BRIG. GEN (RET.) FERMIN DE LEON, JR., PH.D., MNSA
This talk seeks to answer the following questions raised: (1) What is “Security Studies”? (2) Who should be concerned about security? (3) Is it important to at least know the basic principles behind security studies? Why? What are the basic principles behind security studies? (4) Given the current security problems, what are the essential security matters that ordinary citizens should be concerned about? (5) What aspects of security studies should be integrated in the school education curriculum? Where are these best integrated?
The answers to the questions raised will be reached after a discussion of the more specific fundamental concepts. “Security” can be defined in many ways but it is essentially about protection. However, the idea of protection goes way beyond the individual and extends to one’s institution, nation, region of the world, and the globe. Regardless of the horizon, there are at least basic aspects of security to consider at whatever level. Security is historically and traditionally equated with the military and the police. However, with the march of history, the security environment and landscape has evolved. As the security environment evolved, so did the concepts of security. One can observe this shift during and after the Cold War with their respective historical characteristics.
A more contemporary and contextualized definition and understanding of security is presented by the Philippine perspective, which is reflective of, though preceding, more recent perspectives and practice. “National security”, since NDCP’s founding in 1963, has been advocated along six dimensions: political, economic, socio-cultural, technoscientific, and (lastly) military (PESTEM). The contemporary Philippine understanding of national security comprises both traditional “state security” and non-traditional “human security”, the latter of which is also seen by the UN along several areas. The 21st century has even made more evident, emergent areas of security such as: energy security, water security, transportation security, maritime security, gender security, and cyber security, to name a few; many relating to either climate change and natural disasters, or human-induced intra-state conflict and terrorism. With evolving and emerging security concepts, the traditional understanding of the “security sector” has also evolved, involving no longer just the soldier and the police, but now practically everybody.
That realization leads us to the relationship, responsibility, and role of the education sector in cascading to the present and future generations at the earliest possible opportunities the internalization of securing everything that we value, at all levels, time, and space.