Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Military to send Navy peacekeepers to Haiti

By Alexis Romero
Philippine Star, Tuesday, September 13, 2011

MANILA, Philippines - The military would send for the first time an all-Navy contingent to the United Nations peacekeeping force in Haiti.

Armed Forces public affairs chief Col. Arnulfo Burgos Jr. said the 155-strong contingent would leave on Sept. 20 and stay in Haiti for six months.

A sendoff ceremony was held yesterday at Camp O’Donnell in Tarlac in honor of the team, the country’s 14th contingent to Haiti.

Marine Col. George Fernandez would head the peacekeeping team, which consists of 12 officers and 143 enlisted personnel.

The contingent members came from the different units of the Navy and were the first team to train at Camp O’Donnell.

Burgos said this is the second time that the military is sending a peacekeeping team from only one major service.

The first time was in May when the Armed Forces sent a 327-man all-Army contingent to Liberia. The members were troops of the 76th Infantry Battalion led by Col. Cornelio Valencia.

The peacekeeping unit would conduct humanitarian operations that would benefit those affected by the conflict.

“The deployment of contingents to other countries is our contribution to the United Nations as it continues to perform its role in the advocacy of international peace and solidarity,” Burgos said.

The peacekeepers would also support the Haitian government in promoting the rule of law and human rights and protecting the vulnerable sectors.

“I will successfully accomplish this noble mission by employing our most important assets who are specialized, disciplined, competent and highly trained personnel to perform administrative and logistics services,” Fernandez said in a statement.

Armed Forces chief Gen. Eduardo Oban Jr. said the military would continue to support UN’s peacekeeping efforts even if the Philippines has its own security concerns.

“We have gained a lot on peace keeping which is not apart from the efforts that the AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines) is doing to uphold peace and security within our country,” Oban said.

“Even though we have our own concerns of internal security, our country remains steadfastly supportive of the commitment for world peace, and continues to join other democratic countries in this venture,” he added.

The Philippines is a signatory of the UN charter and has been sending peacekeeping teams to Haiti since 2004. It is also sending peacekeepers to Liberia and the Golan Heights.


Monday, September 12, 2011

Phl Navy acquires new vessel

By Jaime Laude
Philippine Star, Monday, September 12,2011

Manila Philippines- The Philippine Navy is commisioning the construction of a 579-ton Landing Craft Utility (LCU) that will be launched in the last quarter of the year.

The engine and propulsion system of the ship will be craeted by PROMPMECH whila its hull and fixtures will be made by Philippine Iron Construction and Marine Works (PICMW).

The construction of the ship is funded by the Navy's P176-million LCU acquisition project.

The acquisition of the Philippine-made LCU will provide for a readily available watercraft for combat support missions such as logistic transport and amphibious operations," Navy spokesman Omar Tonsay said.

This month, the Navy has received the weather endurance cutter BRP Gregorio del Pilar acquired from the United States Coast Guard for P450 million.

Local shipbuilders configured the LCU to transport combat personnel,tanks, vehicles, artillery, and cargo.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

19 newly promoted AFP generals take oath

By Alexis Romero
Philippine Star, Tuesday, September 6,2011

MANILA, Philippines - Nineteen military generals formally received their promotions yesterday and vowed to perform their duties faithfully as members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).

The generals took their oath in MalacaƱang yesterday morning and were given military honors in a separate ceremony in Camp Aguinaldo in Quezon City. The ceremony was followed by a traditional courtesy call on AFP chief Gen. Eduardo Oban Jr.

“I am proud of all the newly promoted officials, for each of them deserves the commendation that they will receive. I just hope that their citation will go hand in hand with the promise to be a better soldier and officer of the AFP,” he said.

Leading the generals who took their oath was AFP deputy chief of staff Lt. Gen. Anthony Alcantara, who received his third star.

Alcantara, a graduate of the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) Class ‘79, is reportedly one of the strong contenders to be the next AFP chief. He is a classmate of Oban, who is scheduled to retire from the service in December.

Prior to his assumption of the post of deputy chief of staff, Alcantara was the commander of the Army’s 6th Infantry Division based in Maguindanao. As division commander, Alcantara was among those who supervised the implementation of martial law in Maguindanao in the wake of the Nov. 23, 2009 Ampatuan massacre, which left 58 people dead.

Other posts he has held include training and doctrine command chief, AFP Command Center chief, 702nd Infantry Brigade commander, assistant chief of staff for personnel, and assistant chief of staff for civil military operations.

Also among the generals who took their oath is Brig. Gen. Caesar Ronnie Ordoyo, who has been designated as chief of the Intelligence Service. He is a former commander of the Army’s 301st Infantry Brigade and deputy commander of the Armed Forces Western Mindanao Command.

Also promoted was Maj. Gen. Noel Coballes, the commander of the Army’s 1st Infantry Division in Zamboanga del Sur. He oversees the operations against the New People’s Army and the Abu Sayyaf in the Zambonga peninsula region. He is a member of PMA Class 1980.

Other generals who took their oath were Brig. Gen. Reynaldo Torres, chief of the AFP dental service; Rear Adm. Robert Balanon Jr.; Rear Adm. Armando Guzman; Maj. Gen. Joel Marayag; Brig. Gen. Danilo Fabian; Brig. Gen. Teodoro Cirilo Torralba III; Commo. Jose Renan Suarez; Commo. Jesus Millan; Brig. Gen. Edgar Fallorina; Commo. Leopoldo Alano, Brig. Gen. Pedro Biasbas; Commo. Romeo Santiago Nebres; Brig. Gen. Augusto Tolentino; Brig. Gen. Leonido Bongcawil; Brig. Gen. Leo Cresente Ferrer and reservist Brig. Gen. Rufino Tiangco.


Monday, September 5, 2011

More WHEC vessels for military

By Elena Aben
Manila Bulletib, Sunday, September 5, 2011

MANILA, Philippines — Armed Forces Chief of Staff Gen. Eduardo SL Oban Jr. said Saturday that the military expects to acquire another weather high-endurance cutter (WHEC) vessel, like the modern Hamilton-class BRP Gregorio Del Pilar early next year, as he emphasized the military’s capability development is not geared towards any country, but to protect the country’s resources.

In an interview at Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City, following the retirement ceremony for AFP Inspector General Vice Admiral Mario Catacutan, Oban said the AFP is working on the acquisition of two additional Hamilton class ships, adding that the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) is optimistic it will get the second WHEC vessel for the Navy early next year.

But he admitted a lot of work still needs to be done to ensure that two more Hamilton class vessels of the US Coast Guard (USCG) will go to the AFP.

It will be recalled that the Navy’s first Hamilton ship from the USCG, renamed as BRP Gregorio Del Pilar, and now the largest ship in the Philippine Navy arrived last month with President Aquino leading the welcome ceremony. Also present during the event was US Ambassador Harry K. Thomas Jr.

At hte welcome ceremony for the newest member of the Philippine Fleet, the President bared a kist military equipment to be acquired for the fulfillment of the military capability upgrade and modernization program during his term.

Included in the President’s list of military equipment programmed to be acquired to enhance the capability of the Army, Air Force, and Navy are lead-in jet trainers and “similar weather heavy- endurance cutter.”