Saturday, July 21, 2018

P500-M issued to 2,000 cops, soldiers

From the Manila Bulletin (Jul 21): P500-M issued to 2,000 cops, soldiers

The Department of Interior and Local Government has released over P500 million financial assistance to more than 2,000 beneficiaries of cops and soldiers who were wounded or killed in action in military or police operations.

DILG officer-in-charge Eduardo M. Año

Since June 1, the DILG stated it has facilitated the release of a total of P582.5 million in financial assistance to 2,330 beneficiaries of injured and fallen cops and soldiers.

DILG Officer in Charge Secretary Eduardo Año said this was in line with the commitment of President Rodrigo Duterte for a comprehensive social assistance to the police force and soldiers.

Among those who are currently receiving the assistance are the families of six police officers killed in a misencounter with Army troopers in Samar on June 25.

Aside from financial aid, a total of P61.5 million have been released to 246 beneficiaries who were given the second tranche upon completion of a capacity building training facilitated by the DILG and the Department of National Defense.

According to the DILG Chief, the financial assistance is being provided to the beneficiaries of cops and soldiers through the Comprehensive Social Benefits Program (CSBP) for the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police battle or duty casualties and their families.

Año, a former chief of the AFP, said that the CSBP is one of the “much-needed reform programs” that this administration has turned to reality.

Under the CSBP, beneficiaries are entitled of a special financial assistance from the Office of the President amounting to P500,000 for killed-in-action (KIA) or killed-in-police-operations (KIPO) given in two tranches; P100,000 for wounded-in-action (WIA) or wounded-in-police-operations (WIPO) personnel with major or minor injuries; P250,000 for WIA and WIPO with Total Permanent Physical Disability (TPPD).

Aside from financial aid, shelter assistance from the National Housing Authority worth P450,000 or provision of P100,000 for housing repair has been distributed to at least 145 beneficiaries as of June 1.

The Department of Health and Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) also provided health care assistance and coverage of hospitalization expenses and maintenance of medicines to some 374 beneficiaries.

Meanwhile, the DILG chief revealed that the planned inclusion of uniformed personnel of the Bureau of Fire Protection, Bureau of Jail Management and Penology, and the Philippine Coast Guard in the CSBP coverage was approved during a high-level meeting.

With this, a draft Executive Order is now for the signature and endorsement to the Office of the President.

“This is in recognition of the critical role of uniformed personnel outside the AFP and PNP who also risk their lives in the name of peace and order and public safety,” Año said.

PNP to admit MILF, MNLF fighter as regular members

From the Manila Standard (Jul 20): PNP to admit MILF, MNLF fighter as regular members

Members of the Moro National Liberation Front and Moro Islamic Liberation Front will be admitted to the Philippine National Police under the newly-approved Bangsamoro Organic Law which is hoped to bring lasting and genuine peace in Mindanao.

The BOL, which was finally approved by the congressional bicameral conference committee Wednesday, is expected to be signed ty President Rodrigo Duterte into law before he delivers his third State of the Nation Address later that dah of Jan. 23.

The BOL also provides that age, height and educational attainment qualifications may be waived and can be availed of within five years after the ratification of the BOL.

The BOL, which paves the way for the creation of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao to replace the ARMM, further provides that recruits from the MNLF and MILF have up to 15 years after their entry to fulfil the educational attainment requirement.

Senator Win Gatchalian on Friday commended the MILF and the MNLF for their contributions to making the historic BOL a reality.

“We recognize the sacrifices of the MILF and MNLF and we thank them for their patience and their willingness to set aside political differences for the sake of lasting peace in Mindanao,” he said after the approval of the BOL by the bicameral conference committee.

Gatchalian said the inputs of both groups were vital in making sure the BOL was inclusive and would end all conflict with various secessionist factions.

“The support of both groups for the BOL means there is a greater chance for the new Bangsamoro region to succeed,” he said.

The lawmaker said the BOL will guarantee that the new Bangsamoro political entity will be a fertile ground for investment and inclusive economic development.

“Peace always fosters greater economic development. When there are more economic opportunities, it will be easier for people to rise from poverty and be financially independent,” he said.

The inclusion of the MILF and the MNLF was among the highlights of the BOL as cited by Senate Majority Leader Migz Zubiri, chairperson of the Senate subcommittee on the Bangsamoro Basic Law.

The Senate and the House of Representatives are expected to ratify the BOL during the opening of the Third Regular Session on July 23.

Zubiri also said the block grant involving 5% of the net national internal revenue tax collection of the BIR and the BOC from the third fiscal year immediately preceding the current fiscal year is also among the crucial points in the BOL.

The formula of the block grant, which shall be appropriated and released immediately, will be reviewed five years after the effectivity of the BOL and every five years thereafter.

