Philip­pine mil­i­tary needs 20,000 more troops: Duterte

Muscat Daily - - WORLD -

Manila, Philip­pines - Philip­pine Pres­i­dent Ro­drigo Duterte has asked law­mak­ers to ap­prove the re­cruit­ing of 20,000 more sol­diers to tackle in­creased se­cu­rity threats fol­low­ing a bloody ur­ban siege in the south, his spokesman said on Sun­day.

Al­most 700 peo­ple have been killed, ac­cord­ing to the of­fi­cial count, in over two months of fight­ing in the south­ern city of Marawi against ex­trem­ists who have pledged al­le­giance to the Is­lamic State (IS) group.

The mil­i­tants, wav­ing the black

IS flag, have oc­cu­pied parts of Marawi since May 23, prompt­ing Duterte to de­clare mar­tial law in the en­tire south­ern re­gion of Min­danao.

‘The re­quest of the Pres­i­dent for ad­di­tional 20,000 troops is part of our in­ten­si­fied se­cu­rity pos­ture to guard ar­eas in the coun­try where there are con­tin- uing se­cu­rity threats’, spokesman Ernesto Abella said in a state­ment. ‘The de­ploy­ment of troops to Marawi and other points in Min­danao needs to be re­bal­anced to en­sure max­i­mum ef­fec­tive­ness’, he added.

The Philip­pine mil­i­tary num­bers about 125,000 and faces nu­mer­ous threats in­clud­ing the IS-in­spired mil­i­tants in Min­danao, com­mu­nist guer­ril­las scat­tered all over the ar­chi­pel­ago and ter­ri­to­rial dis­putes with China in the South China Sea.

The mil­i­tary is among the re­gion’s most poor­lye­quipped, with only a dozen jet fight­ers and a fleet com­posed mainly of sec­ond-hand ships.

So many troops have been de­ployed to Marawi that other parts of the coun­try have ex­pressed con­cern that they are un­pro­tected.

The Pres­i­dent asked law­mak­ers to ap­prove the re­cruit­ment of ad­di­tional forces to tackle in­creased se­cu­rity threats

(AFP)

This file photo shows a man with his hands bound dur­ing an anti-drug raid by po­lice at a slum com­mu­nity, in Manila on July 20

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