Philippine Army unveils transformation roadmap

The Philippine Army has unveiled a program called the Army Transformation Roadmap (ATR) that defines its strategic direction for the next 18 years aimed at making the Army stronger and more dynamic in securing the country.

Army chief Lt. Gen. Emmanuel T. Bautista said the “ATR is in line with the thrust of the command to develop a solid and rational basis for the Army’s medium-term and long-term organizational and capability thrusts and programs.”

The ATR will complement the military’s Internal Peace and Security Plan (IPSP) “Bayanihan” program in winning the peace through economic development.

“The road to peace is long and difficult. However, in the face of adversities and challenges, we should remain focused on the objective. We have to push on,” Bautista said.

Under the IPSP, development projects, particularly in conflict-affected areas, will be given top priority by the national government as soon as these areas are cleared of insurgents.

However, aside from maximizing the use of development and civil-military operations, equal importance is strictly followed by the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) for the adherence of human rights by operating troops, especially during combat operations, to ensure that only defiant armed groups are the ones that pay the price for their violent acts.

"The Army is determined to embrace genuine transformation that will permeate to every level of the organization,” Bautista said, adding that “its platform is comprehensive and an interrelated approach involving changes from every aspect of the organization: from people, to resource management, to internal processes, and to outcomes that determine the effectiveness and the efficiency of the Army.”

He also said that the ideals and philosophies of the transformation program “is in line with the thrust of the command to develop a solid and rational basis for the Army’s medium-term and long-term organizational and capability thrusts and programs.”

The ATR seeks to integrate the different reform efforts currently being pursued in order to optimize their organizational impact, he said, as “it aims to prepare the Army for the future by building a stronger, more dynamic and better institution.”

Bautista likewise said that the “ATR is based on the Performance Governance System (PGS), which espouses a performance-based good governance culture.

“Through the PGS, the ATR promotes an Army that is institution-led and is not personality-driven; that thinks of long-term rather than of short-term; with interconnected, sustained, and continuous priorities instead of single issues and with strategies before tactics,” the Army chief said.

Bautista said there are three elements in the ATR, namely:

-- Governance Charter Statement that defines the strategic direction of the Army for the next 18 years.

-- The Army intends to attain its desired end-state or vision of the future.

-- The PGS translates the broad strategy and goals into measurable items and actionable details that help facilitate strategy execution.

At the same time, the Army remains fully supportive of the ongoing peace process being pursued by the government with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and the Communist Party of the Philippines/New People’s Army/National Democratic Front (CPP/NPA/NDF).

“We will continue to reach out to our brothers to choose the peaceful path and those who do so merit our unwavering support,” Bautista said.
However, Bautista warned that “for those who insist in using arms to threaten the safety and well being of our people, we will apply legitimate force.”

“Yes, we will seek justice against those who commit atrocities through appropriate, calibrated and focused response without necessarily jeopardizing the peace process and within the bounds of human rights, international humanitarian law and rule of law," Bautista said, adding that “after all, the use of legitimate force within the government’s overall framework of achieving peace and security is within the ambit of IPSP Bayanihan.”

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