Friday, July 24, 2015

VIDEO | Supporters form human shield around COURAGE's Tonet Setias-Dizon

From InterAksyon (Jul 25): VIDEO | Supporters form human shield around COURAGE's Tonet Setias-Dizon

COURAGE's Tonet Setias-Dizon explaining her situation to News5. Photographed by Bernard Testa, InterAksyon.

After what cause-oriented groups described as harassment tactics and an apparent stakeout by the state intelligence apparatus, leaders and sympathizers of the public sector labor union COURAGE have managed to move Antonieta Setias-Dizon out of the premises of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) building in Ortigas, Pasig City with throng of supporters joining a motor convoy of more than 10 vehicles.

"I still fear for my life," said Ms. Setias-Dizon, who is a member of the council of advisers and former secretary general of COURAGE.

Ferdinand Gaite, national president of the union Confederation for Unity, Recognition and Advancement of Government Employees (COURAGE) told their members and supporters who kept vigil outside IBP that they have had to move out of the premises and proceed to their national headquarters in Quezon City.

On Friday, Gaite expressed thanks to all the people who helped keep up their vigilance for the past 11 days.

After a brief program, the convoy of vans, cars and jeepneys made their way along EDSA and went straight to the Commission on Human Rights office to have a dialogue with new CHR chairman Chito Gascon.

Photo above shows Gascon assuring them that the commission will provide assistance and, even if it doesn't have injunctive rights to subpoena persons, CHR has good working relationship with other government agencies, including the military, on matters of human rights.

He also directed the CHR special protective unit, although small, to help Dizon with her safety concerns, especially pertaining to wherever she prefers to stay in the interest of her personal security and safety.

The convoy then went to the COURAGE office in Quezon City, where Ka Tonet, as she is fondly called by members and colleagues, gave a brief update of what happened during the past 11 days.

Dizon thanked IBP profusely for taking care of her, and her COURAGE supporters for all the support and display of vigilance.

Her sister Rosario Setias-Reyes is the national president of the IBP.

After 11 days, Ka Tonet told the gathering, "the fear is still there. The uncertainty ... the difficulty ... of not being with your family ... the feeling is the same. But, it's just that you have to muster up more strength. You have to keep up the fight, to be able to regain your confidence and your freedom of movement, because that is what they want, for me to stop fighting."

3 brigands killed in encounter with policemen in Pagadian City

From the Philippine News Agency (Jul 25): 3 brigands killed in encounter with policemen in Pagadian City

Three members of lawless group, reportedly headed by one Ukol Talumpa, were killed during an encounter with government security forces in Pagadian City Friday afternoon

The incident took place near Tulawas National High School at Purok 1, Barangay Tulawas, Pagadian City, said 1st Infantry Division public affairs office Lt. Col. Audie Mongao in a message to the PNA.

He added that operatives from the Pagadian City Police Station and Zamboanga Del Sur Provincial Police Office were responding to reports of armed men in the area when fired upon by 10 of the bandits at 5:43 p.m..

Police officers then retaliated, killing three and wounding four of the suspects, who managed to escape along with their other companions.

In the gunfight, a police officer identified as PO2 Manuel, was wounded in the chest.

Recovered from the encounter scene were three .45 caliber pistols and three motorcycles.

Mongao said troops from the 53rd Infantry Battalion are now helping the police in their pursuit operations.

Int'l legal experts to discuss China's Spratly reclamation

From the Philippine News Agency (Jul 25): Int'l legal experts to discuss China's Spratly reclamation
Local and international law experts plan to discuss the consequences and threats created from China's unprecedented reclamation works in the Spratlys archipelago at a conference to be held today (Saturday), the rector of HCM City University of Law has said.

Speaking at a press briefing in HCM City yesterday, Professor Mai Hong Quy, Rector of the University, said that China's expansion on seven reefs that belong to Vietnam violated international law and threatened peace as well as economic and trade security in the region.

At the one-day international conference on the construction of artificial islands in the East Sea and its impact on peace, security, and economic and trade development in the region, organized by the university and the Vietnam Lawyers Association, more than 20 legal experts will offer solutions to help defuse the tension in the region.

Vietnam, the Philippines and other countries in the region had strongly protested China's action, Quy said.

Last year, the university also held a conference in HCM City after China illegally put Haiyang Shiyou 981 drilling rig in Vietnam's exclusive economic zone, she added.

Besides experts from Russia, India, Indonesia, Japan and the Philippines, Professor Erik Franck, director of the Center for International Law at Belgium's Vrije Brussels University, will speak today at the conference. Franck is a member of the Permanent Court of Arbitration at the Hague.

"We sent invitations to Chinese experts to attend, but no one has registered to attend the conference," Quy said.

At the conference, experts will focus on issues related to the impact of China's reclamation on freedom of navigation and trade in the East Sea.

Gifted ships to Philippines refitted in Cairns for $4m

From the Cairns Post (Jul 24): Gifted ships to Philippines refitted in Cairns for $4m

TAKING CHARGE: Philippine navy personnel stand to attention at the handover of the two ex

TAKING CHARGE: Philippine navy personnel stand to attention at the handover of the two ex-navy landing craft heavy vessels.Pictures: JUSTIN BRIERTY

TWO former Australian navy warships based and refitted in Cairns at a cost of $4 million are on their way to the Philippines.
The two heavy landing craft (LCH), BRP Ivatan and BRP Batak, were gifted to the Philippines navy and handed over with pomp and ceremony at HMAS Cairns yesterday.

Norship Marine chief executive Olav Groot said the two vessels spent a month in their yard, receiving preservation and other refit work, for the journey to the Philippines and service in their waters.

Maintenance and service work was also done, he said.

Three other LCHs – HMAS Wewak, Betano and Balikpapan – remain in Cairns as the Philippines finalises its purchase with the Australian government, due to settle later this year.

The decommissioned HMAS Tarakan and Brunei were handed over to the Philippine naval chief Vice Admiral Jesus Millan and their commanding officers and crews before they sailed from HMAS Cairns yesterday afternoon.

Australian naval chief Vice Admiral Tim Barrett said the devastating super-typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines in November 2013 revealed the lack of suitable heavy lifting ships operated by the Asian country’s navy.

“This relief effort highlighted the importance of sea lift due to numerous airfields being inaccessible and land infrastructure impassable,” he said.

Vice Admiral Barrett said this led to a decision by Defence Minister Kevin Andrews to refit and give the LCHs to the Philippines navy.

