'Combat stress' torments troops as Marawi war drags - military

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 16 2017 11:24 AM

MANILA - Some security forces may have been traumatized by combat experiences in the long-drawn battle against terrorists who laid siege to the southern city of Marawi, the military said Wednesday.

The government has prepared contingency measures for troops who may be suffering from combat stress, said Armed Forces public affairs Col. Edgar Arevalo.

"Hindi naman po malayo na may ilang sundalo tayong makaranas ng combat stress. Mayroon naman po tayong programa para sa ating mga sundalo, mayroon din po tayong kahandaan hinggil sa mga iyan. Mayroon po tayong professionals na handa pong gawin at ginagampanan ang tungkuling iyan," Arevalo said in a press briefing.

"Hindi po natin pinababayaan ang ating mga sundalo sapagkat kung magkaroon man sila ng ganyang suliranin o sitwasyon, iyan ay dahil sa mahaba na nilang paglaban sa Maute."

State troops have been battling militants in Marawi since May 23, when Islamic State-inspired militants captured parts of the once-vibrant Islamic city.

Post-traumatic stress disorder during and after long deployments can cause flashbacks, edginess and emotional numbness. The risk depends on the type of traumatic events a person is exposed to.

The battle for Marawi -- which has killed at least 735 people so far -- has prompted Duterte to place Mindanao under martial law, saying local terrorists were aiming to establish an Islamic State province in the Philippines.

The emergence of groups pledging allegiance to Islamic State is now considered the biggest security problem to face the year-old Duterte administration.

The rise of pro-Islamic State groups in the country has also raised alarm in Washington and the Philippines’ neighbors in the region, which fear that the terror group was seeking to establish a new front in Asia following its successive losses in Iraq and Syria. -- With Reuters; Henry Atuelan, ABS-CBN News