Saturday, November 7, 2015

US 'deeply concerned' over China's reclamation in disputed seas

From GMA News (Nov 8): US 'deeply concerned' over China's reclamation in disputed seas

US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter on Saturday warned that land reclamation efforts and a military buildup in the South China Sea could lead to conflict between nations in the region.

Speaking at a defense forum at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in California, the Pentagon chief also said America was adapting its military posture to counter increased Russian "aggression."

Appearing on the final leg of an eight-day trip that included meetings with defense ministers from several nations in the Asia-Pacific region, Carter said his concerns about the frantic pace of land reclamation in the South China Sea were broadly shared.

"The United States joins virtually everyone else in the region in being deeply concerned about the pace and scope of land reclamation in the South China Sea," Carter told an audience of senior defense figures.

Carter added he was worried about "the prospect of further militarization, as well as the potential for these activities to increase the risk of miscalculation or conflict among claimant states."

The Reagan National Defense Forum is an annual event that sees dozens of America's top defense figures -- including politicians from both political parties -- discuss America's defense policies.

Carter used his platform to take a swipe at recent Russian military moves.

 "At sea, in the air, in space and in cyberspace, Russian actors have engaged in challenging activities," he said. "And, most disturbing, Moscow's nuclear saber-rattling raises questions about Russian leaders' commitment to strategic stability, their respect for norms against the use of nuclear weapons and whether they respect the profound caution nuclear-age leaders showed with regard to the brandishing of nuclear weapons."

In an echo of some of Reagan's own attempts to use technology to counter a Soviet nuclear threat, Carter talked up some of America's new high-tech weaponry, including an electromagnetic railgun that can fire projectiles at an astonishing 4,500 miles (7,250 kilometers) per hour.

'Surprising' new technologies

He added that the United States was modernizing its nuclear arsenal, investing in new technologies such as drones and a new long-range bomber, as well as lasers and new systems for electronic warfare.

The defense chief hinted at additional new weapons that would be "surprising ones I really can't describe here."

Additionally, "we're updating and advancing our operational plans for deterrence and defense given Russia's changed behavior," Carter said.

Russia annexed Crimea in 2014 and has been supporting a pro-Moscow separatist conflict in eastern Ukraine. Russian jets also started bombing Syria on September 30.

Moscow says the campaign aims to counter the Islamic State militant group but the West says Moscow is trying to support President Bashar al-Assad's regime.

Carter's trip was dominated by questions over China's continued land reclamation efforts and military buildup in the South China Sea.

On Thursday, he flew out to the USS Theodore Roosevelt aircraft carrier as it was sailing in the South China Sea.

The enormous supercarrier was accompanied by the guided missile destroyer the USS Lassen, which last month sailed past a series of islets in Subi Reef in the Spratly Island chain.

There, China is using dredgers to turn reefs and low-lying features into larger land masses for runways and other military uses to bolster its claims of sovereignty in the region.

The Lassen conducted a "freedom of navigation operation" as a way to rebuff China's those claims. "We've done them before, all over the world. And we will do them again," Carter said of the sail-by.

Carter said he chose to talk about Russia at the Reagan library as the Cold War was a defining theme of the US leader's presidency.

Still, he also made some conciliatory gestures to both China and Russia, suggesting there potentially was room for both countries to be part of broader international security structure. "We do not seek a cold, let alone a hot war with Russia. We do not seek to make Russia an enemy," he said.

Scout Rangers kill Abu Sayyaf leader in Basilan

From GMA News (Nov 8): Scout Rangers kill Abu Sayyaf leader in Basilan

Army troops killed a suspected Abu Sayyaf Group leader in an encounter in Tuburan, Basilan, before dawn Sunday.

Initial reports said members of the Philippine Army's Scout Ranger battalion killed Abdulhasan Tanadjalon a.k.a. Bullet, in an encounter in Mt. Sinangkapan, Tuburan.

The troops engaged Tanadjalon's group in a one-hour firefight, which started at around 3 a.m.

The military has yet to confirm if its troops were able to recover the body of Tanadjalon,

Blast hits NGCP tower in Marawi

From ABS-CBN (Nov 7): Blast hits NGCP tower in Marawi

A transmission tower of the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) was bombed in Marawi City, Lanao del Sur Friday, November 6,2015. Photo by Ronnie Enderes

Another transmission tower of the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) was bombed in Marawi City, Lanao del Sur Friday night.

Marawi police deputy director S/Insp. Sainodin Benasing said the explosion hit the NGCP Tower 13 at Sitio Kurmatan, Barangay Matampay at 9:30 p.m.

Police and army Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) team recovered in the area a blue wire, masking tape and splinters believed to be from an improvised explosive device (IED).

The structure withstood the explosion.

Authorities continue to investigate the incident while NGCP has yet to assess the damage on the tower.

Last October 10, Two transmission towers of the NGCP were simultaneously bombed in Pikit, North Cotabato. The toppled towers are still undergoing restoration.

Authorities stopped an attempted bombing of another tower of the NGCP in Carmen, North Cotabato after finding IEDs underneath the structure on October 21.

Soldier’s selfless act makes social media waves

From the Philippine Daily Inquirer (Nov 8): Soldier’s selfless act makes social media waves

RADIO reporter Karlo Ignacio’s snapshot showing the kindness of a soldier, later identified as Cpl. Ryan Santos, sharing his meal with street children in Isabela City is making waves in Facebook. PHOTO FROM FACEBOOK

RADIO reporter Karlo Ignacio’s snapshot showing the kindness of a soldier, later identified as Cpl. Ryan Santos, sharing his meal with street children in Isabela City is making waves in Facebook. PHOTO FROM FACEBOOK
When a reporter of radio station dxNO decided to get some fresh air at the rooftop of the station’s building in Isabela City in Basilan on Nov. 3, an unusual sight caught his eyes.

Karlo Marlon Ignacio immediately took a photo of a soldier sharing his meal with three hungry street children at a branch of a popular fast-food chain there and posted it on Facebook.

Since then, the photo had been shared more than 300 times and got over 1,200 likes.

“I just want to share something inspiring that day. I was touched by the soldier’s deed. We hardly see similar images these days,” Ignacio told Inquirer.

The soldier turned out to be 26-year-old Cpl. Ryan Santos of the 8th Field Artillery Battalion station in Barangay Busay in Isabela City.

