Monday, June 6, 2022

PAF pilots train with foreign counterparts to hone combat skills

From the Philippine News Agency (Jun 6, 2022): PAF pilots train with foreign counterparts to hone combat skills (By Priam Nepomuceno)

File photo

Filipino jet fighter pilots have been honing their combat skills in local and foreign training exercises hosted by military allies of the country.

Philippine Air Force (PAF) spokesperson Col. Maynard Mariano made this remark when asked what is being done to sharpen the combat skills, particularly those related to air combat of the country's jet fighter pilots.

"We have been honing our skills in air-to-air and air-to-ground combat with exercises such as Talon Vision, Bilateral Air Contingent Exercise Philippines (BACE-P), Balikatan, and soon the Cope Thunder Philippines will be back in the country,"
he added in a message to the Philippine News Agency on Sunday.

These exercises are carried out annually by Filipino and American forces.

Mariano also said the PAF, through the 7th Tactical Fighter Squadron of the 5th Fighter Wing, also has a very robust training syllabus for Filipino fighter pilots.

'"We have a very robust training syllabus done by our very own 7th Tactical Fighter Squadron, the 'Bulldogs' of the 5th Fighter Wing, the syllabus is a combination of US and (South) Korean (training methods)," he added.

Mariano also said that the PAF has three fighter weapons instructors trained in South Korea in 2015.

"We have three fighter weapons instructors trained in (South) Korea in 2015 and we have been building on a training syllabus since then and pitting it against the best in the world in the yearly training exercises," he added.

Also, PAF fighter pilots have been flying against US Navy "Top Gun" instructors since 2010 and using all the training and expertise learned from these aviators to teach other Filipino pilots.

"Top Gun" is formally known as the US Navy's Fighter Weapons School.

The PAF spokesperson also said that they have been doing the same with instructors from the US Air Force Fighter Weapons School since 2016.

"And recently, we have another massive air-to-air and air-to-ground (exercise) during the BACE-P," he added.

This year's iteration of BACE-P was held last March 14 to 25.

A total of 12 US F-16s participated in this year's BACE-P while 10 FA-50PHs from the PAF's 5th Fighter Wing.

Participating American and Filipino pilots practiced "air combat maneuvering" (ACM) tactics with each other during the two-week exercise.

ACM refers to the "tactical art of moving, turning and/or situating one's fighter aircraft in order to attain a position from which an attack can be made on another aircraft."

It relies on offensive and defensive basic fighter maneuvering to gain an advantage over an aerial opponent.

Earlier, the PAF said it will be participating in the 10th iteration of the BACE-P that will be held at Basa Air Base, Floridablanca, Pampanga; Clark Air Base, Mabalacat City, Pampanga; Colonel Ernesto Ravina Air Base, Capas, Tarlac; and in Wallace Air Station in San Fernando La Union.

The exercise will focus on a wide range of mission sets such as air-to-air engagement, base defense; air traffic navigations and integration coordination; air battle management, air defense command, and control operations; radar and radio operations; and surface-to air-missile operation and deployment planning.

US Deputy Secretary of State to visit PH

From the Philippine News Agency (Jun 6, 2022): US Deputy Secretary of State to visit PH (By Raymond Carl Dela Cruz)

US Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman is set to visit the Philippines to discuss bilateral relations with both incoming and outgoing Philippine government officials.

In a statement released on June 3, the Office of the Spokesperson of the US Department of State said Sherman would meet with President-elect Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. and other senior government officials to discuss “new ways to deepen the bilateral US-Philippines alliance.”

Apart from the Philippines, Sherman will also visit the Republic of Korea (ROK), Laos, and Vietnam from June 5 to 14.

“She will also participate in a business roundtable and an event in celebration of World Oceans Day,” the statement read, adding that Sherman’s visit shows the US’ “continued commitment” to the Indo-Pacific region and follows several events that occurred last month.

In Seoul, Sherman will meet with ROK leaders including Foreign Minister Park Jin, Unification Minister Kwon Young-se, and First Vice Foreign Minister Cho Hyun-dong.

“The Deputy Secretary will also discuss the importance of women’s leadership and economic empowerment with leading women startup entrepreneurs, as well as meet with LGBTQI+ civil society leaders to highlight the importance of diversity, equity, and inclusion and mark Pride Month,” the statement said.

Sherman will also meet with Japanese Vice Foreign Minister Mori Takeo and have a trilateral meeting with ROK First Vice Foreign Minister Cho and Japanese Vice Foreign Minister Mori in Seoul.

