Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Abu Sayyaf leader Alhabsi cheers beheading of hostages in chilling video clip

From the Star Online (Jul 17): Abu Sayyaf leader Alhabsi cheers beheading of hostages in chilling video clip

PETALING JAYA: More details are beginning to emerge of Alhabsi Misaya, the notorious Abu Sayyaf leader, who is said to be holding marine policeman Kons Zakiah Aleip hostage in southern Philippines.

He is one of the gunmen responsible for the beheading of seven factory workers in Jolo, Southern Philippines in 2007, as discovered in an online video.

The 14-minute video clip, recorded by Alhabsi himself, sees a group of gunmen leading the hostages to different spots in the jungle where the brutal act is carried out.

Alhabsi can be heard reciting Quranic verses as the first hostage is made to lie face down before his head is pulled back by one of the gunmen and severed with what appears to be an army knife.

A combo picture of Alhabsi.
The next hostage is then led a few hundred metres away and meets a similar fate, much to the enjoyment of Alhabsi, who is heard giggling and chanting ‘Allahuakbar’ (God is great).

The recording depicts the killing of each worker in gory detail, and at one point, Alhabsi even zooms in on a severed head while making a celebratory comment.

Later, he very briefly turns the camera to himself, and the face is clearly visible to be that of the man identified by Philippines and Malaysian intelligence forces as the rising leader in the Abu Sayyaf terror group.

Towards the end of the video, the gunmen approach the remaining hostage and are seen tying his hands behind his back while asking him several questions.

They then lead him into the jungle, but his fate is unknown, as the recording ends abruptly.

The video clip, titled Seven innocent people in Jolo, Sulu beheaded by Abu Sayyaf group was uploaded on YouTube by a Raymond Penny in July last year, and has garnered more than 5,000 views to date.

The workers, who were employed at a nearby plywood factory, were apparently abducted and beheaded after the company refused to pay extortion money to Abu Sayyaf for carrying out logging in the area.

Alhabsi, then only a junior member of the terror group, has since risen in the ranks after making millions of pesos in ransom money from the spate of kidnappings in the east coast of Sabah.

Zakiah, 26, was snatched from a resort in Sabah’s east coast when eight masked gunmen in military fatigues attacked Mabul Island last Saturday. The gunmen also killed another policeman, Abdul Rajah Jamuan, 32.

Navy SEALs rescue 3 fishers in rough waters off Cavite

From GMA News (Jul 16): Navy SEALs rescue 3 fishers in rough waters off Cavite

A Philippine Navy Special Operations team rescued three fishermen half a kilometer from the coast of Sangley Point in Cavite City as Typhoon Glenda hit the province on Wednesday, the Navy's Civil Military Operations group has said.

The three were rescued at 12:45 p.m., the Navy said.
It added that SEAL teams continue to look for three others who remain missing after their boat capsized at 4 a.m. in rough waters off the city.
The rescued fishers were identified as Danny Alipawpaw, 35; Joven Alipawpaw, 33; and Larry Abiog, 41.  All are residents of Barangay 5 Amaya in Tanza town.
They were brought to the hospital at the Naval Station Heracleo Alano at Sangley Point for the treatment of minor injuries and hypothermia.

PNoy: PHL not shifting to a more militaristic position on sea row with China

From GMA News (Jul 17): PNoy: PHL not shifting to a more militaristic position on sea row with China

President Benigno Aquino III on Thursday said efforts to modernize the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) are not meant to increase regional tensions amid the country's territorial row with China.
Speaking before military officials at the Asian Defense, Security and Crisis Management Conference in Pasay City, Aquino said military modernization is more for "internal defense."
"Lest anyone accuse us of shifting to a more militaristic position, I must emphasize, our efforts to seek to modernize the capabilities of our security sector is to address the needs in human disaster response arenas and our internal defense," Aquino said in his speech.
"None of our actions are not meant to increase tensions in the region but to address our domestic problems and issues," he added.

7 soldiers hurt in NPA attacks in Compostela

From the Philippine Star posted to ABS-CBN (Jul 17): 7 soldiers hurt in NPA attacks in Compostela

At least seven soldiers were wounded in simultaneous attacks by the New People's Army (NPA) in Laak town in Compostela Valley Tuesday night.

