Department of National Defense (DND) officer-in-charge Undersecretary Jose Faustino Jr. (Photo courtesy of Philippine Army)

MANILA – Department of National Defense (DND) officer-in-charge Undersecretary Jose Faustino Jr. pledged to continue the implementation of the Revised Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Modernization Program which is now about to enter its Third Horizon.

Faustino made the commitment during the first DND-AFP command conference that took place at the AFP general headquarters in Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City on Monday.

During the meeting, Faustino presented to the AFP top brass the directive of the President and commander-in-chief Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. to defend “every square inch of the country’s territory.”

The AFP Modernization Program's Horizon Two is scheduled for 2018 to 2022 while Horizon Three is slated for 2023 to 2028.

Meanwhile, Horizon One covered the years 2013 to 2017 and resulted in the acquisition of the three Del Pilar-class frigates, 12 FA-50PH light-lift interim fighters, and two strategic sealift vessels, among others.

He also discussed his priorities such as defending the nation’s territorial integrity, protecting the Filipino people, and ensuring state sovereignty.

Present in the meeting were Philippine Army (PA) commander Lt. Gen. Romeo Brawner Jr. and other ranking AFP officials headed by Gen. Andres Centino.

Faustino, whose military career spanned 38 years, served as the 56th AFP chief-of-staff from July 31, 2021 until November 12, 2021.

He also served as acting PA chief in the same year.

In a turnover activity held last July 1, Faustino vowed to continue the advancement of the country’s defense establishment started by his predecessor Delfin Lorenzana.

He will assume office as DND Secretary on November 13, after the one-year appointment ban on retired military officials. (PNA)