Friday, December 16, 2022

Suspected rebels torch 2 cane trucks in Toboso

From Panay News (Dec 16, 2022): Suspected rebels torch 2 cane trucks in Toboso (By DOMINIQUE GABRIEL G. BAÑAGA)

BACOLOD City – Two cane trucks were set on fire by suspected New People’s Army (NPA) rebels in Toboso, Negros Occidental on Wednesday, Dec. 14.

The trucks, owned by a certain Teotimo Ballesteros Jr., sustained extensive damage, according to the Toboso Municipal Police Station.

The truck drivers witnessed the arson and immediately reported the attack to the police.

When the cops arrived, the two trucks already suffered damages pegged at around P600,000.

Police deduced that the arson attack was perpetrated by the NPA after recovering from the site a propaganda leaflet accusing the Philippine Army’s 79th Infantry Battalion of human rights violations.

Initial findings of the Toboso police revealed that failure to pay revolutionary taxes was the motive behind the attack.

SECURITY VS CONVENIENCE; Phone signal jam depriving terrorists opportunity to ruin Dinagyang

From Panay News (Dec 16, 2022): SECURITY VS CONVENIENCE; Phone signal jam depriving terrorists opportunity to ruin Dinagyang (By Glenda Tayona)

ILOILO City – Authorities here will wait for the local government unit’s decision whether to forego or push through phone signal jamming during the Dinagyang Festival next month.

Yesterday, the committee on transportation and public utilities of the Sangguniang Panlungsod (SP) chaired by Councilor Romel Duron held a committee hearing where a bomb expert and officials of the Iloilo City Police Office (ICPO) explained the need to suspend mobile phone services during the festival.

Police Major Garry Nee Tungala, team leader of the Explosive Ordnance Division and K-9 Unit of the ICPO, said choosing between convenience and security must be weighed thoroughly.

“Ma-(signal) jam or indi, the Philippine National Police will adopt or adjust. Kon maghambal ang SP wala signal jamming, we will adjust our deployment, we will enhance our capability. It is up to the local government unit kon ano gid dapat himuon kay on our end indi kami pwede ka hambal. Once maghambal ako okay lang wala signal jam kag may maglupok nga bomba, ang basulon kami,” Tungala said.

In the 2017, 2018, 2019, and 2020 editions of Dinagyang, the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) approved the police’s request for mobile phone signal jamming. It said terrorists could detonate improvised explosive devices using cell phone signals.

Tungala also explained that command-initiative improvised explosive devices are the most convenient for terrorists to make because they can detonate these even if they are far away.

“Pwede nila mapalupok bisan didto sila sa Manila and Mindanao. Basically, they can evade arrest easily. Then ang ginagamit dira, bisan P500 worth nga cell phone makabakal ka na, makahimo ka bomba,” Tungala said.

He emphasized the “triangle of crime” – motive, opportunity and victim – and terrorists must not be given the opportunity.

“Utdon ta na, indi ta sila pagtagaan sang opportunity nga makahimo sang bomba nga command detonated. Although it is not an assurance nga indi kita mabombahan kay may ara pa iban nga klase bomba… Ang aton lang gid is to get leverage lang gid (against terrorist),” Tungala said.

Iloilo City has no history of bombings either by terrorists, criminals or ill-minded individuals who want public attention, Tulangan stressed, but this should not be an excuse to be complacent.

“May ara daan ‘ya mga tawo nga gusto lang magpa-pansin. So indi ta na sila paghatag opportunity nga magkalamatay mga tawo ta di kag mabantugan kita nga nabomba ang Dinagyang kag wala na Dinagyang forever. Amo na ang ginalikawan ta,” Tungala said.

Duron, for his part, said he will present the result of the hearing to the city council or he may conduct a second round of committee hearing inviting all the city councilors together with the Iloilo Festivals Foundation, Inc. (IFFI) and other remaining stakeholders.

“Ang importante sini diri gindala naton ang kawsa sang iban nga indi gusto sang signal jam. Depende na ina sa aton kaupdanan, i-present ko sa ila based sa ginpanghambal sang aton expert,” said Duron.

No SOMO with NPA in Negros – Army

From the Visayan Daily Star (Dec 16, 2022): No SOMO with NPA in Negros – Army (By GILBERT P. BAYORAN)

There will be no suspension of military operations (SOMO) against the New People’s Army in Negros, disclosed Brig. Gen. Inocencio Pasaporte yesterday, the commander of the Army’s 303rd Infantry Brigade.

