What is Filipino?

Norma Capuyan

Mindanao Lumad leader

We all refer to Filipinos and the Philippines, yet have we asked ourselves what a Filipino actually is? Let us see:

  • Cultural influences from many historical periods, with different impacts on different subgroups.
  • A history that is told very differently by different interest groups, no overarching national narrative yet.

So how can a national identity be defined? There are two things I would consider very important:

  • Tradition is not worshipping the ashes – it is keeping the fire burning, said famous German composer Gustav Mahler. Culture changes over time, is a living thing with many manifestations.
  • There are many nations with diverse subgroups. Accepting differences can be a better way to increase the buy-in by the diverse communities in a nation than forcing them to go by a standard dictated centrally.

Modernity and diversity are therefore essential in defining any nations’s identity – accepting it as what it is.


Manila Post Office at sunrise

Manila post office (American colonial style)

19th-century definitions of nation and people are outdated. The modern definition of a nation that I like the most is that of a Schicksalsgemeinschaft, a community united by fate. This is probably THE definition best suited to define what a Filipino is. The people descended from those who were shaped by a common destiny of:

  • being those who settled in the islands, whatever their origins were
  • having been subjected to varying cultural influences to different degrees
  • having been part of – or opposed to – a state formed by Spain then the USA
  • having lived as part of a nation that became the Republic of the Philippines
  • now facing the future and trying to find out how it will look like for everybody

For better or for worse, this is where the Filipino nation – seen from far away by me – is in my humble opinion. What the people now part of this nation will make out of it is their call – and their identity theirs to define.


Vigan Calle Crisologo 4

Vigan, old town (Spanish colonial style)

The Americans have the motto “E Pluribus Unum” on their national seal. Out of Many, One. When the great Bulgarian Khan Kubrat was dying more than a thousand years ago, he ordered his sons to break a bundle of sticks tied together. None of them managed. Kubrat untied the sticks and broke them one by one. Unity makes strength, he told his sons – Съединението прави силата is on the Bulgarian coat of arms to this very day. It will be up to Filipinos, as a community united by destiny, to find a way to become one out of many and find strength in unity.

  • to find a way to tell their history in a way that acknowledges all influences and all groups involved
  • to define their culture and traditions, not to worship the ashes, but to keep the fire burning
  • to find ways to communicate, teach and learn in a way that acknowledges diversity and modernity

There are many different approaches to achieving this, why not try to put the best of all approaches together? Different groups can talk to one another, listen to one another, try to understand and learn from on another to achieve enormous synergies. The country has enormous talent. To weave a bright multicolored fabric. Identity.

Irineo B. R. Salazar, Munich, 14 May 2015

Tradition ist nicht die Anbetung der Asche, sondern die Weitergabe des Feuers

11 thoughts on “What is Filipino?

  1. https://philippinesfreepress.wordpress.com/1961/06/17/the-masks-of-filipinos-june-17-1961/ – Teodoro Locsin

    Imitation may be emotional suicide; it is also, to repeat, protective coloration. After four centuries of foreign rule, a certain national ambivalence is inevitable. Filipinos managed to live through those centuries by appearing to be what they were not. A deplorable slyness developed in the Filipino character. The Filipino as eel which eludes the foreigner’s grasp—that is a plausible portrait of the Filipino.

    The question arises: What is the Filipino after he has been stripped of his many disguises, of his successive masks?

  2. I posted it here,because I think this is just gathering dust in the NDCP library in Camp Aguinaldo.
    it is a good thing ,I was able to keep a soft copy of this.

    I will e-mail a complete version to you,but do i have to ask his permission? ok ,publish it or not,I will still e-mail the complete version.

    • Welcome…

      Just upgraded the old article above to make it mobile-friendly…

      I wasn’t too aware of that in the beginning, didn’t have the full grasp of WordPress features yet and didn’t have a tablet yet at that time.

      There is a new heading for Philosophy as well in the General Category.

      “Kaisipan”.. since Pilosopo is somewhat tainted in Filipino.

  3. I would want to post a paper about national interests, if it is too long, just delete it.

    ==========
    PROLOGUE
    In the mid-20th century, the captain of a British man-of-war received an order: “Proceed to Taiwan Straits and protect the interests of the Queen”. The national interests of England germinated from the boudoir of Queen Elizabeth I. In Spain, it developed at the Escorial palace, where the bedroom of Philip II was separated from the Queen’s by a huge altar. There is a sea story that Philippine national interests emanated from a mythical conversation between Felipe Segundo and his father, Carlos Quinto, who commissioned the decrepit Magellan expedition and the four other unsuccessful expeditions before Legaspi. The son offered that the islands where the sun rises be named after the father instead. But Emperor Charles who would rather watch the sunsets in a monastery, answered “Felipe, no!” That was the origin of the Filipino and the state of denial ever since.
    But for a sexist succession to the throne, history could have changed. One of the daughters of Philip II, who was affectionately called Filipina because of a cute pug nose, could have given Elizabeth of England a run for her pirates. For want of a nose, then Commander Carlos Agustin, now President of NDCP could have had received a message from Malacañang: Proceed to the South China Sea and protect the interests of the Queen.
    Lady Constitution mandates the protection of the people and the State. But what does the State want? What do the people need? Message: Proceed to Manila for a round table discussion on the national interest.

