AFP rewards informants aiding arrest of NPA leaders

Aileen Cerrudo   •   August 16, 2019   •   895

An informant waits while AFP officials load bundles of reward money amounting to millions of pesos into his backpack.

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) has rewarded five informants for aiding in the arrest of five leaders of the New People’s Army (NPA).

The five informants received over P14 million reward from the AFP and the Philippine National Police (PNP).

“The AFP is grateful to all informants whose help and cooperation has become vital in the neutralization of these criminals who were responsible for heinous and atrocious crimes against the people and our nation,” he said.

According to AFP Chief of Staff Gen. Benjamin Madrigal, the reward system is a huge help in curbing terrorism.

Madrigal, meanwhile, calls on the public to also help authorities fight terrorism by reporting any suspicious activities in their area.—AAC (with reports from Lea Ylagan)

AFP: We can move on without VFA with US

Aileen Cerrudo   •   February 12, 2020

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) expressed their support for the termination of the Philippines’ Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) with the United States.

“It’s not actually naman kawalan (a loss) because as of now, as you can see, we have already some equipment — new planes, we have ships,” said new AFP chief of staff General Felimon Santos Jr.

“We could move on without VFA,” he added.

However, the AFP Chief admitted that the termination might affect the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA).

The EDCA is designed to promote the strengthening of AFP for external defense, Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Response (HADR), and Maritime Security.

Santos also said the fight against terrorism might also be affected since the termination of the VFA includes intelligence sharing between the Philippines and the US.

Despite this, the AFP Chief is confident that the Armed Forces will be able to defend the country.

“We will defend it hanggang kamatayan (to the death),” Santos said.—AAC (with reports from Harlene Delgado)

AFP to send ships, planes, 2 battalions for repatriation of OFWs

Aileen Cerrudo   •   January 8, 2020

The Department of National Defense (DND) said the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) will send two ships, three planes, and two battalions for the repatriation of overseas Filipino Workers (OFW) in the Middles East.

DND Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said the two landing ships can accommodate 500 persons each. They will also send two C130 and a C295 planes.

Lorenzana clarified the two battalions will be deployed to assist Filipinos who will return to the country as tension continues to rise between the United States (US) and Iran.

“The two battalions will not be there to engage in combat with anybody, but to facilitate or help assist in the repatriation of the OFWs especially in Iraq. Hindi sila magpunta doon para makipaglaban, (they will not be sent there to fight)” Lorenzana said.

The Defense Secretary also said they also considering to use cruise ships and commercial airlines to accommodate more Filipinos returning home.

Meanwhile, the BRP Gabriela Silang of the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) is set to sail in the Middle East to assist in the repatriation.

Lorenzana also raised concerns over Filipinos who will refuse to leave the Middle East and said it will be a challenge.

“Some Filipinos do not want to leave their job. Kasi sabi nila, ‘anong gagawin natin sa Pilipinas?’ (because they will say ‘what will they do in the Philippines?’) But hopefully, we will be able to convince them—kung medyo delikado iyong buhay nila (if their lives are in danger)—to come home,” he said.—AAC (with reports from Lea Ylagan)

Duterte: PH won’t send troops to Middle East unless national interest demands it

Aileen Cerrudo   •   January 8, 2020

President Rodrigo Duterte said the Philippines will not be sending troops to the Middle East unless “the national interest would demand it.”

This is amid the rising tension between the United States (US) and Iran.

“It will be decided not by me, but me and Congress,” Duterte said on Tuesday (January 7).

The President also said the Philippines will honor its defense treaty with the US but won’t allow US forces to use the Philippines as a ‘launching pad’.

“We will continue to respect it in transit. But to use the Philippines as a launching pad for—to fly the missiles and the rockets, I do not think that. I have to stop them,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) said the government has allotted P1.8 billion for the repatriation of Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW) in the Middle East.

“We have provided in the budget already even without that. We already have funds for the repatriation of Overseas Filipino Workers, in the DFA [Department of Foreign Affairs], P1.29 billion in the budget,” he said. “We also have allocation of 100 million in the OWWA budget, and we have also some funds we can tap under the OWWA funds. ”

The government is already preparing for the repatriation of Filipinos in Iran.—AAC (with reports from Rosalie Coz)

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