Have you heard of the Light Reaction Regiment of the Philippines? Most probably not. There is actually very little that is known about this special operation force unit of the country. You can never see them on parade ground; they are not even openly acknowledged by the government. But they play a significant role in keeping the peace and order of the country. So why are they kept in secret?
According to the Former Commander of this special unit, Chito Dizon, this is their way of combat – quiet but deadly. “You never want the enemy to know where you are or what you are doing,” says Dizon.
Truly intriguing, right? But is their strategy effective? What are their accomplishments as a team? What do they actually do? To answer these questions, here are the top ten things most Filipinos don’t know about the LRR (or Light Reaction Regiment).
Top 10 Things Filipinos don’t know about the Light Reaction Regiment of the Philippines
- They are considered as the Delta Force of the Philippines.
The Delta Force and Navy SEAL of the America has been widely known and regarded as the
country’s top-tier special operators. Here in the Philippines, the Light Reaction Regiment of the Philippines is also regarded as the country’s version of Delta Force because of their specialization in CT operations, and of course, for their formation with US Army advisers.
- US funded their training.
LRR was actually created in 2000 – the time when numerous terrorist attacks and kidnappings had happened in the Philippines. The United States of America funded their training ($25 million grant) and provided Army Special Forces soldiers to help stand up this special unit.
- Their original members were the non-commissioned officers from the Scout Rangers and Philippine Army Special Forces.
The LRR’s original members were selected non-commissioned officers from the Scout Rangers and Philippine Army Special Forces. They were trained by the American Military Advisers from the 1st Battalion. In 2001, they had further training with the Americans during the Balikatan Exercise and were officially activated two years after.
- They specialize in counterterrorism, rescue, and special reconnaissance.
As this special unit was created after series of terrorist attacks and kidnappings, the primary role of LRR is to conduct CT operations to support the Armed Forces of the Philippine’ mission. Roles include reconnaissance of terrorist incidents and locations, eliminate and/or capture terrorists (and other high value targets, HVT’s), and involve in hostage rescue and personnel recovery operations. They have played a major role in the fight agains Abu Sayyaf, ISIS-Philippiens, and other jihadist movement.
- They are trained in close quarter combat and sniping operations.
Aside from the aforementioned specialties, the LRR are also trained in engaging close quarter combat and sniping operations. In addition to this, they are also the most capable force for military operations in urbanized terrain as they are trained by the AFP and equipped by the US Army Special Forces.
- They have military free-fall and combat-swimmer capabilities.
Like the special unit force of the different countries of the world, the LRR are also trained for military free-fall and combat-swimmer capabilities.
- LLR gives heavy emphasis on Psychological Screening.
Since this is a special group that is trained for crisis response, individuals who will be joining the LLR should undergo a psychological screening. This is to identify if their personality would fit what is needed for the unit. Say for example, a sniper must be someone who is very patient and won’t easily get bored.
- They spend six months in their counter-terrorism training after there are accepted as a part of the LLR.
Members of this special unit had to undergo special trainings life surgical raids, hostage rescue operations, and direct-action missions. As most of their courses were pattern from the American Special Forces, they had to do certain modifications to fit the Philippine setting.
- They known for their Trojan Horse Operation.
If you are familiar with the epic of Troy, then the concept of Trojan Horse is not new to you. LRR is known for their trojan horse operation where in they pretend to be normal civilians – with other members pretending to be women – before they kill their high-value target.
- They were in action during the Siege of Marawi and Zamboanga, as well as the killing of Abu Sayyaf terrorists in Bohol.
While they are not often mentioned in mainstream media, LRR has been very active during these terrorist attacks. They have also been engaged in Operation Enduring Freedom-Philippines, Anti-guerilla Operations against New People’s Army, Manila-Peninsula Siege, APEC Philippines 2015 Security, and Joint Operation Haribon with Philippine Naval Special Operations Group during the Marawi Siege.