Marcos Urges AFP Brass to Prepare for Emerging Threats to the Philippines.
President Marcos Jr. urged the Armed Forces of the Philippines to be prepared for "emerging threats" and to defend the country's archipelago, following warnings from the US against Chinese attacks. The President emphasized the need for the military to be agile, flexible, and responsive in addressing national security concerns. He also directed the AFP to enhance joint planning and operations for interoperability. Defense Secretary Teodoro and US Defense Secretary Austin expressed their commitment to strengthening bilateral coordination and support for the modernization of the AFP.
President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. recently addressed the newly promoted generals of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and emphasized the need for readiness against emerging threats to the country. Speaking during their oathtaking ceremony at Malacañang, President Marcos made these remarks just two days after US President Joe Biden warned China against attacking Philippine vessels in the West Philippine Sea (WPS). This warning was followed by a joint statement from the defense chiefs of the Philippines and the US, pledging to increase the pace and scope of their engagements.
In his speech, President Marcos stressed the importance of the AFP being agile, flexible, and responsive in order to address the emerging issues facing the nation. He emphasized the need to anticipate and adapt to national security and defense realities, both within the country and the region. The President also directed the AFP to enhance joint planning and operations to ensure interoperability across all units.
While acknowledging positive developments in the country's internal security situation, President Marcos noted that there is still much to be done in terms of external security. He reassured the military of the government's unwavering commitment to their protection and welfare.
The President's speech comes on the heels of recent incidents involving collisions between a China Coast Guard ship, a maritime militia vessel, and Philippine Navy-contracted boats. President Biden's statement reaffirming the United States' defense commitment to the Philippines further highlighted the need for readiness against potential threats.
The Chinese Foreign Ministry responded to President Biden's remarks, stating that the US has no right to interfere in the South China Sea issue and that its defense commitment to the Philippines should not undermine China's sovereignty and maritime rights. However, Defense Secretary Gilberto Teodoro Jr. and US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin III expressed their commitment to strengthening bilateral coordination, interoperability, and support for the modernization of the AFP.
In a radio interview, Secretary Teodoro emphasized the importance of balancing sovereignty operations in the West Philippine Sea while avoiding escalation. He stated that the Philippines cannot withdraw or retreat from their own seas but must carefully calculate their next moves.
Overall, President Marcos' address to the newly promoted generals highlights the ongoing need for readiness and adaptability in the face of emerging threats. The government's commitment to the protection and welfare of the military remains steadfast, and efforts to strengthen coordination with allies like the US are being pursued. Balancing sovereignty operations while avoiding escalation in the West Philippine Sea is a priority, and strategic calculations are being made to ensure the country's defense and security.