“We will continue our regular security operations,” Pasaporte said.

In previous years, the AFP has implemented a truce with communist groups during the holidays, usually lasting one to two weeks.

That practice has been stopped by the Duterte administration due to allegations from both the government and the CPP-NPA of violations of the truce.

Pasaporte yesterday issued an appeal for the NPA remnants in Negros to take advantage of the yuletide season to abandon the armed struggle and reunite with their respective families.

The NPA is no longer getting the support of the people in Negros island, Pasaporte declared.

This year 2022, he said the 303rd Infantry Brigade initiated 39 encounters with the NPA, resulting in the neutralization of majority of key leaders of the Komiteng Rehiyonal- Negros/Cebu/Bohol/Siquijor, including its regional commander, Romeo Nanta, and its deputy secretary, Ericson Acosta, who died in recent gun battles in cities of Himamaylan and Kabankalan, respectively.

Pasaporte also reported that many of its combatants, especially in central Negros, have abandoned the armed struggle and surrendered their weapons.

The NPA remnants are now always on the run, following neutralization of their key leaders, he further said, adding they may not be able to hold the 54th anniversary of the Communist Party of the Philippines on December 26, as what they do in previous years, usually by staging attacks against government forces or outposts.

We intend to remain them on that situation, Pasaporte said.

Maj. Gen. Benedict Arevalo, commander of the Army’s 3rd Infantry Division and concurrent chief of the AFP Visayas Command, yesterday said he not receive any orders to observe a holiday truce in Visayas.

Regular military operations against the NPA will continue, Arevalo said.

The AFP recently deployed the 4th Scout Ranger Battalion in Eastern Visayas, which is under the supervision of VisCom.

As VisCom acting chief, Arevalo supervises the Army’s 3rd and 8th Infantry Divisions, Philippine Air Force and Navy personnel and assets deployed in the Visayas region.

Armed men burn 2 sugarcane trucks

From the Visayan Daily Star (Dec 16, 2022): Armed men burn 2 sugarcane trucks (By GILBERT P. BAYORAN)

A group of unidentified armed men set ablaze two sugarcane cargo trucks on Wednesday, in Brgy. Tabun-ak, Toboso, Negros Occidental.

The owner of the two Isuzo cargo trucks was identified by the Toboso police as Teotimo Ballesteros Jr, and are driven by Alfredo Mahilum and Nelson Mahinay.

Estimated damage has been placed by the Toboso police at P600,000.

PMaj. John Ray Batadlan, Toboso police chief, yesterday said that the armed men only burned the engines of the two cargo trucks and spared sugarcane workers from harm.

Batadlan added that they cannot determined yet if there was an involvement of the New People’s Army in the arson incident.

He further said that the two trucks suffered only partial damage.

The motive of the incident is still being determined by the Toboso police.

Brig. Gen. Inocencio Pasaporte, 303rd Infantry Brigade commander, disclosed that the manner in committing the crime does not appear to be the handiwork of the communist terrorist group.

But Pasaporte said they are investigating the incident, to determine if it was indeed insurgency-related.

44 BIFFs sumuko sa militar

From the Mindanao Examiner (Dec 16, 2022): 44 BIFFs sumuko sa militar (44 BIFFs surrendered to the military)

KIDAPAWAN CITY – Umabot sa 44 mga miyembro ng Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters, kabilang ang kanilang commander, ang sumuko sa militar sa bayan ng Kabacan sa North Cotabato.

Ang mga sumukong BIFFs.

Kinumpirma rin ito ng 6th Infantry Division at sinabing sa grupo ng 90th Infantry Battalion boluntaryong sumuko ang mga rebelde kamakailan lamang.

Kabilang sa mga sumuko ay apat na sub-leaders at pitong bomb experts. Isinuko rin ng grupo ang 34 na iba’t-ibang armas at mga bala, ayon kay Lt. Col. Rommel Mundala, ang battalion commander.

“Napagtanto nila na panahon na para talikuran ang kanilang ipinaglalaban at nais na nilang mamuhay ng normal kasama ang kanilang mga pamilya,” ani Mundala.

Naging posible ang pagbalik-loob ng mga rebelde sa pagsisikap ng mga kasundalohan, ayon naman kay Col. Donald Gumiran, commander ng 602nd Infantry Brigade.

