Black hawk chopper crash in Tarlac caused by thunderstorm, pilot’s vertigo – AFP

Robie de Guzman   •   September 2, 2021   •   422

MANILA, Philippines – The fatal crash of the S-70i Black Hawk helicopter during a night flight training in Tarlac in June was caused by a confluence of events, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) said Thursday.

Citing the result of the investigation conducted by the Philippine Air Force Accident Investigation Board, the AFP said the helicopter entered a thurderstorm that may have caused the possible disorientation of the pilot.

“Investigators found out that the chopper inadvertently entered a thunderstorm and was compounded by spatial disorientation or vertigo by the pilot, as the cause of the accident,” the military said.

The chopper crash, which occurred on June 24, killed six people, namely:

  • Lieutenant Colonel Rexzon Pasco (instructor pilot)
  • Major Eraño Belen (student pilot)
  • Major Jayrold Constantino (student pilot)
  • Master Sergeant Ronnie Reducto (instructor scanner)
  • Sergeant Leonardo Tandingan (student scanner)
  • Sergeant Maricar Laygo (student scanner)

The AFP said the results of the investigation will help the military avoid similar incidents in the future by implementing additional safety protocols and instituting training interventions for personnel.

“The goal of the investigation, based on international practice on handling crashed aircraft, was to determine the cause of the accident rather than apportion blame,” it added.

PH military receives medical supplies, equipment from US

Robie de Guzman   •   October 26, 2021

MANILA, Philippines —The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) has received various medical supplies and equipment worth P2,075,000 donated by the government of United States.

In a statement, the AFP said the donated items were handed over on October 25 in a ceremony led by chief of staff General Jose Faustino Jr. at the General Headquarters canopy area.

The donations were handed over by Mr. David Gamble, Acting Deputy Chief of Mission, of the U.S. Embassy in Manila.

Faustino was joined by Brigadier General Edgar Cardinoza, Commander of AFP Health Service Command (AFPHSC) and other senior military officers during the event.

“The AFP is grateful to the United States government for the donations which will surely enhance our capacity to afford our military personnel and their dependents the best health care services that we can provide,” Faustino said.

The U.S. government donated 30 Intensive Care Unit (ICU) beds and 10 sets of Personal Protective Equipment.

The AFP said these are intended to support the COVID19 response operations of the AFPHSC and are in line with the U.S. Government’s initiative to provide assistance to the Philippines in combatting the pandemic.

“This is just another step in our long partnership as treaty allies that has been going for 70 years. The ICU beds represent 30 of the 600 that the U.S. will be donating at P1.3 billion worth of donations,” Gamble said.

“We will ensure that these equipment and supplies will be fully utilized to fulfill not only our COVID19 response efforts, but more importantly for other medical needs that our personnel require who incessantly render faithful and dedicated service to the Filipino people,” Faustino said.

7 more communist rebels yield in Sultan Kudarat

Aileen Cerrudo   •   October 18, 2021

MANILA, Philippines—Seven more members of the communist terrorist group (CTG) surrendered to the Joint Task Force Central in Sultan Kudarat on Sunday (October 17).

Commander of Western Mindanao Command Maj. Gen. Alfredo Rosario, Jr. said the CTG personalities were identified as Oyet, Maymay, Ben, Noel, Nacan, Osing, and Adog.

They belonged to the Platoon Myphone, East Daguma Front, Sub-regional Command-Daguma, Far South Mindanao Region. The said individuals also handed over their firearms, including two cal. 30 M1 Garand rifles, one cal. 30 M2 Carbine rifle, one 12-gauge Shotgun, and one M79 grenade launcher.

“The military is always willing to welcome former rebels/violent extremists who wish to lay down their arms, go back to the mainstream society, and live a peaceful life with their family,” Rosario said.

During the debriefing, alias Oyet expressed his condemnation of the communist group which he described as a ‘godless’ group.

Dako ang pagmahay namo ngano ning apil mi sa teroristang NPA, mayo na lang naa ang 7IB nga wala ngaduha-duha sa pagdawat namo (We regret our decision of joining the NPA terrorists. It’s a good thing that the 7IB is here to accept us without second thoughts),” alias Oyet said.

It can be recalled that on October 13, eight members of the same group surrendered to the 7IB in the municipality of Bagumbayan. AAC

P262 million worth of shabu seized, 4 drug suspects killed in Pampanga ops

Robie de Guzman   •   October 18, 2021

Four Chinese nationals were killed in a buy-bust operation that turned into a firefight with law enforcers, the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) said Monday.

In a statement, PDEA said its agents conducted the operation, together with the police and military forces, in Punta Verde Subdivision in Barangay Pulong Cacutud, Angeles City Pampanga at around 10 a.m.

The buy-bust operation turned into a firefight when the armed suspects engaged the combined forces, it added.

Authorities identified the suspects as Cai Ya Bing alias Cai, 29 years old from Yuncheng City, Shanxi; Erbo Ke alias Payat, 34 from Quanzhou City, Fujian; Huang Guidong, 43, and Wuyuan Shen also known as Jinpeng Zhang, 41, both from Zhang Zhou, Fujian.

All four men were allegedly armed with caliber .45 pistols.

PDEA said 38 kilograms of suspected methamphetamine hydrochloride or shabu valued at P262,200,200 million  was seized from the suspects by combined forces.

Two mobile phones and a digital weighing scale were also recovered from the suspects, it added.

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