PH security sector 'stronger' under Duterte's term: Lorenzana
By Priam Nepomuceno / Philippine News Agency
MANILA – Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana on Monday said President Rodrigo Duterte accomplished most of the things he planned to do in the security sector.
"Five years on, I believe we’ve accomplished most of the things we planned to do. The Department of National Defense is stronger than it was before. President Duterte strongly supported the AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines) especially in protecting our national sovereignty and territorial integrity. We have intensified our internal security, counter-terrorism and peace-building efforts and HADR (humanitarian assistance disaster relief)," Lorenzana said in a Facebook post, ahead of Duterte's final State of the Nation Address (SONA) on Monday afternoon.
Lorenzana, a retired Army major general, admitted that at first, he had qualms about taking the job as DND chief, a post offered to him by the President on May 31, 2016, a few weeks after winning the presidential race.
"On May 31, 2016, then President-elect Rodrigo Duterte told me that I would be his SND (Secretary of National Defense). I couldn’t sleep for several nights thinking of the enormity of the job. I even contemplated going back to him to decline the appointment and ask for a lesser job," he added.
After praying for discernment, Lorenzana said he realized that he could make a difference in the defense sector.
"My 31 years of experience in the Army and 14 years in the diplomatic corps has prepared me adequately," the DND chief added.
Lorenzana said Duterte's love for Filipinos translated to a comprehensive program that gave rebels the chance to begin anew, resulting in their massive surrender and social reintegration.
"Under his leadership as Commander-In-Chief, milestones were reached in the AFP Modernization Program through the acquisition of capital assets. The AFP has now upgraded its systems, doctrines, and acquired vital equipment," he said.
Some of these newly acquired assets include the two newly acquired Jose Rizal-class missile frigates, the six-newly delivered Embraer A-29B "Super Tucano" close-air support aircraft and around 10 Polish-made S-70i "Black Hawk" helicopters, of which five more are to be delivered within the year.
"We still have a long way to go but we will continue to accomplish many more in our last year together. We will serve the Filipino people the best way we can under President Duterte's 'tapang at malasakit'," Lorenzana said. (PNA)