Tuesday, August 20, 2019

US military top brass visit Manila to reiterate commitment to MDT

From the Manila Bulletin (Aug 19, 2019): US military top brass visit Manila to reiterate commitment to MDT
Two ranking officials of the United States military visited Manila from August 15 to 18, 2019 to “re-emphasize” Washington’s commitment to the Mutual Defense Treaty with its ally, the Philippines.

Manila Bulletin file photo

During their visit, U.S. Air Force Chief of Staff General David Goldfein and General Charles Brown, commander of the Pacific Air Forces (PACAF), met with key Filipino policymakers including Undersecretary of National Defense Cardozo Luna, Armed Forces of the Philippines Chief of Staff Benjamin Madrigal, and Philippine Air Force Commanding General Rozzano Briguez.

“This visit was an excellent opportunity not only to engage with our Philippine counterparts, but to strengthen the friendship, partnership, and alliance that exists between our nations,” said General Goldfein.

The visiting American generals were feted with an arrival honors ceremony to highlight the close military relationship between the U.S. Air Force and the Philippine Air Force (PAF).

“Our relationship with the PAF remains strong and will continue to grow. As like-minded nations who believe in a free and open Indo- Pacific and respect for one another’s sovereignty and sovereign territory, our common interests draw us together,” Goldfein said.

In an earlier telephonic interview with international journalists, Goldfein said he is excited to see the Philippine Air Force 2028 plan, which is part of the country’s effort to modernize the AFP and build a credible defense force amid growing concerns over the territorial disputes in the South China Sea, as well as the threat of terrorism in the south.

“This is a longstanding alliance between the United States and the Philippines, and it really has contributed to peace, stability, prosperity in this region for over 60 years,” Goldfein said in his remarks.

CPP-NPA commander yields to Army in Agusan del Norte

From the Manila Bulletin (Aug 20, 2019): CPP-NPA commander yields to Army in Agusan del Norte

CABADBARAN CITY – An alleged commander of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) surrendered recently to the Community Support Team (CST) of the Army’s 29th Infantry (Matatag) Battalion at Barangay Del Pilar, this city, military reported Tuesday.

The 25-year old alleged rebel commander, whose name withheld for his safety, belonged to Sandatahang Yunit Pangpropaganda 21-B Guerilla Front Committee 21-C of the CPP-NPA Northeastern Mindanao Regional Committee (SYP 21 B, GFC 21-C, NEMRC), said Lt. Col. Isagani O. Criste, commanding officer of the 29th IB, Tuesday.

The rebel commander also yielded his AK 47 rifle with live ammunition, and anti-government documents, some of which had high intelligence value, the 29th IB commander said.

The surrender was also said to be the son of a ranking CPP-NPA commander who surrendered to 29th IB on January 11, 2019, he said.

“I am thankful to the Lord and the troops of 29IB for their never-ending efforts to reach out to the “members of the NPA who want to return to the folds of the law. At first, it was so hard for me to convince my son because he is so hard-headed and would not listen. He thought that the military will kill him if he surrenders. I made him understand that his expectation had no basis, for I have proven how good the military is, especially the 29IB. I also told him not to listen to the NPA because it’s part of their propaganda to threaten him and stop him from surrendering,” Criste said, quoting the surrenderer’s father.

Marawi crisis spokesman Zia Alonto Adiong named BTA member

Posted to Rappler (Aug 20, 2019): Marawi crisis spokesman Zia Alonto Adiong named BTA member

The Duterte administration still has to name 4 more Bangsamoro Transition Authority members, which the Bangsamoro law states must number 80

CONCERNS. Zia Alonto Adiong is pictured here with then-Philippine Army chief Lieutenant General Rolando Bautista and then-Western Mindanao chief Lieutenant General Arnel dela Vega. Photo by Carmela Fonbuena/Rappler

Marawi crisis spokesman and former Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) assemblyman Zia Alonto Adiong has been named a member of the Bangsamoro interim government.

Adiong's full name, Ziaurrahman Adiong, appeared in a list of new presidential appointees sent by MalacaƱang to media on Tuesday, August 20. He is identified as a new member of the Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA).

Adiong told Rappler he got a call from the Palace a week ago informing him that his appointment had been signed. It was signed on August 13, according to the Palace appointees list.

With Adiong's appointment, Duterte would have to name 3 more government-nominated BTA members.

Out of the total 80 target BTA members, 41 were nominated by the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and named by Duterte. The government was supposed to nominate the remaining 39.

But when the Palace released the names of the first batch of BTA members in February, there were only 76. The government was unable to name 4 members at the time.

Since that time, two BTA members nominated by the MILF have passed away – MILF leader Ghazali Jaafar and lawyer Abdul Dataya.

Jaafar's seat in the BTA was given to his son Mudjib Abu in May. The MILF had nominated Abdullah Hashim, Dataya's nephew and the son of MILF founder Hashim Salamat, to replace Dataya.

BTA Interim Chief Minister Murad Ebrahim told Rappler they would nominate Hashim.

"He is a senior engineering student. That's the eldest son [of Hashim Salamat], to replace his uncle who passed away," Murad said on August 9.

With Adiong's appointment, the BTA membership remains at 76 since Dataya's replacement and the appointment of 3 other government-nominated members had yet to be finalized.

