Wednesday, August 10, 2022

Kalinaw News: 303rd Brigade supports turn-over ceremony of over 20M Calatrava farmers Irrigation Project

From Kalinaw News (Aug 6, 2022): 303rd Brigade supports turn-over ceremony of over 20M Calatrava farmers Irrigation Project

CAMP GERONA, Murcia, Negros Occidental – The 303rd Infantry Brigade headed by Brigadier General Inocencio Pasaporte, Brigade Commander together with Lt. Colonel J-Jay Javines, Battalion Commander, 79IB attended and supported the Turn-over Ceremony of Irrigation Projects, farm machineries and equipments worth over 20M for the local farmers of Calatrava, Negros Occidental in a simple ceremony graced by Governor Eugenio Jose V Lacson at Brgy. Minapasuk, Calatrava, Negros Occidental on August 05, 2022 (Friday).

The project was implemented through the Negros Occidental Office of the Provincial Agriculturist. The SPUR 2 Magtuod Irrigation Project costs P19.9 million, while the rice mill shed, multi-purpose drying pavement, walk-behind rice transplanter, mechanical reaper, and floating tiller costs P1.7 million. The project beneficiaries are the SPUR 2 Irrigators Association of Minapasuk, Calatrava and Pakigdaet sa Kalambo-an of Bug-ang, Toboso.

Also present during the turn over ceremony were Hon. Araceli Somosa, Sangguniang Panlalawigan, First District representative; Toboso former mayor and now Councilor, Richard Jaojoco, Sangguniang Bayan members; Police Major Lepawan, COP Calatrava; representatives from the National Irrigation Administration (NIA), OPA staff, and other local officials.

In his message, Governor Lacson supported the advocacy of the Philippine Army in countering insurgency in condemning the presence of the Communists Terrorist Groups (CTGs) in the area and encourages the people of Calatrava and the entire Negrense to not to support the CTGs in their violence and deceptive activities.

Meanwhile, BGEN Pasaporte emphasized in his message asking for the different People’s Organizations and other local farmer groups to condemn the CTGs and prevent any attempt of said group to enter their community and organization.

“Your army in Negros will continue to support the peace and development efforts of our national and local government; rest assured we will help you maintain the peace and order in your area as long as you will cooperate and prevent the entry of these CTGs that will only destroy your community and even your family and your children’s future,” BGEN Pasaporte added.


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Blinken reaffirms US commitment to Mutual Defense Treaty

From the Philippine News Agency (Aug 6, 2022): Blinken reaffirms US commitment to Mutual Defense Treaty (By Filane Mikee Cervantes)

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken during his official visit to Manila on Aug. 6, 2022. (Photo by Rico Borja)

United States (US) Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Saturday assured President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. that the US would honor its decades-old commitment to the 1951 Mutual Defense Treaty (MDT).

Blinken made the assurance after he paid a courtesy call on the President at Malacañang Palace to strengthen the ties between the two countries.

"We’re committed to the Mutual Defense Treaty. We’re committed to working with you on shared challenges,"
Blinken said. “What’s so striking to me, Mr. President, is that (we’re) working together on bilateral relations between us, we’re working together in the region, and increasingly, we’re working globally.”

Signed on Aug. 30, 1951, the MDT is an accord that stipulates that the Philippines and the US would support each other if either of them were to be attacked by an external party.

Blinken described the US commitment to the MDT as "ironclad," adding that "an armed attack on Philippine Armed Forces public vessels or aircraft in the South China Sea would invoke the US Mutual Defense commitments under that treaty."

Aside from securing the Philippines' maritime domain, he said the US will continue to partner with Filipino fishermen and scientists to preserve its maritime resources, which he said are under threat from illegal fishing.

Marcos, meanwhile, said the 70-year-old joint defense pact is in "constant evolution."

"The Mutual Defense Treaty is in constant evolution. I’d like to think of it,” Marcos said. “As I spoke with your Ambassador sometime when she came, is that we cannot, we can no longer isolate one part of our relationship from the other. We are too closely tied because of the special relationship between the US and the Philippines, and the history that we share.”

He also recognized the assistance and support the Philippines has received from the US over the years, noting that it could no longer be "categorized as one thing or another because they cover such a large scope.”

In a statement, Press Secretary Trixie Cruz-Angeles said apart from defense and security cooperation, the President and Blinken also talked about other issues that include renewable energy, climate change mitigation, agriculture, food security, and the coronavirus disease 2019.

Cruz-Angeles said Blinken also hailed Filipino nurses in the US, calling them "angels who are caring in so many ways."

Among those present in the meeting were US Ambassador MaryKay Loss Carlson, Assistant Secretary for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Daniel Kritenbrink, Director of the Secretary of State's Policy Planning Staff Salman Ahmed, Spokesperson Ned Price, Deputy Chief of Staff for Policy Thomas Sullivan, and Political Counselor Brett Blackshaw.

The US Secretary of State also had a meeting with Foreign Affairs Secretary Enrique Manalo on Saturday.

Manalo, meanwhile, is optimistic about the two nations' cooperation, which he said also expands to counterterrorism, cybersecurity, and humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, among others.

Asked if a joint patrol in the West Philippine Sea is possible under this administration, Manalo answered in the affirmative but clarified that it would have to be discussed first.

"In our view, joint patrols between the Philippines and the United States can take place, they are under the ambit of the MDT and also within the context of the Mutual Defense Support and Security Engagement Board," he said.

"So I think this is an issue which will be continued to be explored bilaterally. And as I mentioned, there are existing multiple platforms for which discussions of this nature could be held," Manalo added.

The bilaterals between the two top diplomats was held virtually after Blinken's meeting with President Marcos.

This is Blinken's first trip to the country since assuming office in January 2021.

It followed the official visit of Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman, the State Department’s second-highest official, in June.

PH Army’s Security and Escort Battalion all set for FVR funeral

From the Philippine News Agency (Aug 8, 2022): PH Army’s Security and Escort Battalion all set for FVR funeral (By Priam Nepomuceno)

Photo courtesy of Philippine Army

The Philippine Army (PA) announced that its Security and Escort Battalion is all set for the state funeral that will be accorded to former President Fidel V. Ramos (FVR) whose inurnment is scheduled on Tuesday.

Ramos, the country's 12th president who served from 1992 to 1998, died last July 31 at the age of 94.

In a statement Sunday night, PA spokesperson Col. Xerxes Trinidad said the PA Security and Escort Battalion will be joining other honor guards of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) in rendering the honors to Ramos, who also served as AFP chief-of-staff and Defense Secretary under the late former president Corazon Aquino.

"The PA, through its Security and Escort Battalion, joined honor guards from other AFP major services in rehearsing the state funeral for the late president and commander-in-chief Fidel Valdez Ramos on August 7, 2022 at the Libingan ng mga Bayani, Fort Bonifacio, Metro Manila," he added.

A battalion-sized contingent of honor guards will render funeral departure honors for the late president at Heritage Park in Taguig City, where the cremated remains of the former commander-in-chief currently lie in state.

"Soldiers will then accompany the convoy of the former first family and other VIP guests to the Libingan ng mga Bayani. A second battalion-sized contingent will accord funeral arrival honors for the remains of the late president upon arrival at the Libingan ng mga Bayani. The honor guards will then join a composite team in the funeral march to the inurnment site. Full military honors and a 21-gun salute will conclude the state funeral," Trinidad said.

Meanwhile, the two-day public viewing for the late former president will wind up on Monday.

Amid heavy rains, Ramos' supporters lined up at the Heritage Park and honored his life and legacy.

Philippine flags at camps and military installations nationwide are being flown at half-staff in mourning of Ramos' passing.

"Soldiers are also wearing black armbands on their uniform’s left sleeve in accordance with the military tradition on the passing of a former commander-in-chief," Trinidad said.

Hawaii warfare drill highlights need for 'more modern' PH Navy

From the Philippine News Agency (Aug 8, 2022): Hawaii warfare drill highlights need for 'more modern' PH Navy (By Priam Nepomuceno)

BRP Antonio Luna (FF-151) commanding officer Capt. Charles Merric Villanueva (right) (Photo courtesy of Philippine Navy)

The recently-concluded Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) maritime exercise has underscored the need for a more modern Philippine Navy (PN).

BRP Antonio Luna (FF-151) commanding officer Capt. Charles Merric Villanueva made this remark during the Indo-Pacific Maritime Security Exchange (IMSE) in Hawaii on Aug. 4 where he was one of the resource speakers.

“The RIMPAC has provided us the opportunities to check the ship, check the personnel, check the training that we have, and determine gaps from there and improve on the lessons that we got,"
he said in a statement released by the PN on Monday.

