By Aaron Recuenco
The military has created a brigade-size special unit trained for quick deployment in the campaign against communist insurgency and terrorism and even disaster response.
Dubbed as the 1st Brigade Combat Team or 1st BCT, the unit, however, could be used in the ongoing campaign against illegal drugs, according to the statement of the Philippine Army.
“As the country remains plagued with various security concerns such as terrorism, insurgency, transnational crime and illegal drugs, the activation is vital and timely to support the national security policy of President Duterte,” the statement read.
A brigade is composed of three to six battalions.
Col. Louie Villanueva, spokesman of the Philippine Army, said the BCT will be the Army’s rapid deployable unit on all the possible threats that the country would face.
It is rapid deployable unit in the sense that it is composed of personnel who are trained in all the various threats that include natural disasters, terrorism, transnational crime and insurgency problems, according to Villanueva.
The BCT creation appears to be patterned after the US Army which also maintains such unit with the same name.
He said the BCT will be composed of maneuver components which includes two infantry and one mechanized battalions, maneuver support consists of specialized enablers such as field artillery and engineer combat battalions, reconnaissance company and units from signal, intelligence, civil-military operations, military police, explosive ordnance, CBRN (chemical biological radiological and nuclear), and sustainment components composed of a forward service support unit and a forward medical platoon.
“Brigade Combat Team is a contingency force that could provide operational flexibility and will be the Unified Command’s decisive force in times of crisis and/or armed conflict situations,” said Villanueva.
“The establishment of BCT is geared towards capacitating the Army into a joint, combined arms force capable of addressing various threats and challenges across the Army’s range of operations. With its given characteristics as a mix-force, it can be employed in various situation both in peacetime or wartime,” he added.
The 1st BCT headquarters will be based at Fort Magsaysay to exercise command and control of its attached component units.
The unit will be commanded by Brig. Gen. Leopoldo Imbang Jr. wherein temporarily it will be attached to 7th Infantry Division. The unit is also set to be placed under Tactical Control (TACON) of Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC) for consolidation and organizational training, according to Villanueva.
In his speech during the BCT activation Saturday, Army commanding general Lt. Gen. Macairog Alberto said the BCT creation fits the territorial defense concept.
“I know there will be challenges but I am very confident that this is the most perfect force-mix of combined arms in pursuit of our organizational transformation for us to be more relevant, effective and efficient formidable fighting force. We are gaining grounds but let us not be contended with it. We must continuously adopt on the constant state of today’s operational challenges”, said Alberto.
“Let us always be reminded that we are duty bound to secure our country’s sovereignty and the integrity of our national territory. Our ancestors had sacrifices their precious lives and we are now duty bound to sustain it and be the best exemplars of public service to meet the aspirations and expectations of the Filipino,” he added.