Monday, August 21, 2023

PH, Aussie forces conduct air assault exercise in Palawan

From the Philippine News Agency (Aug 21, 2023): PH, Aussie forces conduct air assault exercise in Palawan (By Priam Nepomuceno)

AIR ASSAULT EXERCISE. A USMC MV-22 "Osprey" tilt-rotor aircraft in Clark Air Base, Pampanga during the 2013 iteration of the annual "Balikatan" exercises between the Philippines and United States. This type of aircraft was among those used in the air assault exercise conducted by Filipino and Australian units in Palawan on Monday (Aug. 21, 2023). (PNA file photo by Priam F. Nepomuceno)

MANILA – Filipino and Australian forces on Monday conducted an air assault exercise at Punta Baja in Rizal, Palawan as the first major training serial for "Exercise Alon" being carried out by the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Australian Defense Force (ADF) from Aug. 14 to 31.

"This marked the first major training serial as part of the bilateral cooperation between the AFP and the ADF as part of the latter’s Indo-Pacific Endeavour (IPE) activities for 2023," AFP public affairs office chief Lt. Col. Enrico Gil Ileto said in a statement.

This involved coordinated air, land and sea actions to simulate realistic combat scenarios, enhancing the forces’ preparedness and operational readiness.

Ileto said the Palawan air assault exercise involved insertion of ground combat elements via MV-22B "Osprey" tilt-rotor aircraft from Marine Rotational Force – Darwin (MRF-D), launched from the Royal Australian Navy's landing helicopter dock, HMAS Canberra (LO2), to the Punta Baja Airfield last Aug. 20.

The helicopter assault force established a link with the 3rd Marine Brigade to secure the Punta Baja Airfield, and set-up a forward arming and refueling point.

"On August 21, 2023, a joint raid was conducted at Tarumpitao Airfield by the combined forces of the AFP, ADF and USMC (United States Marine Corps) with close air support provided by Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) F-35A 'Lightning II' aircraft," Ileto said.

Meanwhile, exfiltration will take place on Aug. 22 and will have the force departing from Tarampitao Airfield via MV-22B and returning aboard the HMAS Canberra.

The exercise involved 175 troops from the AFP and two platoons from the ADF, with support from the USMC, as well as a Philippine Marine Corps ground-based security force along with HMAS Canberra and frigate HMAS Anzac (FFH-150) and air support by USMC MV-22B, and RAAF aircraft.

IPE23 serves as Australia’s flagship international engagement activity in the Southeast Asian and Indian Ocean regions.

It aims to promote security, stability and stronger partnerships through bilateral and multilateral engagement, training, capacity building and humanitarian efforts.

"Exercise Alon 2023" marks the first bilateral amphibious exercise between Australia and the Philippines, aimed at enhancing interoperability and enabling the forces to share tactics, techniques, procedures and best practices in the conduct of amphibious operations.

Rebel’s remains recovered in Agusan Sur

From the Philippine News Agency (Aug 20, 2023): Rebel’s remains recovered in Agusan Sur (By Alexander Lopez)

RECOVERED. The troops of the 75th Infantry Battalion recovered various war materiel after an encounter with New People’s Army (NPA) insurgents in a hinterland barangay of Prosperidad town in Agusan del Sur on Friday (Aug. 18, 2023). A cadaver of an NPA combatant was also recovered near the encounter site the following day. (Photo courtesy of 401Bde)

BUTUAN CITY – The troops of the 75th Infantry Battalion (75IB) of the Army recovered on Saturday afternoon a cadaver of a New People’s Army (NPA) rebel in the hinterland Barangay Laperian, Prosperidad town in Agusan del Sur.

The recovery took place a day after the 75IB troopers engaged around 30 NPA insurgents in a 15-minute encounter.

“One day after the encounter, or on Saturday, the barangay officials of Laperian reported the discovery of the body,” the 401st Infantry Brigade said in a statement Sunday.

Government troops are now working to identify the recovered cadaver so they can turn it over to the family.

The recent encounter happened after concerned civilians reported the presence of NPA rebels who were conducting extortion activities.

Troopers recovered one M16 Bushmaster rifle, one grenade, one rifle grenade, four pieces of 40mm high explosive live ammunition, one set of anti-personnel mine, 15 meters of detonating cord, 22 long and one short 5.56mm magazines, 58 pieces of cal. 30 ammunition, 200 pieces of 5.56 ammunition, three bandoliers, eight backpacks, three analog cellular phones, one USB (Universal Serial Bus), various medical and dental paraphernalia and subversive documents with high intelligence value.

