Friday, September 22, 2017

AFP believes slain Ozamiz mayor has links with Maute group

From the Manila Bulletin (Sep 22): AFP believes slain Ozamiz mayor has links with Maute group

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) on Friday expressed belief that slain Ozamiz City Mayor Reynaldo Parojinog had links with the Daesh-inspired Maute group who laid siege to Marawi City on May 23, 2017.

Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief-of-Staff General Eduardo Año

In an interview at Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City Friday afternoon, AFP Chief of Staff General Eduardo Año said that base on intelligence reports they have received, the slain local chief executive might have even helped fund the Maute group’s occupation of Marawi.

During his visit to the city on Thursday, President Duterte also linked Mayor Parojinog to the crisis in Marawi City.

“Yes, that is a confidential document and the president mentioned the involvement of Parojinog, his linkages with lawless elements and terrorists including the Maute ISIS who are involved in Marawi,” Año said.

“Because the Maute brothers are (also) into drugs operation. Also their style is like cartel,” he said.

When asked for the names of other Central Mindanao local officials and drug lords included in the drug matrix shown by the chief executive, he said one of those is a mayor in Maguindanao currently hiding from authorities.

Año also reiterated that he believes the report because it came from the military itself.

“Yun lang binanggit niya si Parojinog lang. Mahirap namang magbanggit pero iyung isang mayor (Talitay, Maguindanao Mayor Montasir Sabal) nagtatago ngayon kasama din dun sa matrix (He only mentioned Parojinog. It’s difficult to mention but one mayor now hiding is also included in the matrix),” he said.

“The report of the PNP is different. When we tried to dig up everything the information about this and how the Maute ISIS got this enormous money (and) in doing this rebellion part of those funds are from drugs. So we made the study, we analyzed, evaluate and this what came out from the report),” Año said.

Año also did not discount the possibility that the bundles of money and cash worth P79 million which was seized in one of the houses inside Marawi City in June could also come from illegal drugs.

“Possibly and possibly from the loot which they got from the banks and private residences inside Marawi,” he said.

Año, in the same interview, said three more civilian hostages were rescued by government troops following the rescue of Father Rey Teresito “Chito” Soganub and another hostage over the weekend.

He added that based on information coming from Maute surrenderees and those arrested, female hostages by the terror group were raped by their members.

“The female hostages sad to say we received reports from the debriefing of surrenderees and those captured some female hostages were raped by the Maute ISIS,” he said.

Año also said that according to conservative estimates, the AFP has already spent P2 billion for ammunitions and fuel in the war in Marawi which enters its fourth month tomorrow.

Battle for Marawi Deepens Philippines' Military Budget Challenge

From The Diplomat (Sep 22): Battle for Marawi Deepens Philippines' Military Budget Challenge

The rising terror threat also affects the country’s budget plans for its military modernization.

Battle for Marawi Deepens Philippines' Military Budget Challenge

As I’ve noted in these pages, the Philippines ongoing fight against terrorism – most recently manifested by a siege in the southern city of Marawi by Islamic State-linked militants which began on May 23 – has exposed the challenges faced by the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) (See: “Battle for Marawi Exposes Philippines’ Intelligence Crisis”).

That reality is not just true in terms of the metrics that often grab the headlines – such as personnel or equipment – but also financing as well. As the Philippines seeks to modernize its military after decades of underfunding to confront a vast array of challenges, the rising terror threat has not only affected the country’s perceptions of the threats it faces, but also imposed even greater resource constraints on it as it seeks to boost its capabilities (See: “What’s Next for Philippine Military Modernization Under Duterte?”).

Though it is still early days and the battle for Marawi is still very much ongoing – with government estimates indicating a few dozen fighters left in the city despite clear advances being made by the AFP – the numbers that Philippine defense officials have been providing so far about budget realities have still been quite striking (See: “Why Has the Philippines’ Military Struggled in its Terror Fight Under Duterte?”).

To take just one example, at a hearing earlier this month, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said that in addition to the 3.5 billion pesos the AFP has spent since the outbreak of the Marawi crisis, it may have to ask for an additional P7.5 billion to hire 20,000 soldiers and 10,000 police personnel. Lorenzana also rightly emphasized that the cost would not only need to factor in hiring the personnel but also training as well, and that, in his estimation, for every 10,000 soldiers, the government would need at least P2.5 billion to train and equip them.

Of course, that amount is just a small slice of the budget proposed by the Department of National Defense (DND) for next year recently approved by the Senate Finance Committee, which is at P195.4 billion (about 8 percent higher than the current budget of P181.3 billion). Yet this is not inconsequential. Though the AFP has been using existing funds allotted to deal with the Marawi crisis, it will need to replenish those funds lest it run out of money towards the end of the year, which is a process already underway.

Also, while we are on the narrow subject of defense budgeting post-Marawi, it is important to note that there is a broader context here in terms of negotiations on the national budget more generally, some of which is tied not to what is happening on the ground but other factors from the priorities of the Duterte government to bureaucratic politics around different institutions. For instance, there have been comparisons between the much beefier boost in intelligence funds for the Philippine National Police tasked with carrying out the Duterte administration’s drug war relative to the AFP, which was granted only a P220 million increase as opposed to the full P280 million increase it sought.

