Sunday, December 6, 2015

PAF says FA-50PHs to be headquartered in Clark Air Base for a while

From the Philippine News Agency (Dec 6): PAF says FA-50PHs to be headquartered in Clark Air Base for a while

By next year, all available FA-50PH light interim fighter aircraft of the Philippine Air Force (PAF) will be based at Clark Air Base in Pampanga,PAF chief-of-air staff Major Gen. Galileo Gerard Kintanar said on Saturday.

"Definitely, for next year, the two FA-50PHs) are going to be in Clark Air Base," he added.

The country's first two FA-50PHs arrived last Nov. 28 at the above-mentioned airfield, while the remaining 10 out of the 12-plane order from Korea Aerospace Industries will be delivered in staggered basis in 2016 and 2017.

The order is worth PhP18.9 billion.

Kintanar said the decision to base the FA-50PHs at Clark Air Base is based on the fact that the nearby Basa Air Base in Floridablanca, Pampanga and airfields in Subic Bay are not prepared to handle nor accommodate the new fighter aircraft.

He added the latter facilities will be fixed and upgraded simultaneously so that they will be able to accommodate modern fighter jets.

Plans are also afoot to transfer to Subic Bay some of the functions being handled by Basa Air Base while its aerodrome facilities, including the runways and hangars, are modernized for fighter operations.

Kintanar envisioned Basa Air Base to be ready for fighters operations by 2017.

He also said the Antonio Bautista Air Base in Puerto Princesa City, Palawan will also be upgraded to accommodate FA-50PHs and other modern aircraft.

Suspected NPA killed, soldier and village chief hurt in Southern Mindanao clashes

From the Philippine Daily Inquirer (Dec 6): Suspected NPA killed, soldier and village chief hurt in Southern Mindanao clashes

TAGUM CITY, Davao del Norte, Philippines — A suspected communist rebel was killed and two others were wounded in separate clashes between government troops and insurgents in Southern Mindanao on Saturday, the military on Sunday said.

The wounded included a soldier who was hurt in a clash in Maragusan town, Compostela Valley, and a barangay (village) chairman waylaid by suspected rebels in Toril, Davao City, Capt. Rhyan Batchar, 10th Infantry Division public affairs officer, said.

Batchar said troops from the Philipine Army’s 28th Infantry Battalion were on combat patrol when they chanced upon a band of New People’s Army rebels in Sitio (Sub-village) New Cebu, Magcagong village around 12 noon, sparking a 20-minute fire fight that left a soldier slightly wounded.

The rebels, believed from the NPA’s Front 27, fled soon after, leaving behind an improvised explosive device (IED) and a 30-meter wire.

In Davao City, a male NPA rebel was killed by soldiers who responded to an apparent ambush on two barangay officials in the Alambre village around 1:30 p.m.

Generoso Bacalso, village chief of Barangay Daliaon, suffered a gunshot wound in the hand following the attack as he and village councilor Ducris Daug, were on their way to Toril poblacion on a motorcycle, Batchar said. Daug was unhurt.

“A group of soldiers from the 84th IB who were travelling on the same road engaged the suspected NPA attackers. No soldier was hurt in the incident,” said Batchar.

Aside from the body of the slain rebel, police investigators recovered at the encounter site an M-653 assault rifle, popularly known as Baby Armalite, the army official said.

Meanwhile, five suspected NPA members have been held for allegedly laying makeshift bombs along a road in Pantukan town, Compostela Valley, on Friday afternoon.

Glen Canete, Arnel Angeles, Eric Beloy and Jutam and Junel, all surnamed Calig-unan, were chanced upon by patrolling soldiers planting IEDs at Sitio Maganting, Barangay Napnapan.

Batchar, the Army official, said five IEDs were also seized from the suspects.

8 soldiers wounded in clashes get medals, cash assistance

From the Sun Star-Tacloban (Dec 6): 8 soldiers wounded in clashes get medals, cash assistance

CAMP LUKBAN, Catbalogan City -- Eight soldiers who were wounded in separate clashes last November in Samar received wounded personnel medal award and cash assistance for their bravery and selfless service under the Philippine Army's 8th Infantry Division (8ID) in a ceremony held December 1.

