Insurgency ending but external threats rising, says Marcos as AFP told to adjust strategy
MANILA, Philippines — Saying the fight against communist insurgency is “coming to an end,” President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. on Wednesday ordered the Philippine Army to recalibrate its strategy and prepare for a more “complex and unpredictable” external security environment.
During his speech on the 126th founding anniversary of the Philippine Army, the commander-in-chief said that the Army should now focus its mission on paving the way for the disbandment of communist rebels.
“We have come to a point in our country’s history when a half-a-century’s fight with insurgents is coming to an end,” Marcos said. “With the declining numbers of the Communist Terrorist Group, we must now recalibrate our military approach.”
“As our ground troops, you have done the difficult part of clearing our communities of internal security threats. You must now continue being the catalyst to their surrender and disarmament,” he added.
The communist New People’s Army was established on March 29, 1969.
The Philippine government estimated that as of 2022, the 53-year-old NPA has over 2,000 forces and 1,800 firearms in its arsenal.
READ: NPA only has around 1,800 firearms in its arsenal — AFP chief
The chief executive also urged the Army to be prepared, noting that the “external security environment is becoming more complex” and “more unpredictable.”
“While advancements in technology have facilitated greater interaction among states, amongst economies, and peoples, resulting in better development outcomes, it has also created conditions that will dictate the future of warfare.
“That is why the Army must always be fully prepared and capable for any contingencies, especially considering you are the country’s last line of defense against any external security threat. Be vigilant against elements that will undermine our hard-earned peace, our hard-earned stability,” Marcos said.
Marcos also vowed his support for the Armed Forces of the Philippines modernization plan.
“As your Commander-in-Chief, I am assuring you that we remain committed to modernizing the Armed Forces so no threat will be impossible to handle.
“We will continue to invest not only in modern equipment and material but also in your training, so you can keep abreast of concepts, doctrines, [and] strategies that we now need in the modern battlefield,” he said.
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