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Legarda Graduates from AFP College, Receives Academic Excellence for Research on AFP Resilience

December 12, 2017

Senator Loren Legarda today graduated from the Command and General Staff Course, as part of Class 62, of the Armed Forces of the Philippines Command and General Staff College (AFPCGSC), which will qualify her for promotion to full-fledged colonel.

Legarda also received the Academic Excellence for Research for her paper “The AFP in the Humanitarian Space: Building Resilience, Fostering Resilient Communities,” which explores the role of the military not just in responding to disasters, but also in reducing climate and disaster risks.

“It is truly an honor for me to be part of Class 62 of the AFPCGSC. Not only does this deepen my sense of responsibility as a Filipino, but it also renews my commitment of service to our country,” said Legarda, Chair of the Senate Committees on Climate Change, Finance, and Foreign Relations; UNISDR Global Champion for Resilience; and UNFCCC Adaptation Champion.

“After hurdling the highest military career course that is the CGSC, I can proudly say that it honed me to become a better leader—fit to command, capable to lead and equipped to advise,” she added.

The AFPCGSC is a training institution for future generals and command staff who are tasked to develop doctrines, training materials, and courses for the AFP, as well as promote the Philippine military as an integral part of the history of the Philippines. One has to undergo the General Staff Course of the AFPCGSC in order to become a full-fledged colonel.

In 1993, Legarda obtained her Master’s Degree in National Security Administration from the National Defense College of the Philippines (NDCP), graduating at the top of the 27th Regular Class (RC). She had since become a reserve officer in the AFP with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel.

In her research paper for CGSC, Legarda said that the military has historically played a pivotal role in nation building. She said that members of the AFP are more than just combatants and have become a central component of humanitarian action.

The Senator noted that the increasing number of disasters and the country’s vulnerability to disaster risks provide a compelling case for the AFP’s more pronounced role in the humanitarian space. Furthermore, a changing climate has massive national security implications on the AFP’s operations, installations, personnel, and its missions.

She emphasized that it is important that climate and disaster risks are considered into the AFP’s planning, resource requirements, and operations because even the AFP and its installations are not immune from these risks. For Legarda, the AFP has to recognize that climate change adaptation and mitigation (CCAM), disaster risk reduction and management (DRRM), and human security are inter-related mandates it urgently needs to address.

“It is crucial to establish how much strategic and humanitarian importance the AFP places on CCAM and DRRM and how it plans to deliver support to national and local agencies in building more resilient communities. More importantly, there is a need to determine whether the AFP, on its own, is a resilient organization that rigorously embraces and practices CCAM and DRRM principles and measures,” Legarda said.

“The AFP has made disaster relief an important part of their programs: offering rapid response, performing medical assistance, logistical support, air traffic response, aid distribution, protection, and recovery. But disaster risk reduction and management should be seen in a broader light—from the perspective of prevention, mitigation, and adaptation,” said added.

She also provided extensive recommendations for the AFP, such as the adoption of an AFP Resilience Scorecard that will serve as the AFP’s measure of actions in achieving resilience; development of a CCAM roadmap; conduct of climate and disaster risk assessment in military installations; integration of DRRM and CCAM in the AFP Transformation Roadmap, the Defense Planning Guidance, and other planning documents; and the development of an AFP Climate and Disaster Resilience Toolkit.

For her part, Legarda committed to continue advocating for policy reforms that will build national and institutional resilience, such as introducing amendments to the Philippine Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Act of 2010 to further establish a strategic link among the inter-related concerns of DRRM, CCAM, and national security; as well as advocating for additional funding and support for CCAM and DRRM measures.

“It is high time that we prioritize efforts that will enhance the knowledge and capacity of our military in combatting climate change and disasters. The more that we enrich them; the greater they are able to protect us from harm. We only have one country, the Philippines, that we call home. With the uncertainty of our future because of climate and disaster risks, it is only proper that we exert all efforts to protect our country and our fellow Filipinos in the very best way that we can,” Legarda concluded.