Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Army waiting for more vehicles, artillery pieces

From the Business Mirror (Mar 24): Army waiting for more vehicles, artillery pieces

THE Army expects to receive additional fire-support vehicles and artillery pieces this year, as it boosts its capabilities under the ongoing modernization program of the Armed Forces.

This was revealed by Lt. Gen. Eduardo Año, Army commander, during the service’s 119th anniversary celebration at Fort Andres Bonifacio, Makati City, which was attended by top defense and military officials.

“We are also expecting the arrival this year of additional infantry fighting and fire-support vehicles, 155-millimeter howitzers, light- utility vehicles, 60-mm mortars, 40-mm grenade launchers, rocket launcher light units and 50-watt armored vehicle-configuration radios,” Año said.

He said the equipment should allow the Army to respond to challenges against national security, including those coming from the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters, Abu Sayyaf and other threat groups.

Año said that last year, the Army received its delivery of 56,843 pieces of M-4 carbines, 124 armored vehicles, including six armored vehicles with remote-controlled weapon systems and more than 300 light-utility vehicles.

The armored vehicles included those that have been delivered by Elbit Systems of Israel and the US, which turned over refurbished APCs under its Excess Defense Article program.

“These deliveries will beef up our ground forces in conventional or unconventional fighting,” Año said.

Likewise, the Army chief said the service has received more than 2,000 radio transceivers and other communication equipment for effective command and control system.

Meanwhile, a senior officer partly blamed for the slaughter of 44 Special Action Force members during an antiterrorism operation in Mamasapano, Maguindanao, last year, led this year the Army’s awardees.

Maj. Gen. Edmundo Pangilinan, commander of the Sixth Infantry Kampilan Division, was recognized for his “role in promoting peace, reconciliation and development in Central Mindanao.”

The Army said Pangilinan “received the Gawad sa Kapayapaan award for his significant contributions to internal peace and security and for supporting the government’s peace initiatives in Central Mindanao.” Rene Acosta.

Pangilinan was the commander who failed or had refused to send military assets, including helicopters to the police commandos when they were pinned down by combined BIFF and Moro Islamic Liberation Front Fighters during the operations against regional terrorist and bomber Zulkifli bin Hir alias Marwan.

During an investigation that was conducted by the Senate, senators and police officials claimed that had Pangilinan said the much needed support, the lives of most of the commandos could have been saved.

Twenty three other Army personnel and civilians were also recognized during the anniversary celebration, including Col. Juvymax Uy, who was conferred with the Philippine Legion of Honor (Degree of Legionnaire) for his services as Group Commander of the Army’s Intelligence and Security Group, and Lt. Col. Francisco Millare, commander of the 77th Infantry Battalion, who was given the Outstanding Achievement Medal.

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