06 Feb 114 Armored Vehicles Acquired From The United States to be Deployed in Mindanao
Due to reports about tension looming in several areas in Mindanao after the Congress did not pass the BBL and of the upcoming elections near May, the army is deploying most of the 114 newly refurbished units of M113A2 armored fighting vehicles in Mindanao. As said by Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin yesterday, the said vehicles will be deployed in conflict-stricken areas.
“There’s a little bit of tension. Some people and some of our population are disappointed because of the non-passage of the BBL despite the long deliberations. Others understand the process and everyone is taking it in stride for as long as the peace process continues,” Gazmin said.
Chief General Hernando Iriberri of the Armed Forces of the Philippines said that while some were disappointed about the BBL being turned down, he is confident that it will not result to any major outrage. He said, “Remember that the Comprehensive Agreement on Bangsamoro (CAB) still exists and that serves as a framework to pursue peace. We have not abandoned our commitment to the Bangsamoro for peace”.
“We are constantly communicating with the MILf leadership who assured us that they no longer want to return to fighting,” Army Chief Lt. Gen. Eduardo Año said.
The Army has four Mechanized Infantry Battalions and a Cavalry Battalion with more than 400 armored vehicles are currently operating in Mindanao.
“We have to act fast. We will be doing several runs with these M113A2s at Liguasan Marsh as a show of force,” said a senior Army officer.