Villanueva also highlighted the importance of these training opportunities and the need to modernize the PN and make it "modern and multi-capable".

"After all, the Philippines is an archipelago and a maritime nation. We should have a strong Navy that can protect our vast seas," he added.

Aside from Villanueva, other naval officers who shared their insights during the IMSE were counterparts from partner nations such as Malaysia, Australia, South Korea and the United States.

Aside from providing resources and an environment for international participants to achieve their training objectives, RIMPAC is also an avenue for partner navies to discuss matters of common and shared interest toward sustaining regional peace and stability.

The RIMPAC, considered the world's largest maritime exercise, is held biennially to promote regional stability in the Pacific region.

About 25,000 personnel from 26 nations participated in the 28th iteration of RIMPAC, which was first held in 1971.

This year's RIMPACG began on June 29 and concluded on Aug. 4.

The PN's participation in RIMPAC 2022, themed “Capable, Adaptive Partners” is the third after its maiden participation in 2018 and its sophomore run in 2020.

In the 2018 RIMPAC, the Navy deployed the offshore patrol vessel BRP Andres Bonifacio (PS-17) and landing dock BRP Davao Del Sur (LD-602).

In the 2020 iteration of the maritime exercise, the PN sent the country's first missile frigate, the BRP Jose Rizal (FF-150).

Both the BRP Jose Rizal and BRP Antonio Luna are capable of anti-air warfare, anti-surface warfare, anti-submarine warfare, and electronic warfare operations.

Bacarro's thrust for AFP to mirror PBBM’s call for unity

From the Philippine News Agency (Aug 8, 2022): Bacarro's thrust for AFP to mirror PBBM’s call for unity (By Priam Nepomuceno)

AFP chief Lt. Gen. Bartolome Vicente Bacarro (Screengrab from RTVM)

Newly-appointed Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief Lt. Gen. Bartolome Vicente Bacarro said he will use President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr.'s unity platform during the May 9 presidential elections as a guide for his vision and goals for the military.

In his assumption speech in Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City on Monday, Bacarro thanked Marcos for giving him the opportunity to take the helm of the AFP.

Bacarro also said he does not take this responsibility lightly and that he is fully aware that the challenges that would beset him.

"I would like to share my vision for the Armed Forces of the Philippines which I consider as a shared responsibility for all of us. As a memory peg, I have used the President's call for UNITY as an acronym for my own priority thrust as Chief-of-Staff of the AFP. U for unparalleled professionalism; N for noble utilization of resources; I for invigorating capability development; T for tenacity in sustaining our gains and Y for yearning for service excellence,"
he said.

By unparalleled professionalism, Bacarro said he was referring to the increasing approval and trust rating of the AFP where the military garnered a grade of 69 percent and 63 percent, respectively, as mentioned by his predecessor, Gen. Andres C. Centino.

Bacarro and Centino are members of the Philippine Military Academy Class of 1988.

"The Filipino people have realized that the AFP become a significant, formidable and reliable force that can respond when and where it is needed. We have proven ourselves worthy of their trust and confidence not only in combat operations but in other areas of engagement as well," he added.

Bacarro said this approval and trust were further boosted by the AFP's resilience and proper decorum amid attempts to discredit its efforts.

"Thus, let us sustain our current level of discipline and our strict adherence to the rule of law to elements that have helped us gain the respect of our countrymen. Further, let us strive to maintain if not to surpass our ability to be more effective and credible defenders of our country," he added.

In his vision for the noble utilization of resources, Bacarro said that due to the ill effects of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic on the health, politics and economy, government resources are stretched thin in trying to resolve this.

For the AFP, he stressed that the challenge now is to "meet our objective and successfully accomplish our missions with what's allocated to us."

"The judicious use of our resources will enable us to stay mission-oriented, this raises a simple matter of economics to the level of honor, honesty and uprightness, In other words, the noble use of our resources, Over the years we have endeavored and succeeded in prioritizing and optimizing our resources, personnel, financial and logistics but I am especially keen to view time as a resource," Bacarro said.

The newly-appointed AFP chief also added that time is a highly valuable commodity, stressing that wasted time can neither be reallocated nor renewed.

"In a mission-oriented field such as the Armed Forces, time is always of the essence. Time wasted is an opportunity lost. By putting a high premium on time, we can effectively manage all our resources better. We have to develop the ability to determine emergent as well as immediate needs so that we can maximize our resources with a careful eye on the movement of the clock," he said.

For invigorating capability development, Bacarro said the AFP will align its modernization effort with its acquisition tranche.

"We will facilitate these new and upcoming capabilities in ensuring that the delivery and related process follow the dots and in the same manner we will endeavor to continue forwarding the self-reliant defense posture program to make the Armed Forces at par with nations in our region, through this, we shall be one of the many faces of national strength that our Commander-in-Chief has emphasized," he added.

Bacarro also said that attaining this minimum credible defense posture will allow the AFP to adopt more quickly and discover new techniques to help them deliver services that are geared towards attaining peace and protecting the sovereignty of the country.

And in tenacity in sustaining gains, the AFP chief said that in the last decade, the military made great strides in addressing the various external and internal threats to the Filipino people and the Philippines.

He added that these gains must not be squandered and all efforts must ensure that these are sustained.

"Moreover we will be unyielding in ending the insurgency that has plagued our people and fueled poverty in the various sectors of our society. Over the years, we have seen the value of collaboration in curing the ills of our nation," Bacarro said.

He also added that the AFP will continue strengthening its partnerships with its peace stakeholders.

"This has been specially (effective) in ending local communism and even in the battling of the coronavirus. Finally, we will put, we will pursue, targets against that has disrupted the normal and peaceful lives of our fellow Filipinos in affected areas," Bacarro said.

For the so-called yearning for service excellence, Bacarro believes that professionalism is an outward manifestation of internal discipline and that desire for excellence in service springs from a personal commitment to be the best that one can be.

"To give the best of one’s ability, this yearning is internally motivated, you, every member of the Armed Forces of the Philippines must want to serve our people and our country excellently, there is no room (for) mediocre service here," he added.

Bacarro said this yearning brings to mind the principles that guided him in his military career and personal life.

"First is my personal mantra, do common things and commonly well. Routinary things may seem inconsequential and ordinary, it is easy to get into the habit of thinking that day-to-day activities do not make much of a difference in accomplishing our higher goals as members of the AFP," he added.

Marcos 'certain' he has chosen right leader in Bacarro

From the Philippine News Agency (Aug 8, 2022): Marcos 'certain' he has chosen right leader in Bacarro (By Azer Parrocha)

CHANGE OF COMMAND. President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. hands over a saber to the new Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief of Staff, Lt. Gen. Bartolome Vicente O. Bacarro, during the change of command ceremony at Camp General Emilio Aguinaldo in Quezon City on Monday (Aug. 8, 2022). Marcos said he sees a stronger AFP under the leadership of Bacarro, who replaced Gen. Andres Centino. (NIB photo by Rey Baniguet)

President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. on Monday sees a “stronger” Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) under the leadership of newly-installed AFP chief, Lt. Gen. Bartolome Vicente Bacarro.

“It is certain that we have chosen the right leader in General Bacarro to lead the AFP as it marches forward and undertakes a new journey that would eventually pave the way for a much improved and stronger AFP in the days ahead,”
Marcos, who is also AFP commander-in-chief, said in his speech during the AFP change of command ceremony in Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City.

Marcos expressed confidence that the AFP will be a “reliable partner” of government under Bacarro’s helm, especially in ensuring the country’s peace, safety, and security.

“This has been long overdue. It is time to get to work and be the best that we can be in our respective capacities as public servants united in purpose and in deed,” he added.

He said Bacarro’s qualities such as his strong presence, administrative and operational proficiency, unmatched discipline, and unwavering commitment will be useful in his new job.

Marcos said Bacarro’s journey as AFP chief-of-staff will “not be an easy one”, but assured that the military will be there to support him.

“...With the AFP beside us assisting and putting in place the fundamental prerequisites for nation building, we shall overcome and emerge victorious in the end. Together, a meaningful change in the lives of many can be realized. I know that it can be done and that is why we shall,” he added.

Malacañang announced Bacarro’s appointment last Aug. 1.

Bacarro, a graduate of the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) Maringal Class of 1988, held various command and staff positions starting as a platoon commander, company commander, administrative officer, intelligence officer, operations officer, civil military operations officer, and secretary to the general staff.

Holding the rank of captain, he became the administrative officer at the Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff, and Office of the vice chief of staff of the AFP.

