Tuesday, November 21, 2017

President Duterte thanks soldiers for sacrifices

From the Philippine News Agency (Nov 21): President Duterte thanks soldiers for sacrifices

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte on Tuesday, November 21, committed the government’s assistance to wounded soldiers who are confined at the Army General Hospital in Taguig City.

The President personally checked the condition of the 26 soldiers, mostly from the siege in Marawi City, and conferred the Order of Lapu-Lapu.

“Nandito ako to give you the medals for you richly deserve it. You earned it in the service of the country,” the Chief Executive said in his message to the troops, who also received financial assistance from the Office of the President.

“And for serving the Republic and maintain its preservation, talagang nandito ako para sumasaludo sa inyo. At kung anong maitulong ko sa inyo, kung kaya ko, ibibigay ko,” he added.

President Duterte also mentioned the release of P500 million that would be allocated to make the lives of the soldiers comfortable.

“I released 500 million kaagad nung matapos ‘yung giyera para ‘yung mga kailangan ninyo. Kung ano-ano lang. Hindi medisina. Whatever that would help you, ‘yung komportable kayo sa buhay,” he said.

For the soldiers who lack the physical agility due to the injuries they sustained, the President said he would ensure that they would still be “gainfully employed.”

“And for those na ano, hanapan ko ng paraan. The… Ang sikreto ngayon, itong panahon natin sa ating buhay is ‘yung computer, cyberspace,” he said.

“For those na wala na masyadong physical agility, you can take part of that program. I will see to it that you are taken in, I said, and gainfully employed sa buhay ninyo,” the President said.

In his message to the troops, the Chief Executive also announced that the government would provide troops with the weapons that they need and would acquire 23 attack helicopters as well.

"I am ordering new ones para pampalit doon sa inyo. Alam ko nagrereklamo kayo sa barrel pati vault. Baka in the next few months… I am in a hurry, nagmamadali ako. May papuntahin akong mga opisyal ng militar doon sa ibang lugar para mag-negotiate kaagad," he said.

“Meron tayong acquisition na 23 attack helicopters. ‘Yun supisyente (sufficient) na ‘yon for a --- ‘yung mga rebellion-rebellion lang,” he added.

Duterte also said he would not purchase second-hand equipment for the government troops.

"So lahat nang bibilhin ko para sa inyo, puro bago. Wala ng purchases ang --- sa panahon ko, ‘yung Armed Forces pati police na secondhand. Bago lahat at gagastos tayo," he said.

Meanwhile, the President said he would visit soldiers deployed in Marawi City and Jolo during Christmas time.

“So I am here to thank you for your sacrifice at ‘yung dugo ninyo at hirap dinaanan ninyo, mahirap ‘yan,” he said.

“Kaya ako I find time. Pupunta pa ako rin sa ano, Christmas time. The following day, I’m going to… Day after tomorrow, baka magpunta akong Jolo. Bibisitahin ko lahat ng na-deploy doon sa Marawi pati sa Jolo,” he added.


Pres. Duterte pays tribute to Marawi soldiers and policemen

From the Philippine News Agency (Nov 22): Pres. Duterte pays tribute to Marawi soldiers and policemen

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte on Tuesday, November 21, graced the opening ceremonies of an interactive art installation exhibit paying tribute to government troops who fought the rebellion in Marawi City.

The exhibit, which shows photos of the soldiers and policemen during and after the Marawi siege, is being held from November 21 to December 5 at the Bonifacio High Street in Bonifacio Global City in Taguig.

In his speech, the President recalled that he gets affected by the criticisms during the crisis in the Islamic City.

“Kaya if there’s anybody na medyo mabigat... sensitive ako. Kaya every time na a criticism sa Marawi which I think is not good, nagre-react talaga ako passionately also,” he said.

The President also shared that there was a time he got pissed off reading the briefer on the Marawi crisis, adding that he is pained knowing that some of his soldiers got killed.

“Dumating ‘yung panahon na hindi ko na binabasa, itinatapon ko na lang,” he said.

“I mean I got pissed off really reading the so many… Hindi naman tayo na lahat na nakakapatay eh, namamatayan tayo. It pains me deeply to think of their families,” he said, adding that this is one of the reasons that compelled him to visit Marawi City many times.

