Tuesday, March 20, 2018

DND buying P111.3M worth of bullets

From Malaya Business Insight (Mar 20): DND buying P111.3M worth of bullets

THE Department of National Defense is acquiring 21 million pieces of bullets, worth P111.3 million, for the use of soldiers who are confronting various security threats throughout the country.

In an invitation to bid published on the DND website, DND Bids and Awards Committee chief Josue Gaverza Jr. said the public bidding for the 5.56 mm bullets is open to foreign and local firms.

Gaverza, the concurrent DND assistant secretary for financial management, said a pre-bid conference is scheduled today at the DND-BAC conference room in Camp Aguinaldo.

Gaverza said the deadline for the submission of bids and the opening of tendered bids is on April 10. The bids will be opened in the presence of bidders’ representatives.

He said bidders should have completed a similar project within the past five years. “Delivery of the goods is required within 180 calendar days from the receipt of contract and notice to proceed,” said Gaverza.

Gaverza said the procurement of bullets does not necessarily mean the military is running out of ammunition.

“We need to replenish (the military’s ammunition), we need reserves. Because of what happened in Marawi, we need to immediately replenish (our supply). We need a lot of bullets (in our inventory),” said Gaverza.


Misuari ready to give way to new MNLF leadership

From the Manila Bulletin (Mar 19): Misuari ready to give way to new MNLF leadership

Davao City – Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) founding chair Nur Misuari said he was ready to step aside and allow the second generation to take over his post so that he can finally rest after leading 50 years of the Moro armed struggle in Mindanao.

This was disclosed by the 79-year-old leader as MNLF marked its 50th year anniversary last Sunday.

I called our President, brother Rody, I said, in my last meeting with him, I do hope that on March 18, today, we can already visualize what exactly is going to happen because after 50 years, maybe it’s about time I take some rest and let the second liners among our leadership to take over,” Misuari told his followers.

Nevertheless, Misuari vowed to continue working for the “freedom of his people till the end of time” if they are not able to see an end to nearly 72 years of the Moro struggle triggered by the annexation of the Bangsamoro homeland as part of the newly-established Philippine Republic when it obtained independence from the United States on July 4, 1946.

“Victory is at-hand. Everywhere in our homeland, millions are celebrating this great, great day, symbolizing that indeed we are now on the path of victory to peace and freedom,” he said.

The MNLF founding chair signed the 1976 Tripoli Agreement with the government under the presidency of late strongman Ferdinand Marcos Sr. and the 1996 Final Peace Agreement with then President Fidel V. Ramos.

Misuari went into hiding for three years following the Zamboanga siege staged by his followers in 2013 that led to the filing of criminal charges against him. He was granted temporary liberty to be able to participate in the peace talks.

Meanwhile, Yusop Jikiri, chair of the MNLF central committee said that the MNLF started operating as a front in the village of Pasil in Indanan, Sulu on March 18, 1968.

And last Sunday, about 2,000 MNLF combatants joined the celebration, brandishing high-powered firearms, in Camp Al’ Mabuhok, which is located in Pasil.

“Al’ Mabuhok is very memorable to us, because this is camp is that government troops from three battalions failed to overrun,” Jikiri said.

He also recalled that it was in Al’ Mabuhok that “our first municipal chairman Muhajir Malayam organized the MNLF, who shouted to the whole world the loss of our freedom.”


4 NPA-MB members yield to gov’t

From the Manila Bulletin (Mar 20): 4 NPA-MB members yield to gov’t

CAMP BANCASI, Butuan City – Four alleged members of the New People’s Army-Milisya ng Bayan (NPA-MB) voluntarily surrendered to the 71st Infantry Battalion (71st IB) in Southern Mindanao region, Capt. Jerry S. Lamosao, chief of Public Affairs Office (PAO) of the Army’s 10th Infantry (Agila) Division told The Manila Bulletin late Monday afternoon.


These unarmed former NPA-MB members, all residents of Barangay Panoraon, in Maco town, Compostela Valley (ComVal) province, voluntarily gave themselves up and vowed to help the 71st IB peace and development program being implemented by the same unit, the 10th ID PAO chief said in a statement.

The 71st IB continued in conducting interviews to the surrenderers and they will be undergoing peace-building seminar together with those who surrendered ahead of them, Lamosao added.