    GENERAL INTRODUCTION
    The concept of national interest is a central idea of national security as a field of study. It is more than that. Viewed sometimes in the singular, it is the “one guiding star” in determining national policy1. It is the “touchstone” of strategic policy2 and serves as the “keystone” to national strategy. To survive and to secure the blessings of freedom is said to be the “irreducible national interest”. But there are more compelling needs. A telescope with high definition and a seismograph with some sensitivity would find a constellation of stars and more than a cornerstone – competing if not colliding against one another.
    Thus, national policies are said to emanate from the identified interests of a nation, stated or implied. The defense establishment in particular sees it as “an indispensable starting point for defining national security objectives as well as formulating national defense policy and strategy.” DND has a work in progress entitled “Defining and enhancing Philippine national interests: A national defense perspective.” Defense Policy 1998 was actually requested by the members of ASEAN and participants of the Asian Regular Forum [ARF] to include an articulation of national interests but was issued without them. To be sure, NEDA has a Medium Term Development Plan, NSC has a National Security Strategy, and DFA has a 10-year Foreign Policy Strategy.
    It must be stated that much needs to be desired about Philippine literature on national interest. But the sound bites before and after the recent national elections were interesting and intriguing. Senator Lacson raised the issue of national interest- above personal, human, and public interests- as the justification for the unification of the opposition. Senator Roco would fight for the national interest. Bishop Villanueva was “willing to die for the national interest” in response to a question about a perceived policy of the Catholic Church on population management. Wittingly or unwittingly, he has defined vital interest as one that a nation is willing to die for. Candidate Poe suggested to the majority in Congress to canvass the results in the “interest of the majority”. Senator Pimentel invoked the national interest for the opening of the election boxes. Speaker De Venecia perorated that the timely proclamation of the President is “in the highest national interest”. Immediately after the proclamation, the President promised to serve the national interests [plural], having come closest to identifying the national interests since after EDSA 2.
    In other countries, national interests are not as fleeting as ritualistic “bell-ringing” in an election campaign. Do the bells toll for whom Recto lamented as “a race with a mysterious urge to suicide” in a “nation run like hell by Filipinos” that Quezon would rather have than a “nation run like heaven by Americans”? But we will settle for the return of the bells of Samar taken by the Americans as war booty and tolling for our national interest ever since.
    In the meanwhile, let us walk the talk on our road to definition. The road is rough, consistent with the Philippines having the least paved walk in ASEAN but more text-talk than Europe and US combined. The unbeaten path is shrouded with the fog of the conceptual ambiguity of national interest.
    There are the contending frameworks for definition, between the realists and the liberals. The realist equates interest to power and the liberal to values. But in our country Marxists pass as liberals, liberals talk like Marxists, and “realists” make “life” property, “liberty” more property, and “property”- plunder.
    There is the semantic of nation and state- the tensions and diversities of our nation and a “weak and pre-mature state” struggling to be a strong republic. But even a remote tribe of the Sioux nation has defined an interest in a marooned enemy lieutenant identified as “dances with wolves” in a famous movie. Charter change [cha-cha] is a national dance interest. Yet a nation-state Japan, would postpone a clearer articulation of its national interests reportedly completed by the Commission on the Constitution of the Japanese House of Representatives.
    There are the fundamental interests, already contested by a protracted twin insurgencies to be shared values, to expect a consensus on specific interests in the absence of an effective ruling political party. There are the interests of sub-national groups complicated by trans-national influences. But even the 100 participants in a US Council of Foreign Relations [CFR] study reached unanimity on only one American vital interest.
    The concept of national interest has no universal meaning. The perception of a country’s national interest is shaped by its history, geography, ideology, economic conditions, strategic circumstances, values, and the state of the nation. Even our geography is dynamic.
    Thus, our road to definition is no packaged-tour. After Part One, you may want to be on your own but rejoin later at Part Seven and Part Eight, for a definition of our national interests and its identification with snapshots of Part Two and Six and ranked. Part Two is an exposition of the concept of national interest as the concept of national security enlarged. Part Three is a cursory visit of eighteen countries, from major powers to our ASEAN neighbors. Part Four is an exposition of national interest in the Constitution from values to core interests to directive-policies and specific provisions on the national interest. Part Five is going beyond the Constitutions from Biak-na-bato to Malolos to the Commonwealth era, and- bypassing the Japanese occupation- to martial law and EDSA 1. What were the laws, official promulgations and pronouncement of our leaders, and public advocacies on the national interest? Part Six is the realities of the national condition from EDSA 2 to the beginning of the new administration that provide challenges and opportunities to our national interests.
    Definition in modern telecommunication means “degree of clarity” and in optics the “clarity of image”. But the fog of our “permanent wars” blurs the views. Identifying is not any less problematic. We cannot even agree on a national ID. But psychology defines identifying as associating with. Certainly, we can identify with promoting a focused discussion on the national interest conditioned to interpret the national purpose – sometimes called the fundamental interests.

    CONCEPTS AND NOTIONS
    The only local articulation of the concept of national interest was by Senator Miriam Santiago in the 1999 debates over the Visiting Forces Agreement [VFA]: “The concept of national interest has no universal meaning. It can be defined on the basis of either objective or subjective factors. Objective factors include economic strength, military capabilities, and the size of the resource base. Subjective factors include morality, legality, or ideology. Whether the VFA will promote Philippine national interest depends upon whether the person defining national interest gives preference to objective or subjective gain. However, it is also widely accepted that there are three basic fundamental interests: physical survival, including territorial integrity; economic well being; and national self-determination.” In this connection, President Estrada stated that while the military bases agreement [MBA] was an issue of sovereignty, the VFA was a matter of security – a distinction that should fuel more debates.
    The Senator added that the concept of national interest has broadened to include domestic affairs as the concept of national security enlarged. Indeed, from the traditional dimensions of political, military, and economic, it now includes: resource depletion, environment, population growth, arms control, terrorism, crime, and technological. There is an ever-increasing importance of cross cutting transnational issues. Traditionally outward looking, the inward-look has pre-occupied the developing states. Actually, the move to broaden the scope of security was initiated by the Asian governments in the 1967 Bangkok declaration and gained acceptance in the West in the 1970’s. ASEAN concept of comprehensive security developed to be broader and more concrete than what was originated in Japan.
    In the Philippines, a concept of national security, which “revolved around the goal of national unity”, was adopted by the National Security Council (NSC) in 1992. The approach focused on seven elements with priorities centered on moral and spiritual consensus, cultural cohesiveness and economic solidarity, placing socio-political stability, ecological balance, territorial integrity, and external peace in the lower portion of the scale.
    Later the security framework gave more importance to socio-political stability and territorial integrity. Actually it has remained essentially the same. The “war against poverty” is even more paramount. The twin- insurgency is now aggravated by international terrorism, which top the national security agenda recently proposed by an NDCP study.
    The ejaculations of our politicians tend to define national interest as that something good above personal, family, and party interests. Putting that interest above our divided concerns logically consumes us more than our interests in our relations with other nations. Paraphrasing the National Security Adviser, we are so internally crises-prone to attend to our over-all national interests.
    The contending schools of thought on the national interest may tell us where to go or what to adopt. The realist-objectivist suggests that the absence of a supra state in the international system places states in perpetual competition under a constant state of anarchy. For Morgenthau, the doyen of Realism, this means that the fundamental national interest of any state was the protection of its physical, political and cultural identity against encroachments by other nations. Given the realist’s emphasis on material advantage, states pursue their own national interests in terms of power translated into military power through the acquisition of weapons. Might is right!
    In said view, a code of conduct in the South China Sea may be to explore for oil by an energy-hungry China which Siberia may not satisfy, among other advantages like fishing and the sea lines of communications [SLOC]. But Vietnam bloodied the Chinese in the Paracels before moving to the Spratlys and previously defeated the French, the Americans, and the Chinese not because of realism but patriotism and nationalism. The Vietnamese has ideals rooted in its history and culture.
    The idealist-romanticist school or liberal contends that the national interests are best served when the high-prized values of the nation are best served. It pays greater attention to economic emancipation than on military development and freedoms like freedom from disease, ignorance and poverty. It concerns itself more with domestic anarchy than international anarchy. Right is might!
    But the distinction is more useful as a heuristic device. Actually, the liberal school is pragmatic enough to recognize that self-defense is fundamental. Senator Blas Ople was liberal on the national ID system but realist on the war against terrorism. A musical distinction is that the liberal sings “peace and goodwill towards men” and the realist sings “peace to men of goodwill”. But we listen to the melody more than the lyrics.
    To be sure, economic emancipation is a condition precedent to military modernization. The small nation of Singapore is pragmatic enough to put national survival as the primary national interest but attended to economic development before having the most modern military in ASEAN with a defense industry equal to none. China’s Four Modernizations has the military at the last. Up to now, we are still debating as to which comes first. End result – no military solution and no holistic solution either.
    In retrospect, the concept of national interest was less vague and ambiguous in its role in explaining state action in relations to others: from feudal relations, to commercial city-states, to nations in the era of exploration, to colonization, to world wars, to the Cold War and finally to the advent of globalization. Now critics have argued that the “nation” and “national interest” are losing their supreme place in international relations. On one hand, a unitary national interest is inappropriate for pluralist societies; on the other, it clashes with global ideas. Simultaneously, however, national interest has grown in importance in the foreign security and foreign economic policies of developing nations as they impact on their domestic policies. After the demise of the Cold War and the enlargement of the concept of national security the major and the middle powers started to mind their national interests once more with greater vigor and rigor. It has also been useful to strategic engagements to see national interests shared by others as promoting common interests.
    In the Philippines, we are happy enough to hear in the words of Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago, a welcome “verbal diarrhea” on the subject by our politicians. May the disease increase!
    .