The President then discussed plans of building a military camp in Marawi City. “Kaya this time before anything else, before even the rebuilding is completed, I will build a military camp just in front of them and para masiguro ko that all of these things will never happen again,” he said.

“Lalagyan ko ng according to the military minds, baka a regiment would do, just right in front of them,” he added.


DWDD: NPAs DWINDLING | 2 Rebels voluntarily surrenders to 86IB

From DWDD AFP Civil Relations Service Radio Website (Nov 21): NPAs DWINDLING  |  2 Rebels voluntarily surrenders to 86IB

ECHAGUE, Isabela (DWDD) – Troops from the 86th Infantry Battalion led by 2LT Reymar Inotao continues to pursue 30 members of the terror group New People’s Army (NPA) who are responsible with the ambuscade, landmine attacks, extortion, arson on various government and private projects in the region and even the recent encounter last November 12 that resulted on the death of Cpl Denver Banban.

Due to that encounter, troops from 86IB, conducted pursuit operations to tract down the fleeing NPA members from the encounter site. The next day, while conducting pursuit opns, two (2) NPA members approached the troops without firearms, and eventually have an intention to surrender themselves.

According to 502nd Infantry Brigade Commander BGen Bartolome Vincente Bacarro, the surrenderees were identified as Roberto C Dalupang Jr, 17-years old, a farmer from Purok 2, Simanu Norte, San Pablo, Isabela but currently residing at Purok 3, Barangay Diasan, Jones, Isabela and Oliver D Molina, 26-years old, married, from Purok 7, Barangay Pag-Asa, Echague, Isabela and currently residing at Purok 3, Barangay Diasan, Jones, Isabela.

The surrenderees’, who are cousin’s, executed sworn statements in front of Barangay Chairman Jose T Bautista and other barangay kagawad of Barangay Pag-Asa, Echague, Isabela I. They stated that they are active members of the NPA under a certain Kumander Jushua and were part of some ambuscades that targeted soldiers. They also stated that they were treated humanely while in the custody.

The two decided to voluntarily surrender after witnessing the evil, lies and hardship experienced by the locals from the hands of the NPAs, which is totally the opposite of the image they are trying to project as “protectors of the poor.”

They also witnessed the brutal slaying of one of their wounded comrades from the hands of Kumander Jushua who deemed the victim as hampering their escape when he got shot after their encounter in Sitio. Minanga, Barangay. San Carlos, Echague, Isabela.

Robert and Oliver also revealed that the NPAs were not also able to fullfill their promise to them that they will receive monthly stipend if ever they would join the underground movement.

But what drew the last straw for their surrender was the intense military operations launched by government forces. They were forced to continuously move from one place to another just to evade arrest.

On November 17, three members of the NPA front Karapatan- Cagayan Valley went to the Headquarters of 86IB, looking for the 2 NPA members who surrendered, but the surrenderee refused to be interviewed and to be seen by the group of Karapatan.

Included also in their sworn affidavit, that they categorically denied the allegations made by NPA fronts KARAPATAN and DAGAMI that they were allegedly coerced to surrendered. They also added that they decided to surrender to government troops for fear of reprisal from their comrades.

On Nov 18, the two NPA surrenderee were released, and were warmly received by their brgy. officials. Prior to the release, they underwent medical certification that they were not been tortured and are in good health condition prior to the release.

They also revealed that the NPA does not enjoy anymore the support of the local populace. What the residents want is for the NPAs to leave their community for fear of being caught in the fighting. Residents are now defiant and cannot be easily swayed or threatened by the terrorist.

Robert and Oliver are now reaching out to their former comrades, that are still in hiding and are allowing themselves to be used by the NPA, to also voluntarily surrender in order to experience a more peaceful, safe, and progressive life with their family ad loveones, especially this coming Christmas. AES/ALS


DWDD: NEW FRONT | AFP ready to engage in Cyberwarfare

From DWDD AFP Civil Relations Service Radio Website (Nov 21): NEW FRONT  |  AFP ready to engage in Cyberwarfare

CAMP GEN EMILIO AGUINALDO, Quezon City (DWDD) – The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) is ready to face the threat of a new battle …CYBER-TERRORISM.


