Saturday, June 7, 2014

Reactivation of additional S-211s to train F/A-50 pilots

From the Philippine News Agency (Jun 8): Reactivation of additional S-211s to train F/A-50 pilots

The decision to reactivate three more SIAI-Marchetti S-211 jet trainers is aimed at increasing the number of aerial assets needed to screen and train prospective F/A-50 pilots.

This was revealed by Air Defense Wing official Col. Miguel Ernesto Okol in a message to the PNA.

The additional S-211s will provide incoming pilots of the South Korean-built jet plane with the flight time and training needed for fast aircraft operations.

"So far, we have three (S-211) operational and we are requesting (funds) for CY (calender year) 2015 to operationalize one," Okol stressed.

He added that reactivation for two more S-211s are afoot.

"We have two more after this but (this is) subject to funding," Okol disclosed.

The F/A-50 "Fighting Eagle" is expected to be in service by the third quarter of 2015.

Earlier, Okol said that four PAF pilots will be deployed to South Korea before the end of the year to undergo familiarization training in the Korean Aerospace Industries (KAI) F/A-50 "Golden Eagle".

He added that these officers are relatively junior and only have the rank of captain and major.

Aside from this, these PAF officials relatively have high jet time compared to other pilots.

Okol said that these officials have accrued their jet time flying SIAI-Marchetti S-211 jet trainers which doubles as attack aircraft of the PAF.

"These men will be rated as test pilots and operational pilots of the F/A-50s while those who only have 200 to 300 hours of jet hours will be first made to undergo F/A-50 simulator training before being trained and certified by our test pilots for F/A-50 operations," the PAF official said in Filipino.

Deployment of these PAF pilots to South Korea for training and familiarization briefing on the F/A-50 will be determined later, Okol said.

The Philippines and KAI signed the Php 18.9 billion deal for 12 units of the F/A-50 last March 28.

Department of National Defense undersecretary for finance, modernization, installations, and munitions Fernando Manalo said that the first two F/A-50 jet aircraft will be delivered 18 months after the opening of the letter of credit, the next two will be delivered 12 months later and the remaining eight jet planes to be delivered in staggered basis within eight months.

The F/A-50 has a top speed of Mach 1.5 or one and a half times the speed of sound and is capable of being fitted air-to-air missiles, including the AIM-9 "Sidewinder" air-to-air and heat-seeking missiles aside from light automatic cannons.

The F/A-50 will act as the country's interim fighter until the Philippines get enough experience of operating fast jet assets and money to fund the acquisition of more capable fighter aircraft.

The F/A-50 design is largely derived from the F-16 "Fighting Falcon", and they have many similarities: use of a single engine, speed, size, cost, and the range of weapons.

KAI's previous engineering experience in license-producing the KF-16 was a starting point for the development of the F/A-50.

The aircraft can carry two pilots in tandem seating. The high-mounted canopy developed by Hankuk Fiber is applied with stretched acrylic, providing the pilots with good visibility, and has been tested to offer the canopy with ballistic protection against four-pound objects impacting at 400 knots.

The altitude limit is 14,600 meters (48,000 feet), and airframe is designed to last 8,000 hours of service.

There are seven internal fuel tanks with capacity of 2,655 liters (701 US gallons), five in the fuselage and two in the wings.

An additional 1,710 liters (452 US gallons) of fuel can be carried in the three external fuel tanks.

Trainer variants have a paint scheme of white and red, and aerobatic variants white, black, and yellow.

The F/A-50 "Fighting Eagle" uses a single General Electric F404-102 turbofan engine license-produced by Samsung Techwin, upgraded with a full authority digital engine control system jointly developed by General Electric and KAI.

The engine consists of three-staged fans, seven axial stage arrangement, and an afterburner.

The aircraft has a maximum speed of Mach 1.4-1.5.

Its engine produces a maximum of 78.7 kN (17,700 lbf) of thrust with afterburner.

Ransom was paid, says freed Filipina

From the Borneo Post (Jun 8): Ransom was paid, says freed Filipina

KOTA KINABALU: The Filipino migrant worker abducted in Sabah along with a Chinese national by suspected Abu Sayyaf bandits in April believes ransom money was paid for their release on May 30 by the family of her fellow captive, a report said yesterday.

Forty-year-old Mercedita Dayawan, a resident of this town, told the Philippine Inquirer in Midsayap, North Cotabto that she took part in the negotiations for the release of Chinese national Gao Hua Yuan as translator.

The duo were seized by Filipino gunmen from the Singmata Adventures Reef and Resort off Sabah on April 2.

The Filipina worked in the resort as a member of its staff.

“I served as translator between Gao and the Abu Sayyaf kidnappers so I know how much money was involved,” Dayawan told the Church-run Radio DXMS.

She said Gao, 29, a student from Shanghai, conducted the negotiations with her parents.

The kidnappers, Dayawan said, initially wanted P500 million for the Chinese national’s release.

“Gao would talk to her parents and then told me in English what the conversation was all about. I would then translate it into Filipino to the captors,” Dayawan said.

Dayawan said that during the negotiations, the kidnappers threatened to behead them if ransom was not paid.

She said the kidnappers eventually settled for P300 million and that the Gao family agreed to pay it.

“I was convinced money was paid because that was repeatedly demanded by the kidnappers before they freed us,” she said, explaining that the ransom was really for the Chinese woman and that the kidnappers never demanded any ransom specifically for her.

Dayawan, who admitted entering Sabah illegally via the ‘southern backdoor’, told reporters that the fact they were not beheaded but were instead released made her believe all the more that money did change hands.

But she said Philippine and Malaysian authorities would say that no ransom was involved.

Asked how certain she was that the kidnappers were Abu Sayyaf, Dayawan said she suspected they were.

She said the group, led by one Alhabsi Misaya, kept them in the jungles of Indanan in Sulu for weeks and that they were released in Sabah.

“They called their leader Misaya and sometimes Maas (elder),” she said, adding that their captors numbered about 70 heavily armed men.

Dayawan recalled that while in captivity, she served as Gao’s caretaker, attending to her needs.

“She cried heavily when we parted ways in Kuala Lumpur,” Dayawan said.
“Most of the time we were fed fried chicken the Abu Sayaff bought from a food store somewhere; it tasted good,” she said.

When Gao celebrated her birthday on April 8, Dayawan said, the kidnappers also brought in ‘special food bought from ‘the town’.

The kidnappers, she said, respected their privacy throughout their captivity.