The Intergovernmental Fiscal Policy Board shall provide for the sharing of the National government and the Bangsamoro in the income of GOCCs in Bangsamoro.

Meanwhile, revenues from the exploration, development, and utilization of natural resources, including mines and minerals shall be granted fully to the Bangsamoro. As to fossil fuels and uranium, the revenues shall be shared equally.

In a text message yesterday, Zubiri clarified that their block grant computation for 2019 is only 60 billion that will likely include the IRA of the other local government units.

Zubiri said another highlight of the BOL involved the teachers in the Madaris schools who will be treated as personnel in special technical positions for which the Civil Service Commission shall set standards for their qualification and appointment.

As it strengthens the Mindanao State University system, the Bangsamoro government shall also establish a Tribal University System. Similarly, the Madaris Educational system, Islamic and Arabic Studies will be established, maintained and supervised by the DepEd, CHED, Tesda and the Bangsamoro Government.

Zubiri noted that on the rehabilitation and development of the Bangsamoro region, he said the livelihood and other needs of members of the MILF/Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Force, the MNLF/Bangsamoro Armed Force, and, their women’s auxiliary forces shall be addressed by rehabilitation, reconstruction and development packages as part of the normalization process.

A Special Development Fund shall be provided by the National government for conflict-affected communities. The 10-year fund is P50 Billion. P5 Billion shall be released annually, for 10 years, starting upon the ratification of the BOL.

Rebels claim Isabela clash a ‘misencounter’

From the Daily Guardian (Jul 21): Rebels claim Isabela clash a ‘misencounter’

The Leonardo Panaligan Command of the New People’s Army (NPA) yesterday claimed that the clash at Barangay San Agustin, Isabela, Negros Occidental was a “misencounter” between members of the Army’s 94th Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army.

In a statement issued Friday, rebel spokesperson JB Regalado said there was no encounter between the rebels and state forces in the area, claiming instead that the army suffered several casualties during the fight.

Regalado said the NPA is condemning the actions of the Army as the gun battle has caused fear on residents of Barangay San Agustin.

He also called on the other units of the NPA in the area to protect the locals against the alleged abuses committed by the military.

Regalado said they would conduct several tactical offensives in the coming days as their answer against the “lies” of President Rodrigo Duterte during his State of the Nation Address on Monday.

On Thursday, the 94th Infantry Battalion reportedly stumbled upon an undetermined number of alleged NPA rebels which led to the clash.

NDFP-Mindoro rejects localized peace talks

From the Manila Bulletin (Jul 19): NDFP-Mindoro rejects localized peace talks

The National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP)-Mindoro has slammed the government for allegedly disregarding three decades of the peace process after President Duterte refused to continue peace negotiations with leaders of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP).

In its statement, the NDFP-Mindoro also said that it disapproves of “localized peace talks” which is being pushed by the Duterte Administration.

It said that the localized peace talks
“scraps altogether the triumphs of the last three decades of peace negotiations. He (President Duterte) not only insults the NDFP, but also all the GRP (Government of the Republic of the Philippines) negotiating panels, peace process experts and third party facilitators who devoted great efforts in paving the way for just and lasting peace in the Philippines.”

The NDFP-Mindoro statement was issued on Wednesday in response to the forum on the Localized Peace Talks conducted by the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), through the Army’s 203rd Brigade, and Philippine National Police, through its Police Regional Office 4-B (PRO4-B in Mimaropa – Mindoro Islands-Marinduque-Romblon-Palawan).

The forum was held for local barangay officials in a bid to explain the guidelines set by the Duterte Administration in holding localized peace talks.

This was the result of the derailed peace negotiations between the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) and the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) after Duterte unilaterally cancelled the scheduled peace talks.

But NDFP-Mindoro stressed that it rejects the localized peace talks, “along with all six conditions unjustly set to further distort the very foundation of the peace process.”

The statement added that: “He (Duterte) plans to hold the revolutionary movement hostage by putting the NDFP in an unfavourable position, knowing that it will never accepted the regime’s terms. Malacañan, the AFP-PNP, along with Duterte’s electronic broadcasters, diehard supporters and their troll armies have been waiting for years to attack the NDFP as anti-peace.”

PDEA, cops nab alleged NPA member in Sarangani anti-drug op

From Politiko Mindanao (Jul 21): PDEA, cops nab alleged NPA member in Sarangani anti-drug op

Authorities have arrested a suspected member of the communist New People’s Army (NPA) in a buy-bust operation in Sarangani.

Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) Director General Aaron Aquino identified the suspect as Armando Banjao, alias Arman, 52, a resident of PC Reservation, Poblacion in Glan.

He said Banjao was also considered a high-value target of the authorities.

PDEA Regional Office XII and Glan Municipal Police Station conducted a buy-bust operation in Logpond, Barangay Poblacion, Glan on July 13, resulting in the arrest of Banjao.

