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Philippine shooting hits progress on maritime defences

Tuesday, March 3, 2015


The strategic implications of the Mamasapano shooting for the Philippine armed forces.


February 25 marked the anniversary of 'EDSA I', the popular movement that ousted President Ferdinand Marcos in 1986. This year the anniversary fell in the shadow of the January 25 Mamasapano police-rebel fighting and its divisive fallout. Some 300 Philippines National Police (PNP) and 300 Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) officers paraded together to symbolise 'unity'. The fallout is exacerbating three problems bedevilling the AFP: operational command level rivalry with the PNP, a history of political involvement and the army's dominance of the AFP.


  • Without reorientation to external threats, the Philippines army will retain dominance in the armed forces.
  • This will hamper the navy's development, weakening the national position in maritime disputes.
  • Police-army frictions will take time to resolve.

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