6 Abu Sayyaf members nabbed in separate NBI operations

Maris Federez   •   June 11, 2019   •   2076

The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) presented to the media on Tuesday (June 11) six alleged members of the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) who were arrested in separate operations last month.

The NBI said that the six were arrested in Taguig City, Balanga City in Bataan, and Zamboanga City on May 16 and 20.

NBI spokesperson Ferdinand Lavin said, “the six arrested were involved in various terrorist activities, ranging from ambush, kidnap for ransom, bombing in Southern Philippines, and recruitment of other members.”

He added that the arrest stemmed from the intelligence reports that they gathered and have led them to the whereabouts of Azmier Maalum in Taguig City.

The joint operations of the NBI, the Philippine Navy (PN) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) had led to the arrest of Maalum, along with Amar Assan, Musa Tahil Sampang, Jamil Ibrahim, Yong Aming, and Majuk Tahil Amil.

Maalum has several warrants of arrest for eight counts of kidnapping and serious illegal detention of Golden Harvest plantation workers in Basilan in 2001, while Sampang was involved in several bombing incidents also in Basilan.

The NBI said the six had been recruiting members in Metro Manila. (with reports from April Cenedoza) /mbmf

Lorenzana wants to deploy new PH Navy ship to Sulu, Palawan seas

Robie de Guzman   •   August 21, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – If Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana had his way, the country’s newly-acquired vessel BRP Conrado Yap will be deployed to Palawan and Sulu seas.

Lorenzana said this on Tuesday on the sidelines of the welcome ceremony for the BRP Conrado Yap, a Pohang-class corvette donated by South Korea, at the Manila South Harbor.

“Kung ako, baka siguro sa Palawan and the Sulu seas,” he said. “It depends on the Navy how soon they can bring that to the south,” he added.

The BRP Conrado Yap arrived in the Philippines several weeks after it was handed over by South Korea during a ceremony at Jinhae Naval Base on August 5. The corvette was used by South Korea from 1987 to 2016 as Republic of Korea Navy ship Chungju (PCC-762).

READ: PH welcomes newly-acquired warship BRP Conrado Yap

The 32-year old warship is regarded as the Philippine Navy’s “most powerful ship” to date because of its torpedo launchers and sonars that are capable of detecting submarine and other potential underwater threats.

The Philippine Navy believes the addition of the heavily armed vessel will provide significant boost to its capability in patrolling and safeguarding the country’s territorial limits.

It will also serve as transition platform in empowering and upgrading Filipino sailors’ knowledge and skills in handling such high-level and advanced equipment/vessel especially with the impending delivery of modern frigates in the next two years, the Philippine Navy added.

The acquisition of the vessel follows the concern raised by the Philippine Military on the series of uncoordinated passage of Chinese warships within the country’s waters, including the Tawi-Tawi’s Sibutu Strait near the Sulu Sea and Palawan.

A diplomatic protest has been filed by Manila on the incursion of Beijing’s vessels.

On Tuesday, President Rodrigo Duterte also issued a directive requiring all foreign vessels to secure a clearance when passing the Philippine waters. (RRD with details from correspondent Joan Nano)

PH welcomes newly-acquired warship BRP Conrado Yap

Robie de Guzman   •   August 21, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine Navy welcomed the arrival of its newly-acquired warship, the Pohang-class corvette BRP Conrado Yap (PS39), with an official ceremony at the Manila South Harbor on Tuesday.

The warship, commissioned from South Korea, was named after a Filipino soldier who served in the Korean war as part of the Philippine Expeditionary Forces to Korea. Yap, a Philippine Army captain, was considered as the most decorated Filipino soldier during the Korean war.

The 32-year old BRP Conrado Yap is regarded as the Philippine Navy’s “most powerful ship” to date because of its torpedo launchers and sonars that are capable of detecting submarine and other potential underwater threats.

“Dati surface lang iyong limitations natin with the underwater capability of BRP Conrado Yap PS39. We’ll be able to see, to detect submarines and other potential threats that we cannot see,” said Captain Marco Buena, who commanded the ship’s maiden crew.

The Philippine Navy believes the addition of the heavily armed vessel will provide significant boost to its capability in patrolling and safeguarding the country’s territorial limits.

It will also serve as transition platform in empowering and upgrading Filipino sailors’ knowledge and skills in handling such high-level and advanced equipment/vessel especially with the impending delivery of modern frigates in the next two years, the Philippine Navy added.

The ship will partner with the new AgustaWestland 159 helicopters which are also capable of anti-submarine detection.

The corvette was used by South Korea from 1987 to 2016 as Republic of Korea Navy ship Chungju (PCC-762).

It was turned over to the Philippine Navy during a commissioning ceremony held at Jinhae Naval Base in South Korea on August 5.

READ: PH Navy receives, commissions ex-South Korean warship

It set sail towards the Philippines on August 12, escorted by the BRP Davao del Sur (LD602).

While on the way to Manila, the two vessels conducted naval maneuvers and other trainings.

The ships were also shadowed by a Chinese naval vessel, which according to Captain Richard Gonzaga, Commander of Naval Task Group 80.5, was a non-hostile encounter and just a part of a protocol when passing China’s waters.

“‘Yung shadow is dahil nabigyan naman tayo ng abiso dadaan doon. Ang pag-shadow lang ng Chinese vessels, nagtanong lang sila kung kailangan ng assistance or anything which is common naman sa lahat ng navy. Pag sila naman ang dumadaan dito, sinasabi rin natin kung ano iyon…kasi sa atin is always safety iyon,” Gonzaga said.

The Philippines’ acquisition of the corvette was amid tension in the West Philippine Sea and reported incursions of Chinese warships in Sibutu Strait in Tawi-Tawi in the previous months. (RRD with details from correspondent Joan Nano)

PH Navy receives, commissions ex-South Korean warship

Robie de Guzman   •   August 6, 2019

Courtesy: Philippine Navy Facebook page

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine Navy has formally commissioned into active service BRP Conrado Yap (PS39), a former Pohang-class corvette from South Korea.

In a statement, the Philippine Navy said the warship was handed over during a commissioning ceremony held at Jinhae Naval Base in South Korea on Monday (August 5).

National Defense Assistant Secretary Jesus Rey Avilla witnessed the transfer and signed its documents with his South Korean counterpart, Logistics Management Administrator Kim Soo Sam.

The Republic of Korea Navy ship Chungju (PCC-762) was used by South Korea from 1987 to 2016.

It was given the namesake BRP Conrado Yap upon Philippine Navy commission in an aim to uphold the legacy of a Filipino soldier who served in the Korean war as part of the Philippine Expeditionary Forces to Korea. Yap, a Philippine Army captain, was considered as the most decorated Filipino soldier during the Korean war.

During the ceremony, Philippine Navy Flag Officer in Command Vice Adm. Robert Empedrad assured to take care of the ship and “will always be in shipshape condition and shall defend our country’s maritime waters with same valor as displayed by our hero Capt. Conrado Yap 68 years ago.”

The BRP Conrado Yap, which is set to sail to the Philippines this month, will be commanded by Capt. Marco Buena.

The ship is expected to beef up the Navy’s frontline defense and enhance the fleet’s Anti-Air Warfare (AAW), Anti-Surface Warfare (ASUW), Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) capabilities.

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