Confiscated during the operation were more or less 0.56 gram of methamphetamine hydrochloride or shabu with an estimated value of P3,808, one hand grenade, and the buy-bust money.

Banjao would face charges for alleged violation of the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002 and Comprehensive Firearms and Ammunition Act.

Army exec, soldier killed in NPA landmine blast

From the Philippine Daily Inquirer (Jul 21): Army exec, soldier killed in NPA landmine blast

BAYUGAN CITY, Agusan del Sur — An Army lieutenant and a sergeant were killed while three other soldiers were wounded by a landmine explosion planted by New People’s Army (NPA) rebels at the height of skirmishes on Thursday in the hinterland village of San Juan here, the military reported Saturday.

A military report said the victims were hit when the NPA guerrillas detonated an improvised explosive device (IED) while both camps were engaged in a 20-minute firefight in the subvillage of Bungkulan.

Killed by the explosion were First Lieutenant Rod Michael Aspiras and Sergeant Ruben Canoy, First Lt. Tere Ingente, spokesperson of the 4th Infantry Division in Cagayan de Oro City, said.

Wounded were Corporal Rhuel Apura, Cpl. Roceller Guirero and Private First Class Christian Levi Penus.

But the NPA refuted the military report claiming 27 soldiers from the 3rd Special Forces Battalion, 29th Infantry Battalion and 36th IB and militiamen were killed in their series of offensives from July 5 to 12.

Ka Ariel Montero, spokesman of the NPA Northeastern Mindanao Regional Committee, said they detonated the landmines to send a message to the July 23 state of the nation address of President Duterte.

Soldiers of the 36th Infantry Battalion were on security patrol when it clashed with about 15 NPA members in Bungkulan at 4:50 p.m. on July 19.

NPA commander killed in Zamboanga del Norte clash

From the Philippine Daily Inquirer (Jul 21): NPA commander killed in Zamboanga del Norte clash

A commander of the communist New People’s Army (NPA) was killed while two soldiers were wounded during a combined military and police operation in Sindangan town, Zamboanga del Norte.

The slain NPA leader was identified by Major Ronald Suscano, 1st Infantry Division spokesperson as Edwin Lapinig alias “Baz.”

According to the military, Lapinig has a standing arrest warrant for multiple murder. He was the commander of the Platoon Basil of the Mobile Regional Guerilla Unit of the Western Mindanao Regional Party Committee of the New People’s Army.

The military said Lapinig was responsible for the murders of two soldiers, the disarming of police personnel in Don Victoriano Chiongbian Municipality in Misamis Occidental and for the torching of construction equipment in the Zamboanga Peninsula.

Lapinig was killed during the operation of the Joint Task Group IGSOON with the Zamboanga del Norte Provincial Police. Suscano said the operation also left two soldiers wounded.

Joma Sison seriously ill – security adviser

From the Philippine Star (Jul 21): Joma Sison seriously ill – security adviser

National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr. bared this yesterday as he stressed the government is not totally closing its doors to the possible resumption of peace negotiations with the communist rebels.
Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) founding chairman Jose Ma. Sison is sick and dying.

National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr. bared this yesterday as he stressed the government is not totally closing its doors to the possible resumption of peace negotiations with the communist rebels.

“Look at his face, isn’t he sick? That is expected, but let me not go into the details… but he is really ill,” Esperon told reporters on the sidelines of a forum held in a restaurant in Quezon City.

Esperon said with or without Sison around, the government is still exerting all efforts in achieving a peaceful settlement of the communist insurgency problem.

He said the government is reviewing all agreements made with the communists in the previous peace talks with the National Democratic Front (NDF), the umbrella organization representing the CPP and its armed wing, the New People’s Army (NPA).

The review of the agreements is meant to look into what could be beneficial to the government and the people, Esperon said.

Among the agreements being reviewed are the Joint Security and Immunity Guarantee (JASIG), Hague Declaration and Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL).

Esperon said President Duterte wanted to review the provisions of these agreements as it now appeared that CPP-NPA-NDF have been conveniently using them to further their own agenda of toppling the government.

“As of now, the peace talks are terminated but we are not closing the door for future negotiations, the reason why we are reviewing all these previous agreements forged in past peace negotiations,” Esperon said.

He said CARHRIHL is supposed to protect civilians from conflicts but it turned out people are getting killed or hurt by attacks from the NPA.

He cited the NPA’s use of landmines in their attacks, which he said was a clear violation of the agreement.

In absence of the formal resumption of the peace talks, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) is pushing for localized peace talks with the NPA in various areas of the country.

Sison strongly opposed this approach, declaring it an old tactic that will eventually fail.

The military, however, believes Sison and his comrades abroad are opposed to local talks on fears that this will sideline them.