In Vientiane, Sherman will meet with Laos Deputy Prime Minister Kikeo Khaykhamphithoune and Vice Foreign Minister Bounleua Phandanouvong to talk about “how to best support Laos as it pursues its sustainable development goals and boosts its prosperity and connectivity with its ASEAN neighbors.”

In Ho Chi Minh City, Sherman will meet with Vietnam municipal Party Secretary Nguyen Van Nene and talk at Fulbright University Vietnam.

“In Hanoi, the Deputy Secretary will meet with Vietnamese officials, including Deputy Prime Minister Le Van Thanh, Foreign Minister Bui Thanh Son, and Vice Foreign Minister Ha Kim Ngoc to emphasize the strength of the U.S.-Vietnam Comprehensive Partnership and U.S. support for a strong, prosperous, and independent Vietnam,” it said.

Groups renew call to delist CPP-NPA affiliates in Congress

From the Philippine News Agency (Jun 6, 2022): Groups renew call to delist CPP-NPA affiliates in Congress (By Lade Jean Kabagani)

DQ PROTEST. Anti-Reds groups led by the League of Parents of the Philippines hold a rally in front of the Commission on Elections main office in Intramuros, Manila on Monday (June 6, 2022). They called again for the delisting of communist affiliated party-list groups. (Contributed photo)

Parents’ groups and multi-sectoral organizations on Monday renewed their call to the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to delist the party-list organizations affiliated with the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People's Army-National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF).

Members of the League of Parents of the Philippines (LPP), Liga Independencia Pilipinas (LIPI), and Makabagong Alyansa (MK) staged a protest rally in front of the Comelec main office in Intramuros, Manila to ask anew for the disqualification of party-list groups Kabataan, Anakpawis, Act Teachers and Bayan Muna for being front organizations of communist terrorist groups.

Remy Rosadio, LPP president, asked the Comelec to listen to the cries of mothers who lost their children because of communist recruitment.

“Sila ay hayag-hayagang pumapanig sa CPP-NPA. Tama na ang pikit-mata at pagbibingi-bingihan. Tingnan natin ang ebidensya laban sa kanila, ang mga testimonya ng mga nanay na hanggang ngayon ay umiiyak dahil ang kanilang mga anak ay hawak pa rin ng mga grupong ito (They are openly siding with CPP-NPA. Stop playing blind and deaf. Look at the evidence against them, the testimonies of mothers who are crying until now because their children are being held by these groups),” Rosadio said during the rally.

Rosadio said the Comelec should realize that “these party-lists don’t deserve seats in Congress as they are only fixated in toppling the government” under the orders of exiled CPP founding chair Jose Maria "Joma" Sison.

Nolan Tiongco, MK secretary general, said despite their strong warning and constant reminders for the public to be critical of and vigilant against the party-list organizations that have links with the CPP-NPA-NDF, many still “fell prey to their lies”.

“Nakakalungkot lang isipin na marami pa rin ang na-recruit at marami pa rin ang bomoto sa mga party-list na ito sa kabila na ang mga nalantad na ang mga ebidensya. Kaya hinihiling natin sa Comelec na i-delist na po ang mga party-list na ito (It’s sad that still many people have been recruited and many still voted for these party-list despite clear evidence. That’s why we are asking the Comelec to delist these party-lists),” Tiongco said.

The anti-communist groups have appealed to the Comelec several times before to disqualify the alleged communist legal fronts.

They called for a public boycott of party-lists belonging to the Makabayang Koalisyon ng Mamamayan (Makabayan) bloc that include Kabataan, Anakpawis, Bayan Muna, ACT Teachers, and Gabriela Women’s Party, noting that they have been “using the government funds to push underground operations for the CPP-NPA-NDF”.

During the rally, the protesters burned effigies of Sison and the Makabayan bloc representatives.

The Makabayan bloc previously countered that its members have been subjected to "disinformation campaign and red-tagging” by the government and its anti-insurgency task force, especially before the May 9 polls.

Rosadio said there was no red-tagging when it was Sison himself and former NPA rebels who confirmed the party-list groups are communist allies.

"Pakinggan na lang natin ang testimonya ng mga nagbalik-loob sa gobyerno. Maririnig niyong binabanggit nila ang pangalan ng mga progresibong grupong ito na nire-recruit ang ating mga anak, tinatago at dinadala sa kanayunan para mamundok at mag-alsa alsa sa ngalan ng armadong pakikibaka (Let's just listen to the testimonies of former rebels returned to the government. They mentioned these progressive groups recruiting our children, hiding them, and bringing them to the mountains in the name of armed revolution)," she added.