As an army lieutenant serving as a commanding officer at the 6th Civilian Armed Auxiliary Company, 21st Battalion, 5th Infantry Division, he was initially deployed in Isabela province at the height of a counter-insurgency campaign in the Cagayan Valley that lasted until 1995.

It was this tour of duty that earned him his Medal of Valor in 1991, the highest award for military combat in the AFP.

In 2014, he became the chief of staff of the Army’s 4th Infantry Diamond Division. In 2015, he served as the Army’s Assistant Chief of Staff for operations. From 2016 to 2018, he became commander of the 502nd Brigade, 5th ID, Philippine Army, and eventually the Commandant of the PMA before he assumed the position of AFP Internal Auditor from October 2020 to April 2021.

Aside from the coveted Medal of Valor, he also received five Distinguished Service Star, one Silver Cross Medal, two Bronze Cross Medals, two Silver Wing Medals, nine Combat Commander’s Kagitingan badges, 36 Military Merit Medals, and the PMA Outstanding Alumnus Award in 1998, among others.

‘True patriot’

Meanwhile, Marcos also thanked outgoing AFP chief, Gen. Andres Centino, a classmate of Bacarro in the PMA, for his exemplary service during the entirety of his tenure.

“To General Centino, much respect and admiration for all that you have done. Thank you for your excellent service. A well-deserved round of applause for the outgoing Chief of Staff General Andres Castor Centino,” he said.

The President cited how Centino was awarded the prestigious Philippine Legion of Honor for his resolve to maximize the AFP’s core competence focusing on operational efficiency, internal security, delivery of basic services, and the optimal use of resources.

“..He effectively managed the AFP by giving special credence and substance to competence, fair play, and justice in dealing with the ranks. Qualified personnel were selected for promotion. The placement of senior officers to key positions was deliberated upon. The AFP rotation policy was judiciously implemented,” he said.

He described Centino as “a true patriot, a valiant soldier, an accomplished officer, a committed leader, and an exemplary public servant” for strengthening the AFP as a public institution while ensuring good governance.

Marcos said the outgoing AFP chief is also a source of “national pride” due to his unwavering commitment to excellence and duty which are duly recognized through the various awards and decorations that he has received throughout his professional career.

AFP fetes Centino for successful stint as chief-of-staff

From the Philippine News Agency (Aug 9, 2022): AFP fetes Centino for successful stint as chief-of-staff (By Priam Nepomuceno)

Former AFP chief-of-staff Gen. Andres Centino (Photo courtesy of AFP)

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) paid tribute to its former chief-of-staff Gen. Andres Centino for his successful tour of duty which saw the implementation of four significant reforms.

"As AFP chief-of-staff, Gen. Centino implemented four significant thrusts in the AFP: operational efficiency, optimal use of resources, advancement of professionalism and meritocracy within the organization, and capability development," AFP public affairs office chief Col. Jorry Baclor said in a statement Monday night.

During Centino's tenure as AFP chief, he also enhanced the application of AFP’s Joint Operating Concept which strengthened the interoperability of the Philippine Army, Philippine Air Force and Philippine Navy.

Centino, a member of the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) Class of 1988, took command of the AFP from Nov. 12, 2021 until Aug. 8 this year.

"Under his leadership, the AFP neutralized 1,391 communist and local terrorist personalities. The AFP was also instrumental in deradicalizing over 3,000 communist terrorists, dismantling 20 guerrilla fronts, recovering 1,600 firearms, and clearing 565 barangays," Baclor said.

Centino also pushed for the completion of capability development projects amounting to PHP37.6 billion as part of the modernization of the AFP.

Upon his retirement on Monday, Centino was awarded by President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. the Philippine Legion of Honor (Degree of Commander) for his successful tour as military chief.

Centino previously served as Philippine Army (PA) commander, 4th Infantry Division head, 401st Infantry Brigade head, AFP deputy chief-of-staff for operations, or J-3, 26th Infantry Battalion commanding officer of the 26th Infantry Battalion; and Army General Staff secretary among others.

Centino was replaced by his classmate, Southern Luzon Command head Lt. Gen. Bartolome Vicente Bacarro.

Bacarro is a Medal of Valor awardee, the highest award for combat in the AFP.

The new AFP chief received his Medal of Valor in 1991 for his bravery in combat during a 10-hour encounter with 150 fully armed communist New People's Army (NPA) rebels in Maconacon, Isabela.

He also earned five Distinguished Service Stars, one Silver Cross Medal, two Bronze Cross Medals, two Silver Wing Medals, and other awards for his performance in various assignments in the past.

Bacarro also commanded the 2nd Infantry Division and the 502nd Infantry Brigade.

In 2014, he was designated 4th Infantry Division chief-of-staff and was also appointed as PA assistant chief-of-staff for operations or G-3, PMA commandant, and The Internal Auditor, AFP.

Meanwhile, the PA welcomed Bacarro's appointment as the 58th AFP chief-of-staff.

"As the first AFP chief-of-staff to be given a three-year term under Republic Act 11709, Lt. Gen. Bacarro will have ample time to institute reforms and strengthen policies that will steer the military, including our land forces, from transitioning into internal security operations to territorial defense," it added.

The PA said Bacarro truly embodies the PA core values of duty, honor and patriotism.

BRP Antonio Luna on its way home after rousing send-off in Hawaii

From the Philippine News Agency (Aug 9, 2022): BRP Antonio Luna on its way home after rousing send-off in Hawaii (By Priam Nepomuceno)

Photo courtesy of Philippine Navy

The Philippine Navy's missile frigate BRP Antonio Luna (FF-151) is now headed for Guam after departing from Hawaii on Sunday (local time) after its successful participation in the recently-concluded "Rim of the Pacific" (RIMPAC) exercise.

"On the heels of its successful participation in the month-long RIMPAC exercise, the Philippine Navy frigate BRP Antonio Luna (FF151) carrying the Naval Task Group (NTG) 80.5 departed here Sunday, August 7," PN spokesperson Commander Benjo Negranza said in a statement Monday night.

The Filipino community in Hawaii along with Armed Forces of the Philippines liaison officer in the US state, Capt. Aldrin Doctor, gave the ship and Naval Task Group (NTG) 80.5, a rousing send-off.

"NTG 80.5 headed by Captain Charles Merric Villanueva is now underway to Guam for a brief layover before finally heading back to the Philippines later this month," the PN spokesperson said.

Negranza said the Filipino community in Hawaii took pride in the contingent's successful participation in the RIMPAC, which was highlighted by BRP Antonio Luna winning third place in the Naval Surface Fire Support (NSFS) "Rodeo" of the at-sea phase of the biennial naval maneuvers.

Around 17 ships participated in the event. The award was presented to the ship on August 4.

NSFS "Rodeo" is a naval gunfire accuracy competition where participants are given two-dimensional virtual land target information by the designated naval gunfire liaison officer.

"Participants have a practice run for gunfire correction prior to proceeding for the record firing. Performance reports are provided by the Pacific Missile Range Facility (PMRF) using its computerized evaluation system," Negranza earlier said.

The PN's BRP Antonio Luna made it to third place with only an eight-meter differential from the first placer USS Mobile Bay, and 4 meters off the second placer ARM Juarez of Mexico.

Negranza said the PN’s participation in RIMPAC 2022, which ran from June 29 to Aug. 4, trumpets the command’s commitment to promoting multilateral cooperation toward strengthening relationships and cooperation among regional and extra-regional navies.

New command group heads named as PNP chief orders major revamp

From the Philippine News Agency (Aug 9, 2022): New command group heads named as PNP chief orders major revamp (By Christopher Lloyd Caliwan)

PNP chief Gen. Rodolfo Azurin Jr. (Photo courtesy of PNP)

Less than a week after becoming the country’s 28th top cop, Philippine National Police (PNP) Chief Gen. Rodolfo Azurin Jr. ordered the reshuffle of more than 80 ranking police officials, including the three top posts of the force's command group.

Azurin named Lt. Gen. Jose Chiquito Malayo as the new deputy chief for administration, the PNP's second-highest official, replacing Lt. Gen. Rhodel Sermonia, who was reassigned as chief of the Area Police Command (APC) in the Visayas.

Maj. Gen. Benjamin Santos, meanwhile, was named as deputy chief for operations or the PNP's number three man. He replaced Lt. Gen. Vicente Danao Jr. who was designated as head of the APC Western Mindanao.

Maj. Gen. Arthur Bisnar left his post as chief of the Directorate for Human Resource and Doctrine Development (DHRDD) to serve as chief of the directorial staff, the PNP's fourth top post, replacing Malayo.