Abu Sayyaf involved in Malaysian resort raid nabbed

From the Philippine News Agency (Jul 21): Abu Sayyaf involved in Malaysian resort raid nabbed

Zamboanga City policemen on Friday (July 20) arrested Hadji Faizal Radjae, an Abu Sayyaf Group sub-leader allegedly involved in the kidnapping of 21 people on April 2000 in Sipadan, Malaysia. (Photo courtesy: PRO-9 PIO)

ZAMBOANGA CITY -- Police operatives have arrested in this city an Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) sub-leader who was involved in the raid on a Malaysian diving resort more than 18 years ago, an official said Saturday.

Police Regional Office 9 (Zamboanga Peninsula) Director Chief Supt. Billy Beltran identified the arrested ASG sub-leader as Hadji Faizal Radjae, 54, a resident of Sitio Logpond, Barangay Libertad, Tungawan, Zamboanga Sibugay.

Beltran said Radjae was arrested in a law enforcement operation in Sitio Marangan, Barangay Tumitus here at about 3:30 p.m. Friday.

He has a standing warrant of arrest for the crime of kidnapping and serious illegal detention issued by a court of Parang, Sulu on Sept. 28, 2000, the police official said.

Beltran said the suspect was also involved in the kidnapping of 21 people from the dive resort island of Sipadan, Malaysia on April 23, 2000. The hostages -- eight Europeans, 11 Malaysians and two Filipinos – were herded to the hinterlands of Sulu and were later released in batches following payment of ransom.

Radjae, he said, was also involved in other atrocities, among them the  bombings in the Zamboanga, Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi areas.

Radjae is temporarily detained at the headquarters of Zamboanga City Police’s Station 11 while processing his commitment order.

Suspected bomber killed in Zamboanga Norte shootout

From the Philippine News Agency (Jul 21): Suspected bomber killed in Zamboanga Norte shootout

Photo shows the bomb-making components likek blasting caps and time fuse, which were confiscated by police at the residence of slain suspected bomber, Benhar Muksan alias Bin-Bing in Salug, Zamboanga del Norte. (Photo courtesy: Police Regional Office-9 PIO)

A suspected bomber was killed while bomb-making components were seized in a law enforcement operation in the province of Zamboanga del Norte, police said Saturday.

Chief Supt. Edwin de Ocampo, deputy regional director for administration, identified the slain suspected bomber as
Benhar Muksan alias Bin-Bin.

De Ocampo said Muksan was killed in a shootout in Sitio Tabuk Suba, Barangay Poblacion West, Salug, Zamboanga del Norte at about 6 p.m. Thursday.

The shootout ensued after Muksan pulled a handgun and opened fire at policemen serving him a search warrant, prompting one of the law enforcers to fire back, he said, adding that the search warrant was issued by the Municipal Circuit Trial Court of Salug-Godod for illegal possession of explosives.

Muksan was rushed to the Liloy Integrated Health District Hospital but expired while undergoing medical attention.

Seized from Muksan’s residence were a hand grenade; 132 pieces blasting caps; three rolls of time fuse with a total length of 354 inches; 19 kg. ammonium nitrate; a Caliber .357 Magnum revolver with six live ammunitions; one new set of Moro National Liberation Front camouflage uniform; and three sets of assorted camouflage uniforms.

De Ocampo said police also recovered three heat-sealed plastic sachets of suspected methamphetamine hydrochloride, locally known as “shabu”, hidden inside the utility box of Muksan’s motorcycle.

MILF member collared for gun possession in Maguindanao

From the Philippine News Agency (Jul 21): MILF member collared for gun possession in Maguindanao

Police arrested Friday an individual who claimed to be a member of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) for illegal gun possession in Barangay Poblacion Dalican, Datu Odin Sinsuat, Maguindanao.

Chief Supt. Graciano Mijares, director of Police Regional Office – Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, said that Pilot Panambulan, 34, of Barangay Bugawas, Datu Odin Sinsuat, was found carrying an improvised 12-gauge shotgun with five live cartridges.

Mijares said the suspect was onboard a motorbike (LA 75199) when flagged down around 11:30 a.m. at a police checkpoint in Poblacion Dalican and was showing signs of uneasiness.

“When checked, he voluntarily showed his sling bag with the firearm in it,” Mijares said in a report.

Panambutan claimed to be a member of the MILF but refused to answer queries as to why he was carrying a firearm.  He was immediately brought to the Datu Odin Sinsuat police station for further investigation.

Charges for violation of R. A. 10591 or Comprehensive Firearms and Ammunition Regulation Act are being readied against him.

US to help preserve American-built heritage sites in Baguio

From the Philippine News Agency (Jul 21): US to help preserve American-built heritage sites in Baguio 

An aerial view of Burnham Park in Baguio City (PIA-CAR Photo)

BAGUIO CITY -- The United States Embassy in the Philippines is willing to work with the Baguio City government in preserving heritage sites built by the Americans in the City of Pines.

