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Philippines, Japan armed forces discuss collaboration, proposed defense pact

The two met when Centino led the AFP delegation to this year’s Defense and Security Equipment International (DSEI) held in Japan last week, from March 14 to 17......»»

Category: newsSource: philstar philstarMar 19th, 2023

AFP-PLA patrol dead on water

The proposed joint maritime patrol between the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the People’s Liberation Army in the South China Sea may no longer proceed. AFP Chief of Staff, Gen. Romeo Brawner Jr., on Sunday, said the government may have gotten cold on the idea amid China’s continuing hostility toward the country in the West Philippine Sea. Brawner, in a radio interview, said Beijing’s actions in the WPS have raised questions over its claimed intention to uphold peace in the Indo-Pacific region. “With the way they are currently doing things, [the possibility of a joint patrol] seems quite unclear,” Brawner said, clearly referring to incidents of harassment by the China Coast Guard in the WPS. However, military collaboration between the two nations’ militaries will continue under a 2004 defense cooperation memorandum of understanding, the AFP chief stressed. The MoU had provisions allowing the AFP to send its officers to China for additional training, something that does not seem to interest the Philippine government at the moment. On the other hand, Brawner said the Philippines will continue to hold military drills with “partner” countries like the US, Japan and Canada. “We need to inform the whole world about what is happening here in the South China Sea. Because of these recent events, we have been successful in revealing China’s coercive and dangerous tactics,” he said. Previously, Brawner disclosed that China’s Ambassador to the Philippines, Huang Xilian, had offered to have joint patrols with the Philippines in the SCS, which overlaps with the WPS. China is claiming nearly all of the South China Sea under its nine-dash line theory, including the Philippines’ 200-nautical mile exclusive economic zone in the WPS. A decision made by the Permanent Court of Arbitration in 2016 junked China’s claim in the WPS, saying it has no historical basis while affirming the Philippines’ WPS claims. On 5 August, the Chinese Coast Guard bombarded a Philippine Coast Guard fleet with water as the latter was delivering supplies to Filipino troops stationed at the BRP Sierra Madre at Ayungin Shoal. The latest in a string of harassment incidents against Philippine ships this year, China’s action drew denunciation from several nations, including the US, Australia, Japan and Canada. The post AFP-PLA patrol dead on water appeared first on Daily Tribune......»»

Category: newsSource:  tribuneRelated NewsAug 27th, 2023

Phl-China joint maritime patrol may not proceed — AFP chief

The proposed joint maritime patrol between the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the People's Liberation Army in the South China Sea may no longer push through, AFP Chief of Staff Gen. Romeo Brawner Jr. said on Sunday, as China continues its hostility toward the Philippines in the West Philippine Sea. In a radio interview, Brawner said that Beijing's recent behavior in the WPS raised questions about its intentions to conduct coordinated patrols to uphold peace in the Indo-Pacific region. "With the way they are currently doing things, [the possibility of a joint patrol] seems quite unclear," Brawner said. Brawner stated that despite the joint patrol seems to be off the table at the moment, military collaboration between the two nations' militaries will still continue as a result of a 2004 memorandum of understanding (MOU) on defense cooperation. Among other advantages, the MOU enables the AFP to deploy military officers to China for additional training. On the other hand, Brawner said that the military exercises with other nations—such as the United States, Japan, and Canada—that the Philippines considered as its "partners" would go on. "We need to inform the whole world about what is happening here in the South China Sea. Because of these recent events, we have been successful in revealing China's coercive and dangerous tactics," Brawner had previously disclosed that the Chinese ambassador to the Philippines, Huang Xilian, had offered to have joint patrols with the Philippines in the SCS. China is claiming a large portion of the SCS, including the Philippines' 200-nautical-mile exclusive economic zone (EEZ) and the WPS. However, a historic decision made by the Permanent Court of Arbitration in 2016 that supported the Philippines' claims in the SCS found their arguments unlawful. On 5 August, the Chinese Coast Guard attacked the Philippine Coast Guard fleet with water cannons when it was delivering supplies to Filipino troops stationed at the BRP Sierra Madre in the West Philippine Sea's Ayungin Shoal. The latest in a string of alleged episodes of harassment against Philippine warships this year, several nations, led by the United States, Australia, Japan, and Canada, expressed support for Manila and denounced China's conduct. The post Phl-China joint maritime patrol may not proceed — AFP chief appeared first on Daily Tribune......»»

Category: newsSource:  tribuneRelated NewsAug 27th, 2023

Senate eyes increase of DND’s 2024 budget

The Senate on Wednesday assured the Department of National Defense and the Armed Forces of the Philippines that it will push for the allocation of more funds for next year to further strengthen the country’s defense operations. After extensive deliberation, the Senate Committee on Finance has approved the 2024 proposed budget of the DND and its attached, including the revised AFP Modernization Program, “subject to possible budgetary adjustments.” The DND’s proposed budget will then be again submitted to the Senate plenary for deliberation and approval. Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri expressed full support for the defense sector’s efforts to defend the country amid the increasing tension in the West Philippine Sea. With this, Zubiri committed to increasing the DND and AFP’s budget for next year for more heightened defense initiatives. “But you know my dear friends, courage can only take us so far.  And that is why, if we really want to truly defend our country and our seas, we must support their budget. Not only the budget that they have now… We’re going to support, through the efforts of the Senate, an increase in their budget, especially in the defense spending,” he said. In his presentation, Defense Secretary Gilberto Teodoro Jr. said the DND is seeking a total of P229.9 billion in funding under the 2024 National Expenditure Program. Teodoro presented a 12 percent increase compared to the P204.5 billion DND budget allocated under its 2023 General Appropriation Act. Of the budget, the AFP will get P221.6 billion, which will be divided among its major service units including the Philippine Army, Philippine Air Force, and Philippine Navy, as well as the general AFP headquarters and AFP-wide service support units. The DND will get P1.2 billion while the remaining P7 billion will go to civilian bureaus, like the Government Arsenal, Office of Civil Defense, National Defense College of the Philippines, Philippine Veterans Affairs Office, and Veterans Memorial Medical Center. Teodoro said the DND initially requested P115.1 billion for the AFP Modernization Program but was only granted P50 billion. Meanwhile, Senator Joseph Victor “JV” Estrada stressed the need to fast-track equipping the AFP with modern assets to protect the country’s territorial integrity, given the current situation in the West Philippine Sea. Hence then asked Teodoro about the ongoing military modernization: “We are supposed to be in Horizon 3 of the AFP modernization program in 2023. I think we are still in Horizon 2 or Horizon 1. Where are we now?” In response, Teodoro said about 10 percent of the project remains to be accomplished in Horizon 1 while 51 out of 97 projects were already finished in Horizon 2 with some projects will be carried over under  Horizon 3. “That’s why we really have to re-strategize it because the paradigms for Horizon 2 may not be valid anymore,” Teodoro said. The military modernization program's Horizon 3 is slated for 2023 up to 2028 while Horizon 2 is from 2018 to 2022 and Horizon 1 is from 2013 to 2018. All these horizons are geared toward acquiring equipment and weapon platforms that would equip the AFP to perform its external defense mandate. An executive session was conducted with the DND after the Senate panel’s approval of its proposal to discuss some adjustments to the funding, particularly those allocated for defending the WPS. Zubiri stressed that he will not allow the Philippines to be bullied. “Hindi tayo pumayag na ma-bully tayo ng ating kapitbahay sa Norte (we didn’t allow our neighbor in the North to bully us). Because of that, we hear you loud and clear. We need more defense spending in our modernization project… We’re here to support you. You’ll see a drastic difference in your budget come this December,” Zubiri said. Senator Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa likewise rallied for the increase of both DND and AFP’s intelligence funds for surveillance and reconnaissance assets. In 2022, DND got P2.3 billion worth of confidential intelligence funds. The agency requested only P1.8 billion in 2023. “With this new defense strategic direction, refocused on archipelagic defense and protection, will there be a corresponding shift, change, or retrofitting of our forces because right now our organization is heavy on the land-based army?” Dela Rosa asked. Teodoro said no changes are needed at the moment as the country needs to sustain internal security. However, he noted the need to strengthen the country’s defense capabilities to cope with the “challenges of time.” The post Senate eyes increase of DND’s 2024 budget appeared first on Daily Tribune......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsSep 27th, 2023

