Wednesday, May 2, 2018

NPA rebel surrenders in Davao Occidental

From  the Philippine News Agency (May 2): NPA rebel surrenders in Davao Occidental

A member of the New People's Army (NPA) who operates in Davao Occidental, surrendered with  a firearm to the troops of 73rd Infantry Battalion in Barangay Little Baguio, Malita, Davao Occidental.

Capt. Mc Gary Dida, the civil-military operations (CMO) officer of the Army's 1002nd Infantry Brigade, said Wednesday that Juanito Miguel Oday alias Payat, 35, married and a resident of Sitio Lanulan, Barangay Little Baguio, Malita, Davao Occidental surrendered and gave up his M1 carbine rifle.

“Nihawa ko sa kilusan kay nahadlok ko na basi mapatay ko sa engkwentro, gikapoy na kaayo ko ug tinago sa bukid (I left the organization for fear of being killed during an encounter. I am also tired of hiding from government troops)," Oday said.

Last week, a series of encounters broke out in Malapatan, Sarangani Province that resulted in the apprehension of three NPA rebels and the recovery of three firearms.

Following the encounter, the military said it intensified its pursuit operations to maintain peace in the area.

“With our intensive security operations and continuous collaboration with our local government units and other stakeholders, we can align our efforts in attaining peaceful and conflict-resilient communities within our area of operation,” said Lt. Col. Marion Angcao, commander of the 73rd Infantry Battalion commander.

The former rebel will be presented to the LGU of Davao Occidental for immediate assistance and enrolment to the government’s Comprehensive Local Integration Program (CLIP), Lt. Angcao said.

New AFP chief tells soldiers to work hard for results

From  the Philippine News Agency (May 2): New AFP chief tells soldiers to work hard for results

Newly-appointed Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief-of-Staff Lt. Gen. Carlito Galvez has called on all members of the military to do their best when assigned a particular task or mission.

"I am results-oriented. We must be output-oriented as we value teamwork and meritocracy. Be righteous. Be perfect, because any mistake may mean the lives of the people we have sworn to serve and protect; and the lives of our very own soldiers," Galvez told the soldiers during his first flag-raising ceremony as AFP head at Camp Aguinaldo in Quezon City last week.

To achieve this goal, the AFP chief said they need the cooperation of every officer, enlisted personnel and civilian employee to attain their objectives and target outputs.

“These will be our focus as I lead the AFP. I promise you that I will deliver results and I will do my best with much honor, integrity, and loyalty to our service,” he added.

Galvez, a member of Philippine Military Academy Class of 1985, replaced AFP chief-of-staff Gen. Rey Leonardo Guerrero, a member of PMA Class of 1984, who was honored with a testimonial parade and review and the prestigious award of the Philippine Legion of Honor (Rank of Commander), during his retirement last April 18.

With the retirement of Guerrero, Galvez is now the 50th AFP chief-of-staff.

Navy gets first missile system for patrol boats

From  the Philippine News Agency (May 2): Navy gets first missile system for patrol boats

The Philippine Navy (PN) has received its first-ever missile system from Israeli weapons manufacturer Rafael Advanced Defense Systems, Defense spokesperson Arsenio Andolong confirmed Wednesday.

Andolong said the Spike-ER surface-to-surface missiles along with its launchers have arrived third week of April.

Andolong said the weapons are now being "integrated" or installed on the Navy's three brand-new MPACs or multi-purpose attack craft with the guidance of Rafael personnel. The three MPACs were activated in May 22, 2017.

After the installation, the Spike-ER missile systems will then undergo Technical Inspection and Acceptance Committee, Andolong added.

"The missile-equipped MPACs will greatly enhance the Navy's capability to secure our littoral areas against terrorism and in support of maritime law enforcement operations," the defense spokesperson said.

The missile system was procured under the Armed Forces' Horizon One modernization program.

The Spike-ER missiles are capable of penetrating 1,000 mm (39 inches) of rolled homogeneous armor. The missiles will give the PN a much needed firepower in dealing with surface threats whether these are small or large ships.

Steel-cutting for Navy's missile-capable frigates starts

From  the Philippine News Agency (May 2): Steel-cutting for Navy's missile-capable frigates starts

Shipbuilder Korean Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI) has formally started the construction of the Philippine Navy (PN)'s first two missile-capable frigates with the steel-cutting ceremony held in Ulsan, South Korea on April 30, a defense department official said Wednesday.

This was confirmed by Defense Spokesperson Arsenio Andolong in an interview with the Philippine News Agency (PNA).

