By Francis Wakefield
Delegates from the Japan Ministry of Defense participated in a one-day training on counter-terrorism Tuesday at the Army headquarters in Fort Bonifacio, Quezon City.
Army spokesman Lt. Col. Ramon Zagala said that aside from strengthening the bilateral relationship of both forces, the training is meant to counter the rising threat of terrorism.
Zagala said the Philippine Army (PA) specifically shared its counter-terrorism experiences in relation to the Zamboanga and Marawi siege several years ago.
The Zamboanga siege that pit government forces against a faction of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) loyal to MNLF chairman Nur Misuari, began on Sept. 9, 2013, and lasted 19 days.
The MNLF faction attempted to raise the flag of the self-proclaimed Bangsamoro Republic at Zamboanga City Hall after “declaring” independence on August 12, 2013, in Talipao, Sulu.
On May 23, 2017, militants affiliated with the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) laid siege on Marawi City on May 23, 2017. It took government troops five months to end the crisis.
Zagala said participating Army officers shared the command’s experiences to 14 Japanese delegates.
“The training emphasized the importance of joint agency operations of the military and government/non-government organizations in performing its duty of protecting the people and securing territorial integrity,” Zagala said.
“Providing training to squad up to the command leaders and developing readily deployable force like the 1st Brigade Combat Team were also highlighted as the Army’s support system in preparing and addressing terrorism issues,” he added.
Army Chief Lt. Gen. Macairog S. Alberto, said the initiatives they have implemented gave credence to the vision of becoming a world-class army that is the source of national pride.
“In learning about us, I am optimistic that you have recognized our continuous efforts for the development of our organization,” Alberto told the participants.