It was Col. Rolando Bautista, commander of the Joint Task Group Basilan, who helped identify Santos through the photo that Ignacio shared.

“He was temporarily detailed at Jollibee that time for preemptive measure as the said food chain received threats,” Bautista said.

Reached by Inquirer, Santos said he was surprised at the attention he is receiving.
He said he had no inkling that what he did would spread in social media.

Santos recalled that the fast-food management handed him his meal on Nov. 3 and he took notice of the three children.

“When I opened the pack, the three children approached me. It’s so difficult for me to eat the meal while these children stared at me. They never begged or asked, they just stared at my food,” the soldier said.

Santos said he summoned the children and divided the food into four.

“I told them we will have equal share so everyone can eat,” he said.

A native of Cabanatuan City in Nueva Ecija, Santos grew up in a poor family.

He and two siblings survived on the pension of his father, a retired soldier. His mother was jobless.

“I know the feeling of being poor and hungry,” he said.

Santos said his parents had taught them to share whatever they have with others.

“Back at home, even if we have little food on the table, my parents divided it equally, we eat it together,” he said.

Gunboat diplomacy: US skipper recalls chummy exchanges with Chinese

From the Philippine Daily Inquirer (Nov 6): Gunboat diplomacy: US skipper recalls chummy exchanges with Chinese

Carter South China Sea

In this May 29, 2003 file photo, sailors man the rails as the USS Theodore Roosevelt is maneuvered into its berth at the Norfolk Naval Station in Norfolk, Va. AP FILE PHOTO

ABOARD THE USS THEODORE ROOSEVELT, Undefined—As the United States and China engaged in a standoff last week over an American naval vessel in Chinese-claimed waters, frontline officers from the two sides bantered about chicken wings and Halloween preparations.

READ: US to operate ‘wherever’ law allows in South China Sea

Washington sent the guided missile destroyer USS Lassen to the South China Sea for a “sail-by” of Chinese-built islands that have raised concerns over Beijing’s deepening toe-hold in the strategic waterway.

The move brought angry denunciations from China, which said its sovereignty had been violated, with US defense officials countering that American ships would continue such sailings.

But despite the big-power ramifications, radio contact between the two sides at the scene was frequent and surprisingly relaxed, according to an account of the close encounter by the USS Lassen’s skipper, Commander Robert Francis.

“Every day a US ship is down here, we interact with the Chinese,” Francis said.

“It’s not uncommon for one of my officers on the decks to pick up the radio and start talking (to the Chinese).”

READ: US defense secretary visits carrier in disputed South China Sea

Francis spoke to reporters on Thursday after being helicoptered over from his ship to the USS Theodore Roosevelt—also cruising the South China Sea—during a visit to the giant aircraft carrier by US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter, who was on a diplomatic swing through Asia.

“We picked up the phone and said, ‘Hey, what are you guys doing this Saturday? We got pizza and wings, we’re doing this, we’re planning for Halloween as well,'” Francis said, recalling exchanges with the Chinese navy.

“So, discussions of that nature, just trying to show we are normal sailors like them, have families just like them.”
‘Just a normal day’

On October 27, the USS Lassen cruised within about six miles (10 kilometres) of Subi Reef in the Spratly Islands, a sprinkling of reefs and islets at the heart of the South China Sea that also is claimed in whole or part by the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia and Taiwan.

Subi reef is just one of the South China Sea sites where Chinese dredgers are creating expanding land masses capable of hosting large facilities, including runways.

A Chinese destroyer shadowed the USS Lassen, repeatedly querying why it was in “Chinese waters”.

“I wouldn’t call them warnings,” Francis said.

The US vessel’s carefully stage-managed “freedom of navigation” transit—close enough to see construction cranes and other features on land—was meant to subtly challenge China’s sovereignty claims and stress the right to international free passage.

The South China Sea has long been viewed as a potential flashpoint for military conflict.

Those concerns have grown in recent years as China has taken a more assertive stance toward its long-standing insistence that virtually the entire sea is sovereign Chinese territory.

The island-building programme has accelerated within the past two years, and rival claimants to the body of water say it violates a regional code against provocative moves that could upset the maritime status quo.

Francis said he was surprised by the attention drawn by last week’s encounter, calling the episode “just a normal day.”

“I got a call from my mother and she was going, ‘Hey, what’s going on with you in China? I heard you were in China,'” he said.

“I was like, ‘Mom, I’m not in China. I’m OK, I’m on the ship.'”

PHL defense chief: Naval drills on disputed seas with China possible, but...

From GMA News (Nov 7): PHL defense chief: Naval drills on disputed seas with China possible, but...

Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin said the Philippines is open to the holding of naval drills with China as long as it will be conducted with other Southeast Asian countries.

“As long as all countries will be involved, it may be possible. It should not be only us and [China]. It’s like in dialogue, it should not be bilateral, many should be involved. Everyone should be involved,” Gazmin told reporters on Friday.

Gazmin made the comments after the celebration of the 76th foundation anniversary of the Department of National Defense in Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City.

Chinese Defense Minister Chang Wanquan proposed last month to hold the multilateral naval drills next year on rules about accidental encounters at sea, search and rescue, and disaster relief, the statement added, without providing further details.

China has overlapping claims with Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia, Taiwan and Brunei in the South China Sea, through which $5 trillion in ship-borne trade passes every year.

The proposal came following reports of the United States' plan to conduct a "freedom-of-navigation" operations within the 12 nautical-mile limits that China claims around islands build on reefs in the Spratly archipelago.

The "freedom-of-navigation" operations pushed through with the US warship USS Lassen sailing close to one of the artificial islands being built by China in the disputed seas.

Last month, Chang told his counterparts from all 10 members of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) at the start of an informal summit in Beijing that all parties needed to push for the "correct" development of ties. Chang said the biggest common need was to maintain stability.

China denies it has militarized the South China Sea, saying construction work is mostly for civilian purposes, and has warned that Beijing would not stand for violations of its territorial waters in the name of freedom of navigation.

In the Asean Defense Ministers meeting in Malaysia attended by Gazmin, defense chiefs did not issue a joint statement because some countries are opposed to mentioning the South China Sea.

The Malaysian defense minister instead issued a chairman statement, narrating the gist of the meeting.

“It would have been better, the message would have been strong if it was mentioned that the conflict should be resolved through the use of law, through the rule of law,” said Gazmin.

