Teodoro pushes for protection of Phl sovereignty, sovereign rights over EEZ

Defense Secretary Gilberto Teodoro Jr. on Wednesday stressed the need to upgrade efforts to protect the country's sovereignty and its sovereign rights in the exclusive economic zone.

Teodoro also mentioned the pressing need to back up the use of politics and diplomacy with a strategic defense posture.

"The intensity of the need to focus on protecting our sovereignty and sovereign rights is paramount in the global race for resources and influence," he said, during the deliberation of his ad interim appointment by the Committee on National Defense of the Commission on Appointments.

Under his helm, Teodoro expressed the Department of National Defense's desire to modernize the entire defense organization and leverage the country's security partnerships in promoting the Philippines' national interests.

"There is a need for cognizance of sovereignty and sovereign rights. We need to principally use politics and diplomacy, backed up by a strong backbone of a strategic defense posture," he said.

Part of his policy direction he said was to put a premium on the DND Proper and its civilian bureaus "to better manage resources and services"—on top of the continuing modernization of the Armed Forces of the Philippines.

"We need managerial solutions to managerial problems, not military solutions to managerial problems," Teodoro said.

He also stressed the need to set up a Trust Fund when reforming the pension system of the military and uniformed personnel.

Teodoro likewise assured that the men and women of the AFP are "cognizant of the consideration given by Congress for their welfare."

"Matagal na proseso po ito, dahil matagal din po namang nahinog ang sitwasyon na ito. Sa ngayon po kailangan nating balansehin ang morale and welfare ng ating kasundaluhan (This is a long process, because there was a long need to ripen the situation. For now, we need to balance the morale and welfare of our soldiers)," he said.

President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. appointed Teodoro as DND chief on 5 June, after Carlito Galvez Jr.'s stint as the defense department's officer-in-charge.

Marcos administered Teodoro's oath to the office on 6 June at the Malacañan Palace.

Teodoro was the DND chief from 2007 to 2009 under the administration of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. He was the youngest to hold the position at the age of 43 at that time.

Teodoro, a bar exam top-notcher in 1989, also assumed the role of Chairman of the National Disaster Coordinating Council during his tenure in the DND.

Daily Tribune