MANILA — If there is anything that the military could have done differently in the five-month battle for the liberation of Marawi City against the Maute Group terrorists, it would be in intelligence appreciation.
Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief-of-staff Gen. Eduardo Año made this statement when asked on what particular adjustments the military could have made to shorten or made the Marawi City campaign less costly or prolonged.
Around 920 terrorists were killed since the campaign in Marawi City started in May 23 while 165 troopers made the ultimate sacrifice in the course of the five-month campaign.
“Siguro yung tinatawag nating appreciation sa intelligence information, marami nang mga dumating na information but we’re busy running after terrorists in Sulu (and) Basilan in Maguindanao, so nagkulang tayo ng appreciation na this bunch of Maute-ISIS holed somewhere in Butig and Piagapo, they did the unthinkable which is occupy Marawi, yun nagkulang tayo sa appreciation, ” he said.
And if they have time to do this, Año said the AFP could have prepared and deployed more troops and equipment to counter the terrorists aside from employing commanders skillful in the use of intelligence and developing assets in the conflict area.