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Interview with Gen. Javier

By Dan Jimenez
Dan JimenezGeneral Ronnie Javier, PMA ’77, took over as Defense Attache on 1 July 2008. General Javier was a former Philippine Constabulary (PC) officer who chose to be with the Philippine Army when the PC was dissolved to give way to the Philippine National Police(PNP) during President Ramos’ term. He was the Brigade Commander of the Army’s 103rd Infantry (Haribon) Brigade (now based in Kampo Ranao, Marawi City, Lanao Sur after having transferred from Basilan) prior to this assignment.

He broke records of sort by being DAFA Washington DC and DAFA Seoul in 2002 to 2005. He is the only officer to be distinguished as such.

In a Q-A, General Javier answered these eight questions.

1. What is your mission as DAFA Washington, DC? How do you plan to
accomplish such?
“As the title Defense and Armed Forces attache (DAFA) connotes, I
represent the The Philippine Defense and Armed Forces establishments. My
mission is two-fold. The first is to work for the peculiar interests of
these establishments. The second would be to provide inputs which our
leaders could use in policy formulation. But over and above these, our
primary role is to enhance and strengthen the defense partnership and
cooperation between our two nations not only as allies but as brothers
having a shared history. My plan to accomplish such is very simple. Make more friends.”
2. What are your expectations with regards to your mission?
“It would be too assuming to believe we could be the end-all and
be-all. A DAFA posting is a continuing work in progress. The DAFAs
before me did their part. I simply must finish their unfinished
business, fortify, and where possible, expand their accomplishments, and
now that it’s my turn, do the walk to hopefully make the job of the next
DAFA easier. We must also bear in mind that this is Team
Philippines. We’re also part of a team.”
3. Your tour of duty is 3 years. You are retiring in 2 and half. This
assignment is your swan song. Is this how you want your career to end? Is
this how you want to be remembered?

“This is the first time that a former DAFA became a DAFA again.
This has never been done so I guess it’s alright to be remembered and
end my career that way. But more than that, I’d like to think it’s
because our leaders believe my past experience as a DAFA would help me
accomplish more in this Post. I only hope I can prove myself worthy of
the confidence they placed in me, inasmuch, as you said, this is my swan
song.”
4. Having experienced both the diplomatic and the combat fields, which
one is more challenging? Which one do you prefer? Plus and cons for both?
“Honestly, I really can’t say which I prefer. I’m a military guy and
it doesn’t make that much of a difference to me. It’s all part of the
job I have to do. As to challenges, you’ll always have challenges in
whatever or wherever undertaking. For example, the brigade I held just
left Basilan after thirteen years and you’ve heard stories of Basilan.
Yet today, it’s (in the words of U.S. Ambassador Kenney) a ‘success
story’. Progress is visible and hope is evident. Our President gave us
marching orders to give primacy to the peace process. And it’s working.
We’re pushing for the peace option before all else. Therein lies the
challenge.
“The diplomatic field is really no different. You just have to
reorient your perspective of field work. If there’s anything about my
combat assignments I have to be grateful for, it’s the realization of
what cooperation can do. Basilan is on the road to peace. Not yet there
but on the road. Yet it was not the effort of one person or one entity.
Rather it was the commitment of several who decided that Basilan wants
peace. It was Team Basilan (I just invented that name but you know what
i mean). The globe is shrinking and our country has a role to play. We
still have a long way to go and we have to unite to get there. So from
team Basilan, I simply bear in mind that it’s now Team Philippines and
it’s the country I’m promoting. I will play my part as a team member as
must all Filipinos.”
5. How essential to your job are the developments back home? Is your
position more reactive or proactive?

“The DAFA Office cannot be unlinked from the Home Office. So this office
and my job is just one branch of the ‘back home’ office. Reactive or
proactive? It will always be a combination of both as we cannot control
events though we definitely would like to have more time to engage in
proactive engagements.”
6. Can the NPA really be defeated by 2010?
“Well, the key word is defeat. Like in boxing, you win by so many ways.
You can go the distance or by knockout, the outcome is the same. Remember- the AFP is supposed to be for defense from external threats while any internal dissent is a law enforcement problem. When the PNP was created, it was supposed to handle this internal problem while the AFP concentrates to be a reputable defense force comparable with our neighbors. So, when we say defeat, we simply want to downgrade the threat into a qualified law enforcement concern which the PNP can manage on its own and we (AFP) can go back to our intended role.”
7. Some critics and the political opposition have labeled the AFP as
GMA’s army rather than the Armed Forces of the people. Is such
justified? What can be done to correct such perception?

“It’s the Office. It has and always been the Office. What can be done to correct such perception? Maybe simply letting ‘…the light so shine forth’. So, I guess the best remedy is to simply go and do our jobs in a very professional
manner. In the words of Chief of Staff General Alexander Yano, ‘Let our
walk do the talk’.
8. How do you define loyalty?
“If you work for a man, in heaven’s name…..’ “For me, what can be a more profound definition than that?”

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