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Philippines: Dellosa directs AFP Tap reservists in Bayanihan plan

CAMP GENERAL EMILIO AGUINALDO, Quezon City – The Armed Forces of the Philippines Chief of Staff, Gen Jessie D Dellosa issued a directive for a strategic review of the AFP Reserve Force Development Program to ensure synchrony between the military’s active and reserve forces in their roles in internal security operations and territorial defense. He clearly articulated this in his speech delivered at the closing ceremony of the Regional Reservist Convention in Bohol during the culmination of the 33rd National Reservist Week Celebration.

In his speech, Dellosa directed the AFP Reserve Command to give priority to the development of the reservists as territorial forces for internal peace and security, and make community-based reservists the backbone of AFP’s first responders in the event of calamities and natural disasters.

 “Our reservists must form part of the integrated territorial defense system in peacetime or the sustainment phase of our IPSP Bayanihan campaign. Thus, we must endeavor to have our reservists ready to perform a variety of physical as well as psychological deterrence roles, and support civil authorities for peace and development,” Dellosa said.


There is also a territorial defense dimension to Gen Dellosa’s directive, as the regular-reserve force-mix in the locality serves as the nucleus of the centers of resistance of the total army, which he said “a strategic deterrence to foreign invasion or occupation.” This will be highly relevant as the Internal Peace and Security Plan Bayanihan shifts from internal security operations to territorial defense in the last three years of its implementation.


The AFP Chief also highlighted the improved security conditions of provinces in Central Visayas which led for the transition of the AFP Reserve Force from being under-utilized to being one of the preservers of the Internal Security Operation (ISO) gains.


“With the improved security conditions that led to the declaration of Cebu, Bohol and Siquijor as insurgency-free areas, there is a need for the AFP Reserve Force to take a more organized and active role in the preservation of the gains of ISO. We should not solely rely on our active force component to perform territorial functions as our battalions are primarily tactical maneuver units that our commanders can re-deploy for force projection or mass forces in priority areas,” Dellosa said.


And while the notion of a citizen army capable of defense against foreign aggression will forever be relevant and valid, the dynamic security landscape has led to changing roles for our reservists. 


“The current trend is to mainstream the Reserve Force not only for operational efficiency but also to enable the AFP to tap into valuable human capital for administrative enhancement programs in line with our security sector reform efforts,” Dellosa said.


The AFP Chief also cited that the expertise and skills of technicians, managers and professionals can be a source of innovation that can further propel the AFP’s reform initiatives. “Indeed, at this time when the armed forces need all the help that it can get to fulfill its security mandate, rethinking our reservist program is a strategic step,” he said.


Dellosa also expressed his objective of confronting  the challenge of enhancing the main source of the reservists, the Reserve Officer Training Corps or ROTC Program.


“We need to discard the same frameworks and reclaim the pride and prestige of the ROTC among our youth, and the reserve force program in general. We must strengthen the pool from where the AFP generates majority of its officers and enlisted personnel, as well as reservists in other vital sectors in our society. The AFP must ensure that the ROTC program is managed properly and strategically, for it will undoubtedly impact on the quality of our citizenry, and the kind of society we will have in the future,” Dellosa said.


AFP’s reserved force is primarily represented by the AFP Reserve Command located inside Camp Aguinaldo. It is one the military’s Major Support Commands created for the sole purpose of Reserve Force management, procurement, and organization. Its mission is to develop, organize, train, equip, and administer AFP Affiliated and Technical Service Reservists into capable, responsive and mobilizeable reserve force as an integral component of the AFP in the defense of the state and to participate in socio-economic development efforts. It is also tasked to augment the regular force whenever needed.


“In line with the direction of the IPSP Bayanihan, let us rethink our paradigms and look for solutions outside of the traditional boxes that constrain our creativity. With the ingenuity of ‘Lapu-Lapu’, and the perseverance of ‘Dagohoy’ as our inspirations, the AFP Reservists can be catalysts for change and stability in our communities and the nation, in general,” Dellosa concluded.


Meanwhile, AFPRESCOM Commander BGen Lito S Tabangcura bowed out of active military service last week upon reaching the mandatory retirement age of 56. He was an ordnance specialist, intelligence and operations officer, and line commander since he first joined the military in 1981. BGen Tabangcura also served as National Capital Region Command Inspector General and Chief of Staff of Army Support Command.


He was replaced by Col Quirino S Calonzo who was the Assistant Chief of Staff for Reservist and Reserve Force Development, G9 of the Philippine Army; and  Chief of Staff of the Army Reserve Command. Col. Calonzo was among those responsible in the crafting of the Revised Implementing Rules and Regulations of the National Service and Training Program Law that is now being used as the backbone for national service education in colleges and universities in the country.