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PH to purchase US-made Black Hawk helicopters

by Marje Pelayo   |   Posted on Monday, December 10th, 2018

US-made Black Hawk helicopters. | Courtesy: LockheedMartinVideos Youtube account

MANILA, Philippines – Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana on Friday (December 7) said the Philippines will purchase 16 US-made Black Hawk helicopters from the Sikorsky Aircraft Corp for $240M (P12.67 billion).

It will be recalled that the Philippines called off its purchase deal of 16 Bell 412n helicopters with Canada after the Canadian government said the choppers can only be used for humanitarian missions and not for combat operations as intended by the Philippines.

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenza explained that the government preferred to drop its plans to buy helicopters from Russia due to US sanctions on Russian military exports.

“The Air Force technical working group have come up with the recommendation that the Blackhawk is the best option that they will buy, so we will be pursuing that,” he said.

The formal signing of the purchase deal is expected next year.

Lorenzana clarified, however, that the Black Hawk helicopters will be used solely to transport supply but not as attack helicopters.

‘It’s a combat utility and transport (unit). Pwede nating lagyan ng machine gun sa kabila (we could install a machine gun on the other side)but it’s not really for attack. It’s for bringing air supply,” he explained.

Aside from the Black Hawk, the government is also considering to purchase T129 ATAK from Turkish Aerospace Industries for the government’s attack helicopter project. – Marje Pelayo (with reports from Rosalie Coz)

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EXCLUSIVE: Lorenzana on alleged China weather station in WPS: It can be advantageous to PH

by Marje Pelayo   |   Posted on Tuesday, November 13th, 2018

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana


SINGAPORE – Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana believes there is no reason to be fixated over reports that China allegedly installed a weather station in South China Sea.

Lorenzana noted that like China, the Philippines also has shipping vessels and air units patrolling in the area.

Filipino fishermen are also present and benefiting from the marine resources in South China Sea as Chinese fishermen do.

The Secretary explained that such weather facility is obviously needed for navigational safety purposes.

Therefore, he said, the Philippines would benefit from the facility should the reports be verified as true.

“Why are we so much fixated on the use of this weather station? It is for safety purposes. Hopefully, makikinabang din tayo diyan kung ise-share nila sa atin ang mga nakukuha nilang weather (information),” Lorenzana  told UNTV News in an exclusive interview ahead of the formal opening of the 33rd ASEAN Summit in Singapore on Tuesday (November 13).

“I think it is advantageous to us in a way that they can also monitor our ships there, at nagtutulungan naman tayo. Tinutulungan nila ang mga fisherman natin na stranded, at kung tayo naman makakita ng fisherman nila, we are there to help,” he added.

However, Lorenzana clarified that the only information they have on the alleged facility was the statement of Chinese Foreign Ministry Wang Yi who said they already launched a weather observation station in the disputed territory.

The Secretary said the government is contemplating on establishing a weather facility in Palawan for the purpose of monitoring Philippine vessels in the area.

Meanwhile, Lorenzana cannot be certain as to what particular point of focus will the ASEAN leaders be discussing regarding South China Sea.

The Palace official hopes, however, that the group will be able to come up with a reasonable solution on the conflicts in the area ultimately for the benefit of the citizens in the region.

“We will come into the table with some concerns and (hopefully) we’lll get out of the table with all understanding each other’s position at saka understanding kung magkakaintindihan tayo kung anong gagawin nating mabuti sa isa’t isa,” the Secretary concluded. – Marje Pelayo



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PNP validates oust Duterte plot, DND calls it rumor

by Marje Pelayo   |   Posted on Monday, September 10th, 2018


QUEZON CITY, Philippines – The Philippine National Police (PNP) is validating the information of an alleged ouster plot against President Rodrigo Duterte being brewed by the opposition.

The report was mentioned by the President himself during his arrival speech on Saturday (September 8) from his official visit in Israel that allegedly three groups – the Liberal Party, the Communist Party of the Philippines, and the group of his staunchest critic Senator Antonio Trillanes IV – are joining hands to remove him from office come October.

PNP Chief PDir. Oscar Albayalde considers the report as a serious matter that’s why they are working to validate it.

“We are looking all these information, these are all serious allegations. Hindi namin pwedeng palampasin itong mga information na ito. Right now we are on the process of confirming and validating this information that we get,” said Albayalde.

But National Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana underscored the ouster plot as a mere rumor. Lorenzana said no one in the military will go against the President. Instead, he pointed at the CPP-NPA as behind the destabilization plot which was long planned since 2016.

“That is a rumor. May gumagawa lang ng istorya na ganyan na marami disgruntled na active na military pero wala naman kami nakikita. Katataas lang sweldo nila ng doble (so) mataas ang moral ng mga iyan. That’s not true but the destab actually is totoo pero manggagaling sa CPP NPA 2016 o 2017 meron silang oust duterte movement na pinapa (kalat) nila sa galamay nila. Kung sasakyan iyan ng ibang grupo, we do not know,” Secretary Lorenzana explained.

Albayalde, meanwhile, assured that the PNP remains loyal to the Constitution and the chain of command and there is no reason for them to defy the orders of the President.

“Wala naman tayong nakikitang ginagawa ng present administration na labag sa Konstitusyon natin kaya it’s very normal that we always (follow) kung sino iyong nakaupong administrasyon if we do not see anything. Even in the AFP, wala naman sila nakikita masama o labag sa konstitusyon itong present admin so we give our full support because it follows the Constitution and the present admin follows the rule of law also. So bakit naman tayo kokontra? There’s no reason naman para tayo ay kumontra,” said Lorenzana. – Lea Ylagan / Marje Pelayo

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PH to protest China’s nuclear facility in West Philippine Sea – Lorenzana

by Marje Pelayo   |   Posted on Tuesday, August 28th, 2018


Still image of disputed Spratly Islands in the South China Sea taken from US Navy surveillance video May 21, 2015. REUTERS/US Navy

QUEZON CITY, Philippines – The Philippine Constitution bars the installation of nuclear weapons anywhere within the country’s territory.

Therefore, according to Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, a nuclear facility in the West Philippine Sea will definitely constitute a violation of the law.

This was his response to the concerns of the United States government on the possibility that China might establish its nuclear weapon on its artificial islands in the West Philippine Sea.

Lorenzana added that since the Philippines has no plans of attacking China, the latter has no reason to establish such armament.

The Secretary said all issues pertaining to the territorial dispute in the West Philippine Sea are encouraged to proceed in a peaceful manner so there’s no reason for China to militarize the said territory.

If in case the Chinese government pushes through with the nuclear facility in West Philippines Sea, Lorenzana said the Philippines will take every legal action to counter it. – Lea Ylagan / Marje Pelayo




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