Thursday, April 28, 2011
Wednesday, April 27, 2011
MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine Navy has commissioned two vessels into active service during its recent 73rd anniversary celebration held at Sangley Point in Cavite City.
Lt. Col. Omar Tonsay, director of the Naval Public Affairs Office, said the two newly-commissioned vessels – BRP Emilio Liwanag (PG118) and BRP Manobo (AT297) – were repaired using deadlocked parts which were sourced from the systems and machinery of vessels.
PG118 is one of the seven Patrol Killer Medium (PKM) gunboats acquired from South Korea but had to undergo repairs when she was turned over to the Philippine Navy.
On the other hand, BRP Manobo is a combat and logistics support vessel used to transport personnel and cargo. Formerly categorized as a boat unit of the Philippine Navy, BRP Manobo was commissioned to increase logistics support capability of the navy.
The commissioning ceremony was presided by the Flag Officer-In-Command Vice Admiral Alexander Pama.
The Navy also inaugurated the Fleet Command Center (FCC) equipped with information systems designed to show real time dispositions of its troops, vessels, manpower and aerial assets nationwide, through a computerized network of information and database systems.
It is expected that the new technological innovations will enable the Philippine Fleet to promptly assess situations at sea, address security concerns and respond efficiently during emergencies.
Rear Admiral Jose Luis Alano, Commander of the Philippine Fleet, said that the new technological innovation is designed to improve its operational capabilities as part of its modernization program. (EHL)
Monday, April 25, 2011
Sunday, April 24, 2011
The Philippine Navy was able to rescue American national Ruben Staver and his Singaporean friend Foo Hay Chim, off Scott Point, Sofronio Espanola, Palawan. Photo courtesy PHILIPPINE NAVY, Naval Public Affairs Office
by Lois CalderonSunday, April 24, 2011
Singapore - A Singaporean and an American on a boating trip in the South China Sea were rescued by the Philippine Navy after their yacht was damaged by strong waves.
In a statement on its website, the Philippine Navy said that the Singaporean has been identified as Mr Foo Hay Chim and the American is Mr Ruben Staver. It did not provide any further details about the duo.
The navy said that they were rescued at about 5.30am on Friday.
The navy said it acted on a call for assistance at about 11pm on Thursday from the Palawan Coast Guard that a yacht was in distress and was in danger of sinking. After a six-hour search, the yacht was spotted off Arreceffi Island in Palawan. The rescued Singaporean and American were taken to the Coast Guard Detachment of Narra.
The navy said the yacht, Fly Ruben Fly, was sailing from Kudat in Borneo to the western Philippine island of Palawan.
When found, the yacht had run aground and was half submerged, the navy statement said.
Philippine Navy Lieutenant-Commander Algier Ricafrente told MediaCorp that the pair was found in "good physical condition".
"Based on the medical check-up conducted after they were rescued, aside from the sunburn they incurred during their voyage, they were in good physical condition," added Commander Ricafrente, who is also the Philippine navy spokesman.
Navy officials said they have arranged for the two to be flown to Manila to report to the Bureau of Immigration.
The two, however, "opted to proceed to Manila independently with the assurance to coordinate with our office in Palawan after presenting themselves to the Bureau of Immigration to arrange for the recovery of their yacht," Mr Ricafrente said in a text message to MediaCorp.
The Singapore Government has yet to be informed of the incident, he said.Courtesy of Today
Saturday, April 23, 2011
About a company size of troops from the Philippine Fleet are on standby throughout the holy week to provide evacuation and rescue assistance to more than 1,000 caretakers who are reportedly left behind in the danger zone, Jose Luis Alano, Commander of the Philippine Fleet, said in a press release on Saturday.
The Philippine Fleet is the nearest Naval facility that can respond immediately in case Taal Volcano erupts. Aside from the troops, the Fleet Support Force is prepared to deploy rubber boats, trucks, life vests, a team of divers, and an ambulance with a medical team.