Among the senior officials who moved to new posts effective Monday are:

Maj. Gen. Alessandro Abella - from APC Northern Luzon to the Directorate for Research and Development (DRD);

Maj. Gen. Michael John Dubria - from the Directorate for Intelligence to serve as director of the Civil Security Group (CSG);

Maj. Gen. Domingo Lucas - from DRD to the National Police Training Institute;

Maj. Gen. Alexander Sampaga - from the Philippine National Police Academy (PNPA) to Office of the Chief PNP (OCPNP);

Maj. Gen. Jesus Cambay Jr. - from CSG to Directorate for Comptrollership (DC);

Maj. Gen. Eliseo Cruz - from the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) to the Directorate for Investigation and Detective Management (DIDM);

Maj. Gen. Patrick Villacorte - acting commander, APC Eastern Mindanao;

Maj. Gen. Felipe Natividad - from National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) chief to acting commander, APC Northern Luzon;

Maj. Gen. Filmore Escobal - acting deputy commander, APC Visayas;

Maj. Gen. Valeriano de Leon - from director for operations (DO) to chief of Directorate for Information and Communication Technology (DICTM);

Brig. Gen. Alden Delvo - acting executive officer, APC Western Mindanao;

Brig. Gen. Arthur Cabalona - acting deputy commander, APC Eastern Mindanao;

Brig. Gen. Oliver Enmodias - acting deputy commander APC Northern Luzon;

Brig. Gen. Chito Bersaluna - acting executive officer, APC Eastern Mindanao;

Brig. Gen. Rudolph Dimas - from Anti-Kidnapping Group (AKG) director to director of the Police Regional Office (PRO) 5 (Bicol);

Brig. Gen. Jose Nartatez - from Finance Service to director of PRO 4A (Calabarzon)

Brig. Gen. Belli Tamayo - from Forensic Group to director of PRO 1 (Ilocos)

Brig. Gen. Sidney Villaflor - from Directorate for Logisitics to CIDG deputy director for administration;

Brig. Gen. Mafelino Bazar - from DC to director of PRO Cordillera (PROCOR);

Brig. Gen. Thomas Frias Jr. - from APC Eastern Mindanao to OCPNP;

Brig. Gen. Lyndon Mencio - from APC Western Mindanao to deputy regional director for administration of PRO 11 (Davao Region);

Brig. Gen. Cesar Pasiwen - from APC Northern Luzon to director of PRO 3 (Central Luzon);

Brig. Gen. Randy Peralta - from PNP Drug Enforcement Group (PDEG) chief to the Police Holding and Accounting Unit under the Directorate for Police Records and Management;

Brig. Gen. Leumar Abungan - from APC Southern Luzon to acting chief, Supervisory Office on Security and Investigation Agencies under the CSG;

Brig. Gen. Neil Alinsañgan - from PNP Intelligence Group (IG) to director of PRO 9 (Zamboanga Peninsula);

Brig. Gen. Joaquin Alva - from DIDM to PNPA acting deputy director for administration;

Brig. Gen. Lawrence Coop - from CSG to director PRO 10 (Northern Mindanao);

Brig. Gen. Rommel Francisco D. Marbil - director, PRO 8 (Eastern Visayas);

Brig. Gen. Jonnel Estomo - acting director, NCRPO;

Brig. Gen. Joel Doria - from PNPA to Anti-Cybercrime Group (ACG) director;

Brig. Gen. Narciso Domingo - from PRO-3 to PDEG Director;

Brig. Gen. Ulysses Cruz - from NCRPO to director, Explosive Ordnance Disposal and Canine Group;

Brig. Gen. Jerry Bearis - from NCRPO to PRO 3 deputy director for administration;

Brig. Gen. Ronaldo Cabral - from PRO 10 (Northern Mindanao) to director, Training Service;

Brig. Gen. Nicolas Torre III - NCRPO to acting PNPA commandant of cadets;

Brig. Gen. Jack Wanky - from PNPA to NCRPO;

Brig. Gen. Andrew Cayad - from Directorate for Intelligence (DI) to director, Intelligence Group (IG);

Brig. Gen. Constancio Chinayog Jr. - from DPRM to director, Forensic Group;

Brig. Gen. Clifford Gairanod- from Headquarters Support Service (HSS) to director, Highway Patrol Group (HPG);

Brig. Gen. Ronald Lee - from PROCOR to acting director CIDG;

Brig. Gen. Bowenn Joey Masauding - from ACG to director, Finance Service;

Brig. Gen. Eric Noble - from Police Community Affairs and Development Group (PCADG) to PNPA Acting director;

Brig. Gen. Edgar Allan Okubo - from PRO 11 to acting director, Special Action Force (SAF);

Brig. Gen. Andre Dizon - from Aviation Security Group (AVSEGROUP) to director, Manila Police District (MPD);

Brig. Gen. Leo Francisco - from MPD to director, PRO 6 (Western Visayas);

Brig. Gen. Jamili Macaraeg - from NCRPO Southern Police District (SPD) to director, PRO 12 (Soccsksargen);

Brig. Gen. Remus Medina - from NCRPO Quezon City Police District (QCPD) to PHAU, DPRM;

Brig. Gen. John Guyguyon - from Office of the Chief of the Directorial Staff to PRO Bangsamoro Autonomous Region (BAR);

Brig. Gen. Benjamin Acorda Jr. - from PRO 10 to DI;

Brig. Gen. Jon Arnaldo - from National Police Training Institute (NPTI) to DHRDD;

Brig. Gen. Matthew Baccay - from PRO 3 to DPRM;

Brig. Gen. Bernard Banac - from PRO-8 to Directorate for Plans;

Brig. Gen. Flynn Dongbo - from PRO-6 to Directorate for Logisitics (DL);

Brig. Gen. Samuel Nacion - from Integrity Monitoring and Enforcement Group (IMEG) to DIDM;

Brig. Gen. Westrimundo Obinque - from PRO-1 to DC;

Brig. Gen. Emmanuel Peralta - from DICTM to DO;

Brig. Gen. Alexander Tagum - from PRO-12 to DHRDD; and

Brig. Gen. Antonio Yarra - from PRO 4-A to DI.

"The reorganization of personnel occupying key positions aims to provide opportunities and career growth. At the same time, this move shall strengthen and empower strategic offices and units with the placement of more seasoned and experienced senior officers at their helms to further hone the operational and administrative undertakings against criminality, enforcement of the law, and maintenance of peace and order," PNP Public Information Office chief, Brig. Gen. Roderick Alba, said in a statement.

SoKor Air Force's 'Black Eagles' to hold airshow in PH

From the Philippine News Agency (Aug 10, 2022): SoKor Air Force's 'Black Eagles' to hold airshow in PH (By Priam Nepomuceno)

Photo courtesy of Philippine Air Force

The Republic of Korea Air Force’s (ROKAF) 53rd Air Demonstration Group, also known as the "Black Eagles", will be performing over the Basa Air Base, Floridablanca, Pampanga on August 15, highlighting the strong relations between the Philippines and South Korea.

In an interview Wednesday, Philippine Air Force (PAF) spokesperson Col. Maynard Mariano said eight T-50Bs, the aerobatic version of the Mach 1.5 capable FA-50PH, would be treating Filipino air enthusiasts with their maneuvers over the skies of Basa Air Base.

"Team composition will be eight T-50(B)s. They will be doing their repertoire. Exactly what it is, we just have to watch. The airshow highlights the strong partnership between the Philippines and South Korea. Their visit here is the last leg of the 'Black Eagles' before going home,"
he said.

The team has been performing over the skies of the United Kingdom, Poland, and Egypt as part of their world tour this year.

The "Black Eagles" permanent team was formed on Dec. 12, 1994, and flew six Cessna A-37B Dragonfly airplanes.

The team disbanded temporarily after the 2007 Seoul Air Show and reformed upon the arrival of their new T-50B in 2010.

Ties between the Philippines and South Korea have been good since Manila deployed a sizable contingent to help Seoul in the Korean War from 1950 to 1953.

The South Korean air force's aerobatics team will hold a final rehearsal on Saturday ahead of the actual airshow.

Both the rehearsal and actual air show can be watched online via the PAF and 5th Fighter Wing Facebook pages.

"As much as the PAF wants to accommodate everyone inside Basa Air Base for this event, the maximum capacity that the Base can handle has been met considering the safety and health protocol to prevent the spread of Covid-19 (coronavirus disease 2019) and other rainy season infections; therefore, we invite everybody to watch the airshow via live streaming to be posted at the Philippine Air Force and 5th Fighter Wing official Facebook pages," the PAF said in its Facebook page.