    NATIONAL INTEREST OF OTHER COUNTRIES
    “The ambiguity of the concept of national interest and the contending schools of thought notwithstanding, nations do articulate their interests with varying degrees of commonalities,” so revealed a cursory survey of 18 countries. The most materials came from the U.S. and Australia.
    Motivated by the end of the Cold War, among other reasons, a private Commission on American National Interests was established with membership from the most notable national security and foreign policy personalities with the institutional support of Harvard Center for Sciences and International Affairs, the Nixon Center, and The Rand Corporation. Its first report was in 1996 for the Clinton administration; the second in 2000 for the new Bush administration; and the third expected in 2004. The effects of 9/11 may have been preempted, officially for that matter, by the US National Strategy 2002 document. Earlier, 100 members of the famous Council of Foreign Relations succeeded to achieve consensus on a solitary vital interest. This Commission, funded by the Hauser Foundation, in its first report, arrived at 31 interests with 5 vital, 11 extremely important, 10 just important, and 5 less important. It reflected on a one-line summary by their wise men in the late 1940’s: “Preserve the United States as a free nation with fundamental institutions and values intact”.
    The Australian Ministries for Foreign Affairs and Trade with an advisory panel of eminent citizens published in 1997 its first White Paper “In the National Interest” that could be summarized into: “The security and independence of the national territory and the economic well being of Australians – the jobs and standard of living of its citizens”. It was highly influenced by the Asian economic growth that was later rudely interrupted by the Asian financial crisis before the paper was completely distributed. In February 2003, a new Foreign Policy White Paper on national interests [ANI] was issued followed by a Defense White Paper on security [ANS]. ANI and ANS reflect 9/11, the 8/12 bombing at Bali, and recent developments concerning weapons of mass destruction [WMD]. [Paul Gorao, Lusiada University, Portugal]
    In Japan, there was an increasing public call for a clearer articulation of national interest after the NK missile tests and the Iraq war. But the ruling party did not oblige in spite of a study reportedly completed at the Commission on the Constitution of the House of Representatives. PM Koizumi stated that: “I know what is good for Japan”. Former PM Nakasone commented that: “What I want to know is if he can do it”. [Asian Times, November 2002] However, the basis of its defense policy as enumerated in the annual National Defense Policy of Japan are: The promotion of efforts for international peace; establishment of the foundations for national security through domestic stability; development of an efficient defense capability; and adherence to the Japan-US Security arrangements.
    Russia has recently re-elected a President who once head the Security Council, which formulates the national interests. At CNN, the new Foreign Minister said: “The national interest of Russia is simple”. He added, as paraphrased – to have a nation that is secure and the well being of its people enhanced in a world at peace under international law and institutions. Russia’s national interests are the combined and balanced interests of the individual, society and the state in economic, domestic political, social, international, informational, military, border, and ecology.
    China national interests appear in the annual Defense Policy White Paper to include the following: Safeguarding state sovereignty; unity; territorial integrity and security; upholding economic development as the central task and unremittingly enhancing national strength; adhering to and improving the socialist system; maintaining and promoting social stability and harmony; and striving for an international environment of lasting peace and a favorable climate in China’s periphery.
    The national interests of China and Vietnam are approved by their respective Communist Parties. The ruling parties of the parliamentary governments surveyed formulate the national interests.
    All the core interests reveal an enlarged concept of national security. While those of the western countries are largely foreign policy- oriented, the notion of “common security” is apparent in the European countries and the Canadian “cooperative security” has gained headway. The Asian countries reflect the concept of “comprehensive security”. [Nature of Security, NDCP Manual]
    The commonalities are not unexpected. Sovereignty/Security and economic well being of the people are the priority interests of the 18 countries surveyed. Global peace was stressed by Canada, China, Russia, Japan, Indonesia, Cambodia, Norway, and Germany.
    But the Asian countries prioritized “unity” as national interest: China, Indonesia, Mongolia, Cambodia and Vietnam while espousing an ideology. It is not merely a means to attain domestic stability and social cohesion but a compelling need of the nation to claim or reclaim territorial integrity and political sovereignty. To China, Hong Kong, Macau, Tibet, and Taiwan are vital national interests. To Vietnam, the Spratly claim is a vital interest after losing control, in bloody conflict, the Paracels to China.
    Interestingly, “cultural identity” is crucial to Mongolia, Vietnam, Indonesia and Brunei. Singularly, “national survival” is Singapore’s highest priority to have a socially cohesive people with the most modern military in the ASEAN. Thailand placed the rights and welfare of its laborers abroad as a vital interest.
    Certainly, the national interests and how they are formulated of the nations surveyed are interesting to say the least. They provide models in the definition and identification of our own. The national interests of our primary ally, United States, may help our politicians avoid exaggerated perceptions of our importance and American “hidden intentions”. Those of other countries would provide confidence-building measures.
    As summarized and classified the national interests are: Appendix A
    Political/diplomatic
    State sovereignty and security
    Territorial integrity and security
    Security of the people, in and out
    Border security
    National survival
    Existence of civilization
    Survival of culture and traditions
    National unity
    Domestic stability
    Cooperation with other nations
    Global peace
    Survival of international systems