In celebrating US Independence Day in Baguio on Friday, Deputy Chief of Mission Michael Klecheski said they might even send their best architects for the initiative.

At the celebration, Klecheski talked on the “Philippine-American relations and the influence of the Americans in the art and architecture of Baguio City” at the Baguio-Mountain Province Museum.

AMERICAN HERITAGE SITES. United States Embassy Deputy Chief of Mission Michael Klecheski says the US is willing to work with the Baguio City government in preserving heritage sites built by the Americans in this mountain resort city. To celebrate US Independence Day in the city, Klecheski speaks on “Philippine-American relations and the influence of the Americans in the arts and architecture of Baguio City" at the Baguio-Mountain Province Museum on Friday (July 20, 2018). (Photo by Pamela Mariz Geminiano)

Klecheski remembered the important contributions of the Americans in Philippine arts and culture, particularly in Baguio City, which an American official had tagged the Summer Capital of the Philippines because of its cool climate even in summer.

The city is located approximately 1,540 meters above sea level in what the World Wide Fund calls the Luzon tropical pine forests ecoregion, "which also makes it conducive for the growth of mossy plants and orchids".

Baguio is nestled within the central Cordillera mountain range in northern Philippines.

This mountain resort city was established as a hill station by the Americans, starting with the construction of the Kennon Road in the 1900s.

Baguio City’s central business was also designed by American architect Daniel Burnham as the Americans' rest and recreation facility, the reason many of the roads are named after Americans.

Aside from Burnham Park, the Baguio Country Club, Camp John Hay, Teachers Camp, The Mansion, and other infrastructures were also built by the Americans after they saw the natural beauty of Baguio.

The Session Road got its name for being the venue of the first session of the second Philippine Commission in 1904. The road was used by the members of the Commission, when they held the session in Baguio.

Klecheski also said the US embassy would aid the city’s Mountain Province museum, which houses various artifacts about the different provinces of the Cordillera.

The American official said Baguio Museum has something that the Americans value so much and consider unique, such as bringing the Cordillera region's diverse culture together.

"It brings diverse culture together, the influences of the different tribes, which America considers as very important. The legacy that keeps on living," Klecheski noted.

He said he is delighted to know more about the region's diverse culture and the impact of the Philippines-US bilateral relations.

He also noted how American private companies, even the "powerful" ones, choose to invest in the Philippines, specifically in Baguio.

The highland city is host to one of the top American companies, Texas Instruments, also one of the Philippines' top exporters at present.

Klecheski said the educated people in Baguio would assure the continued exemplary performance of the workforce that sustains the US company.

At the event, Baguio City Mayor Mauricio Domogan said the city has a lot of infrastructures that mirror the relationship of the country with the Americans, who liberated the country from the Spaniards.

City Councilor Mylen Yaranon, who heads the committee on public works, said the Baguio City government would be glad to partner with the Americans in preserving the structures and sites, once the city government declares the heritage places.

“This is also to make culture and creativity as a driving force in the development of the city’s image,” Yaranon said.

With its unique diverse culture, Baguio was hailed as a “creative city” by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) for its distinguished crafts and folk art.

Baguio Rep. Mark Go was instrumental in the passage of a House Bill declaring Kennon Road a heritage site.

The bill is now pending at the Senate and when passed, will allow funds to go into the full rehabilitation of the historic road that opened Baguio City to trade and investments.

Localized peace talks will work: AFP spox

From the Philippine News Agency (Jul 21): Localized peace talks will work: AFP spox

With many New People's Army (NPA) fighters and their supporters voluntarily surrendering, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) has expressed confidence that the localized peace talks being pushed for by the government would succeed.

"The AFP is confident that the local peace talks will be successful. It's going to work. Why? Because the grounds for joining the communist NPA terrorists have been addressed locally. Karamihan sa issues na nire-raise nila (Many of the issues they raise) could be best addressed locally," military spokesperson Col. Edgard Arevalo said late Thursday.\

The AFP earlier announced that NPA forces nationwide are on the decline as about 7,531 rebels and other supporters have been neutralized from Jan. 1 to June 28 this year.

This can be broken down into 71 killed, 114 captured, and 7,346 who have voluntarily surrendered.

"We will vigorously recommend and pursue the ongoing localized peace talks despite all sorts of tactics that the CPP-NPA-NDF (Communist Party of the Philippines-NPA-National Democratic Front) are resorting (to), to discredit the local peace talks," Arevalo added.

Earlier, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said President Rodrigo Duterte will issue an executive order for the localized peace talks should talks between the government and the CPP fail to materialize.

Roque said the guiding framework for localized peace talks has been approved during a special cluster meeting of the security, justice and peace committees in Malacañang Palace.

