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DND Co-Chairs ARF Defense Officials Dialogue with Canada

The enhancement of a country’s maritime domain awareness (MDA) capabilities should not be seen by other neighboring states as being directed against them. Instead, MDA capability enhancement should be acknowledged as being undertaken to enable defense forces fulfill their mandate of addressing challenges that impact on each country’s maritime environment. This was stressed by Undersecretary Cardozo Luna as he opened the session on maritime domain awareness of the ARF’s Defense Officials Dialogue (DOD) on May 10 in Ottawa, Canada.

Co-chaired by Philippine Undersecretary of National Defense Cardozo Luna and Major General Dereck Joyce, Director General International Security Policy of Canada’s Department of National Defense, this year’s Defense Officials Dialogue focused on maritime domain awareness, peacekeeping operations and humanitarian assistance and disaster response, three areas where defense forces play a critical role. Yet, as acknowledged in the course of the discussions, other agencies of government have an equally important role in these concerns; thus the need for an effective interaction between defense forces and civilian agencies.

Meanwhile, Rear Admiral Rafael Mariano shared the Philippines’ experience in standing up a multinational coordination center (MNCC), which has recently been recognized as a useful tool in ensuring that individual actions and contributions of defense forces in responding to disasters are coordinated. To recall, the Philippines put up an MNCC in 2013 when the country was hit by Super typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda). Defense forces around the region and across the globe responded to the Philippines’ request for assistance at that time. Admiral Mariano served as the director of the MNCC.

Undersecretary Luna assured the participants that the Philippines remains committed in contributing to global peace and security through its participation in UN peacekeeping missions and is continuously exploring ways to fulfill its pledges under the Peacekeeping Capability Readiness System (PCRS). He emphasized that it is equally important to build the capacity of other agencies not only in relation to peacekeeping but in peace building and peacemaking, the two other types of UN peace support operations.

The DND delegation included Assistant Secretary Raymund Quilop and Ms. Arabelle De Dios both from the DND’s Office for Assessments and International Affairs. Asec Quilop shared to the participants the DND’s thrust to promote synergy among defense-related mechanisms and to avoid overlaps and duplication of efforts as one of the elements of the PH Chairmanship of ASEAN this year.

At the end of the dialogue, both co-chairs expressed their appreciation to each other’s contributions in having a productive defense officials dialogue and committed to further enhance Philippine-Canadian partnership and collaboration.