While it has won decisively in the five-month battle against the Islamic State-inspired Maute Group terrorists in Marawi City, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) has learned many lessons in the conflict and vowed not to let its guard down again, its spokesperson said.
Among these lessons learned is harnessing the vigilance and participation of the local government and residents in security and terrorism concerns, Col. Edgard Arevalo said as the country commemorated the first year anniversary of the conflict Wednesday.
Some 165 military personnel and police officers were killed while 908 Maute terrorists were neutralized in the five-month campaign to retake Marawi City from the extremists.
Arevalo cited the example of Inabanga, Bohol where Abu Sayyaf terrorists were detected, tracked and neutralized by government forces, thanks to the vigilant reports and cooperation of local government units and residents with security forces.
Also, the AFP’s experience in the Marawi siege has prompted the military to redraft doctrines and revise techniques, tactics, and procedures to face the challenge posed by terrorist attacks of such nature and magnitude.
“Part of the ‘Balikatan’ 2018 is interoperability in counter-terrorism planning and execution,” Arevalo added.
In line with this, various agencies of the government have crafted programs to prevent and counter violent extremism, which is targeting vulnerable sectors of society, such as the youth, Muslim converts, and victims of the siege.
The AFP is continuing to monitor reports and do proactive measures to frustrate efforts of the remnants of the Maute Group to recruit, reorganize, and regroup, aside from enlisting the active involvement and vigilance of the people and the local government in reporting their observations to security forces.
“Marawi has been liberated. If we have to look back to it, let’s do so to learn from it and move on. The efforts of the AFP, in cooperation with other line agencies of government, are now on the physical Reconstruction and Rehabilitation of Marawi; and the prevention of its repeat — in the City or elsewhere in the country,” Arevalo said. PNA