Monday, 24 October 2011 11:10
It appears that there is confusion on how military field units conduct combat operations.
Most often, non-conventional combat tactics or small unit operations are employed by military units against communist insurgents and the secessionist groups.
As interpreted from the report of the Western Mindanao Command (WESTMINCOM) spokesman published in the national dailies the patrol of forty (40) Special Forces Soldiers at Al Barka, Basilan on October 18, 2011 were supposed to conduct a “strike and withdraw operations” taking advantage of the element of surprise.
But how come that the soldiers were walking along the road in going to their objective to check presence of armed men believed to be holding kidnap victims?
And worse scuba diving students were employed to fight lawless elements.
As a result the poor soldiers were like sitting ducks when fired upon by the enemy where 19 soldiers were killed including all their officer team leaders and injured 11 other soldiers.
This is a serious operational blunder committed by their Battalion Commander who sent his men to combat operations without making an accurate estimate of the situation and without applying appropriate troop leading procedures.
In military dictum it is a crime for a commander to send his men to combat without knowing “Troop Leading Procedures (TLP).”
But most glaring failure of the local military units in Basilan is the non-creation of the local ceasefire committee to implement the ceasefire agreement composed of representatives from both the AFP and MILF local commanders that could have been an appropriate venue for coordination among members from the AFP and MILF forces operating in the area and with the involvement of local officials.
With the local ceasefire committee in place, peace dialogue and coordination as to the identified areas as temporary camps of the MILF could be clearly pinpointed to avoid senseless encounters while peace negotiation is being undertaken in the national level for the settlement of the conflict.
Field units must be reoriented on different types of combat operations to minimize casualties.
By Rex Miravite
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