SHORTLY before the expected happy festivities at the end of 2021 were celebrated, typhoon “Rai” moved into the Philippine area of responsibility on the night of December 14th. The Filipino Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) named it “Odette” and as it approached land, it unexpectedly quickly developed into a Category 5 super typhoon when it first encountered Siargao.
Typhoon “Odette” was a powerful and catastrophic tropical cyclone that struck our country. It was the first category 5 super typhoon to develop in December since Nock-ten in 2016, and the third category 5 super typhoon recorded in the South China Sea, after ‘Pamela’ in 1954 and ‘Rammasun’ in 2014 . “
Approximately 16 million Filipinos were in the badly affected areas and more than 2 million needed help. The authorities were prepared for this and reacted quickly; The Civil Defense Office and key agencies worked with local government units and their leaders around the clock to meet the most pressing needs.
What was uplifting, heartwarming, and moving was the abundance of care and support from private organizations, celebrities, charitable and nongovernmental organizations, civil society, public corporations, foundations, and even families; from civic associations, universities and restaurants to small businesses, individuals, village clubs and alumni organizations, everyone shared what they could.
A commendable alumni group is the “Matatag class”. You are the graduates of the first Executive Master in National Security Administration, or E-MNSA, a program of the National Defense College of the Philippines of the Department of National Defense implemented through the Philippine Center of Excellence in Defense, Development and Security (PCEDS.) Ins Was brought to life) in July 2020. The E-MNSA is a rigorous 39-part Masters course in the theory and practice of national security. It combines synchronous and asynchronous online learning sessions and face-to-face teaching on its campus at Camp Aguinaldo. A policy research paper is a final requirement.
The program was led by Dr. Gloria Jumamil-Mercado MNSA, the first female commodore in the Philippine Navy, directed and designed and developed together with Deputy House Speaker and Antiquities MP Loren Legarda MNSA and Defense Minister Delfin Lorenzana. The NDCP is the government’s premier defense and national security education, training, and research center.
The Matatag class is made up of senior officials from the national government, the private sector, local government units, and NGOs. They came back together in December after graduating on August 5, 2021 with the aim of providing relief and complimenting the entire nationwide relief campaign for families affected by Typhoon Odette. Members pooled their resources, donations and mobilization efforts for operations in Bohol, Dinagat Islands, Surigao del Norte, Siargao, Palawan and Southern Leyte. To date, the class has collected and promoted more than 100,000 liters of filtered water, 90,000 wooden boards, 8,000 square feet of shelter material and 30,000 kilograms of rice, among other things, in order to remain true to the corps spirit imparted through the training of the NDCP via serving leadership.
The NDCP was first conceived in 1957 when the military advisers to the Southeast Asia Treaty Organization (Seato) proposed the establishment of a college of war in the Philippines. After years of political study and formulation, Executive Order 44 was signed on August 12, 1963, authorizing the establishment of the National Defense College of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (NDCAFP) and placing the college under the administrative and operational direction of the Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces by President Diosdado P. Macapagal.
Diosdado Pangan Macapagal Sr. was the ninth President of the Philippines and served from 1961 to 1965. A native of Lubao, Pampanga, he graduated from the University of the Philippines and the University of Santo Tomas. His notable achievements as President included the introduction of the first land reform law, the liberalization of foreign exchange and import controls and the change in the country’s independence day from the colonial date of July 4th to the actual declaration on June 12th.
President Macapagal died of heart failure in 1997 at the age of 86, leaving the Filipino people with a magnificent institution, the National Defense College of the Philippines.
The NDCP opened its first Resident Course (RC) in February 1966. It welcomed its 57th regular course a few months ago and declared 42 new National Security Administrators to graduate from the first Executive Masters in National Security Administration program in August 2022. I am one of them.
The author holds a degree in psychology from the University of the Philippines and two executive programs from Harvard University, first from Harvard Kennedy School in Cambridge, Massachusetts in 2005 and from Kadir Has University in Istanbul, Turkey in 2015. He holds a master’s degree in National Security Administration and is a commander in the Philippine Navy and has been awarded two bronze cross medals.