THE Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) is getting ready for another possible conflict, a ranking officer said on Friday.
“[F]rom our experience from the Marawi siege, we are preparing for another urban warfare,” Deputy Commander of Joint Task Force Ranao Colonel Romeo S. Brawner, Jr. said. “In the eventuality that something similar to Marawi City happens, we should be ready.”
Military preparations include “rewriting doctrines, reorganizing units, reequipping, and retraining,” Mr. Brawner told reporters during the Bangon Marawi briefing on Friday. “We are ready for another Marawi siege whether it happens in Marawi or elsewhere.”
Government troops are also calling for cooperation from concerned groups to help them counter any threats of violent extremism in the country, he said. The military is likewise “banking on the help of the [Moro Islamic Liberation Front] in our “advocacy to counter violent extremism and radicalism,” Mr. Brawner added.
While Marawi is “relatively safe and secured,” the military has reported several encounters in January with “believed members of the Maute-ISIS…especially around Lanao Lake.” Members of the group laid siege on the city in May 2017 and were later chased out in October.
The implementation of martial law (ML) in Mindanao especially in the areas of Lanao del Norte and Lanao del Sur also plays an important role in maintaining peace and order, according to the AFP.
Guns are no longer being carried openly and murder, homicide, and other killings have been reduced since the implementation of martial law, Mr. Brawner said.
Authorities have also been able to monitor and control the flow of people entering the city, he said, adding that the military still recommends the continuation of martial law. — Arjay L. Balinbin