Their identities are temporarily withheld for security reason.

Meanwhile, the 10th ID is optimistic in calling the attention of all remaining communist-terrorists and their supporters to surrender and give up their armed struggle.

“There are government programs that will help them have a better living condition,” said Maj. Gen. Noel S. Clement, commanding general of the 10th ID.

“We are grateful to the people and the local government units for their support to our troops by not allowing the NPA terrorists to stay in their communities,” he said.

“Coddling of terrorists or criminals is punishable under existing laws,” the 10th ID chief added.


AFP heightens alert as NPAs prepare for founding day

From the Manila Bulletin (Mar 20): AFP heightens alert as NPAs prepare for founding day

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Tuesday said that it is intensifying efforts to thwart possible attacks and atrocities by the New People’s Army (NPA) in line with their upcoming 49th founding anniversary on March 29, 2018.

AFP Spokesman and concurrent Civil Relations Service (CRS) chief Brig. Gen. Bienvenido Datuin Jr., said the occasion is usually marked by their attacks against the people and vulnerable communities.

Guerrillas from the New People’s Army in formation during the 49th anniversary of the communist rebel group in Sierra Madre mountains. (Czar Dancel / MANILA BULLETIN)
“In the past, they staged hostilities such as raids, ambuscades, and sabotage against government troops and against establishments and vital installations that severely affected innocent civilians,” Datuin said in a statement.

“These attacks against our people are terroristic in nature and clear reflection of their true color as a criminal and terrorist organization,” he added.

Datuin said in the National Capital Region, the NPAs and their supporters had staged rallies and protest actions that caused massive traffic that affected motorists and commuters.

He said they had repeatedly done such actions that disturbed the peace of the place and pestered law-abiding citizens.

“Our forces will continue to be on a proactive stance against all threats of violence and will exert every effort to preserve the peace in every locality.

The fight against terrorism and the preservation of peace is a shared responsibility of everyone,” Datuin said.

For his part, AFP Central Command (CentCom) Spokesman Col. Medel Aguilar, said troops in the Visayas have already been alerted regarding the NPA anniversary.

“Our troops are already on the alert. The NPA in Visayas, with its reduced strength and capability, is not much of a threat to our troops but only a distraction in our peaceful communities,” Aguilar said.

Aguilar said he hopes and pray s that as they celebrate their anniversary, the NPA members will realize that “armed struggle” is not the solution to the problem they see in our communities.

“The “armed struggle” that was started 49 years ago has only brought death and misery to our country. It did not solve the problem and it never will,” Aguilar said.


Army hosts 11th Senior Leaders’ Conference

From the Manila Bulletin (Mar 20): Army hosts 11th Senior Leaders’ Conference

The Philippine Army is currently hosting the 11th Senior Leader’s Conference (SLC) at the Philippine Army Officers Clubhouse, Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City, from March 20 to 21, 2018.

(Manila Bulletin file photo)
The holding of the SLC is is connection to with the Army’s celebration of its 121st founding anniversary with the theme: “Serving the People, Securing the Land”.

Army Spokesman Lt. Col. Louie D. Villanueva, said Army senior leaders from all over the Philippines will gather in the two-day conference which will focus on the issues of violent extremism and terrorism as part of the Army’s sincere commitment to counter-terrorism.

Villanueva said the 11th SLC aims to keep senior leaders of the Philippine Army informed on the current programs, issues and relevant developments affecting the organization.

“It is also a platform where the participants may introduce and discuss new concepts and ideas that could contribute in addressing the various security issues besetting the country,” Villanueva said.

With the theme “Defeating Terrorism, Responding to a Global Challenge,” the Army invited guest speakers who will provide knowledge and perspectives concerning terrorism, its implications as well as possible solutions to counter it.

Some of the prominent personalities invited are Professor Julkipli M. Wadi of the Institute of Islamic Studies of the University of the Philippines, Assistant Secretary Allan S. Cabanlong of the Department of Information and Communication Technology, . Robert Francis B. Garcia of the Peace Advocates for Truth, Healing and Justice Organization, Senator Gregorio B. Honasan II of the Senate Committee on National Defense and Security, Dr. Jolene Jerard of the Nanyang University – Rajaratnam Scool of International Studies and Director General Alex Paul I. Monteagudo, Ph.D. of the National Intelligence Coordinating Agency (NICA).

