Saturday, August 28, 2010

Statement from the Director, Naval Public Affairs Office, RE- Hostage-taking in Manila and the Creation of an ‘Elite Strike Force’

Director, Naval Public Affairs Office

Saturday, 28 August 2010

There are three things that we wish to put
across regarding the incident at Luneta:

First, the Philippine Navy and the Armed Forces
of the Philippines commiserate with and express
our deepest sympathy to the family and loved
ones of the victims in that very unfortunate incident.
Flags in all Navy and AFP camps were flown at half mast.
Last 25th of August, our Sailors acted as pall bearers
and ceremonial elements in the Send-off Ceremony at
the NAIA for the bodies of those who perished in
that incident in Luneta. As far as we can recall,
this is the first time ever that our Navy has
afforded the same honors to anyone but our fallen
heroes or deceased foreign dignitaries.

Second, while there must be a thorough inquiry,
it should be motivated by the desire to draw the
lessons than passing and pinning the blame on anyone.

Third, what was glaring in that hostage-taking
incident was the absence of a highly-trained,
well-equipped, and efficient strike force that can
deliver the decisive blow when the need for it
like the Luneta incident arises.

Regarding Pres Aquino’s directive to create an
elite AFP-PNP strike force, the Philippine Navy
welcomes that directive from our Commander in Chief.
As a matter of fact, we have been anticipating that in the
Navy. After that fateful incident, we have ordered the
commanders of our elite Navy Special Operations Group
and Marine Force Reconnaissance to conduct an inventory
of our men and equipment.

There are three Rs that we need to do to effect
the directive of the Commander in Chief:

Reconstitution. The best among our elite units
have been deployed in conflict areas around the
country. We have to first gather them.

Re-tooling. Units dedicated for this specific
and specialized task should be well equipped.
At present, we do not have suitable high-powered
but shorter automatic weapons, masks, and night
fighting systems, among other state of the
art weaponry and equipment they need; and the 3rd R
is Refresher training.

Our SEAL Teams and Force Recon Marines have all
been trained for commando-type operations. However,
their present deployments are in combat operations
against the terrorists holed in the jungles of Basilan
and Sulu. They need to brush up their skills and
tactics to re-introduce them to urban
counter-terrorist actions.

There will have to be a fourth “R” if we have to
work with our counterparts with the PNP. That will
be Retraining.

While the basics that were taught to the commando
units in the AFP and the PNP are the same,
they need to train together to be one cohesive and
well-oiled fighting machine. And this is not difficult.
We just need some time for training before they can
gel and be a potent anti-terrorist strike force
deployable anywhere in the country at a moment’s

These will not affect the ongoing operations
in the Navy because our recruitment and training
of our elite units are continuous.

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