    Economic
    Well-being
    Progress
    Development
    Trade and investment
    Global competitiveness
    Overseas workers
    Energy
    Population management

    Social
    Stability and harmony/cohesion
    Unity
    Civilization and culture
    Education and health

    Environment
    National ecology
    Global environment
    Disaster control

    Technological
    Education
    Science and technology
    Informational
    Cyberspace

    Defense
    Self-reliant capability
    Defense alliances

    THE CONSTITUTION

    The Constitution is indispensable in the identification and definition of our national interests. Essentially, it is the fundamental national interest. In its Preamble is the distillation of the ideals and aspirations of our people. In the body of the Constitution are the guiding principles and policies of government. The national territory, with due respect to international law, is defined in Article 1. National interest is mentioned several times in the 1987 Constitution.
    Preamble
    The rule of law, regime of truth, and love were added to the l973 litany of justice, peace, freedom, and equality. The definition of our national interests, therefore, cannot be based solely on the objective factors of national power but the subjective factors of ideals as well. The effect may be seen, in a less abstract fashion, in the rest of the Constitution.
    But it can be said that the Preamble are values with interests. The national interests are ‘to build a just and humane society”; “to promote the common good”; “to conserve and develop our patrimony”; and “to secure to ourselves and our posterity the blessings of democracy and independence”, “imploring the aid of Almighty God”.
    Territory [Article II]
    The national territory as defined roughly consists of three parts: [1] Philippine archipelago; [2] all other territories; [3] waters air space and submarine areas. The principal point of reference for the delineation of the archipelago, according to the sponsors of this provision, is the Treaty of Paris. The only clear claim, however, to unilaterally delimit boundaries was respect to inland and territorial waters. The principle that it is not the Constitution that definitely fixes the extent and control of territory, is said to be accepted, specially as pertains to all other territories over which the Philippines “has sovereignty or jurisdiction” and the contiguous and exclusive economic zones that are covered by UNCLOS.
    Territorial interests in legitimate claims to Sabbah and Freedomland are under the realm of international law and territorial integrity as a national interest is thereby legal, acceptable and wise. The 1987 version, while it “removed language possibly offensive to an ASEAN neighbor” has preserved the 1973 Constitution and considered the 1986 UNCLOS. As an archipelagic state [Art 46] it has sovereignty over the waters enclosed by the archipelagic baselines [Art 49].
    Declaration of Principles [Article II]
    Art II contains interests with values. Sec 1 is ‘sovereignty of a democratic and republican state. Sec 2 is “peace and amity with all nations”. Sec 3 is “sovereignty of the State and the integrity of the national territory. Sec 4 is “to serve and protect the people”. Sec 5 is “the maintenance of peace and order” and the “promotion of general welfare”.
    State Policies [Article II]
    Foreign policy
    Sec 2 Art II [Declaration of Principles and State Policies] consists of three parts: [1] renunciation of war; [2] adoption of the principles of international law; [3] adherence to a policy of peace, freedom, cooperation, and amity with all nations. The third part is an abbreviated statement of an article on Foreign Relations approved by the 1971 Convention which read: “The Philippines shall pursue a foreign policy aimed at the fulfillment of the national interest in a world order based on equality, peace, freedom, justice, and prosperity for all nations”. The last two items of the third part – “cooperation, and amity with all nations” – were expressed more fully in aforesaid article, which read: “In the national interest and of international peace and cooperation, the Philippines may extend recognition and establish . . . with other nations irrespective of ideology”.
    Thus, it is clear that the guiding principle of Philippine foreign policy is the national interest. Whatever these ‘selfish” interests are, they are tempered, as Father Bernas observed, with concerns for peace and justice. Additionally, while the 1973 text was retained, the 1986 Commission read into the word “amity” the concept of “love” found in the Preamble.
    Independent foreign policy
    Sec. 7. Article II. The State shall pursue an independent foreign policy. In its relations with other states the paramount consideration shall be national sovereignty, territorial integrity, national interest, and the right to self- determination.
    This principle betrays a hidden aspiration for national interest. Real sovereignty is the capacity to conduct independent international relations. Actually, this section is the closest reference to a ban against foreign military bases that was originally drafted as a section in the Declaration of Principles, which read: ‘The State has the inherent right to self-determination, national independence and sovereignty. To ensure the integrity of such right, foreign military bases, troops or facilities shall not be allowed . . .” In the reformulations, “national interest” got listed together with vital interests, not as a catch-all term. The debates seemed to indicate that while a ban is in the national interest, declaring it under Article II is not. Thus, it became Sec 25, Art XVIII [Transitory Provisions]

    Nuclear weapons policy
    Sec. 8 Art II. The Philippines, consistent with national interest, adopts and pursues a policy of freedom from nuclear weapons in its territory.
    The sponsor of this provision explained that “consistent with” means “subject to” that is, “that both the adoption and the pursuit of the policy, as well as any exception therefrom, must be subject to the national interest”. The original draft was “consistent with considerations solely of national interest”. The “considerations” are what may be “defined by the executive and legislative departments”. But “solely” was dropped because there may other opposition based on conditions like peace in the region.

    Citizenship [Article IV]
    Sec 5 Art IV read: Dual allegiance of citizens is inimical to national interest and shall be dealt with by law.
    The sponsor of this provision explained that dual allegiance referred to that “unsettled kind of allegiance of persons who are already Filipinos but who, by their acts, may be said to be bound by a second allegiance to Peking or Taiwan”. It stemmed from the concerns about the impact of liberalized naturalization procedures on national security and exploitation of natural resources. Finally, national interest was debated in connection with security.
    National Economy and Patrimony [Article XII]
    Summary
    The trilogy of values, interests, and policies is found in the Constitution. The Preamble is values with interests. The Declaration of Principles is interest with values. The State Policies are policy objectives shaped by interests and values. Values and interests are not poles apart and could be alternative expressions of valuation The national survival of the Philippines is not just a fundamental interest but a core value as well.
    The specific constitutional citations of the national interest, however, are mainly with respect to relations with other nations, alien residents or business, and citizens with certain ethnicity to indicate some mandated priorities. But its concept of national interest is not exactly “selfish”. In the Preamble are ideals with a unique twist. “Love“ was read into the ideals of “peace and amity”. The Declaration of Principles renounces war, as if it were a previous policy. Make love, not war!
    As summarized and classified the national interests are: Appendix B
    Political/diplomatic
    Sovereignty of the State
    Territorial integrity
    Protection of the people
    Democratic and republican state
    Independence
    Cooperation and amity with all nations
    Global peace
    Adoption of international law
    Renunciation of aggressive war
    Conservation of patrimony
    Ban on nuclear weapons/foreign military bases
    Ban on political dynasty
    Governance/morality
    Civilian supremacy
    Human rights