In a separate statement, the Army’s 65th Infantry Battalion reported the recovery of several war materials on Friday in remote Barangay Kolambugan, Sibagat, Agusan del Sur.

The recovered items include one 2.5 horsepower generator set, 15 rounds of 5.56mm ammunition for the M16A1 rifle, 30 rounds of ammo for the AK47 rifle, 15 rounds of ammo for 50 caliber machineguns, two magazines for M16A1 rifles, one magazine for AK47, 125 pieces blasting caps, a 150-meter of detonating cord, 20 kilograms of explosive materials and various subversive documents.

Viscom chief: Support leaders who shun violence, fear

From the Philippine News Agency (Aug 21, 2023): Viscom chief: Support leaders who shun violence, fear (By John Rey Saavedra)\

(PNA file photo)

CEBU CITY – The commander of the Visayas Command (Viscom) on Monday appealed to voters in the upcoming Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan Elections (BSKE) to opt for village leaders who do not promote violence and fear in the community.

“The opportunity to make a difference and live a prosperous life in the years to come lies in the (voters’) hands. They should choose leaders who are advocates of peace, unity, and development and not those who propagate violence and sow terror and fear, especially those who have links with the CPP-NPA,” Lt. Gen. Benedict Arevalo said in a statement as they are now in the final phase of preparation for the BSKE on Oct. 30.

The planning and preparations for the upcoming polls began in March this year, he said, adding that the military conducted threat assessment and validation in relation to the political exercise.

Viscom has already made recommendations to the Commission on Elections (Comelec) for the watchlist areas and security deployment, Arevalo said.

“Even our internal security operations have been intensified to prevent private armed groups and the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army from sowing terror and fear,” he said.

Lt. Col. Israel Galorio, Viscom’s public information officer, said the soldiers who will be deployed on election day conducted a simulation exercise at a mall here on Saturday.

Supervised by the Comelec and joined by the soldiers from the 53rd Engineer Brigade and Joint Task Group Cebu, the activity simulated the security deployment with personnel from the Police Security and Protection Group, City Police Office and Philippine Coast Guard.

“The electorate is assured of Viscom’s continuous preparations to ensure uninterrupted flow of communication and coordination among agencies to synchronicity and coordination for the peaceful and orderly barangay and SK elections,” Galorio told the Philippine News Agency.

NPA eyed in murder of village intel asset in Negros town

From the Philippine News Agency (Aug 21, 2023): NPA eyed in murder of village intel asset in Negros town (By Mary Judaline Partlow)

RETRIEVAL OPERATION. Rescuers retrieved the body of a farmer in a far-flung barangay about 45 kilometers from the town proper of La Libertad, Negros Oriental on Monday (Aug. 21, 2023). The victim was shot twice in the head allegedly by members of the New People's Army, police investigators said. (Photo courtesy of the Negros Oriental Police Provincial Office)

DUMAGUETE CITY – Police investigators are eyeing the New People’s Army (NPA) as allegedly behind the killing of a barangay intelligence network (BIN) member in a remote sub-village in Barangay Aya, La Libertad town, Negros Oriental early Monday.

An initial report from the Negros Oriental Police Provincial Office identified the victim as Julibe Sanoy, married, and a resident of Sitio Manghuya in Barangay Aya, the farthest hinterland village of La Libertad.

Early investigation showed that unidentified heavily armed men shot the victim in the head twice inside his residence in Sitio Manghuya around 6:30 a.m.

Barangay Aya chairperson Elvin P. Gomez reported the shooting incident to the police.

Police Senior Master Sergeant Jared Oclinaria, La Libertad police station case investigator, talking in Cebuano told the Philippine News Agency (PNA) that members of the town’s Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office proceeded to the area to retrieve the body of the victim "as we could not take any risks of a possible ambush such as what happened to police personnel in Negros Occidental recently."

They recovered some empty shells and slugs of caliber .45 from the site, he added.

Oclinaria said they are still validating information that the perpetrators, about 10 men, were allegedly NPA members.

No motive for the shooting was also available as of posting time.

Sitio Manghuya is about 45 kilometers from the La Libertad town proper and is already at the boundary of Binalbagan, Negros Occidental.