This was the assurance given by AFP Public Affairs Office Chief Marine Col Edgard Arevalo, during the holding of a Cyber Security Summit at the General Headquarters, Camp Gen Emilio Aguinaldo, Quezon City.

This is already the econd time the AFP is holding this kind of summit after holding the first cyber security summit last June.

The summit is an educational and international forum tht focuses on cyber-laws, all possible threats, and the use of modern technology against cyberterrorism.

Participants to the forum are information and communications technology experts of the AFP, Department of National Defense, Philippine National Police and various government security agencies together with private industry experts.

Col Arevalo added that AFP Chief of Staff Gen Rey Leonardo Guerrero would like to make sure that the AFP can adapt to the ever changing face of warfare and how it should properly react to attacks in cyberspace. AES/ALS


DWDD: VIGILANCE | 2ID disrupts NPA plan to sabotage ASEAN Summit

From DWDD AFP Civil Relations Service Radio Website (Nov 22): VIGILANCE  |  2ID disrupts NPA plan to sabotage ASEAN Summit

NASUGBU, Batangas (DWDD) – Government forces encountered NPA terrorists at Barangay Utod, Nasugbu, Batangas on November 20, 2017.


Since the first week of October, joint AFP and PNP forces have been conducting security operations to ensure the country’s peaceful and successful hosting of the ASEAN Summit 2017.

According to Brigadier General Arnulfo Marcelo B Burgos Jr, commander of the 202nd Infantry Brigade which supervises the operations, an enemy encampment was discovered on Sunday by troops from the 730th Combat Group of the Philippine Air Force under Major Engelberto Nioda.

“The encampment is believed to have been occupied by NPA terrorists belonging to KLG Honda, the same NPA group which incurred heavy casualties during our focused military operations in Batangas City last September.”

The intensified clearing operations is part of the security preparations for the high profile meetings between leaders of different countries, including President Donald Trump of the U.S., which was held in Manila and neighboring provinces last week.

Government forces have been placed on high alert prior to ASEAN 2017 after recovering documents, including sketches, detailing terrorist plans to conduct tactical offensives in the region with the primary purpose of humiliating the Philippine government before the international community.

Major General Rhoderick M Parayno, Acting Commander of the AFP’s Southern Luzon Command, said that the NPAs which the government forces engaged have been on the run since September.

“Because of the PNP and soldiers’ sacrifices, commitment and dedication to their mission, the insurgents’ plans were disrupted and the terrorists were never given an elbow room to execute those plans.”

MGen Parayno added that pursuit operations have been launched against the NPAs.

“We have tapped and placed all military available assets, including aircraft, on red alert. The NPAs will face the full might of the government. We will protect the Filipino people from fear and atrocities which the NPA terrorists plan to sow while ensuring the safety of our citizens in the area.”

No casualty has been reported on the part of the government while the NPA is believed to have suffered undetermined number of casualties. Sporadic firefight between the opposing forces is still ongoing. 2DPAO/MCAG


DWDD: RESCUED | 5 Filipino ASG Hostages recovered in Tawi-Tawi

From DWDD AFP Civil Relations Service Radio Website (Nov 22): RESCUED  |  5 Filipino ASG Hostages recovered in Tawi-Tawi

LAGUNYAN, Tawi-Tawi (DWDD) – Military forces were able to rescue five (5) Filipino kidnap victims from the terrorist group Abu Sayyaf in Tawi-Tawi.


According to Western Mindanao Command Spokesperson Capt Jo-ann Petinglay, the victims were identified as Vergel Arquino, from Davao City; and Jushua Ybanez; Emo Fausto; Junald Minalang; and Spriano Sordid, all from Pagadian City.

The victims are crew members of the fishing boat Danvil 8 that were abducted by the ASG last October 14, 2016 within the coastal area of Poblacion Simbahan, Pangutaran, Sulu.

The victims were recovered by troops from Joint Task Force Tawi-Tawi and Naval Task Group of the Naval Forces Western Mindanao Command, in an operation conducted within the waters of Sugbay Island, Languyan, Tawi Tawi Province around 1:30 PM of November 17.

