Philippines to adopt US strategy in counter-insurgency starting January 1

Monday, December 20, 2010

Asian Defense News

ANN – Tuesday, December 21 Manila – A Filipino lawmaker on Monday bared that the Armed Forces of the Philippines’ (AFP) new counter-insurgency strategy had the mark of the United States’ own counter-insurgency operation plan, but said it is bound to fail if the government will not address the root causes of the armed conflict.

Left-leaning Anakpawis party-list Representative Rafael Mariano said Oplan Bayanihan was patterned after the US Counter-Insurgency (COIN) Guide in January 2009, which shifts the strategy of combating insurgency toward a “whole of nation and people-centered” approach.

This file photo taken on July 2, 2010 shows Philippine soldiers marching during a parade at the handover ceremony for the new military's chief of staff, attended by President Aquino (not pictured) at the military headquarters in Manila. The Philippines said Decmber 7, 2010 it was set to sign a 'substantial' deal to buy military equipment from China, but insisted it should not impact on its close ties with the United States.

This file photo taken on July 2, 2010 shows Philippine soldiers marching during a parade at the handover ceremony for the new military's chief of staff, attended by President Aquino (not pictured) at the military headquarters in Manila. The Philippines said Decmber 7, 2010 it was set to sign a 'substantial' deal to buy military equipment from China, but insisted it should not impact on its close ties with the United States.

Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) spokesman Brig. Gen. Jose Mabanta Jr. said Oplan Bayanihan, which will be implemented starting Jan. 1, 2011, will shift to the “whole of nation approach,” which means that “even ordinary people should be involved.”

Mabanta had said that it will also be a “people-centered approach which gives primordial consideration to human security.”

The direction of the new counter-insurgency strategy, which replaces Oplan Bantay Laya of the Arroyo administration, takes after the US COIN’s “population-centric (focused on securing and controlling a given population or populations) than enemy-centric (focused on defeating a particular enemy group),” according to the COIN Guide furnished by Mariano.

“Note that this does not mean that COIN is less violent than any other conflict: on the contrary, like any other form of warfare it always involves loss of life,” the COIN Guide added.

Mariano said that “in reality, COIN campaigns will rarely be purely enemy-centric or population-centric, but will generally include elements of both, with the relative balance changing over time.” Continue reading