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AFP admits planning lapses in first year of Bayanihan

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) has admitted that several operational lapses it committed last year have overshadowed significant gains achieved, especially in Mindanao, during the first year of implementation of the military’s internal peace and security plan (IPSP) Bayanihan.

In its assessment of IPSP Bayanihan, the AFP leadership cited the operational blunders in 2011, like the attacks by the communist New People’s Army (NPA) in Surigao del Norte, in Al Barka, Basilan, in Sulu and in Zamboanga Sibugay.

“The AFP is a big organization, and mistakes still happen. While significant gains were achieved by AFP troops in Mindanao, it is unfortunate that such gains were overshadowed by lapses in joint planning of combat operations resulting in blunders like (the attacks in) Taganito Mining in Surigao del Norte; Patikul, Sulu; Al-Barka, Basilan and in Zamboanga Sibugay,” the AFP stated in its assessment paper.

It will be recalled that last October, some 200 NPA rebels raided three mining compounds in Barangay Taganito in Claver, Surigao del Norte, burning P2- billion worth of mining equipment.

This was followed by the Oct. 18 bungled operation in Al-Barka, Basilan that led to the killing of 19 Special Forces personnel, including four junior officers, who were sent to serve warrants of arrest against Dan Laksaw Asnawi, commander of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and Abu Sayyaf leader Long Malat.

Days later, at least eight police and military troops were killed during separate ambushes staged by MILF rebels in Alicia town, Zamboanga Sibugay province.

Three months earlier, seven Marines were killed in a clash with Abu Sayyaf bandits in Patikul, Sulu.

The military, however, claimed that it made headway in its campaign against the Abu Sayyaf and cited arrangements with the MILF, particularly the Ad Hoc Joint Action Group, aimed at preventing hostilities.

The AFP acknowledged that operational lapses were among the challenges faced by the military during the first year of implementation of the IPSP Bayanihan, which was officially launched in January 2011. It was designed to defeat insurgency by 2016.

The AFP also admitted the need to improve its civil military operations and other humanitarian activities, in coordination with other government agencies, to continue making headway in its fight to end insurgency and armed conflict in the country.

The military called on the government peace panel negotiating peace with the communist organization, and the civilian sector to exert “social pressure” to bring the National Democratic Front (NDF) back to the negotiating table. It also pushed for the resumption and sustenance of the social integration program (SIP) to entice rebels to give up fight against government.

“The suspension of the SIP has brought negative consequences in terms of convincing more rebels to return to the folds of the law,” the AFP said. 

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Mario J. Mallari | The Daily Tribune | June 3, 2012 | Article Link

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