Army activates rapid deployment force

By Priam Nepomuceno

December 16, 2018, 10:44 am

MANILA -- In line with efforts to establish a compact and rapid deployment force, the Philippine Army (PA) on Saturday activated its 1st Brigade Combat Team (BCT) at the the New Special Operation Command (SOCOM) site, Fort Ramon Magsaysay, Nueva Ecija.

"This creation emanates when the Army, being the premier land force of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, deliberately started to develop in 2016 a strategic territorial defense concept which aims to establish a compact, responsive and modern force capable to engage in conventional and/or unconventional warfare, disaster relief and rescue operations, and other non-traditional roles," Army spokesperson, Lt. Col. Louie Villanueva said.

He added that the 1st BCT will be the Army’s rapid deployable unit with the right force-mix to any area of strategic significance. It shall consists of maneuver components which includes two infantry and one mechanized battalions, maneuver support consists of specialized enablers such as field artillery and engineer combat battalions, reconnaissance company and units from signal, intelligence, civil-military operations, military police, explosive ordnance, CBRN (chemical biological radiological and nuclear), and sustainment components composed of a forward service support unit and a forward medical platoon.

Present during the activation ceremony was Army commander, Lt. Gen. Macairog S. Alberto.

"Let us always be reminded that we are duty bound to secure our country’s sovereignty and the integrity of our national territory. Our ancestors had sacrifices their precious lives and we are now duty bound to sustain it and be the best exemplars of public service to meet the aspirations and expectations of the Filipino," Alberto said.

“I know there will be challenges but I am very confident that this is the most perfect force-mix of combined arms in pursuit of our organizational transformation for us to be more relevant, effective and efficient formidable fighting force. We are gaining grounds but let us not be contended with it. We must continuously adopt on the constant state of today’s operational challenges," he added.

Villanueva said the BCT is a contingency force that could provide operational flexibility and will be the Unified Command’s decisive force in times of crisis and/or armed conflict situations.

The establishment of BCT is geared towards capacitating the Army into a joint, combined arms force capable of addressing various threats and challenges across the Army’s range of operations.

With its given characteristics as a mix-force, it can be employed in various situation both in peacetime or wartime.

Meanwhile, the 1st BCT headquarters shall be established at Fort Magsaysay to exercise command and control of its attached component units.

The unit, which will be commanded by Brigadier General Leopoldo Imbang Jr., will be temporarily attached to 7th Infantry Division. The unit is also set to be placed under Tactical Control (TACON) of Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC) for consolidation and organizational training.

"It is committed to train with our US counterparts in the upcoming SALAKNIB and the AFP-US Balikatan Exercises which aims to further develop its capability in terms of conducting combined arms operations and in preparation for its future employment," Villanueva added. (PNA)