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Army’s Concern for Engineering:
The ACE of Heart in the Army’s Four ACEs
BY: LTC LYNDON J SOLLESTA CE(GSC) PA
565ECB, 51EBde, PA Camp Martillana, Pili, Camarines Sur
The Philippine Army in sustained vigor and refined strategy focused on defeating the Communist Terrorist Movement (CTM) by mid of 2010 developed and put emphasis on its Four ACEs. Just like in a deck of playing cards, possession of the four ACEs means sure victory. The ACEs will serve as the guiding light of the Army in the accomplishment of mission and fulfillment of its mandate of bringing lasting peace and development to the Filipino people. The ACEs are actually the – Army’s Concern for the Environment, Army’s Concern for Engineering, Army’s Combat Excellence and Advocacy for Credible Elections. In this case, the concern for Engineering is definitely the “ACE of Heart”.
In conventional war traditional operations targets the enemy. Their defeat is the ultimate goal of military forces. But in Counter Insurgency (COIN) campaign, the populace becomes the target. Winning them is the key to victory. Combatants are trained to hunt, neutralize or destroy enemy military capability but are conventionally not tailored in ‘targeting’ civilian communities and ‘winning’ people’ hearts. This matter becomes a priority concern as well as the main thrust of the Philippine Army in 2010. The Army’s Concern for Engineering is aimed at civilian communities by providing them with significant infrastructures to develop their socio-economic potentials and improve livelihood.
Presently, the Engineer Brigades are dedicated on the completion of projects under the Kalayaan Barangays Program. KBP is a government flagship projects aimed at transforming conflict affected communities into peace and development areas. The projects are composed of School Buildings, Health Centers, Water Systems, Electrification and Farm to Market Roads located in hinter-barangays all over the country. With these undertakings, the root causes of insurgency are addressed resulting to ‘winning the hearts and minds’ of the masses.
The nature of the Army’s mission sometimes dictates that military Engineers assumes significant role in Disaster Rescue and Rehabilitation Operations (DRRO) during natural or man-made calamities. As proven in the past, Military Engineers makes up an organization with a strong leadership structure and capability that could rapidly shift its resources to deliver the necessary assistance anywhere in the country. In recent natural emergencies, the Army is among the first responders with its Engineers operating alone or in tandem with civil government in a synchronize DRRO missions.
The leadership of LTGEN DELFIN N BANGIT AFP, Commanding General of the Philippine Army is also focusing the military capability and technical expertise of the Engineer Brigades to support National Development Programs. Following the doctrine of “performing while transforming”, it has also placed emphasis on enhancing the engineer capability to make it more responsive to the demands military service and the people it is meant to serve. The Engineers should deliver the quality of work that the people required, the workmanship they desire and accomplishment that they deserve.
To realize these endeavor, the Army assigned more men on developmental and reconstruction engineering, provided initial funds to refurbish vital pieces of engineer equipment and enhance skills development training of its engineers. Relatedly, substantial budget from the capability upgrade program (CUP) was allocated for procurement of mission essential engineer equipment. Parallel to this effort, the Corps of Engineers is likewise advancing engineering education and professional development, environmental protection as part of engineering practice, and improve communication and spirit of cooperation between military engineers and the civilian design and construction industry.
With this development, the Army’s Engineer Brigades could now effectively respond to construction requirements, national emergencies and humanitarian assistance. Surely, when people feel the sincerity, care and genuine concern to their condition, then ‘hearts’ are won and mission is accomplished.
We can now lay down our winning card, the ACE for Army’s Concern in Engineering and that’s the - ‘ACE of Heart’.