Sunday, July 4, 2021

Basilan Community Support Program operations team lauded

From the Sun Star-Zamboanga (Jul 4, 2021): Basilan Community Support Program operations team lauded

ZAMBOANGA. Major General William Gonzales, commander of the 11th Infantry Division, lauds the Community Support Team (CSP) operations team for exemplary performance while deployed in the province of Sulu. A photo handout shows the CPS operators in an outreach mission in one of the villages of Sulu. (SunStar Zamboanga)

MAJOR General William Gonzales, commander of the 11th Infantry Division, lauded the Community Support Program (CSP) operations team of the Joint Task Force (JTF)-Basilan for their exemplary performance in assisting the troops in Sulu.

Philippine Military Plane Crashes With 96 People Aboard

 From the New York Times (Jul 4, 2021): Philippine Military Plane Crashes With 96 People Aboard (By Jason Gutierrez)

At least 45 people, including three civilians on the ground, were killed in the accident, and it was feared that the toll would climb.


he scene of the crash, on the southern island of Jolo, the Philippines, on Sunday. The head of the country’s armed forces, Gen. Cirilito Sobejana, said the aircraft missed a runway while trying to land.Credit...Joint Task Force Sulu

A Philippine Air Force plane with 96 soldiers and crew members aboard crashed on the southern island of Jolo on Sunday, officials said. At least 45 people were killed, including three civilians on the ground, and it was feared that the toll would climb.

The head of the Philippine armed forces, Gen. Cirilito Sobejana, said that the plane missed a runway while trying to land and that it crashed near a village called Bangkal in the town of Patikul, a stronghold of the militant group known as Abu Sayyaf.

The military said that 42 who were on the plane had been confirmed dead, with another 49 injured and five others still unaccounted for.

“We remain to be hopeful that we could find more survivors,” Maj. Gen. William Gonzales, the Joint Task Force Sulu commander, said in a statement.

Military officials said that in addition to the three civilians on the ground who had been killed, 53 others had been injured.

The soldiers on the plane that crashed on Sunday were being flown to Jolo to bolster the military’s operations against Abu Sayyaf, a small Islamist group that the Philippine government considers a terrorist organization.

“They were supposed to join us in our fight against terrorism,” General Gonzales said. “These individuals were supposed to report to their battalions today.”

In addition to the 96 people aboard the plane, a C-130 Hercules, there were also five military vehicles, officials said. The C-130, an American-built turboprop, is used by militaries around the world and is sometimes kept in service for decades.

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said he had “ordered a full investigation to get to the bottom of the incident, as soon as the rescue and recovery operation is completed.”

The plane that crashed on Sunday first flew in 1988, and it was used by the United States Air Force until it was sold to the Philippines in January, according to the Philippine Air Force and a website that tracks C-130s worldwide.

The Philippine military has been trying to modernize its aging fleet. Last month, a newly acquired Black Hawk helicopter crashed during a night training flight, killing six people onboard.

That crash happened about two months after another helicopter, an MG-520 attack chopper, crashed in the central Philippines, killing its pilot. And in January, a refurbished UH-1H Vietnam War-era helicopter crashed in the south, killing seven soldiers.

In 2008, a Philippine Air Force C-130 crashed into the sea shortly after taking off from Davao City on the southern island of Mindanao, killing nine crew members and two passengers aboard.

The Philippine military has been battling a stubborn insurgency in the southern part of the country for years.

A faction of Abu Sayyaf, which has pledged allegiance to the Islamic State, was blamed for the January 2019 bombing of a cathedral on Jolo, which was carried out by an Indonesian couple and killed at least 23 people. The Philippine authorities believe a similar attack near the cathedral in 2020, which left 14 dead, was perpetrated by the same Abu Sayyaf faction.

Its leader, Hatib Hajan Sawadjaan, is since thought to have been killed, and the military has been ramping up its operations against the group in hopes of eliminating it.

