By Priam Nepomuceno

Philippine Army chief Lt. Gen. Romeo Brawner Jr. (File photo)

MANILA – Philippine Army (PA) chief Lt. Gen. Romeo Brawner Jr. on Wednesday expressed confidence that ongoing intelligence driven operations will lead to the complete dismantling of all remaining communist guerrilla fronts in the country.

This as the PA works tirelessly to achieve its organizational gains and operational milestones, he added.

“Most significant of these are in the intelligence driven military operations against communist and local terrorist groups where we see the imminent complete dismantling of the remaining guerrilla fronts,” Brawner said in his speech during the PA’s 126th founding anniversary at its headquarters in Fort Bonifacio, Metro Manila.

The military earlier said that out of the 89 New People’s Army guerrilla fronts recorded in 2016, only 23 or 24 are left with only five still capable of conducting any actions.

He added that these “successes” are shared with their stakeholders whose solid cooperation has magnified the impact of PA’s whole-of-nation approach against these security threats.

“This in turn has encouraged the voluntary surrender of former rebels and their eventual reintegration into mainstream society,” Brawner said.

Bolstering ties with allies

As this developed, the PA chief said Army personnel are “untiring” in bolstering their international defense and security engagements with allies and foreign counterparts.

“Even as I speak our troops are testing their mettle in Exercise ‘Salaknib,’ the latest edition of the joint training exercises with our partners from the United States Army,” he added. “Salaknib” started March 13 and will end on April 4.

Around 3,000 Filipino and American soldiers are participating in these military exercises.

“Our humanitarian and disaster response capabilities are tested and always on the ready. Most recently we sent an urban search and rescue team to Turkey as part of the multi-agency earthquake response team of the Philippine Government,” Brawner said.

He also pointed out the PA’s role in President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. food for all program and the planting of 1 million fruit bearing trees.

“In early March we embarked on the initiative of planting 1 million fruit bearing trees that serve to help provide for our people’s needs and protect the environment as well. Another food security initiative is the ‘Hardin ng Lunas’, a greenery program for all military camps all over the country that transforms vacant areas in our camps into productive vegetable and herbal gardens,” he added.

Brawner also the PA has developed an 18-year strategic horizon plan with a singular objective which is to become “world class, multi-mission ready, cross domain capable by the year 2040.”

“Your PA is 126 years old. We are strong in combined arms and soldiers’ tested grip and willpower, we are united and resilient against all odds, anchored on enduring camaraderie and synergy and we are reliable under any circumstance or challenge with dynamic collaborations and partnerships founded on our soldiers’ sincerity and selfless service,” he added. (PNA)