News Release

PH must be prepared amid more pronounced external threats — PBBM

The Philippines must be prepared because of more pronounced external threats as a result of the heightened geopolitical tension in the Indo-Pacific, President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. said on Monday.

Addressing members of the Philippine Army’s 5th ID at Camp Melchor dela Cruz in Gamu, Isabela, President Marcos said the Philippines’ proximity to Taiwan puts it in China’s area of interest that is why it is important that the northern part of the Philippines is well-prepared for any eventuality.

“And that is why — the external threat now has become more pronounced, has become more worrisome. And that is why we have to prepare,” President Marcos told the members of the 5th ID.

“So, that is the mission that you have before you. Now, you have two missions, whereas before it was only internal security.”

While the Philippines isn’t taking territory, its leadership has to reorient its thinking and must adopt full commitment to defend the country’s territory, said the President.

Also, the national government has to engage in various efforts to maintain peace in the region such as through continued diplomacy.

“We are not trying to take territory. We are not trying to redraw the lines of sovereign territory, the EEZ, the baseline,” he said.

“Hindi natin binabago anything na kahit isang — not even one inch. Ngunit hindi tayo puwedeng pumayag na kukunin naman ‘yan sa atin.”

And because of the changing geopolitical landscape and emerging new threats, the government decided to include Cagayan as Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) site through collaboration with the US, its closest military ally.

According to Marcos, the 5th ID’s mission now includes territorial defense from external threats, as he stressed the importance of providing the AFP with equipment, training, and facilities to make it a highly capable force.

Joint Task Force (JTF) Tala covers parts of Ilocos and Cagayan Valley regions and the entire Cordillera Administrative Region, supervising the 501st, 502nd, and 503rd Infantry Brigades, Joint Task Group Baguio,

Philippine Air Force (PAF) Tactical Operations Group 1, and Tactical Operations Group 2.

Among the current domestic security threats are the Ilocos-Cordillera Regional Committee (ICRC) and Komiteng Rehiyon Cagayan Valley (KRCV) groups.

Two provinces (Quirino and Nueva Vizcaya) were declared insurgency-free on October 10, 2022 and December 18, 2023, respectively, as well as other parts of Isabela (Ilagan City and several municipalities).

Government forces have dismantled four communist terrorist group (CTG) operating units: two KRCV (September 2022); one KRCV and one Komiteng Larangan Guerilla-ICRC in December last year. | PND