KFRG strikes anew taking a Fil-Chinese trader, three others in Tawi-Tawi, Sulu

From the Zamboanga Today (Jun 7): KFRG strikes anew taking a Fil-Chinese trader, three others in Tawi-Tawi, Sulu

Kidnap-for-ransom group (KFRG) struck anew taking hostage a Filipino-Chinese businessman, his son, a relative and a construction foreman in two incidents in Tawi-Tawi and Sulu provinces.
The abducted Filipino-Chinese was Joseph Bani, 49, including his son Josua, 21; and relative Hajan Terong, 51. They have been missing since early Monday.
The kidnapped construction foreman was Remigio Villanueva Lingayan, a Zamboanga native, who was abducted in the capital town of Jolo on June 5.
Police said Bani, his son and a relative were taken from their residence in Barangay Chinese Pier, Bongao.
The kidnappers of the Filipino-Chinese trader have not yet made any contact with his family, according to the police report.
Local media reported that Villanueva was travelling on a vehicle when flagged down by gunmen near the village of Kan Islam and seized him.
Soldiers and policemen pursued the gunmen, but failed to catch up with them.
The search is going on for Villanueva in Sulu as well as for the Chinese-Filipino businessman in Tawi-Tawi, where two European bird watchers were reportedly kidnapped by Abu Sayyaf bandits in February 2012.
The Al-Qaeda-linked terror group is also believed holding two German nationals who went missing in Palawan in the last week of April.
It is also holding a Chinese businesswoman and her daughter seized from their karaoke bar in Isabela City, Basilan, Thursday of May.

China tells PH off on reef reclamation, says ‘it’s none of your business’

From the Philippine Daily Inquirer (Jun 8): China tells PH off on reef reclamation, says ‘it’s none of your business’
It’s none of your business.

That was China’s response to the Philippines’ report of the discovery of further Chinese land reclamation on reefs in the West Philippine Sea.

In a press conference in Beijing on Friday, Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Hong Lei insisted that China had “indisputable sovereignty” over the Spratly Islands, including parts of the archipelago within the Philippines’ 370-kilometer Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) known to Filipinos as West Philippine Sea.

“China exercises indisputable sovereignty on the Nansha (Spratly) Islands and the adjacent waters,” Hong said, according to a post on the foreign ministry website.

“Any action taken by China on any island falls within China’s sovereignty and has nothing to do with the Philippines,” he said.

But Malacañang has turned down suggestions of a Vietnam-like response to China’s activities on Gavin Reefs (Gaven Reefs) and Malvar Reef (Eldad Reef).

Vietnam has sent dozens of civilian ships to stop the operation of a deepwater oil drilling rig that China moved near Hanoi-claimed Paracel Islands in the East Sea on May 1.

The East Sea is part of the South China Sea within Vietnam’s 370-km Exclusive Economic Zone where Vietnamese and Chinese ships are now locked in a weekslong standoff over the oil rig.

Vietnam has reported rammings of its ships and accused China of sinking one of its fishing boats on May 26.

Hong said Chinese ships were defending China’s territory.

New activities

Philippine officials earlier this week expressed concern over new Chinese movements in territories within the Philippines’ EEZ, including suspected land reclamation at Gavin Reefs and Calderon Reef (Cuarteron Reef) and, most recently, confirmed sightings of reclamation on Malvar Reef.

Malvar Reef is located northeast of Mabini Reef (Johnson South Reef), where China has been discovered to have been reclaiming land that the Philippine government fears could be used to build an airstrip or an offshore military base.

President Aquino spoke to reporters on Thursday about Chinese ships moving toward Gavin Reefs, possibly to reclaim land.

Mr. Aquino gave no details, but Gavin Reefs, two reefs in the Tizard Bank of the Spratly Islands that is also claimed by Vietnam, are already under Chinese control. Internet information describes them as having a supply platform and a reef fortress. The supply platform is described as having antiaircraft guns, search radars and radio communications equipment.

The Gavin Reefs are also known as Burgos Reefs.

Taking diplomatic tack

Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said on Saturday that the Philippines would take no action like Vietnam’s in response to China’s movements at Gavin Reefs and Malvar Reef.

“We will not respond to any provocative action,” Valte said.

Apart from the fact that the Philippines has no ships that can match China’s large armed naval vessels, Valte said the government had taken a diplomatic tack to resolve the Philippines’ territorial dispute with China peacefully.

The Philippines has filed a petition in the United Nations International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea to nullify China’s claim to 90 percent of the 3.5-million-square-kilometer South China Sea. The tribunal has ordered China to respond to the Philippine petition by Dec. 15.

Photographs taken by the military showing Chinese ships engaged in reclamation off Malvar Reef were published by the Inquirer on Saturday.

Not confirmed

But Valte said the military had not confirmed actual land reclamation at Gavin Reefs and Malvar Reef.

“What has reached the President is [information] that some ships have been sighted [and they] are capable of transporting reclamation materials. But the President has not mentioned if indeed reclamation has started,” Valte said.

She said any damage to corals would be considered in the action to be taken by the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA).

The DFA filed a diplomatic protest against China in April for its actions on Mabini Reef.

China readily rejected the protest, saying Mabini Reef was part of its territory.

Considering new protest

Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario said the Philippines would file a fresh protest if the Chinese activities on Gavin and Calderon reefs proved to be land reclamation.

The DFA said it would issue a statement this week after consultations with the Department of National Defense.

The foreign office has yet to issue a statement on China’s land reclamation on Malvar Reef.

In an interview last week, Del Rosario slammed China’s “expansion agenda” in the South China Sea and expressed doubts about Beijing’s commitment to conclude with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) a legally binding code of conduct among claimants to territory in the South China Sea.

Such a code would prevent the competing territorial claims from erupting into armed conflict.

Case in UN

The Philippines is relying on a favorable ruling from the UN arbitral tribunal to resolve its territorial dispute with China.

China has refused to participate in the process, repeatedly reiterating its sovereignty over the South China Sea.

But the tribunal is proceeding with the process and is likely to make a ruling based solely on the Philippine complaint.

Vietnam has said it is considering following the Philippine lead and is looking to consult Manila on bringing legal action against China.

Abu Sayyaf asking teachers in Basilan for 'protection fee'

From the Philippine Star (Jun 7): Abu Sayyaf asking teachers in Basilan for 'protection fee'

The Abu Sayyaf group is exacting “protection fee” from the teachers assigned in the remote areas of Basilan province to spare them from kidnapping, a senior military official confirmed.

Brig. Gen. Carlito Galvez, commander of the 104th Army Brigade based in Basilan, said the threat against the teachers is serious that prompted them and the police to intensify the security.

“The ASG (Abu Sayyaf group) wanted to extort each of the teachers to spare them from any attack,” Galvez said.

The militants, a small but violent insurgent group blamed for the spate of kidnappings and bombing attacks, were demanding P500 pesos each from the teachers every month, Galvez said.

Galvez said they have already initiated measures including providing security forces in the convoy of the teachers going to and from the schools.

He said they were also forced to violate some international laws by establishing military post nearby the schools just to ensure the needed security.

Under the international law the military is not allowed to establish posts a kilometer away from the schools.

“This is really a problem, that’s why we violate that on purpose to bring in the needed security. Talagang nilapit na namin (the military post) especially in critical area,” Galvez said.

The Department of Education of Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) has increased the number of teachers in most of its areas, including Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi provinces to ensure the children will be provided with quality education.

