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3 NPA terrorists killed in Mindoro encounter

by Marje Pelayo   |   Posted on Friday, June 14th, 2019

Courtesy: (2DPAO, 2ID, PA)

RIZAL, Philippines — Three members of the New People’s Army (NPA) terrorist group were killed in an encounter with the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) in the town of Mansalay in Oriental Mindoro province.

The encounter took place on Thursday afternoon (June 13) and lasted for almost two hours.

According to BGen. Marceliano Teofilo, the commander of the 203rd Infantry Brigade which has operational jurisdiction over Mindoro Province, they received information from concerned citizen that the NPA terrorists in the area will conduct training to their newly recruited members of which some were believed to be minors.

“This prompted us to conduct Focused Military Operation (FMO) and our troops were able to locate their whereabouts, and fire fight broke,” Teofilo said.

The military also recovered three M16 rifles; one AK-47; one cal.45 with 2 magazines; one grenade launcher tube; two improvised explosive devices (IED) and switch; three blasting caps; two cellphones; and assorted kinds of ammunitions at the encounter site.

According to the report, one soldier from the Army’s 4IB was slightly wounded in the left ear but is now in safe condition.

Lt.Col. Alexander Arbolado, Battalion Commander of the 4IB said they already dispatched additional troops and K9 units to track the whereabouts of the retreating rebels.

“We will not let them go until they are totally destroyed,” he said.

BGen. Teofilo calls on the NPA rebels to surrender or else “suffer the fate of their comrades” as the military will not stop in pursuing them.

Meanwhile, Army’s 2nd Infantry Division spokesperson Capt. Patrick Jay Retumban said “the intel community is now validating the reports that an NPA Commander was slain during the encounter”.

If it’s true, BGen. Teofilo said it would be a major blow to the NPA rebel unit in Mindoro.

“Their days are numbered and in just a matter of time the NPA here will be on the verge of collapse due to their numerous setbacks in armed encounters and snowballing of surrenderees,” he noted.

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Duterte vows to strengthen military, police to prepare for ‘dangerous times ahead’

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Wednesday, July 10th, 2019

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte attends the 115th Police Service Anniversary at the Philippine National Police (PNP) headquarters in Quezon city, metro Manila, Philippines August 17, 2016. REUTERS/Noel Celis/Pool

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday vowed to continue working on strengthening the country’s military and police forces to better prepare them for what he says are dangerous times ahead.

In a speech during the appreciation dinner for former President and House Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo at the Manila Hotel on Tuesday night, Duterte said he would like to leave behind a strong Armed Forces and police when he completes his term in 2022.

Duterte said he should be prepared because of the incoming peril he senses.

“I see very dangerous times ahead. And I hope that we will be able to contain whatever there is,” he said.

“Lumalabas nga ‘yung pawis sa kamay ko just thinking about if it would go awry outside of Sulu and Basilan Islands,” he added.

The president further stated that while he has acquired the necessary military weapons to fight terrorism, he also expressed hope that Congress would make a move to further strengthen the country’s line of defense.

“We have acquired so many armaments. And there were things, kakaunti na lang, which I hope that Congress would tide us over to complete the instruments that we need in dealing, especially with terrorism,” he said.

Duterte also hopes that by the time he steps down from office, the country’s troops will be supplied with new weapons and tools to deal with terrorism because he is not sure if the next president will be able to do it.

“I hope that by the time I make my exit, nandiyan na lahat ‘yan because I am not belittling the events to come or the person coming in to be the next president. Hindi ko alam kung sino,” he said.

“And I’d rather that I leave with a strong military and police and equipped to challenge the enemies of the state, especially terrorism,” he added.

On Monday night, the president met with military officials but the Malacañang has yet to release any detail on what was discussed during the said meeting.

This follows the June 28 twin blasts in Indanan town in Sulu, which killed eight people including three soldiers, and injured 12 others.

Authorities earlier confirmed that one of two suicide bombers behind the Indanan explosions was a Filipino.

The Philippine National Police Regional Crime Lab Office 11 reported that examination on reference DNA samples taken from Vilman Alam Lasuca and Alhussin Alam Lasuca concluded there is a 99.99% percentage probability match.

Vilman and Alhussin Lasuca are claimant mother and brother of one of the suspected bombers.

