Thursday, March 15, 2018

More guns surrendered to Army in Maguindanao

From the Philippine News Agency (Mar 15): More guns surrendered to Army in Maguindanao

SURRENDERED FIREARMS. The latest batch of 20 loose firearms surrendered to military authorities in Maguindanao courtesy of the Sultan sa Barongis town government from civilians in the area. (Photo by 6th Infantry Division)

SULTAN SA BARONGIS, Maguindanao -- Another batch of 20 loose firearms were handed over by local officials of Maguindanao to the Army’s 40th Infantry Battalion and the Army’s 1st Mechanized Infantry Battalion at the municipal gymnasium here Wednesday.

In simple ceremonies, Mayor Ramdatu Angas led the formal turn over of the 20 assorted high-powered firearms to Brig. Gen. Bismarck Soliba, the 1st Mechanized Brigade commander; Brig. Gen. Diosdado Carreon, the 601st Infantry Brigade commander; and Senior Supt. Agustin Tello, the Maguindanao police provincial director.

“This is our gesture of support to President Duterte’s disarmament program,” Angas said during the program, adding that the “Balik Baril Program” of the local government has been getting positive response from Moro gun owners.

The civilian gun owners, whom the mayor did not identify, surrendered two M-14 assault rifles, four Garand rifles, a Carbine rifle, two cal. 50 Barrett sniper rifles, two M-79 grenade launcher, four rocket propelled grenades, a Springfield rifle, a homemade grenade launcher, an M-203 grenade launcher, and two submachine guns.

Maj. Gen. Arnel dela Vega, the 6th Infantry Division commander, said the campaign against loose firearms, which started on January 1, has so far resulted in the recovery of 179 weapons of various caliber in Maguindanao.

He lauded the collaboration of local officials and the military for the recovery of the undocumented firearms from the hands of unauthorized individuals.

“This (disarmament) is for the good of all of us and the next generation,” dela Vega said in a statement.

Pour more funds into conflict-stricken areas in Leyte, Samar urged

From the Philippine News Agency (Mar 15): Pour more funds into conflict-stricken areas in Leyte, Samar urged

Eastern Visayas officials have reiterated their call to the national government to give more attention to 37 areas in Leyte and Samar provinces affected by conflicts.

Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Regional Director Marivel Sacendoncillo said agencies need to check if they are making these areas with an insurgency problem a priority in the implementation of development projects.

“If we expect change, there should be appropriate interventions. We should look at our programs and see if we prioritize the delivery of services to conflict areas,” Sacendoncillo said in an interview Thursday.

The DILG regional chief proposed the setting up of a monitoring system to find out what the local government and national government are doing for the development of conflict-stricken areas.
In its latest report, the Philippine Army disclosed that three cities and 24 towns in the region have confirmed activities of the New People’s Army (NPA).

There are 404 active NPA members equipped with 576 firearms in the region’s four provinces, according to the military.

Department of Budget and Management Regional Director Imelda Laceras has asked the Philippine Army to regularly provide insurgency situation updates to the Regional Development Council and agencies tasked to deliver basic services.

“This is to guide concerned agencies to go where they are supposed to go. Conflict-affected areas should be a top priority. I don’t think it is highly considered now,” Laceras said. “We need to give the same level of support to these areas for budgetary allocation in 2019, otherwise these areas will remain as what they are now.”

Sacendoncillo has called for a review of sites of anti-poverty projects, such as farm-to-market roads and rural health centers, if these are being placed in areas with insurgency threats.

“Make sure that projects are in sites where they are needed most. If we will overlay the programs into the map of security agencies, we can see if the project matches the needs,” she added.

The military has raised major issues why insurgency thrives in some areas even after decades of gun battle. These are poverty, land distribution, poor road networks, no electricity, no clean water, lack of access to education, absence of health and other government services, no economic opportunities, and political dynasties.

5 Abu Sayyaf men killed, 6 soldiers wounded in Sulu clash

From the Philippine News Agency (Mar 15): 5 Abu Sayyaf men killed, 6 soldiers wounded in Sulu clash

Brig. Gen. Cirilito Sobejana, Joint Task Force Sulu commander, joins the signing of commitment to good governance in a recent assembly of local government officials in Camp Bautista, Jolo, Sulu. (File photo: Teofilo P. Garcia Jr.)

ZAMBOANGA CITY -- Five Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) members were reported killed while six soldiers were wounded in the latest firefight as operations continue to rescue hostages in Sulu province, officials said Thursday.

Brig. Gen. Cirilito Sobejana, Joint Task Force Sulu commander, said the firefight happened at around 2:31 p.m. Tuesday in Barangay Panglahayan, Patikul municipality.

