Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Govt troops run after Abu raiders

From the Manila Times (Aug 22): Govt troops run after Abu raiders

Security forces have been deployed to Basilan to hunt down Abu Sayyaf terrorists who raided a village in the restive Muslim province, the Philippine Army spokesman said.

The Western Mindanao Command’s (WestMinCom) Capt. Jo-ann Petinglay on Tuesday said troops will not let up in their hunt for the bandits, whom authorities have blamed for a spate of deadly attacks in the province.

She added that at least nine people were reported dead and nine injured in the attack in Maluso town on August 21.
But local police, quoting wounded victims who were brought to Zamboanga City, said as many as 30 people were injured in the attack by about 50 gunmen in Tubigan village.

One victim, Marcelino Ramos, 31, said the attackers were members of groups linked to the Islamic State.

Petinglay said pro-government militia and soldiers from the 68th Infantry Battalion clashed with the terrorist who were forced to withdraw but not after they burned at least five houses and a multi-purpose hall.

She added that prior to the raid, troops captured on August 19 an Abu Sayyaf encampment in Mangalut village in Akbar town where the terrorists assemble improvised explosives.

The area, the spokesman said, was being used by rebel leader Nurhassan Jamiri.

Soldiers recovered assorted materials used in the manufacture of improvised explosives, including rifle magazines, cell phones, batteries and solar panels.

Troops chasing the terrorists, who escaped the military raid, caught up with them the next day and in a clash killed three gunmen—Omar Abdurahim, Kahim Jovel Indanan and Ekram Alam.

Five others—Abduhari Kabus, Boy Idris, Hasan Kabus, Mammang and Jaber Sali—were wounded in the fighting but they managed to escape.


Cayetano conceals facts about China ships near Sandy Cay

From Rappler (Aug 22): Cayetano conceals facts about China ships near Sandy Cay

While keeping the facts secret, Secretary Cayetano hits Justice Carpio for using the 'wrong facts' about Sandy Cay near Pag-asa Island in the disputed West Philippine Sea

Foreign Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano criticized a Supreme Court (SC) justice for using the "wrong facts" when he said China is invading Sandy Cay in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea).

Cayetano, however, refused to disclose the facts about the Chinese ships reportedly guarding Sandy Cay, a sandbar near Pag-asa Island (Thitu Island) in the disputed waters.

"We cannot go into all the facts or some of the facts, at times, because it will harm our job. My job is to protect the Philippine claim and the Philippine public," Cayetano said in an interview with reporters on Tuesday, August 22.

The Philippines' top diplomat did not want to answer questions as basic as how many Chinese ships were there, what the ships were doing, and how long they stayed near Sandy Cay.

Cayetano said: "We will tell you that we are taking the diplomatic actions, but if we tell you every step of the way, and all the facts, et cetera, it will not help, unless there is something that happens that the public has to know or that will not affect the negotiations."

Cayetano made these remarks after SC Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio described Chinese presence near Sandy Cay as "an invasion of Philippine territory."

Cayetano hits 'wrong facts'

Carpio said this after revelations made by both Magdalo Representative Gary Alejano and the Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies about the Chinese ships near Pag-asa Island.

Carpio then challenged President Rodrigo Duterte and Cayetano to "vigorously protest" this – even as Cayetano said it is no longer the Philippines' strategy to file diplomatic protests against China.

According to Cayetano, "the problem with some of the press statements that came out" was that these statements "had the wrong facts" about the issue. "So wrong premise, wrong conclusion."

One of these wrong conclusions, he said, is that there is an invasion of the sandbars near Pag-asa Island.

Cayetano said: "Paano magkakaroon ng invasion kung wala namang umagaw o tatayo sa sandbar na 'yun?" (How can there be an invasion if there was no one who stole or built structures on that sandbar?)

"What's the proof?" he said. "What are the facts?"


Lumad, Marawi bakwits set off on ‘lakbayan’ for peace, self-determination

From News 5/InterAksyon (Aug 23): Lumad, Marawi bakwits set off on ‘lakbayan’ for peace, self-determination

Lumad ritual before Lakbayan

Lumad rituals observed prior to the departur of Lakbayan bound for Manila. Photographed by Alwin Padua, News5 | InterAksyon

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY – An estimated 300 internally displaced persons from lumad groups in Northern Mindanao communities, and Maranao evacuees from Marawi City, are joining forces to participate in the nationwide people’s caravan of the national minorities to press their rights for self determination, call for just and lasting peace and the lifting of martial law in Mindanao.

The Higaonons, Banoa-on, Talaandig, Matigsalug, Manobos and Maranao evacuees held an interfaith prayers and offered a ritual during the send off ceremony Tuesday, August 22, at the Press Freedom Monument, here.

Datu Jomorito Goaynon, chairperson of the Lumad organization Kalumbay in Northern Mindanao, said the group are to board a ferry bound for Cebu, where protest rallies are set on August 24-25.

From Cebu, the group will travel to Masbate, then to Sorsogon, Naga City; and onward by land to Mendiola near MalacaƱang in Manila.

Other delegates from Visayas and Mindanao are expected to arrive in Manila on September 1.

Goaynon said the delegates from Mindanao number 1,500, but participants from different tribal groups all over the country may swell that number to about 3,000 people.

The lumad leader said they will set up camp inside the UP compound in Diliman, Quezon City, from September 1-21.

Goaynon said the ‘Lakbayan’ aims to underscore their call for respect of IPs’ and Moros’ rights for self-determination; the lifting of the military rule in Mindanao; and lasting peace.

“We wish to bring the message to President Rodrigo Duterte that there are residual issues, such as stopping extrajudicial killings and violation of the human rights in our lumad and indigenous communities,” he said.

The Northern Mindanao delegates are expected to take the same route on their way back home on September 23.


Oplan Halang-halang

From the Mindanao Times (Aug 23): Oplan Halang-halang

DCPO sees NPA involvement in seized guns

THE DAVAO City Police Office (DCPO) yesterday said the firearms seized at a checkpoint are intended for the liquidation squad of the New People’s Army (NPA) as part of its Oplan Halang Halang.

This as an investigator identified the one who was carrying the pack bag that contained the guns.

DCPO director Alexander Tagum admitted there is a “real” threat from the NPA.

“(We) should (be) alerted to the grim reality of Oplan Halang Halang of the NPAs,” Tagum said, adding that he has already disseminated his observation to all the men and women of DCPO.

Tagum said that based on their close scrutiny and examination on the recovered firearms they have arrived to the conclusion that the NPA is involved in the case.

He said the seized firearms were buried arms cache as indicated by the rust in the guns and the obvious soil patina left in the surface of the gun metal.

Tagum said that despite the absence of ammunition, the bomb-sniffing dogs detected it. This, he said, indicates gun powder residue, proving that the guns were recently fired.

Thirdly, Tagum said the courier loaded the bag in Surigao City where the NPAs are actively operating.

The DCPO chief said the number of guns – seven .45 pistols and one Ingram Machine Pistol – is enough to arm an NPA hit squad.


The DCPO also released yesterday the name of the suspect who was carrying the seized bag that contained the guns.

DCPO spokesperson Sr. Insp. Maria Theresita Gaspan identified the suspect as a certain Arnold Juayon.

“He is at large but his name was identified through the logbook that he signed at the checkpoint area,” Gaspan said.

She said the conductor, name withheld, pointed Juayon as the one who carried the bag as they reviewed the closed circuit television footages at the checkpoint area.

Gaspan said Juayon was the one who disappeared after signing the log book.

During the conduct of inspection, the suspect was no longer found when the authorities called the names of those persons who signed the logbook.

Members of the Task Force Davao seized the firearms in a checkpoint in Sitio Licanan, Barangay Alejandra Navarro (Lasang) in Bunawan around 9 a.m. on Monday.

