Monday, August 20, 2018

Metrobank Foundation honors 3 outstanding soldiers

From the Philippine News Agency (Aug 20): Metrobank Foundation honors 3 outstanding soldiers

Three soldiers of the Armed Forces of the Philippines were presented on Monday as among the 2018 Metrobank Foundation Outstanding Filipinos in a ceremony held at the General Headquarters here.

Major Francis Señoron of the Philippine Army, Lt. Col. Danilo Facundo of the Philippine Marine Corps, and Lt. Col. Thomas Ryan Seguin of the Philippine Air Force were recognized "for rendering service above and beyond his/her call of duty.

"The recognition that they have received today manifests their dedication to their duties and exemplary service not only for the benefit of the AFP, but more importantly for the whole country," AFP Chief of Staff General Carlito Galvez Jr. said.

Señoron, an assistant division chief in the Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Logistics, OJ4, was especially cited for his expertise in bomb disposal and management that has saved countless soldiers and civilians.

His particular ingenuity allowed him to develop devices similar to the galvanometer and disruptor that are much cheaper and sustainable compared to their commercial equivalents, costing the AFP only PHP1,500 and PHP600 respectively, and have been adopted and mass produce by the Philippine Army for EOD units nationwide.

Meanwhile, Facundo, director of the Marines' Mobile Training and Exercise Unit, was cited for conceptualizing and facilitating the creation of the Sustained Multi-Agency Assistance in Resorts and Tourist Areas (SMART-MARINES) and the Joint Inter-Agency Task Uniy Brooke's Point, Bataraza, Rizal, and Balabac (JIATU-BBRB).

Both agencies have military, local government, and private sector components that strengthened the information sharing protocol across Palawan province, securing the tourism hub from terrorism, kidnapping, and insurgency.

Seguin, commander of the 7th Tactical Fighter Squadron, directed aerial missions vital in securing Marawi City against terrorists in 2017.

He was cited for flying 134 out of the 156 total air to ground attack missions and ably dropped a total of 267 bombs, equivalent to 134,000 lbs of explosives, in the Marawi City campaign.

"These awardees redefine the true essence of public service, raise the bar of excellence, and serve as good examples to their colleagues and their respective organizations," Metrobank Foundation President Aniceto Sobrepeña said.

The awardees join the ranks of 655 outstanding public servants recognized by the Metrobank Foundation and Rotary Club of Makati Metro since 1985, which includes Galvez who was among The Outstanding Philippine Soldiers in 2007.

Formal conferment ceremonies will be held on September 7 at the Metrobank Plaza in Makati City.

PAF fighter pilot deserves Metrobank’s ‘Outstanding Filipino’ award

From the Philippine News Agency (Aug 20): PAF fighter pilot deserves Metrobank’s ‘Outstanding Filipino’ award

Philippine Air Force (PAF) fighter pilot Lt. Col. Thomas Ryan Seguin, one of the service's best and a Marawi Siege veteran, deserves to be among the three military personnel selected for this year's Metrobank Foundation's "The Outstanding Filipinos".

"(Seguin) is (really) deserving of the award. (Siya ay) magaling (good), very professional and hardworking," PAF spokesperson Major Aris Galang said in a text message to the Philippine News Agency Monday.

"Magaling na piloto, prepared lagi before lumipad. Mataas na level ng skills niya kaya very matured sa liparan (He is a good pilot. He is always prepared before flight. His level of skills are high and this makes him matured in terms of flight experience)," Galang said, quoting one of Seguin's fellow pilots at the 7th Tactical Fighter Squadron when asked on the awardee's flying abilities.

Seguin is the commander of the 7th Tactical Fighter Squadron, a component of the Floridablanca, Pampanga-based 5th Fighter Wing, which played a key role in the five-month long Marawi Siege that started May 23, 2017 and ended in October.

Seguin is a graduate of Philippine Military Academy Class of 1999 and is the Number 4 graduate of his batch.

