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Marcos to Philippine Army: Be catalyst to Reds’ surrender, disarmament

President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. on Wednesday called on government troops to be catalysts to the surrender and disarmament of communist rebels.

Marcos made the call as he graced the 126th founding anniversary of the Philippine Army in Taguig City. He underscored the need to recalibrate the approach in addressing communist insurgency.

"With the declining numbers of the communist terrorist group, we must now recalibrate our military approach.  As our ground troops, you have done the difficult part of clearing our communities of internal security threats. You must now continue being the catalyst to their surrender and disarmament," Marcos said in his speech.

"However, we are now undertaking an even more challenging mission—one that is not yours to carry alone. Addressing the root causes of insurgency will entail a whole-of-nation approach," he added.

"Take on the task of peacemakers—work with the national government agencies, the civil society groups, the private sector, and the communities themselves in keeping the peace," Marcos said.

Marcos said the Philippines has already come to a point when "a half-a-century’s fight with insurgents is coming to an end."

"It is a critical task as it is only through achieving internal security that we will be able to foster development and address equally important security concerns," the Chief Executive said.

Marcos, meanwhile, reiterated that his administration would remain committed to "modernizing the Armed Forces so no threat will be impossible to handle."

"We will continue to invest not only in modern equipment and material but also in your training, so you can keep abreast of concepts, doctrines, strategies that we now need in the modern battlefield," Marcos said. 

The President also urged the Philippine Army to continue improving relations with its counterpart overseas.

"Common security challenges necessitate a more concerted approach among like-minded nations.  Share information, learn from the best practices in the region to make our military better," Marcos said.

Marcos said he is aware that the "emerging threat to our territory and our emphasis on addressing this threat requires adjustments in our strategies."

"But I am confident that the Philippine Army, which has more than a century of experience, will be able to rise up to the task as it has always done," said Marcos. — Anna Felicia Bajo/RSJ, GMA Integrated News