    Economic
    Nationalist
    Private initiative
    Conservation and development of patrimony
    Common good
    Public interest
    Interest of welfare or defense

    Social
    Social justice
    Personal dignity and human rights
    Youth, women, and elderly
    Indigenous communities
    Non-government organizations
    National unity

    Environment
    National ecology

    Technological
    Priority to education
    Science and technology
    Communication and information

    Defense and Law and order
    Nationalist and patriotic military
    Civilian police force
    AFP to protect the people and the State
    Citizen’s armed forces

    CHAPTER FIVE
    BEYOND THE CONSTITUTION
    Our constitution-making started with Biak-na-bato, followed by Malolos in 1898, then the 1935 Constitution, the Japanese occupation charter, the 1973 Constitution, and the 1987 Constitution – which may be soon be subject to charter change [cha-cha]. After each of them are laws, official promulgations, articulations of our national leaders, and public opinion to include academic discussions and papers.
    The Declaration of Independence at Kawit in describing the red, white and blue of our national colors declared that it commemorated “the flag of the United States of America as a manifestation of our profound gratitude toward this Great Nation for its disinterested protection which it lent us and is continuing to lend us”. [Alejandro Roces, Philippine Star, June 12 2004] It may be discerned that the over-riding national interest was independence under the “disinterested protection” of America. Before that, the “emerging Filipino nation” was for reforms under Spain and representation in the Spanish Cortez.
    At Malolos, still unknowing of the “national interest” of America, Aguinaldo declared that “the next great task, having the conquest of territory completed, is the problem of peace – to formulate a solemn documentation . . . as the supreme expression of the national will”. The Philippines was the second most economically developed nation in the whole of Asia. But before Aguinaldo/Mabini could articulate fully the national interest, they were, in the words of American historian Walter Millis, “neatly double-crossed” [Salvador Araneta]. The national interest of America articulated no less in a dream by President McKinley supported by the “yellow press” of Pulitzer and Hearst prevailed.
    Before the Commonwealth, the dominant interest was independence once again, or a universal fundamental interest called self-determination. President Quezon would rather have a nation run like hell by Filipinos than a nation like heaven by the Americans. But the framers of the 1935 Constitution was also concerned that “the defense of the State is the prime duty of government”. Thus, Commonwealth Act # 1 was the National Defense Act, seemingly written in granite by Majors Eisenhower and Ord, because a new National Security Act has yet to be enacted while Fort Ord in California has long been closed.
    Before the fruition of the Defense plan, the Japanese rudely interrupted. Hell finally came, but run by the Japanese and the Americans, not by Filipinos. In 1946, independence was granted. But the national interest included the military bases of America, ostensibly for our national security, with the perceived “gain” from the sweeteners of military assistance out of defense excess materials and a Mutual Defense Treaty [MDT] that was to be found later as not good enough to justify a simple Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA). A bitter pill was the “parity” given to American business. All together made Recto lament that we are “a race with a mysterious urge to suicide”. Self-destruction is not a national interest. Wanton logging of our forests and illegal fishing followed.
    Soon enough, the national interest was emerging from the fires of political interchange. A more “nationalist Quirino” took over after the early death of Roxas, and a “Filipino First Garcia” after the untimely death of Magsaysay. Macapagal changed our independence from July 4 to June 12. The shortening of the bases duration and the end of parity would soon happen. The “blessings of democracy” in the 1935 Constitution that our heroes fought for in Bataan and Corregidor would be reformulated in the 1971 Constitutional Convention to “blessings of independence”. Independence is a fundamental interest that remains an aspiration.
    But the Declaration of Principles while identifiable as core values or abstract interests are not only not self-executory but are yet to be defined, as mentioned earlier – by the executive and legislative branches of government. Yet it was the judiciary that was revolutionized by the principle of “social justice”, one of the five, of the 1935 Constitution. The definition of the national territory that was not subsequently defined as a national interest led to embarrassments in London and Bangkok over Sabbah and revolutionized the “Moro nation”. A revolutionary “new society” defined out of the principles that have increased from five to ten in the 1973 Constitution turned out to be out of sync with “the blessings of democracy” in the 1935 Preamble. A “defining moment” would come twenty years after 1946. That restored the ‘blessings of democracy” and added democratic to the republican state. But it was the judiciary once more that enabled one of the now 28 provisions of the 1987 Declaration of Principles and State Policies, Section 16, on the “right to a healthful environment” to be without need for further legislation. Legislation for local and vested interests dominated.
    It was the parliament of the streets that were more active in their definition of a version of national interests. Articulated between the lines of worn-out cold war slogans and raging anti-globalization, they protested for “the national interest” against joining the “coalition of the willing” against terrorism and the war in Iraq and the effects of globalization. Earlier the left was active in territorial interests bordering on expansionism and a self-reliant modernization of the military-if only to preclude American military aid.
    The specific invocations of the national interest in Article II remained to be too “prudently” undefined to be a basis of an “independent foreign policy” and nuclear weapons policy”. The ‘national interest” in Article IV was rendered ineffective by investments from Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia, and Indonesia. The said “national interest Article XII” hardly made a dent in development planning before it was overtaken by globalization and WTO. It was again the judiciary that defined the national interest in the Manila Hotel disposition. The Malaysians may have Sabbah but not the former quarters of MacArthur. But the nationalist restrictions have become controversial.
    From the Development Plan, there was no discussion of the national interest in the 1998 Defense Policy Paper, to the 1999 NSC reference paper “Our National Security Strategy.” The draft new Defense Policy Paper is awaiting foreign policy inputs. However, DND has a work in progress entitled “Defining and Advancing Philippine National Interests”.
    With not much work in the academe circulated either, what has our political leaders have to say about national interest? As mentioned earlier, it was only Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago who delivered a speech in the Senate on the concept of national interest and national security. To be fair Senator Tatad, asked for our definition of national interests during the debates on the [VFA]. The sound bites on national interest before and after the recent national elections were interesting enough to be mentioned in the Introduction.
    But in a not-so chance encounter with former President FVR, NEDA Secretary, and PAL president during the recent launching of the 2007 RP Mt Everest Climb, President Ramos stressed peace and development as the foundations of our national interest. As the super-salesman of our country, he was concerned about national reputation and self-esteem. The Everest climb is in the national interest indeed! The PAL president did not say that an “open skies policy” is in the national interest. The NEDA Secretary was concerned with political reforms to spur economic growth by more foreign and domestic investments and enhanced exports that generate more revenues. How about the “nationalist” provisions in the Constitution? Is population growth in the national interest? He has been quoted or misquoted that it is – without it we would not have 8 billion dollars a year from the Filipino overseas workers.
    Beyond the Constitutions, the last word has yet to be said before another Constitution is done.

