MANILA --- President Rodrigo Duterte cited the security threat the country is facing as the reason behind the military force expansion.
This comes after a series of attacks launched by the New People’s Army against government troops in July.
Duterte’s report to the nation took place as war rages in Marawi City where government security forces battle with the remaining 80 heavily armed extremists allied with the Islamic State group that attacked the southern Philippine city on May 23.
“So, a countermeasure would start to call for a mobilization. I want the army added by about 20,000 fighting men. I have lost a considerable number of my soldiers in Marawi. Then I will add about another 10 to 15 thousand soldiers. But I want them soft, and quite comfortable with the number now assigned in the prisons and in the environment of provinces and cities. I would need about 35,000 to 40,000 to meet the future threats coming our way from within and outside the country,” Duterte said.
The 63-day fighting has so far killed more than 600 people, including nearly 100 civilians, and displaced around 500,000 civilians, according to government data. – Marje Pelayo | UNTV News and Rescue