Two soldiers belonging to the 63rd Infantry Battalion, two soldiers from 87th Infantry Battalion, and three soldiers from the 14th Infantry Battalion received the medal and cash assistance in a ceremony held in Camp Lukban Station Hospital.

Corporal Jonas C Autor and Private First Class Nico Basibas, of the 87th Infantry Battalion, were wounded in an encounter with more or less 15 New People’s Army (NPA) rebels at Barangay Buluan, Calbiga Samar, on November 25.

The encounter resulted in the death of one unidentified NPA member; seizure of an enemy encampment with 18 enemy bunkers, one multi-purpose hall and one classroom; and the recovery of 200 rounds of K3 squad automatic weapon ammunition, one memory card, one binocular and other subversive documents.

The other soldiers, Private First Class Pablito Pomarca and Eric Lazara of 63rd Infantry Battalion, were wounded in an ambush perpetrated by NPAs in Barangay Washington, Catarman, Northern Samar, on November 24.

Four other soldiers, namely, First Lieutenant Cherwin B. Lapura, Private First Class and Private First Class Jack O. Macatantan of 14th Infantry Battalion, were wounded in an ambush with more or less 20 NPA members in Barangay Lagundi, Catbalogan City, Samar, last November 27.

Staff Sergeant Wilfredo T. Irasga of the 20th Infantry Battalion was also wounded in an attack in Barangay Bonifacio, Gamay, Northern Samar, while conducting peace and development operations last October 20.

"Your bravery in carrying out your assigned task is remarkable and worth emulating by other soldiers. With that, I would like to extend my congratulations to all of you for a job well done in protecting the people to the extent of risking your lives," Major General Jet Velarmino, 8ID commander, told the awardees.

Rebel killed in offensive after ambush attempt

From the Sun Star-Davao (Dec 6):  Rebel killed in offensive after ambush attempt

A NEW People's Army (NPA) combatant was killed in a gunbattle with soldiers from 46th Infantry Battalion (IB) in Barangay Alambre, Toril District, Davao City, on Saturday afternoon.

The slain NPA member was allegedly part of the unit from the Guerilla Front (GF) 54 of the Southern Mindanao Regional Committee (SMRC) who tried to ambush two officials of Barangay Daliao on Saturday morning.

The barangay chairman identified as Generoso Bacalso and barangay councilor Ducris Daag survived the ambush attempt and were brought to the hospital for treatment.

Pursuit operations of the 46th IB resulted in the death of one NPA rebel, who was left behind by his fleeing group. Also seized was one M653 rifle.

Major General Rafael Valencia, commander of the 10th Infantry Division (ID), lauded the efforts of the soldiers who responded immediately in the area.

"We cannot allow these terroristic actions of the NPAs to persist. They (NPAs) are targeting innocent civilians, thus, the people of Davao City should already voice out their desire for peace and to condemn the use of force to attain their political objectives," Valencia said.

Earlier DCPO spokesperson Chief Inspector Milgrace Driz said that the victim accused the slain NPA rebels as perpetrators behind the abduction of 10 workers of a water project in the same area.

DCott bombing trial continues

From the Sun Star-Davao (Dec 6): DCott bombing trial continues
REGIONAL Trial Court-Branch 33 Presiding Judge Lope Calio ordered to continue the hearing for the Omnibus motion filed by the 2005 Valentine's Day bombing suspect, Abdul Manap Mentang, on December 11.

In an order dated December 4, Calio granted the request of the prosecution to be given more time to collate their evidences, including the issuance of subpoena to three persons to appear before the court for the continuation of the hearing for the Urgent Omnibus Motion filed by Abdullah P. Hamsa, who is said to be the accused, Abdul Manap Mentang.

During last Friday's hearing, Calio ordered to grant a P100,000 bail to the accused. The bail was part of alternative prayers sought in Mentang's Urgent Omnibus Motion filed by his counsel last November 17.

"After assessing and evaluating the records of the case vis a vis the evidence presented by the movant, and considering that the prosecution has still not presented any evidence in opposition to the Urgent Omnibus Motion, the Court hereby grants the alternative prayer of the movant to post bail for his provisional liberty," the order stated.

