DND wants exemption from ban on loans, grants from countries supporting probe on PH killings

Marje Pelayo   •   September 30, 2019   •   672

Philippines Secretary of National Defence Delfin Lorenzana looks on during the fifth plenary session of the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) 18th Asia Security Summit in Singapore, 02 June 2019. EPA-EFE/WALLACE WOON

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of National Defense (DND) will appeal to President Rodrigo Duterte to exempt the agency from the Chief Executive’s suspension of any financial assistance from 18 countries that support the call for a probe into drug-related killings under the administration’s war on drugs.

During the Senate deliberation on the DND’s proposed budget for 2020, Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon opened up the said request by Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana.

Lorenzana discussed the matter with several senators, specifically the ongoing negotiation with the government of Australia regarding the procurement of patrol vessels for the Philippine Navy amounting to P30-B.

“We are currently in talks with the Australian government for them to build our six offshore patrol vessels and they are willing to finance it first,” he said.

The Defense Secretary said they are planning to send a formal appeal to the President about the matter citing such suspension of loans, aids and grants will hugely affect the ongoing modernization program of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).

Palace Spokesperson Salvador Panelo earlier said that the President is keen on reviewing the said request of the DND.

Panelo hinted that President Duterte might hear out and approve the request especially as it concerns the country’s national security. – MNP (with details from April Cenedoza)

DND thanks Duterte for support, vows continued AFP modernization

Robie de Guzman   •   July 27, 2021

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)

 

US offers support to Philippines after C-130 plane crash in Sulu

Robie de Guzman   •   July 5, 2021

The United States of America (USA) has extended its condolences to the Philippines after a C-130 military plane with 96 people on board crashed in Sulu on Sunday.

“On behalf of the United States, I offer our deep condolences to the people of the Philippines regarding the tragic plane crash in which several dozen service members were killed,” US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said in a statement.

“Our thoughts are with those who were injured and the families of those who were lost,” he added.

Sullivan also offered support to the Philippines in its disaster response effort.

“We stand shoulder to shoulder with our Philippine allies at this difficult time and are ready to provide all appropriate support to the Philippines’ response effort,” he said.

A Philippine Air Force C-130 plane, with tail number 5125, crashed around 11:30 a.m. on Sunday.

Initial investigation showed that the plane took off from Lumbia Airport in Cagayan de Oro City and was about to land in Jolo port in Sulu when it crashed. The plane was said to have missed the runway while trying to land.

As of Monday, the number of military personnel who died from the fiery crash climbed to 47, while 49 were injured.

Of those injured, 32 were evacuated to Zamboanga City while 18 are being treated at Kuta Heneral Teodulfo Bautista Station Hospital and 11th Infantry Division Hospital.

Three civilians on the ground were also killed and four others were hurt.

The military said all passengers, pilots, and crew were already retrieved.

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenza has ordered a full investigation into the incident.

Lorenzana on allegations that AFP procures, uses defective equipment: ‘Baseless and disrespectful’

Maris Federez   •   July 4, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — Department of National Defense (DND) Secretary Delfin Lorenzana has called out those who have spread speculations following the C-130 plane crash in Patikul, Sulu before noon on Sunday.

“With the investigations of the past mishaps still ongoing, such speculations are as of yet baseless and disrespectful to the affected men and women of the Philippine Air Force, AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines) and their families,” Lorenzana said.

The defense chief further said that the department as well as the AFP are using all means in conducting search and rescue operations in the crash site.

“We are currently focusing our attention on the rescue of the survivors of the C-130 crash and all available resources of the AFP are being utilized for the ongoing search and retrieval operations,” he said.

Lorenzana also called on the public to refrain from spreading highly speculative statements about the unfortunate incident.

Meanwhile, Joint Task Force Sulu commander MGen William Gonzales said that the Philippine Army is hopeful that their search and rescue operations will yield more survivors.

“We remain to be hopeful that we could find more survivors. Our search and rescue (operation) is still ongoing with 17 personnel unaccounted. These individuals were supposed to report to their battalions today. They were supposed to join us in our fight against terrorism,” Gonzales said.

“This is a sad day but we have to remain hopeful. We enjoin the nation to pray for those who are injured and those who have perished in this tragedy,” he added. —/mbmf

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