A city-bound Bachelor bus coming from Tacloban, Leyte, with plate number WOY 113, passed by at the checkpoint and the mandatory inspection was conducted.

During the inspection, a bomb-sniffing dog sat in one of the baggage placed at the bus compartment, pointing that there could be illegal substances inside the black-colored pack bag.

Guns were found inside the bag.

Contrary to the earlier report, there were 30 persons on board the bus – 28 passengers, the driver and the conductor.

Shadowy group calls for Duterte’s ouster

From the Mindanao Examiner (Aug 22): Shadowy group calls for Duterte’s ouster

A shadowy group called Patriotic and Democratic Movement or PADEM, composed of military and police officers and members, has called for the ouster of President Rodrigo Duterte and cited 10 reasons for its action. It accused Duterte of treating the military and police as his private armies and for betraying and violating public trust.

It also urged Filipinos to join PADEM in condemning and fighting Duterte and his administration and to stage mass actions and demand the President’s ouster.

In a manifesto, Antonio Bonifacio, who claimed to be PADEM’s spokesman, called on members of the military and police to also join the people in demanding Duterte’s resignation and also his administration. It said the group is working for the withdrawal military and police support for Duterte.

“We urge all Filipinos as individuals and as groups in whatever social sector, field, institution or organization to exercise their right of assembly and expression to undertake mass actions demanding the ouster of Duterte and his administration. We call on our fellow officers and members of the AFP and the PNP to join the people in demanding the resignation or ouster of Duterte and his administration.”

“We pledge to work for the withdrawal of military and police support for Duterte and his administration in conjunction with mass mobilization of the Filipino people in millions to manifest their demand for the resignation or ouster of Duterte and his administration. Upon the change of administration, we pledge to follow the principle of civilian supremacy and support a new civilian administration, in accordance with the 1987 Constitution and the rule of law,” the manifesto, released by Bonifacio – believed to be a nom de guerre – said.

PADEM also condemned and holds accountable for gross crimes in betrayal of public trust and in violation of national sovereignty and democratic rights of the Filipino people.

It cited the following reasons as alleged crimes of Duterte:
  1. Treating the AFP and the PNP as these were his private armies and practising favoritism and violating professional and service standards in the promotion and assignment of officers;
  2. Corrupting the PNP and the AFP with a system of monetary awards for the extrajudicial killing of alleged illegal drug users and of NPA suspects;
  3. Condoning and protecting top-level illegal drug lords;
  4. Emboldening/inciting police officers to engage in extrajudicial killings of poor suspected illegal drug users and pushers by publicly telling officers to plant evidence and by guaranteeing their pardon and promotion in case of conviction;
  5. Aggravating corruption in government and criminality through the collusion of Duterte trustees and crime syndicates;
  6. Allowing China to occupy maritime features in the West Philippine Sea and to violate Philippine sovereign rights upheld by decision of the Arbitral Tribunal in accordance with the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea;
  7. Bungling the operations in Marawi City and indiscriminately destroying lives and property through aerial bombings, artillery and mortar;
  8. Favoring certain Chinese businessmen and Duterte relatives and cronies in the award of projected infrastructure projects using loans from China;
  9. Betraying the sovereign rights of the Filipino people by making the Philippines a debt vassal of China and offering to China the oil and gas resources under the West Philippine Sea as collateral for Chinese loans; and
  10. Seeking to replace the partnership with the United States in matters of national security with an even more lopsided relationship with China and Russia.
Television network GMA reported that the military has reiterated its support for the administration of Duterte and strongly denied PADEM’s allegations. Military spokesman Brigadier General Restituto Padilla said the entire Armed Forces of the Philippines, along with all the men and women of the uniformed services and all their civilian personnel, stand by the government and support Duterte, their commander-in-chief.

Padilla said the accusations and issues cited by the group are unfounded and uncalled for. “Such issues are clearly politically motivated and a matter that the AFP does not and will not subscribe to,” GMA quoted him as saying, adding, they are the constitutionally mandated protectors of the people and will stand by law-abiding citizens whenever and wherever they are needed.

“Having affirmed this, the AFP, however, will not hesitate in acting against forces who shall undermine the stability and security of our country and those who wish to destabilize our nation thru unconstitutional means,” he said.

Communist rebels had previously said that the Central Intelligence Agency is plotting to oust Duterte alongside the plan to assassinate Jose Maria Sison, founder of the Communist Party of the Philippines.

Sison, in a statement he issued in May, said those who continue to support him assert that performance in a year is not enough basis for a final judgment and that there is more than enough time ahead for him to accomplish promises that have most impressed them, such as the eradication of the drug problem, criminality, and corruption.

He said Duterte has, in fact, pleaded that he needs three or four more years to bring about the significant changes that he previously thought would be done in six months’ time. His promised campaign against the pork barrel and other forms of corruption of the Aquino regime has not yet materialized.

“Where he has been most successful at, projecting himself as a strong leader by calling on the police and the public to kill drug addict-pushers, he has attracted the most severe and sustained condemnation by institutions, the mass organizations, the human rights formations, various churches, major mass media and respected personages in the Philippines and abroad. These detractors allege on the basis of mass media reports and police records that 7,000 to 10,000 extra-judicial killings have been perpetrated in violation of human rights and with impunity by the police and by police-directed vigilantes. The victims are overwhelmingly poor people in urban slum areas,” he said.

He said U.S. officials and the European Commission have criticized the Duterte regime and threatened to impose certain sanctions. Most recently, the representatives of 45 out of 47 governments in the UN Human Rights Commission universal periodic review of the human rights situation have urged the Philippine government to investigate the alleged extrajudicial killings.

“In turn, the Duterte regime has expressed fears that the dissenting military and police officers are engaged in a coup plot. To counter the coup threat, Duterte appointed to his cabinet more retired military officers whom he considers personally loyal to him. But the United States is still the master of the coup through its Central Intelligence Agency and the Defense Intelligence Agency in the Philippines,” Sison said.

ISIS militants attack troops in Lanao town

From the Mindanao Examiner (Aug 22): ISIS militants attack troops in Lanao town

Local ISIS militants attacked an army base on Tuesday and wounded 4 soldiers in Marantao town near the besieged city of Marawi in the southern Philippine province of Lanao del Sur, reports said.

Reports said some 50 militants were involved in the attack and also targeted the town’s police station. The military spokesperson Captain Jo-ann Petinglay did not report the casualties, but she said one of the attackers was slain in the fighting. The militants attacked the base with automatic rifles and fighting lasted about an hour.

“The gun battle yielded to the death of a terrorist and the recovery of two rocket-propelled grenades, M79 ammunition link for M60 machine gun and an M203 ammunition. The cadaver was retrieved by the operating troops in the area of engagement,” she said without further elaborating.

Despite the attack in Marantao and the fighting in Marawi City, classes at the Mindanao State University opened without any incident. Petinglay said soldiers also tightened checkpoints in the province to preempt any diversionary ploys by the Maute group to disrupt the opening of classes at the Mindanao State University.


Army, PNP brass visit wounded lawman, SDUs

From the Catanduanes Tribune (Aug 21): Army, PNP brass visit wounded lawman, SDUs

The commander of the 901st Infantry Brigade, 9th Infantry Division (PA), Col. Alden Juan Masagca, visited the province last Friday to confer with his troops – the remaining company here of the 83rd Infantry Battalion based in Lictin, San Andres – regarding the Aug. 10 ambush conducted by the New People’s Army against the local police.

In a press release, Col. Masagca condemned the communist movement’s use of the improvised explosive device in the incident as a “horrific and inhuman” action in violation of the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL) signed by the CPP-NDF-NPA and the government.

The brigade stated that the attack targeted “defenseless” policemen and surrendered drug users out to change their lives from drug addiction, adding that the SDUs are not legitimate targets and should be protected instead of being fired at and targeted with IEDs.

