Sunday, October 20, 2013

Unseen hands in call of ex-generals vs PNoy

From ABS-CBN (Oct 20): Unseen hands in call of ex-generals vs PNoy

Unseen hands may be behind the retired generals’ call for President Benigno Aquino III to give up his pork, but Malacanang is unruffled.

Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte will not name names, noting only that Aquino himself already said earlier that many have been affected by the administration’s move to run against the corrupt.

She told the retired generals, however, that there is no such thing as presidential pork.

“It’s a label that some groups out there are using to push the citizenry to go against the president,” she said, adding that the “special purpose funds” that are under the executive branch’s care “have specific purposes.”

She also insisted these undergo normal auditing processes.

Retired Brig. Gen. Rosalino Alquiza, the former president of the Association of Generals and Flag Officers, said Malacanang should just transfer state funds to the National Treasury.

“We have heard a lot of sentiments and positions [on the pork barrel]. I join the recommendation that the Malampaya fund, the Pagcor (Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp.) fund and the PCSO (Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office) fund that go directly to the presidential fund … should be deposited in the National Treasury and be subjected to the budgetary process,” Alquiza told the Philippine Daily Inquirer.

Retired Maj. Gen. Reynaldo Reyes, chairman of the Philippine Military Academy Alumni Association, also told the same news entity that this is also the common sentiment among members.

Valte stressed that the public should also check if there is misuse of the so-called pork funds. If there is misuse, they are free to pursue all logical and legal ends to bring the guilty to justice, she said.

This, as Valte also said Malacanang is not bothered by the People’s Initiative started by former Chief Justice Reynato S. Puno.

She noted the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) – or Congress’ pork – will no longer be in the 2014 General Appropriations Act.

“We are already in the process of abolishing the PDAF, at least for 2014,” she said.

Kiram remains to be flown to Jolo early Monday via private plane

From GMA News (Oct 20): Kiram remains to be flown to Jolo early Monday via private plane

After failing to transport his remains to Jolo before sundown Sunday, relatives of the late Sulu Sultan Jamalul Kiram III have arranged to have his body flown there early Monday via private plane.

Kiram's family arranged for a private plane flight between 3 and 4 a.m. Monday, radio dzBB's Divine Caraecle reported.

But only close family members are to take the trip to Jolo as the plane will be an eight-seater, the report added.

Kiram's relatives were earlier not able to transport the sultan's body to Jolo after failing to get clearance from the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines.

Meanwhile, supporters continued to go to the Blue Mosque in Taguig City to pay their last respects.

Kiram died before dawn Sunday due to multiple organ failure. He was 75.

His followers engaged Malaysian forces in a standoff and bloody clashes in Sabah earlier this year.

Sultanate spokesman Abraham Idjirani had said Kiram, before he died, had ordered his followers to continue efforts to "repossess" Sabah for the Filipino people.

Malaysian police to remain on alert vs Kiram's followers – report

From GMA News (Oct 20): Malaysian police to remain on alert vs Kiram's followers – report

Despite the death of Sulu Sultan Jamalul Kiram III, Malaysian authorities said Sunday they will remain on alert for possible threats from his followers in Sabah, according to a Malaysian news site.

Sabah Police Commissioner Datuk Hamza Taib said Malaysian security forces would remain "alert" for any intrusion by Kiram's followers, Malaysia's The Star Online reported.

Hamza was also quoted in the report as saying they are still verifying reports of the sultan's death.

Last February, Kiram's followers engaged Malaysian forces in a standoff, and in armed clashes last March.

Kiram's daughter Jacel on Sunday morning said the sultan died at 4 a.m. Sunday.

But Sulu sultanate spokesman Abraham Idjirani said the sultan had ordered before his death the repossession of Sabah "for the Filipino people."

Meanwhile, the Star Online report said the sultan's brother Agbimuddin had "disappeared without a trace" since Malaysian forces mounted an offensive against the sultan's followers last March.

69th Leyte Gulf Landings Anniversary marked!

From the Manila Bulletin (Oct 20): 69th Leyte Gulf Landings Anniversary marked!

Palo, Leyte — Department of National Defense (DND) Usec. Eduardo G. Batac, Leyte Gov. Leopoldo Dominico “Mic” L. Petilla and Palo Mayor Remedios L. Petilla led the Filipino nation in celebration of the 69th Leyte Gulf Landings Anniversary at Red Beach, known as MacArthur Park, this town on October 20, 2013.