ARMM Gov. Mujiv Hataman said they have recognized the threat against the teachers and have already coordinated for a well-placed security involving the whole community.

“We are not just involving the police and military but also the local government units in securing the safety of the teachers and the civilians,” Hataman said.

2 MNLF rebels arrested in Basilan

From the Philippine Star (Jun 8): 2 MNLF rebels arrested in Basilan

Authorities arrested two suspected members of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) on an island off Isabela City in Basilan Thursday afternoon, security officials reported yesterday.

Police seized a grenade, a homemade 9-mm pistol and a knife from the suspects identified as Dante Moreno and a certain Macapili, said to be MNLF members based in Cotabato City.

The suspects were arrested at around 6 p.m. on Malamawi Island, said Superintendent Albert Larubis, Isabela City police chief.

Larubis said the arrest came after residents informed authorities of the arrival of 10 armed men on the island. He said responding police officers spotted the two suspects who ran toward a pumpboat.

The suspects claimed they were on the island to accompany their leader, whom they identified as Hadji Bensali Saripa, said to be the MNLF chief for Saudara Division based in Maguindanao.

U.S. spy agency CIA joins Facebook, Twitter

Posted to the Manila Times (Jun 7): U.S. spy agency CIA joins Facebook, Twitter

Make a friend with CIA on your Facebook or Twitter? It sounds weird.
The U.S. spy agency on Friday stepped from the back to the front on social media as it sent its first tweet on its official Twitter page, a rare move for the agency to show its engagement with the public.

“We can neither confirm nor deny that this is our first tweet,” CIA tweeted for its debut on Twitter.

It quickly confirmed in a press release that it had established a presence on Twitter and also on Facebook.

Within two hours of the post, it received around 90,000 retweets and the CIA counted 115,000 followers.

The purpose of joining Twitter and Facebook was to help the agency “more directly engage with the public and provide information on CIA’s mission, history and other developments,” CIA director John Brennan said in a statement.

However, the agency will unlikely post spy secrets.

The agency already has a public website, and accounts on YouTube and Flickr, an online photo-sharing website.

CIA has long been following social media, secretly.

The agency’s Open Source Center monitors millions of tweets and Facebook updates a day and tracks information people publish about themselves on those social media.

Those information will then be translated from its native languages to English and cross-checked with other sources of information, for CIA’s reference.

Military operations assessed

From the Visayan Daily Star (Jun 7): Military operations assessed

The national convenor of Bantay Bayanihan said, during the policy reform study circle held in Dumaguete City recently, that their assessment shows that the military had a passing rate in terms of operations.

Katheline Tolosa said positive developments were noted, reforms undertaken and positive changes are done by the military that, for the first time had opened up its plans to civilians, and for civil societies to see if what they are doing is actually according to plan.

However, Bantay Bayanihan, a civil society organization, wants to make sure that these positive developments are actually reflected in the policies so that every time a change of command happens, the public does not have to worry that the military might go back to the negative picture that it had before.

Tolosa said it is important that what is happening in the operations aspect of the military is based not just on the personality of the present commander.

“What happens if we have a commander who is not open to the paradigm shift that the IPSC Bayanihan espouses?” Tolosa asked. “We need to make sure these changes are reflected in the policies,” she added.

She also said the AFP’s IPSC Bayanihan is a good plan, but added that not all good plans mean good implementation. “So we have to make sure that the implementation is according to what was written in the plan,” she said.

Division commander of the 3rdInfantry Maj. Gen Aurelio Baladad, however, failed to make a respond while in Dumaguete due to the arrival of the 20thInfantry Battalion, except for Negros Oriental Provincial Police Office provincial director, Senior Supt. Mariano Paez Natu-el Jr., who found time to be with the Bantay Bayanihan discussions on peace and security issues.

302ndBrigade commander, Brig. Gen. Francisco Patrimonio, reiterated earlier pronouncements that there is no pull out of troops in the province but a temporary replacement of the 79thInfantry Battalion which will undergo retraining.

A pull-out of the 79thIB means a violation of the memorandum of agreement that was signed by the Army, the PNP and the province upon the declaration of Negros Oriental as a conflict manageable and development ready province.

MILF: CSOs, LGUs conduct health education for community at Pagagawan. Maguindanao

Posted to the MILF Website (Jun 7): CSOs, LGUs conduct health education for community at Pagagawan. Maguindanao

More than 200 residents of Barangay Talitay, Pagagawan, Maguindanao participated in the “one day health education for community” last May 31, 2014 held at the said barangay.
The activity was a joint effort of United Youth for Peace and Development (UNYPAD), a civil society organization, BLGU and the local government unit of Pagagawan.

Esmael Rahim, Secretary of Committee on Health and Disaster Management of the United Youth for Peace and Development (UNYPAD) said that the activity hopes to enhance the knowledge of grass roots communities on health care.

”If a person has a good health, it will also redound to a healthy community”, Rahim said.

Dr. Kadil Sinolinding, Regional Secretary of the Department of Health ARMM facilitated the workshops on health and dental. Sinolinding emphasized the importance of having a healthy lifestyle and enhancing the capacity of the community towards a better lifestyle of the Bangsamoro.

Datuan Magon, Vice President for External Affairs of UNYPAD shared inputs on current issues particularly the progress of the GPH-MILF peace process. Participants were optimistic that the signing of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) will pave the way for lasting peace in Mindanao.

“As community leaders, it is our task and responsibility to serve not only our own community but the Bangsamoro as a whole…we should share our knowledge and skills that could help build healthy communities for every Bangsamoro,” Datuan Magon emphasized.

“Try not to become a man of success, but rather try to become a man of value,” Magon resounded the famous maxim of Albert Einstein.

“We look forward towards a healthy and a united community of Bangsamoro in order to achieve lasting peace and development,” one of the community leaders said.

The organizers led by UNYPAD Committee on Health and Disaster Management thanked   stakeholders that contributed to the success of the activity.

MILF: BTC-JICA Launch Bangsamoro Human Resource Mapping Program

From the MILF Website (Jun 7): BTC-JICA Launch Bangsamoro Human Resource Mapping Program

Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC) in partnership with Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) with the support of prominent local civil society organizations launched Human Resource Mapping Program for Bangsamoro professionals on June 4, 2014 at the Al Nor Convention Hall, Cotabato City highlighted by website unveiling.
The registration can be done either on-line or data sheet registrations. BLMI, UNYPAD, and MAPAD shall be the service providers of the registration effective June 4, 2014 to September 30, 2014.

The program launching was attended by members of the academe, ulama, Shari’ah Lawyers, media personalities, local and international NGOs, representatives from the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP), Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) and other stakeholders.

The program is designed to identify Moro professionals and other potential human resources, sorting out various levels of management namely: the top-management, middle level management and front-line personnel in order to equip them with the knowledge and skills that are essentials for the Bangsamoro.

Mohagher Iqbal, BTC Chair, emphasized that human resource mapping is not a promise for employment but a data gathering endeavor targeting Bangsamoro professionals for future reference.