The defense had previously presented evidences and witnesses before the court to prove that the person arrested and identified as Mentang is another person and not Mentang.

It was previously reported that the motion was filed to quash the warrant of arrest, virtually converted into John Doe warrant as "invalid" and "in violation of the [suspect's] right to due process," to declare the suspect's arrest and imprisonment as "unconstitutional, wrongful, unreasonable, mistaken, and false," and to order his immediate release or at least grant bail for his provisional liberty.

The accused was linked to the explosion at Davao City Overland Transport Terminal on February 14, 2005, which killed a 12-year-old boy and injured eight people.

5 rebels planting bombs nabbed

From the Sun Star-Davao (Dec 6): 5 rebels planting bombs nabbed

FIVE suspected members of the New People's Army (NPA) were caught planting improvised explosive devices (IEDs) along the road at Sitio Maganting, Barangay Napnapan, Pantukan, Compostela Valley, last Friday.

Personnel of the 46th Infantry Battalion (IB) were conducting patrol in the area when they saw the five suspected rebels planting IEDs.

The soldiers arrested Glen CaƱete, Jutam Calig-unan, Arnel Angkeles, Jonel Calig-unan and Eric Beloy. They were turned over to the Pantukan police for investigation and filing of appropriate charges.

Seized from their possessions were five IEDs.

Major General Rafael Valencia, commander of the 10th Infantry Division, said that those who are threats to the safety of the public are bound to face consequences.

"These NPA rebels who are terrorizing the people should be dealt in accordance with the rule of law. Let the court of law decide their fate," Valencia said.

1 dead, 2 firearms recovered as Army encounters NPAs at a Butuan City hinter village

From the Philippine News Agency (Dec 6): 1 dead, 2 firearms recovered as Army encounters NPAs at a Butuan City hinter village

An armed person was killed believed to be a member of the New People’s Army and two firearms were recovered after Army troopers under 29th Infantry Battalion, 4th Infantry Division on combat patrol encountered an undetermined number of armed men at a hinter village of Butuan City, on Thursday morning.

In a texted message, Army Captain Joe Patrick Martinez, spokesperson of the 4ID, Philippine Army , said that on Thursday morning an army team from the 29IB, 4ID, PA responded to an information from some village residents about the presence of armed persons in their village, allegedly doing some recruitment through lectures on “Batakang Kursong Pang-Masa (NPA Basic Mass Course).”

Lt. Col. Adonis Ariel G. Orio, Commanding Officer of the 29th IB sent an army team to the said area. The armed group, accordingly unmindful of the civilians fired at the approaching army troopers. The soldiers then managed to maneuver to a vantage position keeping the civilians away from the danger and a 25-minute firefight ensued at Sitio Dugayman, Brgy. Anticala, this city at 5:30 a.m.

The encounter resulted to the killing of one NPA and the recovery of two firearms, an AK-47 Rifle and an AR-18 Rifle, 9 improvised explosive devices (IED) and 10 back packs with NPA personal belongings and subversive documents with high intelligence value, which were left by the armed group as they hastily left the area and retreated farther up towards the hinterlands after the firefight. There was no casualty from the side of the government troopers.

The fatality was then brought down by the army personnel at the village hall to be identified by the residents, but nobody in the village had identified the dead armed man. Even the village chief Hon. Armando Boligor believed that the fatality was not a resident of his village. The cadaver was then brought by the police investigators after it was turned over to them by the army and village officials for identification and further investigation. It was then placed at a local funeral parlor in Brgy. Ampayon, this city.

Police Deputy Operations Officer PInsp. Ronelo Dormitorio, of Butuan City Police Station 4, based in Brgy. Ampayon, this city said that a woman claiming to be the mother of the slain armed man went to the funeral parlor at 12:30 a.m. Friday and identified the dead body as that of a certain Reynaldo Logronio, 21; a native of Purok 5, Sitio Tagolahi, Brgy. Antongalon, this city.