Seguin was cited for flying 134 out of the 156 total air-to-ground attack missions in the conflict.

This amounts to 267 bombs dropped in total equivalent to 134,000 pounds of explosives.

Aside from flying the above-mentioned missions, Seguin also directed aerial missions vital in securing Marawi City against the Maute Group terrorists due to the limited number of pilots equipped for command.

"In the face of overwhelming odds, Lt. Col. Seguin masterfully exemplified composure under fire – flying134 out of the 156 total air-to-ground attack missions over Marawi’s main battle area. Given the limited number of pilots equipped for command, Lt. Col. Seguin had to steer these missions day and night, over bodies of water, despite the impending risks brought about by unfavorable winds and weather conditions, and limited air visibility due to nighttime darkness and ground fires," Seguin's Metrobank citation read.

Constant PAF support to ground units in Marawi is instrumental in the neutralization of numerous local and foreign terrorists, including leaders of the Abu Sayyaf and Maute Group terrorists.

Seguin is also instrumental in the training of a new generation of PAF fighter pilots.

"His efforts to enhance and intensify pilot training resulted to a total of 25 combat and mission ready pilots in PAF’s 5th Fighter Wing. This benefited not only the careers of these pilots as they progressed in the qualification ladder, but also the operational readiness of PAF—having significantly augmented their current roster of professionally trained pilots responsive to air operations for national defense," the citation added.

Coast Guard bares new ‘anti-terrorism fast boat’ in Palawan

From the Philippine News Agency (Aug 20): Coast Guard bares new ‘anti-terrorism fast boat’ in Palawan

ANTI-TERRORISM FAST BOAT. Commodore Allen T. Toribio, district commander of the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) in Palawan, checks out the rigid hull inflatable boat (RHIB) that was donated to the Philippine government by Japan to help in deterring the entry of extremist groups like the Abu Sayyaf on Monday (Aug. 20, 2018). The RHIB, which has a night operation capability, is fitted with state-of-the-art navigational equipment and mounted with a 30-caliber machine gun. (Photo by CARF)
PUERTO PRINCESA CITY, Palawan –The Philippine Coast Guard District (PCGD)-Palawan showed off Monday the recently acquired "anti-terrorism fast boat" that has the capability for night operation and with a mounted 30-caliber machine gun.

The rigid hulled inflatable boat (RHIB) is part of the recently acquired high-speed fast boats and 44m class multi-role response vessels (MRRVs) from Japan by the Philippine government.
Commodore Allen T. Toribio, district commander of the PCGD in the province, said the fast boat has a speed of 40-60 knots (46.1-69.1 miles per hour), and a 350-horsepower engine with a fuel capacity of 320 liters.

He said the boat can deliver “dependability, style, and confidence when taking control of the coastal water," adding that it can accommodate 12 anti-terrorist personnel of the PCGD who will ensure the safety of the province’s coastal zones against any threat from extremist groups like the Abu Sayyaf.

“We fitted it with a caliber 30 machine gun and we placed a personnel who can operate it. It can really act as anti-terrorism fast boat here in Palawan,” he said.

He said it was sent to the province two weeks ago by Coast Guard chief Admiral Elson Hermogino in fulfillment of President Rodrigo Duterte’s pledge to help the province in preventing the perpetration of terroristic activities.

It was a share of the donation of the Japanese government, which was requested by President Duterte for the PCG to have additional maritime assets, he said.

“Ano yan donated ng Japan government. Sometime ago, nag-request si President [Duterte] ng fast boats and they gave freely. Pito yan ang alam ko, at ang isa ay nabigay dito sa Palawan (It was donated by the Japan government. Sometime ago, President Duterte requested for fast boats and they gave freely. As far as I know, there are seven units and one was given to Palawan),” he said.

The anti-terrorism fast boats, he explained, has an apparatus to avoid running aground in shallow areas and has a propeller guard to get around coral heads.

