Philippines: Refreshing Changes in the Army


August 25, 2006: Two army officers were punished for their poor performance during an NPA attack three days ago. This action led to the loss of 29 rifles and was considered avoidable if the two officers had been doing their jobs. The two officers were company commanders and lost their commands, pending further investigation and punishment. The army has found that many soldiers have been poorly led and trained. A new program will include more training in basic tactics, and better selection and training of officers. While some elite army units are well trained, many of the regular army units are not. This uneven quality and sloppiness has been tolerated for decades, and changing it permanently has proved difficult.
August 24, 2006: On Jolo island, troops caught up with a large group of Islamic terrorists over the past two days. Two soldiers and six rebels died, and a rebel camp was captured.
August 22, 2006: In the north, NPA rebels attacked an army camp, killing one soldier and stealing 29 firearms. Troops and police set off in pursuit. The rebels have, in the past few years, seen their donations from foreign supporters, especially leftists in Europe, dry up. This has forced the rebels to live off the land, meaning they increasingly steal from local villagers. This has not made the NPA any more popular, and has increased the number of tips from villagers to the police.


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