Precautionary measures shall also be employed so that when Bangsamoro government is in place it should not be run by selective few. He gave emphasis on the principle of “putting the right person to the right job” in the bureaucracy.

The Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro (FAB) signed in October  2012 created the BTC with the mandate to craft a basic law that will suit to the Bangsamoro tri-people’s socio-economic needs, culture and political aspirations. The BTC came up with the idea of human resource mapping program to identify and determine accurate data of existing Bangsamoro professionals who may be needed in the future.

It is with this reason that despite the short period of time granted upon us in the BTC, we came up with this undertaking. We thank everyone for your support.

We are also thankful to those who keep on trusting the MILF, its leadership since it started the struggle and until today. “The BTC and the MILF panel have been thoughtful and truthful in all its engagements with the government including the international community, Iqbal said.

Favorable passage of the BBL proposal in the Congress would be a great gift to the Bangsamoro people.
The MILF through the BTC chair appeals to the BM professionals to work collaboratively to achieve the very purpose of the human resource mapping program as one of the undertakings of BTC. The BTC goal is not self-serving goals neither MILF goals but Bangsamoro goals, Iqbal reiterated.

Dr. Armia U Ebrahim, CCSPC Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences in her message commended the launching of the Bangsamoro Human Resource program. She emphasized that the BTC has obtained a tasks ahead of us and hopes that whatever is in the person can be utilized and no Bangsamoro person should be left unmapped.

77th IB, pinalalayas ng tribong Mabaca

From the Tagalog edition of Ang Bayan posted to the CPP Website (Jun 7): 77th IB, pinalalayas ng tribong Mabaca

Ipinahayag ng tribong Mabaca, sa pamamagitan ng Cordillera People’s Alliance, ang kanilang pagtutol sa pagtatayo ng 77th IB IB ng kampo sa kanilang komunidad sa Tanap, Mabaca sa Balbalan, Kalinga. Isang platun ng yunit-militar ang dumating doon noong ikalawang linggo ng Mayo para magtayo ng detatsment sa lugar.

Ayon sa tribo, tumututol sila sa pagkakampo ng mga sundalo dulot ng mahaba na nilang karanasan ng pang-aabuso at iba pang paglabag sa kanilang karapatang-tao ng mga tropang militar mula pa noong 1993.

Kabilang dito ang walang habas na panggigipit, pambubugbog at paniniktik.
Batid din ng mga tribo ang antisosyal na mga kagawian ng mga sundalo, tulad ng sobra-sobrang paglalasing, pagsusugal, paggamit ng iligal na droga, pagnanakaw at iba pa. Anila, ang masamang impluwensya ng mga sundalo ay magdudulot lamang ng kaguluhan sa kanilang tribo. Iginigiit din nila ang katarungan sa ekstrahudisyal na pagpaslang kay Jeff “Openg” Dao-ayan, isa nilang katribo na pinatay ng mga sundalo noong 2006.

Agad na kinwestyon at tinutulan ng mamamayan dito ang pagtatayo ng detatsment. Para pahupain ang kanilang pagtutol, nagpatawag ng konsultasyon ang 77th IB pero hindi nito itinigil ang konstruksyon. Sa halip, muli lamang nagtakda ng isa pang konsultasyon ang military.

[Ang Bayan is the official news organ of the Communist Party of the Philippines and is issued by the CPP Central Committee. It provides news about the work of the Party as well as its analysis of and views on current issues. Ang Bayan comes out fortnightly and is published in Pilipino, Bisaya, Ilokano, Waray, Hiligaynon and English.]

CPP/Ang Bayan: RPA: berdugo pa rin

From the Tagalog edition of Ang Bayan posted to the CPP Website (Jun 7): RPA: berdugo pa rin

Nanumpa noong Mayo 28 si Stephen Paduano (alyas Carapali Lualhati) bilang kinatawan ng Abang Lingkod, ang grupong “partylist” ng bandidong Revolutionary Proletarian Army (RPA).

Pero kahit nakapagpanibagong-bihis ang kontra-rebolusyonaryong grupo sa Kongreso, hindi ito makapagpanggap sa mga nakababatid ng tunay nitong katangian. Sa mismong araw ng panunumpa ni Paduano, nagpatuloy ang RPA sa mga gawaing berdugo.

Brutal na pinaslang ng mga elemento ng RPA si Dionesio Garete, 57, isang magsasaka at residente ng Barangay Aquino, Nobleza West, Janiuay, Iloilo noong Mayo 28, mga alas-9:15 ng umaga. Si Garete ay kasapi ng Janiuay-Badiangan Farmers Association (JABAFA) na nagsusuplay ng muscovado sa Panay Fair Trade Center (PFTC).

Minamaneho noon ng biktima ang isang Toyota Hilux pickup truck kasunod ng isang cargo truck ng JABAFA na may kargang bagong aning mga tubo na dadalhin sa gilingan sa Barangay Damirez ng parehong bayan.

Tinambangan si Garete sa Sityo Gantong, Barangay Danao ng nasabi ring bayan. Tumagos sa kanyang dibdib ang halos lahat ng 24 na bala ng kal .45 at de-12 shotgun, na tumama pa sa likuran at kanang bahagi ng minamaneho niyang pickup truck.

Batay sa apat-na-araw na imbestigasyong isinagawa ng fact-finding team mula sa KARAPATAN-Panay, PAMANGGAS, GABRIELA at PFTC, ang bandidong RPA ang may kagagawan ng krimen. Napag-alamang bago paslangin si Garete, siya ay pinagbantaan ng isang alyas “Jorek” ng RPA na bibigyan siya ng leksyon kung magpapatuloy siya sa kanyang aktibong pagsuporta sa anito’y “kabilang grupo.” May tatlong sibilyan pa raw ang pinagbantaang papatayin ng RPA.

Ipinaabot ng KARAPATAN-Panay ang resulta ng pagsisiyasat sa Janiuay Police Office pero inamin ng ilang pulis na wala silang magagawa dahil ang RPA ay “direkta nang hawak ng Malacañang.” Ang RPA ay sangkot sa halos 80 kaso ng pamamaslang sa Iloilo pa lamang.

[Ang Bayan is the official news organ of the Communist Party of the Philippines and is issued by the CPP Central Committee. It provides news about the work of the Party as well as its analysis of and views on current issues. Ang Bayan comes out fortnightly and is published in Pilipino, Bisaya, Ilokano, Waray, Hiligaynon and English.]

CPP/Ang Bayan: 4 sibilyan, biktima ng operasyong militar sa Sorsogon

From the Tagalog edition of Ang Bayan posted to the CPP Website (Jun 7): 4 sibilyan, biktima ng operasyong militar sa Sorsogon

Apat na sibilyan, kabilang ang isang sanggol ang nadagdag sa bilang ng mga biktima ng operasyong militar ng 903rd Brigade na nananalasa sa Sorsogon mula pa noong Abril. Nasa ilalim ng 903rd Brigade ang 31st IB, 5th Scout Ranger Coy at iba pang pwersang militar.