According to Rear Admiral Rene Medina, Naval Forces Western Mindanao Command Chief, they saw the opportuniy to rescue the victims because the kidnappers are busy evading the relentless military operations by government forces in the area.

Meanwhile, Lieutenant General Carlito G Galvez, Jr., Commander, WestMinCom, praised Rear Admiral Medina and Brigadier General Custodio Parcon, Jr., commander of the Joint Task Force Tawi-tawi, for the successful operation.

Lt Gen Galvez added that in the past week, 3 Vietnamese kidnap victims were also rescued by government troops from the ASG in their intensified camapaign against the terrorist group. AES/ALS


DWDD: TC 90 | Planes Donated by Japan now in service

From DWDD AFP Civil Relations Service Radio Website (Nov 22): TC 90  |  Planes Donated by Japan now in service

NAVAL BASE HERACLEO ALANO, Sangley Point, Cavite (DWDD) – The Philippine Navy (PN) has blessed and activated to service the first 2 of 5 Beechcraft King-Air TC-90 airplanes donated by the Japanese government in a simple ceremony at Naval Base Heracleo Alano in Sangley Point, Cavite.

The 5 airplanes was acquired through a Lease Agreement with the Japan Ministry of Defense, where the Philippines would be renting the planes until March 2018, but after the ASEAN summit, both countries signed an agreement that would transfer the said planes to the Philippines in the form of a grant.

The first 2 planes were retrofitted with surveillance equipment that can be used for monitoring and patrolling Philippine maritime territory. The other 3 planes is still in Japan are being used to train Filipino pilots.

According to Defense Undersecretary Raymundo Elefante, the remaining planes are expected to be delivered during the first quarter of 2018.

Elefante added that the planes would be a major boost for the Armed Forces of th Philippines in its active patrol of its maritime territory, in particular, at the West Philippine Sea and at the Philippine Rise (Benham rise). AES/ALS


DWDD: ARRESTED | SOLCOM Troops captures 12 suspected NPA terrorist

From DWDD AFP Civil Relations Service Radio Website (Nov 22): ARRESTED  |  SOLCOM Troops captures 12 suspected NPA terrorist


NASUGBU, Batangas (DWDD) – Military forces arrested 12 individuals suspected of being NPA terrorist in a joint AFP-PNP checkpoint at Barangay Utod Nasugbu, Batangas after an encounter on November 20.

According to Brigadier General Arnulfo Marcelo B Burgos Jr, Commander, 202nd Infantry Brigade, the 12 arrested suspects were believed to be NPA members that were involved in an firefight with government troops in Barangay Utod, Nasugbu.

Major General Rhoderick Parayno, acting Commander, AFP Southern Luzon Command (SOLCOM), soldiers from the 730th Combat Group would be identifying the suspects to verufy if they were the same group they encountered last Monday.

The suspects are now in the custody of PNP Nasugbu while hot pursuit operations are still being conducted by PNP Cavite, PNP Batangas and troops from the 2nd Infantry Division against the NPA terrorist. SOLCOM/MCAG


Local peace body wants holiday truce in Davao City

From the Philippine News Agency (Nov 20): Local peace body wants holiday truce in Davao City

The Davao City Local Peace Committee (DC-PEACE) is batting for a peaceful celebration of Christmas this year thru a cessation of hostilities with communist rebels.

Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio said Monday the DC-PEACE asked her to talk with the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) for a possible declaration of suspension of military operations (SOMO).

The mayor said she will think about it, noting that a truce had been declared in previous years.

December, she added, is a season of peace, giving and forgiving.

Duterte-Carpio said if she sees that the local armed group is sincere in talking with the local government, then there will be no problem asking the AFP and PNP to declare a SOMO.

In a media interview on Saturday, President Rodrigo Duterte hinted he was amenable to a SOMO in December but said he would still refer the matter to the AFP and PNP.

“If (situation) gets worse, then I will ask the military, 'Are we good or are we not good?'" he said, adding, “And I will ask the police, 'Kaya ninyo i-control o hindi (Can you control or not)?'"

