MGEN PEALE JON L BONDOC PA, the Commander of Army Reserve Command, graced the Turnover of Command Ceremony of the University of the Philippines Diliman Reserve Officers’ Training Corps as Guest of Honor and Speaker through Zoom teleconference last 15 August 2020.
He introduced the plans for the upcoming conduct of ROTC and gave motivations on how Army Leaders can always come up with solutions to problems at hand. Full transcript of his address below.
ADDRESS OF MGEN PEALE JON L BONDOC PA
Turnover of Command Ceremony 2020, 15 August 2020
DMST Complex, UP Diliman
So with regards to the ceremony this morning, of course I’d like to congratulate the recently relieved Cadet Colonel Guiao for the leadership that you have exhibited in leading the Corps. The commitment you have for this program is commendable and I hope that you will continue on this path and of course, use the experiences and skill that you have acquired in being the Corps Commander. To the members of your class, I hope that they also treasure moments you have spent in the Corps, the things that you have learned, the people that you have met, and most importantly, the memories that you have gathered in going about your advance ROTC course.
To the incoming or the recently designated Corps Commander, I’m sure this will be a very big challenge for you now that we have a new normal, a new way of doing things. We hope here in ARESCOM that the UP Diliman ROTC, being the premier ROTC Unit of ARESCOM, will sustain the charge and be the inspiration to other ROTC Units, as we embark on the new normal; as we embark [on] a new way of teaching ROTC.
The significance of this change of command of course is a very cherished tradition in the Armed Forces of the Philippines, especially in the Philippine Army. Sabi nga nila, maikli ang ilang taon o isang taon, pero para sa isang commander, ay napakatagal na noon.
Of course, this change of command ceremony always brings into the organization new perspectives and new ideas in going about the missions and tasks given in the duties. This is the significance of this change of command ceremony. This is also a very good signal to infuse new problem solving techniques. Mind you, the tasks that are given to you as a unit, as individuals, are problems that you should solve; and as the new commander, it is expected that you find new ways of approaching the problems that will challenge your organization; new solutions, new approaches. That is precisely the emphasis of the pandemic that we have now.
We must be creative, we must learn new ways. We need to adapt and survive in this new normal. In the Army, we call this Army Problem Solving, and I hope that you’ll be given an insight, a view of how Army commanders solve problems, as I’ve always emphasized when I teach leadership and when I teach military courses, every mission and every task that is given by a Commander is actually a problem that he will solve. And in the Army, we have proven a time-tested phase of approaching problems. And I’m sure that during your advance course, you were given a glimpse or an idea on how Army commanders solve problems, through the troop leading procedures, through the military decision making process, and other things, especially [such as] staff studies and research. These are the approaches to how we solve problems in the Army. And I hope Cadet [Captain] Kho, that you’ll be able to bring, together with his classmates, to create the new approaches – the new ways of solving problems that challenge the UP Diliman ROTC Corps of Cadets and of course the UP Corps of Sponsors.
So of course I hope this brings into light, pag mga ganitong leadership changes, I always look back and reflect on what I’ve learned about the Military Leadership Principles. And katulad nga ng sinasabi ko, especially dun sa mga upcoming new lieutenants, our new leaders in the Army, you just need to go back to the military principles. It will never go wrong. It is time tested, it is applicable illustration, whether solving military problems or even your domestic problems in your home. These principles endure. And I hope that you have learned these in your advance course. And of course for the incoming second class or incoming advance cadets, I’m sure you will be given a lecture on this. I hope that you will imbibe it and appreciate these leadership principles. Ika nga namin sa Army, there are no bad newbies or bad commanders. Bad commanders who ignore the skills of a real leader, who shun the experience of solving problems, who are not up to the task.
I hope you can prepare yourself, [because] it’s not only the DMST staff that will do that, but more importantly, it is your part as individuals. You should endeavor to be a leader in your own right, whether it’s in your family, in your classes, your academic courses, or of course in the Corps of Cadets, [where] leadership is the premium that we put into these training. And the pride of leadership that we always have in the tradition of the UP Vanguard cannot be overemphasized and it is actually the envy of a lot of other institutions – the way we handle leadership training here in the UP System through the Corps of Cadets of the University of the Philippines.