Taal Volcano, an island situated in the middle of Taal lake in Batangas province of north Philippines, has more than 5,000 residents, most of whom were already evacuated to safer grounds.
The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology ( PHILVOLCS) recorded 19 earthquakes in the past 24 hours, one of those event which occurred at 4:31 a.m. Saturday was felt at Intensity III. The temperature at the Main Crater Lake has increased from 30.5 degrees Celsius to 31.5 degrees Celsius.
PHIVOLCS advises the public to keep away from the Main Crater, because sudden hazardous steam-driven explosions may occur and high concentrations of toxic gases may accumulate.
The Philippines sits on the Pacific "Ring of Fire" where continental plates collide, causing frequent seismic and volcanic activity.
Tuesday, April 19, 2011
SINGER-actor Ogie Alcasid will be doing a Bob Hope through the Bayanihan Peace Caravan 2011 that will hold musical concerts for soldiers in a bid to boost their morale amid allegations of high-level corruption in the military.
Comedian-actor Hope used to headline shows with other celebrities and stars, including Marilyn Monroe, to entertain US servicemen deployed overseas through United Service Organizations (USO) tours. He made some 60 USO tours to various destinations, including Vietnam at the height of the Vietnam war, for which he was honored by the US Congress as the "first and only honorary veteran of the US armed forces."
Alcasid, president of the Organisasyon ng Pilipinong Mang-aawit (OPM), signed a memorandum of understanding with the AFP for the holding of the Rockrakan para sa Kapayapaan concert which kicks off on April 27 at the military’s general headquarters in Camp Aguinaldo.
Alcasid will be accompanied by singers Noel Cabangon, Cookie Chua, Syato Banda and Mitch Valdes. Cabangon is the OPM’s vice president for external affairs while Valdes is the group’s chairman of the board. Chua, vocalist of the disbanded Color it Red band, is a member of the 500-man organization.
Performing with them are the Philippine Marine Corps, Philippine Navy Seabees and Philippine Air Force 710th Special Operations Wing and Ltjg. Chat Alvaro, singer of the song "Bayanihan" that was inspired by the military’s internal peace and security plan Bayanihan.
AFP spokesman Brig. Gen. Jose Mabanta said the concert will be held in selected areas nationwide. He said they are now finalizing the dates and venues.
Alcasid said the activity is meant to show support for the troops. "We feel for the soldiers. You know, when all these things (allegations of corruption) came out, we thought that the morale of the soldiers went down. This is meant to restore (their morale). It’s just our way of showing that we’re for you, we are behind you," he said.
Alcasid, recently appointed by President Aquino to the People Power Commission, said his organization is also supporting the peace initiatives of the 120,000-strong military establishment. He said his group’s concerts have nothing to do with his post which pays him nothing. "I’m doing this as an ordinary citizen. You know, all of us can complain about many things that are going on in our society, even in government. But if you’re not gonna do anything about it (that’s useless)…I’d rather do things that can be of help and these (concerts) are one of them."
Sunday, April 17, 2011
As the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) remains wanting in the projection of naval presence, the Philippine Fleet based in Sangley Point, Cavite, last Friday marked its 73rd founding anniversary with the commissioning of two newly-repaired vessels.
Lt. Col. Omar Tonsay, Navy spokesman, said coinciding with the Philippine Fleet’s founding anniversary, the fleet also launched its new IT-based Command Center.
Tonsay said the two newly commissioned vessels, the BRP Emilio Liwanag (PG118) and the BRP Manobo (AT297), were repaired using deadlocked parts sourced from the systems and machines of vessels e docked beyond repair.
The PG118 is one of the seven Patrol Killer- Medium (PKM) gunboats acquired from South Korea in 1995, but had to undergo repairs when she was turned over to the Philippine Navy.