Photos: CG,PAF breaks the sound barrier

From the Philippine Air Force Facebook page (Nov 7): Photos: CG,PAF breaks the sound barrier

The Commanding General of the Philippine Air Force, LTGEN JEFFREY F DELGADO AFP had the privilege to ride the brand-new PAF's FA-50PH lead-in fighter at Sancheon Air Base, South Korea last November 6, 2015. During his flight, LTGEN DELGADO flew at Mach 1.2 or around 1,482 kilometers per hour which made him earn a "Mach Buster Plaque" for breaking the sound barrier of Mach 1.0.

His ride gave the CG,PAF a first-hand experience on the state-of-t...he-art, supersonic, fly-by-wire FA-50PH lead-in fighter aircraft, the Air Defense Wing fighter pilots will be flying in the future. The FA-50PH acquisition is part of the PAF's modernization program.

CSAFP GEN IRIBERRI in AFP SOLCOM HQ gives advice regarding elections to soldiers.

From the AFP Facebook page (Nov 7): CSAFP GEN IRIBERRI in AFP SOLCOM HQ gives advice regarding elections to soldiers.

CAMP GUILLERMO NAKAR, Lucena City - "IT CAN BE DONE," said AFP Chief of Staff General Hernando DCA Iriberri ...on having a peaceful 2016 Elections. This was said during his visit to the HQS of the AFP Southern Luzon Command on Nov 7, 2015 when he personally checked the current campaign plan and election preparations of SOLCOM.

Giving emphasis on the upcoming 2016 National and Local Elections, General Iriberri presented to subordinate commanders his Abra 2013 election experience as a template that may be used in their respective areas and can be replicated as well.

His presentation shared his initiatives and best practices when he was brigade commander. It showed what commanders and units can do before, during and after election activities.

"One imperative that every soldier must be at all times is to maintain its non-partisan stance," said General Iriberri.

He said that through coordination with the PNP and COMELEC, field commanders should have started gathering data and statistics because it will be a big factor in making their respective election security plan.

Among those present during CSAFP's visit were SOLCOM Chief Lieutenant General Ricardo R. Visaya, the two Army Infantry Division Commanders Major General Romeo G. Gan (2ID) and Brigadier General Ferdinand F. Quidilla (9ID), Commander of the Naval Forces Southern Luzon Commodore Injemar Pernes, two Tactical Operations Group, PAF Commanders, and six Infantry Brigade Commanders and their respective staffs.

General Iriberri directed commanders to start identifying problem areas based on historical data as baseline. He said PAGs should not be able to sow fear during election period.

"When campaign period starts, we should implement election laws STRICTLY but fair," said Gen Iriberri.

"Let us be firm but keep our communication lines open," he said.

He also encouraged everyone to espouse for the united effort with the PNP and COMELEC.

ARM TO FARM // Former NPA Rebels Reap the Fruit of Their Labor

From DWDD AFP Civil Relations Service Radio Website (Nov 6): ARM TO FARM // Former NPA Rebels Reap the Fruit of Their Labor

Impasugong, Bukidnon (DWDD) - Soldiers of the 8th Infantry Battalion, 4th Infantry Division of the Philippine Army have worked hand in hand with former NPA rebels and the local residents as they reap the fruit of their labor during the first produce of the Pilot Organic Farm (Arm to Farm) Project near the battalion headquarters in Brgy. Poblacion, Impasugong, Bukidnon today, November 5, 2015.

The “Arm to Farm” program was crafted by the 8th Infantry Battalion, in coordination with the local government unit of Impasugong and the Department of Agriculture-Region 10, in order to provide agriculture-based livelihood opportunities for former NPA rebels and assist in delivering livelihood to the communities which are affected by insurgency. It is a venue where different agencies like the Department of Agriculture, TESDA, DILG, DepEd and the LGU converge and share their role in achieving a common goal of working together towards peace.

The pilot organic farm uses the Indigenous Micro-organism (IMO) technology in farming beside the military headquarters which is a two-hectare farm land owned by the LGU of Impasugong. With the supervision of the Municipal Agriculture Office of Impasugong, the farm land abundantly grows corn, cassava, “Pinakbet” garden (a combination of string beans, bitter gourd, eggplant, squash and lady finger vegetables) and also has a Tilapia growing site.

Jonathan Nacar, a former NPA rebel, shares his joyful story as he works with the soldiers in harvesting the cassava which they planted about nine months ago. “Mapasalamaton ko sa 8IB ug sa magkalain-laing ahensya ilabi na sa lokal nga pangagamhanan sa Impasugong ug sa agriculture nga ila ko gidawat dinhi unya gitabangan ko nila nga makasugod ug usab sa akong bag-ong kinabuhi. Lahi ra gayud ang akoang kahimtang sa una nga naa ko sa kalihukan sa NPA nga grabe gayud kalisod ug wala kami matabangi sa amoang problema kabahin sa yuta ug panginabuhian nga maoy gisaad kanamo sa kalihukan. Karon malipayon kaayo ko nga daghan kaayo ko nakat-unan sa pagpanguma unya naa pa gayud koy abot tungod niini nga programa para kanamo. Manghinaot ko nag magmalungtaron kini nga programa kay dako kaayo kini nga tabang para kanamong mga kanhing rebelde.” (I am thankful to the 8th Infantry Battalion and to the different government agencies especially the LGU of Impasugong and the Department of Agriculture for accepting me and for helping me start anew. My life is very different when I was still in the NPA rebel movement where life was so difficult and we were just given false promises in solving our problems about land and livelihood. Now I am delighted that I have learned a lot about farming and I even have an income because of this program. I am hopeful that this program would last because this is very helpful to us who are former NPA rebels.) says Nacar.

It can be recalled that Jonathan Nacar is a Lumad of the Higaonon Tribe who was recruited by the NPA rebels of SPP TOTO, Guerilla Front 4B under Lino Namatidong alias DAHON. He surrendered to the 8th Infantry Battalion and the LGU of Impasugong, Bukidnon and received his firearms remuneration amounting to Php 52,000.00 under the AFP Guns for Peace Program on July 13, 2015. He will also be receiving another Php 65,000.00 from the Comprehensive Local Integration Program of the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process or OPAPP.

