Session 3 of Pilipinas Conference 2020: “Philippines and the Indo-Pacific: Responding to the Emerging Regional Political-Security Environment”

The global security and geopolitical architecture play a big role on how China’s agenda utilizes strategic opportunities in spaces with the least likelihood for major deterrence and the most freedom to maximize their national interests. Uncertainties produced by the shifting balance of power as well as the impact of COVID-19 have created an opportunity for smaller to middle powers to play a more significant role in the region, and avoid great power politicking.

Reinforcing external defense is just as important as strengthening resilience against internal security threats. The emerging security threats in the 21st century have spilled over to non-traditional spaces with an equal, heavier impact on state interests – from economic well-being, civil society rights and interests, and national security. With the digital space as the new playing field of political warfare, critical infrastructures and data-sensitive industries need defined security parameters to prevent manipulation and the spread of disinformation. As the pandemic continues, the same strategy that must be employed in the national security agenda of the Philippines must also be applied in the country’s public health system – strengthening infrastructures, using a whole-of-nation approach, and expanding strategic partnerships.

Program

Welcoming Remarks
Prof. Dindo Manhit
President, Stratbase ADR Institute
Country Managing Director, BowerGroupAsia Philippines

Keynote Address
Hon. Delfin Lorenzana
Secretary, Department of National Defense

A New Indo-Pacific: The Strategic Role of Middle Powers

The unprecedented challenges and uncertainties brought by the pandemic and the changing power dynamic in the region have led to the emergence of new security threats. This discussion is especially timely with the political developments in Japan with the newly inaugurated PM Yoshihide Suga, and the US with the transition to a Biden presidency. Given the region’s current political-security environment, this segment aims to discuss the increasing role of middle powers in the region and the possibility of fostering stronger strategic partnerships beyond the US-China power competition, and where the Philippines fit into all of these.

Presentation on Current Regional Security Landscape
Ms. Liz Derr
Founder and CEO, Simularity

Mr. Ernie Bower
President and CEO, BGA
Former Senior Adviser and Director of the Southeast Asia Program and Current Chairperson of the Advisory Board, CSIS

Mr. Fergus Hanson
Managing Director, BGA Australia
Director, International Cyber Policy Centre, ASPI
Non-Resident Fellow, Brookings Institution
Former Program Director, Lowy Institute

Mr. James Carouso
Managing Director, BGA Singapore
Former Senior Foreign Policy Advisor, US INDOPACOM
Former Deputy Chief of Mission and Chargé D’ Affaires, U.S. Embassy in Canberra, Australia
Former Chargé D’affaires, U.S. Mission to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations

Mr. Kiyoaki Aburaki
Managing Director, BGA Japan
Senior Associate, CSIS

Mr. Ratan Shrivastava
Managing Director, BGA India
Former Practice Director, Frost & Sullivan
Former Advisor, Federation of Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry

Developing Capabilities Against Emerging Security Threats

Reinforcing external defense is just as important as strengthening resilience against internal security threats. The emerging security threats in the 21st century have spilled over to non-traditional spaces with an equal, heavier impact on state interests – from economic well-being, civil society rights and interests, and national security. As the pandemic continues, the same strategy employed in the Philippine national security agenda must also be applied in the country’s public health system – strengthening infrastructures, using a whole-of-nation approach, and expanding strategic partnerships.

Dr. Renato De Castro
Program Convenor and Trustee, Stratbase ADR Institute

Mr. Bart Hogeveen
Head, Cyber Capacity Building – International Cyber Policy Centre
Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI)

Dr. Mely Caballero-Anthony
Professor and Head of the Centre for Non-Traditional Security (NTS) Studies, S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS)

Dr. Jay Batongbacal
Director, University of the Philippines Institute of Maritime Affairs
and Law of the Sea

Gen. Emmanuel Bautista
Former Undersecretary, Office of the President
Former Executive Director, Cabinet Cluster for Security, Justice and Peace; the National Task Force on the West Philippine Sea; National Task Force on the Whole of Nation Initiative
Former Chief of Staff, Armed Forces of the Philippines

Rear Admiral Rommel Jude Ong (Ret.)
Professor of Praxis, Ateneo School of Government
Chairperson, Security Reform Initiative
Vice Commander, Philippine Navy

Closing Remarks
Justice Antonio Carpio
Former Senior Associate Justice, Supreme Court of the Philippines

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