus, namely the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), Government Arsenal (GA), National Defense College of the Philippines (NDCP), Office of Civil Defense (OCD), Philippine Veterans Affairs Office (PVAO), and its newest attached agency, the Philippine Aerospace Development Corporation (PADC), were in attendance.
Also present were former president Gloria Arroyo, National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr., Senator Christopher ‘Bong’ Go, and former Defense Secretary Gilberto Teodoro Jr., among others.
The celebration also included a static display of the Army, Air Force, Navy, Government Arsenal, NDCP, PADC, and PVAO’s accomplishments and latest capabilities.
The program is the culmination of a series of activities held by the Defense Department to commemorate its establishment by virtue of Commonwealth Act No. 1 signed by President Manuel Quezon and enacted on November 1, 1939.