Meantime, LTC LENNON G BABILONIA INF (GSC) PA, the Commanding Officer of the 8th Infantry Battalion, also thanked the different agencies who contributed in the realization of the program. “We are very appreciative on the cooperation of the different government agencies and the LGU of Impasugong, who have worked together in crafting this program.  This program is actually a vivid example of how the IPSP Bayanihan works wherein it seeks to bring about a concerted effort among all stakeholders towards peace and security through its whole-of-nation approach. This also shows that the 8th Infantry Battalion and the Philippine Army, as a whole, is committed in coming up with peaceful means of ending violence and conflicts from among the Filipino communities. In spite of all these issues on Lumad killings and exploitations, I assure our brother rebels that when you surrender, we will continue to work with other stakeholders to ensure your safety and well-being and that of your family.” says LTC BABILONIA.  CMO 8IB / MCAG

NON-EXISTENT // Phl Bagani Force Tribal Army

From DWDD AFP Civil Relations Service Radio Website (Nov 7): NON-EXISTENT // Phl Bagani Force Tribal Army

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY (DWDD) – The 4th Infantry Division, Philippine Army and the National Commission on Indigenous People-Region 10 (NCIP-10) has denied knowledge on the existence of the Philippine Bagani Force Tribal Army.

In a joint statement released by LTC Rmualdo Raymund Landingan, Assistant Chief of Staff for Civil-Military Operations (G7) 4ID and Robert Almonte, Regonal Director, NCIP-10, they denied the existence of such a group and if there are who claims as such  they don’t have authority or mandate to do so.

They added that it is unlawful of any person who is not a member of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) to wear AFP ranks and uniform based on Republic Act 3815 of the revised Penal Code of the Philippines as amended.

Bagani’s (tribal warriors) must be treated within the context of customary laws of some Indigenous People (IP) / Indigenous Cultural Communities in Mindanao.

In addition, the 4ID and the NCIP, incoordination with other stakeholders are continuously working on programs for the betterment of our Indigenous People. AES / MCAG

MILF: UBJP Lanao, Western Mindanao Regional Officials attend workshop on HRD

Posted to the MILF Website (Nov 7): UBJP Lanao, Western Mindanao Regional Officials attend workshop on HRD

UBJP Lanao, Western Mindanao Regional Officials attend workshop on HRD

The Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC) in conjunction with Bangsamoro Leadership and Management Institute (BLMI) conducted two-day Training Workshop on Human Resource Development (HRD) for regional officials of the United Bangsamoro Justice Party (UBJP) from Lanao and Western Mindanao Regions at BLMI Training Centre, Crossing Simuay, Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao on November 4-5, 2015.

The workshop was aimed to enhance the participants’ knowledge in organizational management and other pertinent skills in the art of leadership and management that conform to Islamic principles and practices.  

BTC Commissioner Said Sheik delivered the welcome remarks and message of expectations. He expressed his appreciations to the participants’ responsiveness and passion in upgrading oneself in order to cope with the challenges ahead. 

Kris Yano, activity facilitator and resource person presented the program overview, core objectives and its relevance to the present situation being confronted by the Bangsamoro people. 

BTC Commissioner Sheikh Ibrahim Ali delivered Islam ‘muhadarah, where he emphasized Islamic concepts of striving hard as antidote in countering any act of indecency and oppression that may directly or indirectly lead to decadency and injustice.

“Enjoining to do what is good and forbidding what is bad is an obligation of every Muslim and is a lifetime struggle”, he said. 

“In Islam, having a position in society is not all about opportunity and privileges, but it is all about responsibility, hence, we are answerable both to our constituencies and to our Creator”, Commissioner Ali stressed. 

BTC Chair and also chair of the MILF Peace Panel Mohagher Iqbal delved on the GPH-MILF Peace process and the current status of Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL). He said that “there is hope for the BBL, but there is no assurance of its passage”, due to time constraints, the election period and negative attitude of some of lawmakers. 

In the afternoon session, Kris Yano expounded on the significant concept of Organizational Management and its applications for effective management and strong bureaucracy that will serve the interest of the public through diligence and transparent process. 

Sheikh Mahmod S. Ahmad, BLMI Executive Director touched on “Mindset Change” and elucidated its principles and applications. “Willingness to change from passiveness to usefulness of behavior must begin from oneself”, Director Ahmad stressed.

He also quoted some verses from the Noble Qur’an concerning self-evaluation and adaptation for better outlook.   

During the second-day, the participants engaged in workshop sessions on issues related to HRD such as Organizational structures and other pertinent aspect of Managerial functions and responsibilities. The facilitator synthesized their outputs that will serve as blueprint and reference in the future.   

In their closing messages, the participants expressed their profoundest gratitude to BTC, the resource persons for imparting their knowledge and skills, and to the management and staff of BLMI for facilitating the program. 

Their deepest gratitude was also extended to the Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue (CHD) for providing funds and sponsoring the training workshop deemed useful in the performance of their mandates and responsibilities with integrity, competency, dedications and faithfulness.

MILF: Gov't chief peace negotiator renews call to Congress to pass BBL

Posted to the MILF Website (Nov 7): Gov't chief peace negotiator renews call to Congress to pass BBL

Government of the Philippines (GPH) chief negotiator Miriam Coronel-Ferrer renewed her appeal to the lawmakers to work towards the passage of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL), the measure deemed to end the decades of conflict in Southern Philippines.

In the online news dated November 2 posted at the website of the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP), Ferrer said, ""Prior to recess, our Congress has been plagued by a lack of quorum and absenteeism. I call on our lawmakers, under the leadership of House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte and Senate President Franklin Drilon, to collectively work together in passing this landmark legislation."

"Passing the basic law that will establish the Bangsamoro region this Congress will allow the next president of the Republic and the next Congress to focus on other measures and bills. Let us act with wisdom and with full appreciation of the pressing and immediate need to correct this historical disunity," she urged.

Last month, President Benigno Simeon Aquino III highlighted the passage of the BBL as his top legislative priority in his last face-to-face guesting with the Foreign Correspondents Association of the Philippines (FOCAP).

Ferrer added, ""I reiterate the appeal of the GPH negotiating panel, of the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP), and the rest of the proponents of the Bangsamoro peace process to our lawmakers to be present in the remaining sessions of Congress and finish what they've began." 

The original draft of the BBL was forwarded to both Houses of Congress last year. Thereafter, both Chambers conducted separate public hearings which culminated in the endorsement of substitute bills known as the Basic Law for the Bangsamoro Autonomous Regions (BLBAR). 