Bong Go shares Gibo’s stance against proposed MUP reform

Senator Christopher "Bong" Go expressed his alignment with Defense Secretary Gilberto "Gibo" Teodoro Jr.‘s stance against the proposed military pension reform particularly on the issue of imposing mandatory contributions and removing the automatic indexation for military pensioners. "It was also reported that Secretary Teodoro does not agree with the proposed mandatory contributions and the removal of the automatic indexation of our military personnel," Go stated during the Commission on Appointments committee hearing on Wednesday, 13 September. "Hindi rin po ako sang-ayon dito sa mandatory contributions at pagbago sa automatic indexation," he stressed. Go then elaborated on his stance, emphasizing that there are alternative ways to address financial needs without affecting the pensions of current retirees and those still in active service. “Bagama’t naintindihan po natin ang sitwasyon ng ating mga finance managers at tumataas na budgetary needs ng gobyerno at sa posibleng paglobo ng kakailanganin na pondo po para sa pension, naniniwala ako na may ibang paraan upang matugunan ito nang hindi maapektuhan ang pension ng ating kasalukuyang mga retirees at mga nasa active service," he added. He further suggested some of these alternative methods, "Katulad ng pag-improve sa pagkolekta ng buwis o pag-eliminate po ng corruption sa gobyerno.” Go also took the opportunity to remind his colleagues of the efforts made during the term of former president Rodrigo Duterte to increase the salaries of military and uniformed personnel. "Huwag nating kalimutan na noong panahon ni dating pangulong Rodrigo Duterte, nagsikap tayo na mapataas ang sweldo ng ating uniformed personnel," Go began. He then elaborated on the collective efforts made to achieve this salary increase. "Nagpursige din tayo upang maisakatuparan ito noong hindi pa po ako senador at naniniwala po ako na marami pong sumuporta dito sa last Congress," he continued. Go also expressed his concerns about the potential impact of mandatory contributions on the increased salaries. "Naniniwala rin po ako na hindi natin dapat bawiin sa pamamagitan ng contributions ang matagal na nilang inasam na pagtaas ng sahod,” he said. The senator further emphasized the need to consider the long-term impact of the proposed pension reform on the lives of current military personnel. “Huwag naman po sanang bigay-bawi. Tandaan natin na marami sa ating kasundaluhan ay mayroon ng plano sa kanilang mga matatanggap kapag magreretire. Nakaplano na yan, naka-loan, may babayaran na yan at pamilya...nakalaan na yan para sa kanilang mga anak,” he said. “Kung iisipin natin, yung ikakaltas po sa kanila ay halos katumbas ng isang sakong bigas at napakahalaga po nito, lalung-lalo na po sa mga ordinaryong sundalo. Maliit na bagay lamang ito na para sa ating mga sundalo dahil sa sakripisyo po na inalay nila para mapanatili ang ating seguridad,” he added. Go has consistently emphasized the need for fiscal stability while ensuring the welfare of military and uniformed personnel. He has previously suggested that any pension reform should not adversely affect pensioners and those still in active service. “Buhay ang isinasakripisyo nila para mapanatili ang seguridad ng bansa. Iba po ang sakripisyo nila dahil buhay po ang nakataya dito. Kahit isang boto lang ako dito, palagi kong ipaglalaban kung ano pong makakabuti sa mga nagseserbisyo sa bayan,” assured the senator before. On the same day, Go expressed his full support for Teodoro's ad interim appointment as Secretary of the Department of National Defense (DND). "As we discuss the welfare of our uniformed personnel, it's crucial that we have a competent and reliable individual leading the DND. I fully support the ad interim appointment of Secretary Gibo Teodoro for this role," Go declared. He praised Teodoro's previous performance as DND secretary under the administration of former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, stating, “Sec. Gibo Teodoro Jr. is a man of competence and integrity. Ito po ay napatunayan na nung una siyang manungkulan bilang Kalihim po ng Department of National Defense noong panahon ni pangulong Arroyo." He also mentioned that Teodoro's primary objectives during his previous term were focused on modernizing the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and DND personnel, upholding human rights, and taking a proactive approach to disaster risk management. The senator also took the opportunity to discuss his own advocacy for disaster preparedness. "Like Secretary Gibo, I share the same advocacy in strengthening our country’s disaster preparedness and response, which is why I filed for the creation of the Department of Disaster Resilience (DND).” Earlier, Go filed Senate Bill No. 188, which aims to establish the DDR to centralize efforts, streamline coordination, and ensure a more swift and effective response to emergencies. “This proposed department will be headed by a cabinet secretary. Napapanahon na po. Sana magkaroon tayo ng isang timon na nakatutok po,” he added. The creation of the said department, if enacted into law, shall concentrate on three key result areas, namely: disaster risk reduction, disaster preparedness and response, and recovery and building forward better. Towards the end of his speech, Go extended his trust and confidence in Teodoro. "Mr. Secretary, you have my full trust and confidence. Ako po ay naniniwala that under your watch, mas lalo pa ninyong mapapalakas ang ating defense department at mga programang nakapaloob dito," he concluded. The post Bong Go shares Gibo’s stance against proposed MUP reform appeared first on Daily Tribune......»»