NPA guerrillas fired at a group of the Army’s 46th Infantry Battalion in Barangay Inakayan, and detonated a landmine in Barangay Ampawid while men of the 25th Infantry Battalion were on their way to their camp in the Laak town proper.

The Army’s 10th Infantry Battalion identified the wounded soldiers as Pfcs. Flores Rotela and Alvin Consigna of the 46th IB; and 1Lt. Benjie Jimenez, Cpl. Joveny Tablason, and Pfcs. Julius Palma, Volter Cabrestante and Rey Asoy of the 25th IB.

The soldiers were treated at the Laak Hospital, except for Jimenez who was transferred to Tagum Doctors Hospital because of a facial wound.

The insurgents also detonated a landmine in Barangay La Filipina while men of the 46th IB were transporting construction materials, but no soldiers were wounded.

Meanwhile, authorities said the death toll in the NPA attack on a mining community in San Francisco, Agusan del Sur Tuesday has reached 19 – 13 rebels, four Manobos, a soldier and a witness in last year’s killing of a tribal elder.

Pirates attack Malaysian tanker in South China Sea

Posted to the Manila Times (Jul 16): Pirates attack Malaysian tanker in South China Sea

KUALA LUMPUR: Pirates have attacked a Malaysian tanker and stolen the gas oil cargo before releasing it in the latest attack in Southeast Asian waters, officials said on Wednesday.

The MT Oriental Glory was hijacked late Tuesday in the South China Sea off southeast Malaysia, the navy said in a statement.

Pirates stole its gas oil cargo before setting it adrift with damaged communication equipment and engine, the statement said.

Noel Choong, head of the International Maritime Bureau’s Kuala Lumpur-based Piracy Reporting Center, warned of the increasing number of incidents in the area.

The ship, whose crew was unhurt, was traveling from Singapore to Sandakan in the Malaysian part of Borneo island.

“This is the ninth attack in these waters recently… It’s a big concern,” he told Agence France-Presse, urging ships to be vigilant so that pirates could not surprise them.

Earlier this month pirates hijacked a Singapore-managed tanker in the South China Sea, stealing part of its cargo and damaging its communication equipment.

The spate of attacks has raised fears that Southeast Asia’s vital shipping lanes could once again become a hotspot for piracy unless countries in the area quickly step up patrols.

Regional cooperation to crack down on the menace has successfully curbed such attacks in the past.

Japan defense paper to rap China’s ADIZ for escalating tensions

Posted to the Manila Times (Jul 16): Japan defense paper to rap China’s ADIZ for escalating tensions

China’s demarcation of an air defense identification zone over the East China Sea is escalating the situation and could trigger an unwanted clash, a draft overview of Japan’s upcoming white paper on defense showed Wednesday, taking aim at Beijing for its “unilateral” attempts to change the status quo.

The white paper, which is expected to be approved by the Cabinet in early August, will also state China has “unjustifiably infringed on the principle of freedom of flight in airspace above high seas,” as foreign aircraft entering the ADIZ are forced to follow Beijing’s rules and identify themselves, according to the outline.

In May and June, Japanese Self-Defense Forces aircraft and Chinese fighter jets flew unusually close where the two countries’ ADIZs overlap, raising fears of a military clash.

AFP denies backing tribe head’s ‘private army’

From the Sun Star-Cagayan de Oro (Jul 16): AFP denies backing tribe head’s ‘private army’

THE Philippine Army has denied claims of the New People’s Army (NPA) that the military is behind the “private army” that the NPA encountered last Tuesday inside the compound of Datu Calpito Egua.

Major Christian Uy, public information officer of the Philippine Army's 4th Infantry Division (4ID), in a phone interview with Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro Wednesday afternoon, said the NPA's accusation “is something to justify their criminal act.”

Disband private army

In an e-mailed statement released by the NPA on Wednesday, it said the purpose of the series of attacks in Agusan del Norte and Agusan del Sur on Tuesday morning is to disband the private army formed by Egua in barangays Santa Irene, La Purisima, both in Prosperidad and Bitan-agan in San Francisco, Agusan del Sur.

Maria Malaya, National Democratic Front of the Philippines-Northeastern Mindanao (NDFP-NEMR) spokesperson, said that Egua's private army “is made up through the help of the Philippine National Police (PNP), the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Citizen Armed Force Geographical Unit (Cafgu).”

