“Living in an unpredictable world requires us to prepare for the inevitable, such as what happened in Marawi City.” — Lt. Gen. Glorioso Miranda, Commanding General, PA
No matter if ISIS meets defeat in Iraq and Syria, the future operational environment of the Philippine Army will include external and internal threats from terrorist groups. Foreign Terrorist Groups (FTGs) are still actively training old and new members and linking up with local cohorts in the country. They will continue to provide logistics and financial support as well as reinforcements for local terrorist groups who advocate their cause.
In addition, the Muslim insurgency in Mindanao remains one of the core issues affecting the land. The disputes result from old conflicts over the assertion of land and religion. Under the administration of President Duterte, secessionist groups in Mindanao, such as the MILF and MNLF, will watch out closely for any current developments in the pending passage of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL). Both MILF and MNLF are expecting the promulgation and implementation of the BBL.
FTGs will still focus on Southeast Asia, particularly on the Philippines, as their prime staging area since they have networked with LTGs such as: the ASG, ISIS-Maute Terrorist Group, and BIFF, who continuously commit atrocities.
Our current forces on the ground must also address sympathizers of violent extremism who might capitalize on the neutralization of the ISIS-Maute Terrorist Group’s key leaders and use it as propaganda to bolster the forces of other terrorist groups in the region.
Moreover, the remnants of the ISIS-Maute Terrorist Group will regroup, seek refuge, and link up with other LTGs in order to rebuild their organization. Their group will focus on the enhancement of their capabilities and the gaining of mass support. We cannot discount these consequences due to the neutralization of their key leaders, which was crucial and symbolic for combating violent extremism.
(This entry is part of Chapter 5: Operational Environment of the Future.)