Category: newsSource:  tribuneRelated NewsSep 15th, 2023

Joint drills with US, Australia not meant to provoke a particular country — Brawner

The Philippines’ execution of joint military exercises with its counterparts, including the United States and Australia, is not meant to provoke a particular country, Armed Forces of the Philippines chief Gen. Romeo Brawner Jr. stressed on Monday. Brawner cited the recent conduct of the biggest United States-Philippines Balikatan Exercises, which has been observed annually under both countries’ mutual defense treaty. "'Yung ginagawa nating coalition, 'yung ginagawa nating mga joint exercises ( The coalition and the joint exercises that we are doing) are not addressed toward one specific country," Brawner told reporters in a chance interview shortly after the National Heroes Day event at the Libingan ng mga Bayani in Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City. Earlier this month, the Philippines and Australia, assisted by the US, began their first-ever bilateral amphibious warfare exercise in San Antonio, Zambales. It is part of the Philippines-Australia’s “Exercise ALON”, with 700 AFP personnel joining along with 1, 200 members of the Australian Defense Force and 150 officers of United States Marine Corps. Exercise ALON, which runs until 31 August, is part of the Indo-Pacific Endeavour activity between the Philippines and Australia for 2023, which targets close collaboration between the AFP and ADF to increase interoperability and deepen people-to-people links to enhance defense cooperation. The Indo-Pacific Endeavor is Australia's flagship international engagement activity in the Southeast Asian and Indian Ocean region. Brawner insisted that these exercises with other countries would not necessarily provoke China’s aggression. "No, we don't believe that they will be more aggressive because of that. In fact, we have been doing this for a longer time already," Brawner said. "'Yung Balikatan Exercises na ginagawa natin every year, nandiyan po 'yung mga sundalo ng US, nandiyan po 'yung mga sundalo ng Australia, may mga observers tayo from Japan, we also have observers from other nations (We conduct Balikatan every year, US troops are there, Australian soldiers are there and we have observers from Japan),” he added. The post Joint drills with US, Australia not meant to provoke a particular country — Brawner appeared first on Daily Tribune......»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsAug 28th, 2023

Confidential, intelligence funds

The proposed 2024 budget of certain government agencies generated different reactions from our citizens. Many are challenging and doubting the wisdom of allocating confidential and intelligence funds to different agencies. In a democracy, this is normal and acceptable. However, allow me to discuss this matter more thoroughly, particularly the difference between the two, the agencies entitled to these funds, and the safeguards put in place, to have a more fruitful discussion. On 8 January 2015, the Commission on Audit, Department of Budget and Management, Department of the Interior and Local Government, Department of National Defense, and the Governance Commission for Government-Owned or Controlled Corporations issued Joint Circular No. 2015-01 which established the Guidelines on the entitlement, release, use, reporting, and audit of Confidential Funds and/or Intelligence Funds. Most, if not all, assume that Confidential Funds and Intelligence Funds are one and the same. They are not. Confidential Funds refer to the lump-sum amount provided as such in the General Appropriations Act or GAA for National Government Agencies, in appropriation ordinances for Local Government Units, and the Corporate Operating Budget for GOCCs for their Confidential Expenses. On the other hand, Intelligence Funds refer to the lump-sum amount provided as such in the GAA for NGAs. More accurately and as defined by the Joint Circular, Confidential Funds are used by the NGAs, LGUs, and GOCCs for their Confidential Expenses which refer to those expenses pertaining/related to surveillance activities in “civilian government agencies” that are intended to support the mandate or operations of the agencies. Intelligence funds refer to the lump-sum amount provided as such in the GAA for NGAs for their Intelligence Expenses which refer to those related to “intelligence information gathering activities of uniformed and military personnel, and Intelligence Practitioners that have direct impact on national security.” It is worth noting that Intelligence Practitioners are the following agencies: DND Office of the Secretary and Government Arsenal; Philippine Navy, Philippine Air Force, Philippine Army and Armed Forces of the Philippines-General Headquarters; Philippine National Police; Philippine Coast Guard; National Intelligence Coordinating Agency;  Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency; and other NGAs which are expressly provided budget allocations for IF under the GAA, or other law/s. Another misconception is that only specific and limited agencies are entitled to these funds. Paragraph 4 of the Joint Circular expressly states that the following are entitled to Confidential Funds and/or Intelligence Funds: NGAs which are expressly provided budget allocations for Confidential Funds and/or Intelligence Funds under the GAA or other law/s; GOCCs as provided in their COBs in respect only to CF as may be expressly authorized by the GCG under RA 10149, and by the DBM for “all other GOCCs;” and  “LGUs whose peace and order is a priority concern and which have duly allocated Confidential Funds,” but not Intelligence Funds, in their annual appropriation ordinances. The common misconception that Confidential Funds and Intelligence Funds are free from oversight, reporting requirements, and liquidation procedures is inaccurate. The Joint Circular provides safeguards and procedures for scrutiny by the CoA. The Joint Circular specifically enumerates and differentiates the procedural guidelines and reporting requirements for the release, augmentation, and additional Confidential Funds and Intelligence Funds among the NGAs, LGUs, and GOCCs. It also provides for a strict list of procedures regarding the grant and liquidation of cash advances, again differentiated and delineated among NGAs, LGUs, and GOCCs. Discussing all the steps will be too burdensome and lengthy for this article. I suggest we all read and study the Joint Circular before we pass judgment on the allocations and entitlements of the different agencies. The post Confidential, intelligence funds appeared first on Daily Tribune......»»

Category: newsSource:  tribuneRelated NewsAug 11th, 2023

Phl, Japan advances ‘security partnership’ says DND

The Philippines has expanded its partnership with Japan in terms of security, the Department of National Defense said Friday. This came after Ambassador of Japan to the Philippines Koshikawa Kazuhiko met with Defense Secretary Gilbert Teodoro Jr. at the DND headquarters over the weekend. According to DND spokesperson Arsenio Andolong, Teodoro and Koshikawa Kazuhiko agreed on advancing the Philippines-Japan security partnership, following the signing of the Terms of Reference on Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief Activities between the two countries during the state visit to Japan of President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. last February. During their meeting, Teodoro cited the progress of defense relations between the Philippines and Japan since his first stint as the DND head, from 2007 to 2009, under the administration of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. Teodoro recalled his first assignment at the time was to organize the 2009 ASEAN Regional Forum Voluntary Demonstration of Response—a multilateral HADR event wherein Japan was among the participants. Teodoro thanked Japan for contributing to the modernization program of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and its current assistance to address the oil spill incident that affected communities in the Mimaropa and Western Visayas regions. Koshikawa Kazuhiko, for his part, feted the close and robust partnership between the Philippines and Japan. Recalling second world war II, the Japanese ambassador manifested his “high regard for the Filipinos’ spirit of forgiveness” and expressed hope that the strong bilateral ties between the two countries could become a “force for good” and “best tribute for those who died during the war”. Both officials explored their possible collaboration on the development of the Philippines’ self-reliant defense posture, involving the research and development of defense equipment, systems, and other related technologies, as well as expertise exchange. Andolong said Teodoro also welcomed Japan’s Official Security Assistance of which the Philippines was among the grantees. The post Phl, Japan advances ‘security partnership’ says DND appeared first on Daily Tribune......»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsJun 30th, 2023