Sa Matnog. Isang pamilya ang idinamay ng 31st IB nang salakayin ng mga tropa nito ang isang iskwad ng Bagong Hukbong Bayan sa Sityo Hukdong, Barangay Balocaue nitong Mayo 23.

Alas-5:45 ng umaga nang kubkubin ng militar ang mga Pulang mandirigmang pansamantalang nagpapahinga malapit sa bahay ng pamilyang Garduque. Pagkatapos ng ilang minutong putukan, napatay si Elias Garduque at malubhang nasugatan ang kanyang asawa na si Cynthia at ang kanilang isang taong gulang na sanggol.

Mahigit siyam na oras na hinayaan lamang ng mga sundalo ang mag-ina at alas-3 na ng hapon nang dalhin sila sa ospital. Pinagbawalang makalapit ang mga taumbaryo na nais sanang sumaklolo sa mag-anak matapos nila marinig ang putukan malapit sa kanilang bahay.

Awtomatikong binansagan ni Brig. Gen. Joselito Kakilala, hepe ng 603rd Bde, na mga gerilya ng BHB ang mag-asawang Garduque. Masahol pa, sinabi rin niyang wala raw “collateral damage” o nadamay sa labanan kahit kasama sa mga kaswalti ang sanggol ng mga Garduque na malubhang nasugatan.

Sa Casiguran. Binaril at napatay ng Alpha Coy, 31st IB noong madaling araw ng Mayo 9 si Joseph Benson, isang binata na taga-Barangay Inlagadian. Tinambangan si Benson sa Barangay Escuala habang naglalakad pauwi mula sa isang lamay malapit sa kampo ng Alpha Coy HQ ng 31st IB sa Barangay Casay ng parehong bayan. Inamin mismo ng tropang pumatay kay Benson sa ilang mamamayan sa lugar na ang kanilang biktima ay pinaghinalaan nilang kasabay ng mga operatiba ng BHB na umambus sa kanilang tropa sa Barangay San Juan noong nakaraang Abril.

Bago ito, nagbanta ang militar sa mga residente ng Barangay San Juan noong Abril 29 na “uubusin” nila ang mga pinaghihinalaan nilang tagasuporta ng BHB sa buong bayan ng Casiguran matapos ang matagumpay na ambus ng isang yunit ng Celso Minguez Command (BHB-Sorsogon) doon. Napatay sa ambus na ito si Cpl. Edison Capital at nasamsam ng BHB ang isang pistolang kal .45. Kasalukuyang nakikipag-ugnayan ang BHB sa pamilya ng nadamay na sibilyan sa naturang ambus para sa karampatang aksyon.

Sa Bulan. Walang-kahihiyang nagnakaw ng isang bangkang de-motor ang 31st IB na nag-ooperasyon sa mga interyor na barangay ng Bulan at Matnog noong Mayo 5, alas-10:30 ng gabi. Ang biktima ay ang pamilyang Masujer ng Barangay Sagrada. Pinuntahan ng mga tropa ng 31st IB ang pamilya noong umaga ng Mayo 5 at pinipilit nilang kunin ang bangkang pag-aari ng pamilya dahil diumano’y pag-aari ito ng BHB. Pansamantalang napigilan ni Mrs. Marife Masujer ang mga magnanakaw ngunit bumalik sila pagsapit ng gabi para tuluyang nakawin ang bangka na sinakyan ng umaabot sa 30 sundalo ng 31st IB papunta sa direksyon ng bayan ng Bulan.

Dahil sa takot, pansamantalang lumipat ang pamilyang Masujer sa kanilang mga kamag-anak sa ibang barangay. Hanggang ngayon ay hindi makapaghanapbuhay ang pamilya na tanging pangingisda ang pinagkakakitaan.

Sa Sorsogon City. Pinagbintangang kasapi ng BHB si Barangay Kapitan Eddie Albor ng Cococabitan, Sorsogon City noong Abril 27 matapos ang isang engkwentro sa pagitan ng pinagsanib na pwersa ng 31st IB at 5th SR Coy at isang tim ng BHB na ikinamatay ng isang Pulang mandirigma. Iligal na ikinulong si Albor sa Sorsogon City District Jail dahil sa mga gawa-gawang kaso para pilitin siyang pumirma sa isang sinumpaang salaysay na nagsasaad ng kasinungalingan na mataas na kadre ng BHB ang kaswalti sa naturang engkwentro. Ito ay para makubra ng militar ang P2.5 milyong pabuya para sa naturang kadre. Ang pagpirma ni Albor ay kapalit dapat ng pagpapalaya sa kanya ngunit hanggang ngayon ay nakakulong pa rin siya.

[Ang Bayan is the official news organ of the Communist Party of the Philippines and is issued by the CPP Central Committee. It provides news about the work of the Party as well as its analysis of and views on current issues. Ang Bayan comes out fortnightly and is published in Pilipino, Bisaya, Ilokano, Waray, Hiligaynon and English.]

Alleged Bicol rebel leader with P800,000 bounty falls

From InterAksyon (Jun 7): Alleged Bicol rebel leader with P800,000 bounty falls

Ronnel Arquillo

An alleged communist rebel officer in the Bicol region who carried an P800,000 bounty on his head was arrested Thursday in Masbate province, police said.

Ronnel Arquillo, alias Haponnoli and Bunsopito, was the seventh most wanted person in the region.

Director Benjamin Magalong of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group said Arquillo was a member of the communist movement’s Bicol Regional Party Committee.

Senior Inspector Leus Anselmo Prima, Masbate police spokesman, said Arquillo was arrested along the national highway in Barangay Poblacion, Mobo town.

Arquillo is facing murder charges before Branch 38 of the regional trial court in Daet, Camarines Norte and a separate attempted murder charge before Branch 41.

NPA leader arrested in Philippines

From the Mindanao Examiner BlogSpot site (Jun 7): NPA leader arrested in Philippines

Security forces captured a senior communist rebel leader in Tanjay City in the central Philippine province Negros Oriental, the army said on Saturday.

It said the rebel leader, who goes by the nom de guerre Pediong and Nasyo, was arrested at a joint military and police checkpoint in the village of Tugas late on Friday.  Pediong is said to be the Secretary of the Southeast Front of the New People’s Army in Negros.

Troops also seized from him a fragmentation grenade and several identification cards with different names, believed to be his aliases, to conceal his real identity.

The army said the rebel leader is facing murder charges and that he was positively identified by former NPA fighters who surrendered to the government and are now helping the military in its anti-insurgency campaign.

“This development is certainly a big blow to the CPP-NPA in Negros Oriental as its organizational structure has been dismantled. This is the result of the Bayanihan among the people of the province who are eager to attain lasting peace and live in a place that is conducive for uninterrupted economic development,” said Brig. Gen. Francisco Patrimonio, commander of 302nd Infantry Brigade.

