Friday, August 4, 2017

State of the Nation Address 2017, Military Enhancement and National Security Emphasis

The President recently spoke on his second State of the Nation Address which took place last July 24. There are many topics to discuss ranging from Mining to tackling corruption issues and sorts. And to highlight it out, there is this something that goes side by side with the very focal point to get discussed in this article. That is, with respect to National Security.

Pitz Defense Analysis Note: This analytical piece is something where the issues tackled defines the essence of any actions that affect the way society behaves. So to speak, the first four paragraphs following this note pertains to the simplified emphasis on national security issues like those of Marawi Crisis as well as the primary needs of the Armed Forces to enhance its mandate. It will be followed by a deeper analysis and a collective conclusion on the matter. To take a note, all references will be highlighted and underlined in yellow with respective links in them both in the statement itself and in the end of this article.

For referencing, please read the full text of his speech in this link here.

President Duterte addresses before the people. Source
President Duterte is once again addressing the whole nation about the achievements and plans that his administration does partake at past, present and for the rest of his term. In this second State of the Nation Address, various issues have tackled ranging from criminality to illegal mining as well as tax rate revisions and development. In such a case, there is one factor where it really gives emphasis as for the sake of the peaceful lives of the Filipino People. That is, in terms of National Security and the areas tackling ranging from eliminating terror threats to enhancing military capabilities.

Given the situation in Marawi City, the casualties at both sides are still mounting until at present where given the latest reports from a June 30 Rappler article, there are 82 Government deaths, 39 killed civilians and 317 terrorists eliminated where it may increase as the battle rages on with the government continues to fight in order to control the remaining four barangays in the City which are still under terrorists control. The increasing number of casualties concerns the government where the President says in the address that it slowly goes unbearable which means a solution shall be made so that the government can eliminate threats that hampering the society with lesser collateral damage at stake.

The solution goes through international collaboration considering that terrorism affects not only the Philippines, but also the rest of the globe. So to speak, assistance such as air to ground munitions and surveillance plane flybys from the United States and the Chinese rifles are helpful to combat terror threats at present and for the years to come. Aside from the assistance mentioned, the President also is keen to eliminate bidding proceedings enacted through Republic Act 9814 with regards to procuring weaponry so as to help the military fast-track purchase of equipment for enhancing their capabilities as well as to thread out anomalies as per presidential speech.

To surmise this up, the government is doing its best so that there will be no other Marawi Crisis in place where terrorists harm more innocent civilians with the intention to sow fear and hatred across the Philippine Society. Improving military capabilities as well as minimizing collateral damage, are a necessity so as to help enhance national security which will lead a path towards a more peaceful and more secured Republic of the Philippines.

Troops and wartime correspondents in the frontline. Source
In relevance to our article on Urban Warfare with correlation to reports cited via news outlet Rappler as well as those of Interaksyon, this conflict is perhaps the difficult one for the military to fight so as to fare upon the stringent planning on taking in Marawi City along with other plans which trigger military raid and eventually, making the whole conflict intensifies from May which with it implements Martial Law.

Given the statistics earlier in the simplified analytical piece above, opposition force's casualties as per its report is at 317 deaths where as per this posting will bear higher given the time-to-time updates on the ground. Their huge losses makes it more difficult for these terrorist to move where options such as suicide bombing to be employed in sheer desperation will be imminent and citizens both in Marawi and across Mindanao like Iligan City, Davao City, Zamboanga City etc are in danger given such circumstances where it wreaks more casualties and fear that is already taking place in the main battle zone.

The difficulty of the nature of the battlefield as well as the death of around near a hundred troops is somewhat making an urgency as well as a bit of realization as per the necessity of further enhancing the capabilities of the military ranging from aerial surveillance to additional firepower that will pack a punch against key enemy targets. At present, the United States as well as the Australians help aid the Armed Forces of the Philippines through the use of P-3C Orion Antisubmarine Warfare planes for aerial surveillance as well as the Php370 million worth of weapons from China for a bit of firepower.

Such an intensified conflict can also help influence the processes of procurement of military weaponry which the Armed Forces is still acquiring various military equipment in each respective projects funded by the Revised Armed Forces of the Philippines Modernization Program Trust Fund which in it aids the whole program and the respective horizons it obtains in the aim to have a fully-capable armed forces in due time somewhere in 2028. One of such considerations are the procurement of drones and planes for aerial surveillance as well as additional firepower for M-113s, additional 20,000 troops and light tanks which is slated for second horizon. Add to that is the pleas of streamlining of procurement process to ensure that the best one will be procured. So to speak, any process from G2G to lowest bidding have its pros and cons where details about it will be discussed in a separate article entry.

Also to consider is the other areas of national security where aside from internal threat posed by Maute-ISIS in Marawi City, Chinese encroachments in the West Philippine Sea is also by nature a threat where the Philippines claims a portion of the disputed sea alongside other claimants such as Malaysia, Vietnam, Brunei, Taiwan, and of course, China itself. So to speak, diplomacy between China and the Philippines makes this issue a bit tamed for the meantime wherein it may buy time for the Philippines to improve its own as well as somewhat for a bit, to decrease the likeliness of flashpoint where, despite all this, China still asserts its policy where they still hold its artificial islands, to no avail.

Given these areas of consideration, it may be ascertain that the Armed Forces of the Philippines will be benefited from this administration if we consider notwithstanding that such planning will be materialized on according to plan with no obstacles hampering in its way. So to speak, Horizon 1 will end this year and Horizon 2 will start by next year where a bulk of projects like Multirole fighters are planning to be purchased. Hence, developments pertaining to it will remain to be seen and worthy to give attention now with a so-called "no-lowest bidder" procurement policy is being eyed upon where if approved, it needs to prove its effectiveness in a promising way that better fruits will be coming out of the projects therein.

Also, in case we missed with regards to the health of injured troops, the administration is set to allocate Php 500 million for the better, sophisticated army hospital which will improve the welfare of the injured ones that in terms of confinement, the facilities will serve these soldiers better which may aided their way to full recovery.

To take note, a better national security means better safety where
citizens will have nothing to worry about with regards to threats.
Giving the emphasis of the president in his speech especially with regards to Marawi Crisis, military capabilities and the welfare of the soldiers alongside normal citizens, it goes to the most promising ideas that better things are to come for the Armed Forces of the Philippines to have at present and for the years to come.

Also with that, the consideration with regards to lesser casualties, enhancing security mandates and additional numbers of equipment, troops and compensation benefits for those in the front lines, the modernization program is there continuing to roll where some procurements are still materializing and some others awaiting its turn. So to speak, such planning for purchase can still be depend on the hands of the Defense Department where line-ups can be changed without any further notice. There are updates being made from time to time varying on various factors from exchange rate to the security situation of the country.

It is at best to keep vigilant especially those in Mindanao amidst the various terror threats that may lurk on its next victim. So to speak, it is ascertain that the government is doing its very best where such crisis will never take place in the near future where with better defense capabilities and enhancing security mandates, the citizens will live free of worries from threats posed by opposition forces which purpose is to disrupt the way of living and to sow fear among the people in which authorities will never let happen.


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