Broader defense pacts sought

Senator Joseph Victor “JV” Ejercito on Wednesday stressed that the Philippines should forge broader defense pacts with its allies to counter Chinese encroachment in the South China Sea, including in the West Philippine Sea. “Japan, Australia, and the United States, as well as countries that have territorial claims in the South China Sea have to band together so that we can put up a respectable force against China’s aggression,” Ejercito said in a statement. “Because of China’s aggressive and hostile activities in the South China Sea and West Philippine Sea, it is important for nations to have alliances and coordinate with each other’s armed forces and coast guards to ensure that the freedom of navigation in the West Philippine Sea and South China Sea area is maintained,” he added. He also said that the ongoing joint military exercises between the Philippines and the United States, as well as recent talks on the formation of a new defense pact with Japan, are “crucial steps in achieving regional stability amid China’s growing military aggression.” On Tuesday, the 38th Philippine-United States Balikatan exercise kicked off with more than 17,000 Filipino and American troops will be participating in the joint drills. The Balikatan joint military exercise was created under the US-Philippine Visiting Forces Agreement and the Mutual Defense Treaty between the two countries. Meantime, Senator Risa Hontiveros echoed the same sentiment, stressing that a strong coalition will prevent escalating tensions in Taiwan. “We need the international community to help de-escalate and cool the tensions between the US and China especially around Taiwan,” Hontiveros said. “Let us create a strong coalition with our neighboring countries that are ready to stop any destabilization in our region.” She issued the statement a day after China concluded its three days of military drills around Taiwan, which is currently hosting around 150,000 to 200,000 Filipinos. The lawmaker said the escalating tensions in Taiwan are worrisome but the Philippines “shouldn’t be coaxed to participate in any kind of war.” “We have to uphold the Constitutional mandate of peace as the instrument of national policy or the abandonment of war as an instrument of national policy,” she said. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin, on the other hand, said that military cooperation between the Philippines and the United States should not involve any disputes in the South China Sea. “The US-Philippines military cooperation must not interfere in South China Sea disputes, still less harm China’s territorial sovereignty, maritime rights and interests and security interests,” Wang said. He issued the statement following the kick-off of the joint military exercises of the Philippines and the United States earlier this week. Wang also said that military cooperation between the Philippines and the United States should not target any third party. “Exchange and cooperation between relevant countries should not target any third party and should be conducive to regional peace and stability,” said Wang. Earlier this day, US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin announced that Manila and Washington have agreed to further integrate their “strong bilateral ties” into “multilateral networks.” The post Broader defense pacts sought appeared first on Daily Tribune......»»

Category: newsSource:  tribuneRelated NewsApr 12th, 2023

Marcos: Security triad must not provoke South China Sea tension

An appropriate visiting forces agreement with Japan will benefit the Philippines, but the proposed military agreement with Tokyo as well as the planned trilateral security and defense pact with the United States should not provoke tensions in the disputed South China Sea, President Marcos said......»»

Category: newsSource:  philstarRelated NewsFeb 14th, 2023

More training, education mulled for Filipino soldiers

Armed Forces of the Philippines chief Gen. Romeo Brawner Jr. on Thursday met with Rear Admiral Peter Gumataotao (Ret), Director of the Daniel K. Inouye Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies, to discuss more training and education opportunities for Filipino soldiers.  Following the courtesy call of Gumataotao to Brawner at the AFP General Headquarters in Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City, the two officials exchanged perspectives on present and emerging security issues in the Asia Pacific region.  AFP Public Affairs Office chief Lt.Col. Enrico Gil Ileto said both officials also tackled ongoing threats and agreed on positions on how to address these security challenges. “The CSAFP, being an alumnus of the APCSS, also expressed his appreciation of such advanced studies on defense and security strategy in developing military officers,” Ileto said.  The Daniel K. Inouye Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies is an institute of the United States Department of Defense based in Hawaii that provides a comprehensive program of executive education, professional exchanges and outreach events, both in Hawaii and throughout the Asia-Pacific region. The post More training, education mulled for Filipino soldiers appeared first on Daily Tribune......»»

Category: newsSource:  tribuneRelated NewsOct 26th, 2023

Japan, U.S.: ‘We got your back’