    CHAPTER SIX
    REALITIES OF THE NATIONAL CONDITION
    While opposing politicians have verbalized a “national interest” [singular] before and after the recent elections, the incumbent President and some members of the Cabinet have been closer to articulating the national interests [plural]. After EDSA 2, in a VIN d’honneur for the diplomatic community she stated the realities of our foreign policy:
    • The paramount influence of China, Japan and the United States in the security and economic evolution of East Asia;
    • The growing context of ASEAN in global affairs;
    • The role of the international Islamic community;
    • The role of the European Union;
    • The looming importance of inter-regional organizations;
    • The protection of the environment, natural resources and maritime territory;
    • The drive for foreign markets and foreign investments in which Europe is also a major source along with the U.S., Japan, China and ASEAN;
    • The importance of international tourism;
    • The crucial role of overseas Filipinos in socio-economic stability.
    DFA Secretary Albert restated the aforesaid realities during a round table discussion [RTD] of the Strategic Studies Group [SSG] with members of the Cabinet precisely on the national interests on April 28, 2004. She said that the President might have to make an update soon, to include the need to combat international terrorism.
    In the RTD, a former NSC Adviser, Gen Alexander Aguirre, suggested additional realities with international implications, as follows:
    • The threat of international terrorism;
    • The extensive influence of globalization;
    • The threat of organized transnational crimes;
    • The existence of sources of conflict or tensions in the region; and
    • The existence of communist and secessionist insurgencies in the country.
    All the aforementioned realities were considered challenges to our national interests. In this connection, the DFA Secretary enunciated the three pillars of our foreign policy: first – the preservation and enhancement of national security; second – the promotion and attainment of economic security; and third – the protection of the rights, and the promotion of the welfare and interests of Filipinos overseas.
    It was discussed that our vital interests lie wherever the evolution of our security and economy are affected. Our vital interests lie wherever our 7 million overseas workers are, in 165 countries and on ships on all the world’s oceans. Thus, our vital interest is also world peace and global stability. The said realities of foreign policy indicate where they are, to include the countries hosting the peace negotiations with communist and secessionist rebels. Except that others are more vital than some.
    Prudence may seem to relegate our territorial claims to less vital even if the Vietnamese claim in the South China Sea may be in its vital interests. But the protection of our archipelagic resources cannot be less than vital together with the control of our borders and entry points to smuggling of human and material goods, drugs and disease as mandated by Sec 21 Article XII of the Constitution.
    If the influences of China, Japan, and America are paramount then our national interests with respect to each of them must be defined. If there is a growing importance of inter-regional relations are important, then the integration of ASEAN to deal with China and India as emerging economic giants are also important if not vital.
    The 10 year Foreign Policy Strategy of DFA reflect said interests although DND would need a country-by-country approach specially the countries of our vital national interests, as the USND requested from DFA during the RTD. Assuming, for example that, contrary to conventional wisdom, the military does not gain much from the RP-US ‘Balikatan” exercises in terms of training, it may be gaining some in logistics. Or in a higher plane, it may enhance our geo-political importance to include economic considerations of market and investments. An array of our national interests in our relations with USA would clarify that.
    As to China, what have we gained so far from a one-China policy? Market for our exports or competition to our exports… more investment from China or lesser investment from Taiwan… peace and security in the South China Sea or Mischief? Nevertheless, are we to be a “coaling station” once again for America’s interest in China? As to Japan, are we more concerned with its economy as a primary market for our exports and a major source of direct foreign investments and assistance than an imagined repeat of the past war?
    Earlier than the RTD, DFA elaborated on the other realities of foreign policy. It declared that: “the defense of the nation’s sovereignty and the protection of its environment can be carried out only to the extent that it asserts its rights over its maritime territory and get others to respect those rights” and that, the Philippines will also endeavor to promote its ties with South Korea and Australia and promote bilateral and multilateral relations for common interests.
    But foreign security policy and foreign economic policy start from the homeland. During the RTD still additional realities were considered:
    • The call for political stability and national unity to include constitutional reforms.
    • The fiscal deficit and the burgeoning public debt;
    • The “permanent war” against poverty, ignorance, over-population, and crimes – specially graft and corruption;
    On top of these realities are political reforms, even before constitutional reforms, for a strong and democratic governance to spur economic growth, which in turn will promote social cohesion and stability. National unity, the buzzword of the season, is both an end and a means. The realities of the national condition are finally reordered as follows: Appendix C.
    • The need for political stability and national unity to include constitutional reforms.
    • The fiscal deficit and burgeoning public debt.
    • The drive for foreign markets, foreign investments, sources of energy, and tourism.
    • The “permanent war” against poverty, ignorance, disease, over-population, and crime-especially graft and corruption.
    • The safety and welfare of overseas Filipinos, whose role is crucial to socio-economic stability.
    • The threat of international terrorism.
    • The communist and secessionist insurgencies.
    • The protection of the environment, natural resources, and maritime territory.
    • The paramount influence of China, Japan, and USA in the security and economic evolution of East Asia.
    • The growing context of ASEAN and the Islamic world.
    • The threat of organized trans-national crime.
    • The extensive influence of globalization.
    • The importance of regional and international organizations.
    For the purpose of defining our national interests, the study re-ordered the realities of the national condition from political survival to economic survival to social survival to be able to attend more effectively to internal security and territorial integrity, and so on. The inaugural address of the President validated these realities, except constitutional reforms and population management. According to Senator Recto, she has another FPJ to confront – Fiscal deficit, power, and jobs.