The rebel leader is also being linked to the brutal killing of Narciso Bantoto in January this year in the town Siaton also in Negros Oriental. Bantoto was killed in front of his family.

Maj. Gen. Aurelio Baladad, commander of the 3rd Infantry Division, praised soldiers and policemen for the capture of the rebel leader. He also urged other rebels to surrender peacefully.

“Your Army is strongly committed to bring lasting peace in this part of the country. It is through Bayanihan or working together where we can find peaceful solution to our problems,” he said.

“We reiterate our call on the Communist Party of the Philippines and New People’s Army and the New People’s Army to go down and talk with us peacefully. Abandon the armed struggle for it is not the solution to our societal issues. Let us work together in the spirit of Bayanihan to finally put an end to the insurgency problem of our country,” he added.

The rebels have been fighting for decades now for the establishment of a communist state in the country.

Body of second missing OV-10 pilot found off Puerto Princesa

From the Philippine News Agency (Jun 7): Body of second missing OV-10 pilot found off Puerto Princesa

Nearly a year after he went missing in the ill-fated crash of the OV 10 Bronco he was co-piloting with Maj. Jonathan Ybanez, the remains of Lt. Abner Trust Nacion was finally retrieved off the waters of Palawan Friday afternoon.

This after the Philippine Air Force (PAF)-created Task Force Bronco (TFB) confirmed that it had located his remains early Friday afternoon around 8 kilometers east northeast of the Puerto Princesa City Airport (PPCA) runway.

Designated spokesperson Col. Herminio Yuson confirmed to the Philippine News Agency (PNA) in an exclusive interview that Nacion was found by the TFB with the help of swagmen from the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) near the area where Ybanez was also found early December last year.

“The task force never stopped in looking for Lt. Nacion, and now, we would be able to put a closure to this, especially his family that also never stopped hoping with us that he would be found,” said Yuson.

Yuson said the pilot’s family had already been informed about the recent development, and the task force is ready to welcome any representative, who would come to fetch and bring him home.

“As soon as we’ve arranged the aircraft that will take his body home, he will go home so that he can be rejoined with his family. Finally, they can lay him to rest,” Yuson told the PNA.

The PAF colonel said more than the grid coordinates they followed, the sonar gears that were used, and the divers that continued to participate in the search mission, it was the “calm sea of the summer season that helped” them to find Nacion.

“We are thankful that the sea was calm… it helped us in the task force to find him. All these months, he was within the vicinity of the crash site waiting for us,” Yuson said.

Nacion and Ybanez were killed when the OV 10 Bronco they were piloting crashed off the runway off the PPCA following a night flying proficiency mission.

Freed Filipina recalls ordeal in hands of Abu Sayyaf

From the Philippine News Agency (Jun 7): Freed Filipina recalls ordeal in hands of Abu Sayyaf

A Filipino woman migrant worker recalled her ordeal while in captivity in southern Philippines for nearly two months, saying she never thought of coming out alive and be with her family again.

Mercedita “Marcy” Dayawan, a 40-year-old Filipino and Gao Hua Yuan, 29 years old, student from Shanghai, were taken by seven suspected Abu Sayyaf Group from the Singamata Adventures Reef and Resort off Malaysia's state of Sabah.

They were freed May 30 to a Malaysian negotiator who traveled to Sulu from Sabah.

She recalled that she thought the kidnappers would kill her and throw overboard hours after they were taken at the resort at 10 p.m. on April 2.

“We traveled by speed boat from Sabah to Sulu during which I told them that I was not Gao’s helper as they thought me to be thus they abducted me too,” Dayawan said.

”They kept on telling us that all they need was money from Gao’s family,” Dayawan said in an interview with Church-run Radio DXMS here.

Dayawan who hails from the village of Bual Norte here, said she acted like Gao’s personal assistant all throughout their captivity.

”I have no choice, it was I who can communicate with the captors in Pilipino and Gao in English,” she said.

She said the kidnappers earlier demanded Php500 million (about USD 11 million) ransom in exchange for her liberty. “I was not sure if ransom was paid but we were repeatedly told by Malaysian authorities that no ransom was paid,” she said.

Philippine police and military authorities were convinced the two women were seized by the ASG under Commander Alhabsi Misaya and kept for almost two months in the jungles of Indanan in Sulu.

Dayawan recalled that there were about 70 armed men who kept them in the jungles of Sulu and their leader was called Misaya or Maas (elder).

Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak broke the news that Gao and the Filipina woman were “rescued” by joint Malaysian and Philippine police authorities and that no ransom was paid.

Dayawan who is now reunited with her family said that she and Gao became “close” that the Chinese student cried heavily when they parted ways in Kuala Lumpur after their release.

Dayawan also said the kidnappers respected their privacy throughout their captivity. “They did not harm us, they respected us as women,” she said, adding that two or four heavily armed men kept an eye on them.

Gao, according to Dayawan, celebrated his 29th birthday on April 8 in the jungles of Sulu with the kidnappers giving them several fried chicken and cooked rice.

”We were always fed with fried chicken and other special food the kidnappers bought somewhere in the downtown,” she said.

Dayawan said she is still considering working abroad but not anymore in Malaysia. She admitted she was an illegal migrant in Sabah, coming there 13 years ago via the “southern backdoor.”

Pangasinan peace council tackles insurgency in meeting

From the Philippine News Agency (Jun 7): Pangasinan peace council tackles insurgency in meeting

Despite the fact that Pangasinan has been declared insurgency-free since 2010, the Provincial Peace and Order Council (PPOC) led by its chairman Governor Amado Espino Jr. still tackled insurgency concerns and how to prevent it during its meeting here Friday.

"This is where policies to be implemented by different concerned agencies are discussed, to first address insurgency, and peace and order second," said Espino in their first council meeting in two years held at the Capitol Resort in Lingayen.

In 2010, Pangasinan was declared insurgency-free in memorandum signed by the Pangasinan provincial government, the 7the Infantry Division of the Philippine Army and the Pangasinan police office.

Espino assured that there is no locally-based organized armed group or insurgents in Pangasinan but there may be those who may only be passing or making a temporary visit.

In his briefing on June 2 before the Sangguning Panlalawigan, Senior Superintendent Sterling Raymond Blanco, officer-in-charge of the Pangasinan Police Office (PPO), said there are two groups of rebels that were monitored to be just passing by in the eastern and western parts of the province.

Espino said that Citizen Armed Force Geographical Units (CAFGUs) are strategically located in the province to further assure protection and security from anything or anyone, particularly from insurgents.

The PPOC chairman explained that peace and order is very vital not only for security purposes but also for the economic development as in the sectors of agriculture and tourism.

"Let us prevent it (crimes), but if we cannot, then let us solve it. Otherwise, if we can't solve it, there must be a logical explanation," Espino told members of the PPOC.

Members of the PPOC are the provincial office of the Department of the Interior and Local Government led by Reggie Colisao, the provincial government, the law enforcement agencies such as Philippine National Police and Armed Forces of the Philippines, and other government agencies such as the Department of Education, Department of Social Welfare and Development, and Philippine Information Agency, among others.

