AFP modernization, reporma para sa kapayapaan at seguridad kabilang sa mga legacy ng administrasyong Duterte – DND

Robie de Guzman   •   July 21, 2021   •   150

MANILA, Philippines – Ang modernisasyon at pagpapalakas sa kapasidad ng Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) ang isa umano sa mga maituturing na pinakamalaking pamana ng administrasyong Duterte.

Ayon kay Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, maraming nabiling military assets sa ilalim ng pamumuno ni Pangulong Rodrigo Duterte.

Kabilang aniya rito ang dalawang missile capable frigates, anim na close air support aircrafts, at 16 na combat utility helicopters.

“The biggest accomplishment or legacy that will be left by President Duterte in the defense department is procurement of military assets. We had a lot of assets procured during his time,” ang wika ni Lorenzana sa pre-SONA forum na ginanap sa Camp Aguinaldo noong Miyerkules, Hulyo 21.

Ayon sa kalihim, ginagamit na ang mga biniling military asset sa air at sea patrol operations ng bansa upang masugpo ang mga iligal na gawain gaya ng smuggling at kidnapping na kadalasan noong napapaulat sa Mindanao.

Mula sa labing-anim na insidente ng pagdukot sa karagatan noong 2016 ay bumaba umano ito sa isa noong 2020, sa tulong na rin ng pakikipag-ugnayan ng pamahalaan sa ibang bansa.

“Naging mabunga rin ang ugnayan at pakikipagtulungan natin sa iba’t-ibang bansa sa loob at labas ng rehiyon. Dahil sa trilateral cooperative arrangement natin sa Indonesia at Malaysia mabilis nating napababa ang mga insidente ng kidnapping at iba pang krimen sa karagatan ng Sulu,” ani Lorenzana.

Pagdating naman sa kampanya ng pamahalaan laban sa mga rebeldeng komunista, sinabi ni National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon na 84 porsiyento ng mga lokal na pamahalaan sa bansa ang nagdeklara sa Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) bilang persona non grata.

Aabot naman sa 2,965 communist terrorists ang napatay sa mga engkwentro kung saan 80 rito ay matataas na opisyal umano ng grupo.

Nalansag rin ang nasa 24 Guerilla fronts sa bansa at nabawasan ang mga miyembro ng mga komunista matapos sumuko o mahuli ng mga otoridad.

“As part of our reintegration program former rebels are given a comprehensive package, benefits and assistance,” ani Esperon.

Dahil dito, naniniwala si Lorenzana na hindi na magiging malaki ang banta ng CPP-NPA sa mga susunod na panahon.

Samantala, pagdating naman sa takbo ng justice system sa bansa, inihayag ni Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra natumaas ng 49.46 percent ang conviction rate o nadesisyunang mga kaso sa bansa nitong nakaraang taon.

Mas mataas ito kaysa 20.40 percent noong 2016 at 41.74 noong 2018.

Samantala, ang backlog ng mga kaso na nakarating sa DOJ National Prosecution Service ay bumaba ng 29.5 percent nitong 2020 mula sa 49.80 percent noong 2016.

Kabilang ngayon sa hamon sa DOJ ay ang pag-review sa nasa 6,000 drug cases sa bansa

“And if time will permit, we will also take a look at the more than 6,000 cases which are also investigated by the PNP-IAS but the respondents were exonerated for insufficiency of evidence. Itong naunang 52 cases may finding ng administrative liability ang PNP Internal Affairs Service, so ‘yon ang uunahin namin dahil may nakita na sila dun,” ani Guevarra.

Sa huli, naniniwala ang security, justice at peace cluster ng pamahalaan na pasado ang pangulo sa kanyang mga hakbang sa pagtugon sa mga usapin sa mga nasabing sektor. – RRD (mula sa ulat ni Correspondent Dante Amento)

US Defense chief Austin to meet with Duterte on July 29 – Palace

Robie de Guzman   •   July 29, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte is set to meet with United States Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin III at Malacañang on Thursday, July 29.

In a statement, the Palace said Austin will pay a courtesy call on Duterte upon his arrival in the Philippines.

Austin is on an official visit to Southeast Asia that includes stops in Singapore, Vietnam, and the Philippines. The visit aims to bolster the US’ ties with the said nations.

He will stay in Manila until Friday.

The US Defense chief’s visit highlights the 75th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the Philippines and the United States and the 70th anniversary of the signing of the PH-US Mutual Defense Treaty, the Palace said.

Executive Secretary Salvador Mediadea, Secretary of Foreign Affairs Teodoro Locsin Jr., Secretary of National Defense Delfin Lorenzana, Philippine Ambassador to the United States Jose Manuel Romualdez, and Presidential Assistant on Foreign Affairs Robert Borje are expected to attend the courtesy call, it added.

Palace welcomes Robredo initiatives in fight vs COVID-19

Robie de Guzman   •   July 28, 2021

Vice President Leni Robredo

MANILA, Philippines – Malacañang on Wednesday agreed with Vice President Leni Robredo’s recent remark on the need to prioritize the response to the COVID-19 crisis as it welcomed the latter’s efforts in the fight against the pandemic.

In a statement, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said the Palace appreciates Robredo’s initiatives to ensure success in combating COVID-19.

“We welcome the initiatives of the Vice President in the fight against COVID-19 which she enumerated in her Ulat sa Bayan and we are in no way diminishing her efforts in this trying time,” he said.

“Any contribution, including policy recommendations from the political opposition, to ensure the successful fight against the pandemic, is much appreciated,” he added.

Robredo earlier said that the response to the pandemic and its effects should be the priority and that it should be mirrored in the budget allocation, meeting agenda and other government efforts to raise vaccine confidence.

She also suggested for the government to offer incentives to those who are hesitant to take the COVID-19 vaccine instead of threatening to apprehend them.

Malacañang also agreed with Robredo’s message that it is the Filipinos who helped and came to the rescue of fellow Filipinos amid the pandemic.

Roque said that in fact, President Rodrigo Duterte paid tribute to all frontline workers during his final State of the Nation Address on Monday.

“We reiterate: Now is the time to focus on COVID-19 and help the national government in achieving population protection; so together, we will recover and have a happy Christmas and a better future for all Filipinos,” he added.

Palace assures public nothing to worry about Duterte’s health condition

Robie de Guzman   •   July 27, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – Malacañang on Tuesday assured that President Rodrigo Duterte is in good condition and that there is nothing to worry about his health.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque gave the assurance following concerns about the president’s health after he nearly lost his balance on his way to the podium to deliver his sixth and final State of the Nation Address (SONA) on Monday.

The president seemed to have slipped while he was walking towards the House session hall but Roque said the 76-year old chief executive has no “extraordinary problem.”

Duterte, at one point during his speech, stuttered and said he could not pronounce some words correctly and joked about catching COVID-19. He also remarked if there was an ambulance on standby.

He also appeared to be catching his breath, and said that he might just die there.

This is not the first time that rumors about the president’s health have surfaced. Some even claimed about Duterte suffering a mild stroke when he was out of the public eye for several days in April 2021.

But the Palace has repeatedly dismissed these claims and said that Duterte remains “fit and healthy” and continues to discharge his functions as the head of the government. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Rosalie Coz)

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