PH Navy chief calls for upgrade on urban combat

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Mercado

The battle for Marawi City has underscored the need for the Philippine Navy to improve on urban warfare, Philippine Navy chief Vice Admiral Ronald Joseph Mercado said on Monday.

“In all our operations, we always undertake a debriefing to try to improve our operations in the future. For this, we found out that we have to improve our military operations in urban terrain. We need to improve that, I guess,” he told reporters on the sidelines of the heroes’ welcome for returning marines and sailors who fought IS-inspired Maute terrorist group in Marawi City.

The navy chief said it was their first time to fight in an urban setting, as government troops are used to fighting in the jungles. The Marawi City siege that lasted five months was the bloodiest and longest urban war in Philippine history.

“This is the first time we undertook combat in an urban terrain with reinforced and concrete buildings so those are the things we need to look into, to improve our trainings, doctrines and all our equipment,” he said.

But while there is so much to learn from urban fighting, Mercado said he was “very satisfied” with the performance of the sailors and marines.

He said the members of the Philippine Marines were responsible for retaking of the three key bridges crucial for the movement of troops to the main battle area.

About 500 marines, sailors, aviators and SEALs from Marawi City returned home to a heroes’ welcome on Monday.

Combat operations in Marawi City were officially terminated last week. Over 900 terrorists and 45 civilians were killed from the conflict while more than 400,000 were displaced from the battle between government troops and IS-inspired terrorists.

Of the 165 soldiers and policemen killed, 35 were from the Philippine Marines.

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