Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Navy planning to acquire seven vessels next year

By Alexis Romero
The Philippine Star, Wednesday, December 29, 2010

MANILA, Philippines - The Navy plans to acquire seven vessels next year to improve its operations and upgrade its capabilities.

Navy spokesman Capt. Giovanni Bacordo told The STAR that they want to buy three offshore patrol vessels, three multipurpose attack craft and a landing craft utility in 2011.

“We seek to upgrade the capabilities of the Navy. The acquisition will help us perform our duties,” Bacordo said.

He said the attack craft, which will be used to insert troops during combat operations, would cost P89 million each.

On the other hand, the P178-million landing craft utility would be used to transport troops and logistics.

Bacordo said the patrol vessels would be used to conduct patrols at the Malampaya natural gas offshore facility in Palawan.

Information about the cost of the patrol vessels is not yet available.

Bacordo said the Navy has three multipurpose attack vessels in its inventory.

Two are deployed in Western Mindanao while another is stationed in Palawan.

He said they also have three landing craft utility but no offshore patrol vessels.

Bacordo said the purchase of a multi-role vessel is still in the pipeline but this would depend on the availability of funds.

He said they could not rely solely on the Navy’s annual budget for funds to cover the purchases since 70 percent of it goes to salaries while the rest is used to fund maintenance and operating expenses.

The purchase of the multi-role vessel, which costs about P5 billion, has been planned since 2007. Its acquisition, however, was stalled due to lack of financial resources.

A multi-role vessel is capable of delivering basic services to far-flung areas and can be used for disaster and humanitarian missions.

Earlier, the military announced plans to lease its properties to private firms to generate funds for its modernization program.

Officials said such a scheme would allow the military to procure equipment without bloating the deficit, which is expected to hit P325 billion this year.

Authorities are still determining how much would be generated from the project.

Last November, acting Navy chief Rear Adm. Danilo Cortez told The STAR that at least six firms have expressed interest in the project.

One of the six firms – Malaysian Resources Corp. Berhad – has submitted a proposal that would involve the lease of a 33-hectare Navy property in Fort Bonifacio in Taguig.

The Armed Forces Modernization Act, which took effect on Feb. 23, 1995, has given the military the opportunity to modernize in 15 years with a total fund of P331 billion.

More than 15 years have passed since the law was enacted but there are views that the military is not even close to what may be called a modern battle force. The delay in the law’s implementation has been attributed to the lack of state resources.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Never say die

By: Bert Amoroso
Daily Tribune, Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Members of the Philippine Marine Battalion Landing Team 6 (MBLT-6) land in Manila after 10 years of battling lawless elements in Mindanao. In recognition of the battalion's role in neutralizing the operations of terror groups in the South, the 380-man team will be accorded honors at the Navy headquarters along Roxas Boulevard, Manila

500 Marines tigil muna sa 10-taong pakikipagbakbakan

By: Joy Cantos
Pilipino Star Ngayon, Wednesday, Disyembre 15, 2010

MANILA, Philippines - Matapos ang isang dekada o 10 taong pagsabak sa combat operations, nabigyan ng pagkakataon para sa Christmas break at reunion ang isang batalyon o 500 tropa ng Philippine Marines.

Pinayagan nang makauwi sa kani-kanilang mga pamil­ya ang mga elemento ng Marine Battalion Landing Team (MBLT) 6 makaraan ang mahabang panahong walang puknat na pakikipaglaban sa iba’t ibang klaseng kriminal partikular ang bandidong Abu Sayyaf Group sa Basilan, Tawi-Tawi, North Cotabato at maging sa Lanao del Norte.

Ang naturang grupo ay elite force na panlaban sa mga ASG dahil sa kakaibang training ng mga ito.

Pinoy sea marshals honored by IMO

By: Pia Lee-Brago
Philippine Star, Sunday, December 12, 2010

MANILA, Philippines – Four Filipino sea marshals received awards from the International Maritime Organization (IMO) for their bravery while on duty onboard the Super Ferry 9 that sank in September 2009, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) announced.

