Mil­i­tary's 2022 plan: New army divi­sion vs Abu Sayyaf in Sulu

Watchmen Daily Journal - - NATION - (Rambo Tal­abong, Rap­pler.com)

MANILA – The Armed Forces of the Philip­pines (AFP) is creat­ing a new in­fantry divi­sion spe­cial­ized to hunt down Abu Sayyaf and other threat groups in Sulu, mil­i­tary spokesman Bri­gadier Gen­eral Edgard Arevalo an­nounced on Wed­nes­day, De­cem­ber 5.

"The 11th In­fantry Divi­sion (ID) is en­vi­sioned to be ef­fec­tively and ef­fi­ciently en­gage and de­ci­sively de­feat the lin­ger­ing se­cu­rity [threats] in Sulu in the soon­est time pos­si­ble," Arevalo said in a Camp Aguinaldo press brief­ing.

It will be fully op­er­a­tional in four years, or by 2022, he said.

The 11th ID is ex­pected to han­dle three brigades, which con­sist of at least 1,500 sol­diers each – or about 4,500 in one divi­sion. Some di­vi­sions in con­flict ar­eas have more than that.

Two brigades, two batal­lions, and two spe­cial force batal­lions are cur­rently de­ployed to guard Sulu.

Why an­other in­fantry divi­sion?

Sulu has stood out as a prob­lem area for the AFP as it re­mains to be the strong­hold of the ter­ror­ist Abu Sayyaf Group.

The ASG al­legedly or­ches­trated the Basi­lan van bomb­ing on July 31 which killed 10 peo­ple.

Arevalo added that other ban­dit and crim­i­nal groups per­sist on the is­land de­spite in­ten­si­fied mil­i­tary op­er­a­tions un­der mar­tial law.

The mil­i­tary spokesman said that they ex­pect to have the 11th ID fully set up by 2022.

Photo) (Bobby Lagsa/Rap­pler file

Army troop­ers from the 30th In­fantry Bat­tal­ion in a file photo dur­ing a bat­tal­ion for­ma­tion at its head­quar­ters in Placer, Suri­gao del Norte on Au­gust 2, 2016.

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