“These craft will assist the Philippines’ defence modernisation program and improve the Philippine navy’s ability to respond to future natural disasters.”

Vice Admiral Barrett said they were “reliable workhorses that get the job done” with 40 years’ service in the Australian navy, proving invaluable after cyclone Tracy in Darwin in 1974, in the Solomon Islands in 1983 and after cyclone Yasi in the Far North in 2009.

Vice Admiral Millan said the two ships “will definitely boost our humanitarian assistance and response”.

Opinion: Beijing’s political propaganda stinks

Opinion piece in the "Hail to the chair" column by Victor Avilla posted to the Manila Standard Today (Jul 25): Opinion: Beijing’s political propaganda stinks
After seizing several reefs and creating numerous artificial islands in the West Philippine Sea, Communist China has the gall to proclaim to the world that it is the victim in the recent arbitration case Manila filed against Beijing before the United Nations Permanent Court of Arbitration at The Hague in the Netherlands.   That statement is typical communist rhetoric which Beijing’s political propaganda bureau regularly publishes and broadcasts in its state-controlled media, and which their brainwashed citizens have come to expect on a regular basis.

How can Beijing honestly claim that it is the victim when its operations in the once-open South China Sea have virtually converted the entire area into a Red Chinese lake?   Is Beijing suggesting that its big naval armada in the West Philippine Sea, composed of battleships, cruisers, destroyers and submarines, is no match for the few, aging frigates of the Philippine Navy?   If Beijing is really the victim, then why is it unwilling to present its case before the international arbitration court?

Truth to tell, Communist China simply assumed that it can muscle its way in the West Philippine Sea through its intimidating use of superior military and naval might against the manifestly weaker Philippine defense forces.   It did not expect Manila to take legal action on the matter and in the process invite world attention to Beijing’s bullying.

Communist China knows that the Philippines is ill-equipped to defend its maritime territory in the West Philippine Sea.   For this reason alone, Beijing built numerous artificial islands kilometers inside waters which, under the United Nations Conference on the Law of the Sea, constitute the Philippine exclusive economic zone.   In addition, Red Chinese ships drive away Filipino fishing vessels from Philippine waters.     

Tibet, which shares a border with Communist China, is a country of peaceful people with hardly an army to defend it.   The Red Chinese army invaded it and it remains occupied by Chinese troops today. 

Communist China officially considers Taiwan its renegade province, but Beijing is aware that Taiwan has a naval arsenal that can oppose Red Chinese reclamation operations.   For this reason alone, Beijing has not made reclamation operations near Taiwan.

Although Communist China has a border dispute with India, Beijing has learned from a past war with New Delhi that the Indians can fight back.   Beijing has stopped confronting the Indians.

A bully is one who picks a fight with an obviously weaker adversary, and avoids confronting anyone who can fight back.   From the examples cited above, Communist China satisfies the definition of a bully.   

For the past several years, the diplomatic posture of Communist China in the Philippines is all about deceit, duplicity, and equivocal statements. 

A perfect example of Beijing’s loathsome posture is “Window to China” – its paid newspaper advertisement published on a regular basis in another newspaper.   The advertisement consists of a whole page of self-serving propaganda, written in English and printed in color, complete with photographs of smiling officials of the communist government in Beijing.   Each publication of “Window to China” carries statements about Beijing’s alleged desire for peace in Asia, and Beijing’s purported wish to help other nations through vague “development projects.”   The entire material is punctuated with motherhood words and phrases like peace, progress, economic stability, regional development, regional understanding, international cooperation, and friendship between nations.

Like any typical communist propaganda, there are no negative stories in the paid advertisement.   There is no mention of Beijing’s invasion and illegal occupation of Tibet; the role of Communist China in shaping North Korea into the saber-rattling, troublemaker state it is today; the 30 million rural Chinese who died of hunger as a result of Mao Zedong’s compulsory collective farming experiment in the 1960s and the 1970s; its seizure of the Paracel Islands claimed by Vietnam; the Tiananmen Square massacre of pro-democracy civilians in the 1990s; the recent violent dispersal of pro-democracy assemblies in Hong Kong (despite Beijing’s promise of democratic reforms there); the lethal, hazardous, and substandard food and non-food products exported by Communist China to developing countries; and the Red Chinese warships currently stationed in the West Philippine Sea.   

To give a semblance of legitimacy to the advertisement, illustrations of ancient Chinese philosophers, some Chinese calligraphy, and some Chinese proverbs embellish the lower section of the advertisement.   The big irony is that at the height of Mao’s dictatorship, the communist government in Beijing denounced ancient Chinese culture as decadent, and an obstacle to the great leap forward falsely promised by Mao.

The despicable diplomatic posture of Communist China in the Philippines is also visible in the actuations of Beijing before Manila sought relief from the international arbitration court.   When Beijing was seizing islet after islet in the West Philippine Sea, Manila sought to resolve the problem through multi-lateral talks with other concerned countries in South East Asia.   In response, Beijing insisted on bilateral talks.   After Manila took up Beijing on the offer, the Red Chinese leadership imposed so many conditions which practically required Manila to acknowledge Beijing’s maritime claims, and which ultimately made any bilateral negotiation meaningless.   Meanwhile, Beijing continued with its incursions in the West Philippine Sea.

Beijing’s posture continued after Manila brought suit.   Its communist government refused to recognize the jurisdiction of the international tribunal on the Law of the Sea, despite the fact that Communist China is a signatory to the pertinent convention.   Beijing also falsely accused Manila of refusing to consider bilateral negotiations before seeking judicial relief. 

The only plausible explanation for the abominable diplomatic posture Communist China has displayed and continues to display in its dispute with Manila is that the communist government in Beijing is so accustomed to disseminating propaganda without comment or opposition from its own people.   This regimentation has been around for so long that Beijing’s communist masters believe that their formula for effective political propaganda which has worked on their people will also work on others.   Unfortunately for Beijing, its government forgot that in the Philippines, a free and critical press exists and functions.

AFP releases PH boxers for Bangkok tourney

From the Manila Standard Today (Jul 25): AFP releases PH boxers for Bangkok tourney

FOLLOWING pleas from Alliance of Boxing Associations of the Philippines president Ricky Vargas and executive director Ed Picson, the Armed Forces of the Philippines has released boxers for the national pool so they can begin training, even belatedly, for the Asian Championships, which opens in Bangkok, Thailand on Aug. 25.

The Bangkok gig serves as a qualifier for the World Championships in Doha, Qatar in October.