The meeting was attended by the President, Senate President Vicente Sotto III, House of Representatives Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, and some members of the Union of Local Authorities of the Philippines.

FVR welcomes SoKor move to help AFP modernization

From the Philippine News Agency (Jul 21): FVR welcomes SoKor move to help AFP modernization

Former president, Fidel V. Ramos, has welcomed South Korea’s move to help the Philippines modernize its defense capability.

Ramos made the statement during an interview with the Philippine New Agency (PNA), following the launch of his latest book, “Undying Service to the Filipino”, at the Manila Hotel Champagne Room last Thursday.

Earlier, South Korean Ambassador Han Dong-Man said his country is ready to help the modernization program of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), such as by supplying new submarines, helicopters, and infantry weapons.

Han said his country will never forget when the Philippines sent more than 7,000 combat troops to Korea during the Korean War.

Ramos cited South Korea’s defense industry that has developed tremendously over the years and now manufactures not only infantry weapons but also airplanes, helicopters, submarines, and ships.

The former president is a veteran of the Korean War that broke out in 1950. He had just graduated from the US West Point when he volunteered for combat duty during the Korean War.

It was in Korea where he had his baptism of fire, when he led his troops of the 20th Battalion Combat Team of the Philippine Expeditionary Forces to Korea that conquered the strategic Eerie Hill following fierce fighting with Chinese forces.

The Philippines bought 12 FA-50 jetfighters from South Korea to replace the aging F-5 supersonic fighter jets of the Philippine Air Force in 2005.
South Korea completed the delivery of the airplanes early last year.

The arrival of the FA-50 was timely just before the Marawi siege broke out when more than a thousand Islamic State-inspired terrorists occupied the Philippine southern city in May 2017.

Philippine Air Force (PAF) pilots of the FA-50 blasted with accuracy the heavily-armed terrorist group hiding inside concrete buildings in Marawi City with hundreds of civilian captives they used as human shields.

It may be recalled that for more than a decade following the retirement of the US-made F-5s, the PAF had no jetfighter patrolling the Philippine airspace to intercept hostile aircraft entering the country until the Air Force got the FA-50 from South Korea in 2016.

The South Korean supersonic combat aircraft was developed by Korea Aerospace Industries in partnership with Lockheed Martin of the United States.

The PAF is also utilizing the FA-50 as a trainer for its pilot as it is one of the world’s supersonic jet trainers.

The “Undying Service to the Filipino” is a joint project of RPDev Foundation and the Manila Bulletin.

Among those who attended the book launch were Jun Icban, Manila Bulletin editor-in-chief; Ching Suva, Manila Bulletin vice president for public relations; former Interior secretary Raffy Alunan; former ombudsman Aniceto Desierto; former executive secretary Ed Ermita;, former trade secretary Ernie Ordoñez; and former Constabulary chief Gen. Ramon Montaño.

DWDD: Eight more Abus surrender to Joint Task Forces in Western Mindanao

From the DWDD AFP Civil Relations Service Facebook Page (Jul 19): Eight more Abus surrender to Joint Task Forces in Western Mindanao

Headquarters, Western Mindanao Command, Camp Navarro, Calarian, Zamboanga City-July 16-19, 2018

The sustained combat operations of the Joint Task Forces compelled eight more members of the Abu Sayyaf Group to lay down their arms within a span of three days as efforts are being exhausted by the troops to contain local terrorists in Western Mindanao.

A total of seven (7) ASG members submitted themselves to the troops of the Joint Task Force Sulu under Brigadier General Divino Rey Pabayo last Monday (July 16).

Troops from the Marine Base Landing Team 3 led by Lieutenant Colonel Ramil Holgado together with Police Senior Superintendent Pablo Labra of the Sulu Provincial Police Office, in coordination with the local populace headed by former Chairwoman Rowena Ammar, and with the relentless effort of the Intel operatives, successfully facilitated the surrender of Hamsani Salamuddin a.k.a Hatib Hamsani and Hatib Ambri Awalon a.k.a Ratag Badjang, both married and residents of Sitio Badyang, Barangay Gata-Gata, Panglima Estino Sulu, and Asali Laadja a.k.a Asali, married and resident of Barangay Danag, Patikul, Sulu at around 10am of July 16 in Barangay Tiptipon, Panglima Estino.

This was followed by another 4 surrenderors who submitted themselves to the troops of the 101st Brigade led by Colonel Francisco Ariel Felicidario through the efforts of Lieutenant Colonel Amadeo Cruz, commanding officer of the 35th Infantry Battalion; Captain Niwane of the 5th Special Forces Company; and Barangay Captain Jing Hayudini of Anuling, Patikul, Sulu around 12noon of the same day at the Headquarters, 101st Brigade in Bus-Bus, Jolo, Sulu.