Key allies of the country expressed their unwavering support after a Chinese Coast Guard ship intentionally collided with a Philippine Navy boat to stop a resupply mission to the grounded BRP Sierra Madre on Ayungin Shoal. Defense Secretary Gilbert Teodoro Jr. described the maneuver as an escalation of China’s aggression within the exclusive economic zone of the Philippines. Japan issued a statement expressing support after the incident. “Japan expresses serious concern for actions which increase regional tensions, including a dangerous action that caused a collision between Chinese and Filipino ships on 22 October,” the Japanese Foreign Ministry said. It added that Japan believes the issue of the South China Sea is directly related to the peace and stability in the region and is a legitimate concern of the international community, including Japan. “Thus, Japan opposes any unilateral attempts to change the status quo by force as well as any actions that increase tensions in the South China Sea,” it said. Citing the Japan-Philippines Joint Statement last February, the Foreign Ministry said the “government of Japan concurs with the Philippines’ long-standing objections to unlawful maritime claims, militarization, coercive activities, and threat or use of force in the South China Sea.” “Furthermore, Japan highly appreciates the government of the Philippines for having consistently complied with the arbitral tribunal’s award as to the disputes between the Republic of the Philippines and the People’s Republic of China regarding the South China Sea, and has shown its commitment to the peaceful settlement of disputes in the (West Philippine Sea), as stated in the statement by the Foreign Minister of Japan issued on the occasion of the seventh anniversary of the issuance of the award,” it said. Japan said it would continue to cooperate with the international community, such as the members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and the United States, to “protect free, open and peaceful seas.” ‘Ironclad’ vow The United States, meanwhile, reiterated its “ironclad” commitment to the Philippines. According to a White House statement, US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan assured National Security Adviser Eduardo Año of US support in safeguarding its sovereign rights in the WPS under the Mutual Defense Treaty between both nations. “Sullivan reiterated US support for our Philippine allies following the PRC Coast Guard and maritime militia’s dangerous and unlawful actions on 22 October, obstructing a routine Philippine resupply mission to Second Thomas Shoal,” the statement read. “Sullivan emphasized the ironclad US commitments to the Philippines under theUS-Philippines Mutual Defense Treaty, which extends to armed attacks on Philippine public vessels, aircraft and armed forces — to include those of its Coast Guard — in the Pacific, including in the West Philippine Sea,” it added. Signed in 1951, the Philippines and the United States agreed that an armed attack in the Pacific area on either of the parties would be dangerous to its own peace and safety and declared that it would act to meet the common dangers by its constitutional processes. The White House said Sullivan and Año “reaffirmed the enduring alliance and friendship between our nations and discussed upcoming US-Philippine engagements and ways to further strengthen our close partnership.” Manila vs Beijing Both Manila and Beijing condemned the incident, which they said violated their sovereign rights over Ayungin Shoal, a low-tide elevation in the WPS. The two countries traded blame for the incident, which also sparked concern from Australia, Canada and South Korea. In 2016, the Permanent Court of Arbitration rejected Beijing’s historical nine-dash line claim to the WPS. Militia boats utilized Teodoro labeled the Chinese actions near the shoal as deliberate. “Chinese Coast Guard and maritime militia vessels, in blatant violation of international law, harassed and intentionally hit the Unaiza May 2 and Philippine Coast Guard vessel BRP Cabra,” Teodoro said. “We are here to decry in the strongest terms this egregious violation and illegal act within the Philippines’ 200-nautical-mile exclusive economic zone and the obfuscation of the truth by China’s distorting of the story to fit its own ends.” His comments came hours after President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. met with security officials and ordered the Coast Guard to investigate the incident, which was “being taken seriously at the highest levels of government,” Malacañang said. The military monitored “a large number of Chinese maritime militia vessels” swarming in the West Philippine Sea, National Security Council spokesperson, Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya, said. In a television interview, Malaya said these vessels were spotted “not only in the vicinity of Ayungin Shoal and Bajo de Masinloc but also in other features, including (Scarborough Shoal) and Sabina (Escoda) Shoal.” “We are alarmed by the environmental degradation our Coast Guard ships were able to monitor in these areas,” he told the ANC. Malaya noted that environmental degradation or coral destruction would directly impact the livelihood of the fishermen in the WPS. “Sometimes we forget the reasons why we are pushing our rights in the WPS. Some critics say this is just posturing on the part of the Philippines or a tug-of-war between China and the Philippines. No, this is not,” he stressed. “This is a battle for the resources of our country, particularly for our fishermen, so that when we monitor coral destruction in parts of the WPS, it alarms the government because it directly impacts the livelihood of our fishermen,” he said. Malaya also slammed China’s “maligned information operation” and sharing of “false narratives” in its sweeping claims on the WPS. “Definitely, there’s a maligned information operation going on nowadays that is shared to the public and we are just happy it is not just the Philippine government that is sharing our side here — we have allies, if we may call them witnesses, from the media,” he said. The post Japan, U.S.: ‘We got your back’ appeared first on Daily Tribune......»»

Category: newsSource:  tribuneRelated NewsOct 24th, 2023

Manila says Chinese vessels ‘intentionally’ hit Philippine boats

Manila said Monday that Chinese vessels "intentionally hit" Philippine boats at the weekend, escalating a diplomatic row over two collisions in the South China Sea. The countries have traded blame over Sunday's incidents near Second Thomas Shoal in the Spratly Islands, with both sides filing diplomatic protests and releasing videos to support their accusations. The two collisions happened during a Philippine resupply mission to troops stationed on a navy vessel that was grounded on the shoal in 1999 to assert Manila's territorial claims. Philippine officials accused a Chinese coastguard ship and a "militia" vessel of "dangerous maneuvering" that resulted in collisions with a Philippine resupply boat and a Philippine Coast Guard vessel. Philippine Defense Secretary Gilbert Teodoro took it one step further Monday, labelling the Chinese actions near Second Thomas Shoal deliberate. "Chinese coast guard and maritime militia vessels, in blatant violation of international law, harassed and intentionally hit Unaiza May 2 and Philippine Coast Guard vessel BRP Cabra," Teodoro said. "We are here to really decry in the strongest possible terms this egregious violation and illegal act within the (Philippines') 200 nautical mile exclusive economic zone and the obfuscation of the truth by China's distorting the story to fit its own ends." His comments came hours after Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos met with security officials and ordered the coastguard to investigate the incident, which was "being taken seriously at the highest level of government", his communications team said. Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Mao Ning on Monday accused the Philippines of "continuing to spread false information and hype things up". Earlier Monday, the Philippine foreign ministry summoned China's ambassador to Manila and lodged a diplomatic protest over the incident. Spokeswoman Teresita Daza said the ambassador was unavailable and was represented by his deputy chief of mission. "Ayungin Shoal is part of our exclusive economic zone and continental shelf and we have sovereign rights and jurisdiction over it," Daza said, using the Philippine name for the shoal. The Chinese foreign ministry and embassy in Manila also issued "stern representations to the Philippines" over its "infringements" at Ren'ai Reef, Mao said, using China's name for Second Thomas Shoal. China has said a "slight collision" happened after the Philippine resupply boat ignored "multiple warnings and deliberately passed through law enforcement in an unprofessional and dangerous manner". In the other incident, China accused the Philippine Coast Guard of reversing in a "premeditated manner" into a Chinese fishing vessel. No Filipino crew member was injured, but the supply boat was damaged and forced to turn back, Philippine officials said. A second supply boat reached the tiny garrison on the grounded BRP Sierra Madre and unloaded its cargo. Manila's longtime ally Washington has led a chorus of international criticism of China's alleged interference in the resupply mission. The US State Department on Sunday reiterated its mutual defence pact with the Philippines "extends to armed attacks on Philippine armed forces, public vessels, and aircraft –- including those of its Coast Guard –- anywhere in the South China Sea". 'Arbitral ruling is binding' China claims almost the entire South China Sea, through which trillions of dollars in trade passes annually, and has ignored a 2016 international ruling that its assertion has no legal basis. Second Thomas Shoal is about 200 kilometers (124 miles) from the western Philippine island of Palawan, and more than 1,000 kilometers from China's nearest major landmass, Hainan island. Previously warm ties between Manila and Beijing have cooled since Marcos took power in June 2022, as he seeks stronger relations with the United States. The Marcos administration has publicly criticized Chinese actions in the South China Sea, publishing photos and videos to support its claims of Chinese harassment and the blocking of its vessels. Beijing has released its own images of the incidents. Despite the challenges, the Philippines would "continue to do what is necessary" to supply its troops on the BRP Sierra Madre with provisions, said Jonathan Malaya, assistant director general of the National Security Council. Manila and Beijing have a long history of maritime disputes in the South China Sea. Tensions flared in August when China Coast Guard vessels used water cannon against a Philippine resupply mission to Second Thomas Shoal, preventing one of the boats from delivering its cargo. The post Manila says Chinese vessels ‘intentionally’ hit Philippine boats appeared first on Daily Tribune......»»