Picson informed The Standard/ that coach Gerson Nietes informed him, that their Air Force commander had asked the boxers and coaches to report to Villamor Air Base first, before leaving for the training camp in Baguio City last night.

Vargas thanked Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin and the AFP for their decision to release the fighters after they had been recalled to their various military units when their Detailed Service permits from the AFP lapsed on June 30, with an extension being sought by the Philippine Sports Commission only until days after the DS had lapsed, leaving the AFP no choice but  to recall the boxers and re-assign them to their mother units.

“We are grateful that Secretary Gazmin and our armed forces commanders realized the importance of proper training for combat in the boxing ring, just as they need to be properly trained to effectively defend our people and country’s honor in times of any confrontation. We at ABAP take our task of pursuing the quest for an Olympic gold medal in the 2016 Rio de Janiero Games with the same dedication and commitment that our military men pay to their assigned tasks. If we work together, we can surely fulfill our dreams,” Vargas said.

The agreement on the DS permits was entered into by PSC Chairman Garcia and the AFP, with the ABAP out of the picture.

However, the failure of the PSC to act on time forced ABAP president Ricky Vargas to appeal to Secretary Gazmin to allow the chosen boxers and their trainers to get back into training camp since time was running out.

Eight boxers, including the gold medalists in the recent Southeast Asian Games, where the Philippines won 5 gold, 3 silver and 2 bronze medals to emerge as boxing champions, as well as their coaches,  were reportedly released yesterday.

Among the boxers released were London Olympian Mark Anthony Barriga, Rey Saludar, Wilfredo Lopez, Eumir Felix Marcial, Dennis Galvan, Junel Cantancio. Mario Fernandez, Gerson Nietes, Joegin Ladon and Nico Magliquian, with coaches Pat Gaspi, Ronald Chavez, Harry Tanamor, Romeo Brin, Violito Payla and Elmer Pamisa.

Iriberri will get CA nod: Military

From Malaya (Jul 24): Iriberri will get CA nod: Military

PRESIDENT Aquino yesterday promoted Lt. Gen. Hernando Iriberri to the rank of general (four stars), 13 days after he succeeded now retired Gen. Gregorio Pio Catapang as Armed Forces chief.

Iriberri’s promotion is actually “ministerial” because he is holding a four-star position, said Lt. Col. Noel Detoyato, chief of the AFP’s public affairs office, referring to the top military post.

Detoyato said Iriberri, a member of the Philippine Military Academy Class of 1983, will wear his new rank today during rites to be presided by Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin in Camp Aguinaldo.

Detoyato said the military is confident Iriberri’s promotion will get the confirmation of the Commission on Appointments despite a graft case filed against the military chief by a contractor, Joavi Philippines, before the Office of the Ombudsman last May in connection with an ammunitions deal.

The graft case was lodged while Iriberri was still the Army chief.

Detoyato said Iriberri can answer the case “in the right forum.”

On allegations raised by leftist organizations about supposed human rights violations by Iriberri, Detoyato said: “Those are allegations. Allegations are allegations. They have to prove it,” he said.

Meanwhile, the military has two new J-staff or joint staff members in the persons of Brigadier Generals Guillermo Molina (PMA Class 1986) and Job Yucoco (Class 1984).

Molina, previous deputy commander of the AFP Western Command, assumed the post of AFP deputy chief for plans, replacing Maj. Gen. Raul del Rosario who was earlier named commander of the 1st Air Division in Clark Air Base in Pampanga.

Del Rosario replaced Maj. Gen. Julius Caesar Guillermo who is now commander of the 2nd Air Division in Mactan Air Base in Cebu that was vacated by now retired Maj. Gen. Eusquito Manalo.

Palparan to face more charges after gov’t finds probable cause for kidnapping Bulacan farmers

From the Business World (Jul 24): Palparan to face more charges after gov’t finds probable cause for kidnapping Bulacan farmers

RETIRED MILITARY general Jovito S. Palparan, Jr. will be facing more charges in court after the Ombudsman found probable cause for kidnapping and serious illegal detention charges involving two Bulacan farmers in 2006.

Eight other incumbent military officials have been also charged and were ordered dismissed from the service after the anti-graft unit uncovered links to the abduction of farmers Raymond and Reynaldo Manalo in San Ildefonso, Bulacan nearly a decade ago.

Based on investigations, state probers found that Mr. Palparan led the abduction of the two farmers after being suspected to be members of the rebel group New People’s Army on Feb. 14, 2006.

They were reportedly “detained and tortured” for more than a year until Aug. 13, 2007 when they escaped from the lair.

The retired army general, also known as “the Butcher”, was arrested in August 2014 after three years in hiding.

Mr. Palparan is currently in prison pending trial for the kidnapping of two University of the Philippines students Karen Empeño and Sherlyn Cadapan, who went missing in 2006.

The two were conducting field research on the plight of Bulacan farmers when Mr. Palparan abducted them.

The Manalo brothers are the key witnesses presented before the Malolos Regional Trial Court branch 14 to pin Mr. Palparan to the charges, as they reportedly saw Mr. Palparan and other military men torturing the two women, who were their co-abductees.

The eight other military officials tagged in the charges were T/Msgt. Rizal Hilario and Citizen Armed Force Geographical Unit (CAFGU) active auxiliaries Michael Dela Cruz, Marcelo Dela Cruz, Jose Dela Cruz, Maximo Dela Cruz, Randy Mendoza, Roman Dela Cruz, Rudy Mendoza, and K/Sgt. Donald Cagias.

Mr. Palparan is known for his vigorous anti-communist campaigns.

They were ordered dismissed after the Ombudsman found them guilty of grave misconduct. As a result, their work and retirement benefits were forfeited.

Additional investigations will also be rolled out by Ombudsman probers to see if any other uniformed personnel took part in the supposed kidnapping.

Albay’s Salceda installed as 33rd Air Force Group Reserve commander

From the Business Mirror (Jul 24): Albay’s Salceda installed as 33rd Air Force Group Reserve commander

The Armed Forces has installed Albay Gov. Joey S. Salceda as the regional commander of the 33rd Air Force Group Reserve (AFGR) with the rank of lieutenant colonel, during the recent National Reservist Week Regional Convention here.

Rear Adm. Aurelio A. Rabusa, Armed Forces deputy chief of staff for reservist and retiree affairs (J-9), presided over the installation rites held at the Albay Astrodome in Legazpi City, and witnessed by Brig. Gen. Raymundo Elefanfe, commander of the Air Force Reserve Corps, military officers, as well as other reservists and guests.