The mother told police investigators that their family was looking for her son after the latter sought her permission to go Metro Manila, where his brother was also working. He was not able to go home since then, until she found his cadaver at the funeral home on Friday morning.

Col. Alexander Macario, Commander of the 401st Infantry Brigade congratulated his gallant soldiers who successfully protected the people from the rebels. The official also thanked the civilians who provided the timely information. He however was saddened about the loss of another Filipino life who could have been still alive and enjoyed life with his family especially during this time of the season.

The 4th ID PA Commander MGen. Oscar T. Lactao during a recent forum in Butuan City claimed that the government is winning in its insurgency campaign as the NPA initiated violence (NIVIs) decreased by 43% from the 3rd quarters to the 4th quarters of this year. Based on the recently released army figure, there were 40 NPA initiated violence during the 3rd quarter of 2014, thirty-two (32) during the 4th quarter of the same year, rising again to 40 during the 1st quarter of 2015 then down to 23 on the 2nd quarter of this year, and up to 33 on the 3rd quarter or a rise of 23% but declined to 19 or a drop of 43% as 2015 is about to close. Most number of the NIVIs against government troops are harassments while arson against the civilians according to the army figures recently released.

Rebel killed as troops assist ambushed barangay officials in Davao City

From the Philippine News Agency (Dec 6): Rebel killed as troops assist ambushed barangay officials in Davao City

Immediate response from troopers from the 84th Infantry Battalion quickly turned the tables over suspected New People's Army (NPA) bandits who ambushed two barangay officials in Alambre, Davao City Saturday afternoon.

In the incident, which took place 1:30 p.m., a still unidentified rebel was killed by responding government troops while an NPA M-653 automatic rifle was also recovered.

Barangay chair Generoso Bacalso and Kagawad Ducris Daug, both of Daliaoan, Toril District, Davao City, were aboard a motorcycle going to Toril proper when ambushed by the NPAs along Purok 5, Barangay Alambre.

Bacalso sustained a gunshot wound at his left hand while Daug managed to escape.

A group of soldiers from the 84th Infantry Battalion who were patrolling nearby witnessed the attack on the two and immediately rushed to help.

In the encounter, a still unidentified rebel was killed with no losses to the government side.

Bacalso was immediately taken to nearby hospital for treatment shortly after the NPA retreat. Pursuit operations are still ongoing.

"We cannot allow these terroristic actions of the NPAs to persist. They (NPAs) are targeting innocent civilians, thus, the people of Davao City should already voice out their desire for peace and to condemn the use of force to attain their political objectives," 10th Infantry Division Major Gen. Rafael Valencia said.

9ID’s 3 infantry units get Army honor

From the Philippine News Agency (Dec 6): 9ID’s 3 infantry units get Army honor
CAMP ELIAS ANGELES Pili, Camarines Sur -- The three infantry brigades of the 9th Infantry Division in Bicol received the Army Governance Pathway (AGP) Plaque of Recognition for compliant status awarded during the Army Governance Forum 03-2015 held at the Ricarte Hall, Philippine Army Officers Club House, on Friday.

A press statement coming from division Sunday said that Col. Claudio L. Yucot, Col. Amador T. Tabuga Jr. and Col. Cesar M. Idio -- commanders of 901st Infantry Brigade (IB), 902nd IB and 903rd IB, respectively -- received the plaques as recognition of their advancement to the 2nd Stage of the four-way Army Governance Pathway.

The 9ID so far is the only Philippine Army division where all of its three brigades were conferred the AGP-compliant status.

Brig. Gen. Ferdinand F. Quidilla, 9ID commander, who witnessed the activity, lauded the division’s brigade commanders for their achievement and commitment in the Army Transformation Roadmap.

“The 9ID will continue to pursue in achieving the institutionalized-status in accordance with the Philippine Army’s journey towards transformation,” Quidilla said.

Guillermo Luz, private sector co-chair of the National Competitiveness Council, was guest of honor and speaker for the event.

The Army Governance Forum 03-2015, which carried the theme “Excellence in Governance”, showcased the activities to communicate the Army strategy to internal stakeholders and provided updates on the Army’s recent success as an Island of Good Governance inductee.