So I hope you are up to the task, Cadet [Captain] Kho and of course to Cadet Colonel Joseph Guiao, I hope that you will cherish those things that you have learned especially in the UP Corps of Cadets.
For this morning, when you invited me to be the Guest of Honor and Speaker to this Turnover Ceremony, I would like to appreciate some of our brods in the UP Vanguard Incorporated. I would like to take this opportunity to announce our new initiatives that we have in Army Reserve Command. And by the way, may I remind you that as graduates of ROTC, you are our reservists so I hope one of these days, we can tap you to volunteer and of course make use of what you learned during your Corps days. Now, speaking of the new initiatives, I was with the new commanding general of the Philippine Army, Lieutenant General Cirilito E. Sobejana, yesterday in his office. And I was briefing him since he assumed the command of the Army… I was briefing him on the Reserve Force Development and interestingly, the Commanding General has [placed] a lot of emphasis in developing our Reserve Forces and mind you, you’re part of that, so I hope that you’ll appreciate it. Of course not now that we have the pandemic, so we really have to be creative. On our part in ARESCOM, we resumed command this March, we conduct[ed] study groups on how to improve disaster response during this pandemic and we want to input a system that will really improve the conduct of the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps, despite the fact that we still need a law to bring back mandatory ROTC in the tertiary or secondary level. I will not delve on the discussion of how mandatory ROTC will be conducted in the near future but let me just give an idea of the result of our focus group discussions here and the inputs from some of our commands. Special mention to Vanguard Toto for his input and some other brods whom I’ve invited here at the quarters of ARESCOM a few months back. They gave suggestions on how to not only revitalize the ROTC program but also to intellectualize ROTC especially now that we live in the pandemic for the meantime. We have sought to revise the program of instruction of the ROTC. And it was revised in such a way that it must be progressive, it must be relevant to the times, it must conform to the new normal. Sad to say, the part of these innovations will really lessen our emphasis on [the] field, [such as] drills and ceremonies. Of course these are things that actually motivate us to join the Corps, but we took note of this, and we have decided to view the ROTC POI in such a way that it must be progressive and it must lead to a regular commission in the Philippine Army.
Part of our strategies also is in response to the growing backlog that we have in the Philippine Army, and so far as recruitment of new soldiers. We have studied for the past decades that the graduates of the advance ROTC program have been having a type, and we are becoming aware of seeing a lot of talents, the best and the brightest, who are products of the advance ROTC program. That is not to say that the products of the other institutions producing lieutenants for the army are not doing good. Of course we have the Philippine Military Academy, we have the Officer Candidate Course under the Officer Candidate School of the Philippine Army who caters to college graduates who have ROTC credits. Part of our study is, we find ROTC cadets who have finished their advance ROTC for them to join the Army Soldier. We are now looking in cooperation with Chairman Prospero De Vera, who’s also a brod by the way. We are now looking into how we can improve the structure of basic ROTC and of course also the advance ROTC. In fact we are now studying the creation of an Associate Degree for National Security. The actual title of the degree is still being worked on right now but we could credit those who will undergo the advance course of ROTC. Hopefully, this is the recommendation of Chairman De Vera. Hopefully we will study this and give it some actions in the near future. All of these efforts contribute to what we call in the ARESCOM now, the revival of the Direct Commission Program. We are also revising the program of instruction of the probationary officer training course which you take after the advance course, by the way, so that it will lead to a regular commission in the Army. Although you have the option to not pursue the regular commission and stay in the Reserve but as we see it, as we move forward, we want all the officers serving in the regular force to be regular officers.