“Ang pagsuko ay resulta ng joint effort ng 90th Infantry Battalion at ng mga intelligence unit na naka-deploy sa lalawigan,” wika pa ni Gumiran.

Isasailalim naman sa proseso ang enrolment ng mga rebelde sa reintegration program ng gobyerno, paniguro ni Maj. Gen. Roy Galido, ang division commander. “Their documents will also be processed for enrolment in the reintegration program of the government,” sabi pa ni Galido. (Mindanao Examiner)

House approves bill on NCST, ROTC on final reading

From the Philippine News Agency (Dec 15, 2022): House approves bill on NCST, ROTC on final reading (By Filane Mikee Cervantes)

File photo

MANILA – The House of Representatives on Thursday approved on third and final reading a measure that would establish a two-year mandatory National Citizens Service Training (NCST) program and an optional four-year Reserve Officers' Training Corps (ROTC) program.

With 276 affirmative votes, four negative votes, and one abstention, the chamber approved House Bill (HB) No. 6687, or the proposed National Service Training Program Act, which was certified as urgent by President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr.

Marcos certified as urgent the passage of the bill to address the need to enhance the capacity of Filipino citizens to mobilize and perform their constitutional duty to render military or civil service to the State in times of calamities and disasters, national or local emergencies, rebellion, invasion, or war.

"This shall be made possible by the establishment of a unified, comprehensive, and holistic national citizens service training and mobilization system," Marcos said.

The certification of urgency has allowed the Lower Chamber to pass the measure on second and third reading on the same day.

The bill seeks to institutionalize an NCST program to be implemented by the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) in all public and private higher education institutions (HEIs) and by the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) in all post-secondary technical-vocational institutions (TVIs), both in consultation with the Department of National Defense (DND).

The bill is authored by Speaker Martin Romualdez, Majority Leader Manuel Jose Dalipe, Tingog Party-list Representatives Yedda Romualdez and Jude Acidre, among others.

Romualdez thanked his colleagues for the swift but exhaustive deliberations on the measure.

"The House of Representatives has been working really hard--day in and day out--to pass many important pieces of legislation that we all believe will contribute immensely to nation-building. And the NCSTP bill is one of them," he said.

"I congratulate all my colleagues in the lower chamber, even the ones who expressed opposition to the measure, for the resulting bill is one that has undergone rigorous scrutiny. And for that, we accomplish our role here in the Legislature with flying colors," he added.

House Committee on higher and technical education chair Mark Go, sponsor of the measure, said the Civic Welfare and Training Service (CWTS) and Literary Training Service (LTS) components of the National Service Training Program (NSTP) Law shall be integrated in the NCST program.

The NCST program shall equip and organize the youth with necessary, essential, practical and pragmatic knowledge and skills for civic duty, emergency and disaster response and preparedness in the current frameworks of law enforcement, peace and order, territorial defense and national disaster risk reduction and management for mobilization for military and civil services that produces reservists for the National Service Reserve Corps and Armed Forces of the Philippines' Citizen Armed Force (AFP Reserve Force).

The bill also proposes to establish an optional ROTC program for higher education students designed to produce officers for the Citizen Armed Force and Regular Force of the AFP.

The ROTC curriculum shall be designed by the Department of National Defense and CHED and administered by the AFP to train volunteer tertiary education students to be officers of the Regular and Reserve Force of the AFP.

"It shall be designed in such a way that graduates of the four year ROTC Program shall be capable of immediate deployment as commissioned officers of the AFP immediately after graduation from the ROTC even as they continue with their baccalaureate degree program," Go said.

He said the ROTC program of instruction shall include advanced military subjects and courses, practical exercises and filed exercises necessary and appropriate for an entry level officer commission in the AFP.

"In keeping with the changing times it is incumbent upon us to promote the level of discipline, leadership, and patriotic character of every Filipino youth," he said.

He said the bill will promote, propagate, and protect the physical, moral, spiritual, intellectual, and social well-being of the Filipino youth.

"With the passage of this bill, we endeavor to instill among the youth patriotism, love of country, moral and spiritual virtues, respect for human rights and adherence to the Constitution," he said.

