The new President of the National Defense College of the Philippines (NDCP), LtGen Ferdinand M Cartujano PAF (Ret), met with all officials and staff of the College for the first time during the President’s Hour held last 16 August 2022.
The President’s Hour is a platform by which the College President convenes all members of the NDCP family and engages them in a dialogue on a wide variety of issues and concern.
President Cartujano delivered the following message:
“Sa aking mga kasamahan dito sa NDCP, isang napakagandang umaga sa inyong lahat.
“Ako’y lubos na nagagalak na makita kayong lahat upang pormal ko nang maipakilala ang aking sarili bilang inyong bagong pinuno dito sa NDCP. Ito rin ay isang pagkakataon upang masimulan ang aking pagnanais na kayo’y masilayan at makilala. Sadyang napakahalaga sa akin na kayo’y makasama sa panahong ating pinagdiriwang ang 59th Foundation Anniversary ng NDCP ngayong buwan ng Agosto. Tila nga ba iginuhit ng tadhana na tayo’y magkatipun-tipon ngayong anibersaryo ng Kolehiyo kung kailan tayo ay sama-samang tutungo sa bagong kabanata ng buhay ng NDCP bilang isang institusyon.
“Maliban sa iilan, marahil ang karamihan sa inyo ay hindi pa ako nakikilala. Marahil ang karamihan sa inyo ay nakita ako ngayon sa unang pagkakataon. Ngunit sa akin, hindi na bago ang NDCP. Ako ay nabigyan ng pagkakataon na makapag-aral dito sa NDCP bilang kabahagi ng Senior Executive Course on National Security (SECNS) Batch Number 10. Samakatuwid, ako po ay inyong alumnus na rin dito sa NDCP.
“Ninais ko sanang mag-aral ng Master in National Security Administration (MNSA) Program ilang taon na ang nakakaraan. Sa katunayaan, ako ay miyembro ng Regular Class 48 kung ako’y natuloy lang sana sa MNSA Program. Ngunit ako’y tinawag muli ng ating katungkulan sa Armed Forces of the Philippines.
“Sa ganitong tinahak ng aking karera sa AFP, ako ay nabigyan ng pagkakataon na pamahalaan ang Philippine Military Academy (PMA) bilang Assistant Superintendent, at kalaunan ay bilang Superintendent nito. Sa aking naging malawak na karanasan sa PMA, ako’y sinanay sa pamamahala ng edukasyon, pagsasanay, pananaliksik, at iba’t ibang uri ng mga inisyatibo ng organisasyon. Mismong ang mga karanasan kong ito sa pamamahala ang aking bitbit at siya namang ibabahagi sa inyo bilang inyong bagong pinuno dito sa NDCP.
“My fellow NDCP workers, I know deeply that I am coming in not as a force that will undo everything that has already been done and start from scratch. That is not my mission. That is not my style. I am here, wearing the hat of a newly minted civilian, with the intent of building on the vast accomplishments of previous NDCP presidents, standing on the shoulders of giants in the academic community, and piloting our way towards greater heights. With the guidance of our Lord and the inspiration of those who came before me, I am here to work with you in order to magnify what has already been accomplished and further explore uncharted territories in pursuit of the main mandate of the College.
“Our work here in NDCP is truly indispensable. Being at the convergence of academic discourse and defense policy-making, we at NDCP have in our hands a great opportunity to enrich policy conversations and shape the agenda of our decision-makers on defense and security issues. We have a very potent platform by which we can influence the way our leaders contemplate about security and calibrate courses of action. Being at NDCP, we help structure our current and future leaders’ mindset and put to the fore of their attention some national security priorities that may or may not have been in their consideration. Our collective purpose is very clear to us. Our collective purpose is very clear to me.
“Against this backdrop, let me humbly share with you some of my initial thoughts about how our dear institution can further amplify what has already been achieved and reach even greater heights.
“My administration as the new NDCP President will give very high premium on institutionalization. I know that there have already been great efforts to achieve certain standards and regularize certain processes. It is my intention to work with everyone in ensuring that these high standards and best practices will be institutionalized even further through sound quality management and strategic planning. With your cooperation, we will build on the achievements of the past by locking in and continually upholding standards and practices that foster an environment of regularity, predictability, and excellence. NDCP’s efforts in ISO, Quality Management System, strategic planning, and other similar initiatives should not just continue … they in fact should flourish. As a former PMA Superintendent, I have a very deep appreciation of the importance and potency of institutionalization and planning in ensuring that all component units of an organization function like a clockwork, a manner that is organized, precise, and sustained. And all of these functions should be done towards common goals, both in the short and long term. It is this culture that I helped uphold in PMA. It is the same culture that, with your gracious support, I intend to continue here in NDCP.
“As NDCP President, I will also oversee expansion of our networks and partnerships, as well as exploration of new ones. We at NDCP do not see ourselves in a vacuum, divorced from the developments in the larger defense and academic communities. For us to continue to be relevant, we need to be fully engaged with likeminded institutions within and outside the defense establishment. Our relations and potential partnerships with military educational and academic units, both in the fields of teaching and research, shall be explored, with the intent of complementing each other and discovering areas of cooperation. I have had dealings with a lot of these military educational institutions myself, and so I am deeply familiar with the potentials of NDCP partnering with them on a number of functional areas. Engagements with think tanks, research organizations, educational institutions, and even individual subject matter experts within and outside the country are also initiatives that are within my radar. I will need your help and cooperation on these matters.
“Being at the helm of NDCP, I am also deeply interested in ensuring the career growth of the members of the NDCP family, whether they choose to stay in NDCP until retirement or not. For as long as one works in NDCP, her/his career development is my priority. With your support, we are willing to explore ways by which we can prepare each and everyone of us here for the next higher position. This can be done by exploring more opportunities for skills development and educational support to the furthest extent that prevailing rules and regulations allow. Development of our individual skills should not just be an individual endeavor; it should enjoy the utmost support of the NDCP. I believe Dr Viaje has already made milestone efforts in this regard. I intend to build on Dr Viaje’s accomplishments and pursue the same intention for the benefit of our people here in NDCP. I am myself a product of a lot of training and education opportunities, SECNS being one of them. I want everyone here to enjoy the same.
“My NDCP colleagues, please help me secure the accomplishments of the past and reach even greater heights. Please remember these three words that will dominate our work for the next six years: INSTITUTIONALIZATION, EXPANSION, and SELF-DEVELOPMENT.
“Sa mga susunod na araw, ako ay makikipagpulong sa ilang mga opisyal ng NDCP upang mas lalo ko pang makilala ang bawat opisina, bawat katungkulan, at bawat layunin ng bawat isa.
“Sa aking mga kasama dito sa NDCP, kayo ay aking inaanyayahan na makipagtulungan. Bigyan niyo ako ng pagkakataon na tulungan at pamunuan kayo upang makamit ang mas magagandang layunin para sa Kolehiyo at para na rin sa ating mga sarili.
“I am with you as we cruise higher altitudes. Whether we encounter calm winds or turbulent currents, let us fasten our seatbelt, remain calm, observe rules and regulations, and treat one another with respect and courtesy.
“Ladies and gentlemen, this is LtGen Ferdinand M Cartujano PAF (Ret), your pilot-in-command for the next six years. Let us all enjoy the flight.
“Maraming salamat sa inyong lahat.”
by Manmar Costillas Francisco