He said the RHIB will be supported by some of the 44-meter MRRV class patrol vessels whose design and built were financed with the Japanese government’s support.

One of these is 4407 BRP “Sindangan,” which is already helping secure Palawan’s littoral areas.

“We will have floating assets dedicated to the east and west of Palawan, and we have so many aluminum boats, and this new asset that we are launching – the fast boat – this is for interdiction in our patrol,” he said.

Interdiction, he explained, as “it is fast, complete with navigational equipment and can operate at night with the 30 caliber firepower machine gun aside from the M16 rifles of the anti-terrorist personnel.”

Toribio urged the public to help the Coast Guard, the military, the police, and the provincial government in ensuring the province’s safety by being alert and vigilant, especially in seaside communities.

The launching of the anti-terrorism fast boat came a barely a week after the Abu Sayyaf threat to conduct kidnappings in Palawan was disclosed by the Palawan Provincial Peace and Order Council (PPOC) on Aug. 11.

Review camp defense plan vs NPA attacks, Eastern Visayas cops told

From the Philippine News Agency (Aug 20): Review camp defense plan vs NPA attacks, Eastern Visayas cops told

The Philippine National Police (PNP) regional office here directed field commanders to review their camp defense plan to ensure that no police station in Eastern Visayas will be attacked by the New People’s Army (NPA).

PNP Region 8 Director, Chief Supt. Dionardo Carlos, asked provincial directors and chiefs of police to intensify their intelligence monitoring to prevent any attack.

“I instructed our provincial directors that there should be no repeat of attacks of police stations. The order is to look at camp defense plans and conduct regular security inspections,” Carlos said in his first briefing in the region Monday.

Carlos assumed the post as PNP regional chief on Aug. 10, replacing Chief Supt. Marielle Magaway who was relieved from his post, hours after some 50 armed rebels raided the police station of Lapinig, Northern Samar.

The official has been going around the region to check the police stations’ readiness for possible attacks.

“There are two strategies to prevent raids -- improve our systems and talk with the NPAs. I am reaching out to them that if they have issues, we can talk,” he added.

On Aug. 10, about 50 communist rebels launched a pre-dawn attack at the police station of Lapinig, Northern Samar. The attack injured two policemen while the rebels carted several firearms, laptops and communication devices.

Cops pursue leads in failed Koronadal bomb attack

From the Philippine News Agency (Aug 20): Cops pursue leads in failed Koronadal bomb attack 

Police are looking into a number of leads in the failed bomb attack at a department store along the main commercial area of Koronadal City on Saturday evening.

Supt. Marvin Duadua, spokesperson of the South Cotabato Police Provincial Office, said Monday investigators are currently studying the possible motives and identities of the suspects behind the incident.

“We already have some leads but we’re also open to other possible angles that we can exploit,” Duadua said. He declined to provide details, however, to preempt ongoing investigation.

An improvised explosive device (IED) malfunctioned and set off prematurely at the baggage counter of Unitop General Merchandise-Koronadal branch along Osmena Street at around 8:25 p.m. Saturday.

The explosive, which was placed inside a backpack and sling bag, was reportedly left by a customer before the store closed at 8 p.m.

Responding personnel from the city police station and the South Cotabato police explosive ordnance disposal unit later detonated the IED.

As to the "signature" of the explosive, Duadua said they were still waiting for the report from the assigned composite investigation team. 

The official said investigators are coordinating with the store's personnel, especially the duty baggage attendant and security guard during the incident, to establish the identity of the person who left the backpack.

He said they have also requested copies of the closed-circuit television or CCTV camera footages of Unitop and nearby establishments.

Duadua said they are going through the required processes in obtaining the footages to avoid possible problems once they would be presented to the court later as evidence.

Aside from these, he said are also looking into the possible lapses of the establishment, especially those assigned at the baggage section.

"It should have been detected earlier through the mandatory inspection of the bag. But that did not happen so we really need to engage and re-educate the store's management and personnel about that," he said.  

