Delfin Lorenzana

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Delfin Negrillo Lorenzana (born 28 October 1948) is a Philippine Army veteran and government official. He was in the Philippine Army from 1973 to 2004, retiring as a major general. He is currently the secretary of the Department of National Defense under the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte.

Education and training

Lorenzana received military training from the Philippine Military Academy, where he was part of the graduating class of 1973.[1]He later on earned a master’s degree in business administration from the Ateneo Graduate School of Business, a graduate diploma in strategic studies from the Australian National University in Canberra, and a certificate in business economics from the University of Asia and the Pacific.[2]

Career

Military

Lorenzana began his military career in 1973 as a platoon leader and then as a company commander. He took part in the campaigns against the New People’s Army in Luzon and the Moro National Liberation Front in Mindanao. In 1985, he became an instructor at the Scout Ranger School and the Army Training Command and was also a staff officer. From 1987 to 1989, he was stationed in Davao City and led efforts to rid the city of insurgents.

Lorenzana was in the Presidential Security Group (PSG) from 1989 to 1991, developing operational and training plans for its units. The PSG was able to thwart the coup attempts at the Malacañang Palace which took place from November to December 1989. He was assistant chief of staff for personnel of the Philippine Army from April 1993 to January 1998, and was commanding officer of the 601st Infantry Brigade, 6th Division from January 1998 to February 2001.

From March to July 2001, Lorenzana was the commander of the Philippine Army Light Armored Brigade, and from July 2001 to July 2002, he held the same position in the Special Operations Command. Lorenzana's last assignment as a military officer was as a defense attaché at the Philippine Embassy in Washington D.C. He retired in 2004 with the rank of major general.

Secretary of National Defense

After Rodrigo Duterte was elected president in 2016, Lorenzana was named as the incoming secretary of the Department of National Defense (DND). On an ad interim basis, he assumed office on 30 June 2016, the same day Duterte was sworn in. After taking office, he said in an interview with Reuters that as secretary of the department, his priority was to support Duterte’s impending war on drugs, eradicate the Abu Sayyaf, and assert the country’s sovereignty in the West Philippine Sea.[3] In August 2016, however, Duterte offered the DND secretaryship to Gilbert Teorodo, who held the position during the presidency of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. Duterte subsequently offered the ambassador to the US post to Lorenzana. Both declined to take on the respective positions, hence Lorenzana stayed on as secretary of the DND.[4]

Chairperson of the National Task Force Against COVID-19

Upon the outbreak of COVID-19 in the country, Duterte tasked Lorenzana to head the National Task Force created by the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases.[5]

Martial Law Administrator

On May 23, 2017, shortly after Marawi City was attacked by terrorists, Lorenza took on the role of administrator of martial law in the city.[6]

Controversies

On 8 September 2020, Lorenzana told the House of Representatives that he signed a deal permitting Dito Telecommunity, which is 40% owned by the Chinese government through China Telecom, to build cell towers inside military camps in the Philippines amid security concerns.[7][8] Lorenzana said enough safeguards are stipulated in the contract and that the “security of our camps will be maintained."[8]

In December 2020, Duterte revealed that some military personnel had received shots of the COVID-19 vaccine from Chinese-state owned company Sinopharm, despite it not having been approved yet by the Food and Drug Administration for import and use. Lorenzana confirmed this, saying the Presidential Security Group had been inoculated and that the vaccines were smuggled.[9] He defended the decision to vaccinate the personnel with the illegally obtained vaccines, saying, "They did it in good faith. Now everybody there is safe from COVID-19."

On 15 January 2021, Lorenzana sent a letter to University of the Philippines (UP) President Danilo Concepcion announcing that the DND had terminated the UP-DND accord, a 1989 agreement that outlines how military and police operations may be carried out on UP campuses.[10][11] Lorenzana said the DND’s unilateral repealing of the agreement was necessary, reasoning that the New People’s Army have "embedded themselves inside UP and are recruiting university students” and that the university is a “safe haven for enemies of the State.” Students, alumni, and faculty members of the university, as well as some government officials, protested against the move by Lorenzana and the DND, saying it was a threat to academic freedom.[12][13][14]

Personal life

Lorenzana is married to Editha Aguilar of Caloocan.

In April 2021, Lorenzana revealed that he had been infected with COVID-19 but was asymptomatic.[15]

Awards in Military Service

References

  1. Delfin N Lorenzana - The Official Website of the Department of National Defense.
  2. Secretary Delfin Lorenzana.
  3. "New Philippine defense chief says militant threat more pressing than South China Sea", Reuters, June 29, 2016. 
  4. "Lorenzana stays in DND; Gibo begs off", Manila Standard, August 26, 2016. 
  5. In this order: Lorenzana, Año, Galvez to lead task force vs coronavirus.
  6. DND chief designated martial law administrator.
  7. "Lorenzana signs deal for China-backed Dito to put up cell towers in military camps", September 8, 2020. 
  8. 8.0 8.1 "Lorenzana says he signed deal to let China-backed Dito telco build cell sites in military camps", September 8, 2020. 
  9. "AFP: PSG members got vaccinated first to 'protect' Duterte from COVID-19", CNN Philippines, December 28, 2020. 
  10. "Lorenzana terminates DND-UP accord, says state university a 'safe haven' for enemies", Manila Bulletin, January 19, 2021. 
  11. "What you need to know about the 1989 UP-DND accord", Rappler, January 19, 2021. 
  12. "End of UP-DND agreement an 'assault against the freedom of UP'", Rappler, January 19, 2021. 
  13. "UP Cebu students, staff condemn unilateral termination of DND-UP Accord", Cebu Daily News, Philippine Daily Inquirer, January 20, 2021. 
  14. "Lawmakers: Junking UP-DND accord raises tension, shrinks democratic space", The Philippine Star, January 19, 2021. 
  15. "Lorenzana shows no symptoms after positive virus test but goes on quarantine", Philippine Daily Inquirer, April 6, 2021.