New AFP chief wants heightened 'operational tempo' vs. Reds

From the Philippine News Agency (Aug 10, 2022): New AFP chief wants heightened 'operational tempo' vs. Reds (By Priam Nepomuceno)

AFP chief-of-staff Lt. Gen. Bartolome Vicente Bacarro (Photo courtesy of AFP)

Newly-appointed Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief-of-staff Lt. Gen. Bartolome Vicente Bacarro has ordered all military commanders to increase their operational tempo to defeat the remaining communist insurgents in the country.

Bacarro issued this order during his first command conference as military chief on Wednesday, AFP acting spokesperson Col. Medel Aguilar said in an interview with reporters.

While there is no set timeline to do the measure, Bacarro said there is an "urgency of completing the task".

"That is why ang kanyang (his) instruction is to increase yung (the) operational tempo so that we can defeat the armed (communist) group, so kung pwede nga sana tapusin ito kaagad agad, yun ang (if it is possible to complete this task immediately, that is the) objective, but we also understand that insurgency is multi-faceted,"
Aguilar said.

Aguilar said increasing the operational tempo does not mean the deployment of additional forces in rebel-infested areas but just maximizing the use of all available forces.

When asked how many New People's Army (NPA) insurgents or fighters are still remaining, Medel said that more than 2,000 are still active.

"Nasabi na naman to dati na more than 2,000 na lang sila (We have earlier mentioned that they (NPA) number to just more than 2,000)," he added.

The AFP spokesperson also expressed hope that the NPAs, during Bacarro's three-year term, could be totally defeated provided that the momentum established during past operations are maintained.

He also added that the AFP is providing information to other government agencies on the nature of the insurgency threat and recruitment so that they can take appropriate action from their end.

The AFP earlier said that during the tenure of Bacarro's predecessor Gen. Andres Centino, the military neutralized 1,391 communist and local terrorist personalities.

"The AFP was also instrumental in deradicalizing over 3,000 communist terrorists, dismantling 20 guerrilla fronts, recovering 1,600 firearms, and clearing 565 barangays," it added.

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

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

Gov’t media given priority under Marcos admin: OPS

From the Philippine News Agency (Aug 10, 2022): Gov’t media given priority under Marcos admin: OPS (By Azer Parrocha)

Press Secretary Trixie Cruz-Angeles (File photo)

The Office of the Press Secretary (OPS) is prioritizing the granting of interviews to government media under the administration of President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.

Press Secretary Trixie Cruz-Angeles said this is her agency’s “standout policy” since Marcos assumed office.

“Under the single messaging policy for President and, we also give a premium to government media first,”
she said in an interview over state-run Radyo Pilipinas on Wednesday.

Cruz-Angeles said private media will also be accommodated, but state media will be given "a premium first."

“Although napagbigyan naman natin iyong iba (we grant interviews to other media outlets), there are some stations that we allowed interviews, we usually give a premium first to our government station” she added.

In July, Marcos ordered the abolition of the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) and the restoration of the OPS, an agency PCOO superseded 12 years ago, through Executive Order (EO) No. 2.

Under the EO, OPS has the authority to "pronounce, on behalf of the President, matters pertaining to his actions, policies, programs, official activities, and accomplishments."

It is also tasked to develop and implement necessary guidelines and mechanisms pertaining to the delivery and dissemination of information on policies, programs, official activities, and achievements of the President and the Executive Branch.

The OPS currently supervises the operations of state-run TV stations PTV-4 and IBC-13, radio station Radyo Pilipinas, and the Philippine News Agency (PNA).

Radio Television Malacañang (RTVM) is now controlled by the Presidential Management Staff (PMS) while the Philippine Information Agency (PIA) has gone back under the supervision of the Office of the President (OP).

First 100 days

Meanwhile, Cruz-Angeles said the OPS is preparing for the release of an accomplishment report on the first 100 days of the Marcos administration.

“Primarily that we coordinate with the other departments and agencies for single messaging,” she said.

In a 2022 PAHAYAG Second Quarter Survey (2022 PQ2) from June 16 to 22, 68 percent of respondents said they expect Marcos to perform “well” or “very well” during his first 100 days as president.

At least 14 percent said they expect him to perform “poorly” or “very poorly” while 11 percent said they expect the incoming president to perform “neither poorly nor well” and 7 percent were unsure.

Survey respondents were also asked to select and rank the three most important issues that the next President should focus on with 73 percent of respondents choosing the Philippine economy as one of their top three issues, 42 percent ranking the economy as the number one issue for the next president to address, and 53 percent of respondents selecting jobs as a top-three issue, while 32 percent chose education.

The 1,500 Filipino respondents who participated in the 2022 PAHAYAG Second Quarter Survey were randomly sampled from their national panel of more than 200,000 Filipinos with a sample-wide margin of error is +/- 3 percent.

DND 'formalizing' termination of Russian helicopter deal

From the Philippine News Agency (Aug 10, 2022): DND 'formalizing' termination of Russian helicopter deal (By Priam Nepomuceno)

File photo

The Department of National Defense (DND) on Wednesday said it is now formalizing the cancelation of the contract for the acquisition of 16 Russian-made Mi-17 heavy-lift helicopters.

"The DND is formalizing the termination of the contract with SOVTECHNOEXPORT LLC of the Russian Federation for the procurement of 16 units of Mi-17 heavy-lift helicopters for the Philippine Air Force (PAF),"
DND spokesperson Arsenio Andolong said in a statement.

He also added that the DND Contract Termination and Review Committee (CTRC), which will undertake the appropriate processes and exercise due diligence in formalizing the termination of the project's contract, has already been reconstituted.

"We are also preparing to initiate a diplomatic dialogue with the Russian side regarding matters arising from the project’s cancellation," Andolong said.

He added that "changes in priorities necessitated by global political developments resulted in the cancellation of the project by the previous administration."

Andolong also said the CTRC will also take on the issues concerning the DND's down payment amounting to PHP1.9 billion.

Earlier, then DND Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said the PHP12.7 billion contract was canceled as the Philippines could face sanctions from the United States if the project pushes through.

Lorenzana added that the termination of the contract was approved by former president Rodrigo R. Duterte before his term ended on June 30.

The PAF earlier said it is looking at the possibility of acquiring heavy-lift helicopters as part of efforts to beef up its helicopter fleet.

A heavy-lift helicopter is a type of rotary aircraft capable of lifting large numbers of personnel or cargo.

The Mil Mi-17 is a Soviet-designed Russian military helicopter family in production at two factories in Kazan and Ulan-Ude.

It is known as the Mi-8M series in Russian service. The helicopter is mostly used as a medium twin-turbine transport helicopter, as well as an armed gunship version.

It has a maximum speed of 280 kilometers per hour (170 mph, 150 knots) and a range of 800 kilometers.

The Mi-17 has a crew of two pilots and one engineer and is capable of transporting 24 soldiers or 12 stretchers internally.

PSG is country’s ‘pride and joy’: First Lady

From the Philippine News Agency (Aug 10, 2022): PSG is country’s ‘pride and joy’: First Lady (By Azer Parrocha)

BEST AND BRIGHTEST. First Lady Louise “Liza” Araneta-Marcos delivers her message during the graduation rites of the Very Important Person Protection Course (VIPPC) Batch "Maharlika" Class at the Presidential Security Group (PSG) grandstand in Malacañang Park on Tuesday (Aug. 10, 2022). The First Lady enjoined the new PSG graduates to guard their distinction as “the best and the brightest” with respect and kindness. (Photo from the First Lady FB page)

First Lady Louise "Liza" Araneta-Marcos enjoined members of the Presidential Security Group (PSG) who graduated from the Very Important Person Protection Course (VIPPC) Batch "Maharlika" Class to guard their new distinction with “respect and kindness” while maintaining “professionalism” at all times.

Araneta-Marcos made this call during the graduation rites at the PSG grandstand in Malacañang Park on Tuesday.

In her message, she said her husband, President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. could not make it to the ceremony because it coincided with the state funeral of the late president Fidel V. Ramos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani in Taguig City.

She, however, said she would often hear her husband talk about his admiration for the “highly proficient” members of the PSG.

“He [Marcos] would always tell me – in no uncertain terms -- that the PSG is our country’s pride and joy, that you are the elite group of women and men, that you are experts in your field, and that you are the best and the brightest,” Araneta-Marcos said.

“...If my husband says that you are the ‘best and the brightest’ and after I saw how you trained today, I am now a convert,” she added.

She reminded the graduates to fulfill their duty within principles intact and continue protecting all those they have sworn to protect.

