MANILA, Philippines – New Philippine Army chief Major General Rolando Bautista said changes are needed in the 90,000-strong service.
In his assumption speech, the former ground commander in Marawi City vowed to focus on “new thrusts which have come to my attention after staying in Marawi from May 23 to October 3, 2017.” (READ: Marawi battle zone: Urban warfare challenges PH military)
Bautista was installed as the new commanding general of the Philippine Army on Thursday, October 5. President Rodrigo Duterte led the ceremony.
“Terrorist groups have had the luxury to reinvent themselves and create a new type of conflict. We have suddenly found ourselves forced out of the comforts of jungle warfare into urban areas with dense populations coupled with a barrage of terroristic social media propaganda – things our foot soldiers were not schooled in,” Bautista said.
“It is a challenge for the incoming leadership to make the Philippine Army adaptable and relevant to the dictates of time. Definitely, terrorism, fanaticism, and the advocating of radical social or political reform have no place in peace-loving countries. Our institution must confront these problems based on a multi-sectoral approach. Intelligence operations must be beefed up so that groups such as this cannot gain a foothold in the country,” he added.
Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana previously admitted that there was a failure to appreciate intelligence information on the attack in Marawi City. The war with local terror groups linked to the Islamic State (ISIS) is now on its 5th month.
Bautista said the army will need to focus on relationships with communities while respecting religious and cultural beliefs, as well as on the modernization of weapons and technology.
He vowed to assist the rebuilding of Marawi City. – Rappler.com
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