Bohol Army shares new "talking war" strategy with ASEAN defense commanders
by Rey Anthony Chiu
Tagbilaran City (25 July) -- "TALKING war must come before a shooting war," 802nd Brigade Commander Raoul Reyes told a spellbound audience of military defense ministers from neighboring nations who visited Bohol Thursday.
Col. Reyes expounded to top defense commanders of countries belonging to the strong Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) the paradigm shift his men has to face when assigned in Bohol.
Fresh from a fighting war experience, men of the 802nd Brigade and its affiliated units shifted to information patrols to schools and communities instead of meeting the enemies head-on in classic military clashes.
Reyes and his men came at a time when Bohol faces only an insignificant number of armed communist terrorists. The fighting war has then shifted to talking war against the legal fronts allied with the left who attempt to regain their areas and establish bases on the urban areas.
According to Reyes, "when you lose the talking war, even if you win the fight, you still lose."
Reyes' revelations earned the nod of top civil military operations chiefs belonging to the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) who came to gain insights and possibly replicate the Bohol anti-insurgency formula to fight the regional threat of terrorists.
Defense leaders from Cambodia, Laos, Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore and Brunei joined their Filipino counterparts in a conference in Manila, which tackled the growing trend of civilian-military cooperation in the widening effort to arrest the problem of terrorism and communism.
From Manila, the entire conference delegation flew all the way to Bohol where they met the army top leader at the Camp Rajah Sikatuna in Carmen to gather details on the Bohol experience.
Reyes, who now heads the implementation of a unique local internal security system as an anti insurgency drive, features coordination among community stakeholders and the convergence of resources has caught the attention of defense strategists in the Asian region.
Sharing his counter-insurgency experience in Bohol, Col. Reyes agreed that his predecessors have facilitated an environment ripe for his team to work on.
"Bohol is a province that knows what they want and we in the military only need to tell them what we would do to attain the goal," he shared.
Information, Reyes pressed, is the crucial thing that allowed this to work.
And since many perceive communism as a political problem, to counter it, a political solution was used, he confessed.
It is also effective because the civil society and the political leaders cooperate, he stressed.
Here, political leaders pooled resources with the military to inject development in areas where people could not feel the presence of government. This way, the convergence allows the government forces to work on a wider latitude of options to bring peace to communities, he said. (PIA) [top]