Friday, June 30, 2017

Military changes strategy in fight against terrorists

From the Website of INQUIRER

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Military changes strategy in fight against terrorists

The government’s losses in the Marawi crisis rose to 70 on Sunday, prompting changes in the fighting strategies of the military, which is relatively new to urban warfare. 
 On Monday, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana defended the security forces from allegations of two left-leaning groups that women in evacuation centers feared they would be raped by soldiers.

“Such a high price to pay for the liberation of Marawi. But we remain undeterred and will carry the fight until our mission is completed,” Brig. Gen. Restituto Padilla Jr., spokesperson for the Armed Forces of the Philippines, said in reporting the military death toll.

The body count includes soldiers who died while undergoing treatment in hospitals, Padilla said.
He said the military had made some changes in its tactics, techniques and procedures “and adopting to the current battlefield environment” because of the large number of soldiers killed and wounded in Marawi City.
Jungle warfare
Trained in jungle warfare — fighting communist and Moro insurgents on open battlefields — AFP troops have proven vulnerable to the terrorists’ close-quarter-battle tactics in Marawi City.

Making the slog across the city even more difficult for troops is the terrorists’ tactic of using human shields.
What should have been a quick clearing operation in May has turned into a siege, which is now in its fifth week, but the soldiers cannot just storm the terrorists’ positions as civilians are trapped in the battle zone.
Most of Marawi’s more than 200,000 residents have fled the city and they now jam evacuation centers in Iligan City and surrounding areas.

According to Gabriela and Bayan Muna party-list groups, many Maranao women sought refuge in the shelters after soldiers allegedly made open remarks about raping or marrying them.

President Duterte had joked that he would take up the cudgels for the soldiers if they were accused of rape during the enforcement of martial law, which he imposed on all of Mindanao to quell the terror threat.
Leftist propaganda
In a statement on Monday, Lorenzana, the defense chief, challenged leftist organizations and individuals to show evidence against the soldiers and file complaints in the courts “if they can, and not just throw . . .
accusations like they are reading lines from their same old propaganda for almost five decades now, which the Filipino people have grown tired of hearing.”

Lorenzana described reports about the leftist groups’ claims as “dubious.”
Ulterior motive
“The groups who made the report have just exposed their obvious ulterior motive—for the government to fail in the fight against evil in order to advance whatever selfish reasons they have,” Lorenzana said.

He said the groups had refused to acknowledge the crimes of their comrades in the Communist Party of the Philippines and the New People’s Army, “the same groups who conveniently forget that their communist-terrorists colleagues continue to loot, murder, rape and destroy private and public properties in the countryside.”

The defense chief said soldiers had been trained in gender sensitivity under the AFP’s gender and development program, which focuses on “participation, empowerment, equity, respect for human rights, freedom from violence and actualization of the fullest human potential not just of soldiers but of the communities where these soldiers operate as well.”
Military’s high rating
Lorenzana said the propaganda spread by the leftist organizations could have been their response to the high public trust rating of the military.

“If it is against the ideology of these groups to support our soldiers, I just hope they will exercise their conscience for our Maranao brothers and sisters — the women, children, indigenous peoples, and the whole community that have become victims of the situation,” he said.

Lorenzana urged the groups to “open their minds and hearts to what is really happening and to refrain from spreading rumors and fake news.”




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