Villanueva said the Philippine Army, under the stewardship of Lt. Gen. Bautista aims continue its mission of developing a modern Army that is responsive and capable of addressing threats against its people and the sovereignty of the country.

“Part of this effort is strengthening of the Army’s campaign to counter violent extremism,” he said.


Terrorists battle soldiers in Misamis; hundreds of residents leave homes

From the Manila Bulletin (Mar 20): Terrorists battle soldiers in Misamis; hundreds of residents leave homes

 Hundreds of residents of Aloran town in Misamis Occidental were forced to flee their homes after an intense gun battle erupted between soldiers and suspected communist rebels, police said Tuesday.

A report reaching Camp Crame in Quezon City said that the military had to send an attack helicopter against the rebels at the height of the gunfight on Monday afternoon.

“The Armed Forces of the Philippines also provided artillery in Barangay Sinampungan,” the statement read, adding that the rebels are believed to be under the Section Committee Sendong operating in the northern part of Mindanao.

There were no reported casualties on both sides but the local police said the firefight resulted in the evacuation of residents.

The latest report was that the number of evacuees at the Aloran Gymnasium was at 54 families composed of 218 people.

Police and military forces have intensified the operations against the communist rebels after the peace talks bogged down last year.

The government also sought for the declaration of the communist rebels, and their political wing Communist Party of the Philippines as terrorists.

Security forces are now bracing for intensified attacks from the communist rebels who are set to celebrate the 49th founding anniversary of the New People’s Army.


Lorenzana: Reports of ISIS in Manila inaccurate

From the Philippine Star (Mar 20): Lorenzana: Reports of ISIS in Manila inaccurate

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenana on Monday dispelled reports that ISIS-inspired terror groups have gained a foothold in Metro Manila.
"I don't think they are already here in Manila although we believe that some of the Mautes who escaped from Marawi may have come here to Manila and hide. I don't think they are here to commit trouble," Lorenzana told ANC's "The Source" Tuesday morning.
Lorenzana made the statement in response to a leaked police memo that ISIS-inspired groups are targeting areas such as Metro Manila, Zamboanga, Davao, Iloilo and Cebu.
The Defense chief said that the supposed leaked memo was a communication between local police units and he has informed Interior officer-in-charge Eduardo Año about this.
"Although the communication is authentic, I think the purpose of that [memo] ISIS in Manila is inaccurate," the Defense secretary said.
Lorenzana said he is confidenct that remnants of the Maute group who are hiding in Manila would not cause harm in the country's capital.
"Nobody can prevent them from travelling but the support that they get here, especially the Muslim communities in Taguig and Quiapo – I don't think that Muslims would like something to happen in their area," he said.
Asked why the government cannot track the remnants of the Maute group in Metro Manila, Lorenzana said that the population in the metropolis is making it hard to find the local terrorists.
The crowded cities in Metro Manila make it easy for the militants to hide, the Defense chief said. Security forces have been upgrading urban combat capabilities since Maute and Abu Sayyaf terrorists took over parts of Marawi City in May 2017, sparking five months of street-to-street fighting..
"The 'jungle' here is more formidable, composed of people... Bahay at tao (houses and people), very easy to hide here for as long as you don't get attention to yourself, you can hide here in Metro Manila," Lorenzana said.
Just last month, a foreigner with alleged links to ISIS was arrested in Manila. The police said they recovered homemade bombs, firearms, ammunition, an ISIS flag and documents detailing an alleged plot to attack the Philippines in the foreigner's apartment.
The suspect, identified as an Egyptian carrying a Tunisian passport entered the country in July 2016 using different passports and aliases such as Haytham Abdulhamid Yusof and John Rasheed Lassoued.
Director Oscar Albayalde, National Capitol Region Police Office chief, said that the suspect had been recruiting followers since 2016.
Albayalde earlier warned that members of ISIS have found "safe havens" in Manila.
The Department of Justice later dropped the charges against the suspect and his Filipino girlfriend because of lapses in police procedure. Police reports on the arrests were not supported by evidence, the DOJ said.