Duterte vows to strengthen military, police to prepare for ‘dangerous times ahead’

Robie de Guzman   •   July 10, 2019   •   1067

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte attends the 115th Police Service Anniversary at the Philippine National Police (PNP) headquarters in Quezon city, metro Manila, Philippines August 17, 2016. REUTERS/Noel Celis/Pool

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday vowed to continue working on strengthening the country’s military and police forces to better prepare them for what he says are dangerous times ahead.

In a speech during the appreciation dinner for former President and House Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo at the Manila Hotel on Tuesday night, Duterte said he would like to leave behind a strong Armed Forces and police when he completes his term in 2022.

Duterte said he should be prepared because of the incoming peril he senses.

“I see very dangerous times ahead. And I hope that we will be able to contain whatever there is,” he said.

“Lumalabas nga ‘yung pawis sa kamay ko just thinking about if it would go awry outside of Sulu and Basilan Islands,” he added.

The president further stated that while he has acquired the necessary military weapons to fight terrorism, he also expressed hope that Congress would make a move to further strengthen the country’s line of defense.

“We have acquired so many armaments. And there were things, kakaunti na lang, which I hope that Congress would tide us over to complete the instruments that we need in dealing, especially with terrorism,” he said.

Duterte also hopes that by the time he steps down from office, the country’s troops will be supplied with new weapons and tools to deal with terrorism because he is not sure if the next president will be able to do it.

“I hope that by the time I make my exit, nandiyan na lahat ‘yan because I am not belittling the events to come or the person coming in to be the next president. Hindi ko alam kung sino,” he said.

“And I’d rather that I leave with a strong military and police and equipped to challenge the enemies of the state, especially terrorism,” he added.

On Monday night, the president met with military officials but the Malacañang has yet to release any detail on what was discussed during the said meeting.

This follows the June 28 twin blasts in Indanan town in Sulu, which killed eight people including three soldiers, and injured 12 others.

Authorities earlier confirmed that one of two suicide bombers behind the Indanan explosions was a Filipino.

The Philippine National Police Regional Crime Lab Office 11 reported that examination on reference DNA samples taken from Vilman Alam Lasuca and Alhussin Alam Lasuca concluded there is a 99.99% percentage probability match.

Vilman and Alhussin Lasuca are claimant mother and brother of one of the suspected bombers.

 “Hence, it can be concluded that one of the alleged suicide bombers is the son of Vilman Alam Lasuca,” RCLO 11 said in a laboratory report.

The identification of the second suspected bomber, on the other hand, is still underway as authorities are still collecting DNA samples to establish match on its identity, authorities said. (with details from Rosalie Coz)

Palace opposes Urban Dictionary definition of ‘Duterte’

Aileen Cerrudo   •   August 20, 2019

The Malacañang refuted the Urban Dictionary for defining ‘Duterte’ as ‘to scam, trick, or con.

During a press briefing on Tuesday (Aug 20), Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo will seek to counter the definition on the website.

“‘Duterte’ to us means honest, incorruptible, politically-willed person, courageous, selfless, honest, transparent and all good things…and other synonymous terms,” Panelo said.

The definition was uploaded by an unknown internet user one month ago. Urban Dictionary is crowd-sourced online dictionary for slang words and phrases.

Panelo suspects, the uploader might be a member of anti-Duterte groups.—AAC

AFP seeks to further strengthen assets following Chinese warships’ ‘incursion’ in PH waters

Robie de Guzman   •   August 20, 2019

Philippine Navy warship, BRP Conrado Yap (PS 39), donated by South Korean government, docks at Port of Manila, Philippines, 20 August 2019​. According to reports, the BRP Conrado Yap (PS-39), the former South Korean ‘Pohang’-class corvette ‘Chungju’, is the most heavily-armed and powerful​ surface combatant of the Philippine Navy (PN) to date. The vessel was named after Captain Conrado Yap, a decorated Filipino soldier who was part of t​he Philippine Expeditionary Forces to Korea during the 1950s.

MANILA, Philippines – The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) is seeking to further strengthen its naval and aerial assets following the series of uncoordinated passages of Chinese warships in the country’s waters.

AFP Western Mindanao Command spokesperson Maj. Arvin John Encinas said they have already filed a proposal to intensify naval operations in their area after several Chinese ships were spotted passing through Philippine waters without notifying local authorities.  

“Nagsubmit ng proposal na palakasin pa ang naval units dito sa area ng WESMINCOM upang sa ganun nga upang ma-address ang issues particularly dito sa maritime domain natin as far as security is concerned,” he said.

(A proposal has been submitted seeking to strengthen naval units in the WESMINCOM area in order to address the issues, particularly in our maritime domain as far as security is concerned.)

The AFP earlier reported that at least five Chinese naval ships sailed through Sibutu Strait in Tawi-Tawi without prior coordination.

Based on their monitoring, five Chinese ships with bow numbers 998, 964, 195, 853 and 536 had been seen navigating the area between July and August.

The AFP said that aside from the said period, they have also spotted Chinese ships passing through the channel without permission since February.

The military said the vessels ignored radio communications from Philippine patrols.

The Sibutu Strait separates Sulu archipelago from Borneo.

Although considered an international sea lane where foreign vessels have the right of innocent passage, customary maritime law requires warships to coordinate with the coastal state beforehand.

The military said these ships could not claim innocent passage as they took a curved course and not a straight line.

“These previous months mayroon na tayong namomonitor na warships ng China kung kaya’t tuloy-tuloy po ang ginawang monitoring at patrolling ng ating Navy vessels at the same time, ‘yung ating Coast Guard diyan sa Sibutu Passage diyan natin nakikita lagi itong mga warship ng China,” Encinas said.

(These previous months, we have monitored Chinese warships in the area prompting continued monitoring and patrolling operations by our Navy vessels, at the same time, our Coast Guard in the Sibutu Passage where Chinese warships were spotted.)

Encinas added they have also informed the military national leaders on the monitored incursions to engage with their counterparts on the issue.

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) earlier ordered the filing of a diplomatic protest regarding the Chinese warships clear act of trespassing. (with contributions from UNTV correspondent Dante Amento)

PNP denies alleged militarization of campuses

Marje Pelayo   •   August 20, 2019

Student activists at the University of the Philippines oppose the proposed presence of police and military in school campuses.

MANILA, Philippines – Senator Ronald dela Rosa is suggesting that universities and colleges should welcome the military and police and allow them to conduct their respective indoctrination.

The proposal is to curb the recruitment and brainwashing of students being practiced by the rebel group, New People’s Army (NPA).

But according to Police Chief General Oscar Albayalde, such recommendation was given a different interpretation by militant youth groups.

“This is misunderstood and medyo overreaction ang mga militanteng grupo. There is no such thing as militarization of a campus,” Albayalde said.

Albayalde insists that cops do not enter the school premises unless they have official business inside as stated in the agreement between the University of the Philippines, the League of Filipino Students (LFS) and the government specifically the Department of National Defense that police and military personnel are off limits inside campuses unless approved by the university administration.

“Itong mga militanteng grupo, they are trying to abuse that charter. Kami naman, we can freely enter the campus of UP even today,” the Police Chief noted.

Meanwhile, the PNP respects U.P. students’ decision to hold a day of walkout on Tuesday (August 20) citing their right to assembly provided that it is in accordance with the law. – MNP (with details from April Cenedoza)

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