The Philippine embassy in London reported to the DFA that members of the Task Force Sea Marshals received Certificates of Commendation from the IMO at ceremonies for the 2010 IMO Award for Exceptional Bravery at Sea held at the IMO headquarters in London recently.

The Filipino awardees were Coast Guard Petty Officer Second Class Samuel Boniol, Navy Petty Officer Third Class Anifer Bucao, Navy Seaman First Class Oliver Cogo, and Philippine National Police Senior Police Officer 3 (SPO3) Loreto Justo.

Except for Justo who has retired from service, the three awardees personally received their commendation from IMO Secretary General Efthimios Mitropoulos.

They were accompanied by Charge d’Affaires Reynaldo Catapang and Coast Guard Commodore and Task Force Sea Marshals head Luis Tuason Jr.

Following the order to abandon ship as Super Ferry 9 sank, the four assisted with the evacuation of the passengers and shepherded them as they were being rescued.

They were the last persons to abandon the severely listing vessel after ensuring that all passengers had been evacuated.

The three Filipino sailors were presented to leaders of the Filipino community in London by Catapang during the annual charity dinner and dance hosted by the Kapampangan Association of UK.

“The bravery of these Filipino service personnel, in complete disregard of their personal safety, highlights the natural inclination of Filipino soldiers to willingly put their lives on the line to protect civilians. We are indeed proud of their international recognition by IMO,” Catapang remarked.

The IMO Award for Exceptional Bravery at Sea was established by the IMO to provide international recognition for those who, at the risk of their own life, perform acts of exceptional bravery in attempting to save life at sea or in attempting to prevent or mitigate damage to the marine environment and, by so doing, help to raise the profile of shipping and enhance its image.

Fijian seaman James Fanifau received the award this year for his rescue of Dr. Jerome Morgan from the sinking yacht Sumatra II in May 2009, amid severe weather conditions in the Tasman Sea in Brisbane, Australia.

In 2009, Philippine Coast Guard Auxiliary Lieutenant Commander Vanessa Anne Garon and Ensign Maria Alexandra Garon received Letters of Commendation from IMO for their role in the recovery of bodies from the capsized M/V Princess of the Stars.

Thursday, December 9, 2010


Manila Times, Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Soldiers participate in a joint training exercise dubbed Exercise "Dagit 2010" in Sangley Point, Cavite City, which aims to enhance interoperability between the Navy and the Air Force through the sharing of information on maritime matters.

3 World War II barko ng Navy, pinagretiro na

By: Joy Cantos

Pilipino Star Ngayon, Friday, December 10, 2010

MANILA, Philippines - Sa kabila ng kakulangan sa multi-bilyong pondo para sa Mo­dernization Program ng Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), tatlong lumang mga barko na panahon pa ng World War II ang pinagretiro na ang ope­rasyon ng Philippine Navy kahapon.

Ayon kay Philippine Navy Spokesman Capt. Giovanni Carlo Bacordo ang PS-23 at P 29; pawang mga patrol ship ay gamit sa Internal Security Operations habang ang Patrol gunboat PG -844 ay pawang sobrang luma na at may 67 taon ng ginagamit ng hukbong dagat.

Ang naturang mga barko ay nakadaong sa Naval Shipyard sa Navy Station Pascual Ledesma sa Cavite City.

Ipinaliwanag naman ng opisyal na ang pagpapatigil sa paggamit ng naturang mga barko ay dahilan sa masyadong magastos ang magmintina ng mga lumang barko na panahon pa ng World War II bukod sa masyado na itong mabagal at maraming depekto.

“They are impossible to maintain due to old age,” ani Bacordo kung saan sa kabuuang 53 patrol ships ay 25 lamang ang ma­aring magamit sa patrol ope­ration­.

Samantalang nabatid naman kay Captain Noel de Vera, Commander ng Naval Shipyard na aabot lamang sa P35- M ang pondo­ para sa pagmamantine ng may 102 barko ng Philippine Navy kaya’t importanteng maisulong ang mo­dernisasyon ng naturang hukbo.

