Arroyo orders ‘war of rapid conclusion’
MANILA, Philippines—President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo directed security forces to pursue a “war of rapid conclusion” against threat groups, which will see the frontloading of development efforts in tandem with military operations, officials said.
Arroyo presided over a command conference of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) in Malacañang Thursday evening, after which she hosted a dinner for the military top brass and members of her Cabinet, officials said.
The President has given security forces until the end of her term in 2010 to defeat the communist New People’s Army (NPA), destroy the al Qaeda-linked Abu Sayyaf, and contain the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).
“She ordered a continuous pursuit of ISO, run after the enemy in a war of rapid conclusion,” Air Force Chief Lieutenant General Pedrito Cadungog, who was at the conference, said in a phone interview.
Cadungog said the “war of rapid conclusion” entailed bringing development projects and social services to the communities to win the support of the people, and discourage them from supporting insurgents and extremists.
“This will involve not only the AFP, but also local government units. We will not give them the chance to take root in the communities,” he said
Cadungog said Arroyo “congratulated” the military for its performance in internal security operations in 2008.
In a separate interview, AFP spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Ernesto Torres Jr., who was also at the command conference, said the President ordered troops to “support the peace process, keep the military on track on its targets, intensify the fight against terrorism, and support national development.”
Cadungog said Arroyo was active during the open forum, asking questions to military commanders.
At dinner, she sat with AFP Chief Lieutenant General Alexander Yano, Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita, Presidential Peace Adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr., National Security Adviser Norberto Gonzales, and Deputy National Security Adviser Avelino Razon Jr., Torres said.
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