Usec. Eduardo Batac represented President Benigno S. Aquino III as guest of honor and speaker of the simple and solemn commemorative ceremonies of the so-called largest naval battle of World War II, which paved way to the liberation of the Philippines from Japanese occupation 69 years ago.

The Battle of Leyte Gulf on October 20, 1944 that turned the tide of World War II in favor of the Allied forces was headed by Gen. Douglas McArthur, the triumph of the Allied Forces’ on that battle paved way to the fulfillment of McArthur’s historic pledge “I shall return!”

Among the foreign diplomats in attendance this year are Lt. Col Michael P. Wylie, Chief Joint Operations, US Marine Corp, Embassy of the United States of America; Minister Tetsuro Omano, Deputy Chief of Mission, Embassy of Japan; Reuben Levermore, ambassador, Embassy of New Zealand; and Bill Tweddell, Ambassador, Embassy of Australia.

Also in attendance was Cmdr. Avelino L. Mosot, regional vice president Veterans Federation of the Philippines Leyte Chapter, and Brig. Gen. Joel Joseph A. Cabides, Regional Vice President, Veterans Federation of the Philippines. And Pasig City Cong. Roman T. Romulo, Grand Son of Ambassador Carlos P. Romulo, the Filipino general who was with Gen. MacArthur during the 1944 historic Leyte Landings.

A highlight during the commemorative program each diplomatic representative imparted their respective message of solidarity for peace.

Gov. Petilla in his message said, “On this 69th year of commemorating the Leyte Gulf Landings we honor our veterans as we banner this year’s theme: The Filipino Veteran: Role Model for Patriotism.” I want us not only to remember their gallantry in the battlefield, but we must also look at the lasting legacy of strength and service they brought with them; the commemoration of the Leyte Gulf Landings reminds us of the responsibility we have for our veterans, who serve our nation, he added.

Undersecretary Batac in his speech for President Benigno S. Aquino III said the return of freedom was the closing chapter in the experience of our wartime generation. The Second World War fought beyond the shadow of doubt that this nation, a country of men and women committed to the preservation of democracy and principle, knew that freedom is not only worth living but is also, and more importantly, worth dying for!

Meanwhile Cong. Roman T. Romulo in his solidarity message said, May our generation learn and be inspired by the gallantry of our forefathers—the Filipino traits of selflessness, courage, sacrifice, gallantry which ran through the veins of Filipinos of that generation, must still run in the veins of Filipinos in our generation.

Palace sees death of Sulu Sultan won't affect study on Philippine claim over Sabah

From Sun Star (Oct 20): Palace sees death of Sulu Sultan won't affect study on Philippine claim over Sabah

Malacanang said Sunday that the government's study on its claim over Sabah would not be affected by the death of Sulu Sultan Jamalul Kiram III.

Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte, in an interview over dzRB Radyo ng Bayan, also offered condolences to the family of Kiram who passed away early Sunday due to multiple organ failure at the age of 75.

"The study is still ongoing and the question presupposes that the claim is dependent on one person, which it is not, so the study is still ongoing," she said.

President Benigno Aquino III ordered last March a study into the territorial claim over Sabah.

He made the order after Kiram's brother and hundreds of followers sailed to Lahad Datu in Sabah last February to claim the Malaysian state. The standoff between Kiram's men and the Malaysian forces ended up in a bloody encounter.

"We offer our condolences to the bereaved family and to his (Kiram's) loved ones," Valte said.

Public warned against unverified messages

From the Sun Star-Zamboanga (Oct 20): Public warned against unverified messages

THE Crisis Management Committee (CMC) has reiterated its call to the public not to pass on unverified text messages that may cause panic and confusion among Zamboanga residents.

Zamboanga City Mayor Ma. Isabelle Climaco-Salazar made the call anew as text messages warning about presence of lawless elements in the villages once again alarmed the public that led to the shortening of classes in some schools in the city.

“Again, please refrain from forwarding unverified text messages. Get your facts straight and accurate from police hotline number 117 or 166 or through police stations near you. Always remain calm but vigilant,” Salazar said.

“The people have been traumatized and to have these unverified messages circulated will only worsen the situation,” she added.

City administrator Antonio Orendain, Jr. said misinformation caused the confusion in the schools, adding that administrators and principals of institutions should exercise prudence in their actions.

Orendain said police and military forces are deployed to safeguard the schools, vital installations, and other places of convergence and to foil any attempts from lawless elements.

Village officials and force multipliers have also been tasked to augment security in their respective areas of responsibility.

Salazar said on Sunday that classes in all levels both in public and private schools in Zamboanga city will continue on Monday, October 21.