The substitute bills are being tackled in the plenary and not the original draft. The MILF said it will not accept a diluted BBL for it will not serve its purpose of addressing the decades of neglect, injustice and problems of the Bangsamoro people. 

Various stakeholders have joined the call to Congress to pass a Bangsamoro law consistent with the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro, a peace truce signed by the GPH and Moro Islamic Liberation Front in 2014.

MILF: Clean water supply project supported by ICRC inaugurated in Taluksangay, Zamboanga City

Posted to the MILF Website (Nov 6): Clean water supply project supported by ICRC inaugurated in Taluksangay, Zamboanga City

Alawi Asid, whose displaced family now lives in the transition site in Taluksangay, says the new tap stands around their community – just like the one behind him – relieve them from traveling to a remote area to fetch clean water.Photo courtesy of CC BY-NC-ND / ICRC / R. Ang

Alawi Asid, whose displaced family now lives in the transition site in Taluksangay, says the new tap stands around their community – just like the one behind him – relieve them from traveling to a remote area to fetch clean water.Photo courtesy of CC BY-NC-ND / ICRC / R. Ang

A news release by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) on November 5 said that a community-based water supply system that can provide to over 4,000 people in Barangay Taluksangay, Zamboanga City has been inaugurated. 

The project, supported by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the village and city authorities, is a long-term solution to the shortage of water in this barangay (village), which hosts about 900 people displaced by the armed fighting in 2013. 

The project was built by 80 displaced people who were employed in a cash-for-work programme, with the ICRC providing materials and technical expertise. It was recently handed over to the Taluksangay Water and Sanitation Association (TAWASA), which was formed with ICRC support, and which will operate and maintain the project. To help the TAWASA sustain the project, the ICRC gave them tools, spare parts and office supplies. 

Alawi Asid, whose family was displaced from Layag-Layag said that, “Water was really scarce here in Taluksangay. It was difficult. Now our lives are better – people in the community no longer fight to get first in line. We can easily get water. We don’t have to ride our banca (boat) anymore because the water source is near”. 

Clean water started flowing from nine communal tap stands in September, reaching a total of 4,000 people in Taluksangay transition site, the nearby relocation site, and the host community. More people stand to benefit as the water system has the ability to cover additional localities in the barangay. Only half of the capacity of the water source has been used so far. 

“The ICRC went beyond the engineering works, focusing also on community organization and empowerment. The community took ownership of the project, and the system is self-sustaining, making it able to last for years to come,” explained Marcel Goyeneche, who heads the ICRC office in Zamboanga. 

Since the armed clashes in 2013, the ICRC has stayed on with the Philippine Red Cross to support thousands of displaced people in Zamboanga in speeding up their recovery and improving their health and living conditions. (Source: ICRC News Release)

Abu Sayyaf sub-leader hurt in Sulu clash

From the Philippine Star (Nov 7): Abu Sayyaf sub-leader hurt in Sulu clash

The Abu Sayyaf sub-leader was behind the abduction of a German couple in April 2014. photo

A sub-leader of the Abu Sayyaf group, tagged in the kidnapping of a German couple last year, was critically wounded Saturday in special military intelligence assault in the mountain of Patikul town, Sulu, according to security commander.

The attack came as the military forces intensified the hunt against the Abu Sayyaf group believed to be holding three foreigners and a Filipina taken from Samal island off Davao del Norte.

Brig. Gen. Alan Arrojado, commander of the Joint Task Group Sulu (JTGS), launched the “Operation Plan Nissan” when they encountered the Ajang-ajang group of the Abu Sayyaf about 11:20 a.m. at the vicinity of Barangay Liang.

Arrojado said the troops critically wounded its leader identified as Ben Saudi during the “brief engagement.”

He said Ben Saudi is the brother of Abu Sayyaf sub-leader Aljine Jaelan Mundok alias “Ninok Saparri.”

According to Arrojado, Ben Saudi has three pending warrants of arrest for his involvement in the kidnapping of the German couple in Palawan in April last year.

The kidnap victims, German couple Dr. Stefan Viktor Okonek and Henrike Dielen, were freed following reported payment of 250 million dollars on Oct. 17, 2014.

Arrojado said that the sub-leader leader was also behind the abduction of local Chinese businesswoman Dina Lim Iraham, 45 and her daughter Yahong Lim Tan Chien in Basilan last year.

The mother was freed but the group kept the daughter as captive in Sulu.

Meanwhile, Arrojado said the troops from the 35th Infantry Battalion immediately reinforced the engaged military intelligence units.

“All units on the ground were ordered to establish checkpoint to intercept possible transport of ASG (Abu Sayyaf group) casualties to nearby hospital in Jolo,” Arrojado said.

He also said that they have coordinated with police forces in apprehending any Abu Sayyaf group members brought to the hospital.

China to benefit from following arbitration ruling – Justice Carpio

From Rappler (Nov 6): China to benefit from following arbitration ruling – Justice Carpio

Supreme Court Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio says China's global ambitions will make it costly for Beijing to defy an international arbitration ruling favoring the Philippines

'SAVING FACE.' Philippine Supreme Court Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio says Beijing cannot afford to defy an international ruling on the South China Sea arbitration case. Photo by Ayee Macaraig/Rappler

'SAVING FACE.' Philippine Supreme Court Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio says Beijing cannot afford to defy an international ruling on the South China Sea arbitration case. Photo by Ayee Macaraig/Rappler

China's plan to become a leading world power will force it to comply with an international ruling potentially favoring the Philippines in the South China Sea dispute.

