Military unit to guard Manila from terrorists, coups

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) has designated a special military command composed of 6,000 men to guard the capital against terrorists, coup-plotters and insurgents, AFP chief of staff Gen. Narciso Abaya said Tuesday.

The National Capital Region (NCR) command will be in charge of securing Metro Manila and its 16 surrounding suburbs, an area populated by well over 10 million people, Abaya said.

"The threat of terrorism and even insurgency is right here in Metro Manila. The style is just a little different," Abaya said.

Among the terror groups posing threats to Manila are the New People's Army (NPA) and the radical Islamic group Jema'ah Islamiyah (JI) and its allied Filipino groups.

The NPA is the armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines, which has been waging a decades-long insurgency while the JI is blamed for a spate of bombings in the region, including the October 2002 attacks that killed over 200 in Bali, Indonesia.

President Arroyo last month said the JI has become the Philippines' number one national security threat, surpassing local insurgents.

The command would also be responsible for responding to coup attempts, similar to a July 27 mutiny by more than 300 military officers and men that was swiftly quashed by Arroyo.

Officials said the mutiny was part of a larger plot to assassinate Arroyo and replace her with a 15-man junta.

It would integrate ground, air and sea forces in the Metro Manila, operating like other regional commands in rural areas of the Philippines, Abaya said, adding that there would be an initial 6,000 soldiers assigned to the unit.


Bron : ABS-CBN News

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