“After today, you will no longer be representatives of your respective units, but you now represent the Office of the President. Much will be expected from you, so always keep in mind the basic tenets of honor, patriotism, and duty,” she said.

Araneta-Marcos also thanked them for protecting the First Family, former presidents, visiting heads of state, and other VIP guests.

She also thanked the graduates’ mentors for preparing a carefully-crafted series of modules.

According to Araneta-Marcos, one of the reasons that the President and First Family are able to perform their functions is because the PSG is there to keep them safe.

“Thank you for taking care of my husband –- your Commander in Chief – and my three sons. Thank you also for taking care of me. Allow me to take this opportunity to convey my sincere appreciation for all you have done and continue to do to protect us. Thank you also for protecting our former Presidents, our visiting heads of states, heads of governments and other VIP guests of our country,” she said.

The PSG is an elite group of military and police personnel concerned with providing close-in security and escort to the president, their immediate families, former presidents, and visiting heads of state.

Tolentino seeks to reinforce PH claim over WPS

From the Philippine News Agency (Aug 10, 2022): Tolentino seeks to reinforce PH claim over WPS (By Wilnard Bacelonia)

File photo courtesy of PTV

Various government agencies shall be mandated to strengthen the country's assertion of rights over the West Philippine Sea (WPS) if Senate Bill No. (SBN) 405 will be passed into law, Senator Francis Tolentino said on Wednesday.

Tolentino, vice-chairperson of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations who filed the bill, said the proposal seeks to "institutionalize" the West Philippine Sea claim by formalizing the designation of its nomenclature as part of the existing laws of the land.

As patriotic citizens, he said Filipinos should assert their sovereign rights over the country's Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) for the purpose of exploring and exploiting, conserving, and managing its natural resources, whether living or non-living, of the waters superjacent to the seabed and of the seabed and subsoil with the concomitant duty to protect and preserve the marine environment.

Section 2 of SBN 405 mandates the National Mapping and Resource Information Authority (NAMRIA) to produce and publish charts and maps of the Philippines reflecting the nomenclature “West Philippine Sea” or the “Kanlurang Dagat ng Pilipinas.”

It also mandates the national government through the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) to deposit a copy of the measure if passed into law, and other relevant documents with the Secretary General of the United Nations (UN) and notify accordingly all relevant International and intergovernmental organizations, such as the United Nations Statistical Commission (UNSC), the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the United Nations Group of Experts on Geographical Names (UNGEGN), and the International Hydrographic Organization (IHO).

SBN 405 also directs all departments, subdivisions, agencies, and instrumentalities of the Philippine government to use and employ the name West Philippine Sea or "Kanlurang Dagat ng Pilipinas" in all communications, messages, and public documents, and “to popularize the use of such name with the general public, both domestically and internationally.”

It also requires that all private institutions, organizations, and establishments, whether organized under Philippine law or foreign law, operating within the Philippines, or transiting in Philippine territory are hereby directed to use the name West Philippine Sea or Kanlurang Dagat ng Pilipinas in all communications, announcements, and messages, both domestically and internationally.

"During the past decade, the actions of China in establishing control over the region for economic and military purposes intrude upon the sovereign rights of the Philippines over its EEZ. China's buildings and offshore harbor in Mischief Reef, which are well within our EEZ, required major excavation and destruction of significant coral reef areas," Tolentino pointed out.

He also emphasized the archipelagic doctrine embodied in the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) which grants the Philippines a territorial sea of up to 12 nautical miles, a contiguous zone of up to 24 nautical miles, and an EEZ of up to 200 nautical miles.

"This shall all be measured from the archipelagic baselines drawn in accordance with the Article 47 of the UNCLOS," Tolentino said.

SBN 405 also labels the Luzon Sea and the waters around, within, and adjacent to the Kalayaan Island Group in Palawan and Bajo de Masinloc, also known as Scarborough Shoal in Zambales, among others, as WPS territories.

During the recent 55th ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in Cambodia, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) asserted its territorial ownership of the disputed territories by citing the arbitral award, noting that The Hague ruling, as well as the 1982 UNCLOS, are the twin anchors of policy and actions of the Philippines on the WPS.

ROTC instills discipline, volunteerism: NICA official

From the Philippine News Agency (Aug 7, 2022): ROTC instills discipline, volunteerism: NICA official (By Liza Agoot)

VOLUNTEERISM. National Intelligence Coordinating Agency (NICA) Region 1 Director Mildred Abordo (second from left) during the turnover and distribution of relief items from the personnel of the agency on Saturday (Aug. 6, 2022). She said the Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC) will develop discipline, volunteerism and care for their fellowmen among the youth which will help mitigate the suffering of victims during calamities. (PNA photo by Liza T. Agoot)

BANGUED, Abra – An official of the National Intelligence Coordinating Agency (NICA) said the resumption of the Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC) will make the youth more involved in the affairs of the community, which will further improve their volunteerism spirit.

"If you expose the young people to community activities where they will see or feel their fellowmen, they will see the importance of making themselves useful not just for themselves, but the others," NICA Region 1 Director Mildred Abordo said Saturday on the sidelines of the agency's turnover of relief goods to the Abra Diocese, to be distributed to earthquake victims.

She said making ROTC a requirement in school does not necessarily mean teaching them to hold a weapon and fire a gun.

"Maraming ways para ma-implement ang ROTC program, isa dyan ang pag-expose at pagtuturo paano magresponde at tumulong pag may kalamidad (there are many ways on how the ROTC program can be implemented and one is to expose and teach them how to respond and help during calamities)," Abordo said.

She belied claims of some sectors that the ROTC will teach students to become youth soldiers.

"Hindi totoo yun kasi may ROTC naman tayo noon pa at hindi naman ginawang youth soldiers ang mga estudyante (It's not true because we had ROTC even before and it did not turn the students into youth soldiers)," Abordo said.

She added that creating youth volunteers who care for those in need is the primary purpose of ROTC.

She said calamity strikes anytime, anywhere, and having young people with a heart to help will do a lot in mitigating the sufferings of the victims.

Discipline, volunteerism and care for others are important lessons taught in the ROTC, which will help mold the youth to become good citizens, she noted.

Abordo said at NICA, they expose their young personnel to volunteerism during calamities, such as collecting donations that they send to victims.

Death of NPA leader in Samar boosts anti-insurgency drive

From the Philippine News Agency (Aug 8, 2022): Death of NPA leader in Samar boosts anti-insurgency drive (By Sarwell Meniano)

FALLEN NPA LEADER. Men carry the casket of a New People's Army regional commander killed in a clash in San Jose de Buan, Samar in this Aug. 2, 2022 photo. The Philippine Army on Monday (Aug. 8, 2022) said the recent deaths of a commanding officer of the New People’s Army in Eastern Visayas and his staff in clash with government forces in Samar is a big loss to the communist terrorist group in the region. (Photo courtesy of Philippine Army 87th Infantry Battalion)

The recent deaths of a commanding officer of the New People’s Army (NPA) in Eastern Visayas and his staff member in clash with government forces in Samar is a big loss to the communist terrorist group in the region, a Philippine Army (PA) official said on Monday.

Col. Lenart Lelina, commander of the 801st Infantry Brigade said
the death of Rodrigo Mejica Lorezo, 60, commander of the regional operation command of the NPA Eastern Visayas regional party committee (EVRPC) and his staff Rosco Rotalano, 58, is a big accomplishment in the government’s campaign to end the armed conflict.

Lelina said the duo were killed in a 10-minute gun battle between government forces and a band of six rebels in upland Hilumot village in San Jose de Buan, Samar on August 1.

“All directives to launch tactical offensives against government came from Lorezo since he was the commander. He’s been with NPA for decades as one of the original members. This will further weaken their organization,” Lelina told the Philippine News Agency

The clash was part of a series of offensives against armed rebels from Las Navas, Northern Samar to the mountains of Samar province. The remaining NPA members have been evading intensified operations of the PA and Philippine National Police (PNP).

After the clash, troops from the Army’s 87th Infantry Battalion and PNP’s 1st and 2nd Samar mobile force company captured an NPA fighter and seized an M16 rifle, a .45 caliber pistol, a bag containing subversive documents with high intelligence value, a backpack with personal belongings, a bandolier and three long steel magazines.

After being outnumbered, the rebels fled and left behind their fallen comrades. There is no reported casualty on the government side.

“It’s good that we’re able to establish intelligence networks in villages and conduct of retooled communist support program. This encouraged residents to report sightings of NPA members in their communities,” Lelina added.

The military, local police, and the local government provided a descent burial to the two slain rebels at the town’s public cemetery.

