Legarda leads inauguration of ODCOP building, urges national candidates to present their national security platforms

April 5, 2022

Three-term Senator and senatorial candidate Loren Legarda was the Guest of Honor during the inauguration of the Office of the Dean, Corps of Professors (ODCOP) at Camp General Emilio Aguinaldo, Quezon City on April 4, 2022.

The occasion was particularly meaningful because during Legarda’s term as the Chairperson of the Senate Committee on Finance, she ensured the allocation of funds under the 2019 General Appropriations Act (GAA) for the construction of the Corps of Professors (COP), AFP Office building. Legarda noted that the institutionalization of the Corps, through the facility, has significantly contributed to competency building and career development across the command of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).

Legarda averred that education is one of the advocacies that she consistently champions, and defense and security education tops her legislative agenda and program support. “The construction of this academic building serves as a hallmark of excellence for the next decades to come, complemented by the superior qualifications of the professors,” said Legarda, who was a top-notch graduate of the National Defense College of the Philippines and of the Command and General Staff College—the highest policy and strategy schools in the country.

Through the initiative of Legarda, members of the ODCOP, AFP were provided with their own two-storey building almost eleven years after they moved to the General Headquarters in Camp General Emilio Aguinaldo in October 2011.

“We have a rich pool of talents in the Corps,” Legarda proudly stated, “and it is our duty to expose these intellectual capacities to local processes and integrate these with global development by providing all opportunities that would enhance their skills and knowledge.”

Legarda likewise said that the future of our defense leaders is in the hands of the 81 members of the Corps of Professors. “These members must strike a balance between pushing for academic excellence and encouraging compassion, empathy, and a pro-people attitude among the military,” she said.

As a full Colonel of the Philippine Air Force Reserve Command, Legarda stressed the need to make the AFP a truly resilient institution—and that the academic row, which includes the National Defense College, the Special Intelligence Training School (SITS), and the Corps of Professors, is also provided an upgrade in physical infrastructure.

Legarda also asserted that the next generation of defense and security leaders must be given adequate assistance so they may be equipped with the knowledge, skills, and attitude that would make them responsive and true to their constitutional mandate as defender and protector of the Filipinos.

By providing allocations to various projects of the AFP, the three-term Senator underscored her commitment to ensure that the institution is equipped to take the lead in defending the security of the country and the people.

Legarda received the Academic Excellence recognition for her CGSC Commandant Paper during her Command and General Staff Course. Bearing the theme, “The AFP in the Humanitarian Space: Building Resilience, Fostering Resilient Communities,” her paper explored the role of the military not just in responding to disasters, but also in reducing climate and disaster risks. Legarda also secured funding for the resilience assessment, training, and light infrastructure for the AFP.

In a previous statement, Legarda said: “As public servants, we have an important role in keeping our country on the path to sustainability, security, and resilience.”

Aside from ensuring funding to support additional allowances for the soldiers and other uniformed personnel, Legarda also initiated funding for the construction of the Philippine Navy Women’s quarters; the construction of the new NDCP Academic Building and new Library; the construction of NDCP’s Staff Quarters and International Student Dormitory with amenities.

Legarda also augmented the NDCP budget to be able to take in more scholars and subsidized innovative programs like the MNSA Executive Class, which had its pilot run last year, and the Philippine Center of Excellence for Defense, Development and Security—a project of MNSA Regular Class 27 launched in 2018.

Furthermore, Legarda sponsored the increase in allowance for all CAFGU Active Auxiliary Companies under the Department of National Defense-Philippine Army in order to bolster anti-insurgency operations. She likewise allocated funds to support medical missions and conduct a Disaster Risk Reduction Summit.

“The Philippines is now at the threshold of rehabilitating from the development lags caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Thus, the demands from the bureaucracy and the military alike will be daunting,” Legarda said, adding that “this is the time when our defense education should deeply impart the nexus of development and security, which would redound to sustainable peace, prosperity, and general well-being.”

Legarda thus vowed, “I will continue to be your champion as we journey together in the coming days because defense and security is part of my system as a member of the AFP family.”

She also urged her colleagues vying for national posts “to present to the Filipino people their national security platforms as these are important in advancing our goal for a safer and more progressive recovery for the country and the people.”***