Philippine Supreme Court Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio made the statement as he addressed questions on the viability of Manila's strategy to take China to court without an enforcement mechanism.
In a media forum on Thursday, November 5, the legal scholar said Beijing cannot afford to defy a ruling from the United Nations-backed arbitral tribunal because of its ambitions of becoming the dominant Pacific power.
China needs the world to survive,” Carpio said.
He added: “China needs ASEAN so they can start with their Maritime Silk Road, which passes through the South China Sea. China needs the rest of the world in their One Belt, One Road plan. They need our support for their Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank. Why will these countries support China if China is grabbing their maritime zones?”
Carpio was referring to China's various initiatives to assert its economic and political clout.
Under the so-called “One Belt, One Road” initiative, China aims to create a modern Silk Road Economic Belt and a 21st Century Maritime Silk Road that will boost trade. The strategy involves focusing on infrastructure development through Central Asia, and expanding maritime shipping routes through the Indian Ocean and the Persian Gulf.
The Chinese-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank is seen as a rival to the US-dominated World Bank to help Beijing hold sway in multilateral institutions.
Carpio was the speaker at the forum of the Asian Institute of Journalism and Communication to discuss the tribunal's initial ruling on October 29. The Hague-based tribunal decided it has the power to hear half of the Philippine claims, and to proceed to the merits of the case. Hearings are set on November 24 to 30.
China said it will not accept any ruling from the tribunal but Carpio believes Beijing will eventually heed the final decision expected to be released in mid-2016.
I think in the end, China will comply because it is to its advantage to comply. It will take time. Once we win, do not expect instant gratification. We will have another struggle to convince the world to support us,” the magistrate said.
In a previous interview with Rappler, Carpio said it could take 10 years for China to comply with a ruling favorable to the Philippines.
Manila is asking the tribunal to strike down China's 9-dash line as inconsistent with the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). Both the Philippines and China are parties to the treaty.
China uses the 9-dash line to claim “indisputable sovereignty” over almost the entire South China Sea, a vital waterway through which a third of world trade passes every year.
HAGUE HEARINGS. Members of the Philippine Delegation at The Hague, including: Former Secretary of Justice Leila De Lima; Justice Antonio Carpio, and Deputy Executive Secretary for Legal Affairs of the Philippines Menardo Guevarra.
HAGUE HEARINGS. Members of the Philippine Delegation at The Hague, including: Former Secretary of Justice Leila De Lima; Justice Antonio Carpio, and Deputy Executive Secretary for Legal Affairs of the Philippines Menardo Guevarra.
'Reclamation can't be ownership'
Carpio reiterated that “reputational damage” or losing face in the world stage will make China comply with the ruling in the long term.
When the cost of non-compliance far exceeds the cost of compliance, then the state will comply. In the case of the Philippines, we are not alone. A ruling in our favor will be immensely beneficial to Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and Indonesia so we have lots of supporters,” he said.
Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei, and Taiwan also have claims to the South China Sea while China's 9-dash line runs through a portion of Indonesia's Natuna Islands.
Beyond the region, the magistrate said other world powers support the Philippines' legal tack.
Even the US, EU, and Canada came out with statements that arbitration is a peaceful settlement of dispute, and they support it. They are not saying they support our claim but they are saying our approach is the proper approach,” he said.
The Philippines resorted to arbitration as a last option as China grows increasingly assertive over its claims. In the last two years, Beijing conducted massive reclamation and created artificial islands in features within the Philippines' 200 nautical-mile exclusive economic zone.
China also seized rocks and shoals from other claimant countries in the past decades.
Carpio said the international community does not sanction illegal occupation.
Under the UN charter, you cannot seize land or territory by aggression. If you occupy it with the use of threat or force, that's illegal. No matter how long you occupy it, it does not ripen into ownership.
That's why what we're trying to do is for the tribunal to say Mischief Reef is part of our continental shelf. Only the Philippines can create artificial islands there,” he said.
If the tribunal agrees with us, the act of China will be illegal and never ripen into ownership.”
'China's face-saving exit'
Carpio is confident that the Philippines will win the case because of legal scholars' consensus that the 9-dash line has no basis in international law.
China has not clarified the meaning of the 9-dash line, nor has it provided fixed coordinates. Yet Carpio said Beijing's actions show how it interprets the line.
That's the meaning of adjacent, relevant waters [for China]. China claims sovereignty to all the waters, fisheries, seabed, and subsoil enclosed by the 9-dash line,” he said.
Carpio said one option for China is to adopt Taiwan's position on the 9-dash line.
If China really wants to come out with a face-saving exit because they know this decision is coming against them, they can adopt what Taiwan President Ma Ying-jeou said that the 9-dash line is a claim to islands within the lines, not to the entire waters, and whatever the maritime zones allow those islands under UNCLOS," he said.
Carpio said changing China's stance will align its claim with international law.
What we cannot accept is China will say they own the entire sea since the ancient times without showing historical records. If China can align with the Ma interpretation, that would be great. That's livable," he added.

MILF to leaders, officers: Don't participate in polls

From Rappler (Nov 7): MILF to leaders, officers: Don't participate in polls

Aside from running, MILF leaders are also not allowed to join and help in campaigns, rallies, and any other election-related activities

MORO LEADER. MILF chair Al Haj Murad Ebrahim has been a voice of moderation. AFP file photo

MORO LEADER. MILF chair Al Haj Murad Ebrahim has been a voice of moderation. AFP file photo

Despite the creation of their own political party, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) reminded its leaders not to participate in the upcoming elections.

MILF vice chair for political affairs Ghadzali Jaafar earlier explained that the MILF and the United Bangsamoro Justice Party will only participate in the elections if the Bangsamoro government is already established.

In a memorandum issued by MILF chairman Al Haj Murad Ebrahim, the organization asserted that the standing policy not to be involved in the elections remains.

"You are hereby directed to strictly comply and abide by the provisions of the MILF standing policy banning officers of the MILF both political and military from participating in the conduct of the Philippines elections," Murad said.

He added that the order is specifically directed at MILF political officers from the barrio and barangay level up to the Central Committee of the organization.

"For the military, Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Forces (BIAF) and Provincial Police Forces (PPF) the ban is specific to platoon commanders up to the highest ranking officers," Murad said in the memorandum.

Aside from running, MILF leaders are also not allowed to join and help in campaigns, rallies, and any other election-related activities.

"Prohibited election activities include running for any elected position, joining and participating in political campaigns and rallies, use of MILF properties including vehicles and other equipment for election purposes and other similar and related activities during the entire breadth of the election campaign and election period," Murad said.

Murad explained that the policy will be strictly observed and violators will be "dealt accordingly under the MILF judicial system."

With the election fast approaching, majority of the key MILF leadership are now positioned at not pushing for the "watered down" version of the Bangsamoro Basic Law and are instead "stretching more [their] forbearance" to wait for the next administration to legislate the original version of the bill.

The BBL will establish the Bangsamoro government, which is expected to facilitate justice, political and economic equity that will end decades of bitter fighting between Moro insurgents and state security forces.

