MANILA, Aug. 14 — Enhancing the country’s intelligence gathering capabilities, among others, is one of the key improvements that has to be done by defense and military as fighting in besieged Marawi City reaches its 83rd day Monday.
“The Marawi incident (which erupted last May 23) taught us a lot of lessons. First, we have to re-study and improve our intelligence capability,” Department of National Defense (DND) Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said over the weekend, as he welcomed President Rodrigo Duterte’s directive to seek and increase intelligence funds by 2018.
“We are going to present our budget, and we’re going to ask our Congress to increase our intelligence budget,” he said.
If granted, the DND would spend some of the money to acquire CCTVs which can be installed at point-of-entries, drones that could take pictures day and night, and facial recognition systems which would allow the country to develop a database of “bad people,” Lorenzana said.
Lorenzana said the military needs more training in urban warfare, citing difficulties in neutralizing Maute Group terrorists who opted to entrench themselves in houses and buildings.
“We are looking into this (matter), we will do this, definitely. In fact, we have several offers from different countries (to train our soldiers) in urban warfare,” Lorenzana said.
Lorenzana also sees the need for a stronger reserve force to back up the regular units in their security and other roles.
“We should also have a stronger reserve force that is well-trained, adequately equipped and mission-ready,” he added.
He also called on the public to be more vigilant and report suspicious-looking acts or individuals in their communities.