Articles by Chuck Agustin

Is it time to create a Department for Maritime Affairs?

During the 120th Maritime Forum held at the Maritime Academy of Asia and the Pacific where we were once again awed by the progress and development of that excellent institution founded by AMOSUP Chairman Capt Greg Oca and nurtured by its President, VADM Eduardo Ma R Santos, I asked the Forum to remember former Senator Leticia R Shahani, likewise an…


Time to Reactivate Naval Station Bicobian

An Order was issued proclaiming a Naval Reservation at Bicobian, Isabela by former President Ferdinand Marcos after the Karagatan incident wherein the CPA/NPA/NDF landed some 500 M14 rifles (made in China) on a fishing boat that ran aground at Digoyo Point, Isabela due to rough seas in mid-1972. I later got ordered to move the RPS Iloilo (PS32) from Northern…


The Pentagon’s ‘Encyclopedia of Ethical Failure’

A colleague recently sent me an article written by Matthew Gault about a “hilarious — and infuriating — database of the government’s ethical shortcomings”.  An earlier version of this story was published in November 2014 by the magazine War Is Boring. Just like in the infamous “Laglag Bala” scandal involving personnel of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport and the Department…


Disaster Risk Management Initiatives

Introduction Living in today’s “uncertainties of boom or bust economies, global climate change, rapid urbanization, technological advancement, and continuing war on poverty or terrorism present a lot of risk necessitating people to prevent the occurrence or mitigate its impact.” However, when there is extreme danger ahead, we must prepare to accept reality and respond accordingly. This has been explained as…


Underscoring Waterfront Infrastructure Development Needs

In 2010, I wrote a 4-part series in 4 issues of this magazine entitled “Extended Waterfront Development Needed”, highlighting my own vision of government inability to develop infrastructure to address transport, commercial and tourism needs in the coastal areas. I started dabbling on these after President Fidel V Ramos approved the 25-year rolling master plan that we at PPA proposed…


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Maritime Wish List for the Duterte Administration

The administration of President Rodrigo “Digong” Duterte has started with a bang! (No pun intended) Not one, but quite a few. It has impressed many, and may I say, including myself, who did not know him very well, and whose promises did not affect me when we first met during an AGFO fellowship at Camp Aguinaldo last year, before he…


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Strategy: National Security Scenarios for Post-Election Period

In the 112th Maritime Forum, I responded positively to the proposal of a former Undersecretary of National Defense, Atty. Fernando Campos to discuss Strategy. He suggested discussing “National Security Scenarios for the post-election period.” Campos was also a former Governor of Cavite and a former Congressman of Cavite. He sent me his discussion paper, THE BIRTH OF A NEW PHILIPPINES:…


Joint Development on the West Philippine Sea

During the China-ASEAN Dialogue between Senior Defense Scholars held at Beijing, China on 11 – 15 March 2008, I presented a paper on Confidence-Building Measures Towards Greater Regional Stability. Military modernization in China was being perceived in a way that caused concern to some countries which fear a repeat of the arms race during the Cold War on one hand…


low tech submarine cartoon

The Philippine Navy should start acquiring submarines, no matter how low tech. Is this a good start, or what?

This reminds me that the United States Navy and the US Department of State in the mid-‘60s had great hopes for the Philippine’s future. After Japan, the trios Taiwan, ROK and [ROK] Singapore had started to take off and they thought we would be the next. That was the message I got from them when they gave us a briefing…


The Sinking of SS Corregidor

Looking for an idea for this issue’s column, I reviewed my e-mail files and came across what a friend and classmate, Capt. Frank Bessenger USN (Ret) sent me in April 2011. He recalled his last tour of duty working for the late VADM John D. Bulkeley, USN as a member of the Board of Inspection and Survey (INSURV) in Washington,…



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Reinventing Maritime History

Many columnists from time to time mention the observation that we are a ‘fractured nation’ for many reasons. For one, some say that we suffer from colonial mentality, that we forgot our roots and readily accepted what our colonial masters dished out to us. On the other hand, there is an opposite syndrome, and that is to falsely claim historical…



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Koji Sekimizu of Japan is new IMO Secretary General

Mr. Koji Sekimizu of Japan, who is currently Director of IMO’s Maritime Safety Division has been elected as the Secretary- General of the International Maritime Organization (IMO), for a 4-year term effective 1 January 2012. Sekimizu edged out five other candidates, including our own Neil Frank Ferrer and the nominees of the Re- public of Korea, Spain, USA and Cyprus….


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The Philippine Navy should plan to procure locally now

In the last issue we talked about the departure of the Philippine Navy contingent that was going to San Diego in connection with the PN’s acquiring the USCG Cutter Hamilton and some concerns expressed by some in the PN forum interested in development of the Navy. The update on this is that the PN contingent would take over officially on…