PH, SoKor armies boost ties on anti-terrorism, disaster response

By Priam Nepomuceno

September 11, 2019, 1:57 pm

MANILA -- With terrorism incidents on the rise, ranking Philippine Army (PA) and Republic of Korea Army (ROKA) officials saw the need for cooperation and training exchanges on counterterrorism to defeat these threats in the future.

In a meeting on the sidelines of the 11th Indo-Pacific Armies Chiefs Conference (IPACC) in Bangkok, Thailand on Monday, PA chief, Lt. Gen. Macairog S. Alberto discussed with ROKA chief-of-staff, Gen. Suh Wook the threat of terrorism and the role of the military in humanitarian assistance and disaster response (HADR).

Also, both officials agreed that mutual cooperation and exchanges between the two armies must not only be on counterterrorism but HADR as well. Alberto explained during the bilateral meeting that there are foreign terrorists in the Philippines.

“As the role of the PA changes from addressing traditional threats to unconventional ones like terrorism and natural disasters, we open the organization to more mutual cooperation and exchanges with our foreign counterparts. This ensures that we are able to share knowledge with our neighbors as well as improve our capability to better address current threats and prepare for emerging ones,” Army spokesperson, Lt. Col. Ramon Zagala said in a statement Wednesday.

Terrorist groups cross political boundaries in order to reach their goal, giving rise to the need for strong and effective multilateral and multinational cooperation against this threat which is a concern for all the armies in the Indo-Pacific region.

On the other hand, Suh expressed ROKA’s interest to learn from the PA’s experience on civilian and military cooperation during HADR.

Alberto shared the vital role of strong first responders, government agencies and the civilian sector in disaster response.

Suh also discussed the long history of the Philippine and South Korean relations that started when the Army sent its own soldiers in Korea to fight to on their side during the Korean War in the 1950s. (PNA)