PH Army reservist bags ASEAN award for defense, security efforts

by Martin Sadongdong

In a male-dominated field such as the military, women are slowly setting their own path and etching their names in the history books.

One of them is Lt. Col. Jannette Chavez Arceo, a Philippine Army (PA) reservist who was recently hailed as one of the exemplary women “prime movers” in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) defense and security sector.

Chavez-Arceo received the award during the annual Top 30 Women in Security ASEAN Region 2022 held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia last Wednesday, August 17.

The initiative was established to “recognize women who have advanced the security technology industry,” in the 10-nation regional bloc, according to ASEAN.

A peace educator and a staunch advocate of children and women’s rights, Chavez-Arceo currently serves as the first female battalion commander of the Laguna-based 403rd Ready Reserve Infantry Battalion, 4th Regional Community Defense Group.

According to Col. Xerxes Trinidad, PA spokesperson, Chavez-Arceo’s professional expertise spans the areas of reserve force development, gender and development mainstreaming, military leadership development, cyber peace education, and prevention of violent extremism.

“Her anti-human trafficking work contributed to the country’s Tier 1 rating in the United States (US) Department of State Global Report on Trafficking In Person,” Trinidad said.

A Tier 1 rating indicates that a government “has made efforts to address the problem that meet the Trafficking Victims Protection Act’s (TVPA) minimum standards.”

Chavez-Arceo also initiated the membership of the Philippine government in the Global Alliance to End Sexual Exploitation Online, a coalition of 54 countries committed to pursue concrete actions against child pornography that is spearheaded by the European Commission; and the Asia Pacific Financial Coalition Against Child Pornography (FCACP), a group of credit card issuers and internet services companies which seek to eliminate child pornography by taking actions on payment systems being used to fund such illegal activities.

Chavez-Arceo holds a bachelor’s degree in communications from the University of the Philippines (UP) and two Master’s degree from the National Security Administration and Public Management specializing in Development and Security.

Lt. Gen. Romeo Brawner Jr., PA commanding general, lauded Chavez-Arceo for “embodying the Army’s core values of honor, duty, patriotism in fulfilling her sworn oath as a reserve officer.”

Chavez-Arceo’s achievements only proved that gender is not a hindrance in pursuing a career or passion that contributes to the development of a community, or even a whole country.