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

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

ROTC cadets in Leyte cite gains from military training

From the Philippine News Agency (Aug 8, 2022): ROTC cadets in Leyte cite gains from military training (By Roel Amazona)

TRAINED. Trainers and cadets of the Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC) during their graduation rites in Leyte province on Aug. 1, 2022. ROTC cadets in Leyte cited the role of military training in developing their skills and leadership potential. (PNA photo by Roel Amazona)

Cadets of the Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) in Leyte have cited the role of military training in developing their skills and leadership potential.

Jasfer Delloro, 19, a second-year Criminology student at the Burauen Community College in Burauen, Leyte said the training for ROTC cadet officers helped them improve their personality and practice safety.

“Those who are frightened to experience ROTC are just afraid of punishments or accidents. They’re not aware that safety is a top priority in the training. It also helped us develop our personality,” said Delloro in a phone interview on Monday.

Part of their training focuses on military discipline, nationalism, patriotism, humanitarian, and disaster risk reduction and management, and ROTC management. Also included in their training are history and tourism appreciation, and environmental protection and conservation.

Delloro is one of the 600 ROTC cadets who completed the 28-day training on August 1 facilitated by the 8th Regional Community Defense Group (RCDG) of the Army Reserve Command. The RCDG held the training at the former camp of Republic of Korea Force Araw in Palo, Leyte.

Graduates are tasked to train ROTC cadets on their respective campuses.

John Anthony Rubenecia, 21, a senior criminology student of Leyte Colleges said that although there are struggles during the training, it is entirely helpful in preparing the youth to become future leaders and good citizens, especially for those who wanted to pursue a career in the military service.

“Since we were physically challenged, we also get tired sometimes and feel fatigue, but it is part of the training. The training that we have here will be beneficial to us, especially to our bodies. A cadet officer is not only trained physically, but mentally and emotionally as well,” Rubenecia added.

The two said there was no hazing during the training and they were not hurt. They just have to overcome physical activities as part of the military training.

During the 28-day training, the cadets were also supervised by personnel from the Bureau of Fire Protection who were present in every activity.

President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. has been pushing for the revival of the ROTC among senior high schools, declaring it as one of the priority measures of his administration during his first State of the Nation Address on July 25.

Following the July 27 magnitude 7 earthquake that rocked Northern Luzon, the Chief Executive said the return of the mandatory ROTC would help bolster the country’s capability in dealing with disasters.

43 ex-rebels in Nueva Ecija get cash assistance

From the Philippine News Agency (Aug 8, 2022): 43 ex-rebels in Nueva Ecija get cash assistance (By Marilyn Galang)

CASH AID. A former member of the communist terrorist group in Nueva Ecija receives cash assistance in this undated photo. The beneficiary is one of the 43 former rebels who received assistance under the government's Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP). (Photo courtesy of the Army's 7th Infantry Division)

FORT MAGSAYSAY, Nueva Ecija – At least 43 former members of the communist terrorist group (CTG) in this province have received cash assistance under the government’s Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP).

Col. Joseph Norwin D. Pasamonte, Deputy Brigade Commander of the Army’s 703rd Brigade, said on Monday more than PHP2 million worth of cash assistance was received by the former rebels (FRs) that can be used as seed money in starting a small business to support their respective families.

Pasamonte said each FR received cash aid ranging from PHP15,000 to PHP65,000.

He hopes the move would mark the foundation of unity for the good of the country and for the next generation.

Lt. Col. Enrico Gil Ileto, commanding officer of the Army’s 84th Infantry Battalion (IB), reiterated their call to all remaining CTG members to abandon communist terrorism and avail of the E-CLIP program to be able to live peacefully together with their families.

Likewise, Maj. Gen. Andrew Costelo, Commander of the Army’s 7th Infantry Division, is hopeful the move will be a pathway for other active rebels to see how sincere the government is in helping and supporting those who wish to embrace a peaceful life alongside the government.

Costelo cited the importance of providing a long-lasting opportunity for the former rebels to live a normal life.

Meanwhile, government agencies such as the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Department of Agrarian Reform, and the Department of Trade and Industry have reassured full assistance to the Army’s 3rd Mechanized Battalion's livelihood programs for former members of the Komiteng Larangang Guerilla Tarlac-Zambales who surrendered recently in Tarlac.

Lt. Col. Jeszer M. Bautista, the battalion's acting commanding officer, said providing livelihood is one way of showing the government's sincerity in giving former rebels another chance to start a normal life with their family.

MisOr awards 3 soldiers over successful anti-NPA operations

From the Philippine News Agency (Aug 8, 2022): MisOr awards 3 soldiers over successful anti-NPA operations (By Nef Luczon)

AWARDEES. Three soldiers under the Army's 58th Infantry Battalion are given military medals and cash incentives at the Misamis Oriental Capitol in Cagayan de Oro City Monday (August 8, 2022). From left: Pfc. Gabriel Sisayan, recipient of the Military Medal; Pfc. Rogen Rollon, Gold Cross Medal; and Cpl. Junaide Alger, Silver Cross Medal. (Photo courtesy of MisOr PIO)

Three soldiers under the Army's 58th Infantry Battalion (58IB) were honored Monday for their contributions to the government's anti-communist insurgency campaign in Misamis Oriental province.

Governor Peter Unabia led the pinning of the Gold Cross Medal to Private 1st Class (PFC) Rogen J. Rollon
over the success of the encounter against Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) rebels in Barangay Bal-ason, Gingoog City, in December last year.

Rollon was cited for engaging against two NPA combatants and seizing an M16 rifle, an AR18 rifle, two AK47 rifles and one 203 grenade launcher from the rebels' positions.

Meanwhile, Lt. Col. Ricky Canatoy, the 58IB commander, also pinned the Silver Cross Medal to Cpl. Junaide Alger, who was recognized as the agent handler during the case operation plan “Magilas.”

That operation led to the three apprehensions of NPA personalities in Barangay Talusan, Balingasag town, in October 2021.

A Military Merit Medal was also given to Pfc. Gabriel Sisayan, who contributed to the success of the Army's encounter in Barangay Libertad, Gingoog City, in June last year.

Sisayan was responsible for the seizure of an M15 rifle and one Carbine rifle from the NPA hideout.

Unabia, who also provided cash reward for each of the awardees, expressed the provincial government's gratitude for the soldiers for maintaining peace and order.

“The reward, amounting to PHP25,000, is nothing compared to the (life-threatening) job that they do,” he said.

Former rebels in the province are also being assisted by the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), he added.

Unabia said government agencies must ensure that former rebels undergo “social preparation” before they formally integrate with the community.

“We would like to see that the amount (cash assistance) they are receiving will be sustainable for them (former rebels),” the governor said.

Unabia cited an example of a former rebel who received PHP500,000 worth of cash assistance and planned in using the money to buy land for his parents and family.

The governor hopes that other rebel surrenderers would emulate the same attitude in managing the assistance.

NPA leader, 4 others yield in Sultan Kudarat

From the Philippine News Agency (Aug 9, 2022): NPA leader, 4 others yield in Sultan Kudarat (By Edwin Fernandez)

NEW LIFE. Kalamansig Mayor Joaquin Concha (in striped polo shirt) hands over financial aid to former New People’s Army (NPA) rebel Norma Dulonan during surrender rites at the town hall of Kalamansig, Sultan Kudarat, Monday (Aug. 8, 2022). Four others, including the NPA East Daguma Front secretary, surrendered to local authorities on the same day. (Photo courtesy of 6ID)

Officials in Kalamansig, Sultan Kudarat, welcomed back to the mainstream society a New People’s Army (NPA) leader and four other rebels, the military said Tuesday.

In a report, the Army’s 6th Infantry Division (ID)
identified the rebel leader as Danilo Englatera Jr., the NPA’s East Daguma Front secretary and a platoon commander.

Englatera surrendered with his two comrades, Argelo Galaan and Norma Dulonan.

Kalamansig Mayor Joaquin Concha, the Army's 603rd Infantry Brigade commander Col. Michael Santos, and Lt. Col. John Paul Baldomar, the Army's 37th Infantry Battalion commander, welcomed the surrenderers at the town hall Monday.

“I thank you for choosing to surrender. I hope more rebels will come down and surrender. More than 40 of you have earlier yielded and availed of government peace offer, hopefully, more will come down so peace will reign,” Concha told the surrenderers.

Englatera said he and his group have suffered exhaustion from the military's sustained operations, adding that they were finally convinced by their former comrades to turn themselves in and avail of the government's reintegration program.

They turned over an M16 rifle and a .45 caliber pistol during their surrender.