    CHAPTER SEVEN
    DEFINING OUR NATIONAL INTEREST
    We embarked on the road to definition sufficiently warned that the concept of national interest has no universal meaning; that it is not clueless but adequately vague; and that it is ambiguous even as to who defines the interests. The unbeaten path was rough and shrouded with the fog of contending frameworks. But we traveled light with nothing but for the earlier initiatives of DND.
    Framework
    Between the frameworks of the realist-pragmatic and the idealist-romanticist schools we endorsed the idealist-pragmatic marriage of the contending views by DND. It is noteworthy that defense/military should logically be realist-objectivist that equates national interest to military power. But we found that the Constitution has a surfeit of values, core interests, and directive-policies that negate the realist views. That it renounced war as an instrument of national policy not as a lame adoption of the Kellogg-Briand pact of 1928 against wars of aggression but as a mind-set against militarism, according to Father Bernas, of the moral and political leadership. That ‘selfish” national interest was tempered by “peace and amity” with all nations in the 1973 Constitution but still read into it the concept of “love” in the 1987 charter. But our framework is also pragmatic, because defense is basic to sovereignty in an ever-changing security seascape.
    Policy salience
    We adopted the view that national interests pertain to both domestic and international affairs. While the US is largely foreign security policy and foreign economic policy oriented, the rest of the western developed countries have a balanced mix of vital interests. The notion of comprehensive security in Asia, particularly in ASEAN, put national interest as a guiding principle of national security policy to which we subscribe. Moreover, the Constitution is crystal clear in this regard. It mandated specifically that national interest be a paramount consideration of foreign policy [Article II] and national economy and patrimony [Article XII] as well. The ejaculations of our political leaders are mostly on domestic interests, rudely interrupted in the streets by recycled cold war slogans.
    State/nation/people
    We are not waylaid by the concerns of political sociologists on the semantic of nation and state. In our Constitution and jurisprudence, state and nation are interchangeable. That is why it is a state of the nation address, not state of the state. But we are persuaded that state sovereignty be essentially people sovereignty, the Montevideo Convention notwithstanding. There is, in the words of Commissioner Nolledo, a “justifiable redundancy” of people in the 1987 Constitution. Finally, if the Bangsa Moro could articulate its “national interests” why not the Filipino nation to which it belongs.
    Starting definition
    With the conceptual baggage assumed away, we started with a simple working definition suggested by a former National Security Adviser: “National interest is what is good and beneficial to the nation”. To that we added “in domestic and international affairs”. Then we made a laundry list of goods and benefits, from the pedestrian [traffic discipline] to the profound [submarine resources protection]. But we encountered the national ID system somewhere between. That was a “defining moment”. Here we are identifying national interests when we cannot even agree on a plastic of personal identity!
    Round Table Discussion
    Thus, we suggested a round table discussion [RTD] to graduate from the naughty to the sublime. In the countries we surveyed, national interests are articulated by political parties; by private commissions of eminent national personalities and think tanks; or by the bureaucracy assisted by a council of experts. Absent the foregoing, we settled for the members of the Cabinet and the Strategic Studies Group [SSG].
    The President of NDCP opened the RTD, with a definition from the Brookings’s Institute: “The general and continuing ends upon which the nation acts”. Caveat: Might be too general rendering the concept ambiguous a tool of analysis or as a basis of political decisions.
    It turned out that DFA knew where our foreign security and foreign economic interests lie. But they cannot be all vital. Some are less or just important. DND even had, in an earlier study, a definition of what is a vital interest, from a defense perspective. DBM was predictably concerned with the means to pursue the ends that should be prioritized. NSC lamented that our nation is too crisis-prone to consider more deliberately our array of national security interests. But all the participants believe that our national interests should be equated to our fundamental ideals and aspirations.
    Thus, the NDCP working definition adopted from a 1969 AFP Intelligence Manual got back in harness: “The fundamental and continuing concerns for which the nation acts”. America, where this definition came from, has a sturdy one-line summary of core interests formulated by the wise men of the 1940’s: to “preserve the United States as a free nation with our fundamental institutions and values intact”. Our wise men of 1935, 1987, and 1987 have a one-paragraph summary: The Preamble of the Constitution – sometimes called as the national purpose -further elaborated by 28 principles and state policies. In our study of the Constitution, we have classified them into the dimensions of national policy. We have a surfeit of fundamental and continuing concerns.
    Values/Interests/Policies
    These constitutional concerns are in a trilogy of values – interests – policies. At that level of abstraction, values and interests are interchangeable. The security of our sovereign people and their common good is not just a core interest but a core value as well. The policies are “guidelines for the orientation of the state” and the principles are “binding rules which must be observed in the conduct of government”. But at the level of Article II, they are essentially values and interests as well. Down the hierarchy, implementing policies to protect or advance the interests are distinct. These policies require complex analyses of challenges and opportunities, policy options and gains and losses. The fundamental interests help focus debates on said policy issues.
    Constitutional priorities
    The Constitution did not leave us clueless on the priority of our fundamental concerns. The “binding rules” are sovereignty of the people and the State and their protection; territorial integrity; maintenance of peace and order; protection of life, liberty, and property; and the promotion of the general welfare [common good]. These priorities are essential for “the enjoyment by all the people of the blessings of democracy”.
    The “guidelines” of 21 state policies specified national interests to be defined “by the executive and legislative branches of government” as the paramount consideration of foreign policy in general, foreign military bases and troops, and nuclear weapons. An entire Article XII that specified national interest further elaborated the state policy on the national economy. Priority was mandated to education, science and technology, and arts and culture.
    Well-being and Security
    With the fundamental and continuing concerns established, the second part of the NDCP working definition completed the concept: “The totality of goals and aspirations which a nation issues or may pursue at any given time for its own welfare and security”. It should be noted that national goals [desired conditions] are often listed between national interests and national objectives.
    Now we have the trilogy of ends – situation – means. The ends are now focused on well being [welfare] and security. These are the basic goals of national security also called the ’irreducible national interest”. National security, in turn, while an end [having secure core values] is also means [defending the core values] in order to pursue the nation’s goals. Thus NDCP say that – the degree of security enjoyed by a state is directly proportional to its capacity to effectively promote and protect its national interests; and that without national security, a nation’s interest cannot be attained and safeguarded.
    Core definition
    From the tale of three working definitions of the concept of national interest we should arrive at our core interests. Most countries surveyed expressed them in one big paragraph that summarized up front the detailed discussion, if they care to issue them. Our equivalent, more comprehensive really, is the Preamble of our Constitution.
    As mentioned earlier, The Commission on America’s National Interests reflected on a one-line summary and proceeded to work on two [1] survival as a free nation with our fundamental institutions and values: and [2] the conditions required to safeguard and enhance the well-being of Americans in a free and secure nation. After the recent Russian elections the new Foreign Minister said that Russian core interest is simple: A nation that is secure and the well- being of its people enhanced in a world at peace. Australia expressed its core interests as: The security and independence of the national territory and the economic well being of Australians – the jobs and standard of living of its citizens. What these countries summarized, however, are volumes of analyses still being updated.
