Monday, August 25, 2014

AFP to deploy Marine units in Zamboanga City

From the Philippine News Agency (Aug 25): AFP to deploy Marine units in Zamboanga City

Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief-of-staff Gen. Gregorio Pio Catapang said they are planning to deploy Marine units in Zamboanga City to help people there get over the trauma of last year's bloody siege.

"If you to go Zamboanga, it appears that people still have fears. I don't want that," Catapang said in Filipino.

He added that he is planning to remove this by bringing Marine units in Zamboanga City to assure people of their security and that life must go on.

The AFP chief said this seems to be the ideal solution for ZamboangeƱos as the latter is comfortable with the Marines.

In September 2013, more than 300 followers of Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) founding chairman Nur Misuari laid siege to Zamboanga City which sparked a three-week fierce fighting with government troops.

The fighting left more than 200 people dead and over 100,000 homeless.

Catapang said the Marine units that will be deployed to Zamboanga City will come from Sulu.

But the move will not left Sulu undefended as the 1st Infantry Division and the Joint Special Operations Group will be tasked to protect the province from threat groups like the Abu Sayyaf which is known to operate in the area.

Aside from Zamboanga City, the AFP chief said he is also looking at the possibility of deploying Marine units in Tawi-Tawi, Batanes and Palawan.

He added that this is ideal for the latter as their concept of operations is amphibious in nature and very mobile.

"I want the Navy to play bigger role. It's a chain of bodies of water so we need to strengthen our Navy,” Catapang concluded.

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