In expressing his unit’s profound condolences to the slain police personnel and the wounded civilians, Col. Masagca hopes this would be the right time for Catandunganons to unite against the NPA.

The 901st Brigade commander’s visit was followed last Sunday morning by that of PNP Bicol regional director Chief Superintendent Antonio Guardiola, who conducted a command conference with Catanduanes PNP provincial director Senior Superintendent Felix Servita Jr. and his chiefs of police at Camp Francisco Camacho.

The RD later visited SPO1 Marwin de Vera as well as the wounded surrendered drug users still being treated at local hospitals. De Vera appears to be out of danger despite being hit in the abdomen by a sniper’s bullet while one of the three SDUs is still being observed after he was struck in the eye by shrapnel.

Both Col. Masagca and PD Servita refused to comment on the possible effect of the ambush on the declaration of Catanduanes as a province moving towards peace and development following the significant reduction in the number of communist guerillas operating in the island......


Security threat cancels Asean meeting in Bicol

From the Business Mirror (Aug 21): Security threat cancels Asean meeting in Bicol

A credible security threat has forced the cancellation of the five-day Asean Ministerial meeting in Bicol scheduled to start on Tuesday, August 22, at the Albay Misibis Resort.

Rep. Joey S. Salceda of the Second District of Albay said the decision to cancel the Asean meeting in Albay was reached by the Asean Committee on Security.

Earlier, the Philippine National Police (PNP) in Bicol said security preparation for the five-day Asean delegates’ meeting was all set ready amid the escalating operations of the Communist New People’s Army (NPA).

Salceda said he received a letter from Ambassador Marcian Paynor that top officials of the Asean 2017 National Organizing Council (NOC) had reached a unanimous decision to recommend cancellation for the Albay conference after it received an intelligence report that the NPA has deployed 800-ready improvised explosive devices in Camarines Sur and neighboring provinces. Albay is an hour-ride from Camarines Sur.

The intensified NPA operation in Bicol resulted in an encounter with government troops in Sorsogon on August 8, where two soldiers were killed. A succeeding encounter took place in the island of Catanduanes on August 10 when heavily armed rebels ambushed two police-patrol cars in convoy escorting 10 drug surrenderees. The rebels used an improvised explosive device that followed a gunbattle with a responding police team that killed two policemen and wounded two others, including the police chief.

The Asean delegates meeting for the Albay venue has been transferred to Metro Manila.

The cancellation of the 2017 Asean conference in Albay was a sad development, Salceda said. The first Asean summit in 2015 for the Asia-Pacific Economic Conference (Apec) scheduled in Albay was canceled due to bad weather.

Salceda is the proponent of both the Apec and Asean conferences in Albay.


Rebel killed in Sultan Kudarat clash

From the Manila Bulletin (Aug 21): Rebel killed in Sultan Kudarat clash

A New People’s Army (NPA) guerrila was killed, while two others were captured after a clash with Army troops in Laguilayan Village, Isulan, Sultan Kudarat, over the weekend.

Reports disclosed that troops of the 33rd Infantry Battalion were conducting patrol operations following a tip from a farmer about the presence of NPAs in the area, when they engaged more or less 30 communist rebels in Sitio Tamil-tamil, a thickly vegetated area in the Daguma Mountain Range, at about 10:30 a.m.

Capt. Raul Gandionco, the leader of the troops, said that they engaged the bandits in a running gunbattle that injured one soldier.

An NPA fighter was also killed as a result of the clash.

“We recovered an M16 Rifle, a hand grenade, and improvised bombs in the encounter site. The fleeing bandits dragged the other casualties with them,” Gandionco said.

Blocking forces led by Capt. Gleneil Ambojnon also captured two suspected NPA bandits and seized a 12-gauge shot gun.

Col. Bismarck Soliba, commander of the First Mechanized Infantry Brigade, noted that the NPA rebels, believed to be under a certain Ka George, have recruited and are training minors in their encampment.

“The employment of child warriors in armed conflict is a violation of the Geneva Convention. It is also punishable under R.A. 9851, the local law that punishes IHL violations,” he said.

Communist influence has significantly dwindled in Sultan Kudarat due to better governance and the effective delivery of social services by the local government.


Maute supporters killed in Marantao attack; 4 soldiers hurt

From GMA News (Aug 22): 3 Maute supporters killed in Marantao attack; 4 soldiers hurt

One was killed while four soldiers were hurt Tuesday when armed men, believed to be supporters of the Maute terrorist group, opened fire on them in Marantao, Lanao del Sur.

GMA News' Sandra Aguinaldo reported on News To Go that the military was able to repel the attack after an hour of firefight with the help of an airstrike.

The attack delayed the opening of classes at the Mindanao State University as officials had to lock the gates for security reasons. The gates were finally opened at 9 a.m. after security officials declared the situation under control.

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) said the attack could be linked to the opening of classes at the MSU.

Col. Romeo Brawner, deputy commander of Joint Task Force Ranao, said more or less 20 armed men attacked the Army detachment along the highway, in front the Marantao municipal police station at around 5:20 a.m.

Brawner said the person killed belonged to the armed group.

“Ang result may isa tayong napatay sa kalaban, pero may wounded dito sa atin apat, pero slight wounds lang, mga shrapnel lang,” he said in an interview with reporters.

He said troops have recovered the body of killed enemy and firearms.

“May mga na-recover tayong mga baril tapos ‘yung patay sa kabila na-recover natin yung body. Tapos naka-recover tayo ng isang RPG, mga bala ng M60,” he said.

According to Police Superintendent Noel Lomente, Deputy Provincial Director for Operations, two other armed men were killed, including the alleged subleader identified as Nasser Imam Amboloto Lomundot, although their bodies were not recovered.

Lomente identified the wounded soldiers as Private First Class Alexis Bacaloscos, Stephyn Cabarles, Altiero Buscano and Angelito Galicia.

Brawner said the attack could be a diversionary tactic to divide the attention of government troops away from the main battle area in Marawi City.

“Ang nakikita namin na purpose nila parang diversionary tactics e, para mawala ‘yung attention dun sa main battle area, tapos possible na konektado dito sa, possible ha, we are not saying na konektado dito sa opening ng school ng MSU kasi ang lapit lang e, Marantao.," he said.

Brawner said the armed men's only intent was to harass the Army detachment and not to breach into Marawi City to join the remaining Maute group members.

The military had said that less than 40 Maute members are still in the war-torn city.


US continues to upgrade PHL’s radar technology

From the Business Mirror (Aug 21): US continues to upgrade PHL’s radar technology

Despite President Duterte’s rants against the United States, Washington continues to aid the Philippines in various, including the turn over today of a radar system to the Philippine Navy.

This is part of Washington’s support in efforts to continuously beef up the intelligence and monitoring capabilities of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).

Navy Spokesman Capt. Lued Lincuna said officials, led by Navy Chief Vice Adm. Joseph Ronald Mercado, will receive the Tethered Aerostat Radar System (TARS) from the US through US Embassy Deputy Chief of Mission Michael Klescheski.

The turnover of the TARS—a self-sustained, unmanned lighter-than-air radar system—at the headquarters of the Naval Education and Training Command in Zambales, is the second donation by the US in less than a month.

Late last month the US turned over to the AFP two Cessna 208B Caravan aircraft, which Manila will use in monitoring its maritime territory.

The two aircraft, principally used for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR), were provided by the US government under its maritime-security initiative through the US Pacific Command.

The two aircraft are long-range patrol planes that would be used in monitoring the Sulu Sea, the West Philippine Sea and even Benham Rise. Lincuna said the TARS should enhance the Navy’s capability in ISR by “effectively detecting maritime and air traffic within the country’s coastal waters using sensors”.

“Moreover, it will also be utilized in the conduct of Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Response operations,” Lincuna added.

The TARS also include a weather station that provides telemetry data to the ground station for the monitoring of ambient temperature, pressure, wind speed and other pertinent parameters in the operation of the system.


