After learning lessons to suppress terror the hard way, the Philippine military is presently organizing a new unit to prevent a possible urban warfare attack from terrorists, similar to what happened in Marawi City where close to a thousand ISIS-inspired terrorists occupied hundreds of buildings and started shooting soldiers to death.
The military's 6th Infantry Division based in Maguindanao province has organized an army battalion to prevent urban terrorism in the province.
Maguindanao is known as a breeding ground of militants involved in violent extremism and a known stronghold of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF). The Philippine military government earlier warned that the province of Maguindanao and the City of Cotabato could be a possible target of ISIS inspired group after Marawi's five-month battle that ended last October 2017.
Aside from the Maguindanao province, the army division will also be responsible for supressing growing terror cells in North Cotabato Sultan Kudarat and Lanao del Sur province that includes Butig, a small town where the Maute Group started building its armed members and raided the town hall to raise their ISIS-design flag.
Lt. Col. Gerry Besana of the 6th Army Division said that the infantry battalion is undergoing an organizational process to develop new strategies to counter urban warfare.
The Philippine military earlier told IBTimes that the armed militants have shifted their warfare approach from the jungle to urban setting because warfare in an urban setting will make Philippine soldiers difficult to contain.
The Philippine Army Division is now organizing 10 anti-terror battalions throughout the country and the unit members are acquiring a new set of special skills on urban warfare.
"The soldiers undergoing the urban warfare special course are battle-tested people who have the experience at countering violent extremism in Central Mindanao, " Besana added.
Besana also said they have enough equipment to ensure that the new battalion in Maguindanao is ready to take on possible terror attacks.
During the five-month battle in Marawi, the Philippine military has capitalized on using artillery and airstrikes to destroy the terrorist strongholds because the terrorists were in a strategic position where soldiers could hardly enter their positions.
More than a hundred Philippines soldiers were killed as a result of sniper attacks and improvised explosive devices placed in residential houses in that infamous Marawi siege.