PH Army modernization to help safeguard sovereignty

From the Philippine News Agency (Dec 16, 2022): PH Army modernization to help safeguard sovereignty (By Priam Nepomuceno)

PROTECTING THE NATION. Philippine Army (PA) personnel operate the M113A2 armored mortar carriers which are now among the key assets of the newly reactivated 1st Tank Battalion of the Armor Division in this undated photo. The PA on Friday (Dec. 16, 2022) said its ongoing modernization efforts are allowing its units to help the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) in fulfilling its mandate of protecting the nation and the people. (Photo courtesy of the Philippine Army)

MANILA – The Philippine Army's (PA) ongoing modernization efforts are allowing its units to help the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) in fulfilling its mandate of protecting the nation and the people including in safeguarding the country's sovereignty.

"The PA is also continuously modernizing its defense assets and materiel under the second horizon of the Revised AFP Modernization Program. For this year, the organization deployed game-changer assets such as 12 units of 155mm self-propelled howitzers; 15 units of M-113A2 armored mortar carriers; two units of vehicle-mounted mine detectors; two units of armor vehicle launch bridge, unmanned aerial systems, combat radios, and thermal imagers. These new assets will boost the capabilities of ground units as the Army shifts from internal security to territorial defense operations," PA commander Lt. Gen. Romeo Brawner Jr. said in a statement Friday.

These efforts highlight the PA's long-term transformation roadmap, he added.

"Moreover, the command installed 234 very small aperture terminals in remote patrol bases to provide connectivity to troops and outlying communities. To deal with emerging threats, the command activated units such as the 10th Field Artillery Battalion (SP-155), cyber battalion, five installation management battalions, and three infantry battalions. It also reactivated the 1st Tank Battalion which will serve as the mother unit of existing and upcoming tank assets of the PA," he added.

This year, the PA commenced the Army Transformation Roadmap’s third and final base camp wherein it aims to achieve its full potential as a world-class land force by 2028.

Brawner said the PA, with the help of its partners and stakeholders, recently conducted a "strategy refresh" with the end view of becoming a cross-domain capable and multi-mission ready ground force by the year 2040.

"The PA honors the hard work, sacrifice, and selfless service of soldiers in fulfillment of their oath to serve the people and secure the land," he added.

Brawner also assured the public that the PA, the largest and oldest AFP major service, will sustain hard-earned peace in communities as it continues to safeguard the nation's sovereignty.

This new vision is anchored on the PA’s organizational and capability development plans, the AFP modernization initiatives, and the Philippine Development Plan "Ambisyon Natin 2040."

Brawner, meanwhile, said stakeholders are also playing a key role in modernizing and equipping the Army.

He cited for instance the two significant donations received by the Army Aviation Regiment this year -- a Bolkow helicopter from a German company and a Short Sherpa cargo plane from a local corporate donor.

"On the aspect of training, various PA training institutions offered individual and unit trainings to level up soldiers' skills and unit capabilities. The growing number of the Philippine Army's engagements with foreign partners is also a testament to the organization's stature as a sought-after exercise partner. To note, the PA participated in this year's US Army Pacific-led Joint Pacific Multinational Readiness Center Exercise in Hawaii, USA and Exercise Carabaroo with the Australian Army in Darwin, Australia," Brawner said.

He also added the PA headquarters also ensured that much-needed resources are pushed down to all ground units to strengthen their mission accomplishments.

These accomplishments enabled the Army's operating troops, who are part of the joint force, to score key victories against the communist insurgents and local terrorist groups.

"Army troops engaged state enemies in four decisive encounters, 15 major encounters, and 96 minor encounters, resulting in the neutralization of 1,407 communist and local terrorists as well as the capture of 1,484 enemy firearms from January 2022 to December 2022," the PA chief said.

He added the irreversible defeat of communist insurgents is highlighted by the neutralization of their key leaders such as Benito and Wilma Tiamzon in Catbalogan City, Samar in August.

"It is worth noting that the 'whole of nation approach' has bolstered the Army troops’ campaign to end the festering communist insurgency, paving way for the dismantling of guerrilla fronts and the surrender and return to mainstream society of 2,011 rebels during the year," Brawner said.

AFP to showcase modern assets on 87th anniversary

The military would showcase newly-acquired equipment and other platforms in an anniversary program on Monday, ahead of its 87th founding anniversary on Dec. 21.

"The AFP will hold an anniversary program to celebrate its 87th anniversary on December 19 at Lapu-Lapu Grandstand, Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City. With the theme, 'AFP @87: Kaisa ng Buong Sabayanan Tungo sa Mapayapa, Matatag at Maunlad na Pilipinas,' the AFP aims to showcase our transformation and advancement as a military organization through the display of these assets," AFP spokesperson Col. Medel Aguilar said Thursday night.

