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Protecting the President, protecting the State

One of my proudest moments in life was when I became an officer of the Army reserve force. I have always had a high regard for our soldiers not only due to the high risk that comes with their job but more importantly because of the deep sense of patriotism that they have.

I remember when I was in Marawi in 2017 for the commencement of the rehabilitation plan, there was an active shootout a few meters from where we were. While we were doing an aerial inspection to assess the damages on infrastructure, smoke came out in one of the buildings, then there was an explosion. Our chopper was very close. I saw war up close for the first time. That is why I have so much respect for our soldiers. They are the ones who risk their lives just so most of us could sleep at night.

But while most of the military force safeguards our country and our people, there is an elite force of both military and civilian agents whose primary responsibility is to protect at all cost the most important person for the nation—the President.

In protecting the Philippine President, the Presidential Security Group (PSG) is safeguarding the state personified in the president who received the mandate of the people. PSG troopers will risk their lives for the President and the First Family because it is their duty to defend the institution of the presidency. It is their part in nation building, because by protecting the President, they make sure that the chief executive is able to do his/her duty to the Filipino people effectively and efficiently.

PSG Commander Colonel Ramon Zagala emphasized that, as they protect the President and his kin, they are securing the stability of our country. He stressed that they will ensure that President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. is always safe, secured, and protected, so he is able to “do his job well in bringing the promise of unity.”

Securing the President, his immediate family, and foreign dignitaries who visit the Philippine is definitely not an easy task. If they fail in their duty, there is so much on the line. That is why the PSG troopers are deemed as among the best and most dedicated men and women in uniform. Of course, they must be led by a very competent and highly-skilled person.

Colonel Zagala is a certified VIP Protector as he is a graduate of VIP Protection Course and held various positions in PSG during his junior years in the service, such as executive officer from year 1997 to 2000 of 1st Light Armor Company, and aide-de-camp to former President Joseph Estrada.

He is a seasoned combat officer with 33 encounters against the enemy that spans all levels, from team leader, platoon, company and battalion commander. His professionalism and competence has been displayed for almost three decades now. He is greatly exposed to civil military operations and gained expertise in public affairs as he headed several key positions in different assignments. Prior to being head of PSG, he was the AFP Spokesperson, at the same time, Executive Officer of the Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Civil Military Operations, OJ7, at the AFP General Headquarters.

He also completed various career and specialization courses here and abroad to include Special Forces Operations Course, Basic Airborne Course, UN Peacekeeping Operations, Armor Officer Advance Course, Public Affairs Officer Qualifying Course at Fort Meade, Maryland, USA under the International Military Education and Training Program; Jumpmaster Course, Australian Command and Staff Course, Australian Defense College, and Master of Military and Defense Studies, Australian National University at Canberra, Australia.

Colonel Zagala also received numerous awards and decorations both in administrative and combat duties to include the Distinguished Service Star, a Gold Cross Medal for gallantry in combat, Gawad sa Kaunlaran Medal, Bronze Cross Medals and US Public Affairs Badge, and Presidential Medal of Merit.

While his sworn duty is to protect the President, Colonel Zagala knows that he must also protect his men. As PSG commander, he wants to focus on training, personnel welfare, and stakeholder engagement. He wants to provide PSG troops with necessary regular training so that they will be able to do their duty to the best of their abilities, emphasizing that, “a well-trained, highly-skilled team will be the best defense and will be an effective deterrent against those that may want to do harm.”

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