Is the Philippine Air Force Getting Bell AH-1 Cobra Attack Helicopters from Jordan?

Posted to MaxDefense (Aug 21): Is the Philippine Air Force Getting Bell AH-1 Cobra Attack Helicopters from Jordan?

MaxDefense noted that one of our regular community members has posted in another known Philippine defense page about the impending arrival of Cobra helicopters from the Kingdom of Jordan. MaxDefense has been asked several times through our community page and through private messages if this information is true, and so far we haven't come back with a definite answer to the general group members.

Also, a lot of our readers were asking MaxDefense when we posted a phrase on our previous blog entry regarding the acquisition of Elbit Systems Hermes 900 medium altitude long endurance UAVs from Israel, wherein we mentioned "another (attack) helicopter model that will arrive early next year". Did this point to the Cobras?

 So the question is, is the Philippines getting Cobras?

One of Jordan's AH-1F Cobra attack helicopters.
Photo from TheAviationist.com.
Road to Cobras:

It should be noted that this is not the first time the Philippine military made interest on acquiring Cobra single-engine attack helicopters.

Among the earliest attempts was in the late 1980s when the Philippine Air Force made a requirement for attack helicopters as part of its fleet re-capitalization plans during the term of former Pres. Corazon Aquino, wherein the Bell AH-1F was eyed for acquisition. This did not materialize and instead the Philippine Air Force acquired the McDonnell Douglas (now Hughes) MD-520MG armed helicopters that the PAF continues to use to this day.

The last one was in 2009 during the time of former Pres. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, wherein the requirement for the Philippine Air Force's attack helicopter project included the acquisition of ex-Israel Defense Forces AF-1S Tzefa attack helicopters under the PAF's then Night Capable Attack Helicopter project, which are to be refurbished before delivery. The project proceeded with a requirement for brand new helicopters wherein Asian Helicopters won with their MD-530F

Being second hand, it drew flak from several groups due to allegations of being a "midnight deal" that is being pushed in the final days of the Arroyo administration. It did not get traction during the term of Pres. Benigno Aquino III, until the PAF decided to go on a brand new route, which led to the project's awarding to AgustaWestland (now Leonardo) for their AW-109E Power armed helicopters.

There were also interests made on the twin-engine Super Cobra, the last one was back in 2006 when the defense department tried to negotiate with the US government for four to six ex-US Marine Corps AW-1W Super Cobra helicopters, which was competing with another option of larger number of second-hand MD-520. The project was also scrapped later on.

Its best to take note that the PAF's Attack Helicopter project were the Leonardo AW-109E was acquired was not a Horizon 1 phase project under the 2013-2028 Revised AFP Modernization Program, but was actually part of the older 1995-2010 AFP Modernization Program. This is because it was actually an evolution of the Night Capable Attack Helicopter and the earlier Attack Helicopter Acquisition Projects.

Filipino and American airmen around an AH-1W Super Cobra during Balikatan 2014. The PAF actually showed interest on twin-engined AH-1W Super Cobras in the past.
Photo taken from Aiirsource Military's Youtube page.

The Jordanian Donation Offer: AF-1F Cobra:

MaxDefense was initially informed by one of our community members about the possible arrival of Cobra helicopters last July 2017. The initial info is that the Kingdom of Jordan offered to donate 2 used Bell AH-1F Cobra attack helicopters to the Philippines, and Philippine Air Force officers/technical team and defense officials were able to check out the Cobras in Jordan last June 2017. MaxDefense has a photo to support the PAF inspection but has not yet receive approval to post the photo through any of our public pages.

Succeeding information that MaxDefense received from its sources confirmed that the Jordanian offer was originally for four units, but was reduced to two. The Philippine Air Force is still finalizing the acceptance of the helicopters, while defense officials are said to be negotiating with Jordanian defense officials toincrease it back to four helicopters. It still remains to be seen if this request could be approved.

It is still for clarification if the Jordanian AH-1F Cobras being offered are among those new builds they obtained in the late 1980s from the US, or ex-US Army units transferred in 2001. While Jordan received former Israeli AH-1F Tzefas a few years ago, it is highly unlikely that the units offered to the Philippines are from this batch of helicopters from Israel.

The Philippines is also not the first country to receive AH-1F Cobras as donation from Jordan. Earlier this year Kenya was reported to have received at least one and probably more AH-1F Cobras from Jordan.

A Jordanian AH-1F firing 2.75" rockets. The AH-1's advantage over existing armed helicopters in the PAF include larger munition capacity.
Photo taken from Defense Update page.

The Possible Israeli Route - AH-1F Tzefa

Aside from this, it was also mentioned to MaxDefense that the DND might also be planning, or might already be in discussion with their Israeli counterparts to provide some of its stored upgraded AH-1E/F Tzefa attack helicopters to the Philippine Air Force, probably as donation as well, considering Israel already made the same arrangement with Jordan a few years ago to help secure against ISIS-related attacks.

It is also difficult for the DND to justify a second hand purchase, considering Pres. Duterte's latest statements of acquiring only brand new units. A donation, being free, might not be affected by this instruction.

It remains to be seen though if this would materialize.

Israel's AH-1F Tzefa attack helicopter, which were retired in favour of unmanned aircraft. Israel may provide a few examples to the Philippines if an agreement is reached.
Credits to owner of photo.

Back to the Question:

So is the PAF getting AH-1 Cobras? Although the answer is still not definite 100%, as also agreed upon by our sources, the answer is closer on the "yes" rather than "no". As of our last check, the AH-1F donation from Jordan is still for approval by the PAF and AFP's senior leaders, before it is recommended for approval by higher authorities. But being a donation, MaxDefense expects the senior leaders to approve and accept the offer and fund for its transfer.

So far there's no budget allocation yet for the preparation for the helicopters, which includes training of PAF personnel with the Royal Jordanian Air Force, and transportation and delivery of the helicopters to the Philippines, among others. So until these are confirmed, its best to say that it the chances are high that the PAF is getting Jordanian Cobras but its not 100% confirmed.

Another reason why its closer to being a "yes", is that the PAF has already started requesting for queries on how to improve the helicopters for donation.

How about MaxDefense's mention of the "another (attack) helicopter model arriving next year", was it the Cobra? While the direct answer is yes, MaxDefense is also talking about the possibility of having another attack helicopter model since the PAF is acquiring more attack helicopters under the Horizon 2 phase of the Revised AFP Modernization Program. And it may not necessarily be more AW-109E Power.

The only reason MaxDefense did not post about this information before was because of the lack of photographic evidence to back-up our post. But since its already out anyway, we'll just post any photograph to corroborate the information once it's allowed for public consumption.


According to our sources, the PAF has also shown interest to upgrade these Cobra helicopters if they are acquired. Among those they are looking at are upgrades on the avionics systems, and possibly the weapons system as well.

Considering that these Jordanian Cobras are not upgraded since they were received, it is highly likely to still be using avionics that are older than what the newer AW-109E Power is currently using, despite not being a purpose-built attack helicopter.

Also, the weapons systems might be a concern. The Cobra's advantages over current PAF armed helicopters is the presence of a heavy internal oscillating gatling cannon (20mm M197 3-barrel cannon) and the use of an anti-tank missile system. But the anti-tank is currently limited to the American TOW missile, which is not exactly the most modern missile in the market now, and would not be as easy to acquire than the Spike missile.

With the AFP, specifically the Philippine Navy, introducing the Rafael Spike missile including a helicopter-launched variant, it is highly likely that the Philippine Army may also want the missile for its anti-tank requirements, including a helicopter-launched one. And this means upgrade for the AH-1Fs are imminent. Take note that Israel's AH-1Fs are upgraded to fire the Spike missile as well.

An Israe AH-1S Tzefa carrying a Spike missile launcher. The PAF may also do a similar upgrade considering the PN is acquiring the same system for its upcoming AW-159 helicopters.
Photo taken from Defense Update page.