"I can confirm that the steel cutting has commenced on April 30," he added.

Steel-cutting is considered the official start of any vessel construction.

Present during the steel-cutting ceremony were HHI president Gang-Hwan Kang, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, Defense Undersecretary for Finance and Materiel Raymundo Elefante and Navy chief Vice Admiral Robert Empedrad.

Contract for the PHP18-billion frigate project was signed on Oct. 24, 2016.

The ships will be equipped with missiles and other weapons capable of neutralizing air, surface, and sub-surface threats. The two frigates are capable of speeds of 25 knots or around 46 kilometers per hour and have range of 4,500 nautical miles.

HHI is set to launch the first frigate by May 2019 with delivery by the second half of 2020.

Meanwhile, steel-cutting for the second frigate under HHI contract will commence this September with delivery on the first half of 2021.

Kidnappers demand P5M for 2 policewomen's release

From  the Philippine News Agency (May 2): Kidnappers demand P5M for 2 policewomen's release

Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Oscar Albayalde on Wednesday said unidentified abductors are demanding PHP5 million in exchange for the release of two policewomen kidnapped in Patikul, Sulu over the weekend.

“As of this time, wala pa talagang maliwanag although may mga negotiators tayo. We asked help from the local chief executives doon at ang hinihingi initially na ransom is PHP5 million, (Nothing is clear but we sought help from local chief executives and we were told the abductors were initially asking for PHP5 million),”Albayalde said.

He also confirmed that according to local police, the policewomen who were kidnapped along with two others by at least eleven armed men are still alive.
“(T)here is proof of life as of this morning,” Albayalde added.

PO2 Benierose Alvarez and PO1 Dinah Gumahad, are both assigned at the PNP Crime Laboratory office based in Calarian town in Zamboanga City when they were forcibly taken by the armed men. The two were with Muslim companions identified as Jakosalem Ahamad Blas and Faizal Ahidji.

Brig. Gen. Cirilito Sobejana, Commander of Joint Task Force Sulu, said three battalions of troopers are conducting search operations in Patikul.

Earlier, Police Chief Supt. Billy Beltran, Police Regional Office-9 (PRO-9) director, said the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) has demanded ransom payment in exchange for the release of the two policewomen and their two companions, adding "negotiations ongoing.”

But Beltran did not elaborate on ASG's exact demands as the case is now being handled by the Philippine National Police-Anti-Kidnapping Group, together with the victims’ families.

Reports said that four were seized by the Abu Sayyaf bandits led by Mujir Yada on Sunday, April 29, in Barangay Liang, Patikul.

Beltran said operations by the Joint Task Force Sulu to rescue the captives are also ongoing, and that the safety of hostages is of paramount concern.

Chief Insp. Helen Galvez, PRO-9 information officer, said in a statement earlier that the two policewomen were on vacation in Sulu.

She said they came from Quezon Beach, one of the famous picnic grounds in Sulu, when the ASG seized them.

Alvarez is assigned with the Engineer Service Division under the Regional Logistics Office of PRO-9. She is from Isabela City, Basilan.

Gumahad is undergoing a 45-day Criminal Investigation Course at Regional Special Training Unit-9. She is assigned in the town of Midsalip, Zamboanga del Sur.

US to donate add’l P182-M for Marawi conflict victims

From  the Philippine News Agency (May 3): US to donate add’l P182-M for Marawi conflict victims

AID FOR MARAWI. United States Ambassador to the Philippines Sung Kim at the Kapihan sa Embahada on Thursday (May 3, 2018). (Photo by Joyce Ann L. Rocamora)

United States Ambassador Sung Kim on Thursday announced that the US is providing an additional PHP182 million assistance for the people displaced due to the Marawi City conflict in 2017.

This amount brings to nearly PHP1.4 billion the total contribution of US government, through US Agency for International Development (USAID), for the total recovery of the southern city.

"Together with our partners on the ground, we will build transitional shelters, repair water and sanitation facilities, provide social support, establish safe spaces to protect women and children from exploitation and violence, and, hopefully, in the process, also help jumpstart the local economy," Kim told reporters at the US Embassy in Manila.

Last January, the embassy allocated an additional PHP330 million to support young women and men to enhance job skills and attain livelihoods.

The United States, through USAID, has been a key partner of the Philippine government in the recovery, stabilization, and rehabilitation of Marawi City and its surrounding areas.

USAID’s early assistance involved restoring access to water and distributing desks for schools where displaced students are enrolled. It also provided health clinics in Marawi City and surrounding areas with supplies and services to combat tuberculosis and support maternal, newborn, and child health needs.