Lorenzana: Marawi taught us a lesson
Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana sees the war in Marawi City against local terrorist Maute group as a valuable experience and an opportunity for the military to improve its defense capabilities.
On Saturday, Lorenzana told media about the key areas which the Department of Defense (DND) seeks to improve. These included intelligence gathering, urban warfare, and strengthening of the reserve force.
“The Marawi incident taught us a lot of lessons. First, we have to restudy and improve our intelligence capability,” Lorenzana said.
He said the AFP would retrain more military reservists to prepare them for urban warfare against the Maute group when the need arises.
Lorenzana said the DND had received several offers from different countries to train soldiers in urban warfare.
“We should also have a stronger reserve force that is well-trained, adequately equipped and mission-ready,” he added.
The defense chief likewise said he would ask Congress for an increase in intelligence fund allocation in the department’s 2018 proposed budget of the department amounting to 145 billion pesos.
He said part of the budget would be spent on the acquisition of closed-circuit televisions (CCTV) cameras to be placed in entry areas, high-resolution drones, and facial recognition systems.
On Thursday, Lorenzana said the government had spent almost 2.5 million pesos in the ongoing war against the Maute group in Marawi City, 1.3 billion pesos of which was spent by the Philippine Army.
As of August 12, 552 Maute terrorists, 128 government troops, and 45 civilians were killed, 1,728 civilians were rescued, 38 buildings/structures were cleared, and 607 firearms were recovered from terrorists.