Nurham Langkahan, 23 years old; Faisal Langkahan, 18; Rashdy Alih, 20; and Kaisir Alih, 16 turned over one (1) caliber 38 pistol, one (1) carbine, and two (2) Garand rifles.

Additionally, another Abu Sayyaf member yielded to the troops of the Fourth Special Forces Battalion under the Joint Task Force Basilan led by Colonel Fernando Reyeg through the efforts of the different stakeholders at 8am yesterday (July 18).

Mubin Kullim submitted himself to the troops at the Headquarters of the 4SFBn in Barangay Cabunbata, Isabela City, Basilan bringing along with him an M16A1 rifle and long magazine with 30 rounds of ammunition.

All surrenderors underwent medical examination and custodial debriefing.

“I would like to express my appreciation to the assistance extended by the local government and the locals of Sulu and Basilan to support the all-out military campaign against terrorism,” LtGen Arnel Dela Vega said.

From January 1, 2018 to date, there are a total of 135 Abu Sayyaf members who surrendered to the troops, 65 of whom were from Sulu, 63 from Basilan, 5 from Tawi-Tawi, and two from Zamboanga City.

"The record breaking achievements of our Joint Task Forces inspire us to strive more in imposing pressure until the last bandit will be taken down,” he added.


DWDD: LGU surrender unlicensed guns in North Cotabato

From the DWDD AFP Civil Relations Service Facebook Page (Jul 21): LGU surrender unlicensed guns in North Cotabato

CAMP SIONGCO, Awang, Datu Odin Sinsuat, Maguindanao – A total of 44 unlicensed guns were turned over to the army yesterday, July 16, 2018, at Banisilan, North Cotabato.

The surrendered high and low powered firearms, coming from the different barangays of Banisilan town, were turned over in a ceremony at the municipal covered court led by Mayor Jesus b. Alisasis.
The firearms were received by 602nd Brigade Commander Col. Alfredo V Rosario Jr and 34th Infantry Battalion Commander Lt. Col. Angelo Z Lutera.

Brig. Gen. Cirilito E. Sobejana, Commander of 6th Infantry Division, commended the efforts of the local government of Banisilan for partaking in the Balik-Baril program of the government with the combined efforts of 34th Infantry Battalion, 602nd Infantry Brigade and the province of North Cotabato.

This 2018, a total of 1,649 firearms were surrendered and recovered in the areas of Joint task Force Central.

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DWDD: JTFNCR deploys troops for SONA

From the DWDD AFP Civil Relations Service Facebook Page (Jul 21): JTFNCR deploys troops for SONA

Joint Task Force-National Capital Region to deploy 1,021 military troops for the State of the Nation Address of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte on Monday to augment personnel from the Philippine National Police (PNP).

Mustering of 1,021 military troops was spearheaded by the AFP Chief of Staff LT General Carlito Galvez at General Headquarters Camp Aguinaldo Quezon City, yesterday.

DWDD: AFP Chief of Staff visits WESTCOM

From the DWDD AFP Civil Relations Service Facebook Page (Jul 21): AFP Chief of Staff visits WESTCOM

Camp General Artemio Ricarte, Puerto Princesa City – LTGEN ROZZANO D BRIGUEZ AFP, Commander WESCOM together with other Commanders, Officers, enlisted personnel, and civilian employees of the different units of the Command joined hands in welcoming the 50th Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (CSAFP), GENERAL CARLITO GUANSING GALVEZ JR AFP on his first official visit to WESCOM on 21 July 2018.

During his visit, WESCOM a...ccorded him with honors and the opportunity to talk with its military and civilian personnel regarding concerns on morale and discipline. He also presented awards to WESCOM for attaining the Compliant Stage Status of its Transformation Roadmap, and to its outstanding personnel for serving the people of Palawan with utmost dedication and achievement.

Likewise, he was given a comprehensive briefing on updates and various issues and concerns on operations on Territorial Defense, Internal Security, Humanitarian Assistance Disaster Response, and support to national development and law enforcement in the province of Palawan and the West Philippine Sea.

GEN GALVEZ JR is a graduate of the Philippine Military Academy “SANDIWA” Class of 1985. He has been with the military service for more than 36 years with all his command billets spent in conflict-affected areas of mainland Mindanao, Basilan and Sulu. His sterling accomplishments and leadership continues to provide direction and inspiration to the whole Armed Forces of the Philippines.

During the Marawi Siege, he was the Commander of Western Mindanao Command who provided strategic direction, operational guidance and inspiration to the joint forces that successfully rescued more than 2,000 civilian hostages; neutralized ASG leader Isnilon Hapilon, the Maute leaders and other terrorists; and, cleared Marawi for liberation after five months of grueling battle.