Salceda’s installation also coincided with the graduation of 350 military reserve recruits from across the Bicol region. Military reservists are vital force multipliers of government troops in times of war and natural disasters. The country presently has about 350,000 reservists on standby and ready to respond during times of emergency as augmentation forces.

Rabusa said Salceda’s expertise in disaster risk-reduction management and humanitarian missions are valuable in helping government efforts to perfect disaster response, enhance the reservists’ capabilities and further intensify their engagements in humanitarian missions.

Salceda, the first governor to head the reservist group in Bicol, is a United Nations senior global champion on disaster risk-reduction and climate-change adaptation, who pioneered the Zero Casualty and Preemptive Evacuation strategies that are now widely adopted principles in disaster response.

He is also an incumbent director of the UN Green Climate Fund, which he chaired in 2013 and 2014.

Team Albay, the multiawarded disaster response group he organized, had been to many humanitarian missions in calamity-stricken areas around the country in the past eight years, conducting search and rescue and health and sanitation undertakings, among others.

Salceda said many things can be accomplished in and by the reserve force organization, “particularly on matters involving natural disasters and calamities due to climate change, so I urge my fellow reservists to work together in addressing these issues.”

He said he has accepted the challenges of heading the Armed Forces reservist group in Bicol, believing in the dictum that “an oath of duty connotes personal commitment to public service.”
Addressing his fellow Bicol reservists, he said: “I believe that when we are joined together, we can do a lot more.

Remember, cooperation and teamwork, coupled with dedication and commitment, are the key to our unit’s success.”

MILF: Gov’t panel lauds House commitment to pass BBL; hopes for its passage by 3rd quarter of 2015

Posted to the MILF Website (Jul 24): Gov’t panel lauds House commitment to pass BBL; hopes for its passage by 3rd quarter of 2015

Gov’t panel lauds House commitment to pass BBL; hopes for its passage by 3rd quarter of 2015

Prof. Miriam Coronel-Ferrer, chair of the government peace panel in talks with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, today said that many people are anxiously waiting for the committee report of Senator Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. on the proposed Bangsamoro Law to be released.
"Until the Senate committee report is out, the law-making process in the Upper House stays at a standstill, she said. "We are grateful that the Lower House has moved ahead of the process at their level and intends to see it through."
House Majority Floor Leader Neptali Gonzales II said last Sunday that the House is targeting the passage of the Basic Law on third and final reading by the third week of September, alongside the committee hearings on the 2016 national budget which will begin soon after Congress reopens next week.

"After all the hearings and public statements, the only hard basis on which to discern the fate of the draft law is the Senate Committee report. How far from the current House bill would the Senate version go? Would the key structural features be retained? Are we back to square one?" Ferrer asked.

“Still, we continue to hope that we will get over the hump and look forward to more constructive engagements with our legislators in both Houses," Ferrer said. "

Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Teresita Quintos Deles for her part  affirmed that the government’s efforts to push for peace in Mindanao will continue even as the Aquino administration is already on its last year.

“The President remains unwavering in his commitment to bring an end to this internal armed conflict, these four decades of war,” Deles said, noting that the Bangsamoro peace process “has reached the closest that it has ever reached to ending this armed conflict.”

According to Deles, this is also the "closest that the peace process has ever reached to bringing a new arrangement, a new demographic institutional arrangement in Muslim Mindanao, to be able to come as close as possible to that aspiration of self-determination, of self-governance which is recognized by our Constitution.”

“Yan ang ating hinahangad na makamit in this remaining time (That is what we hope the achieve in this remaining time),” Deles added.

“Di pa tapos ang pagtutulak sa kapayapaan (Our efforts to find peace are not over),” Deles declared, adding that “there is so much to do in terms of rebuilding the region that has been so devastated by war. We know that the BBL will not resolve all the problems of violence in the area, but we also know that with the resolution of this problem with the largest, most organized group that has been fighting government, this is a good foundation.... a necessary foundation for being able to resolve all the other problems of violence in the area.”

MILF: MILF Chair, peace panel grace interreligious and intercultural meeting

Posted to the MILF Website (Jul 24): MILF Chair, peace panel grace interreligious and intercultural meeting

Photo courtesy by Hamsur Mama

Photo courtesy by Hamsur Mama

Chairman Al Haj Murad led the delegation of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) to grace the two-day Interreligious and intercultural Meeting of Cotabato held at the Notre Dame University in Cotabato City couple of days ago.
The historic Meeting was organized by the Archdiocese of Cotabato led by His Eminence Orlando Cardinal B. Quevedo, and Notre Dame University with the support of the Apostolic Nuncio of the Philippines, Community of Saint Egidio, Embassy of Switzerland in the Philippines.

Muhammad Ameen, Secretary of the MILF Central Committee, said that Chairman Murad led the MILF delegation because he puts high regards on the importance of the Meeting in the quest for lasting peace, prosperity and unity in Mindanao.
“It was the first ever interreligious and intercultural meeting grace by Chairman Murad in the past four decades,” Ameed added.
The theme of the Meeting is “The Courage of Peace: Religions and Culture in Dialogue on the future of Mindanao.”
 In attendance during the opening program included Chairman Murad, MILF Chief Negotiator Mohagher Iqbal, Cardinal Quevedo, Cotabato City Mayor Japal Jojo Guiani Jr, Shiek Abu Huraira Udasan, Grand Mufti of the MILF and the Bangsamoro, Secretary Teresita Ging Deles of the Office of the Presidnetial Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP), GPH Chief Negotiator Prof Miriam Colonel-Ferrer, Atty. Suharto Ambolodto, co-Covenor, Atty. Anwar Malang, Secretary of DILG – ARMM, Prof Moner Bajunaid, Secretary General of the National Ulama conference of the Philippines, GPH and MILF Ceasefire Committees, and His Excellency Swiss Abassador Iva Sieber, who also gave a message of support.

 The Notre Dame University (NDU) commended the MILF leadership for the overwhelming response and commitment to the call of peace.

 Mayor Guiani expressed the commitment of the City Government of Cotabato to support programs and initiatives that promotes peace, love and justice.

 In his keynote address, Cardinal Quevedo read first the letter of support for Archbishop Guiseppe Pinto. Apostolic Nuncio to the Philippines.

His Eminence elucidated on the social context for the Courage of Peace and on the vision for the Future in Mindanao that highlight the exercise of right to self determination of the Bangsamoro, particularly in its political and economic dimensions, unity and synergy in diversity that promotes religious and cultural dialogue, eradication of biases and prejudices in pursuit of the future of Mindanao, and holistic development for all the peoples of Mindanao.