On the other hand, the BRP Manobo is a combat and logistics support vessel that is used to transport personnel and material cargo. Formerly categorized as a Boat Unit of the Philippine Navy, she was commissioned to increase the logistics support capability of the Fleet and whose crew composition will be manned by officers.
Tonsay said the commissioning ceremony, which included the reading of the commission order, breaking the commissioning pennant, and hoisting the national flag and Jack flag were presided by the Navy Flag Officer-in-Command (FOIC), Vice Admiral Alexander Pama.
Friday, April 15, 2011
PUERTO PRINCESA CITY, Philippines—An alleged smuggling syndicate operating in the southwestern tip of Palawan was busted and P15 million worth of assorted cigarettes from Malaysia were confiscated by intelligence operatives of the Western Command and Naval Forces West on Thursday.
Wescom spokesman Major Neil Estrella said Friday the bust was conducted following weeks of surveillance on the group believed actively involved in smuggling and using Mangsee Island in Balabac, an area nearest to the border of Malaysia, as a transit point of the contraband entering the country.
"This shipment route is very active. Almost every other week there are ... contraband that are able to get into mainland Palawan and into the rest of the country," Estrella said.
Based on intelligence reports from surveillance activities, Estrella said they applied for a search warrant and was granted by Regional Trial Court Judge Jocelyn Dilig to investigate a network of warehouses in Balabac used by several Muslim traders based there.
"So far, we have searched seven warehouses and were able to retrieve at least P15 million worth of smuggled cigarettes. We're also looking into the possibility of drugs and firearms," Estrella said.
He said the operation was assisted by fast crafts of the US-assisted Small Boat Unit (SBU) of the PNP Maritime which was primarily intended for terrorist interdiction duties around Palawan's southern backdoor.
Smuggling charges were being prepared against several Muslim traders based in Balabac, according to Estrella.
Monday, April 11, 2011
Wednesday, April 6, 2011
Tuesday, April 5, 2011
The Philippines, as one of the world’s largest archipelagos, also has one of the longest combined coastlines on the planet. Patrolling them requires a well-trained military force and, just as importantly, an appropriate fleet of vehicles.
Enter the Coastal-Riverine-Overland Craft (CROC). The CROC is a locally developed, Filipino-designed amphibious vehicle that combines the abilities of an all-terrain vehicle and a high-speed jet boat. CROC reportedly incorporates lightweight but rugged materials and breakthrough hull design. It is designed to be equally adept at running on land and cruising in the water.
The CROC starts out as a 4x4 land vehicle and by retracting its wheels, transforms into a high-speed powerboat capable of navigating in deep and shallow water.
On land, the CROC is projected to be capable of speeds up to 120 km/h, and with a 200-liter dual fuel tank, could attain a range of 1000 km. Its specs include independent double-wishbone suspension at the front, and a rear torsion bar with coil-over-Eibach springs. It is even equipped with four-wheel steering, providing maneuverability in tight spaces such as the infamous U-turns along C5. It’s equipped with four-wheel disc brakes.
A centralized tire-pressure control system, like the Humvee’s, can be included as an option. A front winch and a portable winch will help in its varied missions, as will a steel-reinforced back rest, that, used as a bridge, will enable the truck to traverse a one-meter canal or trench.
Its optimum land speed could exceed 120 kph and with a 200-ltr dual tank, the range could be more than 1000 kms on paved roadways.
In the water, CROC’s tri-hull design and 23-foot length provide stability, and also lessen the shock transmitted to the interior. In the water, it is powered by a marine jet drive, allowing it to perform spins, slides and full stops in high-speed runs. Virtually unsinkable, the CROC stays afloat even if its compartments are filled with water. The four tires help provide buoyancy. Its design includes self-righting capability in the event that it flips over.
The model that will be on display at the Manila International Auto Show (MIAS), from April 7 to 10 at the World Trade Center, is dubbed the CROC-X, as it is an experimental model. Powering the CROC-X is a 5.2-liter Magnum V8 water-cooled engine, sourced from Chrysler. Power is coursed through a four-wheel drive automatic-transmission, with a five-speed manual transfer case for the marine jet.