    The said summaries remind us that world peace is no longer an abstraction outside of national interests. Independence should ring a bell to us. That was what our heroes fought and died for from 1896 and before, to 1986 when the “blessings of democracy” became the “blessings of democracy and independence”. Territory should remind us that we are but “a dot in the ocean” as the USSR UN delegate told Romulo, if we are not conscious that we are the second largest archipelagic state. Jobs, jobs, and jobs – are the opening four-letter word of the new administration.
    The core interests of the Philippines, deriving from the Preamble, in the pattern of the models above could be: The economic well being of the sovereign Filipino people in a just and humane society in a secure and independent archipelagic nation with fundamental institutions and values enhanced; or the security and independence of the Philippine archipelago with fundamental institutions and values enhanced and the economic well being of Filipinos in a just and humane society – jobs, adequate income, and dignity.
    Clusters and layers
    These core interests are a cluster surrounded by clusters and layers of interests. Territorial integrity is a cluster of [1] the archipelago, [2] waters, air space, and submarine areas, and [3] other territories. Essential for the enjoyment of the blessings of democracy, according to Section 5, Article II of the Constitution is a cluster of [1] maintenance of peace and order, [2] protection of life, liberty, and property, and [3] promotion of the general welfare. The promotion of a just and dynamic social order [Sec 9] is another cluster. Economic growth is a cluster and layers within clusters. Now the bottom line is the “fiscal crisis”. The priority to education has layers such as the salaries of teachers that eat up probably 90 percent of the priority. The same is true with the modernization of the armed forces. Special relations with the US have layers of interests, of which the least important could appear as vital. We can be lost in a labyrinthine maze.
    Hierarchy of interests
    Subjective choice and creativity is our best hope to identify our vital interests consistent with the idealist-pragmatic framework of definition. A DND study defined vital interests as those over which the Philippine state is willing to go to war because they are those things that the Filipino live for and even willing to die for. There are many who are squeamish about war as if a sovereign nation has no right to defend itself. Others are just cynical about our capacity to wage one just because we cannot take away the insurgents within and nobody is crazy enough to invade us – to solve our problems. Yet the last line in our national anthem is “Ang mamatay nang dahil sa iyo”. To be sure our overseas workers are willing to be tortured, raped, killed for the interests of their families.
    Short of an “enemy at the gates” we are confident that when a threat against genuinely vital interests is identified, the nation will act to override other concerns. It has not worked that well in the “wars” against poverty and the like because it is a figure of speech. We have not succeeded in eliminating the insurgents perhaps because they are our own people. But what shall we do if China defines the Malampaya gas and oil field within its territory because it is a piss away from Mischief? What must we do to the rich if they persist in cheating in taxes and the grafters who rob us blind? No more EDSA after 1-2-3! How about EDSA-poor?
    Thus, we should draw the line to avoid unnecessary “wars” and loss of egos. Our vital interests should not be inflated nor deflated. Is the proclamation of the president by congress “in the highest national interest”? Is the opening of ballot boxes in the national interest? Is it the unification of the opposition or the two-party system that is in the national interest? Is it the shift to parliamentary system? Perhaps the vital war is political reforms – politics being the most destructive force in the body politic, according to the Bishop of Manila.
    But to remove the fog of war, we are adopting suitable foreign models for our hierarchy of interests. Vital interests are conditions that are strictly necessary to protect and enhance the well being of Filipinos in a secure and independent nation. Less vital are those that if compromised would severely affect but not strictly endanger the ability of the government to protect and enhance the well being of Filipinos in a secure and independent nation. Important interests are those that are intrinsically good and beneficial to the nation but would not cause immediate major consequences or effect. Other countries use the gambling chips of blue, red, white, and translucent for the hierarchy of interests. We suggest the three colors of our national flag – red for vital, blue for less vital, and white for important interests.
    Identifying interests
    The laundry list for washing and ironing could be long. Alas, the water is no longer clean and the power is expensive!
    There is a hierarchy in strategy with time scales to help. On the summit are values – that are very enduring. Below it is interests – mostly constant. Then lower are the sequence of objectives, strategy, and policies – slowly changing. The lowest group is operational objectives, operational strategies, current policies, and operational tactics – situation dependent, temporal.
    Our fundamental values are more or less established in the Constitution, declarations of our statesmen, if not the ejaculations of our politicians. We have a slew of national security objectives, defense objectives, foreign policy objectives, and the consequent strategies and policies. But the national interests are missing. We could identify them by descending from values and ascending from the objectives. Somewhere between we could encounter the national interests.
    For example, the 1998 Defense Policy Paper stated that “national defense objectives are derived from national security interests” – that were not articulated. In national strategy and policy, objectives could be broad or specific, but they are conditioned to interpret national interest. For further example, one “defense objective” was to protect and defend our territory against external aggression. It is general enough to be an interest but too general to be analyzed and interpreted by an objective. Thus, our territorial interests should be identified as a layer of interests from the archipelago and inland waters outward to the territorial waters and finally to the exclusive economic zone [EEZ]. There may be “other territories “ that may not be vital but still important. Las Palmas, southeast of Davao, is within the Treaty of Paris limits, but what we can we do? Similar thought-process may be done to the rest of the defense objectives to arrive at an identification of interests and consequently at objectives that would make better sense for strategy and policy.
    In this process, national security interests could be identified from the defense objectives in the 1998 Defense Policy Paper in line with 1992 NSC security framework, as updated, to be as follows: Appendix D to include 2003 DND paper.
    • Socio-political stability by protecting the people and securing the State as one nation-state.
    • Territorial integrity by securing the Philippine archipelago and asserting our rights over the EEZ and “other territories”.
    • Protecting our communities from internal threats.
    • Safeguarding Filipino lives and property during times of crises and calamities, here and abroad.
    • Supporting the national security efforts towards economic growth, cultural cohesion, moral and spiritual consensus, and ecological balance.
    • Contributing to political and diplomatic initiatives to promote international and regional stability and security.
    • Instrumentally, developing a balanced, credible, and modern defense force of active and reserve components with a professionalism founded on a patriotic spirit and nationalist consciousness.
    In contrast, a 2003 DND study identified vital and important interests as follows:
    • National unity
    • Defense of our national sovereignty and territorial integrity
    • Protection of the Filipino people, to include their values, ways of life and institutions
    • Security of our strategic resources and critical infrastructures
    • World peace and regional stability
    • Freedom of the sea and air navigation and security of vital lines of communication
    • Preservation of ecological balance
    The above list omitted a crucial instrumental interest in the development of a modern and credible police force for the maintenance of peace and order and internal security operations. It is noteworthy that both lists above covered all the bases, so to speak, except our “special relations” with the US. Defense policies of countries with a treaty alliance with US consider such relations as vital national interest, security and economic. How about the newest US major non-NATO ally? And regional stability is pregnant with strategic interests.
    The national interests identi

    • Karl, the article got cut off… I saw this before but I only really got to read it now.

      The article is downright brilliant… if you want send it to me by mail I will make it a full article with pictures.

      I assume the author is Commodore Plaridel Garcia, the style is older generation but that is OK… ask him if I may republish it please.

    • In the most negative scenario – yes. If you continue to accept fate and not do anything. Iyong nangyari na at nandiyan na, accept it then you shape it from there.

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