President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. exhorted the Department of National Defense (DND) and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) on Monday to conduct strategic review and to maximize forces deployment to ensure that strategies remain attuned to the current and future geopolitical challenges.

“As we move now from focusing on ensuring internal security for the country, we now have to bolster the country’s external defenses. And I exhort the DND and the AFP to maximize and strategically review the deployment of our forces to ensure that their strategies remain responsive to the current and future geopolitical realities,” President Marcos said during the 67th Founding Anniversary of the Naval Special Operations Command (NAVSOCOM) in Sangley Point, Cavite.

“Let us also continue harnessing the skills of our specialized units in preparing for all contingencies. The NAVSOCOM, with its expertise in Sea, Air, and Land, or SEAL, operations, must be utilized to support naval defense and enhance maritime security.”

The President also encouraged the Navy to strengthen the unit’s capabilities by partnering with forces from like-minded states towards upholding shared commitment to freedom of navigation, peace and stability, and the rule of law.

The AFP’s commander-in-chief also made an assurance that the administration remains committed to strengthen the NAVSOCOM’s capabilities through the acquisitions under the Revised AFP Modernization Program.

The administration will likewise support the unit in implementing programs that enhance knowledge and skills of personnel as well as ensure the welfare and the well-being of their families.

President Marcos also praised NAVSOCOM for its performance, particularly through the conduct of extensive counter-terrorism training and operations against terrorist groups and other lawless elements, including rescue missions, which, he said, have greatly supported the AFP’s internal security efforts, especially in southern Philippines.

NAVSOCOM, an elite unit of the Philippine Navy, has likewise contributed to government efforts to curb smuggling and other illegal activities at sea as authorities watch over the country’s vast littoral area.

“More impressive still, through it all, you have embodied grit, fortitude, and courage in ensuring peace, order, and progress in the country. For your commitment to serve and to safeguard the Filipino people, I express my deep and heartfelt gratitude,” he said.

The President also recognized NAVSOCOM awardees for their excellent performance and significant contribution to the Navy, as he urged them to continue honing their skills and serve as exemplars not just as NAVSOCOM personnel but as public servants. | PND