Ambassador Sieber expressed the full support of the Swiss government and the European Union to the peace process between the government and MILF, and even cited the unwavering commitment of the two parties to the attainment of inclusive and sustainable peace and prosperity.

 For his part, Chairman Murad, in his message, thanked the organizer and Cardinal Quevedo for the invitation to the MILF and the continuing strong support for the GPH – MILF Peace Process and Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangamoro (CAB) and the passage of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL).

Calling the Meeting as “noble undertaking”, Chairman Murad emphasized the full support and cooperation of the MILF in promoting interreligious and intercultural dialogue in the GPH – MILF Peace Process and in the Bangsamoro Government.

He said MILF, which is being governed by the teachings and principles of Islam, fully recognized and respect religious tolerance, and promotes good relationships amongst people and community.

“The Bangasmoro Basic Law is enshrined with the principles of respect to human rights, religions, values and traditions, rule of law, equality and justice,” he said.

Feature: Gains of the Bangsamoro Peace Process trickles down to communities in conflict-affected areas

From the Philippine Information Agency (Jul 24): Feature: Gains of the Bangsamoro Peace Process trickles down to communities in conflict-affected areas 

Just and lasting peace has been one of the major ideals of the Aquino government.

Chapter 8 of the updated Philippine Development Plan 2011-2016 lays down the tracks the administration undertakes to restore peace in communities affected by and vulnerable to armed conflict.

Track 1 aims to achieve negotiated political settlement of all internal armed conflicts while Track 2 or the Complementary Track sees to address the causes and impacts of all internal armed conflicts and other issues that affect the peace process through development, justice and security interventions focused on conflict-affected and other conflict vulnerable areas.

The Payapa at Masaganang Pamayanan (PAMANA) was launched in 2011 and is the national government’s convergence framework and program for peace-building. It was implemented in 44 provinces that were identified to be vulnerable to armed conflict.

Meanwhile, the Sajahatra Bangsamoro Program is a development program jointly implemented by the government of the Philippines (GPH) and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) which was launced in 2013.

The Sajahatra Program aims to uplift and develop the health , education and livelihood conditions of the Bangsamoro communities in partnership with National Government Agencies.

As of November 2014, 9,477 beneficiaries enrolled and were provided with access to health services through enrolment in the Health Insurance Premiums (Philippine Health Insurance Corporation). In addition, 8,453 three-to-five year old children have improved health conditions through undergoing the Supplementary Feeding Program.

The Education sector also reaped huge gains with 37 private Madaris (Islamic schools) are enabled for the adoption of the Standard Madrasah Curriculum through the provision of financial assistance amounting to P125,000 (1st tranche of mobilization grant of P250,000). The amount is under the Financial Assistance to Madrasah Program, as provided in DepEd Order 18, series of 2008.

639 individuals were also enrolled under the Commission on Higher Education Study Grants Program as of First Semester of 2014-2015.

517 students completed the skills training scholarship under the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) while 513 are currently undergoing the program.

Through the Cash-for-Work program of DSWD, 9,682 individuals were also provided with access to employment.

Beneficiaries in 5 communities were provided with livelihood assistance in the form of livelihood implements such as vegetable seedlings, root crops, rice, corn, seed and farming implements through the Department of Agriculture.

Significantly, the national government witnessed the historic turnover of 75 firearms by the MILF and the decommissioning of 145 Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Forces. The Moro returnees will be given immediate assistance and health insurance as part of the socio-economic package.

Furthermore, 439 hectares are already undergoing implementation of social preparation requirements for the development of the land for sustainable human development and economic and ecological security under the National Greening Program, which is coursed through DENR.

The ongoing peace negotiations also boosted the business climate in the Bangsamoro region. A total of P7.499 billion worth of investment projects poured into the region since 2012, up to the 2nd quarter of 2015 and generated 6,805 jobs.

Experts apprehensive about prospects of AFP 'minimum credible defense posture'

From InterAksyon (Jul 24): Experts apprehensive about prospects of AFP 'minimum credible defense posture'

BRP Emilio Jacinto in the background. MPB file photograph

Can the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) attain a "minimum credible external defense posture" as promised by President Aquino before he steps down in 2016?

Aquino is set to give his fifth and last State of the Nation Address (SONA) this coming Monday, and part of his report, as expected, is to update his "Bosses" on the current state of the AFP in the face of China's aggressive reclamation activities in the West Philippine Sea (WPS).

In some of his previous SONA, Aquino assured the nation of the highest level of security from the external defense establishment. But, up to now, he has not yet signed the proposed revision of the AFP Modernization for 2013-2017 with a total budget of P60.1 billion, which is also riddled with realignments, most especially the P6.5 billion worth of Shore-based Missile System (SBMS).

"[The] remaining time is too short. Big-ticket items take a long time to implement," former AFP chief of staff Alexander Yano responded when asked of his personal opinion.

Yano was chief of the military during the time of former Pres. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

Reached through his mobile phone for reaction, Parañaque City Representative Roilo Golez concurred with Yano, although he said Aquino's concern for the AFP, one of the weakest in the region, is very much appreciated.

"In fairness, he (Aquino) did much better than the other presidents before him," Golez said.

But former AFP vice chief of staff Lt. Gen. Reynaldo Mapagu said the failure to achieve minimum credible external defense posture can also be blamed on the "weak defense leadership."

"Well, simply because the AFP Modernization got stalled in the first place," he said, adding the observation that the AFP "doesn't even seem to know its priorities" in terms of capabilities needed to attain it.

"Worse, corruption has apparently attended the procurement of major items that the AFP urgently needed. Also, personal interests over organizational needs characterized the defense decision-making process. National security and defense are in the back-burner," Mapagu said.

Golez said he believes a minimum credible defense posture is not realizable under Aquino's term.

"No shore-based missile, no flotilla of missile boats and no missile frigates and no combat-ready fighter jets with well-trained pilots, how can you say you have a minimum credible external defense posture?" Golez asked.

He pointed out that, while there are 12 FA50 fighters worth P19.8 billion on order from the Republic of Korea (ROK), these are not combat-ready.

"There are two frigates to be ordered with funds already but will be ready only after three, maybe 4 years. Then we have the two former US Coast Guard cutters, the BRPs Gregorio del Pilar and Ramon Alcaraz, better than previous Navy ships but not fit even for joint operation with the US Navy and Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force," Golez said.