When he was the mayor of Davao City, Duterte asked AFP for a holiday truce to allow the NPA rebels to celebrate Christmas with their families in the city.

The President was concerned about ongoing lawlessness involving the New People’s Army (NPA) the past weeks especially in Mindanao provinces.

In fact, he said he would proclaim the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF) as a terrorist group.

He said he was no longer inclined to push the peace negotiations between the government and the communist movement. The President said he would give his soldiers a break then “we will also go to the offensive” against the NPA.

“We will study and maybe we will have a crackdown here somewhere. Nagsasawa na ako dito sa kalokohan nila. So 'yang lahat ninyong pretending to be speaking for the people 'yung mga quasi ano ninyo diyan, legitimate kunwari (I am sick with their foolishness. So everything that you are pretending to be speaking for the people and your quasi, legitimate pretenses),” he said.

But the President said he would give a chance to the rebels who have reached their senior years, to surrender and they would be provided with housing and work.

Duterte-Carpio, however, said she will still continue to reach out to the NPA since there is no official proclamation yet signed by the President regarding the terrorist declaration.

“Meantime, na wala pa ta’y papel nga gipanggunitan, wala pa ta’y legal basis (that we do not have the papers yet, we have no legal basis), we just take that as out of the cough pronouncement from our President,” she said.

The mayor said she constituted the Local Peace Committee (DC-PEACE) to talk with the NPA because the people behind the committee have no biases either on the government or rebel side.

Duterte-Carpio also bared the recommendations and activities of DC-PEACE during their last meeting on November 17.

The mayor added the peace committee will go the area of the NPA in the city, which she did not divulge, between December 7 and 9 to talk with the rebels.

She, however, clarified that only the members will go there because it might disrupt the dialogue if she goes with the committee.


Troops arrest 2 ranking NPA leaders

From the Philippine News Agency (Nov 20): Troops arrest 2 ranking NPA leaders

Joint military and police operatives have arrested two ranking leaders of the New People’s Army (NPA) in the province of Zamboanga del Sur, military officials said Monday.

Brig. Gen. Roseller Murillo, Army’s 1st Infantry Division commander, identified them as Leonardo Jacotin and Rosario Tabanao.

Murillo said they were arrested by virtue of serving warrants of arrest around 9:45 p.m. Saturday in Barangay Balangasan, Pagadian City.

The arrest of Jacotin and Tabanao came on the heels of the announcement of President Rodrigo Duterte to include the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF) in the list of terrorists.

Murillo said Jacotin is the logistic chief and head of the Ordnance and Explosives of the NPA’s Western Mindanao Regional Party Committee (WMRPC) while Tabanao is an executive commission member of the WMRPC and a finance officer.

He said Jacotin and Tabanao have standing warrants of arrest for their involvement in large-scale extortion activities and dealing of firearms and explosives as well as series of murder cases.

He said the arresting team seized from the possession of the two a caliber .45 pistol with eight ammunition; 50 rounds of ammunition for AK-47 assault rifle; a grenade; 10 identification cards; and, 17 units of cellular phones.

He said they were turned over to the custody of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) for appropriate legal procedures.

Lt. Gen. Carlito Galvez Jr., Western Mindanao Command (Westmincom) chief, said they will continue to collaborate with the police in the conduct of law enforcement operation to ensure defeat of the CPP-NFA-NDF here in Western Mindanao.

“The CPP/NPA terrorists have no place here in Western Mindanao. They extort money even from poor people and burn commercial establishments and construction equipment if their demands are not met,” Galvez said.


BIFF blamed for grenade attack in Datu Piang

From the Philippine News Agency (Nov 20): BIFF blamed for grenade attack in Datu Piang 

In an apparent diversionary tactic, authorities believe an outlawed armed group with links to Islamic State (IS) fired a rocket propelled grenade toward a private school in Datu Piang, Maguindanao Sunday night.

According to Sr. Supt. Agustin Tello, Maguindanao police director, nobody was injured in the grenade attack, that happened around 8 p.m. at Gani L. Abpi College compound in Barangay Buayan.

