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AFP: Internal security problems still beset Phl

Alexis Romero - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - The military aims to focus on a gradual transition towards territorial defense next year even as it admitted that some parts of the country are still beset with internal security problems.

Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) spokesman Col. Restituto Padilla said that while internal peace and security plan (IPSP) Bayanihan is on track in a majority of the provinces, some areas still need to be cleared of insurgency.

“We are committed to transition to territorial defense but for as long as there are pockets within the archipelago that need AFP presence because of the security situation, we will stay until the business is done,” Padilla said in a recent interview.

“While we made some assumptions, there are developments that we cannot control,” he added.

Despite the remaining internal security issues, the military is starting to develop its territorial defense capabilities.

“We are expecting the delivery of several equipment. The main reason they were acquired is territorial defense,” Padilla said. “We will use them as we gradually transition so we can include them in our doctrine. That will be our focus next year.”

Under the military’s Bayanihan program, the years 2011 to 2013 focused on addressing internal armed threat groups.

The final three years – 2014 to 2016 –will be devoted to handing over the lead role in ensuring internal peace and security to appropriate government agencies, namely the police and local executives. The turnover will allow the AFP to shift focus to territorial defense.

The defense department’s planning guidance for 2013 to 2018 directs the military to conclude internal security combat operations by 2014.

The year 2014 is drawing to a close but some provinces are still grappling with communist insurgency and lawless groups. In fact, the strength of the communist rebellion in the country remains at 4,000 while that of the Abu Sayyaf stands at about 400.

The need to shift focus to territorial defense was highlighted by China’s aggressive expansion in the West Philippine Sea, including its occupation of some areas within the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone.

 

ABU SAYYAF

ARMED FORCES OF THE PHILIPPINES

BAYANIHAN

DEFENSE

INTERNAL

PADILLA

RESTITUTO PADILLA

SECURITY

TERRITORIAL

WEST PHILIPPINE SEA

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