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RP military ready to thwart terror despite lack of equipment

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By Joel Guinto
INQUIRER.net
Last updated 07:26pm (Mla time) 05/23/2007

MANILA, Philippines — Despite the lack of equipment, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) showed off its counter-terrorism capability before security officials from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the regional bloc’s dialogue partners.

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During a capability demonstration at the Fort Bonifacio grounds, elite troops from the Philippine Army’s Special Forces and Light Reaction Battalion simulated an assault on a suspected terrorist lair.

The soldiers blew off the door to the hideout to rescue the hostage and apprehend the terror suspects.

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The Philippine Army’s K-9 demonstrated how bomb-sniffing dogs discovered an improvised bomb, which was later detonated while fire trucks and ambulances were on standby.

Then, Air Force personnel on board a UH-1H or Huey helicopter simulated a rescue operation, with troops being lowered to a disaster site from a rope ladder.

Troops from the Philippine Navy’s Special Operations Group and the Marines also joined the drill. They brought along an amphibious vehicle.

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“The AFP is always ready. We have the capability to fight terrorism,” Army spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Ernesto Torres Jr. said.

“We lack some equipment but we have intelligence and information sharing,” he added.

In January President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo ordered the release of P10 billion to beef up the military hardware with the purchase of helicopters, watercrafts, and squad rifles among others.

Japanese Navy Captain Tokuetso Ishibashi from the Joint Staff Office of the Japan Ministry of Defense said the demonstration was “very impressive.”

“I understand the Philippines faces, experiences severe problem especially in the southern part of the Philippines. So this kind of demonstration enhances mutual understanding among ARF [ASEAN Regional Forum] countries,” Ishibashi said.

Over two dozen of the 180 delegates to the ASEAN Regional Forum witnessed the drill at the Philippine Army headquarters.

Aside from the 10 member-countries of the ASEAN — the Philippines, Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam — representatives from the ASEAN’s dialogue partners were also present, including Japan, the United States, Canada, Australia, and the European Union, Torres said.

The delegates are in the country from May 21 to 25 for the ASEAN Regional Forum Defense Official’s Meeting at the Shangri-La Hotel in Makati City.

View article as posted on INQUIRER.net

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Written by joelguinto

WedUTC2007-05-23T15:22:06+00:00UTC05bUTCWed, 23 May 2007 15:22:06 +0000 22, 2006 at 12:45 pm05

Posted in Uncategorized

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