This is very inspiring. Mind you, these are all the things that we want to infuse as we define the new normal, not only in ROTC but also in how we administer our regular forces. Dito ngayon po, I [would] also like to emphasize, the reserve force is supposed to be part of the total force, meaning that what we do in the reserve force development, should be relevant especially now with the Commander in Chief mentioning always the reserve force in being a relevant force in this fight against COVID-19 and in the anti-terrorism effort of the government.
So we are gonna do just that. We want to develop that and alongside for this, we are pushing for the restructuring of our Reserve Units and so far the staff of the Philippine Army has given positive responses to this on our recommendations. And we hope that we will move forward to these, as these are also aiding in parts of the national defense, in these initiatives and as always we also give credit to the eminent members of the UP Vanguard Incorporated especially members of the board of governors who have continuously contributed to the drafting of new laws to improve positions of ROTC, we like to thank you for your inputs. But again we like to ask for your help, to help us craft and define the new normal. We look at this as an opportunity and we hope that we can do this as fast as we can as soon as the pandemic is over, where we can do face-to face interaction, we can put reserve force development in a higher plane and of course the ROTC is the base of all. Everything starts from basic ROTC as you progress to the advance ROTC, you go on to apply for the regular commission, you go to PMA, whether you go to the Officer Candidate School and[/or] here in ARESCOM. We hope that we’ll have a very progressive program and produce the best and the brightest lieutenants for Philippine Army. Marami pa po tayong pwedeng gawin and part of our program is to revisit not only the Vanguard but also the other Alumni groups of ROTC units nationwide. To give you an idea, as of now we only have 492 ROTC units nationwide administered by 15 Community Defense Groups and we hope that the new POI for ROTC will be approved as soon as possible. We like to assure that it is VTC friendly and it can be administered by the learning guidelines as issued by CHED. We are also in cooperation with CHED and other NSTP administrators, and hopefully redefine the conduct of ROTC as soon as the school year opens this quarter.
As I’ve heard from the new Corps Commander now, that this will be a challenge, this will be historic, this will be a breakthrough and we hope that the new program of instruction; and to give you an idea on our new program of instruction, yung ating mga subjects, they are broken down into smaller tracks so that hindi masyadong wasteful sa oras sa instruction and hindi masyadong magkakaroon ng information overload yung ating mga magiging estudyante. And because of the IATF guidelines on the face-to-face interactions, we will be very creative on how we deliver the lectures and on how we evaluate students in their performance with the cooperation with CHED.
So yun po yung mga initiatives natin and again thank you very much for inviting me. In closing, thank you very much for inviting me as your guest of honor and speaker. This brings back a lot of memories. I also got to do the rite, although sa Los Banos nga lang, but of course UP Los Banos is also very proud of its students, in its change of command ceremonies and of course sa UP System, it’s nice to be back, it’s nice to be of service to you as your Guest of Honor and Speaker. And in closing, I want to make a shoutout for our brods in the UP Vanguard Incorporated, let us celebrate the 98th UPVI Homecoming and Convention in this coming evening through VTC. I’m sure it will be a blast. And sabi nga ng mga brods, nagcocomment kayo sa viber, napakaganda, napaka-exciting.
And of course that is in line of keeping our very good traditions alive and renewing our commitment to the conduct of the ROTC program, as the backbone of our defenses, as part of the total force of the Armed Forces of the Philippines. So again to the recently relieved Corps Commander, congratulations to you and to the new Corps Commander, good luck, and we hope to hear from you in the near future. We look forward to your new ideas. We look forward to your enthusiasm. And despite this pandemic,of the limitations that we have, I’m sure you will solve the problem. To the leadership of the NCRRCDG, the group defense center of the NCRRCDG, and the new commandant Col Datuin and of course Col Lagamon, the commander of the CMO Regiment of the Philippine Army, I wish you well and sa inyong lahat, magandang umaga, stay safe and let’s move forward.
Mabuhay ang Army, mabuhay ang ROTC, mabuhay ang UP ROTC Unit, mabuhay ang UP Vanguard Incorporated, mabuhay ang University of the Philippines, mabuhay ang Pilipinas, maraming salamat po.