The failed bomb attack happened as the city concluded on Saturday night the hosting of the week-long 2nd "Pyesta Kolon Datal: Koronadal International Folklore Festival."

3 NPAs killed in Sarangani clashes

From the Philippine News Agency (Aug 20): 3 NPAs killed in Sarangani clashes

Three suspected New People's Army (NPA) members were killed in clashes with government troops on Sunday in a hinterland village in Maasim town, Sarangani Province.

Acting Maasim Mayor Uttoh Salem Cutan said Monday the two encounters were part of the continuing operations against the rebels of the military under the Bravo Company of the Army's 27th Infantry Battalion (IB).

Citing a report from the 27IB and the Maasim municipal police station, Cutan said at least two encounters happened on Sunday in Sitio Hitam-el along the boundary of Barangays Lumasal and Panag.

He said the troops briefly clashed with the rebels at around 9 a.m. and resumed at around 1:30 p.m.

The mayor said three NPA members were confirmed killed in the encounters based on the bodies recovered by 27IB elements at the encounter site.

He said the troops, which did not suffer any casualty, recovered unspecified high-powered firearms from the fatalities.

"We're still waiting for the arrival of the remains of the slain rebels so we can properly identify them and determine where they come from," the mayor said in a radio interview.

As of Monday morning, Cutan said the situation at the clash site has normalized but 27IB troopers are still conducting clearing operations towards portions of Kiamba town.

The Maasim police station has been directed to help monitor and secure the affected communities, he said.

291 Army recruits undergo training in Zamboanga del Sur

From the Philippine News Agency (Aug 20): 291 Army recruits undergo training in Zamboanga del Sur

Brig. Gen. Jacinto Bareng, Army's 1st Infantry Assistant Division commander, addresses the 291 Army aspirants who took oath as military recruits on Monday in Kuta Sang-an, Labangan, Zamboanga del Sur. The recruits will undergo a 14-week rigid training starting Monday at the Division Training School. (Photo courtesy: Army's 1st Infantry Division Public Information Office)

Two-hundred ninety-one aspirant-soldiers are undergoing a 14-week training starting Monday at the Philippine Army's First Infantry Division Training School in Kuta Sang-an, Labangan, Zamboanga del Sur.

The recruits consisted of 287 new Candidate Soldiers and four Privates, who took oath as military recruits on Monday in Kuta Sang-an, with Brig. Gen. Jacinto Bareng, 1st Infantry Assistant Division commander, as the guest speaker.

Maj. Ronald Suscano, Army’s 1st Infantry Division information officer, said the new recruits will comprise the Candidate Soldier Course Classes 567-18 and 568-18 of the command.

Suscano said that 264 of the 291 Army aspirants are males and the remaining 27 are females, including a Maranao from Butig, Lanao del Sur.

He said the chosen candidates are considered to be the most competent among over 1,000 applicants. They passed the Armed Forces of the Philippines Service Aptitude Test (AFPSAT), physical fitness test (PFT), and physical and medical examination.

The recruits will undergo rigid training in the next 14 weeks at the Division Training School (DTS)on “Transformation”, “Basic Squad Training”, and “Application of Knowledge,” all aimed at molding them to become well-disciplined, competent, and capable soldiers to fill in the ranks of the Army.

“The candidate soldiers’ training is indeed tedious as they will initially experience an abrupt change from being a civilian to adapting the military lifestyle,” Suscano quoted Bareng to have told the new recruits.

“I am reminding the personnel of DTS to instill discipline and respect to the recruits, share all their knowledge, skills, and professionalism and to guarantee that they will develop a mindset of survival in the profession of arms,” Bareng added.

He encouraged the new Army recruits to do their best and efforts to survive the four months rigid training as it will also test their mental, physical and spiritual capabilities if they are really fit to be a soldier.

The recruitment is an annual program of the Philippine Army to fill-up the vacancies left by retirees and those separated from the military service.