Military: We’re getting ready for next Marawi siege

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The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) is getting ready for another possible “warfare” in Mindanao, Deputy Commander of Joint Task Force Ranao Colonel Romeo S. Brawner, Jr. said.

“[F]rom our experience from the Marawi siege, we are preparing for another urban warfare. In the eventuality that something similar to Marawi City happens, we should be ready… So from the lessons that we learned, we are now rewriting our doctrines. We are now reorganizing our units, we are re-equipping and retraining. So from the side of the Armed Forces, handa po kami for another Marawi siege whether it happens in Marawi or elsewhere,” Mr. Brawner told reporters during the Bangon Marawi briefing on Friday, Feb.23.

As for the peace and order in Marawi City, Mr. Brawner said: “It is relatively safe and secure.”

However, outside Marawi, especially around Lanao Lake, the AFP has had some encounters since the first month of the year “against believed members of the Maute-ISIS.”

Asked whether the terrorist group is capable of launching another attack, Mr. Brawner said: “Well, sa ngayon hindi pa nila kayang gumawaang assessment po namin ano on the ground is that hindi pa nila kayang gumawa ng isang pag-atake katulad ng ginawa nila sa Marawi City (Based on our assessment on the ground, the terrorists are not yet capable of carrying out another attack like what they did in Marawi).”

The implementation of martial law 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.

“[V]ery effective ang martial law especially in the areas of Marawi City and Lanao Del Sur, including Lanao Del Norte. For one, wala na tayong nakikitang mga nagdadala ng firearms openly (For one, we do not see people carrying firearms openly). And since the implementation of martial law, halos wala na pong (almost there are no) cases of murder, homicide or other killings within Marawi City and Lanao Del Sur. Of course, I am not including the [incidence of] rido, hindi kasama iyon [clan war, that’s not included]. But iyong mga crimes related to the loss of lives from firearms o illegal firearms ay nawala na ito [were eliminated] because of our control, our gun control that we are implementing and we are able to implement this because of martial law,” Mr. Brawner explained. — Arjay L. Balinbin