Philippines
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Jumel G. Estrañero |

While the urban warfare drills were pushed through between U.S. and RP during 10 days of military exercises that wrapped up October 11 in Central Luzon of the Philippines, there is a good development on the other side of the fence. The Philippine National Police (PNP) will focus its operations on preventing street crimes now that the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) has been tasked as the sole agency to carry out the Duterte administration’s “drug war”.

As per the report, “We will focus our law enforcement activities on decreasing our street crimes as this is where we are perceived by the community vis a vis our initiatives and efforts,” PNP deputy spokesperson Supt. Chai Madrid said in a statement on Thursday. Moreover, PNP spokesperson Chief Supt.

This is the reason coordination with the PNP (Philippine National Police) is of significant value to conduct the DNA testing faster to identify them because one or two of them might be the leaders of this group

Dionardo Carlos, meanwhile, said that the PNP’s Drug Enforcement Group will not be abolished but its duties will be limited to forwarding drug-related intelligence information to PDEA. Meanwhile, politically speaking, President Rodrigo Duterte’s directive for PDEA to become the single agency tasked to carry out the so-called war on drugs came after an independent survey showed deterioration in his approval and trust ratings by the public, which was believed to be due to the vicious drug war.

Read more: Philippines: trapped between rising China & unassertive US in the Far…

To lessen the burden of AFP, PNP will also now focus on anti-criminality, internal security operations as well as anti-terrorism after they were stripped of their controversial role in the government’s anti-illegal drugs campaign. Down from the Southern Mindanao of Philippine Area of Responsibility (AOR), the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) recovered 24 remains suspected to belong to pro-Islamic State terrorists following aerial bombings and ground assaults that lasted until late October 10.

The challenge is, of course, the same as before. Even if the military wanted to speed things up, the presence of hostages and some noncombatants, like relatives of Maute gunmen, had slowed down AFP’s operation

The recovery of the bodies, including one that appeared to be a foreigner, from two locations inside the main battle area brought to 64 the number of bodies and skeletal remains recovered this week alone. About 800 Maute fighters have been killed since the fighting started here on May 23, military officials said. At least 159 soldiers and 47 civilians were killed as the government engaged terrorists who laid siege to Marawi.

Read more: Anti-terrorism strategic cooperation between U.S. and Philippines

Meanwhile, the challenge is, of course, the same as before. Even if the military wanted to speed things up, the presence of hostages and some noncombatants, like relatives of Maute gunmen, had slowed down AFP’s operation. Thus, there might be a slowdown in operations considering that the priority is to get the hostages alive. As a way ahead, AFP needs coordinate with PNP to find out if there are prominent people killed.

This is the reason coordination with the PNP (Philippine National Police) is of significant value to conduct the DNA testing faster to identify them because one or two of them might be the leaders of this group. But above all else, the surgical military operations need to be intensified. Confident that with the deaths of more gunmen, the liberation of the city could happen soon. This will ensure lasting peace in a country which is marred by violence and internal armed conflict.

Jumel Gabilan Estrañero is a defense analyst/researcher in the Philippine government while teaching political science, geopolitics, international negotiation, multilateral diplomacy, political economy & geography, international trade, practice and policies, and other social sciences. The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Global Village Space’s editorial policy.

Jumel Gabilan Estrañero is a defense analyst/researcher in the Philippine government while teaching political science, geopolitics, international negotiation, multilateral diplomacy, political economy & geography, international trade, practice and policies, and other social sciences. He specializes in defense & security, strategy & policy, South China Sea, Terrorism, global & regional politics, and special intelligence. His articles have appeared and quoted in Asia Times, Asia Maritime Reviews, The Nation (Bangkok, Thailand), Southeast Asian Times, PressReader, Philippine Daily Inquirer, Manila Times, and Malaya Business Insights.

Comments & Discussion