President, National Defense College of the Philippines (NDCP)

LIEUTENANT GENERAL FERDINAND MENDEZ CARTUJANO PAF (RET) assumed office as President, National Defense College of the Philippines on 15 August 2022.

LTGEN Cartujano is a product of the public education system from elementary to college. Graduating from elementary as salutatorian, he graduated from high school as valedictorian when he was only fifteen years old. He spent two years at the University of the Philippines-Diliman where he studied BS Marine Science as a state scholar. He then entered the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) in the summer of 1984 when he was seventeen years old. As a PMA cadet, he was consistently named in the Dean’s List and the Commandant’s List. In sports, he was a champion in boxing, karate, aikido, basketball, and volleyball during intramural games, and was named as the Most Valuable Player (MVP) twice in basketball.

LTGEN Cartujano graduated from PMA as a distinguished member of the PMA “Maringal” Class of 1988. Thereafter, he joined the Philippine Air Force (PAF) and took the Undergraduate Pilot Training (UPT) at PAF Flying School and finished with “flying colors,” earning his Pilot Wings in 1990. He has all the flight qualifications as a pilot:  Flight Commander; Level 1 Flight Examiner and Evaluator; Instructor Pilot; Test Pilot; Assault Pilot; and Search and Rescue Pilot.

His mettle as a pilot was tested when he was assigned with the 205th Tactical Helicopter Wing as an assault pilot, flying numerous aerial and tactical missions in support to combat operations against Communists Terrorists Groups in Marag Valley in Apayao and Abra; to the hinterlands of Bicol Region; the regions of Negros, Waray, and Caraga in the Visayas and Mindanao; and against Muslim secessionists in Southern Mindanao. He was awarded a Wounded Personnel Medal (WPM) when the Huey helicopter he piloted was aerially ambushed in Samar in 1993.

These combat experiences inspired him to take the Air Intelligence Officers’ Course where he graduated at the top of his class. It also opened doors for him to occupy staff positions, which aptly prepared him to be the Squadron Commander of the 5056th Search and Rescue Squadron, which is based in Laoag. His exceptional leadership in this unit earned him the award of the PAF Best Squadron Commander of the Year for three consecutive years – from Anniversary Years 2001, 2002, and 2003. In 2009, he assumed the position as Group Commander of 505th Search and Rescue Group where his unit was named as back-to-back PAF Group of the Year in AY 2010 and 2011. He also has the distinction of being named as Officer of the Year of 205th Tactical Helicopter Wing and 505th Search and Rescue Group in 1995 and 2002 respectively. For two straight years (2019 and 2020), his unit the Air Education, Training and Doctrine Command (AETDC) was named as the PAF Functional Command of the Year.

To further develop his competency as a pilot, logistician and strategic planner, he pursued various military career courses that he all finished outstandingly, among these are the Squadron Officers Course (SOC) where he graduated Number 2 in his class; Australian Command General Staff Course (CGSC) at the Australian Defense College in Weston Creek, Canberra, Australia in 2005; and the Senior Executive Course in National Security (SECNS) Class 10 at the National Defense College of the Philippines (NDCP).

These were complemented with various military specialization training and seminars that he took locally and abroad that include the following: AFP Logistics Officers Integrated Course, graduating Number 1; AFP Financial Management Course, finishing at Number 3; Defense Resource Management Seminar and the Regional Seminar- Workshop on Transparency and Conventional Arms in the United Nation Headquarters in Bangkok, Thailand.

The NDCP President’s zest for learning and his sincere commitment to help mold future leaders were further boosted by his two (2) Post-Graduate degrees, namely: Masters in Management in Defense Studies (MMDS) from the University of Canberra in Canberra, Australia, and Masters in Business Economics (MBE) from the University of Asia and the Pacific in Ortigas, Pasig.

On 16 November 2020, LTGEN Cartujano took the helm and leadership of PMA as Superintendent. Among LTGEN Cartujano’s greatest legacy at PMA include leading the Cadet Corps  at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic from 2020 to 2022, which involved the production of all the vaccines and booster shots not only for the cadets but also all personnel and their dependents, tenant units, and AFP units in Baguio and in the surrounding community.

As Superintendent, LTGEN Cartujano oversaw a record in cadet history with 1,270 cadets during School Year 2021- 2022 due to very low attrition rate and very high success rate. With the arrival of the plebes for School Year 2022-2023, the Cadet Corps currently has 1,310 cadets. LTGEN Cartujano also led the regularization of all contractual employees at PMA including servers, utility workers, and laborers. Most importantly, LTGEN Cartujano succeeded in  eradicating maltreatment practices  and hazing at PMA, putting premium and emphasis on education and corrective training policies.

Before his stint as Superintendent, LTGEN Cartujano was an Assistant Superintendent during which he headed the Technical Working Group (TWG) that conceptualized, designed, and defended the presently used course curricula for programs such as the Bachelor of Science in National Security Management, Bachelor of Science in Information Technology, and the soon to be implemented Bachelor of Science in Electronics Engineering.

LTGEN Cartujano’s leadership in PMA vastly contributed to the Academy’s very high success rate.

No doubt, his solid foundation in training, coupled with excellence in his craft led him to occupy various positions of major responsibility in the AFP, which include the following: Commander, Air Education, Training and Doctrine Command; Deputy Wing Commander of 600th Air Base Wing in Clark Air Base; Chief of Division Staff of 1st Air Division in Clark Air Base; and Group Commander of the 505th Search and Rescue Group of the Philippine Air Force, among others. He also holds the distinction of being the only AFP Officer to have occupied the top three (3) positions in PMA – first as the Chief of Academy Staff; then as Assistant Superintendent; and finally as Superintendent of his beloved Alma Mater.

A testament of 38 years of continuous, committed, and faithful military service to the nation earned him the following awards: Presidential Legion of Honor degree of Commander; Presidential Legion of Honor degree of Officer; Distinguished Service Stars; Gold Cross Medal for gallantry in action; an Outstanding Achievement Medal; Distinguished Aviation Cross Medals for airmanship; Bronze Cross Medals; and countless Military Merit and Commendation Medals. He, likewise, takes pride in wearing the Philippine Air Force Military Pilot Badge (Gold Wings) for earning more than 5,000 Accident – Free flying hours, with the hope of inspiring the next generation of pilots. As of today, he has accumulated varied accolades, appreciations, and Letters of Commendation from private and public sectors, to include some from the Office of the President of the Philippines.

As the current NDCP President, LTGEN Cartujano intends to build on the accomplishments of the past and reach even greater heights.  His leadership of the College is guided by three key thrusts:  institutionalization, expansion, and self-development.

A proud son of the historic towns of San Miguel, Bulacan and Roxas City, Capiz, LTGEN Cartujano was born on 26 June 1966, blissfully married to Director Dinna Anna Lee Lumibao – Cartujano, and is a proud father of two (2) successful and lovely daughters – Beatrice Dianne and Lara Danielle.