"We attacked the troops of Egua which is backed up by the PNP-AFP-Cafgu to put an end to the unruly and inhumane acts they committed to the people because they serve their own interest," Malaya stated.

Malaya also called the military's commitment to eradicate private armies “insincere and superficial.”

“This is the reason why Egua has accumulated more forces that have up to 60 members of his private army to strengthen their control in mining and logging areas in Agusan del Sur and Surigao del Sur and generate more money for themselves,” she added.

The Maoist rebel group first attacked the house of Datu Egua around 5:30 a.m. at his compound in Barangay Santa Irene that left 14 NPA insurgents and 2 lumads dead. The second attack occurred at Sitio Inawagan in Barangay La Purisima, while the third attack happened in Barangay Bitan-agan. Both attacks did not record casualty.

However, while the NPA rebels blocked the national highway in Barangay Hamogaway in Bayugan City in Agusan Sur for possible military reinforcement, resulting to one casualty from the rebel group.

The primary goal of the NPA is to abolish the armed instruments since they are used to serve the interest of the businessmen and foreign capitalists, the NPA said.

“The attack against him was for the justice he owed to the people,” Malaya said.

However, Uy considered this statement of the group as “covering up their criminal acts.”

“The real score is they extort, they oppress, and they recruit people in the community. They want to occupy the ancestral domain of Datu Egua,” Uy said of the NPA attack.

MILF: Editorial -- Checks and Balance

Posted to the MILF Website (Jul 16): Editorial -- Checks and Balance

Checks and balance is a principle whereby separate branches of government are empowered to prevent actions by other branches and are induced to share power.
The Greek historian Polybius analyzed the ancient Roman mixed constitution under three main divisions: monarchy (represented by the consul); aristocracy (the Senate); and democracy (the people). He greatly influenced later ideas about the separation of powers. Today, the principle is applied primarily in constitutional governments. They are of fundamental importance in tripartite governments, such as that of the United States, which separate powers among legislative, executive, and judicial branches.

There is no perfect form or system of government. Even the so-called democracy, there is no one set of model. Even the Communists called their system democracy. This is the reason why Islam did not prescribe any particular model. It merely set the principle or mode of choosing leaders in whatever way best suits the needs and customs of our current situation. Generally described, however, wise or eminent persons, a sort of collegial body, choose the prospective head of state, then call him for the offer, and upon acceptance, the people are gathered for their acceptance. An oath of allegiance by the people ensues.

In modern context, this principle of checks and balance is proved to be effective in many ways in curbing human tendency to abuse power and covet the resources of the state. However, if this principle is applied to extreme, it will result in the paralysis of the state. And more seriously, when this crisis prolongs it invites, usually the military, to seize power. We see this in Egypt, in Thailand, in Myanmar, and scores of countries especially in Africa. Over the Supreme Court (SC) ruling against the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP), we are feeling the heat of the flip side of the system in our midst today.

Of course, the MILF will not take a position in this controversy, except to make an appeal to all parties to resolve the conflict in favor of the higher cause of the country. The longer the controversy stays the larger chances of complications to ensue.

We also appeal to all and sundry not to put more fuel to what is already burning. A divided nation will not fare well especially in the face of external enemy knocking at our door. Come to think of it!

Army recovers 13 rebel guns

From the Visayan Daily Star (Jul 16): Army recovers 13 rebel guns

Five assorted guns were surrendered to the 11th Infantry Battalion by three self-confessed New People’s Army militiamen in Binalbagan, Negros Occidental, Army spokesman Maj. Ray Tiongson yesterday said.

