Written by: Attorney Michael T Toledo
Managing Director, Government and Public Affairs, MVP Group of Companies
This article was first published in Atty. Toledo’s Philippine Star column, “Mike About Town” last 20 October 2020.
The Presidential Security Group or PSG held recently its Transformation Day celebration, and I was privileged to be invited as the guest of honor and speaker. It is a close- in agency with only one primary mission: to protect the president and vice president and their respective families. It also does duty protecting former presidents and vice presidents, as well as visiting heads of state. Though the current elite protection force was established in 1986, the formation of a crack team or force to protect the president and his or her family goes back to 1897.
Back then guard units were formed to protect Emilio Aguinaldo and Andres Bonifacio.
Through the years, units from the Armed Forces of the Philippines had been assigned to protect the president and the first family. But it was only in 1950 when then-President Elpidio Quirino established a dedicated presidential security unit, under the control of the nowdefunct Philippine Constabulary, as the secret service and protective unit ( patterned after the United States) of the president, the first family, and Malacañan Palace.
This later evolved and became the Presidential Security Force, then the Presidential Security Agency, and then the Presidential Security Command during the time of President Ferdinand Marcos.
When Corazon Aquino became president in 1986, she disbanded the Presidential Security Command and replaced it with the Presidential Security Group that now included civilian personnel serving together with troopers from the AFP.
Today, the PSG came up with its own Transformation Roadmap, which is attuned to the AFP Transformation Roadmap, the local adaptation of the Performance Governance System ( PGS), which serves as the guide towards organizational change and of better service to the nation.
The AFP today is facing newer and more complex security challenges, like that of cyber security, which I mentioned here before. If not addressed, these will significantly impede the performance of its constitutional duty and mission. As such, it needs anorganizationwide strategy that would drive the organization towards the full attainment of its VMG (vision, mission, goals).
The AFP Transformation Roadmap is a 15year strategy that aims to transform the Armed Forces into a strong and credible institution built on good governance. It serves as the AFP’s strategy in pursuing reform initiatives within the framework of Security Sector Reform (SSR). It is geared towards two strategic priorities: capability development and profession aliza ti on of all ranks.
All these are to achieve its ultimate vision of becoming “A World- Class Armed Forces, Source of National Pride” by 2028.
The PSG Transformation Roadmap anchors itself on this vision and on this strategy.
With the awardees. 3rd from the left is PSG Inspector General Col. Ferdinand Napuli followed by PSG Deputy Group Commander Col. Freddie dela Cruz (center), PSG Group Commander, Col. Jesus Durante III PA (GSC) and LtCol. Mike Aquino.
My active involvement as a member of the Philippine Air Force Multi-Sector Governance Council (PAF-MSGC) has made me very much aware of the PAF Flight Plan 2028 and the AFP Transformation Roadmap, or AFPTR 2028.
If the PSG Transformation Roadmap draws from the wellspring of the AFP Transformation Roadmap, then I trust that it is going in the right direction and that it ticks all the right boxes as far as governance and development are concerned.
Screenshot delivering a speech during the PSG Transformation Day Celebration.
The PSG held its first- ever Transformation Day celebration with the theme “Embracing Excellence and Innovation through Transformation.” The event was organized primarily to give rewards and encourage the PSG personnel to embrace the merits of the PSG Transformation Roadmap with the motto “Protect. Perform. Transform.”
The awardees were as follows: Most Transformed Unit went to the PSG Dental Dispensary headed by Lt. Col. Nick Stephen Guzman; Most Transformed Officer was awarded to Maj. Carlos Ely Tingson of the Philippine Army (a fellow Chevening scholarship alumnus), while the Most Transformed Enlisted Personnel award went to Airman Second Class Jude Jordan Aduan. The Most Transformed Civilian Employee award went to Johnel U. Bagares.
The PSG Transformation awardees.
According to Col. Jesus Durante III, PSG Commander, the Transformation Day celebration was to “fully recognize our offices, units and personnel who are in pursuit of excellence and innovation while transforming to be a world- class organization by 2028.”
He also mentioned that this celebration and the awards were all made possible by the PSGTR TWG through their Governance and Strategy Management Office (PSG- GSMO).
Colonel Durante adduced that despite the New Normal, the PSG is steadfast in pushing its transformation journey towards institutionalization.
Indeed, the current pandemic does create challenges in the full implementation of the transformation roadmap, whether it be that of the AFP or the PSG.
In spite of that, however, with many challenges also come many opportunities to excel and to innovate — to transform for the better — and this was the gist of my keynote speech during the celebration.
I wish to extend my profound gratitude to Col. Jess Durante, as well as to PSG Deputy Commander Col. Freddie de la Cruz and Lt. Col. Michael Aquino for the invitation. It was indeed an honor for me — a civilian — to be invited to speak before them. It was my first time to deliver a speech virtually to a large audience both present at the PSG complex and elsewhere online, and it is something I will cherish.
I spoke on the repercussions of this pandemic, how it disrupted the lives of many and how it has thrown a monkey wrench into our plans and prospects for the morrow. But not to fear or fret, this crisis also has its opportunities and a transformative value on leadership.
I mentioned the work of Harvard professor and author Nancy Koehn, whom I also had the chance to meet and listen to as part of the corporate governance enhancement session of the different officers and directors of the MVP Group of Companies.
Professor Koehn had studied world leaders for two decades or so and had come to the conclusion that real leaders were not born, but were created, and that real leaders were “forged in crisis.”
This crisis unleashed by COVID-19 also provided the platform to create and to forge real leaders, and this was the challenge I posed to the women and men of the PSG. Not that they were wanting in potential, as this elite unit had the potential to soldier on — pardon the pun — with excellence and innovation well into the 21st century.
In her tribute to the members of the PSG in 1987, the late President Cory Aquino said, “The Armed Forces as a whole are the shield and sword of the Republic, but the Presidential Security Group is the armor protecting the heart of the Republic. The PSG has well deserved that tribute, my gratitude and that of our people.”
I couldn’t agree more.