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PBBM: In order to combat insurgency, soldiers must act as “peacemakers.”

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On Thursday, President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. urged the military to act as “peacemakers” in the nation’s conflict with communist militants, pointing out that his administration has abandoned the previous anti-insurgency strategy.

At a speech to the 9th Infantry “Spear” Division of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) in Camarines Sur, Marcos acknowledged the military’s function as “warfighters” who exert pressure on the nation’s adversaries.

But, he asserted that soldiers must also play the part of “peacemakers,” providing communist militants with an opportunity to reintegrate into society.

Now that we have changed how we deal with the communist, terrorist groups we have been coming across, we are asking you to be peacemakers, Marcos added.

So, in addition to offering them a military force, we are also giving them other options. We are showing them life after their rebellious existence,” he continued.

Marcos credited the government’s “whole-of-nation” strategy to settling the armed conflict with the advances made in driving out communist terror groups.

The whole-of-nation strategy strives to deal with the underlying causes of the communist insurgency and deliver progress in areas impacted by the conflict.

“Even if they officially haven’t given up on the idea of military conflict, I believe those dissidents’ energies have been focused in another direction. And because of this, the Filipino military’s mandate still entails fighting wars, but today it also has the responsibility of promoting peace, he said.

In addition to the internal problems the nation is currently facing, Marcos claimed that external threats are also escalating and becoming “tougher.”

He asserted that the AFP must give priority to its task of defending the nation’s maritime territory.

“Based on the 9th ID’s position, we can see that it is extremely close to a number of the contested areas if the disputed areas are to be resolved. Bantayan’yan din nating kailangan. The location of the ship’s mission is where it is at the moment. We must protect those as well. Your new task is to complete it,” he continued.

Moreover, Marcos reaffirmed his pledge to upgrade the AFP’s defense capabilities.

When we ask you to perform your duties, “we in the civilian administration are determined to make sure that you are completely prepared, fully trained, and complete in the equipment that you need to achieve that task,” he stated.

He praised the troops for being “clever” and “well-trained,” and he urged them to continue their outstanding work.

He declared, “I believe I am correct when I say our military today is capable and as well prepared as we have had.

“I observe that the behaviors here, the violent interactions, etc., have gradually decreased. And in light of that, all I can say is that, once more, I have always been a firm believer that, out of all the societal spheres, only the military has ever let the Filipinos down.

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