Vintage Navy ships taken off the shelf

By: Victor Reyes

Malaya, Friday, December 10, 2010

THE Navy yesterday decommissioned three vintage ships.

It is coordinating with the donors of the two patrol ships and a patrol gunboat prior to selling these as scrap metal.

Parts of these vessels have already been removed and used for other Navy ships.

"If we needed spares, we just goet them from these (now decommissioned ships)," said Capt. Giovanni Carlo Bacordo, Navy spokesman.

"They are beyond economic repair. It will entail a lot of cost if they are going to be revived so we preferred to remove them from the inventory of the Philippine Navy," said Bacordo.

Bacordo also said the decommissioning of the ships would not have effect on the Navy’s operational capability because these have not been used for a long while, remaining idle at Sangley Point in Cavite City, home of the Philippine Fleet.

He said the two patrol ships, PS 29 or BRP Negros Occidental and PS 23 or BRP Datu Marikudo, were donated by the US after the World War II and are 67 years old.

The gunboat (PG 844 or BRP Jose Artiaga) saw action with the Philippine Navy in 1993 after their donation by South Korea. It is about 30 years old.

With the decommissioning of the three ships, the Navy is left with 99 patrol, transport, and auxiliary ships and small craft, many of them also ageing. Of the number, 54 are operational, the Navy said.

Navy decommissions 3 WW II patrol boats

By: Alexis Romero

Philippine Star, Friday, December 10, 2010

SANGLEY POINT– Three World War II-era Navy patrol boats given by the United States were decommissioned yesterday.

Navy spokesman Capt. Giovanni Bacordo said the 67-year-old patrol boats, which saw action in World War II, will be sold as scrap metal.

“We have a Navy disposal committee,” he said.

Capt. Noel de Vera, Navy shipyard commander, said they have to get approval from the Armed Forces chief and the Joint United States Military Advisory Committee (JUSMAG) before they can proceed with the bidding.

The Navy disposal committee is still assessing the value of the decommissioned vessels, he added, Bacordo said only four of the 10 Navy auxiliary ships are operational.

Among the 32 small craft, 23 are operational, with an average age of 21 years old, he added.

Bacordo said the Navy budget cannot bankroll the purchase of new assets because 70 percent of the outlay goes to the salary of personnel.

The rest is for maintenance and operational expenses, he added.

Navy data showed that out of the 53 ships in the inventory, only 25 are operational.

These patrol boats are, on average, 36 years old.

The bigger ships like mine sweeper frigates and patrol craft escorts are 66 and 67 years old.

PH, Royal Brunei navies in joint exercises

By: Phoebe Jen Indino

Manila Bulletin, Friday, December 10, 2010

CAMP LAPU-LAPU, Cebu City, Philippines — The Ambassador of the Sultanate of Brunei Darussalam to the Philippines, Her Excellency, Malai Majah Haji Yussof, along with officers of the Royal Brunei Navy paid a courtesy visit to Lt. Gen. Ralph Villanueva, Commander, Central Command earlier this week at the start of the bilateral maritime training activity between the Philippine Navy and Royal Brunei Navy.

The Royal Brunei Navy is here for a six-day bilateral training exercises with the Philippine Navy in Cebu, from December 6 to 12.

Around 130 uniformed personnel of the Philippine Navy are expected to participate in the six-day training exercise together with some 56 officers and men of the Royal Brunei Navy.

Said bilateral maritime training exercise between the navies of the two countries is conducted every two years to enhance both their capabilities in maritime security, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief.

In an interview, Ensign Joseph Ison, Public Information Officer of the Naval Forces Central (NAVFORCEN), said that this year, the training will be focused largely on cross training.

Ison added that there will also be an exchange of some of the best practices from both navies. “We are expected to learn from them even as we share with them our best practices and vice versa,” he said.

