Philippine Air Force receives 6 Black Hawk choppers

Aileen Cerrudo   •   December 10, 2020   •   815

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine Air Force received six Sikorsky S-70i Black Hawk choppers during a turnover ceremony in Clark Freeport, Pampanga on Thursday (December 10).

Department of National Defense (DND) Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said the six Black Hawk choppers are the first batch of the 16 new combat utility helicopters bought from Poland under the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Modernization Program.

“We got a better deal with these aircraft. Not only is the Black Hawk more powerful, there is more payload, has a longer range, but we also got them at the price with the bell412 which is a cheaper aircraft,” he said.

Lorenzana said the deal costs P11.6 billion and has replaced the cancelled contract of 16 Bell 412EP helicopters from Canada.

The DND Secretary also said the helicopters will be useful in medical evacuation, troops insertion, as well as for the government’s COVID-19 response.

“These aircraft would greatly help the armed forces operational readiness. equipped with the Black Hawk our air force can now provide prompt and sustained day and night tactical lift as well as combat and non-combat search and rescue operations,” he said.

Ten more of the said helicopters are expected to arrive in 2021. AAC (with reports from Lea Ylagan)

4 BIFF extremists killed in Maguindanao military ops

Aileen Cerrudo   •   May 12, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — Four members of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) —Karialan faction were killed during a military operation in Datu Paglas, Maguindanao on Wednesday (May 12).

Brigadier General Roy Galido, commander of 601st Infantry Brigade, confirmed that they were in pursuit of the BIFF group—Karialan faction following a clash with military forces near the public market of the said town last Saturday, May 8.

The BIFF group tried to evade security forces during the intensified manhunt operations of military and police. Accordingly, the operating troops recovered 4 dead bodies belonging to the extremist group, one high powered firearm, and other war materials.

The clash came after the visit of President Rodrigo Duterte inside the headquarters of the 6th Infantry Division in Awang, Datu Odin Sinsuat, Maguindanao on May 11.

Major General Juvymax Uy, Commander of the Joint Task Force Central and 6th Infantry Division, applauded the efforts of the operating troops against the BIFF.

“Your efforts is a manifestation of your commitment to serve the Filipino people,” Maj. Gen. Uy said. He further stressed that the JTF Central and 6ID will continue its intensified operation against the said groups to prevent them from hurting the civilian populace and destroying infrastructures,” he said. AAC

Terrorist group sub-leader killed in Maguindanao ops – military

Robie de Guzman   •   May 12, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — A local terrorist group sub-leader was neutralized in a special military operation in Maguindanao, the Armed Forces of the Philippines-Western Mindanao Command (AFP-WestMinCom) said.

In a statement, WestMinCom chief Lieutenant General Corleto Vinluan Jr. said the operation was conducted on May 11 in Barangay Dapaiawan, Datu Saudi Ampatuan in Maguindanao.

Members of the 1st Mechanized Infantry Brigade launched the operation, which led to the death of Kopang Sahak, a.k.a. Tarzan, a sub-leader of the Daulah Islamiyah-Maguid Group.

Kopang Sahak had a standing warrant of arrest for frustrated murder charges and was also listed in the Department of National Defense (DND) Arrest Order No. 216, according to 1st Mechanized Infantry Brigade commander, Colonel Pedro Balisi.

“With the neutralization of their leader, it is expected that the group will weaken,” Vinluan said.

Major General Juvymax Uy, commander of the Joint Task Force Central, said state forces will continue to mount offensives to go after the remaining members of the Daulah Islamiyah-Maguid Group in the area.

Since January 2021, a total of 11 Daulah Islamiyah personalities were neutralized in central Mindanao, the military said.

2 Abu Sayyaf Group leaders, 6 members arrested in Sabah

Robie de Guzman   •   May 10, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — Two alleged sub-leaders and six members of the terrorist Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) were nabbed in Jalan Taman Sri Arjuna, Beaufort, Sabah, a military official said Monday.

In a statement, Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Western Mindanao Command (WestMinCom) chief Lieutenant General Corleto Vinluan Jr. said the joint operation that occurred around 3 a.m. on Saturday, May 8, was jointly conducted by troops from the AFP and the Malaysia’s Eastern Sabah Southern Command (ESSCOM).

The military identified the arrested persons as Sansibar Bensio, and Mabar Binda, both sub-leaders of the Eastern Sulu-based Abu Sayyaf Group;

Muayyar Binda, a certain Sansis, and a certain Firdaus, who are all under Mabar Binda; Lugah Sanchez and Bonijar Samsula, both members under the late ASG sub-leader Juhurim Hussein (Patikul-based); and Alim Sukarno, a member under Sansibar Bensio.

According to Joint Task Force Sulu commander Maj. Gen. William Gonzales, Bensio and Binda are both sub-leaders of the Abu Sayyaf Group/Kidnap-for-Ransom Group based on the eastern/second district of Sulu.

“They are involved in the series of armed confrontations with the military including the encounter on July 2011 at Sitio Tubig Magtuh, Barangay Panglayahan, Patikul, Sulu wherein the late 2nd Lt. Michael Baladad of the Philippine Marines was beheaded,” Gonzales said.

The military said the two were also involved in the encounters at Bay Sunog, Bud Bawis Complex in February 2018 that resulted in the deaths of five ASG members;  Sitio Jatih, Bud Bawis Complex in December 2019 that resulted in the rescue of two Indonesian nationals and the death of the late ASG sub-leader Hairulla Abduraja; and the encounter at Bay Takas, Bud Bawis Complex in November 2020 that resulted in the deaths of ASG member Bensio Barahama and sub-leader Hatib Munap Binda.

“Bensio was also involved in the kidnapping of foreign nationals identified as Lorenzo Vinciguerra (Swiss National), Ewold Horn (Dutch National), Samiun Bin Maneu (Indonesian National), Maharudin Bin Lunani (Indonesian National), and Muhammad Farhan (Indonesian National),” the AFP-WestMinCom said.

The group also victimized several Filipinos, including Ronnie Sandagon, Jerel Pepito, Eddie Reubal, Marcial España, Arvin Sabaduquia, Rufino Bustillo, Joseph Bani, Hajan Terong, Joshua Bani, and Michelle Tolentino Panes.

Binda, on the other hand, was also involved in the kidnapping of the Indonesian nationals mentioned above.

According to 4th Marine Brigade Commander Col. Hernanie Songano, the now-apprehended group of ASG bandits fled to Sabah where they established an ASG cell after they were forced out of the province of Sulu due to focused military operations and civil-military cooperation.

“The intensified intelligence operations and the support of the community coupled with the constant coordination between the AFP and the ESSCOM contributed to the successful neutralization of the ASG sub-leaders and their cohorts. The arrest of these terrorists is a big blow to the ASG” Vinluan said.

“My congratulations to the troops of the Joint Task Force Sulu and the ESSCOM for the aggressive measures taken to ensure that these terrorists will not be able to conduct horrendous activities anymore particularly off waters of Sabah” he added.

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