He said the SBMS is big step to jump-start the territorial defense posture, but the project is in peril after then Army chief and now AFP chief Gen. Hernando DCA Iriberri shelved it in favor of infantry helmets and body armors, instead.

"Iriberri is to blame for canceling the shore-based missile system. He obviously does not understand external defense and is unfit to lead the AFP when we are facing a grave external threat. I urge the Commission on Appointment not to confirm him," Golez said.

But Iriberri denied that the missile project has been shelved, because the acquisition is only deferred from the 1st Horizon (2013-2017) to the 2nd Horizon (2018-2023), which is already beyond Aquino's term.

National Security Adviser (NSA) Cesar Garcia Jr. has been repeatedly saying in public that the biggest and categorically clear and present danger to our national security is the aggression of China, which the President and the military leadership do not seem to consider.

In the last five years of the Aquino administration, the government has, so far, not acquired any military asset for addressing external threats.

Golez said the SBMS could be the only credible weapon system to thwart off potential aggression. However, Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin and Iriberri have recommended to Aquino the realignment of the SBMS.

If Aquino approves the realignment of the SBMS and/or deferment of the project implementation beyond his term, defense and security experts said they shudder at the thought of its possible implications for the country's external defense capability.

The government also risks the diplomatic backlash from Israel, which has been a long-standing ally of the Philippines and where 30,000 undocumented Filipinos are currently staying yet enjoying favors from the Israeli government.

A military source disclosed that Israel Military Industries (IMI) is considering the filing of a diplomatic protest on the issue of the supply contract for the SBMS.

Palparan, 9 others indicted for Manalo brothers kidnapping

From Rappler (Jul 24): Palparan, 9 others indicted for Manalo brothers kidnapping

The Ombudsman also orders a probe into other military personnel and other victims mentioned in the affidavits of Raymond and Reynaldo Manalo

INDICTED. Retired Major General Jovito Palparan (shown here arriving at the Military Police Headquarters inside the Army headquarters in 2014) is indicted by the Ombudsman for the abduction of two suspected NPAs in Bulacan. Rappler file photo by Francis Lopez

INDICTED. Retired Major General Jovito Palparan (shown here arriving at the Military Police Headquarters inside the Army headquarters in 2014) is indicted by the Ombudsman for the abduction of two suspected NPAs in Bulacan. Rappler file photo by Francis Lopez

The Ombudsman has found probable cause to indict retired Major General Jovito Palparan Jr and 9 others for kidnapping and torturing two brothers in Bulacan in 2006 over suspicions that they were members of the New People's Army.

In a statement on Friday, July 24, Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales said Palparan and the suspects – most of them members of a para-military group – will be charged for two counts of kidnapping and serious illegal detention under Article 267 of the Revised Penal Code.

Named Palparan's co-accused are:

T/Msgt Rizal Hilario

M/Sgt. Donald Caigas

Michael dela Cruz

Marcelo dela Cruz

Jose dela Cruz

Maximo dela Cruz

Roman dela Cruz

Randy Mendoza

Rudy Mendoza

The last 7 names on the list are CAFGU Active Auxiliaries. They were also found liable for grave misconduct, along with Caigas.

Caigas will also be dismissed from service, his retirement benefits forfeited. He is perpetually disqualified from holding public office.

Palparan is accused of masterminding the abduction of two University of the Philippines students in Bulacan in June 2006.

According to the affidavit-complaint filed by Raymond Manalo and corroborated by his brother Reynaldo Manalo, the two were abducted on February 14, 2006 in San Ildefonso, Bulacan, for being suspected as members of the communist armed group.

They allege that they had since been detained and tortured until they were able to escape on August 13, 2007.

In its 28-page joint resolution, the Ombudsman's office said the Manalo brothers positively identified the perpetrators whose “concerted acts show that they agreed, expressly or impliedly, to commit the felony and forthwith decided to pursue it.”
It also directed the Office of the Deputy Ombudsman for Military and Other Law Enforcement Offices to investigate the other military personnel and other victims mentioned in the affidavits.

The administrative charges against Lieutenant General Hermogenes Esperon Jr, Major General Juanito Gomez, and Palparan were dismissed since they had retired before the filing of the case.

The criminal charges against Caigas and Gomez were dismissed due to their death. The charges against Esperon were dismissed for insufficiency of evidence.

A Malolos court ordered Palparan's arrest in 2009, but the general evaded arrest until soldiers captured him in August 2014.

In September 2014, the court ordered him transferred from the Bulacan Provincial Jail to the Philippine Army headquarters in Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City – a move that human rights activists protested.

Rifle grenade explodes in Mamasapano village

From MindaNews (Jul 24): Rifle grenade explodes in Mamasapano village

TUKANALIPAO, Mamasapano, Maguindanao – Tension has again gripped this village after a rifle grenade exploded near a farmer’s house Thursday night.

Norodin Madsig, 43, said the rifle grenade landed and went off about 10 meters away from his house.

Nobody was hurt but the incident sent jitters to Madsig’s family and his neighbors.

Madsig recalled that he was fixing his motorbike at past 8:45 p.m. when a loud explosion occurred. His house was hit by shrapnel.

The shrapnel, which missed his son who was already sleeping at the time, created two holes near his home.

“My son was lucky enough he was not hit by shrapnel,” he said.

Lt. Colonel Joel Mamon, chief of the 40th Infantry Battalion stationed in Tukanalipao, said the rifle grenade attack was fired from an open ricefield a few meters away.

He said the perpetrators were probably members of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF).

Mamon said the target could be the Army base but the attackers miscalculated and the grenade landed instead near Madsig’s home.

Madsig said if similar incidents occur in the future, he will move his family from Tukanalipao.

“I’m not comfortable so long as the soldiers are here. If another explosion occurs, we will all leave this place once more,” he said.

Tukanalipao residents left their homes for fear of retaliation from government forces after the elite Special Action Force of the Philippine National Police sustained 44 casualties on January 25 against various armed groups in the area.

Seventeen fighters of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front and five civilians were also reported killed.

The police commandos went to Mamasapano to get Indonesian bomber Zulkipli bin Hir alias Marwan and his aide, Abdulbasit Usman. Marwan was reported killed in the raid based on the DNA sample obtained by the US Federal Bureau of Investigation.

“Hopefully, no soldiers will be stationed here so that there will be no attacks,” Madsig said.

But Mamon said the Army detachment was necessary to secure the ongoing government project in the area.

The government was constructing a mosque and a concrete bridge near the site of the clash.