 “Hence, it can be concluded that one of the alleged suicide bombers is the son of Vilman Alam Lasuca,” RCLO 11 said in a laboratory report.

The identification of the second suspected bomber, on the other hand, is still underway as authorities are still collecting DNA samples to establish match on its identity, authorities said. (with details from Rosalie Coz)

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AFP: No sightings of anti-ship ballistic missile test in West PH Sea

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Friday, July 5th, 2019

A Filipino soldier patrols at the shore of Pagasa island (Thitu Island) in the Spratly group of islands in the South China Sea, west of Palawan, Philippines, May 11, 2015. REUTERS/RITCHIE B. TONGO/POOL

MANILA, Philippines – The Western Command (WESCOM) of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) said there is no monitored sighting of an anti-ship ballistic test in the West Philippine Sea, following reports of a missile launch by China in the area.

“Based on the report of our operating units, particularly the Joint Task Force West, there is no monitored sighting of anti-ship ballistic missile test conducted in our joint area of operations,” the AFP said in a statement dated July 3.

The military assured it is regularly conducting maritime patrol missions in the Philippine-held island detachments, especially in the West Philippine Sea.

“WESCOM is continuously monitoring our area of responsibility especially in the West Philippine Sea and conducts regular maritime and sovereignty patrol missions incessantly to sustain our presence in the 9 PH-held island detachments,” the AFP said.   

The military issued the statement after Pentagon reported about China’s “disturbing” missile launch near the Spratly (Kalayaan) islands that is contrary to Beijing’s pledge in 2015 not to militarize the man-made outposts in the disputed waterway.

The Philippine Department of National Defense earlier said an inquiry into the said reports will be conducted.

“We will decide later what to do if proven correct,” Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said in a message sent to reporters.  

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Military says Duterte ‘coup’ comment just random remark

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Wednesday, July 3rd, 2019

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte delivers his speech during the 72nd Philippine Air Force Anniversary at the Col. Jesus Villamor Air Base in Pasay City on July 2, 2019. VALERIE ESCALERA/PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte’s appeal for the military and police not to stage a coup d’etat during his term was just a random remark, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) said on Wednesday (July 3).

“That was a random remark on the part of the President and Commander-in-Chief, in so far as the AFP is concerned,” AFP spokesperson, Marine Brigadier General Edgard Arevalo said in a message sent to reporters.

In a speech at the 72nd Founding anniversary of the Philippine Air Force in Pasay City, Duterte said that staging a coup is not necessary as he is willing to step down from office is asked to.

He added that Soldiers and policemen who no longer find him deserving to lead the country could simply call and talk to him over a cup of coffee.

“Do not do it please during my term. I told you before all you have to do kung ayaw ninyo ako, do not bring your weapons and mechanized armors there. Just call me and we’ll have coffee and I am ready to say, “It’s yours for the taking,” Duterte said on Tuesday.

According to Arevalo, there is nothing new in the chief executive’s comment on coup d’etat as he already mentioned it when he first met with the AFP and the Philippine National Police upon assumption of office.

“As early as the first joint AFP-PNP Command Conference that he presided upon his assumption of office and in several other instances after that, he has conveyed that same message to the security forces,” Arevalo said.

“He says, in essence, forget about mounting a military take-over that would lead to violence, death, and destruction. If anyone among the military (or the police) thinks he or she can better run the country, just tell him (the president) and he will step down,” he added.

Arevalo further said the AFP, led by its chief, General Benjamin Madrigal Jr., is an institution comprised of professional and matured servicemen and women who are patriots and loyal to the constitution and the duly constituted authorities.

“We have learned our lessons from the past and we shall live by it,” he said.

Arevalo also added that the reforms implemented in the AFP, including its modernization the increase in pay, allowances, and benefits like housing, have helped them best perform the mandate.

“We were given more than what we can ask for from a president and commander-in-chief who has shown genuine care and concern to his soldiers, airmen, sailors, and marines,” he said.

Arevalo also assured that the military will always remain loyal to the Flag, the Constitution and the Filipino people.

“we have, time and again assured him, as we reassure him today, that we in the AFP shall constantly and will remain loyal to the flag, to the constitution, and to the Filipino people whom we swore to protect with our lives,” he said. (with details from Lea Ylagan and Rosalie Coz)

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