Also on the same day, the police’s 2nd Sultan Kudarat Mobile Force Company also presented two former rebels, identified as Samson Falol and Celso Malubay, who turned in two 12-gauge shotguns.

Concha, also head of Kalamansig Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict, distributed initial cash assistance and food packages to the former rebels.

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

The National Democratic Front has been formally designated as a terrorist organization by the Anti-Terrorism Council on June 23, 2021, citing it as “an integral and inseparable part” of the CPP-NPA created in April 1973.

Alleged NPA tax collector nabbed in Guihulngan City

From the Philippine News Agency (Aug 9, 2022): Alleged NPA tax collector nabbed in Guihulngan City (By Mary Judaline Partlow)

NPA TAX COLLECTOR. Police arrest a Communist Party of the Philippines-New People's Army (CPP-NPA) rebel and seize from him several weapons in Guihulngan City, Negros Oriental on Monday (Aug. 8, 2022). Roldan Villareco Baydal, 32, was identified as a tax collector of the CPP-NPA's Central Negros 1 guerilla front. (Photo courtesy of the Negros Oriental Provincial Police Office)

Police have arrested a member of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) and seized several weapons in a mountainous area in Guihulngan City, Negros Oriental.

A report from the Negros Oriental Provincial Police Office (NOPPO) on Tuesday identified the suspect as Roldan Villareco Baydal, single, 32, a resident of Sitio Punong in Barangay Trinidad in the said city.

The NOPPO said Baydal, a tax collector of the CPP-NPA’s Central Negros 1 of the Komiteng Rehiyon Negros, Cebu, Bohol, and Siquijor, was arrested on Monday at his residence in Sitio Punong by virtue of a search warrant for violation of Republic Act 10591 or the Comprehensive Firearms and Ammunition Regulation Act.

The search warrant was issued by Presiding Judge Ma. Anna Priscila M. Pareja of the Regional Trial Court Branch 102 in Guihulngan City, dated August 3, 2022.

During the search, the police recovered one rifle grenade, one .38-caliber revolver with three rounds of live ammunition, and a sling bag.

The suspect is now under the custody of the Guihulngan City Police Station.

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 National Democratic Front has been formally designated as a terrorist organization by the Anti-Terrorism Council on June 23, 2021, citing it as “an integral and inseparable part” of the CPP-NPA created in April 1973.

Army trains NegOr youths to become ROTC officers

From the Philippine News Agency (Aug 9, 2022): Army trains NegOr youths to become ROTC officers (By Mary Judaline Partlow)

ROTC SUMMER CAMP. A total of 331 young men and women are currently undergoing a month-long ROTC Summer Camp Training at the 302nd Infantry Brigade headquarters in Tanjay City, Negros Oriental. Brigade Commander Brig. Gen. Leonardo Peña (back to the camera) welcomed the trainees at the opening on August 7, 2022. (Photo courtesy of the 302nd Infantry Brigade)

A total of 331 youths are currently undergoing a four-week Reserve Officers’ Training Corps or ROTC Summer Camp Training at the 302nd Infantry Brigade of the Philippine Army in Tanjay City, Negros Oriental.

Brig. Gen. Leonardo Peña, 302nd Infantry Brigade commander, in an interview with the Philippine News Agency on Tuesday, said the summer camp training is “intended for the ROTC cadets who are projected to become ROTC officers in their different schools”.

Some trainees are from Silliman University and St. Paul University in this capital city and from a few other schools, he said.

The in-house training reeled off with an opening program on August 7 at the Old Administrative building of Camp Leon Kilat, where the brigade is headquartered and will end sometime on the first week of September, he added.

It is facilitated by the 703rd Community Defense Center (703 CDC), 7 Regional Community Defense Group (7RCDG) of the Philippine Army Reserve Command.

“The training was already programmed during the years covered by the Covid-19 pandemic but it did not pan out due to restrictions,” Peña said. “This is in support of our Army Reserve Command program. We are showing here that even the regular Army troops are in support of this reservist activity.”

The ROTC Summer Camp Training Class 2021-2022 is also in response to the call of President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. to Congress to pass a law mandating the conduct of ROTC in schools to bolster the country’s disaster resilience efforts, the Army commander said.

“The discipline that will be instilled in you, individually, after satisfying the requirements of this training camp will be very beneficial to our country for you will form part of the Reserve Force that will eventually be integrated into our Regular Army Force in times of natural calamities for disaster relief operations, in case of war, and during peace-time for training exercises like this,” Peña said during the opening.

For his part, Vice Governor Carlo George Joan L. Reyes, who was the keynote speaker, said the trainees must possess a positive attitude and absorb every lecture under the course to complete the training as their takeaways would come in handy in the future.

A traditional reception rite for the in-house trainees, comprising 153 females and 178 males, was held afterward.

Security agency faces raps for unauthorized firearms, ammo

From the Philippine News Agency (Aug 10, 2022): Security agency faces raps for unauthorized firearms, ammo (By Alexander Lopez)

SEIZED FIREARMS. Members of the Surigao del Norte Police and the Army’s 30th Infantry Battalion seize 14 undocumented firearms and various ammunition from a security guard agency at the boundary of Surigao del Norte and Surigao del Sur on Aug. 5, 2022. The arrested persons transporting the seized guns and ammo aboard three vehicles claimed they belonged to the Phela Eagles Security Agency. (Photo courtesy of SDNPPO)

A security agency in Surigao del Norte is facing charges for failing to present pertinent documents on the firearms and ammunition seized by authorities from its possession.

In a statement Tuesday, the provincial police said charges were being prepared against the Phela Eagles Security Agency for violation of Republic Act (RA) 10591 or the Comprehensive Law on Firearms and Ammunition.

“I commend the troops for the successful police operation in line with our campaign against illegal possession of firearms,” provincial police director, Col. Renato Mercado, said.

At least 28 12-gauge shotguns, two 9mm. pistols, 295 pieces of shotgun ammunition, and five pieces of 9mm. ammunition were seized on August 5 from personnel of the security agency at a checkpoint manned by members of the provincial police and the 30th Infantry Battalion at the border of Surigao del Norte and Surigao del Sur.

Also confiscated from the group were 15 units of handheld radios.

The firearms and ammunition were loaded in three vehicles driven by persons who identified themselves with the security agency.

Mercado said the security agency would also face charges for violating provisions of RA 5487 that regulates the organization and operation of private detective agencies and watchmen or security guard agencies.

2 more Abu Sayyaf members surrender amid sustained military ops

From the Philippine News Agency (Aug 10, 2022): 2 more Abu Sayyaf members surrender amid sustained military ops (By Teofilo Garcia, Jr.)

SURRENDER. Basilan-based Abu Sayyaf member Totoh Akalun, 33, hands over a rifle to Lt. Col. John Ferdinand Lazo, the Army's 64th Infantry Battalion commander, when he surrendered Monday (August 8, 2022) in Basilan province. Akalun is a follower of Basilan-based Abu Sayyaf leader Pasil Bayali. (Photo courtesy of JTF - Basilan)

Saying they wanted to reunite with their families, two Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) bandits separately surrendered in Basilan and Sulu provinces.

In a statement Wednesday, the Western Mindanao Command (Westmincom) identified the two ASG surrenderers as Totoh Akalun, 33, a Basilan-based ASG member, and Abu Junjun, 29, another ASG supporter based in Sulu.

Brig Gen. Domingo Gobway, Joint Task Force (JTF)-Basilan commander, said Akalun surrendered Monday to Lt. Col. John Ferdinand Lazo, the Army's 64th Infantry Battalion commander in Sumisip, Basilan.

Gobway said Akalun is a follower of Basilan-based ASG leader Pasil Bayali, whose surrender was attributed to the sustained military and police operations against the ASG in Sumisip town.

Abu Junjun turned in an M79 grenade launcher when he yielded Sunday to the police's 20th Special Forces Company (SFC) in Patikul, Sulu.

Junjun was affiliated with the group of ASG sub-leader Morasil Mudjahirin, a known aide of the late ASG leader Hatib Hajan Sawadjaan.

Maj. Gen. Ignatius Patrimonio, JTF-Sulu commander, said Junjun surrendered through the joint efforts of the barangay officials of Bakung, Kadday Mampallam and Kaunayan, all of Patikul, and the 20SFC of the Army's 6th Special Forces Battalion under Lt. Col. Harold Nemeño.

“The sustained mass base operations that are being conducted by the 20SFC in the area also contributed to the surrender,” Patrimonio said.

Lt. Gen. Alfredo Rosario Jr., the Westmincom commander, said the two ASG surrenderers will undergo rehabilitation and reintegration programs of the Sulu and Basilan provincial governments.