In preparation for the event, rehearsals are being undertaken which include a series of fly-bys of air assets over Camp Aguinaldo in Quezon City and nearby areas.

Movements of ground assets are also expected as they will be part of the static display and parade and review inside the camp, he added.

"Everyone is invited to join us on this momentous occasion. The anniversary program can be viewed on Monday at 2 p.m. on the RTVM Facebook Page," Aguilar said.

Fallen soldiers honored

On Friday, AFP chief-of-staff Lt. Gen. Bartolome Vicente Bacarro on Friday led a wreath-laying ceremony to honor the soldiers who made the ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at the Libingan ng Mga Bayani in Taguig City and all major military camps nationwide.

At the AFP general headquarters in Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City, the ceremony was headed by AFP vice chief-of-staff Maj. Gen. Arthur Cordura.

In his speech, Bacarro recalled the stories of every AFP soldier's struggle and triumph.

He cited past wars and major battles, including the Zamboanga siege and the battle for Marawi, where Filipino soldiers proved their bravery.

"This annual wreath-laying demonstrates our commitment to honoring the departed troops' dedication, perseverance, and valuable services," Bacarro said.

"Let us render our snappiest salute to our heroes for their unrivaled sacrifices for the country. They have given us the gift of peace and freedom borne out of their sacrifices; may we never forget the names and deeds of our heroes, whom we honor today," he added.

136 new second lieutenants sent to field units

From the Philippine News Agency (Dec 16, 2022): 136 new second lieutenants sent to field units (By Priam Nepomuceno)

Philippine Army chief Lt. Gen. Romeo Brawner Jr. (Photo courtesy of Philippine Army)

MANILA – The Philippine Army (PA) on Thursday announced the deployment of 136 newly-commissioned second lieutenants to their first unit assignments last Dec. 13.

During the send-off ceremonies at the PA headquarters in Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City, PA chief, Lt. Gen. Romeo Brawner Jr., encouraged the new lieutenants to always stay focused on their tasks and jobs and to further develop the bond that they have already established.

"As you grow in the service in your respective fields, remember to always be professional. It doesn't matter which unit you belong to, what matters is that you give your best. Always strive for excellence, and always give it up to the Lord," Brawner said.

The new second lieutenants came from Philippine Military Academy Class 2022, Officer Candidate Course (OCC)-ROTC Class 02-2022, Foreign Service Academies, and remaining OCC Classes.

This deployment means that these new officers will formally start their military career or journey.

Meanwhile, the PA welcomed and honored 21 graduates of OCC-ROTC Class 02-2022 and 188 from OCC Class 57-2022 for successfully completing their 37 weeks of training at the Philippine Army Officer Candidate School, Camp O'Donnel, Capas, Tarlac last Dec. 14.

"Dear new officers of the PA, I am glad you chose this path. I understand you all have the qualifications to succeed in your chosen fields as teachers, researchers, architects, engineers, accountants, computer programmers, and even as medical doctors or lawyers, yet you readily relinquished the comforts of civilian life for an exciting life in the profession of arms. You have proven yourselves deserving to be called young leaders of the Philippine Army," Defense officer-in-charge Undersecretary Jose Faustino Jr. said to the newly graduated officers.

Brawner, who was also present, awarded the Commanding General Philippine Army Saber to the top three graduates in both of the classes.

Security ops in Negros to continue during holidays: PH Army

From the Philippine News Agency (Dec 15, 2022): Security ops in Negros to continue during holidays: PH Army (By Nanette Guadalquiver)

PNA file photo

BACOLOD CITY – The Philippine Army in Negros Island will sustain security operations during the holidays but hopes that more communist rebels will surrender so they can celebrate the season with their families.

"There is no advice for SOMO (suspension of offensive military operations). We will continue our regular security operations," Brig. Gen. Inocencio Pasaporte, commander of 303rd Infantry Brigade (IBde) based in Murcia, Negros Occidental, told reporters here on Thursday.

Pasaporte urged members of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People's Army (CPP-NPA) to take the Christmas season as an opportunity to return to the fold of the law.

“My invitation to them is to go back to their families and abandon the armed struggle. In Negros, the people no longer support them,” he added.

