THE Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief of Staff Gen. Eduardo Año highlighted the participation of the battle-tested Marines, the Philippine Navy and the Air Force in the military’s quest to finish off the extremist Abu Sayyaf and other terrorist groups in southern Philippines.
In his recent visit to the headquarters of the Navy and the Air Force, Año cited the two AFP branches’ accomplishments both in internal security and in territorial defense operations.
“Sailors and Marines, you guard the many isolated and distant posts on the islands and features in the West Philippine Sea [South China Sea]. I would like you to know that I am inspired by your dedication, missing important occasions and happy moments you could have spent with your families. Once more, your AFP needs your support in this quest to end the Abu Sayyaf Group and other terrorist groups in Mindanao. Be prepared to render service, which requires your energy, time and personal sacrifices,” the AFP chief said uring his visit to the Navy headquarters in Naval Station Jose Andrada on Roxas Boulevard in Manila.
He reiterated the same when he visited the Air Force headquarters at Villamor Air Base in Pasay City (Metro Manila) over the weekend.
After meeting with top Air Force officials led by Lt. Gen. Edgar Fallorina, Año addressed the guardians of Philippine skies and civilian employees of the Air Force and dwelt on their accomplishments and many personal experiences and anecdotes he related to the PAF leadership.
“I remember how the pilots conducted close air supports and medical evacuations above and beyond the call of duty, of selfless devotion to duty of the pilots and crew, and how they offered the ultimate sacrifice just to save other people’s lives. I now summon you to join the charge against the Abu Sayyaf Group and other terrorist groups that I, as your Chief of Staff, committed to significantly defeat in six months,” he noted.
Año earlier ordered the decimation of the ASG, the Maute Group, the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters and other terrorist groups within six months as ordered by President Rodrigo Duterte.
To achieve this difficult task, according to Col. Edgard Arevalo, chief of the AFP Public Affairs Office, necessary adjustments in tactics and strategy, and in the approaches to neutralize the ASG, including changes in the leadership and composition of the team that will execute Ano’s plans, will have to be made.
“And this is part of the dynamism of the military profession,” Arevalo said.
Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana had disclosed that the AFP would be employing fresh approaches in dealing with terrorists.
One of them, according to him, is to designate new officers to make sure these new strategies would be carried out against terrorist and other lawless elements.
The AFP recently designated Maj. Gen. Carlito Galvez Jr. as the new commander of the AFP Western Mindanao Command (Westmincom).