The blast damaged glass panes and a vehicle parked near the building. No one has claimed responsibility but police and military authorities believed the outlawed Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) which pledge allegiance to the IS was behind the attack as diversionary tactic.

Almost at the same time, unidentified men tossed a hand grenade toward the house of business couple Hayder and Samra Manibpal in Barangay Inug-og, Pikit, North Cotabato.

Sr. Insp. Rolly CastaƱares, Pikit town police chief, said no casualty was reported in the incident. Investigators could not say if the grenade attack in Pikit and Datu Piang were related.

On Saturday night, BIFF hurled a grenade toward a detachment of the Army’s 57th Infantry Battalion in Barangay Timbangan in Shariff Aguak, Maguindanao.

Capt. Arvin John Encinas, speaking for the 6th Infantry Division, said a soldier was slightly wounded in the blast.

The military has claimed foreign fighters have been sighted with the BIFF Abu Toraife faction now holed up in borders of Aleosan and Carmen, both in North Cotabato.

Lt. Colonel Gerry Besana, chief of 6th Civil Military Operations (CMO), said the target of a series of air strikes since last week in North Cotabato have been hiding in caves in the mountain village of Tonganon, Aleosan.

He said the operation was well coordinated with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), which signed a peace deal with government.

Under the ceasefire accord, the MILF is to provide information and assistance to government forces in flushing terrorists and lawless elements in its area of operation.

The twin operations in Maguindanao and North Cotabato was carried out after one BIFF faction harassed 57th IB in Shariff Aguak and Datu Unsay towns in Maguindanao.

While there are no civilian casualties, the air strikes sent some 5,000 persons in two provinces fleeing to safer grounds.


Cop killed by NPA hitmen laid to rest

From the Philippine News Agency (Nov 21): Cop killed by NPA hitmen laid to rest

The police intelligence officer who was killed by New People’s Army (NPA) hitmen was laid to rest Tuesday with a 21-gun salute in his honor.

Before the burial, a mass was offered at the Sacred heart Parish in Calinan for PO3 Wilfredo Garol, who served as intelligence officer of the Baguio Police Precinct. He  was shot to death by two members of the NPA liquidation last November 13.

Garol played Samaritan to the two killers, who posed as hitchhikers at a remote area in Barangay Valencia, Tugbok District. The police officer had accompanied his wife to the school where she is teaching and, on his way back, the two asked for a free ride.

On Monday afternoon, Davao City Police Director Alexander Tagum along with the Davao City Police Office (DCPO) command staff visited the wake of Garol at Angel Funeral, Calinan.

Sr. Insp. Maria Teresita Gaspan, DCPO spokesperson, said Garol’s spouse received an amount of P100,000 as financial assistance from DCPO’s mortuary funds.

The family was also assured of financial assistance and scholarship grant through the program of President Rodrigo Duterte intended for the families of the police or military personnel killed in action.

The Police Regional Office (PRO) has confirmed that the NPA was responsible for killing Garol on November 13 in Sitio Luman, Barangay New Valencia, Tugbok District.

 “We have the description of the two (suspects), but no names yet. Of course, these members of the NPA are using aliases,” PRO XI Director Manuel Gaerlan said.

Garol died from eight gunshot wounds in different parts of his body.


Gov't to welcome NPA surrenderers: DND

From the Philippine News Agency (Nov 21): Gov't to welcome NPA surrenderers: DND

Rebels of the New People's Army (NPA) who are tired of the incessant fighting and who wish to live in peace with their loved ones are very welcome to surrender and join society again, a defense official said.

"The SND (Secretary of National Defense Delfin Lorenzana) has time and again called on the NPA to stop all their illegal activities, return to the fold of the law, and be part of the real change that the President (Rodrigo Duterte) has spearheaded for the betterment of our country and the lives of our people," Department of National Defense (DND) public affairs office chief Arsenio Andolong said Sunday when asked to comment on Duterte's plan to declare the NPA a terrorist organization.

The Chief Executive made the statement following the rebel group's series of atrocities in Mindanao, including an ambush that killed a four-month-old baby girl and a police officer.

Andolong said it is not too late for NPA members who want to surrender.

"If they are really sincere in pursuing what is good for the Filipino nation, they should lay down their arms and turn their backs on banditry and violence now," he said.