Moreover, the six-day training will also include a series of lectures and demonstrations and, on the last, day, debriefing sessions will be held and plaques exchanged between members of both naval forces.

The lectures will touch on Disaster Response at Sea, Maritime Interdiction Operation and Visit Board Search and Seizure. (Phoebe Jen Indino)

2 Navy personnel cited in London for bravery

By: Elena Aben

Manila Bulletin, November 27, 2010

MANILA, Philippines — Two Philippine Navy personnel received commendation from the International Maritime Organization (IMO) in London, in recognition of their gallant acts during the evacuation and rescue of passengers of the ill-fated Super Ferry 9 that sank off Siocon town in Zamboanga del Norte in September 2009.

Twelve people perished from the incident while more than 900 were saved from the tragedy.

Capt. Giovanni Carlo Bacordo, acting Navy spokesman, said Gunnersmate 3rd Class Anifer Bucao and Fireman 1st Class Aviation Mechanic Oliver Cogo were presented the certificates of commendation on November 25 at the IMO headquarters in London.

On September 10, 2009, the Navy Flag Officer-in-Command (FOIC) Vice Admiral Ferdinand Golez also presented to Bucao and Cogo, members of the four-man Task Force Sea Marshal, the “Distinguished Navy Cross,” the highest award the command can bestow, also for their “sound judgment” and swift action during the incident.

Bacordo said the IMO gave the award in recognition of the duo’s actions in assisting in the evacuation and disembarkation of the panicked-stricken passengers of the severely listing ship. He added the same recognition will be presented to Petty Officer 2nd Class Samuel Boniol of the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG).

The certificates were presented to the two Navy personnel by His Excellency Eftimios Mitropoulos, IMO Secretary General, during the 88th session of the Maritime Safety Commission Meeting in London.

Bacordo said the IMO Council, during its 104th session held June 7 to 11, decided the said sea marshals should receive the certificates with their actions after the ship listed and the captain issued an order to abandon the ship at around 3:00 a.m. The ship sank six hours later.

Bucao and Cogo became nominees for the 2010 IMO Award for Exceptional Bravery at Sea.

During the presentation of the Distinguished Navy Cross medal to the duo in 2009, the former Navy chief said Cogo was the last person to jump off the sinking ship on that fateful day.

Disregarding his own safety, Cogo said he did not leave the ship until he was sure there was no one else left on board the vessel. Based on his narration, among those he was able to help safely disembark from the sinking ferry were 15 children, the last of whom was a special child he recalled kept punching him then.

Bucao admitted fearing for his own life but still managed to maintain presence of mind. He said he decided to jump off the sinking vessel only after making sure there was no one else left in his sector.

The two Navy personnel helped distribute lifejackets while trying to calm down the passengers by telling them that rescue is on its way.

The abandon ship order was announced by the captain at about 3:35 a.m. but it was already around 8 a.m. when Cogo jumped off the ship. As he jumped into the sea, Cogo said he noticed a man having difficulty with his lifejacket so he decided to throw his lifejacket to the man, thinking that he can handle the situation better than the civilian because of his training. Without any life support, Cogo swam as fast as he could, away from the sinking SuperFerry 9 until he reached one of the navy vessels that responded to the distress call.

An order signed by Rear Admiral Feliciano Angue, then Chief of Naval Staff, stated, “Upon hearing the ship master's command to abandon ship, Bucao and Cogo disregarded personal safety and voluntarily remained on board to provide aid and comfort to disoriented passengers.”

200 PAF, Navy men join 'Dagit'

By: Alexis Romero

Philippine Star, Wednesday, December 8, 2010

MANILA, Philippines - A total of 200 soldiers from the Navy and the Air Force are participating in the annual “Dagit” military exercises which kicked off yesterday at Sangley Point in Cavite City.

Philippine Fleet spokesman Ltjg. Rommel Rodriguez said the joint exercise aims to improve the interoperability between the Navy and Air Force, and is part of efforts to prepare for possible terror attacks.