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‘Guerrilla’ MILF harder to pursue–AFP chief

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Arroyo gives troops fighting in Lanao P2M

By Joel Guinto
INQUIRER.net
First Posted 14:24:00 09/24/2008

MANILA, Philippines — Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief of staff General Alexander Yano admitted it would be “more difficult” to run after Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) fighters who have broken up into small groups and shifted to guerilla tactics.

Yano claimed the rebels have also “blended” into civilian communities and use them as human shields.

“That has been the situation for several days now. They’ve broken up into small formations, evading our troops and resorting to guerilla type of operations,” Yano told reporters Wednesday at the Presidential Management Staff office in Malacañang, where he received a P2-million check given by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to assist troops fighting in the Lanao provinces.

“I would say that guerilla operations would be more difficult, and what is also complicating is some of them are blending and using civilians as shields, this will also put our civilian communities in harm’s way,” he said.

The military has launched an offensive against three MILF commanders and their units who are accused of attacking civilian communities in North Cotabato and Lanao del Norte provinces last month.

While the targeted MILF rebels are capable of “small unit actions” or harassment attacks, they are not likely to mount attacks on the scale of last month’s raids.

However, Yano said guerilla tactics are nothing new to the AFP, which has been battling the New People’s Army (NPA), the armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines.

“We will adjust accordingly with the same thing in mind, which is minimizing collateral damage to civilians. That’s uppermost in our minds,” he said.

Yano said troops would resume to using “reasonable and justifiable” force at the end of the Muslim Holy month of Ramadan, which was marked by restraint, especially in the employment of bombardments and air strikes, although six civilians, including children, were killed when Air Force planes engaged Moro rebels in Datu Piang town, Maguindanao, earlier this month.

He said the military would deploy artillery fire only when necessary, and only when the splintered MILF forces regroup and pose a threat to government forces.

Meanwhile, Presidential Management Staff chief Cerge Remonde, who turned over the
P2-million check to Yano, said similar assistance for troops engaged in combat in other parts of the southern Philippines is being worked out.

Remonde said P1 million will go to college scholarships for soldiers’ children, while the other half will go to the pension of their parents who are not covered by the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) or the Social Security System (SSS).

“All these are just part of the demonstration, very solid and concrete demonstration of moral support that the Office of the President is extending to our fighting men in the AFP who are in harm’s way to ensure that we are safe,” Remonde said.

“These are some of the gifts of the President that really inspired and boosted the morale of our troops fighting in the Lanao side against commander Bravo,” Yano said.

Last week, Arroyo visited the 104th Brigade headquarters in Lanao and gave sleeping bags and P300 cellular phone load each to about 5,000 troops.

View article as posted on INQUIRER.net

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Written by joelguinto

WedUTC2008-09-24T12:54:48+00:00UTC09bUTCWed, 24 Sep 2008 12:54:48 +0000 22, 2006 at 12:45 pm09

Posted in Uncategorized

One Response

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  1. Jonatan

    WedUTC2010-09-15T20:35:33+00:00UTC09bUTCWed, 15 Sep 2010 20:35:33 +0000 22, 2006 at 12:45 pm09


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