THE Philippine Council for Foreign Relations is dedicated to the common good which translates into the national interest. Since foreign policy is simply an extension of domestic policy, the association which comprise important players in Philippine society, namely diplomats, members of the military estab-lishment, academia and the business community, more or less proxy for the power structures which support the underpinnings of our nation. By virtue of its broad-based membership, the council tends to look at the issue of security from a much wider perspective. Finally, our broad-based membership also allows the organization to draw more elements in the service of the internal and external security of the nation. In this regard it is our wish to contribute to the heavy lifting now undertaken by our armed forces in the promotion of peace in this nation to dialogues such as this and other activities which may be spawned by the event.
Non-traditional security issues
Since the end of the Cold War and the existence of a nuclear stalemate among the superpowers which has lessened tensions in the globe, a non-traditional security issue has been added to the security lexi-con. In geo-political terms it involves much more than just avoidance of war by neutralizing provoca-tive containment policies and dangerous arms build-up. It now includes tackling religious extremism, human trafficking, the international drug trade, territorial disputes, economic meltdowns, climate change, the spread of AIDS, Ebola, birdflu, piracy in the high seas and such transnational crimes.
Today the concept of “human security” has been given more prominence to the more traditional focus on states, borders and territorial integrity. Security is not only for the state but the individual and communities. It is important to lay emphasis on the point because even when a state is secure from external aggression or internal disorders, the safety of the populace is not always guaranteed. Protect-ing individuals and communities from the results of non-conventional threats merit serious considera-tion.
With the advent of nuclear deterrence, invasions of the world war variety are not a high probability even in the face of occasional conventional and limited brushfires and border wars.
In this country, the probability of invasion is unlikely for reasons cited above, but it has not been spared internal violence due mostly to the marginalization and alienation of those at the bottom of the economic totem pole. Indeed, even by Asean standards, this country ranks high in terms of poverty incidence which is the root cause of communist insurgency and Muslim rebellion.
It is a given historically that when peoples and communities are insecure (economically, socially, politi-cally, environmentally), state security is jeopardized. Exploited sacada, alienated Muslim minorities, marginalized Igorots and Lumad and neglected farmers, the result of the absence of rural mobilization and an exclusivistic development paradigm that puts its trust in the trickle-down theory, have formed the backbone of insurgent and secessionist armies.
Parenthetically, it is sad that to this date no comprehensive security framework for this nation has been produced. Military strategies and tactics to combat insurgencies are well and good, but this should be the last resort. To combat external threats such as that obtaining in the West Philippine Sea requires the adoption of confidence-building measures (CBMs), preventive diplomacy, and conflict resolution mechanisms. We are glad that this administration has gone a long way in such a short time to adopting this approach which has already produced dividends in the form of development aid and the inflow of an impressive inflow of substantial capital from China.
At home, good governance and enlightened policy interventions to accelerate the development pro-cess so as to promote higher levels of productivity incomes and employment are preconditions for peace. Total rural mobilization accompanied by fiscal federalism and decentralization will go a long way in addressing the above-cited challenges.
In short, no less than a comprehensive, holistic and integrated security plan which can supplement but not supplant the traditional military-centric solution must be adopted posthaste.
Political stability, economic development and social welfare are the key to national and regional peace. The challenge is to integrate security concerns into the national and regional security agenda. Indeed, it behooves this country to adopt less of the traditional state-centric and military/conflict-focused ap-proach and move to a more comprehensive security framework. In this regard, the Council of Foreign Relations with its broad-based membership structure that can enlist sectoral support offers its energy and resources to the formulation of such a plan.