Meanwhile, several journalists based in Mindanao and Manila gathered for the two-day forum titled “Beyond Mamasapano: Reporting the Bangsamoro Peace Process” in Cotabato City that started on Friday.

Kalayaan residents in West Philippines Sea receive basic needs, facilities

From the Philippine News Agency (Jul 24): Kalayaan residents in West Philippines Sea receive basic needs, facilities

Residents of the Kalayaan island town in the disputed West Philippines Sea received Thursday basic needs facilities from different government and non-government organizations for potable drinking water production.

Donated to the residents were 10 pieces of bacteria-free water tanks, canned goods, and two solar water desalination units.

Kalayaan Mayor Eugenio Bito-onon, who joined the military sortie to the West Philippines Sea, expressed gratitude for the donations that would help 130 residents, or around 20 households.

He said that one of the problems on Pag-asa Island, Kalayaan is potable water, electricity, and agricultural products since residents are very far from the mainland.

Being surrounded by water also makes it hard for them to find safe drinking water.

Meanwhile, the provincial government of Palawan assured that it is doing everything to ensure that development projects would also reach Kalayaan.

Plans are now underway for the possibility of constructing a rural health unit (RHU) that would take care of the well-being of the residents, as well as provide basic medical intervention, Bito-onon said.

He said the RHU is very much needed on the island because just like everyone, residents are also susceptible to ailments.

Bito-onon furthered that his administration is now checking out transportation proposals as plans of opening Pag-asa Island to tourism gains ground.

However, the mayor did not detail their tourism outlook for Kalayaan yet.

Hopes of West Philippines Sea ownership remain high in Kalayaan town

From the Philippine News Agency (Jul 24): Hopes of West Philippines Sea ownership remain high in Kalayaan town

Though they were dwarfed by the reclamation activities of China in the disputed West Philippines Sea, hope still remains high for the Palaweno community dwelling in Pag-asa (Thitu) Island.

In fact, Kalayaan town Mayor Eugenio Bito-onon Jr. dreams that the island, the largest occupied by the Philippines and the second largest island in the whole of Spratlys, can become a zone for tourism and marine fisheries development.

But amid its huge potential for development, Bito-onon, who has been leading for six years in the island town located 480 kilometers off southwestern Palawan, said concerns such as limited facilities, power, potable water and staple food still loom in Pag-asa.

In spite of these setbacks, Bito-onon said: “What makes us stay here is because of our strong sense of patriotism and nationalism.”

On Thursday (July 23), newly-installed Naval Forces Northwest Commander George Amba along with some civic society organizations (CSO) and representatives of the Palawan government trooped to the island via Philippine Air Force C-130 to hold a “bayanihan” activity.

Realizing the scarcity of basic human needs in the remote island, Amba said: “Hopefully, it’s not the first time or the second time but more time for us to come here and help uplift the situation of people of Pag-asa.”

Donations such as bacteria-free water catchment basins, medicines and school supplies, among others, were turned over to the community comprising 20 families or roughly 100 individuals.

The bacteria-free water catchment basins, meanwhile, will provide potable water from rainwater. In June 2015, diarrhea hit around 20 individuals, mostly children, when they sourced water from a dug well.

Bito-onon thanked CSOs who made the donations possible, and most especially to the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), whom he said “boost our morale” since then.

“The fact that we exist here is that we are confident they (AFP) can protect us,” he said.

In the face of China’s apparent creeping reclamation in the disputed seas, Bito-onon however is hoping that, “One day, we pray everything will be resolved in our favor.”

4 BIFF hurt in clash with Army in Maguindanao

From the Philippine News Agency (Jul 24): 4 BIFF hurt in clash with Army in Maguindanao

Four Moro bandits were wounded in a clash with government forces in remote villages of Talayan town in Maguindanao, the Army here said Friday.

Nobody was hurt on the government side when Army Scout Rangers traded shots with attacking members of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) who simultaneously fired at two military detachments in Barangay Lower Katibpuan, Talayan at about 5:00 a.m.

In a statement, Capt. Joann Petinglay, speaking for the 6th Infantry Division, said the names of the wounded attackers are now the subject of verification by elements of the 4th Scout Ranger Battalion in Talayan.

Earlier, soldiers were sent to reinforce a Scout Ranger detachment in the village after the Army received information from civilians about the impending harassment by the BIFF.

Petinglay said the attackers tried to surround the Army base but the already prepared soldiers fired automatic rifles and artillery that caught the BIFF members off guard and quickly fled.

Quoting reports from village officials and residents, the Army said four armed men were seen being carried by their fleeing comrades.

Maj. Gen. Edmundo Pangilinan, 6th ID chief, said the growing awareness of the community on the presence of armed lawless groups in their midst has affected the movement of BIFF in the marshland.

He said the positive response of the community made life difficult for the lawless elements to move around and mulct civilians during harvest season.

The night before the BIFF harassment, another band of lawless elements fired B-40 rifle grenades toward an Army base in Barangay Tukanalipao in Mamasapano, Maguindanao.

Tukanalipao was a village where PNP Special Action Force and the MILF along with the BIFF clashed on January 25, leaving 44 police commandos, 17 MILF and four civilians dead.

Lt. Colonel Joel Mamon, 40th Infantry Battalion commander who has administrative and operation control over government forces in Mamasapano, said the rockets misfired and landed near civilian houses.

He said the soldiers were stationed in the area to protect a government project, a mosque and a concrete bridge.

Nobody was hurt in the incident in Tukanalipao which happened past 9:00 p.m. Thursday.

BRP EDSA II air-conditioning unit up for repairs

From the Philippine News Agency (Jul 24): BRP EDSA II air-conditioning unit up for repairs

In line with its efforts to improve the habitability of its patrol craft, the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) is allocating the sum of PhP1,235,641 for the procurement of services needed for the repair of the air-conditioning unit of BRP EDSA II (SARV-002).

The PCG said the winning bidder is required to deliver the items within 30 calendar days.

Bid opening is scheduled on July 30, 9 a.m., at the PCGGuard Conference Room, 2F Admin Building, 139 25th St., Port Area, Manila.

Late bids shall not be accepted.

The BRP EDSA II is the second vessel in the San Juan class of search-and-rescue vessels built by the Australian shipbuilding company of Tenix for the PCG.

She was commissioned in October 2000.

Philippine Legion of Honor posthumously conferred to WWII veteran

From the Philippine News Agency (Jul 24): Philippine Legion of Honor posthumously conferred to WWII veteran

The Philippine Veterans Affairs Office (PVAO) on Friday announced that President Benigno S. Aquino III has posthumously conferred the Philippine Legion of Honor with the Rank of Officer on World War II veteran Fernando Perez Javier Sr., who held the distinction of being the oldest Filipino veteran prior his death last June 29.