The firefight ensued as the troops of the Army’s 5th Scout Ranger Battalion led by Lt. Col. Marlon Jomalesa chanced upon a group of 30 ASG bandits.

The bandits who figured in the firefight were followers of Radulan Sahiron, the oldest among the Abu Sayyaf commanders, and of sub-leaders Julie Ekit, Amlon Abthi and Amah Asam.

"In his report, Lt. Col. Jomalesa said that they were able to creep in as close as 20 meters that is why they were able to fire at the enemy at close range,” Lt. Gen. Carlito Galvez Jr. Western Mindanao Command (Westmincom) chief, said.

“They were just very careful due to the possible presence of kidnap victims with the Abu Sayyafs,” Galvez added.

The Abu Sayyaf bandits are still hodling 10 hostages. They comprised of three Indonesians, one Dutch, one vietenamese, and five Filipinos.

Sobejana said troops of the Army’s 32nd Infantry Battalion reinforced the Scout Rangers that prompted the Abu Sayyaf bandits to flee.

Sobejana said the troops recovered from the clash site two caliber 5.56 M-16 rifles, including a “baby” Armalite the bandit have abandoned when they fled.

He said the troops have received report that five Abu Sayyaf bandits were killed in the clash but the remains were dragged by their fleeing companions.

Four of the wounded soldiers were taken to Camp Baustista Station Hospital while the other two were airlifted to this city.

He said they continued “to employ more pressure on the remaining Abu Sayyaf bandits to rescue the captives and gain more enemy strongholds and armaments.”

The Joint Task Force Sulu have recovered 14 firearms in combat operations while 24 were surrendered by the Abu Sayyaf bandits.

“While operations are vigorously undertaken to thwart further kidnappings, we still encourage other Abu Sayyaf members to lay down their arms in order to finally have peace in Sulu and Basilan,” Galvez added.

Gender equality exists in PMA cadetship, military career

From the Philippine News Agency (Mar 15): Gender equality exists in PMA cadetship, military career

TOP FEMALE CADETS. The Philippine Military Academy (PMA) this year produced three women soldiers in the top 10 of the graduating class of 282, including a lady cadet awarded with the Athletic Saber. The top graduates were presented to the media in a press conference on Wednesday (March 14, 2018) at the academy. From left are C1CL Leonore Andrea Cariño Japitan who is the class’ top 4 graduate; C1CL Jeraiza Laquinon Buenaventura, number 6; C1CL Micah Quiambao Reynaldo, number 10; and C1CL Jasm Marie Alcoriza, who will receive the female athletic saber award during their graduation on Sunday (March 18, 2018). (Photo by Liza T. Agoot)

BAGUIO CITY — Gender is not an issue in training cadets at the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) and in becoming a soldier.

PMA Superintendent LTGen. Donato San Juan has assured this, ahead of Sunday's PMA graduation rites, where four women cadets will be on the top 10 of the graduating class of 282 cadets, including 75 women cadets.

"We have had many women cadets since 1997 and they have proven themselves in the frontline service as soldiers,” San Juan said, answering queries as to whether women in the military are effective.

"It is no longer a question at this time whether they are capable of performing the duties of male officers in the frontline. They are doing that already," he pointed out, saying women soldiers are given the same functions as their male counterparts.

"Many of the tactical officers, female tactical officers, assigned here can attest to that--that they are assigned the same as their male counterparts,” he said.

The PMA opened its doors to women cadets who reported as plebes on April 1, 1993 and graduated with the class of 1997. In 1999, PMA recorded the first female cadet to graduate at the top of her class, Ensign Arlene Dela Cruz, raising women’s status in the male-dominated institution.

San Juan said the training for both male and female cadets is equal and both are made to perform academically, and physically, including their co-curricular activities sanctioned by the institution.

The class of 2018 also marked a historical record in the academy with the most number of females graduates -- 75 out of 282.

In 2017, there were 66 female graduates with 34 of them joining the Philippine Army, 16 to the Air Force, and 16 to the Navy.

Of the 75 female cadets graduating on Sunday, March 18, there are 38 joining the Army, 19 with the Philippine Air Force, and 18 with the Philippine Navy.

"We continue to maintain the regulations of having 20 percent of the cadet population to be female. As of today, we have that percentage,” the officer cited.

He added females have a high probability of graduating, which could be attributed to their being persevering and studious, aside from wanting to prove that they could survive a career dominated by men.

He assured that the academy is continuously recruiting females to join the academy to maintain the 20-percent rate.

Cadet First Class (C1CL) Micah Quiambao Reynaldo, who is finishing number 10 in the graduating class this year and a native of Bamban Tarlac, entered PMA when she was in second-year college taking up Bachelor of Science in Psychology.

"The academy is never wrong in choosing us and giving us the opportunity,” she said, referring to the chance to be a PMA cadet and join the ranks of distinguished men in the military service.