"GEN GALVEZ’s eagerness to visit Western Command bespeaks of his heart to serve the Filipino people, to support the government’s peace and development programs, and to uphold the protection of national interests in the West Philippine Sea," said LTGEN BRIGUEZ.

"His presence and the inspiration and guidance he has provided for WESCOM shall always be treasured and displayed by our personnel in the way we perform our duties," LTGEN BRIGUEZ added.

DWDD: Government forces score another CNT surrender in Mountain Province

From the DWDD AFP Civil Relations Service Website (Jul19): Government forces score another CNT surrender in Mountain Province

CAMP MELCHOR F DELA CRUZ, Gamu, Isabela – Another Communist NPA regular operating in the tri-boundary of the provinces of Abra, Mountain Province and Ilocos Sur (AMPIS) surrendered to the soldiers under the 503rd Infantry Brigade at Bontoc, Mountain Province on the morning of July 16, 2018 (Monday).

The Communist NPA Terrorist (CNT) that is only known to his Alyas as Sibat, 37 years old and Acting Squad Leader of the Sandatahang Yunit Pampropaganda (SYP), Kilusang Larangang Guerilla, handed one Garand Rifle with two clips and few rounds of ammunition to the authorities.

According to BGen Leopoldo P Imbang Jr, Commander, 503rd Infantry Brigade, Sibat has already spent 20 years in the Communist Terrorist Group when he decided to surrender. “Sibat revealed that in his 20 years in the Terrorist group, he saw no progression to their cause. That he lost almost all of his life to a cause that never lifts their lives and his comrades to include the lives of the ordinary people.” BGen Imbang said.

Meanwhile, MGen Perfecto M Rimando Jr, Commander, 5ID praised Sibat for his decision to return to the mainstream of society. “The experience of Sibat only proves that the Communist ideology brings nothing good to its members and to the people. If the old guys like Sibat are now surrendering because they saw the futility of their cause, then we need to double our efforts to reach out for more CNT members, especially the younger ones.” MGen Rimando said.

“I enjoined everybody to support the localized peace talks in our respective provinces. Let us encourage our friends, relatives and family members that are working, and or in the Communist Terrorist Groups / New People’s Army to surrender and avail the benefits guaranteed under the Enhanced-Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP).” MGen Rimando added.

Sibat is still in 54th Infantry Battalion in Bontoc, Mountain Province for debriefing and his surrendered firearms is in the custody of said battalion for safe keeping.

DWDD: CORPAT PHIL-INDO XXXII-2018 ends yesterday

From the DWDD AFP Civil Relations Service Website (Jul19): CORPAT PHIL-INDO XXXII-2018 ends yesterday

The Republic of the Philippines and the Republic of Indonesia Border Committees successfully concluded the Coordinated Patrol (CORPAT) PHILINDO XXXII-2018 participated in by the Eastern Mindanao Command, Armed Forces of the Philippines through the Naval Forces Eastern Mindanao and the Eastern Fleet Command, Indonesian Navy. It was done in two (2) phases: Phase 1 from 10 to 29 April 2018 with an opening ceremony held in Manado City, Indonesia; and Phase 2 from 05 to 20 July 2018 with the closing ceremony held in Davao City.

Joined by other maritime agencies such as the Philippine Coast Guard, Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources, Philippine National Police Maritime Group, and the Philippine Navy Auxiliary Reserve Unit, the Philippine and Indonesian Navies enhanced their interoperability at sea resulting to the conduct of 32 naval exercises and shipboard evolutions along the common borders with a total steaming time of 542 hours and 28 minutes covering 5,454 nautical miles.

Moreover, through the joint efforts of our respective governments, last April 20 the coordinated naval patrol was able to jibe the repatriation of 31 Filipino fisher folks from Indonesia back to their families with the assistance of concerned local government units and government agencies. The repatriates were welcomed by Secretary Christopher Lawrence Go as representative of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte.

Alongside the sea-based exercise, civic action and medical assistance activities were also undertaken at Brgy Tibanban, Gov. Generoso, Davao Oriental as part of the land-based activities with the support and participation of the local government unit of Governor Generoso, the Consulate of Indonesia based in Davao City and other government agencies. The services included medical, dental, veterinarian, fisheries forum, distribution of 1,000 assorted seedlings to the local populace, and on-site registration to Indonesian expatriates. The Consulate of Indonesia was also able to conduct documentation and provided passports to qualified Indonesian citizens. The civil-military activity benefitted a total of 433 medical and 258 dental patients, and about 800 mangroves were planted in the said barangay.

With these, the Republic of the Philippines and the Republic of Indonesia Border Committees expressed satisfaction on the results of the coordinated naval patrol and reaffirmed cooperation not only in ensuring enhanced coordinated border security measures between the two countries but also to provide humanitarian assistance to citizens of both countries in the future.