At the time of his death, he was 107 years old.

PVAO administrator Ernesto G. Carolina presented the award to Engineer Fernando Javier Sr., son of the late veteran, during a necrological ceremony held at the Mortuary of Libingan ng Mga Bayani in Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City last July 23.

Military honors were also accorded by the Philippine Army.

The Philippine Legion of Honor is the oldest of the three Senior Honors of the Republic of the Philippines.

It is the highest honor that the President of the Philippines may grant an individual without the concurrence of Congress.

The award was posthumously given to Javier “for showing true heroism when called to the colors as a third lieutenant of the Philippine Army and serving in the United States Army Forces in the Far East (USAFFE), fighting in the Battle of Bataan and enduring the Bataan Death March and imprisonment in Tarlac alongside thousands of Filipino and American soldiers.”

According to the citation, the President conferred the award on Javier “for being the oldest living veteran and being a symbol of the resilience of a great generation that went through unimaginable hardship for the fight for freedom; for his professional career before and after the war including contributions to public works as an engineer, building roads in Palawan, working as a project engineer in South Korea and civil engineer in Japan, and for receiving recognition for his sanitary works as an environmental engineer in Guam, and, for his lifetime of service as soldier, veteran, and distinguished alumnus of the University of the Philippines including being a Centennial Man, earning him distinction and affection among his peers and younger generation of veterans, thereby constituting life achievements of commendable merit deserving of recognition from the President of the Philippines.”

Javier became a prisoner-of-war (POW) together with his brother Jose, a military doctor at Camp O'Donnell, Capas, Tarlac.

After the war, he was promoted to the rank of captain and was honorably discharged in 1946 after having served the 9th Battalion Constabulary Corps.

During the necrological rites, the veteran’s immediate family members offered their personal tribute to Javier.

Among those gave eulogy were Jun Javier, Deanna Javier Quilalang, granddaughter; and Engineer Antonio Tan.

Officers and members of the UP Beta Epsilon also joined the rites to say their goodbye to their "brod".

Javier joined the fraternity in 1932 during his junior year in the College of Engineering of the University of the Philippines which was then located in Manila.

Engineers Ojie Alzona and Joe Arvisu presented photo souvenirs as well as copies of the Ingenium 2008 coffee table book to the family.

The family expressed their overwhelming gratitude to President Aquino for valuing the contributions of Capt. Javier and all Filipino veterans whose valor and supreme sacrifice paved the way for the country’s freedom, peace and democracy.

4 brigands wounded in clash with Army troopers in Maguindanao

From the Philippine News Agency (Jul 24): 4 brigands wounded in clash with Army troopers in Maguindanao

Four members of an "armed lawless group" (ALG) were wounded during a clash with troopers of the 1st Mechanized Infantry Brigade and 4th Scout Ranger Battalion in Maguindanao Friday morning.

The incident took place at 5:45 a.m. at Barangay Lower Katibpuan, Talayan town, said 6th Infantry Division public affairs office chief Capt. Jo-ann Petinglay.

She added that the soldiers were conducting patrol operations in the area after civilians reported the presence of an undetermined number of ALGs in the area since Thursday night.

"Intermittent fighting ensued as the ALG withdrew to different directions. The firefight subsided after about an hour," Petinglay stressed.

In the fighting, four brigands were reported wounded with no losses to the government side.

Meanwhile, 6th Infantry Division commander Major Gen. Edmundo R. Pangilinan said the growing awareness of the community on enemy presence had greatly limited the sphere of movement of these lawless group.

"The positive response of the community will definitely disallow the lawless group from freely conducting atrocities in the area," he added.

AFP J-4 head retires

From the Philippine News Agency (Jul 24): AFP J-4 head retires

Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) deputy chief-of-staff for Logistics (J-4) Major Gen. Victor Bayani formally retired from the service on Friday after reaching the mandatory retirement age of 56.

He was replaced by Brig. Gen. Job Yucoco, former Army Support Command deputy commander.

Change of chief-of-office ceremonies took place at 3 the Tejeros Hall of the AFP Commissioned Officers Club in Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City.

The J-4 assists the AFP chief in formulating plans and policies on all matters pertaining to logistics, including Self-Reliance Defense Posture Program (SRDPP).

Bayani is a member of the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) “Sandiwa” Class of 1985.

He was born in Manila on July 24, 1959. He was a fourth year Bachelor of Science of Civil Engineering student at the Mapua Institute of Technology in 1981 when he passed the qualifying examination at the PMA.

He was former commanding officer of the 5th Infantry Division’s Headquarters & Headquarters Service Group, Northern Luzon Command.

Bayani also served as commander of the Research Development Center of ASCOM in 2008.

After four years, he assumed the post of commander Inspector General, ASCOM.

During the later part of 2012, he was assigned at the GHQ and assumed office as Chief, Office of Legislative Affairs.

With outstanding service reputation and excellent knowledge and experience in logistics, he was given the highest logistics position in the AFP as the deputy chief-of-staff for logistics on March 14, 2014.

With his performance of duty as a public servant for the past 32 years, he received many certificates of recognition and appreciation from different institutions and organizations both in the military and civilian sectors.

He is a recipient of a Distinguished Service Star, two Command Plaques, 28 Military Merit Medals, six Military Commendation Medals, Anti-Dissidents Campaign Medals in Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao, Military Civic Action Medals, Disaster Relief and Rehabilitation Medals, and Long Service Medals and numerous Certificates of Recognition and Appreciation, and Commendation Letters.

As a military student, he excelled in his studies as manifested in his achievements that include an International Students Military Badge in 1996 from the US Army Logistics Management College.

He is happily married to Irma Adeliza Samson-Bayani, a private tutor with whom he has three children, namely Kristina Isabel, Paulo Miguel and Diana Beatriz.

Meanwhile, Yucoco is a member of PMA “Maharlika” Class of 1984. He is from Floridablanca, Pampanga.

Prior to assuming office as ASCOM deputy commander, he served as chief of Army Chief Ordinance and Chemical Service.

He underwent military trainings, including Scout Ranger Orientation Course, Tri-Media Course, Intel Officer Course and Electronic Warfare Officer Course.

He is married to Ma. Jocelyn Ramos-Yucoco. They are blessed with two daughters and a son: Cherith Joy, Jemima Faith and Josiah Iñigo.