Finally, the defense dimension is also only part of the broader rehabilitation effort in Marawi. After a recent trip there, Lorenzana said that this effort as a whole could end up being much more than the initial government estimate of around P56 billion, and that lawmakers will need to approve an additional P 10billion for this year to start that process. Though part of this can be achieved with the help of foreign donors which have already begun pledging some funding, including Australia, the United States, Japan, Thailand, China, and the European Union, there will need to be some funding allocated domestically for this as well (See: “US Terror Aid to Philippines Signals Enduring Defense Ties Under Duterte”).

DWDD: OFFICIAL VISIT | DND meets with visiting international journalists

From DWDD AFP Civil Relations Service Radio Website (Sep 21): OFFICIAL VISIT  |  DND meets with visiting international journalists

CAMP GEN EMILIO AGUINALDO, Quezon City (DWDD) – The Department of National Defense held a briefing for the Manila leg of the 2017 Senior Journalists Seminar hosted by the East West Center, in coordination with the Philippine Press Institute last Monday, September 18, 2017 in Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City.

Officials from the Department and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), led by Undersecretary of National Defense Cardozo M. Luna and Undersecretary for Defense Operations Cesar B. Yano, provided an overview of the current national security issues, particularly on counterterrorism and counterinsurgency.

Dir. Peter Galvez (Office of the Assistant Secretary for Plans and Programs), Atty. Patrick Rubin (Chief, DND Internal Audit Service), and DND Public Affairs Chief Dir. Arsenio R. Andolong joined Undersecretary Luna and Undersecretary Yano in answering questions fielded by the journalists during the open forum session.

Topics of particular interest included the bilateral relations of the Philippines with allied countries, including Australia and the United States, as well as the ongoing situation and the subsequent rehabilitation in the City of Marawi. DND PAS/MCAG

DWDD: ENCOUNTER | 7ID troops Scores anew in Carrangalan, Nueva Ecija

From DWDD AFP Civil Relations Service Radio Website (Sep 21): ENCOUNTER  |  7ID troops Scores anew in Carrangalan, Nueva Ecija

CAMP GEN SERVILLANO AQUINO, Tarlac City (DWDD) – Troops from Charlie Company of 84th Infantry Batallion, 7th Infantry “Kaugnay” Division have encountered at least fifteen (15) New People’s Army (NPA) led by a certain Joel Manangan alias Razul in Sitio Barat, Brgy Burgos, Carranglan, Nueva Ecija at about 07:25 in the morning of September 20, 2017.

The fire fight lasted until 09:50 am of same day resulting to the wounding in the right leg of one (1) of the operating personnel. On the other hand, the government forces were able to neutralize nine (9) NPAs, which includes alias Razul, alias Gian, alias Bunso, alias ASok and other five (5) unidentified NPAs personalities. Moreover, a total of nine (9) high-powered firearms were recovered from the encounter site comprising of one (1) AK47, one (1) M14, two (2) M653, and five (5) M16 with one (1) M203 grenade launcher attached to one of the rifles. Eight (8) back packs, containing several subversive documents and personal belongings, were also recovered.

The said group of Communist Terrorist were part of the NPA unit operating in the tri-boundaries of Nueva Ecija, Nueva Viscaya and Eastern Pangasinan conducting hostile activities in the area. Meanwhile, pursuit and clearing operations are still conducted to hunt down the NPA remnants who have withdrawn from the site.

The successful conduct of focused military operations was a result of the information provided by the people being threatened by these communist terrorists. MGen Emmanuel Salamat, Commander of NOLCOM, congratulated the troops involved, inspiring further all troops to continue protecting the Filipino people and to contribute to national development. PIO NOLCOM/MCAG

Nine (9) High powered Firearms

Backpacks containing Subversive Documents

DWDD: VISIT | CSAFP with wounded soldiers at AGH

From DWDD AFP Civil Relations Service Radio Website (Sep 22): VISIT  |  CSAFP with wounded soldiers at AGH

FORT ANDRES BONIFACIO, Taguig City (DWD0 – Chief of Staff, Armed Forces of the Philippines Gen. Eduardo M. Año visited wounded soldiers currently recuperating at the Army General Hospital (AGH), Health Service Command, Tuesday, September 19, 2017.

The highlight of the visit was the ceremonial turnover of financial assistance from private donors and care packages from the Armed Forces of the Philippines Officers Ladies Club to 97 soldiers wounded in action. The said soldiers were wounded in the encounters with the lawless terrorist groups in Marawi City and in other parts of the country. OACPA/MCAG


From DWDD AFP Civil Relations Service Radio Website (Sep 22): COMMISSION ON APPOINTMENTS  |  CA confirms 65 AFP Officers

MANILA (DWDD) – Senate President Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III, chairman of the Commission on Appointments (CA), along with Senators Panfilo Lacson and Juan Edgardo Angara, join officers from the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) led by Read Admiral Jande Francisco and Major Generals Romeo Dela Cruz, Rolando Joselito Bautista, Isidro Purisima, Macairog Alberto, and Restituto Padilla, who is AFP spokesperson, during the CA plenary session on Wednesday, September 20, 2017.

The commission confirmed the appointment of at least 65 AFP officers during the session.
Also in photo are CA members are Valenzuela 1st District Representative Wes Gatchalian, Cavite 5th District Representative Roy Loyola, and Manila 5th District Representative Rosenda Ann Ocampo. SENATE PRIB/MCAG

MNLF-IIO: Photo: Parliament Summit on Federalism

Posted to the Moro National Liberation Front (Misuari)-International Information Office Facebook page (Sep 22): Photo: Parliament Summit on Federalism

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