1 soldier killed, 5 wounded in Sarangani clash

From Rappler (Nov 7): 1 soldier killed, 5 wounded in Sarangani clash

A helicopter sent to reinforce the beleaguered soldiers crashes, bringing the total number of injured soldiers to 14

A soldier was killed while 5 others were wounded when an army patrol team was hit by a landmine while pursuing communist rebels in Malapatan town in Sarangani.

The total number of injured soldiers later increased to 14 following an accident encountered by the team sent as reinforcement.

Lieutenant Colonel Ronnie Babac, commanding officer of the 73rd Infantry Battalion, said the explosion took place Friday afternoon, November 6, and was followed by an encounter.

He said the army patrol team was pursuing rebels who harassed army engineers in Malapatan.
On November 1, communist rebels fired at army engineers constructing a school building in Barangay Upper Suyan in Malapatan. No one was injured in the incident.

Babac said they received reports from residents of Upper Suyan that the rebels had planted landmines in the village. He ordered his men to investigate the incident.

The patrolling soldiers were reportedly closing in on a huge rebel encampment in Sitio Lamsalo in Upper Suyan when they were hit by the landmine.

Chopper crash

On Saturday morning, November 7, a helicopter was sent to retrieve and reinforce the beleaguered soldiers but it crashed, injuring its crew and passengers and bringing to 14 the total of soldiers injured over the last two days.

(READ: PAF chopper crash lands in Sarangani due to strong winds)

“A Huey helicopter crashed due to strong wind while landing to insert fresh troops and evacuate casualties,” said Colonel Ronald Villanueva, commanding officer of the 1002nd Brigade based in Malungon, Sarangani.

Villanueva said two pilots, two crew members, and 5 soldiers were injured in the crash.

The injured soldiers, including those wounded in the landmine explosion, were later brought to the hospital in nearby General Santos.

After suffering a succession of setbacks, communist rebels have shown increased activity in Sarangani.

Last month, the New People's Army attacked a detachment manned by government militiamen in Malita, Davao del Sur.

A woman who was at the detachment was killed while a government soldier was wounded.

China's Xi vows not to 'bully' neighbors but stands pat on South China Sea claims

From InterAksyon (Nov 7): China's Xi vows not to 'bully' neighbors but stands pat on South China Sea claims

A Chinese coast guard vessel fires water cannon at a Vietnamese boat in the South China Sea. (AFP file)

Chinese President Xi Jinping on Saturday repeated his country's uncompromising claims to the South China Sea but pledged that it would not "bully" its weaker neighbors.

The comments by Xi were in line with China's oft-stated position but come as Beijing's assertiveness in the strategic waterway has raised concerns of potential future conflict.

"Let me make this clear: The South China Sea islands have been China's territory since ancient times," Xi said in a speech during a visit to Singapore.

"It is the bounded duty of the Chinese government to uphold China's territorial sovereignty and legitimate maritime right and interests."

China has long laid verbal claim to virtually the entire South China Sea, but in recent years has moved to back that up.

It is now using land reclamation to expand previously insignificant sea features into full-fledged islands and further underpin its claims.

China's neighbors have said the actions violate a regional code among the rival claimants against taking actions that upset the status quo.

Xi said some "Chinese" islands are currently being "occupied" by other countries, but vowed that China's intentions were peaceful.

"What we in China believe ... is that the strong and rich should not bully the weak and poor," he said.He added that "China will continue to seek resolution of the disputes through negotiation and consultation."

The United States has warned that China's actions could threaten freedom of navigation in a body of water that is vital for world trade.

On October 27, the US Navy sent a destroyer on a sail-by near the site of one of the man-made islands to assert its right to free passage, drawing an angry response from China's foreign ministry.

"There has never been any problem with the freedom of navigation and overflight, nor will there ever be any in the future because China needs unimpeded commerce through these waters more than anyone else," Xi said.

He added that "non-Asian countries should understand and respect this and play a constructive role," an apparent reference to the United States.

Xi is in Singapore for a state visit that suddenly took on new significance when it was announced last week that he would meet Taiwan's President Ma Ying-jeou while in the city-state.

It will be the first meeting between leaders of the two sides since their bitter split in 1949 at the end of the Chinese civil war, which was won by Mao Zedong's Communists.

Three Lumads abducted in Bukidnon; 2 later released

From the Mindanao Times (Nov 7): Three Lumads abducted in Bukidnon; 2 later released

THREE Lumads were reportedly abducted in Sitio Upper Bayugan, Barangay Kitobo Kitaotao town in Bukidnon at 2 p.m. on Wednesday.
Capt. Alberto Caber, spokesperson of Eastern Mindanao Command, identified the victims as Jovanie Rebacca, 17; Nonoy Paradero, 61 and his son, Dilly Paradero, 48, all residents of Sitio Dao in Barangay White Kulaman in Kitaotao.
The army blamed the New People’s Army for the abduction as the officer said that troops from the 8th Infantry Battalion and the police have launched a manhunt to rescue the victims.
The communist rebels reportedly released Jovanie and Nonoy later in the afternoon.
In an interview yesterday with Capt. Joe Patrick Martinez, spokesperson of 4th Infantry Division, he said the rebels abducted the Lumad as a warning to others.
“If they won’t follow the NPA, that’s what will happen to them and more,” Martinez said.
In a statement, Felipe Cabugnason, chairman of Barangay White Kulaman, said the NPAs were angry about the Lumad’s expulsion of MISFI teachers who were operating a school without the necessary permits from the Department of Education.
Reportedly, MISFI school was closed down by the Lumads after learning that their children were radicalized by the volunteer teachers.
Cabugnason and his tribal council immediately safeguarded the MISFI school and notified the authorities about the situation.
“These NPAs really wanted to regain their grip over the IP villages by sowing threat and violence,” Col. Jesse Alvarez, commander of 403rd Infantry Brigade said.
“This must be addressed there will be no lift up on our security operations in the area.”he said.”We don’t let these rebels ruin the area.”

Philippine military chopper goes down, 9 injured

From the Mindanao Examiner (Nov 7): Philippine military chopper goes down, 9 injured

A Philippine military helicopter transporting soldiers wounded from a recent clash with rebels has crashed Saturday while trying to land in the town of Malapatan in the southern province of Sarangani and injuring all 9 people onboard, officials said.

Officials said the refurbished UH-1D helicopter were evacuating 5 wounded soldiers who clashed Friday with the communist rebel group New People’s Army in the province when the chopper went down due to strong winds.