New SEC commissioner, other officials

Also in the list of new appointees is Karlo Bello, former agrarian reform undersecretary who will now serve as commissioner for the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

His appointment was signed on August 13.

The Department of Agriculture is also getting a new undersecretary, Ernesto Gonzales, while the Office of the Cabinet Secretariat has a new "assistant Cabinet secretary," Ricky dela Torre.


Lorenzana wants to send new Navy warship to Palawan, Sulu Sea

From the Philippine Daily Inquirer (Aug 20, 2019): Lorenzana wants to send new Navy warship to Palawan, Sulu Sea

The BRP Conrado Yap, the Philippine Navy’s “most powerful’ ship, was donated by the South Korean government. (Photo from the Philippine Navy)

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana wants to deploy the Philippine Navy’s newly-acquired vessel BRP Conrado Yap (PS-39) to Palawan or Sulu if he could have his way.

“Kung ako, baka siguro baka Palawan and the Sulu Seas,” he told reporters Tuesday on the sidelines of the arrival ceremony for BRP Conrado Yap.

“It depends on the Navy how soon they can bring that to the south,” he said.

Navy chief Vice Adm. Robert Empedrad described its latest acquisition as its “most powerful” ship.

The Philippine Navy held a welcome ceremony for its newest asset, BRP Conrado Yap, a warship donated by the South Korean government, and the BRP Davao del Sur (LD-602), which is returning home after participating in the Russian Navy celebration in Vladivostok.

The new acquisition came as Lorenzana and the military in recent weeks questioned the unauthorized and multiple transits of Chinese warships within Philippine territorial waters, including Palawan and Sibutu Strait near the Sulu Sea.

The Philippine government has filed diplomatic protests on the intrusions of the Chinese warships.

Earlier in the day, President Rodrigo Duterte issued an order requiring foreign warships to get clearance when passing through the country’s territorial waters.

“Either we get a compliance in a friendly manner or we enforce it in an unfriendly manner,” said presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo, who relayed the President’s new directive.

Capt. Marco Buena, commanding officer of BRP Conrado Yap, said the new ship would largely support the Navy’s mission to drive away foreign intruders within the country’s territory.

“This warship will greatly contribute to the current capability of our armed forces to defend our sovereignty and keep our potential enemies away from our seas and shorelines,” he said in his speech.

The new warship is equipped with anti-submarine warfare, anti-surface warfare and anti-air warfare capabilities. It is seen to serve as a transition platform to the future and more modern assets of the Philippine Navy.

“The main capability of this main warship is to conduct anti-submarine warfare, which I can say is very timely for us to cope with the present situation our different areas of interest demand,” Buena said.


LOOK: PH Navy's 'most powerful ship' BRP Conrado Yap arrives at last

From ABS-CBN (Aug 20, 2019): LOOK: PH Navy's 'most powerful ship' BRP Conrado Yap arrives at last

BRP Conrado Yap, the Philippines’ most heavily armed warship to date, arrives st the port of Manila. It is expected to provide the necessary transition for the Navy into anti-submarine warfare @abscbnnews

MANILA - Regarded by the Philippine Navy as its “most powerful ship”
to date, the ex-Pohang-class corvette BRP Conrado Yap (PS39) docked
in the Port of Manila Tuesday after being acquired from South Korea.

The 32-year old warship is recognized by the navy as its most powerful
ship to date because of its sonars and torpedo launchers are capable of
anti-submarine warfare.
Various sonars and radars also make the BRP Conrado Yap better equipped to scan the surface of the sea and beneath it @ABSCBNNews

View image on Twitter

Three torpedo launchers are on each side of the BRP Yap, while the bow
and stern, or front and back of the ship, have a 76mm Oto Melara and
40mm twin-barrel Breda secondary guns each. These guns are suited for
anti-ship and anti-surface warfare.
The BRP Conrado Yap’s main anti-air and anti-surface weapons: a 76mm Oto Melara and a 40mm Breda twin barrel gun at the bow (front) and stern (back) of the ship. [musical score not part of capabilities šŸ¤£] @ABSCBNNews

The ship is expected to aid the Philippine Navy in bridging the newly
acquired capabilities and those still on the way. It can partner with the new
Agusta 159 helicopters which also have anti-submarine detection capabilities.
The BRP Conrado Yap’s anti-submarine weaponry: a triple-tube Mk 32 grenade launcher at starboard (right side) and portside (left side). @ABSCBNNews

View image on Twitter

It will also complement the capabilities of the two brand-new frigates that
are being built by Korean company Hyundai.

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana hopes that the BRP Yap will be deployed
in Palawan and Sulu Sea, but the navy is still waiting for more improvements
to be made on the warship before it is deployed.

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana troops the line of Philippine Navy sailors and Marines before the arrival of BRP Conrado Yap (PS39), the newly acquired corvette from Korea. The PS39 is a platform capable of anti-surface and anti-air operations @ABSCBNNews

View image on Twitter

It is named after the late Army Capt. Conrado Yap, who died in battle trying
to rescue and defend another besieged Philippine Army unit in the Korean War.
For his bravery, Captain Yap posthumously received a Medal for Valor, the highest
military honor that the military confers.

The ship was decommissioned by the Korean Navy in 2016 and commissioned
by the Philippine Navy in 2019. Lorenzana expressed hope that the Korean Navy
would let the Philippines acquire two more corvettes of its kind.