This brought 13 the number of firearms recovered by the 11IB from members of the New People’s Army in Brgys. Amontay and Santol, all in Binalbagan, within one week, Tiongson added.
He also said the five firearms - an M2 carbine, two .38 caliber revolvers, a 357 magnum revolver and 12-gauge homemade shotgun - were surrendered to the 11IB by alias Johnny, alias Timtim and alias Greg, all residents of Brgy. Amontay, Binalbagan.
Meanwhile, the seven persons, including a minor, who were endorsed by the 11IB to the police, after they were found at the encounter site in Brgy. Santol, Binalbagan, were released yesterday, after verification of their identities.
Senior Inspector Albert Sy, Binalbagan police chief, said six of them turned out to be members of the Barangay Defense System, as confirmed by Santol barangay chairman Eugene Ogatis. The minor and two others were released ahead of them.
Sy said the nine persons, who were harvesting their corn crops, were at the vicinity of encounter site, while Army soldiers were pursuing the fleeing rebels.
The eight firearms recovered by the Philippine Army during the encounter in Brgy. Santol, Binalbagan, were brought to the PNP Crime Laboratory for examination.
Sy said the body of the slain rebel identified as Jerry Dojello, alleged by the military to be a member of the Sandatahang Platoon Pampropaganda (SPP1) of the Central Negros Front, was claimed yesterday by his family members.
In the first six months of 2014, military records show that 20 NPA rebels in Negros Island had abandoned the armed struggle, and surrendered their guns to the Philippine Army.
Maj. Gen. Aurelio Baladad,3ID commander, in a statement he issued, lauded the cooperation extended by the Binalbagan residents, who relayed information about the presence of rebels in their community. He also commended the professionalism, observance to human rights and rule of law by the 11IB soldiers in his statement.

NPA rebel dies, policeman wounded in Zamboanga del Norte clash

From the Philippine News Agency (Jul 16): NPA rebel dies, policeman wounded in Zamboanga del Norte clash

A New People’s Army (NPA) rebel was killed while a policeman was wounded in a clash in the Municipality of Sergio Osmeña in the nearby province of Zamboanga del Norte, military and police officials said Wednesday.

Army’s First Infantry Division Public Affairs officer-in-charge Capt. Franco Suelto said the clash broke out around 9 a.m. Tuesday when policemen from the Provincial Public Safety Battalion (PPSB) spotted a group of NPA rebels while conducting security patrol in Barangay San Francisco, Sergio Osmeña.

Zamboanga del Norte police director Senior Supt. James Mejia disclosed that one policeman named Police Officer 1 (PO1) Edward Panoril was wounded in the clash.

The NPA rebels fled as soldiers and policemen stationed near Barangay San Francisco reinforced the PPSB policemen.

Sergio Osmeña Municipal Health Office paramedics accompanied by policemen and soldiers retrieved Panoril from the clash site and brought him to the hospital.

Mejia said blocking forces policemen were deployed in the nearby barangays of Macalibre and Princesa Lamaya in a bid to prevent the escape of the NPA rebels.

Soldiers from the Army’s 32nd Infantry Battalion were also positioned as blocking forces in Barangay Kauswagan to block the retreating NPA rebels.

Policemen were also positioned as blocking force and to conduct clearing operations in Barangay Maligaya in the nearby Municipality of Polanco following the reported evacuation of residents in the area as an offshoot of the clash.

Suelto said the troops have recovered the remains of a slain NPA rebel around 5:30 p.m. while conducting clearing operations in Barangay San Francisco, Sergio Osmeña.

Suelto said the troops also recovered an improvised explosive device, a grenade, ammunition for AK-47 assault rifle and subversive documents of high intelligence value.

He said the clash triggered evacuation of civilians to the Sergio Osmeña municipal covered court. The Municipal Social Welfare and Development Office provide them relief assistance.

Catapang is a good choice as next AFP chief --Zagala

From the Philippine News Agency (Jul 16): Catapang is a good choice as next AFP chief --Zagala
Armed Forces of the Philippines public affairs office chief Lt. Col. Ramon Zagala said on Wednesday the appointment of Lt. Gen. Gregorio Pio P. Catapang as the next AFP chief-of-staff is a good choice.

"General Catapang is a professional officer, he has served in all levels of command within the Philippine Army and within the AFP, we are confident that being the 45th chief-of-staff of the AFP, he will bring the AFP to greater heights, most especially with his vast experience, leadership skills that he has acquired through his career," he added.

Zagala said that Catapang's appointment order was only signed Tuesday and that an acting vice-chief-staff will be appointed to replace the latter once he assumed the AFP chief-of-staff post on Friday.

"We will be putting an acting vice-chief-of-staff," he said.

Catapang will be replacing outgoing AFP chief-of-staff Gen. Emmanuel Bautista who is scheduled to retire on Friday.

The latter will be leaving behind as his accomplishments the implementation of the Internal Peace and Security Program "Bayanihan" and the AFP Transformation Roadmap and Modernization.

"We are confident that the groundwork has been set for the next chief-of-staff and the succeeding chief-of-staff to be able to continue the reforms initiated by General Bautista," Zagala said.