The basic CROC tips the scales at 2.5 metric tons, and can carry a payload of two metric tons, with suspension modification. CROC-X is a collaboration between civilian and military innovators, and was prototyped in a just six months.
The designers envision production models to be powered by any of a variety of engines, including diesels or hybrids. For sea-going CROCS, such as those to be used for coastal patrols, a marine engine would be preferable.
The CROC is also reportedly ideal for rescue operations, particularly during floods and other natural calamities. The designers also foresee applications in the tourism industry, as it can be used as in a combined 4x4 vehicle and jet boat adventure ride, taking off from popular beach resorts.
The CROC can carry 10 passengers, including driver and navigator, and can be equipped with mounting for various types of weapons, radio sets, external fuel tanks and other equipment.
Ballistic protection will be incorporated in future iterations. The prototype model already includes an anti-landmine feature—detachable chimneys above the front wheels to direct blasts upwards.
To provide quick egress, not to mention a touch of drama, the doors open gullwing style.
The vehicle is designed by OPCENTEC, a local company specializing in designing and prototyping unique technology solutions for defense, security and disaster response.
By Caroline J. Howard, ANC
ABS-CBN News, Tuesday, April 5, 2011
MANILA, Philippines - New Navy Chief Alexander Pama vows to improve the capability of the Philippine Navy to secure the country's coastlines.
Speaking on ANC's "The Rundown" on Tuesday, Pama, who succeeded Rear Admiral Danilo Cortez, says he plans to implement training programs to enhance the competence of Navy personnel.
"We envision to build the capability and are trying to get modern equipment, but you need people who will be able to handle the new equipment. Comparatively our assets would not be at par with our neighbors. That's exactly why we have this program, to be able to make a Navy that's credible in performing its functions and duties."
While set on improving the Navy's skills, Pama, a member of Philippine Military Academy (PMA) Class '79, remains circumspect about the Navy's hardware needs.
He says any upgrade will depend on proposed strategies for dealing with disasters and various threats facing the country.
"We have different kinds of threats. The bigger requires millions, we definitely can't afford it, yet we hope to afford it someday."
"We don't aspire for a blue water Navy, we just need assets to address the crying needs of security requirements" Pama says.
Among these needs are protecting fishermen, the country's marine and natural resources, conducting search and rescue operations, and watching the country's borders from intrusions.
The Navy is currently drawing up a list of priority acquisitions as it sets out to share resources with the rest of the country's armed forces.
During Navy turnover ceremonies on Tuesday, President Aquino expressed confidence in the competence of the Philippine Navy in securing the country's coastal waters, and assured government's full support in its operations.
The Chief Executive also acknowledged the Navy's valuable efforts in disaster relief operations.
Planned sale, lease of Navy headquarters
In the course of modernization, meantime, Pama reveals one scenario being explored is bringing back the Navy to Fort Bonifacio. This comes amid ongoing discussions to either sell or lease the Navy headquarters in Roxas Boulevard.
"That's part of the study being undertaken now. It's not just in the realm of the possibility but probability. It involves economic matters, legal matters, and we're in active consultation with other agencies of government."
He says some camps have also expressed interest in acquiring the Bonifacio Naval Station.
"We want to optimize the benefits the Navy, in part, and the Armed Forces, in general, generate from these activities," Pama says.
Monday, April 4, 2011
Earlier, embassy spokesperson Rebecca Thompson told the Philippine Daily Inquirer that "at the invitation of the Philippine government, approximately 5,000 US service members will participate in the training exercises and humanitarian activities for a two-week period (April 5 to 15), working at all times alongside their Armed Forces of the Philippines counterparts."
The embassy explained that "although there will be few combined field training exercises this year, various construction and free medical, dental and veterinary civic action activities by joint US and Philippine military teams are being conducted on schedule."