"Being a cadet in a military institution is never easy," Reynaldo shared. "But here in the academy, we are surrounded by good mentors and good people who keep on motivating and supporting us in whatever activity we have."

She added opportunities are all available for males and females, thus, women like here are included in the top 10.

Aside from Reynaldo, also making it in the top-10 are C1CL Leonor Andrea Cariño, number 4; and C1CL Jezaira Laquinon Buenaventura, number 6.

"The greatest hurdle (to a cadet) is to prove ourselves and that the academy is never wrong in choosing us or giving the opportunity for females to be members of the military,” she stressed.

Cadet Buenaventura of Bais City, Negros Oriental added, “I believe that after graduation, we will also have the same opportunity on the field as in the academy.”

The selection and admission of female cadets into the academy are similar for both men and women. The only difference is in the height requirement, where women must be at least 5 feet 2 inches tall, while the men have to be at least 2 inches taller than the women.

When applicants pass the written entrance examination, they are selected after thorough physical and neuro-psychiatric examinations and pre-cadet qualification interviews conducted at the Armed Forces of the Philippines Medical Center. Female appointees are not given any special treatment during those examinations.

One reason for accepting only a few female cadets is the limited availability of adequate facilities for women. For years, the PMA had been a school for men.

The female cadets said they also underwent basically the same training as their male counterparts. Adjustments were minimal, they said. Trained to become future officers of the armed forces, they undergo the same physical fitness tests, made to walk the same rugged mountain trails and dusty roads during foot marches, and attend the same academic classes as their classmates.

They said there is no distinction made between genders when it comes to punishments and demerits, as well as rewards and merits.

Just like their male counterparts, the female graduates were commissioned as regular officers in the Armed Forces of the Philippines. Together with their male counterparts, they will stand among the revered alumni and be stalwart defenders of the academy's ideals of courage, integrity, and loyalty.

DWDD: ALAB TALA | PMA Top 10 Graduating Cadets

From DWDD AFP Civil Relations Service Radio Website (Mar 15): ALAB TALA  |  PMA Top 10 Graduating Cadets

FORT GREGORIO DEL PILARE, Baguio City (DWDD)- The top ten graduating cadets of the Philippine Military Academy’s Alagad ng Lahing Binigkis ng Tapang at Lakas (Alab Tala) class 2018!

The Top Graduating Cadets headed by CDT 1CL Jaywardine Galilea Hontoria together with the Athletic Saber Awardee for Female, CDT 1CL Jasm Marie Moreno Alcoriza, Journalism Awardee, Cadet 1CL Christian Michael Olarte PEÑA, Thai Cadet Pongpeera Disapirom from Thailand representing the members of PMA ALAB-TALA Class OF 2018. PMA / MCAG

DWDD: SEND OFF CEREMONY | BRP Gen Mariano Alvarez off to Naval Forces Western Mindanao

From DWDD AFP Civil Relations Service Radio Website (Mar 15): SEND OFF CEREMONY  |  BRP Gen Mariano Alvarez off to Naval Forces Western Mindanao

NAVAL BASE HERACLEO ANGELES, Sangley Point, Cavite City (DWDD) On March 09, 2018, Rear Admiral Danilo R Rodelas AFP, Commander Philippine Fleet, led the Send-off Ceremony of BRP General Mariano Alvarez (PS38) to Naval Forces Western Mindanao area of operations. The send off was held at Captain Moya Boat Landing, NBHA, Sangley Point, Cavite City.

Prior to her maintenance, PS38 was involved in numerous missions in the coastal waters of Basilan, Sulu, Tawi-Tawi, Lanao del Sur, Lanao del Norte, including the whole Zamboanga Peninsula. Among these missions were Coastal Patrols, Maritime Interdiction Operations, Navy Seal Insertion and Extraction Operations, Contingency Operation from permissive non-combatant evacuations, and Counter-Insurgency Operations.

In his message, Rear Admiral Rodelas said, with immense pride, the Philippine Navy has its cutting edge, ready as ever to send one of its assets as an additional contribution to the mandate of protecting our maritime domain and our national territory. PH FLEET / MCAG

DWDD: CHANGE OF COMMAND | TOW EastMin Welcomes New Wing Commander

From DWDD AFP Civil Relations Service Radio Website (Mar 15): CHANGE OF COMMAND  |  TOW EastMin Welcomes New Wing Commander


SASA, Davao City (DWDD) – Tactical Operations Wing (TOW) Eastern Mindanao (EastMin) held its Change of Command Ceremony with Major General Domingo B Palisoc JR (AFP) Commander, Tactical Operations Command as Presiding Officer last March 9, 2018 at TOG 11 Compound, Sasa, Davao City.

