First of two parts
Last December 22, 2010, President Benigno Aquino III unveiled the new Internal Peace and Security Plan (IPSP) that would replace the bloody Oplan Bantay Laya. The plan was called Oplan Bayanihan, and was touted as a “paradigm shift” for the AFP. As if to stress the shift, the AFP is no longer using the term “Internal Security Plan” or ISP. It has added the word “peace” to the concept, hence IPSP. The term IPSP is also often used instead of “counter-insurgency”.
What is Oplan Bayanihan?
Oplan Bayanihan is the new Internal Peace and Security Plan (IPSP) that aims to “provide the strategic guidance in the performance of (the AFP’s) mandated functions of protecting the state and the people. It shall help AFP units in planning for and contributing to the attainment of internal peace and security.”
As with previous ISP’s like Bantay Laya, Oplan Bayanihan is the AFP framework in dealing with so-called armed “threat groups”. Bayanihan classifies “threat groups” into three: “ideology-based groups” such as the CPP-NPA-NDF, the MILF and “rogue” MNLF factions; “terrorist” groups such as the Abu Sayyaf, JI and other Foreign Terrorist Organizations; and last, the “auxiliary threat groups” which include “partisan armed groups”, private armies and some criminal groups.
The new Oplan has eight main sections: Purpose, Strategic Environment, National Strategic Guidance, National Defense Strategy, Strategic Assumptions, AFP Mission for Internal Peace and Security, AFP Strategy for Internal Peace and Security and Conclusion.
The AFP says that Oplan Bayanihan is a public document which aims to gather support from various stakeholders. We were able to request a copy of the document through the AFP’s Civil Relations Service. The “public” document of course does not include the implementing guidelines of the new Oplan.
What are its salient features?
Oplan Bayanihan claims to take its cue from the pronouncements of President Benigno Aquino III calling for a “multi-stakeholder approach to peace and security”. It says that the current administration’s national security thrust involves four specific elements: governance, delivery of basic services, economic reconstruction and sustainable development, and security sector reform.
The new IPSP also claims to espouse a “whole-of-nation” and “people-centered” approach, implying that it is different from the previous ISP’s that espoused an “enemy-centric approach.”
Bayanihan says that it seeks the involvement of various stakeholders, “from the national and local government agencies, non-government entities and the entire citizenry, in addressing peace and security concerns”. It also claims to give “equal emphasis to combat and non-combat dimensions of military operations”. It claims to be a “departure from the old parameters and explores non-combat parameters of success in addressing the country’s peace and security problem.”
The AFP has been fighting a four-decade old armed rebellion led by the CPP-NPA-NDF. Despite the promise of every president since Marcos regarding the defeat of the revolutionary movement, no president has ever succeeded in delivering on this promise. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo attempted during her last three years and failed. This much was admitted by the AFP when it failed to meet its self-imposed deadline on defeating the revolutionary movement.
What is the ultimate objective of Oplan Bayanihan?
Bayanihan’s “end-state” or ultimate objective is the reduction of the “capabilities of internal armed threats…to a level that they can no longer threaten the stability of the state and civil authorities can ensure the safety and well-being of the Filipino people.”
The IPSP‘s objectives vary for the different armed groups. Bayanihan seeks the “defeat” of terrorist groups like the ASG, a negotiated settlement with the MILF, and the “rendering of the NPA irrelevant.”
Oplan Bayanihan is to be implemented from 2011-2016, with the first three years devoted to addressing the internal armed “threat groups”. The “substantial completion” of the objectives for the first three years will supposedly allow the AFP to “hand over the lead role in ensuring internal peace and security to appropriate government agencies and eventually allow the AFP to initiate its transition to a territorial defense-focused force. “ After the first three years, the plan says the AFP should be able to focus on external threats.
How does Oplan Bayanihan aim to achieve its goal?
Oplan Bayanihan “emphasizes that the primary focus in the conduct of military operations is Winning the Peace and not just defeating the enemy. In order to win the peace, the AFP IPSP shall be anchored on two strategic approaches: The Whole of Nation Approach and the People-Centered Security/Human Security Approach.”
“The Whole of Nation Approach is the framework that shall guide how the AFP will implement this IPSP.” This means that the AFP intends to mobilize all the so-called “stakeholders”, both government and non-government, to meet its objectives.
The “People-Centered Approach” meanwhile uses the concept of “human security” which it says intends to meet the needs of the people, including economic development, human rights and so on.