Pasaporte said the communist rebels in Negros no longer stay in one place, but troops of the 303IBde will continue to pursue them to ensure there will be no atrocities during the holidays, particularly on Dec. 26, the 54th founding anniversary of the CPP.

"Before, when they celebrate they mount attacks, but now it seems they cannot do that since they are always on the run because of the continuous operations of our units," he added.

In the past two months, the NPA Komiteng Rehiyon-Negros suffered major blows after two of their top leaders were killed in separate encounters with government troops in central Negros.

On Oct. 10, Romeo Nanta, also known as “Juanito Magbanua”, the commanding officer of the Regional Operational Command of the NPA’s Komiteng Rehiyon-Negros, and spokesperson of the Apolinario Gatmaitan Command, died in Sitio Medel, Barangay Carabalan, Himamaylan City.

The body of Ericson Acosta, the NPA's first deputy secretary for Komiteng Rehiyon-Negros, Cebu, Bohol and Siquijor and head of the Political Unified Committee in the Visayas, was found after a clash with soldiers in Sitio Makilo, Barangay Camansi, Kabankalan City early morning of Nov. 30.

PH, Indonesia to enhance border control with more sea patrols

From the Philippine News Agency (Dec 16, 2022): PH, Indonesia to enhance border control with more sea patrols (By Che Palicte)

BORDER TIES. Lt. Gen. Greg Almerol (sitting left), commander of Eastern Mindanao Command (Eastmincom) and chairperson of the Philippine Border Committee, and Rear Admiral Dr. TSNB Hutabarat MMS (sitting right), head of the Indonesian Navy's 2nd Fleet Command and Indonesian Border Committee (IDBC), issue a joint statement in Davao City Friday (Dec. 16, 2022). Both officials emphasized the need for more sea border patrols in 2023 to enhance security in the maritime borders of both countries. (PNA photo by Robinson Niñal Jr.)

DAVAO CITY – The Philippine Border Committee (PHBC) and Indonesian Border Committee (IDBC) are eyeing for more sea patrols in the south next year to boost border control.

The move forms part of the 12-point agenda being proposed by both governments, according to Lt. Gen. Greg Almerol, the Eastern Mindanao Command (Eastmincom) commander, and Rear Admiral Dr. TSNB Hutabarat MMS, commander of the Indonesian Navy's 2nd Fleet Command and IDBC chairperson, in a joint statement Friday.

This came about as the PHBC and IDBC concluded on Dec. 14 the Coordinated Patrol Philippines-Indonesia (CORPAT PHIL-INDO) activity here.

"Expect that we will increase the frequency of conducting patrols to once a month to do our part, especially in cases of shipwreck due to calamities and typhoons, and to address the concerns of our fishermen who are in those areas," said Almerol, who is also the PHBC chairperson.

CORPAT PHIL-INDO is a joint patrol between the Indonesian Navy and the Philippine Navy, to enhance interoperability and secure the maritime borders of both countries against piracy, illegal crossing, and other criminal activities.

Almerol underscored the importance for the Philippines and Indonesia to adopt new strategies that will boost the coordinated patrol's effectiveness.

This year, the series of CORPAT exercises began on March 28-30, followed by the 2nd Leg on July 05-11 with an opening ceremony in Manado City, Indonesia; the 3rd Leg in the last week of October, and the 4th Leg from Dec. 11-16 with the closing ceremony here.

The 4th Leg's Sea Phase, held on Dec. 11-13, was joined by the BRP Artemio Ricarte PS-37 from the Philippine Navy and KRI HUI-634 from the Indonesian Navy, completing several maritime security patrols and exercises with a total steaming time of 47 hours and 51 minutes covering 515.2 nautical miles.

Some of the CORPAT's significant accomplishments this year include the repatriation of 14 Filipinos from Indonesia back to their families on July 11 and the return of seven Filipino fishermen to the country on Nov. 22 after they were rescued by a Japanese vessel when their boat capsized near the Philippines-Indonesia border.

"The coordinated patrol exercise needs to adopt, together with our counterparts, a new strategy on enhancing the interoperability between our forces and make the same more responsive and effective operationally for a safer and more secure maritime environment," Almerol said.

Meanwhile, Hutabarat expressed his gratitude to all the members of the Philippines-Indonesia Border Committees for their cooperation and professionalism that made the CORPAT PHIL-INDO successful.

"We hope this cooperation becomes stronger and develops a necessary means of our security and friendship for years to come," he said.