DND thanks Duterte for support, vows continued AFP modernization

Robie de Guzman   •   July 27, 2021   •   271

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of National Defense (DND) on Tuesday expressed gratitude for President Rodrigo Duterte’s efforts to modernize the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and improve the benefits and welfare of the uniformed personnel.

In his final State of the Nation Address (SONA), Duterte said that strengthening the capability of the country’s military and police personnel has always been a priority under his administration.

During his term, Duterte said he raised the salaries of the military and other uniformed personnel to a level that is “commensurate to the critical role they play in upholding national security and maintaining order.

The country’s defense capability was also boosted with the acquisition of two missile frigates.

“At the DND, we are grateful for the enduring support of the President for the improvement of the welfare and capabilities of the Armed Forces of the Philippines when he increased the salaries of the soldiers,” Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said in a statement.

“Speaking from the heart in his own, simple and inimitable way, the President showed that even as we aim and work for grandiose goals for our country, at the core of it all is protecting and upholding the dignity of every Filipino from all walks of life,” he added.

While taking pride in their accomplishments in the past five years, the DND chief said there is still a lot of work to be done before Duterte’s term ends in 2022.

Lorenzana also said he will continue to push for the military’s modernization and measures to improve efforts in fulfilling their mandate to secure the country.

“In the remaining 11 months in this administration, we will push for the continued modernization of the AFP, enactment of laws to improve the personnel management of the AFP and focus on the other priorities we set for ourselves when we assumed our posts back in 2016,” he said. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Lea Ylagan)


AFP, PNP: No terror threat in PH despite Japan warning

Robie de Guzman   •   September 14, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – Police and military authorities on Tuesday said they have not monitored any possible terrorist threat in the country despite the warning reportedly issued by the Japanese government.

Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Police General Guillermo Eleazar said they have not received any report of possible terror attacks but assured that they continue to be on alert  regarding this matter.

They are also working closely with their foreign counterparts on information sharing against terrorism.

“Noon pa man ay patuloy ang aming intelligence monitoring especially after the 9/11 attack in the US and the Marawi City incident. Nananatiling maigting ang ating pakikipag-ugnayan sa ibat ibang bansa laban sa terorismo through information sharing and strategic partnership in dealing with terror groups” Eleazar said.

“Kasama dito ang pagpapalakas ng ugnayan ng inyong kapulisan sa ibat ibang komunidad at stake holders upang matiyak na hindi tayo malulusutan sa ano mang plano ng mga teroristang grupo sa ano mang lugar sa ating bansa,” he added.

Foreign media reports stated that the Foreign Ministry of Japan has issued a warning for its citizens regarding a possible terror attack in six Southeast Asian nations, including the Philippines.

The Japanese ministry advised its citizens to avoid religious facilities and crowded areas in the said countries.

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), for its part, said the country’s threat level remains at “moderate” based on its last review.

The military assured it is constantly validating reports relating to national security matters.

“As of now, we have not received any report. We constantly validate all reports on security matters and it is a continuous process,” AFP spokesperson Col. Ramon Zagala said in a statement.

Aside from the Philippines, the warning issued by the Japanese government also covers Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand, Myanmar, and Malaysia.

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

Robie de Guzman   •   September 2, 2021

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.

AFP says materials, human, environmental factors caused Sulu C-130 crash

Robie de Guzman   •   September 2, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – Several factors have caused a C-130 plane of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) to crash in Patikul, Sulu, the military said Thursday.

Citing the investigation results, AFP Spokesperson Colonel Ramon Zagala said the crash could be attributed to a confluence of material, human, and environmental conditions.

“It was most probably due to actual or perceived material factors, and induced human factors which were aggravated by local and environment conditions,” Zagala said in a statement.

“The aircraft component, the environmental condition and aircrew response led to unrecoverable stall in a critical phase of the aircraft operation,” he added.

The result of the investigation into the crash was first mentioned by Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana during a congressional hearing on Wednesday.

“It was actually a confluence of many events… One, for the C-130, its defective instruments or systems. Plus, of course, the reaction of the pilot was not also appropriate for the emergency, so nag-crash,” Lorenzana sad.

The military C-130 aircraft crashed in Patikul, Sulu on July 4. It was carrying 96 passengers when the incident occurred.

The crash took the lives of 53 individuals, including 50 soldiers and three civilians on the ground, and injured 46 servicemen and four civilians.

It was described as one of the worst tragedies in the Philippine military history.

The ill-fated C-130 plane, with tail number 5215, was not brand new when it was delivered to the Philippines early this year but it had been “in very good condition,” according to the AFP.

It arrived in the country on January 29 and was one of the two C-130H aircrafts granted by the United States government to the Philippines. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Lea Ylagan)


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