Peritent Schedules:

If the donation of Jordanian AH-1F, and hopefully any other Cobra offer from Israel are approved, it is expected that the PAF will be sending their pilots and ground crew for training in Jordan by November this year, and the helicopters delivered to the Philippines by early next year.

MaxDefense won't be discussing about the AH-1F Cobra's capabilities and other performance issues, and suggest its readers to read publicly available sources by Googling them.

MaxDefense believes that there will be more information coming out in the next few months, or even weeks, as the PAF closes its own schedules on how they will proceed with the Jordanian AH-1Fs. Until then, MaxDefense will be posting new updates once information becomes available and good for release to the public.


NPA recruiting, says Army official

From the Visayan Daily Star (Aug 22): NPA recruiting, says Army official

The commander of the 3rd Infantry Division of the Philippine Army, Maj. Gen. Jon Aying, has confirmed recently that the New People's Army is doing massive recruitment in Negros, but stressed he is confident that their membership does not reach 300, due to “the economics of war”.

He said recruitment would mean additional resources, but the Communist Party of the Philippines-NPA is, at this time, dependent only on extortion activities.

Extortion activities of the CPP/NPA are confirmed in all levels, even the poorest of the poor in hinterland communities, and barangay captains are victimized, he said.

He also does not discount the possibility that they get their money from illegal drugs. Aying said extortion activities of the CPP/NPA had to be stopped and the only way to do it is for “the prospects to refuse the collection activity”.

Aying said that “as soon as our forces in Mindanao are back, we will teach them a lesson again; this time will be harder and more regretful for them.”

With the pronouncement of the President of additional 20,000 troops for the Armed Forces of the Philippines and additional 10,000 policemen, Aying said in three year's time, there will be enough forces for stability all over the Philippines and by then the whole nation's approach will be stronger than ever.

Aying was guest of honor at the 11 th anniversary of the 79th Infantry Masaligan Battalion, headed by Lt. Col. Roderick Garcia, at Camp Leon Kilat in Tanjay City, Negros Oriental.

Negros Oriental Gov. Roel Degamo, meanwhile, congratulated the 79th IB, to whom he relied on in sustaining the peace in the province, in cooperation with the Philippine National Police, non-government and civil society organizations.

Through Bayanihan activities, the number of insurgents in the southeast front, from the second to the third district, has drastically declined since 2011, and this led to the declaration of Negros Oriental as conflict manageable and development-ready province.


Maute supporters stage attack in Lanao del Sur

From Malaya Business Insight (Aug 23): Maute supporters stage attack in Lanao del Sur

ALLEGED sympathizers of the Maute Group yesterday attacked a military detachment in Marantao town in Lanao del Sur, about three kilometers from the main area in Marawi City, where soldiers have been battling the terrorists for three months now.

One of the sympathizers was killed while four soldiers were wounded.

The attack is seen as a “diversionary tactic, to divert military attention from the main battle area,” said Col. Romeo Brawner, deputy commander of the military Joint Task Force Ranao based in Marawi City.

Brawner said the group was also possibly aiming to disrupt the opening of classes at the Mindanao State University in Marawi City. He said classes opened despite the incident.

Brawner said about 20 Maute supporters attacked the detachment at around 5:20 a.m., triggering a one-hour firefight.

The detachment, manned by soldiers and policemen, also serves as a checkpoint.

During clearing operations, troops recovered the body of a still unidentified Maute supporter, a rocket propelled-grenade, molotov bombs, assorted ammunition, and P30,000 cash.

Asked if the group will reinforce the Maute remnants in the main battle area in Marawi, Brawner said: “If they are on the way to the main battle area, they are going to avoid the detachment and enter (the main battle area). But it’s not… this is just a harassment (incident),” he said.

Col. Edgard Arevalo, chief of the AFP public affairs chief, said the conflict which started on May 23 has left 585 Maute members dead, 129 soldiers and policemen, and 45 civilians.

Around 50 Maute members remain in Marawi.


PeaceTech seminar on peace communication slated on Sept 24-30

From the Philippine Information Agency (Aug 22): PeaceTech seminar on peace communication slated on Sept 24-30

Calling all youth aged 18-23 years old in Zamboanga, Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi!

PeaceTech, a non-government, non-profit organization will be conducting a free Empowerment for Peace through Information and Communication seminar from September 24-30 in Zamboanga City, said Jules Benitez, project coordinator.

The seminar is open to either in-school or out of school youth coming from the mentioned areas, and this workshop will connect simultaneously with Baguio City, Cagayan de Oro City, Cebu City, Cotabato City, Metro Manila and Zamboanga City.

The workshop objective is to connect youths coming from the different areas especially in Mindanao using video conferencing and social media and discuss about peace building. “We aim to bring the youth into the peace process so that they will feel included,” Benitez said.

Modules on conflict management and resolution, history and culture, management skills and project implementation have been knit into the weeklong seminar.

Application forms can be secured thru Mr. Jules Benitez’s Facebook page (www.facebook.com/jules.benitez). The deadline for submission of the forms is on or before September 1, 2017.

This project is done in partnership with the United States Embassy and Globe.


Road workers find mortars in North Cotabato

From the Philippine News Agency (Aug 22): Road workers find mortars in North Cotabato

Alert construction workers prevented what could be accidental explosion of explosive device found on a roadside in Kabacan, North Cotabato after they alerted the police about their discovery Monday.

Four more explosives were discovered by Army and police bomb experts during disposal operations.

Samsudin Kasim, a construction worker, said the back-hoe operator digging the roadside noticed what looked like a mortar. When double checked, the workers saw 81 mm mortar.

Kasim immediately alerted the police who sought assistance from bomb experts.

During follow up operation, four more mortar rounds were found and safely recovered by police bomb experts and turned over to the military’s 602nd Infantry Brigade.

A police official said the ordnance could have been planted by lawless elements on the roadside due to the presence of police and military personnel on checkpoints following the declaration of martial law last May.


BIFF men yield to MILF after 3 weeks of fighting

From the Philippine News Agency (Aug 22): BIFF men yield to MILF after 3 weeks of fighting

For fear of their life, including their families, 11 members of ISIS-inspired armed group in Maguindanao on Monday surrendered to Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) leaders following three weeks of fighting between former comrades in arms.

Commander Haon of the MILF said the 11 members of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) voluntarily surrendered to joint MILF Task Force Ittihad (Unity), police and military forces with their firearms.

They belong to Jaamatul Mujahireen Al Wansar in Datu Salibo, Maguindanao under Esmael Abdulmalik alias “Commander Toraife.”

Sr. Supt. Agustin Tello, Maguindanao police provincial director, said the BIFF who yielded had asked to remain unidentified for the protection of their families.

After their surrender, the BIFF fighters vowed before the Holy Qur’an in front of Muslim Imam Uztadz Muhideen that they will no longer rejoin the BIFF.

The “reformed BIFF” later guided Commander Haon in an area in Barangay Andavit where the BIFF hid 11 improvised explosive devices they were to use against the MILF and the military in Maguindanao.

Commander Haon turned over the recovered IEDs, composed of 60 and 81 mm mortars, to the Maguindanao police provincial office.

The MILF is still studying whether to let the surrenderees rejoin the MILF or they will be turned over to the government forces.

Under the GPH-MILF ceasefire agreement, the MILF will help government forces get rid of terrorists in territories identified with the MILF.


Troops start clean-up drive in Marawi

From the Philippine News Agency (Aug 22): Troops start clean-up drive in Marawi

Government forces have been deployed to undertake clean-up operation of the “grimy and ruined streets” as fighting continues in the “main battle area” of the besieged city of Marawi.

The Western Mindanao Command (Westmincom) said in a statement e-mailed to the Philippine News Agency that security personnel, armed with brooms, grass cutters, bolo and white wash, roamed in areas of the city already declared “cleared” of enemy presence.