PPO recorded 8,054 crimes in the province during the first five months of this year, lower by 1,087 incidents as compared to the same comparative period of last year.

Central Mindanao, ARMM leaders gather in Cotabato for int'l peace conference

From the Philippine News Agency (Jun 7): Central Mindanao, ARMM leaders gather in Cotabato for int'l peace conference

Local chief executives from the provinces of Maguindanao, North Cotabato and Sultan Kudarat congregated Saturday at the Notre Dame University here to attend a daylong peace forum dubbed as Religions and Cultures in Dialogue for Peace and Reconciliation in Mindanao.

Top program presenters on their experiences in the Mindanao conflict include Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao Mujiv Hataman, Maguindanao Gov. Esmael Mangudadatu and North Cotabato Gov. Emmylou Mendoza, among others.

Government peace panel chair Prof. Miriam Coronel Ferrer and MILF counterpart Mohaqher Iqbal, meanwhile, would present significant experiences on the peace process for Bangsamoro, the political entity that would replace the old, graft-ridden ARMM set up.

Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Secretary Teresita Quintos-Deles and MILF Vice Chairman for Political Affairs Ghazali Jaafar are also expected to grace the occasion.

The two-day activity, which began Friday, has for its theme “Peace is Living Together” that supports the ongoing government–Moro Islamic Liberation Front peace overture.

The principal event sponsors, aptly called the International Conference of Cotabato, include Italy-based Community of Sant Egidio, Muhammadiyah Indonesia and Archdiocese of Cotabato.

“At the heart of peace is respect and trust with each other,” said Orlando Cardinal Quevedo in briefly describing the purpose of the gathering.

If peace given a chance in mind and spirit, he said dialogues instead of armed fighting play a vital role in the co-existence of Christian and Muslim settlers in Mindanao.

“Lasting peace could not be changed overnight. The culture itself has to change,” Quevedo, stressed.

The prelate’s stand was supported by foreign peace advocates Sudibyo Markus, vice chairman of the Muhammadiyah Indonesia, and Alberto Quattrucci, secretary-general of the Sant’ Egidio, who are also attending the forum.

In particular, Markus and Quattrucci commented on the issue of religious extremism that might possibly agitate the proposed Bangsamoro entity.

“Extremism exists everywhere. The solution to this is through education,” Markus, himself a Muslim, said.

“Dialogue is a good medicine against extremism,” Quattrucci said for his part.

Here in the Cotabato area, Quevedo said extremism is still minor, though there are now those in the field taking their own brand of interpretation on religion.

“We should not kill anyone in the name of peace,” he said.

Quevedo noted that Mindanao is currently being watched worldwide as a roadshow for peace on living together.

USAID to launch rebuilding projects in Tacloban

From the Philippine News Agency (Jun 7): USAID to launch rebuilding projects in Tacloban
The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) will launch on Monday several projects in this city to help rebuild communities flattened by last year's super typhoon Yolanda.

USAID acting assistant administrator for Asia Denise Rollins will lead the launching in the city of the United States-funded reconstruction and recovery activities, according to a media advisory of the US agency.

Rollins is expected to arrive in this city Monday morning. Upon her arrival, she will proceed to the Provincial Capitol to witness the signing of a twinning agreement on disaster risk reduction and management between the Albay Public Safety and Management Office, the Provincial Government of Leyte and USAID/Philippines.

The effort, spearheaded by USAID’s Water Security for Resilient Economic Growth and Stability (Be Secure) Project aims to restore destroyed water systems in Leyte.

Before launch, the USAID official will launch USAID Rebuild, a project designed to enhance education, health services and livelihood activities, and provide technical assistance to the Office of the Presidential Assistant for Rehabilitation and Recovery (OPARR).

The ceremonies will commence at 12:45 in the afternoon with a program and the ground breaking of an eight-classroom building at the San Fernando Central School. Officials will also break the ground the USAID-funded tuberculosis clinic at the Tacloban City Main Health Center on the city hall grounds.

Before leaving the city, the official will inaugurate two sari-sari stores, the first of the 500 small community stores that will be constructed and rehabilitated. The initiative, which will restock sari-sari stores, is in partnership with Coca-Cola and Procter & Gamble.

Officials of the provincial government of Leyte, city government of Tacloban, OPARR, departments of education, health, agriculture, trade and industry, and partners from the private sector are expected to participate in the launching.

Earlier this week, the USAID announced the provision of up to USD2 million in grant to rebuild livelihood, provide micro-financing and improve disaster-risk preparedness of vulnerable communities in the aftermath of Typhoon Yolanda.

In his visit to the Philippines last December, US Secretary of State John Kerry announced an additional USD24.6 million grant to augment relief efforts in typhoon-ravaged areas in central Philippines.

Ranking NPA leader nabbed in Negros Oriental

From the Philippine News Agency (Jun 7): Ranking NPA leader nabbed in Negros Oriental

Troopers from 302nd Infantry Brigade, 79th Infantry Battalion and the Tanjay City PNP have successfully arrested a ranking New People's Army (NPA) leader during operations in Tanjay City Friday night.

The arrested rebel was identified only as "Pediong/Nasyo," Secretary of the Southeast Front, Komiteng Rehiyonal-Negros (SEF, KR-N) of the NPA.

He was bagged around 7:50 p.m. during joint checkpoint operations in line with the AFP-PNP Joint Peace and Security Coordinating Center (JPSCC) in Barangay Tugas, Tanjay City.

The former was arrested by virtue of an arrest warrant for murder filed at RTC 7th Judicial Region Branch 41 in Dumaguete City.

Former rebels in Negros Oriental who are now in mainstream society identified "Pediong/Nasyo" as the one who carried out various atrocities in the southeastern part of Negros which victimized innocent civilians and destroyed millions of pesos of properties in the area.

Confiscated from the suspect was one hand grenade, an ATM card and identification cards with different identities (Jose Rene H. Bustamante, Jade B. Herevias, Jury Merecido).

The rebel leader is now detained at Tanjay City PNP station for proper disposition.

“This development is certainly a big blow to the CPP-NPA in Negros Oriental as its organizational structure has been dismantled. This is the result of the 'Bayanihan' among the people of the province who are eager to attain lasting peace and live in a place that is conducive for uninterrupted economic development,” 302nd Infantry Brigade commander Brig. Gen. Francisco M. Patrimonio said.

PAF AW-109s to reinforce MG-520s in ground attack role

From the Philippine News Agency (Jun 7): PAF AW-109s to reinforce MG-520s in ground attack role

With delivery and commissioning commissioning of the eight armed AgustaWestland AW-109 "Power" helicopters early 2015, the Philippine Air Force (PAF)'s McDonnell Douglas MG-520 "Defender" attack helicopters will get a much needed reinforcement in its ground attack missions.

This was stressed by Air Force spokesperson Lt. Col. Enrico Canaya in a text message to the PNA.