Maoists Trained by Communist Party of the Philippines: Govt

From Outlook (Jul 15): Maoists Trained by Communist Party of the Philippines: Govt

New Delhi -- A new dimension to the country's Left Wing Extremism emerged today with government telling parliament that some cadres of banned CPI Maoists received training from the Communist Party of Philippines.

Replying to a question about foreign funding to Naxal groups in India, Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju said there was no specific intelligence input to indicate that Maoists or Naxalites were getting external or foreign assistance.

"However, the CPI (Maoists) party have close links with foreign Maoist organisations in the Philippines and Turkey. The outfit is also a member of the Coordination Committee of Maoist Parties and organisations of South Aisa..."

"...The so-called People's war being waged by CPI (Maoists) against the Indian state has also drawn support from several fringe Maoist organisations located in Germany, France, Holland, Turkey and Italy", the reply said.

He said the recovery of arms and ammunition of foreign origin from Left Wing Extremists in different encounters is an indication of the fact that they are procuring weapons from different sources.

"Moreover, CPI (Maoists) clandestinely getting foreign funds cannot be ruled out. Inputs also indicate that some senior cadres of the Communist Party of the Philippines imparted training to cadres of CPI (Maoists) in 2005 and 2011," he said in the reply.

The Minister also informed the House that the situation is being closely monitored and if the situation demands, the help of the Ministry of External Affairs is taken for raising the matter with the concerned foreign country.

He said the government believes a combination of calibrated police action, focused developmental efforts and improvement in governance are effective instrumentalities to combat Naxalism in the long run.

As many as 121 civilians and 61 security personnel have been killed this year in Naxal violence whereas 38 Maoists were killed and 712 arrested.

7 soldiers wounded in NPA attacks Davao region

From the Philippine Daily Inquirer (Jul 15): 7 soldiers wounded in NPA attacks Davao region

TAGUM CITY, Philippines – Communist rebels attacked government troops in Southern Mindanao on Monday, wounding at least seven soldiers, police and military officials said Tuesday.

Using improvised bombs and firearms, New People’s Army guerrillas attacked troops of the Army’s 46th and 25th Infantry Battalions in Laak town, Compostela Valley, past 7 p.m. Monday, according to Senior Superintendent Abraham Rojas, Compostela Valley police chief.

Rojas said two soldiers from the 46th IB were wounded when they were waylaid by suspected NPA insurgents in Mabuhay village, while a unit of the 25th IB was hit by an improvised bomb in Ampawid village that wounded five soldiers.

The wounded were brought to Compostela Valley provincial hospital in Laak for treatment, but one of them was later transferred to Davao Regional Hospital in this city.

Early in the day, a makeshift roadside bomb went off in Barangay (village) La Filipina in Tagum City as a truck of the 46th IB transporting construction materials and soldiers passed by, spraying shrapnel that damaged the vehicle’s windshield, said Capt. Ernest Carolina, public information officer of the army’s 10th Infantry Division.

No one was hurt in the Tagum explosion, Carolina said.

“All police stations of the 11 municipalities and police detachments were alerted for diversionary (attacks) of the perpetrators,” Rojas said of the Laak incidents.

China ends drilling operations in disputed sea

Posted to the Philippine Daily Inquirer (Jul 16): China ends drilling operations in disputed sea

Haiyang Shiyou oil rig 981, the first deep-water drilling rig developed in China, is pictured in May 2012 at 320 kilometers (200 miles) southeast of Hong Kong in the South China Sea. AP FILE PHOTO

HANOI, Vietnam—China on Wednesday moved an oil rig that it had deployed in a section of the South China Sea, triggering a dispute with Vietnam.

Beijing deployed the massive rig in early May close to the Paracel Islands, triggering a furious reaction in Hanoi and the most serious uptick in tensions in the waters in years.

Hanoi demanded Beijing withdraw the rig, and sent ships to the region to try and disrupt the operations. The Chinese move triggered protests in Vietnam and deadly anti-Chinese riots.

Beijing insisted it had done nothing wrong because the waters belonged to it.

The official Xinhua News Agency said Wednesday that the China National Petroleum Corp on Tuesday announced the end of the operation, citing the beginning of the typhoon season.

It said the rig would be relocated to operations close to China’s Hainan Island.

