Dela Rosa: Let PNP handle insurgency as AFP focuses on external defense
MANILA, Philippines — In line with its shift of focus to external defense, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) should pass the cudgel in dealing with insurgency to the Philippine National Police (PNP).
Senator Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa suggested this during the Senate plenary deliberations of DND’s proposed P233 billion budget.
According to Dela Rosa, current laws state that “the insurgency problem, or the internal threat, should be handled by the AFP.”
“So dapat baguhin ang batas, dapat i-transfer ito sa PNP. Kasi support lang ang PNP sa anti-insurgency operation, support lang, by law. Maybe i-amend natin ang batas na yan. I-transfer na sa PNP fully; bigyan din ng period, adjustment period,” he added.
(So the laws should be changed, it should be transferred to the PNP. Because by law, the PNP is only supporting the anti-insurgency operation. Maybe we have to amend the law, transfer it to the PNP fully, and give them an adjustment period.)
Dela Rosa raised this point as Senator Risa Hontiveros pointed out that 70 percent of the country’s military personnel serve in the army while only 18 percent and 12 percent serve in the navy and air force, respectively.
Hontiveros also noted that the army has been allocated around P121 billion next year, while the air force was only allocated P44.7 billion and the navy P40.9 billion.
“Eh kung currently po nagfofocus tayo sa external defense kasama na ang depensa nating sa ating pambansang interes sa West Philippine Sea at kalakihan pa ng ating exclusive economic zone — anong mga aspeto ng budget na ito ay sumasalamin sa pagshift sa ating mga prayoridad?” Hontiveros said.
(If we are currently focusing on external defense including defending our interest in the West Philippine Sea and our exclusive economic zone, what aspect of the budget reflects the shift of our priorities?)
However, Dela Rosa said the army remains the biggest among the AFP forces due to internal threats.
“Nangyari lang ‘yan kasi masyadong heavy ang ating internal threat, yung ISO (internal security operations) natin, kaya yung army talaga nafofocusan ng pondo, nafofocusan ng manpower, ng lahat-lahat,” Dela Rosa said.
(This is because internal threats are heavy, our ISOs, so the focus of funds goes to the army, the manpower, all in all.)
In response to Hontiveros’ question as to how many years it would take before the reconfiguration of the forces, Dela Rosa said, “That would depend largely on the ability of the PNP to pick up the slack.”
“Kasi nga yung mga areas ngayon na consider natin na meron paring threat, kung iiwan ‘yan ng AFP, dapat capable yung PNP to take over para magconcentrate na ang armed forces doon sa external threat. ‘Yung internal threat dapat to be addressed na by the PNP. So depende ‘yan sa development ng PNP,” he added.
(Because there are areas we consider as having threats. If the AFP leaves that, the PNP should be capable of taking over for the AFP to focus on external threats. The internal threats should be already addressed by the PNP. So it depends on the PNP’s development.)