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Strategic Engagement Planning Workshop for Philippine Defense and Armed Forces Attaches

The strategic environment has evolved, Philippine defense and armed forces attaches must therefore evolve and adapt as well. This was the message of Secretary Delfin N. Lorenzana in his keynote address to the participants of the strategic engagement planning workshop on December 12. Philippine Defense and Armed Forces Attaches (PhilDAFAs) must therefore be proactive and aggressive in promoting Philippine defense interests, Secretary Lorenzana stressed.

The third since it was first held in 2012, the workshop served as platform for PhilDAFAs and foreign Liaison Officers (LOs) to be apprised with the country’s foreign, national security and defense policies and programs. Subject matter experts from the Office of the Cabinet Secretary, National Security Council, Department of Foreign Affairs and DND itself shared their insights with the participants. The Deputy ASEAN Secretary General, who was visiting the Philippines that week for consultations in connection with the Philippines’ ASEAN Chairmanship in 2017 discussed with the participants the challenges and prospects of community building efforts in ASEAN.

Beyond providing the PhilDAFAs and LOs with relevant updates on key policies and programs, individual engagement plans were crafted by the PhilDAFAs and LOs with an attendant plan and budget being prepared to ensure that the activities they intend to do are allocated with needed resources. Relevant pieces of advice were provided by Assistant Secretary Tina Rose Canda from the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) who gave an overview of public financial management while Commission on Audit’s Assistant Commissioner Lourdes Castillo discussed the new government accounting manual to ensure that accountability is observed.

With PhiDAFAs and LOs considered as the foremost engagement players for the DND, it is necessary that they be provided with appropriate policy direction. But equally important is the need for their inputs in the crafting of such policies. Thus, the workshop was utilized as a mechanism for generating inputs in revising current defense guidelines on international engagements, negotiating defense cooperation agreements, and conducting assessments and reviews. Also discussed was a set of guidelines on the establishment and closure of PhilDAFA and LO posts.

The week long undertaking culminated with a presentation of the workshop’s outputs to the Undersecretary of National Defense Cardozo Luna who stressed that the activity is a manifestation that when various stakeholders work together, productive outcomes result.