S. Kudarat IP farmers, ex-rebels get P700-K gov't livelihood aid

From the Philippine News Agency (Jul 4, 2021): S. Kudarat IP farmers, ex-rebels get P700-K gov't livelihood aid (By Edwin Fernandez)

REACHING OUT. DOLE-12 and military officials pose with IP farmers in Sen. Ninoy Aquino town in Sultan Kudarat after granting them livelihood aid on Friday (July 2, 2021). DOLE-12 Director Raymundo Agravante (inset) said the grant was in support of the national government’s call to end armed conflict in the countryside. (Photo courtesy of DOLE-12)

ISULAN, Sultan Kudarat – Farmers including surrendered rebels from an indigenous peoples (IPs) community in an upland town in this province are expected to have increased productivity and income after receiving coffee production post-harvest facilities from the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) in Region 12 (Soccsksargen).

“It was in support of the national government’s call to end armed conflict in the countryside,” DOLE-12 Director Raymundo Agravante said in a statement on Sunday.

He said the post-harvest facilities, amounting to PHP666,156 were turned over Friday afternoon to the Tupi-Bato Farmers Association at Sitio Tupi-Bato, Barangay Midtungok, Sen. Ninoy Aquino (SNA) municipality, some 20 kilometers south of this capital town.

The event, spearheaded by Agravante, was also attended by SNA Mayor Randy Ecija, Jr., DOLE Sultan Kudarat provincial director Mary Jane Hoksuan, and Col. Rommel Valencia of the Army’s 7th Infantry Battalion (7IB).

With the simple intervention, Agravante said the 36 members of the association, mostly IPs, “can now improve coffee production and marketing with the use of a brand new coffee huller machine, a 2,500-kilogram platform weighing scale, 10 all-weather plastic dryer tents, and 100 liters of crude gas, among others.”

Before the turnover of the facilities, he said the DOLE-Sultan Kudarat field office conducted capability building as a preparatory step in setting up a business formation.

Agravante said the entrepreneurial project is in partnership with the 7IB, the Sultan Kudarat provincial government, the provincial Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict, and the SNA local government unit.

“Ronald”, an IP farmer-beneficiary who is a former communist rebel, expressed joy over the assistance, saying the government has been true to its promise of uplifting the lives of IPs in the countryside.

“We really appreciate this project. Now, we are really convinced that the government cares for us IPs living here in a faraway place,” he said in the vernacular during a phone interview with the Philippine News Agency here Sunday.

Meanwhile, Agravante said the DOLE-12 also awarded a “Kabuhayan” check amounting to PHP1,547,070 to its accredited co-partner, the SNA town government, for 85 informal sector workers, most of whom are self-employed IP women, youth, persons with disabilities, senior citizens, former rebels, and parents of child laborers.

17 rebels surrender with firearms in Masbate

From the Philippine News Agency (Jul 4, 2021): 17 rebels surrender with firearms in Masbate (By Connie Calipay)

A total of 17 more New People's Army (NPA) rebels operating in Masbate province have surrendered to the Philippine National Police (PNP) and Philippine Army (PA) in Aroroy, Masbate.

In a statement on Sunday, Brig. Gen. Jonnel Estomo, Police Regional Office (PRO) 5 (Bicol) regional director, said
those who surrendered on Friday were from the Platoon 3, Larangan 1, Komite ng Probinsya 4 of the Militia ng Bayan that is operating in the southern part of the province.

"The 17 NPA members surrendered during the Situational Awareness and Knowledge Management (SAKM) in Barangay Balete and Barangay Concepcion sa (in) Aroroy, Masbate. The success is through the efforts of PNP and PA that encourage the members of the terrorist group to return to the fold of the law and accept the benefits given by the government for them to start a new life," Estomo said.

He said SAKM is an initiative of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) that aims to educate the communities about the ideology and selfish and unjust acts of the NPA that violate human rights.

The group of surrenderers also turned in several handguns and a KG9 submachine gun.

They will undergo debriefing and will receive government aid through the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integrated Program (ECLIP) that will help them start a new life together with their families.

"Buong puso ang aming pagtanggap at pasasalamat sa ating mga kapatid na minsan ng nalihis ng landas at ngayo'y handang handa ng harapin ang kanilang kinabukasang mas tahimik at may direksyon. Ang inyong pagsuko ay patunay ng inyong pakikiisa sa ating pamahalaan na makamit ang ating mithiing abutin ang tahimik at mas maunlad na komunidad. Ang PNP Bicol kasama ang kasundaluhan ay titiyakin naming sabay sabay nating haharapin ang pag-usad patungo sa panibagong bukas na mas tahimik at mapayapa. Walang imposible sa ating pagkakaisa, sama-sama nating tuldukan ang insurhensya sa ating rehiyon. (We wholeheartedly welcome our brothers who used to be on a wayward path and are now ready to face their life in peace and a straight direction. Your surrender is proof of your unity with the government to attain a peaceful and progressive community. The PNP Bicol together with our soldiers, assure you that we are together in moving forward toward a new peaceful future. Nothing is impossible in our unity, let's all be together in ending the insurgency in our region)," Estomo said.

