The AFP CMO School recently produced new partners in nation-building through the forty four (44) graduates of the 19th batch of the Strategic Civil-Military Operations Officers’ Online Course. See below into the students’ thoughts about the course.
CAPT ALDRIN C CUÑA PN MNSA
*As shared during the Closing Ceremony conducted on 29 October, 2020.
For 1780 hours, we have always heard phrases like: “Admin paki-accept ako sa zoom…” (Maj Stuart Turaray, 2020) Strategic CMO Officers Online Course Class 19-20 is the First CMO course that took on the challenge of conducting the class on Video Teleconferencing (VTC) weekly every Thursday – for an entire day. The challenge of balancing between professional pursuits, course work, friends and recreation tested the mettle of the class.
The CMO School should be commended for its innovation to adopt VTC as an alternative form of engaging the class in conversations and encouraging class interaction. While it is a refreshing experience to be virtually engaged, it does place a toll on our eyesight. It also encourages members of the class to doze off, especially during the most unholy hours, while VTCs are going on. Thus, the prompt from the Course NCO: “Paki-turn on ang inyong mga video.”
This is also the First Class that had in its roster two senior officers, myself and Col Padua of the Philippine Air Force. This was an added pressure on the part of our Field or Company Grade Officer classmates who would normally defer to us for the leadership during group dynamics. Despite our firm protestations, we end up leading and guiding our group conversations. I have always emphasized that in spite of our seniority in terms of position and rank – I want to learn and appreciate their experience while being assigned at the frontlines.
My key takeaway from this course is that, “winning the war can only be achieved not only by words alone but also by deeds.” We must the bring our war campaign efforts against the CTGs and their legal fronts to greater intensity not only on the traditional but alternative platforms of the Social Media, as well.
As we virtually end the course, I still look forward to physically come in close contact with the rest of the members of the class in the near future – under better circumstances.
LCDR RONALD A LONGHAS PCG
*As shared during the Closing Ceremony conducted on 29 October, 2020.
The Civil military operations online officers course has moved me in my most profound awareness regarding the essence of communication in any form to influence society and dictate the nation’s future for everlasting peace and development. Moreover, it gives us insight into how vital our people’s trust and support to the state’s institution implement its most essential mandate. Thus the whole of the nation approach is not just an interagency collaboration but rather a multi-sectoral in every aspect of society. For me, as a future warrior diplomat, we should express our effort to ensure good governance over volatile political service to show our deepest empathy and promoting a Philippine government that encourages self belongingness in every Filipino stakeholders. Also, I would like to thank our course director, our classmates, and staff of CMO school, especially our instructors that gave us mind racking and brain-draining TMA, discussion and deadlines. On behalf of my PCG colleagues, we are grateful and privilege for the wisdom and system you have shared with us. Thank you!
COL AUGUSTO N PADUA PAF (GSC)
I am currently the Commander of the PAF’s Tactical Operations Group 2 (TOG2) based in Cauayan Air Station, Cauayan City, Isabela – the Valley Air Warriors. Our mission is to plan, control and coordinate the utilization of air power in Region 2 and the Northern Cordilleras. I took interest in the Strategic CMO Officers Online Course (SCMOOOC) after TOG2 initially bagged the award as TOG of the Year in the Wing (Brigade) level, the Tactical Operations Wing – Northern Luzon (TOWNOL), in November 2019. On 01 July 2020, TOG2 bested 12 other TOGs all over the country to get the most coveted CG, PAF Group of the Year (Combat Category), otherwise known as the PAF TOG of the Year Award. Beating the combat laden TOGs in Mindanao came as a surprise not only for us but also for many Officers of the Air Force. Yet there was another surprising thing to note: TOG2 never dropped a single bomb against the enemy. We dropped leaflets. This was when I realized that the strength of TOG2 did not really lie upon kinetic operations alone. Although we were not bereft of combat ops, we have an effective non-kinetic program that completes an operational package that any TOG Commander could wish for.
My military schoolings brought me to be a Logistics staff officer, Financial Manager, and a Safety Staff Officer. I have never had CMO Schooling, and have never been assigned as a CMO Officer. Much less have I expected that CMO would propel my unit to victory, so to speak. I just needed to know more about the whys of CMO. Why Civil Affairs and not Public Affairs? Why ISA and not PsyOps? A senior Officer like me asking my Technical Sergeant NCOIC for CMO. I learned from my Masters the essentials of Branding and Marketing, the importance of the target audience. I knew we needed to win the hearts and minds of the people of Cagayan Valley and the Northern Cordilleras. The activities aimed at doing this were already in place before I took over. I just needed to contribute more to my CMO team. And I surmise that SCMOOOC was the answer.
The AFP CMO School’s SCMOOOC came perfectly at the right time. It took advantage of the current trend of video teleconferencing. I did not have to leave my unit. The course provided me with the formal education necessary for commanding a unit with CMO operations – things I needed in order to be adept with my CMO team, and not embarrassingly left behind. As an informal CMO operator, SCMOOOC has organized the ideas and concepts that were somewhat in disarray on my mind. But there was more. Latest directives and guidance from higher Headquarters were also discussed. The lectures on the National Military Strategy, DSSP Kapayapaan, NEDA’s Ambisyon Natin 2040, the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020 among others, were a much welcome update for me. The insights provided on the Islamist Extremism in the Philippines and PCVE were very enlightening. Indeed, terrorism knows no boundaries, not even religion.
I commend and am indebted to the AFP CMO School, its leadership, professional teaching staff and resource lecturers, and administrative staff. I never thought that at this point of my career, I would still be provided with the necessary knowledge and skills I needed to help me become a well-rounded Officer of the AFP. These lessons will forever remain in my heart. My snappiest salute. Fight’s on!
LTC OWEN M AVENIDO PAF
It was an unplanned journey I took three months ago; as I only heard about SCMOOOC in one happy encounter with a jolly fellow with a bottle in his hand. He was able to convince me and my friend who was with us that night, that taking SCMOOOC will just be like a walk in the park.
Come July 24, the course formally opened; and days, weeks and months in the course I could say it was indeed a walk, along the shoreline, not in the park. Shoreline because the view is wonderful (new friends, new learning and new experience), the wet sand can sink you if you’re moving slow (time management is the key not to sink) and you can choose to dive into the water if you want to disappear. We were 60 when the course started,but along the way 16 jumped into the sea. For my part, I enjoyed the view until I reached the end line, without sinking in between.
My SCMOOOC journey may be short but the things I learned from this course and the people I met will be cherished for the rest of my life.