The clean-up drive initiated by the Joint Task Force Tabang headed by Col. Thomas Sedano is dubbed as “Kaplimpiyo tano ko Kalilintad” in Maranao, which means in Tagalog as “Maglinis tayo para sa kapayapaan (Let us clean for peace).
The target areas of the clean-up drive are the roads in Barangays Emie Punud, Matampay, Sarimanok, Marawi poblacion and Malalat.

Utilizing all the Civil Military Operation units available, the group was successful in cleaning up what was left of the fighting after Daesh-inspired Maute group attacked Marawi City.

Sedano said they “will do it little by little” since they lack manpower to undertake clean-up drive.

But Sedano said they will ensure that the streets will not look as grubby and filthy as how it appeared to be before “we started cleaning up,”

“Our primary intention is to avoid an epidemic that could plague our communities by the time residents of Marawi (City) will be allowed to come back,” the Westmincom said, quoting Sedano said saying.

The clean-up drive for religious icons such as mosques was launched on Saturday, August 19, in Barangay Lilod, Tulali, Marawi City.

Around 15 policemen and a team of soldiers cleaned and undertake minor repairs of the Saad Huzam Almusairi Masjid located in the area.

Senior Supt. Rolando Anduyan, Joint Task Group PNP commander, said they deployed Maranao policemen to undertake clean-up of mosques “to specifically address cultural sensitivity issues,”

“They are the proper persons who know how to do the job without violating religious practices and beliefs,” Anduyan said.

“We will continue doing this in partnership with the police so that mosques that have been preserved will be able to cater Moslem believers immediately by the time we give a green light for soldiers to go back to their homes,” Brig. Gen. Joselito Rolando Bautista, Joint Task Force Marawi commander, said.

He said the next in line for clearing are mosques inside the Main Battle Area.

“Your uniformed troops will be continually involved in rehabilitation activities within and outside Marawi City,” Lt. Gen. Carlito Galvez Jr., Westmincom chief said.


Army thwarts attempt to disrupt class opening at MSU-Marawi

From the Philippine News Agency (Aug 22): Army thwarts attempt to disrupt class opening at MSU-Marawi

The ISIS-inspired Maute group on Tuesday attacked a military outpost, which authorities described as an attempt to disrupt the opening of classes at the Mindanao State University (MSU) in Marawi City.

The attack happened around 4:45 a.m. at a temporary military outpost in Barangay Poblacion in Marantao, Lanao del Sur, the Western Mindanao Command (Westmincom) reported.A member of the Maute group was killed when government troops returned fire. The troops recovered the remains of the slain Maute attacker.

The troops also recovered two rocket-propelled grenades, ammunition link for M-60 machine gun, and M-203 ammunition.

“In their attempt to cause havoc, the terrorists even incurred casualties with the preparation of our ground troops,” said Brig. Gen. Joselito Rolando Bautista, Joint Task Force Marawi commander.

Troops further tightened checkpoints in their respective areas of operation to preempt any diversionary attacks by the Maute group to disrupt the opening of classes at the MSU.

“We are on top of the situation and our troops are prepositioned to thwart any attempts by the terrorists to hamper security. We are also denying reports that there is a lockdown within the campus of the Mindanao State University or its immediate vicinity.

Classes at the said university already resumed this morning,” Lt. Gen. Carlito Galvez Jr., Westmincom chief said.

“With the heightened security, students were transported from Iligan City to Marawi earlier today,” he added.

About 600 students and MSU officials aboard 12 buses left Iligan City and were escorted by the military and police to MSU campus.

“We will make sure that any attempts to thwart our plans for normalcy of Marawi City will not be successful,” Galvez said.

“With the help of the MSU community and those who desire to build back a better Marawi City, we are sure that we can defeat any terror group from perpetrating their plan,” he added.

A send-off ceremony was held at around 8 a.m. with Iligan City Mayor Celso Regencia; Jamaloden Basar, OIC of MSU; Colonel Allan Hambala, chief of staff of the Army’s 1st Infantry Division; and Supt. Ebra Moxir of the Marawi City police.

The Westmincom said the students arrived at the MSU campus in Marawi City around 11:15 a.m. Tuesday. An opening program was also held at Antonio Isidro Hall inside the MSU campus.

MSU Division of the Student Affairs Director Usman Aragasi welcomed the students, officials, military and police officers present.

He also expressed gratitude to the Joint Task Group Ranao for the support extended to them.

National Youth Commission chair Aiza Seguerra also graced the opening of classes at MSU.


6 more nabbed for selling bomb materials

From the Philippine News Agency (Aug 22): 6 more nabbed for selling bomb materials

ZAMBOANGA CITY -- Six more people were arrested in possession of improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and bomb-making components in this city, the police said Tuesday.

Supt. Nonito Asdai, Police Station 6 chief, identified those arrested as: Garry Jarani, 21; Abdusali Jarani, 58; Balli Samsarani, 50; Munsol Bara, 19; Alijon Maimbong, 45; and, Tando Tanoh, 48, all residents of Maluso, Basilan.

Asdai said the suspects were arrested by his personnel backed by Maritime policemen in a buy-bust operation at around 11 p.m. Monday in Sitio Buggoc, Barangay Kasanyangan.

Asdai said the suspects were arrested after they sold bomb-making components to an undercover policeman in exchange for P150.

He said the buy-bust operation was carried out after they received information on the suspects illegal activities.

He said the arresting team confiscated from the suspects' possession the following: 21 kilos ammonium nitrate; nine improvised non-electric blasting caps; seven time fused; one measuring cap; seven bottles of 750-milliliter (ml) containing alleged ammonium nitrate; one bottle of 355-ml containing ammonium nitrate; and, P150 marked money.

He said the suspects are now detained while appropriate charges are being readied to be filed against them.

The arrest of the suspects came two days after the police also arrested one person and confiscated large amount of bomb-making components in this city.

Arrested in a law enforcement operation on Sunday was Pagal Nasang Aliapan, 35, resident of Malamawi Island, Isabela City, Basilan province.

Aliapan, who is allegedly into the illegal sale of bomb-making components, was arrested at his temporary residence in Arena Blanco, a coastal barangay in this city.

Aliapan was arrested after he sold bomb-making component in exchange for P500 to an undercover policeman.

Confiscated from the residence of Aliapan were the following: 75 pieces of blasting caps; 17 pieces detonating cords; three plastic bags of one kilo ammonium nitrate; 10 plastic bags of half kilo; 15 sacks of 25 kilos ammonium nitrates; one electrical cutter; and P500 marked money.


Cayetano: No Chinese 'invasion' of PH territory

From the Philippine News Agency (Aug 22): Cayetano: No Chinese 'invasion' of PH territory

Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano on Tuesday denied any invasion that took place in the Philippine territory following reports that China allegedly invaded a sandbar near Pag-asa Island in the West Philippine Sea.

In an interview with reporters at the sidelines of the agency’s PHP19.57-billion 2018 budget briefing at the House of Representatives, Cayetano also reassured the public that the problem within the conflict area has already been “resolved diplomatically”.

“So let me assure you wala ng problema dun sa area na ‘yun. Kung nagkaproblema naman, it has been resolved diplomatically. But it is not true that there was an attempt na i-invade or agawin (yung territory),” Cayetano said.

Supreme Court Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio earlier claimed that two frigates, a coast guard vessel, and two fishing boats of China were guarding Sandy Cay, 2.5 nautical miles from Pag-asa Island.

Carpio described the move as an “invasion of Philippine territory by China”.

Cayetano noted that the department has taken all diplomatic actions necessary but refused to divulge any further details about the situation.

The country’s top diplomat reiterated that the mere presence of Chinese vessels “does not mean anything” and should not be a cause for alarm.

“So let me assure you that despite the lack of details that we give you, we will tell you if there’s an alarming situation, or if the public is in danger, or if we are going to take or step up certain actions that need the public’s support or at the very least knowledge,” Cayetano said.