The incoming Acting Wing Commander, TOW Eastern Mindanao (TOW EastMin) Colonel Jose M Benitez PAF (MNSA) assumed the Command replacing Colonel Fermin M Carangan PAF (GSC) as the Acting Wing Commander, TOW EastMin. TOC / MCAG

DWDD: BOOST CAPABILITIES | PAF Newly-Acquired Unmanned Aerial Vehicle

From DWDD AFP Civil Relations Service Radio Website (Mar 15): BOOST CAPABILITIES  |  PAF Newly-Acquired Unmanned Aerial Vehicle

COL. JESUS VILLAMOR AIRBASE, Pasay City (DWDD) Lieutenant General Galileo Gerard R Kintanar Jr AFP, Commanding General of the Philippine Air Force, told the airmen, members of the press, and other guests on Tuesday morning, March 13, that the potential of the ScanEagle Unmanned Aerial Vehicle System acquired by the PAF from the United States for both military and government agencies is “great and promising.”


“It [ScanEagle UAV System] will provide real-time information 24/7 whenever it flies. As such, it will come in handy during tactical combat operations, in our fight against terrorism, that will enable military commanders to make timely, informed and accurate decisions…the ScanEagle will give situational awareness in our maritime areas when employed for limited maritime patrol. It will provide rapid damage assessment and needs analysis in the immediate aftermath of a typhoon, fire or earthquake, which will pave way to faster and more responsive humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations. The ScanEagle will also prove useful in monitoring our mountains and littoral areas, which will aid the Department of Environment and Natural Resources and the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources in the performance of their mandates,” he added.

This remarks was made by the CGPAF during the ceremonial acceptance, turn over, and blessing of the ScanEagle UAV System held at 250th Presidential Airlift Wing Hangar, Colonel Jesus Villamor Air Base, Pasay City with Secretary of National Defense Delfin N Lorenzana, as guest of honor.


With the arrival of the ScanEagle UAS, operations of our ground, air, and naval forces will be further enhanced. It is capable of performing several missions such as internal security operations, counter-terrorism, and limited maritime patrol. More importantly, the ScanEagle UAS can be utilized by the Philippine government for humanitarian assistance and disaster response operations since it is capable of assessing the extent of damage caused by disasters and calamities, as well as locate victims and survivors.

Apart from national military objectives, the PAF extends the use of the ScanEagle UAS to different departments of the government in order to support national development activities such as anti-illegal logging, aerial survey, and anti-dynamite fishing.


According to Secretary Lorenzana, the acquisition of this UAV System – the first for the PAF and Armed Forces of the Philippines – has been one of the solutions to the security issues that the country is facing.

“With a number of security issues confronting our country, there is a need to upgrade our nation’s armed forces and to establish a more credible defense. And this acquisition of ScanEagle UAV is one way to modernize the military to deter those who want to wage war against our country,” Secretary Lorenzana said.


During the transfer ceremony, US Ambassador to the Philippines Sung Y Kim presented the UAV System documents to Secretary Lorenzana. Immediately after, they were turned over to the 300th Air Intelligence and Security Wing, the end-user unit of the PAF.

The PAF has acquired the ScanEagle UAV System from the United States through foreign military financing with an estimated amount of $13.76 million. PAF / MCAG

DWDD: BRIEFING | AFP, PNP Personnel updated on BBL

From DWDD AFP Civil Relations Service Radio Website (Mar 15): BRIEFING  |  AFP, PNP Personnel updated on BBL

EM MANOR HOTEL, Cotabato City (DWDD) – More than 300 gallant members the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and Philippine National Police (PNP) from different provinces of Mindanao attend the briefing on the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) and Normalization Process at Em Manor Hotel in Cotabato City on March 12, 2018. TOW EM / MCAG

DWDD: GOODWILL VISIT | French Navy frigate in Manila

From DWDD AFP Civil Relations Service Radio Website (Mar 15): GOODWILL VISIT  |  French Navy frigate in Manila


PIER 9, South harbour, Manila (DWDD) – The French Navy Ship (FNS) Vendemiaire (F734), with one helicopter onboard, berthed at Pier 9, South Harbor, Manila for a goodwill visit.

The customary practice that the Philippine Navy (PN) renders to all visiting navies began with a designated PN vessel meeting FNS Vendemiaire at the vicinity of Corregidor Island and subsequently escorted it to the berthing area.

This goodwill visit will also involve series of confidence-building engagements between PN and French Navy personnel such as shipboard tour, reciprocal receptions and friendly games.

Such visit is expected to further strengthen the France-Philippines relations which also benefits both armed forces. The fitting reception bestowed by PN is a manifestation of a sustained promotion of peace and stability, and enhancement of maritime cooperation through naval diplomacy and camaraderie. NPAO / MCAG