AFP’s ‘innovative’ plan aims to crush terror groups in 6 months
The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) aims to significantly reduce the strength of terrorist groups in six months’ time with its newly-launched security strategy.
“We are going to do something new or innovative to finish this problem (of terrorism) once and for all,” Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said at the sidelines of the AFP New Year’s Call at Camp Aguinaldo on Monday.
“Di na namin sasabihin dito kung ano ang gagawin. We’ll just do it, kasi baka malaman ng kalaban ang operational plans (We won’t publicize what we’ll do. We’ll just do it because our enemies might learn of the operational plans),” he said.
The military is looking at decreasing terrorist groups such as the Abu Sayyaf, Maute Group, Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters and others to a “minimal strength” in the next six months.
If the target won’t be met, then it will be extended, Lorenzana said.
The military’s new campaign plan, Development Support and Security Plan Kapayapaan, was launched last week at a high-level command conference presided by the defense secretary. It replaced the Internal Peace Security Plan Bayanihan that expired last December 31.
“We will just have to do the best we can, or we can combine military and developmental projects para masugpo natin ‘yung kanilang ginagawa (so we can stop them from doing what they are doing),” Lorenzana said.
51 battalions deployed to fight terrorists
AFP chief General Eduardo Año said terrorist groups like the Abu Sayyaf will be dealt with with “the full force of the Armed Forces.”
He said that 51 battalions are operating to fight terrorist groups in the Western Mindanao Command area. This covers the whole Western Mindanao and parts of Central Mindanao.
“Not in our history has there been that massive deployment of our troops…Ayaw nating patagalin ‘yung labanan dun. Gusto natin matapos lahat ‘yun (We do not want to prolong the fighting there. We want it to end),” Año said.
The AFP chief said it is the Maute Group that needs to be watched because of their plans to conduct terrorist activities in cities, but noted all groups have their own peculiarities.
“Yung Abu Sayyaf kidnapping, ‘yung Maute Group they would want to be recognized by ISIS kaya ang ginagawa nila yung bombing. Yung ibang groups like AKP (Ansar Khilafah Philippines) combination of extortion and terrorism. Para samin ang kailangan bantayan ng husto ‘yung Maute na nagpa-planong mag conduct ng terroristic activities sa cities natin,” he said.
(The Abu Sayyaf has been engaged in kidnapping, while the Maute Group wants to be recognized by ISIS that’s why it’s been involved in bombings. Other groups like the AKP are into a combination of extortion and terrorism. But for us, we need to keep a close watch on Maute because it plans on conducting terrorist activities in (major) cities.)
The new security plan “Kapayapaan,” Año said, is a “sequel” of the “Bayanihan” strategy which focused on non-combat dimension in dealing with internal security threats.
“Itong campaign plan na ‘Kapayapaan’ isinama natin ‘yung challenges ng governance at development. So hindi lang tayo nag focus sa security aspect kundi nag focus tayo kung paano ma-attain yung peaceful settlement with other peace-inclined armed groups katulad ng CPP, MILF, MNLF (Communist Party of the Philippines, Moro Islamic Liberation Front and Moro National Liberation Front),” he said.
(The Kapayaapan plan includes the challenges of the government and development. So we are not concentrating on the security aspect but also focusing on how we can attain a peaceful settlement with peace-inclined armed groups such as the CPP, MILF and MNLF).
The support to the Philippine National Police’s campaign against drugs was also included in the new campaign plan. IDL/rga
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