PROTECTING the Philippine archipelago from internal and external threats is the key to a thriving blue economy.
This is the observation made by the Department of National Defense’s undersecretary for strategic assessment and planning, Ignacio Madriaga, during the Blue Economy Annual Trade and Conference (Beacon) 2023 on Sept. 6-8, 2023, at the SMX Convention Center in Pasay City.
Madriaga said in his speech, “A blue economy cannot flourish without addressing the persistent concerns on defense and security from internal and external threats… [We must] ensure that the Philippine archipelago is protected.”
He emphasized the importance of a secured Philippine archipelago in the development of economic activities related to the oceans and coasts. “Security is vital to development, and it is the mandate of the AFP to guard our territorial integrity and sovereignty. We need to be equipped with the required capability in the event of internal and external threats,” he said.
“This is made possible through the AFP modernization program, which entails the identification, development, production and acquisition of capabilities that can address and identify threats,” Madriaga added.
Meanwhile, retired Supreme Court associate justice Antonio Carpio and University of the Philippines-Institute for Maritime Affairs and Law of the Sea Director Jay Batongbacal agreed that the contested claims over the West Philippine Sea are currently marked by cognitive warfare, or a wide campaign for disinformation and misinformation.
“They are appealing to the hearts and minds of the people,” Batongbacal said in his lecture.
“This is a battle for the hearts and minds of the Filipinos,” agreed Carpio.
“We cannot suppress opinions because we are in a democratic country. But we have an advocacy to present facts through lectures and presenting these to the general public; we should be on the same page,” he added.
Carpio said, “The fastest way to inform the Filipinos is through the Department of Education (DepEd) and make it a part of the history [curriculum]. We also have to take advantage of social media to inform the public.”
Beacon 2023 is a three-day international maritime conference and exhibition organized by The Maritime League in partnership with the Department of Transportation.
It kicked off this year’s Maritime Archipelagic Nation Awareness Month, or MANA Mo, celebration with a series of discourses on marine environmental protection, shipping digitalization, and maritime defense and security.