Category: newsSource:  tribuneRelated NewsOct 23rd, 2023

Attack on Phl would elicit U.S. response — State Dep’t

The United States warned on Monday that any armed attack on Philippine armed forces and Philippine Coast Guard civilian vessels could trigger its 72-year-old Mutual Defense Treaty with the Philippines. “The United States reaffirms that Article IV of the 1951 US-Philippines Mutual Defense Treaty extends to armed attacks on Philippine armed forces, public vessels, and aircraft — including those of its Coast Guard — anywhere in the South China Sea,” the US Department of State said in a statement. The statement came a day after a China Coast Guard ship collided with a Philippine resupply vessel that was conducting a routine resupply mission at Ayungin Shoal. During the same resupply mission, a Chinese maritime militia vessel also bumped the BRP Cabra, one of the PCG ships that were escorting the boat contracted by the AFP. Defense Secretary Gilbert Teodoro Jr. said the collisions, which President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. ordered investigated by the PCG, were “intentional.” For its part, the Philippines’ Department of Foreign Affairs said further study is needed to invoke the MDT due to the incident. “The matter of filing another case is something that is still being studied by the government. But, of course, all incidents like these will actually bolster the case that it is not the Philippines that is the aggressor but the other party, which is China,” DFA spokesperson Teresita Daza said. “It’s a provocation on the side of China but at this point, whether it will constitute an armed attack that would allow the invoking of the MDT is something that needs to be studied,” she added. The Philippines and the US agreed under the MDT, signed in 1951, that an armed attack on either of the parties would be considered an attack on the other, necessitating common or joint actions.   Ambassador summoned The Philippines on Monday summoned China’s Ambassador to the Philippines, Huang Xilian, to explain the “blocking maneuvers” conducted by its vessels. China has insisted on its territorial rights over the Ayungin Shoal, also known as Second Thomas Shoal, which is in the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone. Swarms of CCG ships and Chinese maritime militia vessels had been monitored in the WPS, which Philippine officials said was a blatant disrespect of the 2016 Arbitral Award on the South China Sea. In July 2016, the Philippines won the arbitral case it lodged against China in the Permanent Court of Arbitration. The US said it stands with the Philippines in the face of China’s “dangerous and unlawful actions obstructing” a 22 October resupply mission to Second Thomas Shoal in the South China Sea. “By conducting dangerous maneuvers that caused collisions with Philippine resupply and Coast Guard ships, the PRC Coast Guard and maritime militia violated international law by intentionally interfering with the Philippine vessels’ exercise of high seas freedom of navigation,” the US State Department said. “The PRC’s (People’s Republic of China) conduct jeopardized the Filipino crew members’ safety and impeded critically needed supplies from reaching service members stationed on the BRP Sierra Madre. Obstructing supply lines to this longstanding outpost and interfering with lawful Philippine maritime operations undermines regional stability,” it added. Citing the 2016 arbitral ruling on the South China Sea, the US noted that China’s territorial claims to Ayungin Shoal, a low-tide elevation outside the territorial sea of another high tide feature, were unfounded.   Unsafe moves “The unsafe maneuvers on 22 October and the PRC water cannoning of a Philippine vessel on 5 August are the latest examples of provocative PRC measures in the South China Sea to enforce its expansive and unlawful maritime claims, reflecting disregard for other states lawfully operating in the region,” the State Department stressed. Aside from the US, Japan, France, Canada, Australia and Germany also condemned China’s aggressive actions in the West Philippine Sea. In a separate statement, Canada condemned what it described as “unlawful and dangerous conduct” of the People’s Republic of China in the WPS, which “provoked two collisions with Philippine vessels engaged in routine operations inside the Philippine exclusive economic zone, in the vicinity of Ayungin Shoal.” “The PRC’s actions are unjustified. China has no lawful claim to the West Philippine Sea. Its actions are incompatible with the obligations of a signatory to the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea,” the Canadian Embassy in Manila said. “Continuing acts of intimidation and coercion undermine safety, stability, and security across the region, and increase the risk of miscalculation,” it added.   France, Japan, Germany, too France expressed its “deep concern” over the dangerous maneuvers of the CCG against Philippine vessels “engaged in the Philippine exclusive economic zone.” “France calls for respect of the freedom of navigation guaranteed by international law and recalls its attachment to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea and the decision rendered by the Arbitral Court on 12 July 2016,” the Embassy of France to the Philippines said. Japan, likewise, stressed that it was “seriously concerned” and “alarmed” about the collision of Chinese vessels with Philippine vessels. “Seriously concerned about and alarmed by the collision between Chinese and Philippines vessels,” Japanese Ambassador to the Philippines Koshikawa Kazuhiko said in a tweet. Koshikawa said Japan “strongly opposes any unilateral attempts to change the status quo by force or coercion.” “Germany is very concerned about recent confrontations in the SCS involving Chinese coast guard ships and maritime militia vessels in the exclusive economic zone of the Philippines,” German Ambassador to the Philippines Andreas Pfaffernoschke said in a separate tweet. The post Attack on Phl would elicit U.S. response — State Dep’t appeared first on Daily Tribune......»»

Category: newsSource:  tribuneRelated NewsOct 23rd, 2023

Cebu to supply vessels for Coast Guard, Navy

The Philippine Coast Guard and Philippine Navy may avail sea vessels made in Balamban, Cebu as announced by President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. and Department of National Defense Secretary Gilbert Teodoro. “The new vessel that we are seeing there, the 40-foot vessel that’s made in Cebu, that will be included,” Marcos said. “We will eventually have 40 of them that would give us an increased capability. This is ongoing.” Cebu has long been recognized as the country’s shipbuilding capital with the shipbuilding industry propelling the local economy of Balamban in Midwestern Cebu on the brink of cityhood status and the newly-built ship building facilities in Danao City. The plan was confirmed by Teodoro, who recently went to Capitol and met with Governor Gwendolyn Garcia. “Cebu builds ships, Cebu builds equipment that we need, and therefore the synergy that we see today will continue but in a different dimension not only as a locator in the Province of Cebu but as a resource purchaser and resource user of the services, goods and other capabilities that your province can produce,” Teodoro said. He added that he is just waiting for amendments to the Armed Forces of the Philippines modernization law to locally source military assets. “We encourage our legislators here today that we are waiting for these amendments by the end of the year so that by next year we can start to leverage the talents and abilities of the people of Cebu,” Teodoro said. Balamban has its locators include Japan-based Tsuneshi Heavy Industries and Australia’s Austal Corporation, local builders Advance Catamaran Composites and Cebu Maritime Industry. “You have an important role to play here not only in maintaining peace and security in Central Philippines,” Teodoro said. The post Cebu to supply vessels for Coast Guard, Navy appeared first on Daily Tribune......»»