He added arrival of the eight attack versions of the AW-109s will greatly boost their close-air support capabilities.

The AW-109s which the PAF will be getting is armed with .50 caliber machine guns and rocket launchers and will be used for the ground-attack-role.

The Air Force is expected to take delivery of its AW-109s starting January to July next year.

The PAF is known to operate between 12 to 16 models of the MG-520, according to military sources.

The PAF affair with the MG-520 started in the early 90's when 25 units of these excellent aircraft were delivered to country.

It was used with great effect against New People's Army (NPA) rebels and lawless elements like the Abu Sayyaf Group for the past few years.

The MG-520 is derived from the MG-500 light utility helicopter.

It can be armed with .50 caliber heavy machines and air-to-ground rockets.

PA fetes outstanding marksmen

From the Philippine News Agency (Jun 7): PA fetes outstanding marksmen

The Philippine Army on Friday awarded members its shooting team who dominated the recently concluded Australian Armies Skill at Arms Meet (AASAM) 2014 held at the Combined Arms Training Center, Puckapunyal Military Area, Victoria, Australia from April 28 to May 18.

The 18 members of the team were conferred with Military Merit Medals during a simple awarding ceremony at the Training and Doctrine Command Headquarters in Camp O'Donnell, Capas, Tarlac last Friday.

A novelty shoot and fun shoot games were also conducted after the program.

The PA marksmen also bested 14 other teams from Australia, Brunei, New Zealand, United States, United Kingdom, Tonga, Japan, Indonesia, Singapore, Thailand, East Timor, Canada, and France during the 2014 AASAM.

The team received the Commander-in-Chief Trophy, the most coveted trophy in the competition, after successfully defending their place in the Team Champion Shot Match.

The 18-man contingent, headed by Lt. Col. Palmer M. Parungao also won a total of 14 gold medals, 56 silver medals and two bronze medals in the AASAM team matches.

This most recent championship indicated that the PA Shooting Team possesses a world-class skill at arms.

True to its vision of becoming a world-class Army that is a source of national pride, the PA is transforming to be the best.(

First stage bidding for DND's ASW helicopter project reset to June 24

From the Philippine News Agency (Jun 7): First stage bidding for DND's ASW helicopter project reset to June 24

First stage bidding for the Department of National Defense (DND)'s Php 5.4 billion anti-submarine helicopter (ASW) project, of which two are to be acquired, has been reset to June 24.

DND undersecretary Natalio C. Ecarma, bids and awards chair, said bid submission and opening will be held at the BAC (bidding awards committee) conference room, basement right wing, DND building, Camp General Aguinaldo, Quezon City.

Bids will be opened in the presence of the bidder's representatives who choose to attend at the address below.

First stage bidding for the program was earlier slated for June 17.

Money for the two ASW helicopters will be sourced from Armed Forces of the Philippines Modernization Trust Fund.

Acquisition of the two ASW helicopters is under the Medium Term Development Capability Plan for 2013 to 2017.

The contract includes munition, mission essential equipment, and integrated logistic support.

Winning bidders must be able to deliver the aircraft within 730 calendar days.

The Philippine Navy earlier announced that it is looking at the possibility of acquiring the AW-159 "Wildcat" as its ASW helicopters.

The Navy is in the market for two ASW helicopters.

This is part of the country's Medium Term Defense Acquisition List for the next four years.

The ASW choppers will be assigned to the BRP Gregorio Del Pilar (PF-15) and BRP Ramon Alcaraz (PF-16).

The AW-159 (previously called the Future Lynx and Lynx Wildcat) is an improved version of the Westland Super Lynx military helicopter.

The AW-159 will serve in the battlefield utility, search and rescue and anti-surface warfare roles.

The helicopter has been ordered for the Royal Navy and British Army.

It is to enter service with the British Army in 2014 and with the Royal Navy in 2015.

It has a crew of two, has a maximum speed of 291 km/h (181 mph), range of 777 km (483 miles), ferry range of 963 km (598 miles) and an endurance of one and a-half hours (fours hours and 30 minutes if fitted with auxiliary fuel)

The AW-159 is fitted with forward firing CRV7 rockets and machine guns, pintle mounted machine gun, Sea Skua missiles and Sting-Ray torpedoes and depth charges.

The acquisition process for these ASW helicopters is expected to go on full gear once the PN completes its five AW-109 order deal from AgustaWestland by the third quarter of 2014.

US Ambassador to Manila snubs Filipino officials

From the Mindanao Examiner Website (Jun 7): US Ambassador to Manila snubs Filipino officials

SULU – US Ambassador Philip Goldberg has inspected American troops stationed in the town of Jolo in the southern Philippine province of Sulu, but his visit was criticized after the former Bolivian ambassador did not even bother to meet as a courtesy protocol with local Filipino government officials.

Goldberg visited Jolo together with embassy officials on June 2 and went straight to the Philippine Marine Brigade headquarters where US troops put up a small camp under the Joint Special Operations Task Force-Philippines (JSOTF-P).

The capital town of Jolo is hosting both Philippine and US military bases, although the main headquarters of the JSOTF-P is inside the Western Mindanao Command in Zamboanga City. Some sources told the regional newspaper Mindanao Examiner that local government officials, who learned about Goldberg’s prior visit in Jolo, had even prepared and ready to brief the former Assistant Secretary of State for Intelligence and Research in case he wanted to discuss peace and development efforts in the province.

But no one from Goldberg’s group and not even the US Embassy informed the Filipino officials that the ambassador is not meeting, even briefly, with them for a still unknown reason. Some government officials said they felt insulted with Goldberg’s action and likened the American ambassador to a cat. “You know, cats just go inside your house and leave whenever they want. Animals do not have courtesy,” one Filipino official said.

In the past, US Ambassadors Kristie Kenny and Harry Thomas, and other foreign dignitaries would always meet and pay their courtesy with local municipal and provincial officials every time they visit Sulu. Kenny in particular had repeatedly flown to Jolo and enjoyed the hospitality accorded by her hosts and the Muslim residents.

One military officer said Goldberg spent several hours inside the base where he met behind closed door with US troops and later police and military commanders, and former local exchange students who were invited by the embassy to meet with the ambassador, who was declared persona non grata by Bolivia in 2008 for plotting against Bolivia's government.

Many Muslims are opposed to the presence of US troops in Sulu because of the massacre of hundreds of locals, including women and children, in what is known now as the “Bud Dajo Massacre” which occurred more than 100 years ago, but the memory of the brutal American campaign is still fresh in the minds of many Muslims in Sulu.

Some 600 US troops have been stationed in the southern Philippines – on a rotation basis - since 2001 after three American nationals – Kansas missionary couple Martin and Gracia Burnham, and California man Guillermo Sobero - had been kidnapped from a posh resort by the Abu Sayyaf. Sobero was beheaded by the rebels tied to al-Qaeda and Jemaah Islamiya, while Martin was killed during a US-led rescue operation.