Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Soldiers seize 3 high-powered rebel weapons, 2 IEDs, assorted war materiel in Davao Oriental clash

From the Philippine News Agency (May 27): Soldiers seize 3 high-powered rebel weapons, 2 IEDs, assorted war materiel in Davao Oriental clash

Troopers from the Eastern Mindanao Command captured three high-powered rebel firearms, two improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and 13 backpacks after a 20-minute firefight with New People's Army (NPA) bandits on Tuesday morning at Sitio Mahu, Barangay Aragon, Cateel, Davao Oriental.

In the same encounter, four soldiers from the 67th Infantry Battalion, a field unit of the Eastern Mindanao Command, were wounded along with an undetermined number of rebels.

The clash took place at 10 a.m. Tuesday, Eastern Mindanao Command spokesperson Lt. Col. Eduardo Gubat said.

Captured were an M-16 automatic rifle, an M-14 carbine and an M-653 rifle.

Gubat said the rebels retreated after the 20-minute firefight.

Pursuit operations are still ongoing as of this posting.

The encounter stemmed from extortion and harassment reports filed by barangay residents against a group of 30 NPA bandits.

As of May 27, there were 69 high-powered firearms and 16 low-powered firearms recovered by Eastern Mindanao Command units as a result of encounters with the NPA bandits in CARAGA and Davao regions, parts of North Cotabato and Sarangani province since Jan. 1, 2015.

President Aquino swears into office 50 new military officers

From the Philippine News Agency (May 27): President Aquino swears into office 50 new military officers

President Benigno S. Aquino III inducted into office 50 new generals and flag officers of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) in MalacaƱang Palace’s Rizal Hall on Wednesday.

Also present during the oath-taking ceremony at 10 a.m. were AFP Chief General Gregorio Catapang, Presidential Adviser on Military Affairs Secretary Danilo Cortez, and Defense Undersecretary Honorio Azcueta.

The new officers were led by Western Luzon Command Commander Vice Admiral Alexander Lopez, who was designated Balikatan director this year; Central Luzon Command Commander Lt. General Nicanor Vivar; and Eastern Mindanao Commander Lt. Gen. Aurelio Baladad.

Also inducted were Lt. Gen. Oscar Lopez, Maj. Gen. Edwin Manuel Remotigue, Maj. Gen. Ivan Samarita, Maj. Gen. Rafael Valencia, Rear Adm. Ronald Joseph Mercado, Maj. Gen. Raul del Rosario, Maj. Gen. Isagani Silva, Rear Adm. Primitivo Gopo, Maj. Gen. Demosthenes Santillan, Maj. Gen. Richard Lagrana, Maj. Gen. Romeo Gan, Maj. Gen. Ruben Carandang, Rear Adm. Allan Rosal, Brig. Gen. Leandro Loyao, Brig. Gen. Edgar de Vera, Brig. Gen. Godfrey Julio, Brig. Gen. Apolinario Alobba, Brig. Gen. Joselito Reyes, Brig. Gen. Buenaventura Pascual, Brig. Gen. Jose Mirandilla, Jr., Commodore Edwin Mackay, Brig. Gen. Rozzano Briguez, Brig. Gen. Paolo Leo Miciano, and Brig. Gen. Guillermo Molina, Jr.

President Aquino, also the AFP commander-in-chief, likewise swore in Brig. Gen. Ricardo Castilan, Commodore Narciso Vingson, Brig. Gen. Ernesto Milo, Brig. Gen. Jonathan Ponce, Commodore Vicente Cejoco, Brig. Gen. Ignacio Obligacion, Brig. Gen. Al Perreras, Brig. Gen. Glenn Macasero, Brig. Gen. Arturo Jose Orticio Jr., Brig. Gen. Michael Beverlyn Manquiquis, Brig. Gen. Gregory Cayetano, Commodore Ingemar Pernes, Brig. Gen. Herminigildo Aquino, Brig. Gen. Ferdinand Quidilla, Brig. Gen. Marcial Constante Jr., Brig. Gen. Paul Atal, Brig. Gen. Jon Aying, Brig. Gen. Aaron Fetalvero, Brig. Gen. Benjamin Madrigal, Brig. Gen Tirso Dolina, Brig. Gen. Noelito Albano, Brig. Gen Arnold Rafael Depakakibo, and Brig. Gen. Elvin Hermogino.

Plans now afoot to develop submarine capability

From the Philippine News Agency (May 27): Plans now afoot to develop submarine capability

In line with its efforts to develop its external defense capabilities, Philippine Navy (PN) flag-officer-in-command Vice Admiral Jesus Millan said that plans are now afoot to develop a submarine arm.

However, he said that developing this capability will take time as a submarine capability requires a long gestation period in order to develop support facilities and the people and technology of operating such a force.

"(Development of a submarine capability) cannot happen overnight. It will take us some time," Millan stressed.

What is being done now is learning the concept and challenges of submarine operations.

"That’s why we in the Navy have taken the initial step to establish a unit which still start learning about this discipline and eventually prepare our personnel who will be involved in the creation of such capability," the PN chief said.

