While searching for something else I stumbled across a very interesting article from January 2017.
ARMED Forces chief Gen. Eduardo Año has given the military six months to defeat the terrorist groups Abu Sayyaf, Maute, and Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said yesterday.
The new deadline can be extended up to the end of the year.
“That is our target… If we can do it in six months, good. If we cannot do it in six months, we can extend it (deadline) up to the end of the year,” said Lorenzana after a joint New Year’s call of the Department of National Defense and the Armed Forces in Camp Aguinaldo, which was attended by top defense and military officials.
Año said the objective is to “significantly defeat” the three groups. “Significant defeat means we have rendered them, their capability very minimal.” He said 51 battalions are operating against the groups.
Lorenzana said the deadline is realistic, given the support of residents and local government officials.
“We will just have to do all we can, combining military operations and developmental projects to end what they are doing,” he said.
Lorenzana said the military will take a new approach in dealing with the three groups, including the assignment of new military to commanders to lead the campaign “so that we’ll have new fresh approach in ending these lawless elements.”
He declined to discuss the other measures, saying operational plans may be telegraphed to the groups. “We’ll just do it,” he said.
“We are going to do something new or innovative to finish this problem (of terrorism) once and for all,” said Lorenzana. “For the record, our goal is to defeat the Abu Sayyaf and Maute (in six months).”
As to the BIFF, Lorenzana said, “Its also six months.”
Año said the military will craft a program to encourage the community to give more assistance to government troops. He said the community is important in monitoring potential terrorists.
The Abu Sayyaf, composed of around 300 to 400 men, is operating mostly in Sulu and Basilan. The Al Qaeda-linked Abu Sayyaf is holding 27 foreign and Filipino hostages and has been linked to bombings and beheadings.
The Maute Group, which has about 200 to 300 followers, is behind some high-profile atrocities, including the September 2 Davao City bombing that killed 15 people.
The BIFF is also involved in bombings and extortion activities. The group is composed of around 300 to 400 members, mostly former members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.
The three groups pledged allegiance to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria about two years ago. The military said there is no indication the ISIS has recognized these groups as affiliates.
Año’s predecessor, now retired Gen. Ricardo Visaya, also aimed to defeat the Abu Sayyaf during his term -- from July to December but failed. The Abu Sayyaf even intensified its kidnappings during the period.
Pretty funny in light of the circumstances now six months later with a declaration of martial law in Mindanao because the Maute group attacked and occupied Marawi City.
The leadership of the AFP is quite full of themselves.
How many decades have they been battling commies and Mulisms? How many arbitrary deadlines have they set and missed? Have they ever completed a goal on or before time?
What's really sickening is how overconfident they are of the whole situation. The support of residents and local officials? You mean the residents and local officials who are enabling the terrorist groups to operate?
And never forget that the government had prior knowledge of the Marawi attack and did NOTHING! So much for wanting to defeat Maute!
And how about in April when the AFP was monitoring the movements of Abu Sayyaf as they snuck into Bohol? Remember that?
How can AFP Chief Eduardo Año possibly say he wants the AFP to defeat the terrorist groups within six months and then do nothing about it when a real threat arises, a threat they knew about because they were monitoring the groups movements?? You can read about the failures of what happened in April 2016 here and here. Año knew about the threat Abu Sayyaf posed to Bohol, did nothing, and then lied about it to the public. What a disgrace.
Read the last sentence from the article again. While the AFP previously said they will defeat Abu Sayyaf in six months, Abu Sayyaf was intensifying its operations. Same thing with Maute. AFP says they will defeat Maute in six months and things have only intensified and the region has erupted into chaos.
Oh well its all good because as Lorenza says:
If we can do it in six months, good. If we cannot do it in six months, we can extend it (deadline) up to the end of the yearIt's like he doesn't even believe the AFP can do it and already has an excuse planned for their inevitable failure.