The military’s top spy on Saturday debunked speculations that the fire that destroyed part of an office of the Intelligence Service of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (ISAFP) on Friday was a protest against plans to deactivate the agency and replace it with a Defense Intelligence Agency.
Brig. Gen. Eduardo Año, chief of the ISAFP, said the military intelligence agency would not be deactivated.
One big organization
Año said that under the defense planning guidance of Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin, the idea is to “create one big intelligence organization with the ISAFP as its backbone.”
“Instead of downsizing, it would actually be upsizing (the agency), similar to those of other countries. It’s just that the intelligence unit of the AFP will now be part of the whole defense department,” Año said.
He said the communications room under the AFP Deputy Chief of Staff for Intelligence at the ISAFP compound was partially damaged Friday afternoon in a fire caused by faulty wiring.
The fire destroyed five chairs, a table, a fax machine, scanner, part of a window and the ceiling, Año said.
He said the plans for a Defense Intelligence Agency remained on the drawing board.
“It will not happen in 2014. Probably, that will be in 2015. But, of course, we are always trying to change the organization for the better. That’s the dynamics of the organization,” he said.
The ISAFP mainly consolidates military information for the defense secretary, while the government’s civilian intelligence arm, the National Intelligence Coordination Agency (Nica), caters to the President and the national security adviser (NSA).
In a separate interview, Peter Galvez, DND spokesperson, told the Inquirer by phone that assessment of the viability of a Defense Intelligence Agency began even before the Aquino administration.
It was, however, given further attention this time because of the traditional and nontraditional security threats the government had to deal with “and the broader assessment needed,” Galvez
“The Defense Intelligence Agency is envisioned to provide strategic information analysis to support national security requirements,” he said.