Senator Imee Marcos, the Chairman of the Senate Committee on foreign Relations, visited the AFP Western Command on March 19, with troops and other key leaders of the Command to discuss her initiative of reviving and strengthening the country’s Self-Reliant Defense Posture (SRDP)-- a program championed by her father, the late President Ferdinand Marcos Sr. in the 1970s which enabled the country to manufacture its own armaments and produce its indigenous vehicles from mini cruisers to speed boats.
Senator Marcos believes that the revival and strengthening of the SRDP will be a big boost to the AFP’s modernization effort adequately addressing the requirements for the desired defense build-up through maximizing the utilization of indigenous materials. The senator’s visit came in very timely as Wescom feels, firsthand, the brunt of an ever-changing security landscape that the country is facing especially in the West Philippine Sea.
This was reinforced by the Wescom Chief, Vice Admiral Alberto Carlos PN in his earlier remarks that “we are grappling with the realities of our complex relations with our neighbors in Asia, our allies in the region, the United States and other countries."
In the course of the dialogue, Wescom offered several recommendations attuned to a self-reliant defense posture that seeks to improve our external defense operations in the West Philippine Sea such as the support for the sustainment of effective presence in the Kalayaan Island Group, shipbuilding and maintenance, sub-surface detection capability, drone and anti-drone capability, and coastal defense.
Wescom is optimistic that after the dialogues with all parties concerned, the Senator’s legislation will soon be seen in great form and substance and evolve into an accelerated pace of execution. “Wescom is not the last frontier. It is the first frontier and certainly, we need to help you in every way we can,” says Senator Marcos as she vowed to bring to the senate the urgency of supporting Wescom.
After the dialogue, Senator Marcos stayed for a while to also meet with the Young Farmers of Palawan and several other local media outfits at Wescom’s Rizal Reef Hall before she left for another scheduled engagement in Narra, Palawan. She was accompanied by Governor Dennis Socrates of the Province of Palawan and Congressman Edward Hagedorn of Palawan’s Third District. (WESCOM)