The DFA chief said the Duterte administration has been consistent with its efforts to uphold the country’s territorial claims, as well as its claims for sovereignty and economic rights.

“We’re not giving up a single inch of our territory,” Cayetano said.


AFP denies links with group calling for Duterte ouster

From the Philippine News Agency (Aug 22): AFP denies links with group calling for Duterte ouster

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) on Tuesday said it has nothing to do with the group calling itself the "Patriotic and Democractic Movement" (PADEM) which is seeking the ouster of President Rodrigo Duterte.

The group, allegedly composed of AFP and PNP members, claimed that the Chief Executive committed "gross crimes in betrayal of public trusts and in violation of national sovereignty and democractic rights of the the Filipino people."

"The AFP categorically denies the recent statement issued by a group that pretends to be representative of the men and women of the AFP and the PNP and called themselves the PADEM," AFP spokesperson Brig. Gen. Restituto Padilla said in a message to AFP reporters.

He added that the entire AFP supports the constitutionally mandated government and unequivocally supports the President who is also the Commander-in-Chief.

"The accusations and issues cited by the group are unfounded and uncalled for. Such issues are clearly politically motivated and a matter that the AFP does not and will not subscribe to," Padilla stressed.

He also added that current developments and issues that this group wishes to take advantage of is now being addressed by the Department of Justice and parties to a possible crime are now under detention.

"Let us respect these processes and not allow ourselves to be used by individuals or groups with vested interests. We appeal for sobriety, reason and patience as we await the results of these processes," the AFP spokesperson added.

Also, as the constitutionally mandated protectors of the people, Padilla said the AFP will stand by the law abiding citizens whenever necessary.

"Having affirmed this, the AFP however, will not hesitate in acting against forces who shall undermine the stability and security of our country and those who wish to destabilize our nation thru unconstitutional means," he pointed out.

In the same vein, Padilla said the entire AFP is appealing to the public and the various political groups to respect the apolitical stance of the military and help bring unity and healing instead of fomenting divisiveness and collapse.


100 lady soldiers, cops to help in initial Marawi rehab

From the Philippine News Agency (Aug 22): 100 lady soldiers, cops to help in initial Marawi rehab

Around 100 lady police officers and soldiers will be deployed in Marawi City to help in the initial cleaning and rehabilitation phase of the war-torn area.

Col. Edgard Arevalo, AFP public affairs office chief, said the contingent will consists of 40 enlisted military and 60 police personnel.

These personnel will be deployed to give the cleaning and rehabilitation phase a "feminine touch".

Arevalo said these women will be leaving for Marawi City via Villamor Airbase, Pasay City on August 29.

As of 7 p.m. Monday, Maute Group terrorists killed in the ongoing Marawi City clearing operations are now placed at 585 along with 129 government troops and 45 civilians.

Weapons seized are at 648 and rescued civilians at 1,728. Latest monitoring indicated that Abu Sayyaf leader Isnilon Hapilon, Omar and Abdullah Maute, the alleged leader of the Maute Group terrorists, are still inside the city.

Fighting in Marawi City broke out when government troops tried to arrest Hapilon and his cohorts last May 23.


Chinese flag mounted on sand cay near Kota Island: Alejano

From the Philippine News Agency (Aug 22): Chinese flag mounted on sand cay near Kota Island: Alejano

A Chinese flag has been mounted on a sand cay located seven nautical miles off Kota Island in the West Philippines Sea, Magdalo Partylist Rep. Gary Alejano said on Tuesday.

In a press conference at the House of Representatives, Alejano alleged that the Chinese flag was discovered in the third week of July and was planted by a Chinese vessel on a sand cay near a Philippine-owned island.

“According to the information that I received, a Chinese flag mounted on a steel pipe was discovered planted on a sand cay located seven nautical miles northeast off Kota Island,” Alejano said.

“It was discovered around the third week of July 2017. A Chinese vessel allegedly erected the said three-meter high Chinese flag on a sand cay which is known to be within a Philippine-controlled area,” he added.

Alejano expressed concern over the continuous activities of China in the disputed waters in the West Philippine Sea.

“These recently reported incidents only reveal that Chinese activities in the West Philippine Sea have not stopped amid warmer relations between the Philippines and China,” Alejano said.

In a separate interview, Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano said that the department has taken all diplomatic actions necessary within the conflict areas.

Cayetano also said the department will inform the public if the situation should be a cause for alarm.

“So let me assure you that despite the lack of details that we give you, we will tell you if there’s an alarming situation, or if the public is in danger, or if we are going to take or step up certain actions that need the public’s support or at the very least knowledge,” Cayetano said.

The DFA chief reiterated the Duterte administration has been consistent with its efforts to uphold the country’s territorial claims, as well as its claims for sovereignty and economic rights.

“We’re not giving up a single inch of our territory,” Cayetano said.


DWDD: DONNING OF RANK | CHED Commissioner De Vera III commissioned as LTC

From DWDD AFP Civil Relations Service Radio Website (Aug 21): DONNING OF RANK  | CHED Commissioner De Vera III commissioned as LTC

COL JESUS VILLAMOR AIRBASE , Pasay City (DWDD) – Commissioner on Higher Education, Prospero E. De Vera III officially dons his rank as a Lieutenant Colonel of the Philippine Air Force last August 11, 2017 at the Staff Lounge, Col Jesus Villamor Air Base, Pasay City with the Commanding General, PAF Lieutenant General, Edgar R Fallorina AFP as the Presiding Officer.

A professor at the University of the Philippines for Public Administration and Vice President of Public Affairs, Ltc De Vera was also the Adviser to the Government of the Philippines (GPH) Negotiating Panel with the National Democratic Front- Communist Party of the Philippines – New Peoples’ Army (NDF-CPP-NPA).

For thirty years, he is line working in the legislative and executive branches of government in the Philippines and the United States. PAF PAO / Photo Coverage by Sgt Tombado, PAF / MCAG


DWDD: FUTURE AIRMEN | CS Class 2017 Charlie reporting for duty

From DWDD AFP Civil Relations Service Radio Website (Aug 21): FUTURE AIRMEN  |  CS Class 2017 Charlie reporting for duty


LIPA CITY, Batangas (DWDD) – The Philippine Air Force, Air Education, Training and Doctrine Command (AETDC) through the Basic Military Training School (BMTS) officially received the strong 468 Candidate Soldier (CS) Class of 2017 Charlie at the hallowed grounds of AETDC, Fernando Air Base, Lipa City, Batangas last August 8, 2017.

The BMT Class 2017 Charlie is programmed to undergo training in a span of four (4) months. During their stay, the CS will be subjected to a series of rigorous training which will surely test not only their physical abilities, mental toughness but also their emotional responses as well. The set of training programs will definitely transform each individual to solely obtain the basic knowledge with an immovable attitude that is required in serving the military.

Among the other training programs, the future airmen will be indoctrinated with the essential PAF core values of InSTEP which stands for Integrity, Service above self, Teamwork, Excellence and Professionalism. PAF PAO / AETDC / MCAG


DWDD: WARRIORS | PA awards medals to 107 soldiers wounded in action

From DWDD AFP Civil Relations Service Radio Website (Aug 21): WARRIORS  |  PA awards medals to 107 soldiers wounded in action

FORT ANDRES BONIFACIO, Metro Manila (DWDD) – The Philippine Army awarded medals to the 107 soldiers who were wounded in action in Marawi City and other areas in Mindanao led by Major General Elmer C. Pabale, the Commander of the Army’s Support Command. OACPA / MCAG



DWDD: SAFETY TRAINING | PN holds Hazard Identification, Risk Assessment and Determining Control

From DWDD AFP Civil Relations Service Radio Website (Aug 19): SAFETY TRAINING  |  PN holds Hazard Identification, Risk Assessment and Determining Control


BONIFACIO NAVAL STATION, Fort Bonifacio, Metro Manila (DWDD) – The Naval Safety Office (NSO) facilitated the Hazard Identification, Risk Assessment and Determining Control (HIRADC) seminar-workshop attended by around 50 participants coming from different Philippine Navy (PN) units on Aug. 9 to 11 at Bonifacio Naval Station (BNS), Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City.