The NPA, along with the Communist Party of the Philippines, is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, the European Union, United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines.

July 4, 1946: The day Filipinos gained freedom from US as RP

From the Philippine News Agency (Jul 4, 2021): July 4, 1946: The day Filipinos gained freedom from US as RP (By Severino Samonte)

On this day and month in 1946, or exactly 75 years ago, the Filipino people got their long-desired independence from the United States of America and since then officially became the Republic of the Philippines or RP.

According to the book "The American Half-Century (1898-1946)" in the Philippines, published by Lewis E. Gleeck Jr. and New Day Publishers (Quezon City) in 1998, "the American regime in the Philippines actually endured somewhat less than 48 years, and the period during which it could be accurately described as a typical colonial regime lasted only 15 of these years."

During the American occupation of the Philippines (1898-1946), the Filipinos were governed by the Commonwealth of the Philippines (since Nov. 15, 1935) and earlier by the Government of the Philippine Islands or P.I., both under the Americans.

A special provision in the 1935 Philippine Constitution (Article XVIII), entitled "The Commonwealth and the Republic," stated:

"The government established by this Constitution shall be known as the Commonwealth of the Philippines. Upon the final and complete withdrawal of the sovereignty of the United States and the proclamation of Philippine independence, the Commonwealth of the Philippines shall thenceforth be known as the Republic of the Philippines."

Meanwhile, the Philippine Almanac 1998 Centennial Edition, published by the Children's Communication Center and Filway Marketing Inc., said that newly-installed President Manuel A. Roxas and then US High Commissioner to the Philippines Paul V. McNutt, on behalf of US President Harry S. Truman, signed the proclamation of Philippine Independence in ceremonies held on July 4, 1946 at the Luneta grandstand, now Rizal Park, in Manila.

The Gleeck-New Day Publishers' book said McNutt read the proclamation, concluding with Truman's statement: "A nation is born. Long live the Republic of the Philippines. May God bless and prosper the Philippine people and keep them safe and free!"

During the same occasion, the Philippine flag was raised by Roxas on the pole, while McNutt lowered the American flag.

From 1946 onward, the country celebrated its Freedom Day from the US every July 4, until President Diosdado P. Macapagal decided in 1962 to move the date of the celebration to June 12, the day in 1898 when Philippine Revolutionary Gen. Emilio F. Aguinaldo proclaimed Philippine Independence from Spain in his mansion in Kawit, Cavite. Such a declaration, however, did not receive the desired recognition from the US and other countries.

Macapagal signed Proclamation No. 28 effecting the change in the celebration, saying: "The change was justified by the successful celebration in 1962. At least one million people attended, whereas in previous celebrations on July 4, only from two to three hundred thousand came."

In 1964, the Philippine Congress enacted Republic Act No. 4166 formally designating June 12 as the country's Independence Day.

C-130 crashes in Patikul, Sulu

From the Philippine News Agency (Jul 4, 2021): C-130 crashes in Patikul, Sulu (By Priam Nepomuceno)

CRASH SITE. A Philippine Air Force C-130H Hercules transport aircraft crashes in Barangay Bangkal, Patikul, Sulu on Sunday morning (July 4, 2021). From Villamor Air Base in Pasay, the aircraft picked up personnel at Lumbia Airport in Cagayan de Oro and was on its way to Sulu when the incident happened. (Photo courtesy of Bridge Bridge)

A Philippine Air Force (PAF) C-130H Hercules transport aircraft crashed in Patikul, Sulu on Sunday morning, Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief Gen. Cirilito Sobejana confirmed.

In an interview with reporters, Sobejana said the incident happened around 11: 30 a.m.

“One of our C-130s, while transporting our troops from Cagayan De Oro, na-miss nya ‘yung runway, trying to regain power, at hindi nakayanan, bumagsak doon sa may Barangay Bangkal, Patikul, Sulu (One of our C-130s, while transporting troops from Cagayan De Oro, missed the runway, tried to regain power but failed, and ended up crashing in Barangay Bangkal, Patikul, Sulu)," he said.