Rosadio said the mass recruitment of minors to the communist armed revolution will be halted only if "these communist-affiliated progressive organizations" will be delisted by the Comelec.

The CPP-NPA is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines.

The Anti-Terrorism Council also formally designated the NDF as a terrorist organization on June 23, 2021, citing it as “an integral and separate part” of the CPP-NPA that was created in April 1973.

Gov’t, MILF renew mutual commitment for genuine peace process

From the Philippine News Agency (Jun 6, 2022): Gov’t, MILF renew mutual commitment for genuine peace process (By Lade Jean Kabagani)

CONTINUING PEACE PROCESS. Office of the Presidential Adviser on Peace, Reconciliation, and Unity Undersecretary David Diciano (left) and Moro Islamic Liberation Front Peace Implementing Panel chairperson Mohagher Iqbal sign a mutual commitment for the continuing Mindanao peace process in Manila on June 3, 2022. Among others, the agreement includes dialogues on the remaining issues on the implementation of the normalization process to ensure inclusive solutions for the interest and welfare of the Bangsamoro. (Photo courtesy of OPAPRU)

The implementing panels of the Government of the Philippines (GPH) and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) renewed their mutual commitment to continue pushing for a comprehensive Philippine peace process.

In a joint statement released Monday, the GPH and MILF agreed on the following resolutions and action points, bearing in mind continuity, stability, and sustainability of the peace dividends and in view of the developments in the Bangsamoro peace process:

1. The GPH Panel shall communicate to the MILF panel the proposal of the GPH for the transition of the International Monitoring Team (IMT) for the immediate resolution of the IMT’s status;

2. The panels shall continue to discuss the socioeconomic packages for decommissioned combatants;

3. The panels agree to reconstitute the Working Group for Vulnerable Sectors, which was created by the GPH and MILF Peace Negotiating Panels in 2016, and to direct the Working Group to submit its formal report;

4. The Study Group shall submit its report on the Small Arms and Light Weapons program for other MILF weapons to the Joint Normalization Committee (JNC), and the JNC shall submit its report to the Panels;

5. The MILF panel shall study the GPH panel proposal on the involvement of the Bangsamoro Government, particularly the Ministry of Public Order and Safety in the disbandment of private armed groups;

6. The panels agree to include humanitarian reasons in the qualifications for the issuance of safe conduct passes to MILF personalities, pending the effectivity of the amnesty process, but the GPH panel shall decide on a case-to-case basis the qualification for humanitarian reasons;

7. The panels agree to create a technical working group (TWG) for the police force for the Bangsamoro that will make recommendations including the drafting of executive issuances;

8. The panels advise the joint TWG on Transitional Justice and Reconciliation (TJR) to also invite international experts to provide advice on the crafting of the TJR roadmap;

9. MILF panel to study and come up with inputs and comments to the draft declaration of continuity on or before 6 June 2022; and;

10. On the invitation of the Third-Party Facilitator, the parties consider holding a special meeting in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia before the end of the current administration. However, in case of exigencies, the parties may invite the Third-Party Facilitator to hold the meeting in Manila.

Also in the statement finalized on June 3 is the mutual commitment of both parties to pursue dialogues, through a problem-solving approach, on the remaining issues on the implementation of the normalization process to ensure inclusive solutions for the interest and welfare of the Bangsamoro.

“The parties firmly commit that the path to peace and the continued implementation of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) and BOL (Bangsamoro Organic Law) remain the only viable solution in achieving durable peace and development in the Bangsamoro,” read the agreement.

The government and the MILF acknowledged their responsibilities in partnering with each other “with earnest optimism and commitment to faithfully implement the peace agreement”.

Both parties lauded President Rodrigo Duterte’s strong leadership and for pushing for a just and lasting peace in Mindanao, ratification of the BOL, and establishment of the Bangsamoro government.

They also thanked the Office of the Presidential Adviser on Peace, Reconciliation, and Unity (OPAPRU) Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. and members of the MILF leadership under its chair and now Interim Chief Minister of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) government, Ahod Ebrahim, for their unwavering commitment to pursue the implementation of the CAB and BOL; Intergovernmental Relations Body and the Inter-Cabinet Cluster Mechanism on Normalization for their steadfast support towards achieving peace and development in the Bangsamoro; and members of different peace process mechanisms for their perseverance and invaluable contribution to the Bangsamoro peace process despite the challenges brought by the pandemic.

The joint statement was signed by OPAPRU Undersecretary David Diciano and MILF Peace Implementing Panel chairperson Mohagher Iqbal.