Two former NSO directors, Capt. Restituto Q. Bilbao, Jr., currently the Commander of BNS; and retired Navy Captain Mario C. Royena, shared their learning experience to the safety officers of different PN units who attended the first day of the activity. Relevant Standing Operating Procedures (SOPs) such as the PN Grounding and Other Unusual Incidents Review Board, HIRADC, and Motorcycle Safety Driving were discussed. Also, scenario-based exercises on safety management were undertaken to determine their level of proficiency.

On the succeeding days of the seminar-workshop, PN officers and enlisted personnel who are yet to undergo training on HIRADC were accommodated. They underwent thorough exercise in the identification of different potential hazards in work area, the process of HIRADC, and risk assessment and control that will help eliminate, minimize or mitigate accidents in the workplace. Also, institutions accredited by the Department of Labor and Employment facilitated lectures and group discussions.

The activity culminated in a simple ceremony with the Chief of Naval Staff as keynote speaker represented by the Assistant Chief of Naval Staff for Operations, N3, Capt. Roy Vincent T. Trinidad. He delivered an inspirational message to the participants on the importance and relevance of safety to all PN personnel, properties, and workplaces. NPAO / MCAG


DWDD: ADVANCEMENT OF IHL | PN takes part in the Humanitarian Law commemoration

From DWDD AFP Civil Relations Service Radio Website (Aug 19): ADVANCEMENT OF IHL  |  PN takes part in the Humanitarian Law commemoration

NAVAL STATION JOSE ANDRADA, Roxas Blvd, Manila (DWDD) – As part of the Armed Forces of the Philippines’s commitment and adherence to International Humanitarian Law (IHL), the Philippine Navy (PN), through the PN Human Rights Office (PNHRO), actively took part in the series of activities in line with the commemoration of the 2017 IHL Month celebration with the theme: “The Advancement of IHL is the Shared Responsibility of All, Pagsulong ng International Humanitarian Law, Pananagutan ng Lahat”.

On August 7, the Acting Chief, PNHRO, Capt. Primitivo S. Decio Jr, led the recitation of the AFP Soldiers pledge of reaffirmation of commitment and support to IHL during the Flag Raising Ceremony at Headquarters Philippine Navy.

On the same day, the PNHRO attended the International Humanitarian Law Seminar-Workshop and Symposium on Internally Displaced Persons hosted by the Department of Education (DepEd) at the Department of Education Central Office, Bulwagan ng Karunungan, Meralco Ave., Pasig City.

PN personnel from different units also joined the Run For Humanity on August 12 at Liwasang Ullalim in CCP Complex hosted by the Philippine Red Cross (PRC), Pasay City Chapter. This yearly fun run was also participated by different government organizations, stakeholders, and IHL Ad hoc committee members.

Lastly, PNHRO attended a Flag Raising Ceremony at the Department of Foreign Affairs, Roxas Boulevard, Pasay City on August 14. It was followed by a ribbon cutting ceremony for the photo exhibit and showing of IHL video clips entitled “Rules of War” and “Emblems”. The symbolic Flag of IHL known as the “IHL Flag” was also raised. Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano, National Defense Secretary Delfin N Lorenzana, and PRC Chairman Sen. Richard Gordon were among the prominent personalities present during the said activity. NPAO / MCAG


DWDD: NORMAL SITUATION | 7 Brgy in Marawi to be opened to the public on Aug 22

From DWDD AFP Civil Relations Service Radio Website (Aug 18): NORMAL SITUATION | 7 Brgy in Marawi to be opened to the public on Aug 22


MINDANAO (DWDD) – The Armed Forces of thePhilippines, through the Joint Task Force Marawi will be allowing residents to return to their homes in seven (7) barangays in Marawi City.

This was confirmed by LTC Emmanuel Garcia of JTF Marawi, who stated that the said barangays is situated around the Mindanao State University campus in Marawi City.

They will be allowing residents to go back to the seven barangays on august 22 to coincide with the start of classes at MSU. To help normalize the situation, the MSU community, the Local Government Unit, the City Disaster Risk Reduction and management Office, the AFP, and the PNP conducted Brigada Eskwela.

Garcia added that they need to protect the well-being MSU and its community because the school is considered as an institution an symbol fo the city.

Regaining control of MSU was a big challenge for authorities, but they exhausted all effort to bring normalcy back to the city. AES / MCAG


DWDD: MISTREATED BY COMRADES | NPA Rebels Surrender with Firearms in Laak, Comval

From DWDD AFP Civil Relations Service Radio Website (Aug 18): MISTREATED BY COMRADES  |  NPA Rebels Surrender with Firearms in Laak, Comval


ASUNCION, Davao del Norte (DWDD) – Two members of Guerilla Front 34 of the Southern Mindanao Regional Committee, New People’s Army voluntarily surrendered with their firearms in Laak, Compostela Valley Province on Saturday (August 12).

Alias Nicky and alias Pido, both 18 years old and residents of Brgy. Melali, Laak, CVP, voluntarily submitted themselves to the joint elements of the Charlie Company of 60th Infantry Battalion and the Delta Company, 72nd Infantry Battalion with the help of the local tribal chieftains who are also CAFGU Active Auxiliaries in Brgy. Datu Ampunan, Laak. The two surrendered with their issued M16 rifles.

Nicky and Pido are both new recruits, having entered the NPA only last August 1, 2017. The NPA, however, have been utilizing Nicky as a supply errand boy since 2016.

Accordingly, both Nicky and Pido decided to leave their respective groups because of the hardships they have encountered in their two weeks of operating in the hinterlands and evading military troops. Both complained about having to bring the heavy belongings of their leaders and senior members and walking several miles every day even without food.

Nicky recalls that some of the older NPA seemed to despise them because of their status, “We were being mistreated by the other members since we were new.” The two thinks that the others were jealous because they were immediately issued their rifles despite not having “proper training” in handling firearms. “But we were already lacking members; that’s why we were already given our guns,” Nicky said in the vernacular.

The two added that while their leaders seem to relish on their extorted money, the rest of the group are left without food and other necessary supplies.

Both Nicky and Pido are members of the Dibabawon tribe. They also claim to be students of Caraga Heart Mine School Foundation located at Brgy. Capda, Loreto, Agusan del Sur.

The two have already been brought to the hospital for physical and medical examination. The LGU has also committed to provide the necessary assistance to aid them as they return to their normal lives.

The two are now undergoing custodial interview.

Months earlier, at least 50 NPA members from Davao del Norte and Compostela Valley have also voluntarily surrendered to 60IB.

60IB Commander, Lt. Col. Emmanuel Canilla says that military operations will be continuously conducted in areas threatened by the NPA criminals. “Our campaign to end the criminal acts of the NPA shall continue and will only intensify as we reach the point of success. This has been our mandate ever since and it is now even more emphasized in this time of Martial Law. These surrenders are proof that our efforts are gaining momentum and, for as far as our legal orders can cover, we do not intend to stop.”

Canilla also emphasized that this trend of surrenders proves contrary to the claims of NPA partisans which cites soldiers’ torturing and abusing of captured and surrendering rebels. “Our soldiers value the rights of all our people regardless of belief or association. We shall not lose hope in giving these victims of communist deception a chance to return to the folds of the law and back in the arms of their families and love ones.”

“Upon processing their documents, they will be enrolled to the Comprehensive Local Integration Program (CLIP) of our government so they can avail of the various services and assistance they need to aid their return to mainstream society,” Canilla added. 60IB / MCAG