Curfew will still be implemented from 12 midnight to 4 a.m.

Government to assist dead, wounded rebels

From the Philippine News Agency (Oct 20): Government to assist dead, wounded rebels

Lt. Col. Patrick Cinco, commander of the Civil-Military Operations of the 3rd Infantry (Spearhead) Division, Philippine Army based in Camp Peralta, Jamindan, Capiz called on citizens to report immediately to authorities sightings of New People’s Army (NPA) rebels killed during encounters with government troops last week near the borders of barangays Nayaman and Tacuyan, and barangays Lahug and Abangan, all in Tapaz, Capiz.

Cinco said his office is currently verifying reports claiming that dead bodies of a number of insurgents have been buried in areas straddling the said villages, even as he appealled to villagers having such knowledge not to hide the bodies and allow the government to provide them a decent burial “as they are also fellow Filipinos.”

Cinco also said the government is more than willing to extend medical assistance to wounded rebels, and fly them if necessary via choppers to the nearest hospital.

Cinco said the Aquino administration cares deeply for the rebels and would love to see them back to the fold of law living as productive and happy citizens.

MacArthur's Leyte Landing 69 years ago recalled

From the Philippine News Agency (Oct 20): MacArthur's Leyte Landing 69 years ago recalled
Sixty-nine years ago today, Gen. Douglas MacArthur fulfilled his solemn pledge to the Filipino people to return and liberate the Philippines from Japanese occupation when he led Allied forces in the historic landing at Red Beach in Leyte on October 20, 1944.

The landing was preceded in what is dubbed as “Battle at Leyte Gulf”, the greatest naval battle in history the world has known which remained unequaled to date in terms of the number warships, aircraft and submarines involved and the huge number of war casualties that resulted in the defeat of Japan that ended World War II in the Pacific.

It may be recalled that shortly before Bataan fell on April 9, 1942 MacArthur made a daring sea escape at the height of the heavy fighting from his headquarters on Corregidor Island to Australia.

Aboard a convoy of lightly armed PT boats, MacArthur successfully broke the Japanese lines and arrived in Australia safely.

But before he boarded the PT boat, Gen. MacArthur made a promise to the Filipino people when he said in the now famous words “I shall return” to liberate the Philippines from the clutches of the Japanese invaders.

That promise was fulfilled when he led the liberation of the Philippines on Oct. 20, 1944.

In his speech shortly after US-led Allied forces landed in Leyte, MacArthur said: “TO THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES:"“I have returned. By the grace of Almighty God our forces stand again on Philippine soil -- soil consecrated in the blood of our two peoples. We have come, dedicated and committed, to the task of destroying every vestige of enemy control over your daily lives, and of restoring, upon a foundation of indestructible, strength, the liberties of your people.

“At my side is your President, Sergio Osmena, worthy successor of that great patriot, Manuel Quezon, with members of his cabinet. The seat of your government is now therefore firmly re- established on Philippine soil.

“The hour of your redemption is here. Your patriots have demonstrated an unswerving and resolute devotion to the principles of freedom that challenges the best that is written on the pages of human history. I now call upon your supreme effort that the enemy may know from the temper of an aroused and outraged people within that he has a force there to contend with no less violent than is the force committed from without.

“Rally to me. Let the indomitable spirit of Bataan and Corregidor lead on. As the lines of battle roll forward to bring you within the zone of operations, rise and strike. Strike at every favorable opportunity. For your homes and hearths, strike! For future generations of your sons and daughters, strike! In the name of your sacred dead, strike! Let no heart be faint. Let every arm be steeled. The guidance of divine God points the way. Follow in His Name to the Holy Grail of righteous victory!”

It was during the great battle at Leyte Gulf that the once powerful Japanese Navy was destroyed by the US 3rd and 7th fleet.

The naval warfare involved four sea battles at Sibuyan Sea, Surigao Strait,Cape EngaƱo and the island of Samar in the Pacific Ocean.

It was during the Battle at Leyte Gulf that the Japanese deployed its first “Kamikaze” or suicide pilots in attacking US warships.

"Kamikaze" pilots sunk 47 Allied warships and damaged 300 others. But a total of 4,000 "Kamikaze" pilots were killed during the Second World War.

The US had in its arsenal eight aircraft carriers, 24 small carriers, 1,712 warplanes, 12 battleships, 24 cruisers and 141 destroyers.

In the historic Battle at Leyte Gulf, the Japanese Navy lost nine carriers, more than 500 combat planes and a big number of smaller ships.(