Category: newsSource:  tribuneRelated NewsOct 19th, 2023

Phl, Canada to deepening bilateral defense cooperation

The Philippines and Canada have committed to an increased bilateral engagement, particularly in bilateral defense cooperation. This came after Defense Secretary Gilberto Teodoro Jr. met with Canadian Ambassador, David Bruce Hartman and Vancouver His Majesty's Canadian Ship commander Meghan Coates earlier this week at the Department of National Defense headquarters in Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City. DND spokesperson Arsenio Andolong said the HMCS Vancouver is set to participate in the humanitarian assistance and disaster response, particularly in the Search and RescueTraining component of Exercise SAMASAMA 2023, an annual joint naval exercise between the Philippines and the United States. During his meeting with the DND officials, Coates conveyed that the Canadian crew “is happy to be in the country, and looks forward to the upcoming activity.” Meanwhile, Hartman highlighted the increase in engagements between the Philippines and Canada since his last meeting with Teodoro last 4 August this year. Hartman said that Canada, as a stalwart of international order, remains committed to supporting the rules-based order of the Indo-Pacific region, and is looking towards broadening the scale of interoperability between the Philippine Navy and the Royal Canadian Navy. Both sides expressed their strong and resolute commitment to enhancing Philippines-Canada bilateral defense relations with the purpose of maintaining peace and security in the Indo-Pacific region. At the sidelines, Teodoro awarded Col. Stewart Taylor, outgoing Canadian Non-Resident, Defense Attachè to the Philippines, the first-ever SND Plaque of Merit, given to a Foreign Armed Forces Attachè for his extraordinary and outstanding performance. Teodoro said Taylor was highly instrumental in advancing Philippines-Canada defense cooperation. He also recognized Taylor’s active role in accelerating the finalization of the proposed Philippines-Canada Memorandum of Understanding on Defence Cooperation. The post Phl, Canada to deepening bilateral defense cooperation appeared first on Daily Tribune......»»

Category: newsSource:  tribuneRelated NewsOct 6th, 2023

Congress vows funding for Pag-asa Island development in WPS

The House of Representatives has vowed to finance the development of  Pag-asa Island in the West Philippine Sea amid the intensifying geopolitical tensions between the Philippines and China. While the amount has yet to be disclosed, Speaker Martin Romualdez announced on Thursday that the funds will go to finance storm shelters for fishermen, a solar power plant, ice and cold storage facilities, a desalination plant, and satellite-based communication facilities, among others. The commitment came following a tour by Romauldez, majority leader Mannix Dalipe, minority leader Nonoy Libanan, and House committee appropriations Elizaldy Co accompanied by Armed Forces of the Philippines chief Romeo Brawner, wherein they had first-hand discussions with the island’s local folk and the armed personnel manning the country’s outpost in the West Philippine Sea. Building these critical infrastructures in Pag-asa Island, Romualdez said, will help mitigate the challenges faced by Filipino soldiers and fishermen operating in the disputed waters in the Spratly Group of Islands and to boost their military might to further safeguard the Philippine territory. “It’s clear that Pag-asa Island needs a development plan. The House of Representatives will take the lead in coming up with such a plan, being the institution responsible for the national budget and national policies that need legislation,” he said. The Speaker added that supporting local troops in the area underscores the Philippine government’s commitment to assert its sovereignty over territorial waters. Romualdez, in a late press conference on Thursday, said that the House appropriations panel will look into the necessary measures to finance the establishment of such crucial infrastructures. Back in September, deputy speaker Ralph Recto lamented that a "measly" P80 million allocation to strengthen Pag-asa Island would be insufficient to cover the development of military facilities in the said area. Recto said the national government could not just make "loud noises" in defending the WPS but must set aside a greater budget for the Pag-asa Island to help the defense sector execute its military might in the disputed area. Under the proposed P5.768 trillion national budget for 2024, the funding allocated for the improvement of military infrastructure in Pag-asa Island lobbied under the Department of Public Works and Highways' Tatag ng Imprastraktura para sa Kapayapaan at Seguridad Program or TIKAS is merely P80 million, according to the Batangas lawmaker. The post Congress vows funding for Pag-asa Island development in WPS appeared first on Daily Tribune......»»

Category: newsSource:  tribuneRelated NewsOct 5th, 2023

DND, AFP, Comelec sign pact for orderly barangay, SK elections

The Department of National Defense and the Armed Forces of the Philippines on Thursday signed an agreement with the Commission on Elections to ensure peaceful and orderly barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections nationwide on 30 October. Defense Secretary Gilberto Teodoro Jr. signed the pact with Comelec chairperson George Erwin Garcia at the DND headquarters in Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City. The signing was also witnessed by AFP Chief Gen. Romeo Brawner Jr. and Comelec Commissioner Ernesto Ferdinand Maceda Jr., who is in charge of the Committee on Kontra Bigay. The Committee on Kontra Bigay aims to combat the “deplorable practice of vote buying”, which Teodoro said continues to pollute the country’s democracy. “Ang tao, naiimpluwensyahan ng mga bagay na hindi kanais-nais. Kaya po ang fault niyan ay nasa namimigay,” he said. On the other hand, Brawner signed a separate memorandum of understanding with Garcia allowing Comelec to deputize AFP personnel to ensure free, orderly and peaceful barangay elections. At the sidelines of the MOA signing, the Comelec handed over a check to AFP  amounting to P40 million in support of the military’s administrative, operational and logistical needs "as they perform their functions relative to the upcoming BSK elections."   The post DND, AFP, Comelec sign pact for orderly barangay, SK elections appeared first on Daily Tribune......»»

Category: lifestyleSource:  abscbnRelated NewsSep 28th, 2023

Brawner denies 2 activists tortured

Armed Forces of the Philippines chief, General Romeo Brawner Jr., on Wednesday denied the allegations of torture by the two young activists who claimed they were abducted by soldiers in Bataan province. Brawner clarified that environmentalists Jonila Castro and Jhed Tamano have undergone the military’s standard operating procedure for the rebel returnees. “We applied everything that is stipulated in our SOP when someone surrenders. We let them undergo medical examination the very first hour that they were brought to our custody when they surrendered,” Brawner said during the Senate deliberation on the proposed 2024 national budget of the Department of National Defense and its attached agencies. Brawner stood firm that Castro and Tamano “voluntarily surrendered” to the Philippine Army’s 70th Infantry Battalion in Plaridel, Bulacan, after going missing on 2 September. “When they surrendered. The first hour, we called for a doctor to do a physical examination on them. That’s why their statements that they were tied up with their other allegations of torture — are not true,” he said. In a government-sponsored press conference last week, Tamano and Castro made a surprising statement that they were “coerced to surrender” and “threatened” by the military. Senator Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa said Brawner’s assertion about the surrendering of Tamano and Castro could be backed by the statement of Public Attorney’s Office chief Persida Rueda-Acosta. “Everything that they said was properly debunked by PAO chief Acosta. In that alone, their claims were already destroyed,” Dela Rosa said. Perjury raps Meanwhile, Defense Chief Gilberto Teodoro Jr. said the government is preparing perjury charges against the two activists after they recanted their earlier statements, which were put through a “handwritten affidavit.” “There is a case preparation now, multi-agency case preparation for the filing of perjury charges against them. The sworn statements of the witnesses are being reviewed,” Teodoro said. The post Brawner denies 2 activists tortured appeared first on Daily Tribune......»»

