MANILA — While grateful for the Australian Defense Forces’ (ADF) offer of urban warfare training, the deal is not exactly a one-way street as the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) can apprise the ADF on how it managed to defeat and eliminate all of the Maute Group terrorists in Marawi City.
This was emphasized by AFP chief-of-staff Gen. Eduardo Año when sought for a comment on Australia’s decision to help the Philippine military to train some of its units in urban warfare Tuesday.
“They (ADF) have an offer, even Singapore, on joint exercises regarding urban warfare. Actually that (offer) is two folds as we can use their facilities and they can learn from our experience (in Marawi City),” he added in Filipino.
Fighting in Marawi City started when government troops made an attempt to arrest Abu Sayyaf leader Isnilon Hapilon and his cohorts last May 23.
The five-month fighting killed around 920 Maute Group terrorists and their allies along with 165 government troops.
“I think at this time, we can consider ourselves expert in urban fighting with our experience in Marawi because we managed to neutralize the last terrorist (unlike) in other countries where the terrorists managed to evade the opposing military force. In Marawi, we ensured that none of the enemy, even their leaders, managed to escape,” the AFP chief added.
This was attributable to the military’s constant assault on all Maute Group positions in the area, Año pointed out.