Sobejana did not identify the runway but the nearest and sole airport in the area is in Jolo.

Efforts are ongoing to rescue passengers of the ill-fated aircraft.

Around 40 passengers have been rescued and are now undergoing treatment at the 11th Infantry Division hospital in Barangay Busbus.

No other details were immediately available, Sobejana said.

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said initial reports stated that there were 92 onboard including three pilots and five crew members.

The rest were Army personnel reporting for duty.

"So far, 40 wounded and injured were rescued and 17 bodies recovered," Lorenzana said in a statement.

The PAF likewise confirmed the incident.

"A C-130 aircraft of the Philippine Air Force with tail #5125 figured in a mishap upon landing in Jolo,” the PAF stated.

The aircraft took off from Villamor Air Base in Pasay en route to Lumbia Airport and subsequently ferried personnel to Jolo, PAF spokesperson Lt. Col. Maynard Mariano said.


Lorenzana urged the public to refrain from spreading speculative statements, like alleged defective equipment being purchased by the AFP.

"We are currently focusing our attention on the rescue of the survivors of the C-130 crash and all available resources of the AFP are being utilized for the ongoing search and retrieval operations," Lorenzana said.

“With investigations of the past mishaps still ongoing, such speculations are as of yet baseless and disrespectful to the affected men and women of the PAF, AFP, and their families,” he added.

Philippine National Police (PNP) chief, Gen. Guillermo Eleazar, likewise directed the Police Regional Office-Bangsamoro Autonomous Region (PRO-BAR) to check on affected residents.

"I have already instructed the Regional Director of PRO-BAR to coordinate with the AFP in extending all the necessary assistance, including attending to the medical needs of those who survived the plane crash and extend the same assistance to them," Eleazar said in a statement.

Eleazar said the PNP grieves with the AFP for the untimely death of some of its personnel.

"Not only friendship but brotherhood was established between police and military personnel in the performance of our sworn duty of achieving our common goal of lasting peace and development in Sulu and other conflict-torn areas of Mindanao," he added.

The aircraft was one of the two C-130H acquired through a grant from the US government. It arrived in the country on January 29 and was formally welcomed to the PAF fleet at Villamor on February 18.

The cost of acquiring the two C-130H aircrafts was earlier placed at PHP2.5 billion, with the Philippines contributing PHP1.6 billion and the US about PHP900 million.

it is a four-engine turboprop military transport aircraft designed and built originally by Lockheed, now Lockheed Martin.

Capable of using unprepared runways for takeoffs and landings, the C-130 was originally designed as a troop, medical evacuation, and cargo transport aircraft.

Palace, nation pray for victims of Sulu military plane crash

From the Philippine News Agency (Jul 4, 2021): Palace, nation pray for victims of Sulu military plane crash (By Azer Parrocha)

DOWN. A C-130 of the Philippine Air Force crashes in Patikul, Sulu shortly before noon on Sunday (July 4, 2021). Latest reports said of the 96 onboard, 29 bodies have been retrieved, 50 were rescued, and 17 are still unaccounted for. (Photo courtesy of Philippine Army 11ID)

MalacaƱang is one with the nation in praying for the victims of a Philippine Air Force (PAF) C-130 crash in Patikul, Sulu on Sunday.

The Western Mindanao Command report as of 5:30 p.m. said of the 96 onboard, 50 were rescued but injured, 29 cadavers were retrieved, and 17 were still unaccounted for in the incident in Barangay Bangkal at about 11:30 a.m.

Two civilians on the ground were killed while four are undergoing treatment.

“We are deeply saddened by the C-130 mishap in Sulu,” Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in a statement. “Rescue efforts are ongoing, and we are one in praying for the safe recovery of the passengers.”

He urged the public to wait for further updates on the “unfortunate” incident.

“Let us wait for the Armed Forces of the Philippines to release an update on this very unfortunate incident,” he said.

On June 23, an S-70i Black Hawk Utility helicopter of the 205th Tactical Helicopter Wing on a night flight training also figured in a mishap a few miles from the Colonel Ernesto Rabina Air Base in Capas, Tarlac.

Three pilots and three airmen were killed.