Military should shift focus to external defense as rapidly as possible – National Security adviser

National Security Council Secretariat Director General Cesar Garcia Jr. said that the Armed Forces of the Philippines should shift its focus from internal security to territorial defense as China’s aggressiveness in West Philippine Sea grows.

“It is very imperative to transition the armed forces from its domestic security focus towards an external or territorial defense role as rapidly as possible,” Garcia told senate committees on Foreign Relations and National Defense and Security.

Today’s probe in senate tackled reclamation and dredging operations of the People’s Republic of China on the disputed Spratly Island Group.

“Judging from the recent developments, particularly the reports of massive reclamation projects in our exclusive economic zone, it is now very clear that our territorial disputes in the WPS has in fact overtaken all security issues,” the national security expert added.

He added that the Philippine National Police should be empowered to take over remaining domestic security responsibilities of the military.

“It also means we need to seriously re-think how we can swiftly capacitate the national police to take over the residual internal security responsibilities from the AFP,” said Director General/National Security Adviser Garcia.

While the AFP Modernization is scheduled to be completed in 2028, Institute of Maritime Affairs and Law of the Sea Director Jay Batongbacal said that AFP should “have to have immediate contingencies which could happen at any time. It’s good that they recognize they have to do something.”