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Opinion

Why we do not have a Reserve Force (Conclusion)

READER’S VIEWS - The Freeman

(The author is a graduate of Ateneo de Manila University School of Law.  A recipient of the Dean of Academics Award at the Command and General Staff College, and completed the Senior Executive Course on National Security at the National Defense College of the Philippines) 

Formulation of Reserve Force Development programs had been capricious and whimsical because each J9 had a different idea of how reserve force development should be. For instance, after the term of MGen Salazar nothing is heard of his RFTR and it will soon be forgotten in the dustbin of history. 

How RA 7077 is to be read and interpreted is also a challenge.  Should it be read liberally to give life to its intent or strictly in accordance with how it is written?  Take for example the primary mission of the reserve force as a "base for expansion." Are we thereby contemplating mere Strategic Reserves?  Are our reserves a mere force of last resort? Or should we also utilize it in cases where the reserves can offer Operational advantage?  Are we going to consider utilizing the reserves as a 'force of first choice' for tasks that they are particularly well suited? Do we include the demands imposed by emerging needs like cyber defense and efforts to combat weapons of mass destruction where the skills set is strong in the Reserve Component from their private training?

When the Reserve Component assists in rescue and relief operations or in socio-economic development, do we consider managing our forces as a Total Force or as separate Active and Reserve Components?  Applying the Total Force concept during rescue and relief operations would be more advantageous because we will be able to maximize the use of our forces.  But this is not possible in the meantime until the Department of National Defense reviews all laws, policies and doctrines that restrict maximum utilization of our forces.

As a matter of fact, it is high time that we propose amendment of these laws, revise existing policies and write military doctrines pertaining to Reserve Force Development.  

This paper is written for the sole purpose of generating awareness to RA 7077 pursuant to section 5 thereof.  It was enacted on June 27, 1991, and to date we still do not have the Ready Reserve contemplated in the law.  Our citizens, including the Union of Local Authorities of the Philippines (ULAP) and most of our soldiers, are not familiar with this law.

The composition of our current Reserve Force is 'mostly' Standby Reserve.  Affiliated and Technical Reserves like me are Ready Reserves but belonging to the fourth line of defense.

Those who entertain the notion that the utilization, including mobilization, of the Reserve Component should somehow await a 'big war' assume that there will always be time to train.

We should ensure availability of a capable and operationally ready Reserve Component, we can do so by keeping them prepared through periodic and predictable trainings that will maintain our Reserve Component in a state of readiness. 

A national strategic communication plan should be developed in order to effectively and efficiently cascade the general guidance and the law to all Filipinos.  Under the RA 7077, pursuant to the Constitution, the Citizen Armed Force is composed of all Filipinos. The Active Component is merely the armed segment.

We are rich in human resource.  We should be able to harness that strength and develop it into a dependable force.

ACTIVE AND RESERVE COMPONENTS

ACTIVE COMPONENT

AFFILIATED AND TECHNICAL RESERVES

APPLYING THE TOTAL FORCE

CITIZEN ARMED FORCE

COMMAND AND GENERAL STAFF COLLEGE

DEAN OF ACADEMICS AWARD

FORCE

NBSP

RESERVE

RESERVE COMPONENT

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