Vigilance still a must despite Maute defeat

From the Philippine News Agency (Nov 21): Vigilance still a must despite Maute defeat

Philippine security forces cannot afford to let their guard down despite the defeat of ISIS-inspired Maute Group and their allies in Marawi City.

This was emphasized by Department of National Defense (DND) public affairs office chief Arsenio Andolong when sought for a comment regarding plans to extend martial law in Mindanao.

"It is the AFP who can best determine whether existing conditions in the areas covered by martial law warrant its extension," he added.

"Having said that, however, we must keep in mind that there are still remnants of the violent extremists and their supporters who desecrated Marawi City that are still at large. Their networks are still active and we cannot afford to let our guard down. Our pursuit of them must continue," Andolong stressed.

An estimated 933 Maute Group terrorists and their allies were reported killed in the five-month campaign to retake the city from the lawless elements.

On the other hand, 165 government troopers and 47 civilians were also killed in the conflict which started after security operatives tried to arrest Abu Sayyaf leader and ISIS emir in Southeast Asia Isnilon Hapilon last May 23.

Earlier, President Rodrigo Duterte said extension of martial law in Mindanao would depend on the recommendation of the military and police.


AFP holds 2nd Cyber Security Summit

From the Philippine News Agency (Nov 21): AFP holds 2nd Cyber Security Summit

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) conducted Monday its second Cyber Security Summit to educate its personnel on persisting and emerging threats in the country’s cyber frontier.

“This undertaking is an educational and informational forum that will focus on cyber laws, threats, and application of technologies against advanced cyber security challenges,” AFP public affairs office chief Col. Edgard Arevalo said in a statement.

Subject matter experts from Microsoft, 8Layer Technologies, and FireEye Solutions discussed awareness, strategies, trends, and threats, with some 100 participants from the AFP General Headquarters, Major Services, and Unified Commands.

Participants from the Department of National Defense, Department of Information and Communications Technology, Philippine National Police, and Philippine Coast Guard, were also present.

“Securing our IT infrastructure, through informed and trained personnel, will have a profound effect on the way we conduct our operations on the ground,” AFP Chief-of-Staff Gen. Rey Leonardo Guerrero said.

“Just as the threats around us are evolving, we too, in the security sector, must adapt and advance our strategies and capabilities to effectively respond to threats in the cyber security frontier,” he added.

The first Cyber Security Summit was held at the AFP Commissioned Officers Club in Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City last June.


PH Fleet activates 1st Japanese TC-90 aircraft

From the Philippine News Agency (Nov 21): PH Fleet activates 1st Japanese TC-90 aircraft

One of the two Beechcraft TC-90 patrol aircraft donated by Japan early this year was formally activated by the Philippine Fleet during ceremonies at Naval Base Heracleo Alano, Sangley Point, Cavite City Tuesday.

Lt. Sahirub Taib, Philippine Fleet spokesperson, said the activation of the aircraft, with tail number 390, would boost the operations and maritime air surveillance capability of the Naval Air Group (NAG).

The plane is now mission-ready and capable of deployment in any areas designated by Navy headquarters.

Prior its activation, Taib said the TC-90 was fitted with navigation and maritime air surveillance equipment aside from some other upgrades.

He added there is no schedule yet on the activation of the second TC-90.

The first plane was also used for familiarization and training of other NAG pilots. Taib said the advantage of the TC-90 aircraft over other existing planes of the NAG is its greater range.

The TC-90s have a range of over 1,000 nautical miles, and a cruising speed of 260 knots and capable of carrying eight passengers along with the pilots.

As of this time, the Navy is operating around six Norman Britten "Islander" patrol aircraft, four GAF "Nomad" planes, five AgustaWestland combat utility helicopters and one Robinson R-22 training helicopter.

The TC-90, which is part of the Beechcraft King Air aircraft family, was offered by Japan shortly after the Agreement Concerning the Transfer of Defense Equipment and Technology was finalized last Feb. 29, 2016.

Two of the TC-90s were delivered to Sangley Point, Cavite last March 27 with the remaining three to be delivered in the first quarter of 2018.