Death of soldiers in recent air strike reflects harsh nature of war- defense chief

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 13 2017 09:10 PM

Department of National Defense (DND) Secretary Delfin Lorenzana gestures during a press conference at the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) headquarters in Manila on March 9, 2017. Noel Celis, AFP

MANILA- Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana on Thursday said he is "deeply saddened" by the deaths and injuries that the military has suffered in its own air strikes, saying such incidents reflect the harsh nature of urban warfare.

"I am deeply saddened by the loss of lives resulting from this most unfortunate incident," he said in a statement.

"What happened yesterday and last month, when several of our Marines inadvertently perished because of a wayward ordnance dropped from an aircraft, reflect the harsh nature of urban warfare where soldiers operate in tight spaces and in close proximity to the enemy," he added.

Two soldiers were killed while 11 others were wounded when an air strike failed to hit its target in Marawi City at noon Wednesday.

Prior to Wednesday's botched air strike, 11 soldiers were killed last May 31 after the military accidentally hit its own men. 

Lorenzana said the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) is now reviewing and recalibrating its existing doctrines so that troops can respond properly to the ongoing siege in Marawi City.
 
"Admittedly, retaking the very last positions of the Maute-ISIS who are still in Marawi is proving to be a challenge," Lorenzana said.

In an interview with ANC on Thursday, military spokesperson Brig. Gen. Restituto Padilla said the "unfortunate incident" has not deflated the morale of soldiers, who are still determined to finish the war against Maute terrorists in Marawi.

"The morale of our troops remains very high and in fact everyone's leaning towards finishing the fight. They want to finish the fight and they want to finish it soon, that is why everyone is focused on finishing the mission as soon as possible," Padilla said.