Submarine warfare consists primarily of diesel and nuclear submarines using torpedoes, missiles or nuclear weapons, as well as advanced sensing equipment, to attack other submarines, ships, or land targets.

Submarines may also be used for reconnaissance and landing of special forces as well as deterrence. In some navies they may be used for task force screening.

Military studies revealed that the Philippines need between three to six diesel electric submarines to fully secure its maritime domain.

Palace: 'We have always stood by our own on West Philippine Sea,' dispute

From the Philippine News Agency (May 27): Palace: 'We have always stood by our own on West Philippine Sea,' dispute
Malacanang on Wednesday said the Philippines always stands by its own with regard to the country’s position in the West Philippine Sea.

”We have always stood by our own,” deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said in a press briefing in Malacanang.

However, Valte clarified that the country would welcome support of other countries to the Philippines’ position in the disputed territories.

”It is, of course, welcome on our part that other responsible members of the international community have voiced their strong support for our position,” Valte said.

Valte reacted to the statement of Brad Glosserman, the executive director of the Pacific Forum for Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), who said the Philippines should not rely in the United States for help against China.

The official of the think-tank that released aerial photos of Mischief Reef in disputed Spratlys was quoted as saying: “If you’re relying on America for help, you have a problem.”

”Well, obviously, that is the person’s opinion. However, as you can see in crafting our position when it comes to the dispute in the West Philippine Sea, the country, the administration does take into consideration several factors before we had arrived at a decision to file the memorial before the Arbitral Tribunal,” Valte said.

”So it’s not really that we depend solely on one person or one country, but it’s a consideration of what we have, what is available to us, especially with regard to legal remedies,” she added.

Valte said the support of the US and other countries in the Philippines’ decision to elevate its position to the United Nations is vital.

”Not just the US in particular, but we’ve discussed this many times before that other responsible members of the international community have affirmed the Philippines’ position in terms of our approach to resolving the dispute and to us that’s very important—that you gain global support in terms of our initiatives and how we have chosen to resolve the disputes,” the Palace official said.

In March last year, the Philippines filed a memorial to defense its case against China’s sweeping territorial claims in West Philippine Sea at the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS).

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) has recently shown in a Senate hearing aerial photos showing massive and rapid reclamation by China in the disputed territory.

Patrol ranges of Jacinto, Gregorio Del Pilar ships boosted by AF-81

From the Philippine News Agency (May 28): Patrol ranges of Jacinto, Gregorio Del Pilar ships boosted by AF-81

With the commissioning of BRP Lake Caliraya (AF-81), the Navy's first oil tanker, patrol ranges of the three Jacinto class patrol vessels have been extended by another 2,500 nautical miles while the two Gregorio Del Pilar frigates have boosted theirs by another 14,000 nautical miles.

This was disclosed by Philippine Navy (PN) flag-officer-in-command Vice Admiral Jesus Millan in a message to the PNA.

The Jacinto class patrol vessels have a maximum unrefueled range of 2,500 nautical miles while the Gregorio Del Pilar frigates have a maximum unrefueled range of 14,000 nautical miles.

Millan added that having AF-81 in their inventory greatly boosted the patrol and endurance capabilities of their ships.

"As long as she (AF-81) has sufficient fuel stocks aboard, she can refuel any of our floating assets 24/7 to ensure their continuous patrol and maximize the presence of our floating assets," he added.

The BRP Lake Caliraya was commissioned at Naval Station Pascual Ledesma, Fort San Felipe, Cavite City last May 23.

She was the former M/T Lapu-Lapu of the PNOC Shipping and Transport Corporation that was donated to the PN last March 26, 2014.

The BRP Lake Caliraya is a single product replenishment platform that has a depot-to-ship, ship-to-depot, and a ship-to-ship refueling capabilities.

AF-81 was one of the three largest vessel of PNOC Fleet. She was built in Zhejiang Zhongxing Shipyard in Taizhou Peoples Republic of China in November 2007.

The sailing crew commissioned by the PNOC brought the ship from Taizhou, China to Manila, Philippines in January 2008.

The ship was used by the PNOC in transporting mainly bunker fuel to the different ports in the Philippines.

On May 11, 2014, the ship was brought from its anchorage area in Bataan to Keppel Shipyard, Bauan, Batangas to undergo dry docking and other related repairs.

She was then brought to Naval Shipyard, NSPL, Cavite City to undergo structural, habitability, machinery, and piping repairs.

AF-81 was named after Lake Caliraya, a beautiful lake located in the province of Laguna. As the lake provides a source of livelihood sustenance for the people of Caliraya, AF-81 on the other hand, will support the sustainment of naval operations.

With her modern replenishment and refueling gear, she will be central to facilitating and sustaining the operations of our Fleet in the operational areas.

AF-81 is commanded by Lt. Cmdr. Mamerto A Goleta PN and manned by selected officers and men of the Sealift Amphibious Force.

Knee and back pain

Persistent knee and back pain makes it difficult for me to concentrate. Coverage of Philippine events will remain limited for a while.