Ha Le, deputy director of Vietnam’s fisheries resources surveillance department, said China began removing the rig and escorting vessels Tuesday night, and by 8 am Wednesday it was 40 nautical miles northwest of its original location and continuing to move toward Hainan island.

“We don’t know what will China do next following the removal of the Haiyang Shiyou oil rig 981,” Le said “We will monitor the situation in the East Sea closely and be ready with other law enforcement agencies to defend our sovereignty,” referring to the South China Sea.

Le said 30 vessels from Vietnam’s coast guard and fisheries patrol forces that were sent to try to force the Chinese oil rig away will return to port to avoid the incoming Rammasun typhoon (Philippine name: Glenda).

The Xinhua report said the company found oil and gas during the operation, but was assessing the data gathered before deciding its next move.

It has always been unclear whether the Beijing deployed the rig for genuine commercial reasons or as part of strategy of staking out its territorial claims in the region. When it announced the deployment, Beijing said it would withdraw it on August 15.

The deployment of the rig was seen as a highly provocative move by China, which it claims nearly all of the South China Sea, bringing it into conflict with Vietnam, the Philippines and other nations.

Beijing’s growing economic and military might is unnerving many countries in the region, as well as the United States, which is seeking closer ties with Southeast Asia to try to contain China.

The United States criticized the rig placement “as part of a broader pattern of Chinese behavior to advance its claims over disputed territory in a manner that undermines peace and stability in the region.”

Catapang is new AFP chief of staff

From Rappler (Jul 16): Catapang is new AFP chief of staff

Lt Gen Gregorio Pio Catapang Jr will formally assume command on Friday, July 18

NEW AFP BOSS. Lt Gen Gregorio Pio Catapang

NEW AFP BOSS. Lt Gen Gregorio Pio Catapang
Lt Gen Gregorio Pio Catapang Jr is the new Armed Forces chief of staff, Rappler learned on Wednesday, July 16.
Catapang, currently the AFP vice chief of staff, will be replacing Armed Forces chief of staff General Emmanuel Bautista, who is retiring on July 20. (Editor's note: We earlier reported he's deputy chief of staff. We regret the error.)

The turnover of command will be on Friday, July 18.

Rappler learned from two senior officers that Catapang was told about his promotion only today, Wednesday.

A former commanding general of the Northern Luzon Command, Catapang is a 1981 graduate of the Philippine Military Academy and classmate of Bautista. Catapang has barely a year in office as the AFP chief since he is scheduled to retire in July 2015.

He belonged to the Reform the Armed Forces Movement that plotted the revolt against Marcos. He was part of the EDSA rebel force that secured the Radio Veritas station in Quezon City, that was used by the mutinous units to broadcast their anti-Marcos propaganda. The 1986 revolt catapulted Corazon Aquino, mother of incumbent President Benigno Aquino III, to the presidency.

Catapang bested two other contenders to the post of AFP chief: Army chief Lt Gen Hernando Iriberri, former military aide of Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin, and Air Force chief Lt Jeffrey Delgado, former aide de camp of the late President Corazon Aquino.

Year 2014 marked a shake-up in the military's top brass given the retirement of its key commanders. Three more generals holding crucial command posts are retiring this year:

August 17 — Western Command chief Lieutenant General Roy Deveraturda

September 6 — Eastern Mindanao Command chief Lieutenant General Rainer Cruz

September 8 — Southern Luzon Command chief Lieutenant General Caesar Ordoyo

Catapang will be the 5th AFP chief of staff under the Aquino administration.

Catapang appointed as next AFP chief

From InterAksyon (Jul 16): Catapang appointed as next AFP chief

Lt. Gen. Gregorio Pio Catapang, as seen in Feb. 2014 file photo. BERNARD TESTA, INTERAKSYON.COM

Lt. Gen. Gregorio Pio P. Catapang was appointed Wednesday to replace outgoing Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief-of-staff Lt. Gen. Emmanuel T. Bautista who is scheduled to retire on July 18.

Prior to his appointment as AFP chief, Catapang served as the vice-chief-of-staff, a position he held since May.

He was the former head the Northern Luzon Command and7th Infantry Division.

He is a member of Philippine Military Academy (PMA) ‘Dimalupig’ Class 1981.

A testimonial parade and review will be held on Friday at the general headquarters parade ground in Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City to honor Bautista, followed by a change-of-command ceremony to be led by AFP commander-in-chief and President Benigno S. Aquino III.