Category: newsSource:  tribuneRelated NewsSep 27th, 2023

Senate assures higher DND budget

The Senate on Wednesday assured the Department of National Defense and the Armed Forces of the Philippines that it will push for the allocation of more funds for next year to further strengthen the country’s defense operations. After extensive deliberation, the Senate Committee on Finance has approved the 2024 proposed budget of the DND and its attached, including the revised AFP Modernization Program, “subject to possible budgetary adjustments.” The DND’s proposed budget will then be again submitted to the Senate plenary for deliberation and approval. Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri expressed full support for the defense sector’s efforts to defend the country amid the increasing tension in the West Philippine Sea. With this, Zubiri committed to increasing the DND and AFP’s budget for next year for more heightened defense initiatives. “But you know my dear friends, courage can only take us so far. And that is why, if we really want to truly defend our country and our seas, we must support their budget. Not only the budget that they have now… We’re going to support, through the efforts of the Senate, an increase in their budget, especially in the defense spending,” he said. In his presentation, Defense Secretary Gilberto Teodoro Jr. said the DND is seeking a total of P229.9 billion in funding under the 2024 National Expenditure Program. Teodoro presented a 12 percent increase compared to the P204.5-billion DND budget allocated under its 2023 General Appropriation Act. Major service units Of the budget, the AFP will get P221.6 billion, which will be divided among its major service units including the Philippine Army, Philippine Air Force, and Philippine Navy, as well as the general AFP headquarters and AFP-wide service support units. The DND will get P1.2 billion while the remaining P7 billion will go to civilian bureaus, like the Government Arsenal, Office of Civil Defense, National Defense College of the Philippines, Philippine Veterans Affairs Office and Veterans Memorial Medical Center. The post Senate assures higher DND budget appeared first on Daily Tribune......»»

Category: newsSource:  tribuneRelated NewsSep 27th, 2023

NPA rebels better off joining military reserve force—Zubiri

Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri on Wednesday raised a suggestion that members of the New People Army’s are better off joining military reserve forces to support their pro-people advocacies. “My appeal to the left, to the opponents of the government from the left. We are all Filipinos here. Isa lang namana ng hanay natin. We all wanted ang mabuhay ng mapayapa at mabigyan ng pagkakatapon ang ating mga kababayan na mabuhay ng disente through education through livelihood we are all in the same end games,” Zubiri said during the deliberation of the Senate Committee on Finance on the 2024 proposed P229.9-billion budget of the Department of National Defense and its attached agencies, . Zubiri lamented that overthrowing the government through political ideologies has been long gone. “Yung mga nagnanais na masira ang ating bansa through political means through ideological means—wala na yan sa ibang parte ng mundo wala na yan (Those who want to destroy our country through political means through ideological means—it does not exist anymore in other parts of the world),” he said. Zubiri said, “These rebellions have already failed and they decided to come together and move forward with the political solution.” “Mas maganda na sumama na lang sila sa atin para mawala yung korapsyon para mawala yung kagutuman at kahirapan (It’s better that they join us to eliminate corruption to get rid of the hunger and poverty) he added. Zubiri urged NPA members to become military reserve forces. “Imbes na mamaril pa ng kapwa Pilipino, mas maganda mag volunteer na lang sila sumama na lang sila sa reserve force, doon sila ideploy sa Pag-asa Island. Samahan nila ang mga mangingisda natin doon. Mas maganda po ‘yun (Instead of shooting your fellow Filipinos, its better that they would volunteer to join us and become part of our reserve force. They can be deployed in Pag-asa Island. They should accompany our fishermen there. It will be better),” he said. Pag-asa Island, also known as Thitu Island, is 37.2 hectares of rock located in the Spratly Islands and is the largest of the Philippine-administered islands. It lies about 500 kilometers west of Puerto Princesa, Palawan. Amid the ongoing tensions in the Philippine territorial waters, Senator Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa said NPA members should instead join the Reserve Officers' Training Corps to help defend the country against external threats. “Sana mag-ROTC na lang sila para makatulong (Hopefully, they will join ROTC so they can help),” said Dela Rosa. On the other hand, Zubiri urged the Armed Forces of the Philippines to take note of the consequences of insurgency-free declaration in various NPA-infiltrated areas. “May mga recidivist pa rin. Yung mga diehard, hindi mawawala iyon. Kaya minsan, hindi maganda na ina-announce niyo na NPA-free yung probinsya kasi pag ina-announce niyo gumagawa sila ng hakbang, maski nagaling sa labas papasok dooon nanggugulo para lang ipakita na mali ang mga annoucements so we have to be careful (There are still recidivists. Those diehards won't go away. So sometimes, it's not good that you announce that the province is NPA-free because when you announce it, they take steps—even though people from the outside come in there causing trouble just to show that you announcements are wrong, so we have to be careful.),” Zubiri said. Brawner explained that the declaration of insurgency-free is intended to help the previously NPA-infiltrated areas to attract investment opportunities “after being deprived for long decades due to the security threats posed by rebels.” “We need to declare first the area insurgency-free so that the investors will also come in. They’ll feel secure coming into that provinces or regions,” he said. Brawner confirmed Zubiri’s remarks that leftists are messing up with the declaration of insurgency-free areas. “Nangyayari po iyon. Totoo po iyon Mr. Senate President na once we declared an area insurgency-free, ang ginagawa ng makakaliwa is that from the outside nag-iinfiltrate sila (That happens. That's true Mr. Senate President that once we declared an area insurgency-free, what the leftists are doing is that from the outside they are infiltrating in that area),” he said, citing one recent incident in Bicol region where a group of NPA rebels attacked a military detachment to sow fear in the communities. The success of the Barangay Development Program within identified conflict-affected areas and geographically- isolated and disadvantaged areas, resulted in the "demolition" of rebels is one of the military's parameters in the declaration of insurgency-free. Brawner noted the huge contributions of the BDP in addressing the root causes of insurgency. He said the government’s BDP allows basic services more accessible to the communities previously infiltrated by the NPA rebels, including farm-to-market roads, and education facilities, among others. The post NPA rebels better off joining military reserve force—Zubiri appeared first on Daily Tribune......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsSep 27th, 2023