The helicopter crew – two pilots and two gunnery sergeants – were also injured in the crash, but the names of all the injured were not release by the army and the air force, but the Eastern Mindanao Command confirmed the accident and said all soldiers suffered injuries resulting from the crash.

“There were prevailing strong winds when the said helicopter was landing. The nine personnel -pilots, crew and soldiers – onboard the helicopter suffered slight injuries and were already secured,” said army Captain Alberto Caber, a spokesman for the Eastern Mindanao Command.

He said the chopper – part of 9 refurbished air force helicopters bought by the Philippines this year from Rice Aircraft Services Inc. – was wrecked.

Abu Sayyaf leader wounded in Sulu clash

From the Philippine News Agency (Nov 7): Abu Sayyaf leader wounded in Sulu clash

An Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) brigand sub-leader involved in the kidnapping of a German couple and a Chinese national was confirmed wounded in a clash Saturday with government troops in Sulu.

Brig. Gen. Alan Arrojado, Joint Task Group Sulu commander, identified the wounded ASG sub-leader as Ben Saudi, the brother of Aljine Jaelan Mundok alias Ninok Saparri, another ASG sub-leader.

Arrojado said Saudi was wounded in a clash with the troops around 11:20 a.m. Saturday in Barangay Liang, Patikul, Sulu.

Arrojado said the troops were conducting special operations when they encountered the group of Saudi.

He said the firefight lasted for about five minutes after which the ASG brigands fled.

He said Saudi has three standing warrants of arrest for his alleged involvement of a German couple in April 2014 off Palawan and a Chinese national in May of the same year in Basilan province.

He ordered all units to set up checkpoints to intercept possible transport of casualties by the ASG to the hospital in Jolo, the province’ capital.

He said the Saturday’s clash is a result of the continuous military offensive against the ASG brigands in the province of Sulu.

The targets of the offensive are the senior leaders of the ASG and their foreign cohorts.

(Feature) What makes a Filipino?

From the Philippine News Agency (Nov 7): (Feature) What makes a Filipino?

The Philippines, despite having been occupied by Westerners, have managed to cling on to its collectivist traits.

According to Merriam-Websters dictionary, collectivist is defined as "emphasis on collective rather than individual action or identity."

In celebration of the Filipino Values Month mandated by Presidential Proclamation No. 479, there are top traits which make a true-blooded Filipino.

Saying "Po" and "Opo"

Still practiced by a lot of young folks today, saying “po” and “opo” is a distinct trait that shows due respect to your parents and the elderly.

"Opo" is said as an alternative to yes, while "po" is often used when asking a question addressed to someone older.


This trait is also a sign of respect to older folks, done through asking for someone's hand then doing a bow while nearing your head to the hand.

"Pagmamano" is often used by the young for their parents, aunts and uncles and grandparents.

However, it could occasionally be used by children for close friends of their parents.


A reason why a lot of foreign tourists are attracted to the country -- is because of the well-known Filipino's hospitality, where they give a very warm welcome.

However, a Filipino's hospitality is not exclusive to foreigners alone. It is can also given to a fellow as well considering the fact that some Filipinos even borrow money just to prepare dishes for fiestas.


The trait has been practiced as early as there were people living in nipa huts.

Often shown through neighbors gladly helping out in carrying the hut to another spot, this is likely one of the earliest Filipino trait.

"Bayanihan" also makes a huge impact during times of natural disasters, as some Filipinos opt to volunteer for the benefit of those affected by calamities.

Love of God

The trait is practiced by most Filipinos, who often flock to church and hear mass especially during Sundays.

It could also be seen through the daily prayers done by Filipinos, not only in church but also in offices.

Love of Country

This practice is instilled by teachers during a child's early schooling through the task of memorizing the Philippine National Anthem "Lupang Hinirang" and the oath to the country "Panatang Makabayan".

Love of country is also shown by Filipinos through their protection and preservation of the country's natural resources -- or even by not littering in the streets.

Love for Family

A Filipino's love for their families is often shown through the spirit of overseas workers, who toil in other countries just to secure a better future for their families.

Often suffering from homesickness, the overseas workers conquer it through reminding themselves that they are doing it for their families' sake.

Overall, the traits have a common theme that Filipinos value others first before themselves.

World-renowned physicist Albert Einstein once said, "The value of a man should be seen in what he gives and not in what he is able to receive."

With those words, Filipinos should have some high value.

UH-ID helicopter crash lands in Sarangani

From the Philippine News Agency (Nov 7): UH-ID helicopter crash lands in Sarangani

A Philippine Air Force (PAF) UH-ID combat utility helicopter crash landed in Sarangani after encountering strong winds while on casualty-evacuation (CASEVAC) mission Saturday.

The mishap took place 9:40 a.m., Eastern Mindanao Command public affairs office chief Capt. Alberto Caber said.

He added the UH-ID crash landed in Sitio Lamsalo, Barangay Upper Suyan, Malapatan, Sarangani.

Caber said the aircraft was on a CASEVAC mission in the area to help troopers of the 73rd Infantry Battalion when the UH-ID encounter strong winds while landing.

The nine military personnel aboard sustained slight injuries in the accident.

Caber said Eastern Mindanao Command head Lt. Gen. Aurelio Baladad has deployed additional helicopters from the 11th Tactical Operations Group to help in the CASEVAC mission and rescue of the crew members and passengers of the stricken aircraft.

Elevation, winds could have played a key role in UH-ID crash in Sarangani

From the Philippine News Agency (Nov 7): Elevation, winds could have played a key role in UH-ID crash in Sarangani

Elevation and strong winds could have played a major role in the crash landing of UH-ID combat utility helicopter in Sarangani Saturday.

This was revealed by Philippine Air Force (PAF) spokesperson Col. Enrico Canaya.

"The area of the crash is elevated and strong wind conditions could be a contributory environmental factor," he added.

The mishap involving the UH-ID helicopter happened at about 9:40 a.m. while providing combat support to the 73rd Infantry Battalion in Malapatan, of the above-mentioned province.

One of the aircraft's pilot suffered leg injury while all others on board were safe and secured.

"Grounding of said aircraft type is still being evaluated if necessary. Meanwhile, an investigation will be pursued following the incident. What's important for now is that the pilots, crews and passengers are all safe," Canaya said.