Marcos orders Northern Luzon troops to prepare amid ‘worrisome’ threats

President Marcos 5ID Isabela.jpg
President Marcos Jr. (middle) poses for a photo during his visit to the headquarters of 5th Infantry Division in Gamu, Isabela on June 10, 2024. (Photo by Armed Forces of the Philippines)

President Marcos Jr. has directed military personnel in Northern Luzon to prepare for external threats, expressing that current geopolitical developments have been “worrisome”.

According to AFP public affairs office chief Col. Xerxes Trinidad, the Commander-in-Chief made the order during his visit to the headquarters of the 5th Infantry Division (5ID) and Joint Task Force Tala in Gamu, Isabela on Monday, June 10.

“[T]he external threat now has become more pronounced, has become more worrisome. And that is why we have to prepare,” Marcos said. 

He said that before, the troops only have to deal with internal security, that is, operating against local terrorist groups, communist groups, and other domestic threats.

But since the government has successfully dealt with internal security, the focus has since shifted to external threats, particularly China's activities in the West Philippine Sea (WPS).

The Joint Task Force (JTF) Tala is being led by Major General Audrey Pasia, 5ID commander. 

It covers parts of Ilocos and Cagayan Valley regions and the entire Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR). It also supervises the 501st, 502nd, and 503rd Infantry Brigades, Joint Task Group Baguio, Philippine Air Force (PAF) Tactical Operations Group 1, and Tactical Operations Group 2.

Meanwhile, Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief General Romeo Brawner Jr. said that the virtue of unity remains as the country's strength in his Independence Day message released Tuesday, June 11.

"As one sovereign nation, established by the steadfast perseverance of our predecessors, we shall remain resolute in upholding our pledge to public service, loyalty, and solidarity for the country, our people, and the flag," Brawner said ahead of the 126th Independence Day celebration on June 12.

"Alongside patriotism, Unity is our strength as we remain committed to building One Strong Philippines for generations to come," he added.