"These civic-military activities began in early March. Additionally, five barangays (villages) in Tarlac and Zambales provinces are each assured of a new classroom building by the exercises' completion on April 15," it also said.
According to the embassy, "this year's exercises—the 27th edition of the Balikatan series—seek to maintain the high level of readiness and interoperability of the two countries' troops in responding to natural disasters and other crises that threaten public health and safety."
Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Edilberto Adan, also executive director of the Presidential Commission on the Visiting Forces Agreement (between Manila and Washington), said "the conduct of the Balikatan exercises aims to improve and sustain the interoperability skills of Philippine and US troops and units that are participating."
Adan noted the war games were "jointly approved by the Philippine and US governments under the Mutual Defense Board process," adding the Philippines is a "mutual security ally of the US."
US Ambassador to the Philippines Harry K. Thomas Jr. said Balikatan would be "all about our partnership and friendship."
Earlier in a statement, the US embassy said "soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines from our countries are scheduled to conduct combined staff exercises and field training at Clark Air Base, Fort Magsaysay, Crow Valley, and off the Central and Southern Luzon coasts to improve interoperability, maritime security and contingency planning."
During the exercises, "the US and Philippine navies will also conduct training in explosive ordnance disposal and countering threats posed by improvised explosive devices off the coast of Ternate, Cavite."
"Members of the Philippine and US armed forces will also conduct humanitarian assistance projects in Central and Southern Luzon. Military medical personnel will offer free medical, dental and veterinary care, while military engineers will conduct and repair schools and other infrastructure in communities in need of assistance," the embassy added.
On Monday, the militant League of Filipino Students (LFS) assailed the alleged "double talk" of US embassy officials on the nature of the Balikatan exercises.
LFS national chairman Terry Ridon said "no matter how Ambassador Harry Thomas sugarcoats the exercises, it is nothing but a massive counterinsurgency operation by US troops on Philippine soil."
Ridon claimed "the main reason for the heightened emphasis on humanitarian and civic-military operations is due to the global shift in tactics of the US military to win the hearts and minds of host nations, like the Philippines."
"Again, winning hearts and minds is still within the military framework of decimation and destruction with clear military objectives related to its involvement in counterinsurgency operations," he said.
Ridon also said "never for once must the people believe the sincerity of the US military's intentions in the conduct of its humanitarian missions."
"As stated in its 2009 Counterinsurgency Manual, the US' peace offering tactics need to be employed to soften the opposition of direct and actual military presence of US troops in host nations like the Philippines. Thus, all the relief and humanitarian operations are mere military US psy-ops and never in the interest of full and complete Philippine development," he added.
Renato Reyes Jr., secretary general of the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) called the Balikatan "proof of the one-sided Philippines-US relations."
Reyes said "these are under the auspices of the lopsided VFA."
He accused Washington of "taking advantage of the vague provisions of the VFA, which do not specify the number of troops allowed to come here, nor does it require US troops to go through our Bureau of Immigration."
"We have no idea who goes and who stays, as what is happening now in Mindanao," Reyes added.
Adan earlier clarified that American soldiers based in Mindanao have been "conducting and supporting the activities of the AFP through civic-military operations."
"They are not allowed to engage in combat operations. Their presence is authorized by our government through the Mutual Defense Board. Their support to the AFP has degraded the capabilities of the Abu Sayyaf terrorist group," he explained.
Sunday, April 3, 2011
Photo By Candice Reyes
Photo By Luzviminda Lacbo
By Ey Acasio
Saturday, April 2, 2011
Friday, April 1, 2011
By Joel C. Atencio
Balita.ph, Friday, April 01,2011
MANILA, April 1 – Philippine Navy (PN) Flag Officer-in-Command Vice Admiral Alexander P. Pama said Friday the "Balikatan 2011" exercise between the Philippines and United States military forces is all "about regional cooperation and friendship among allies."
Set on April 5-15, it is the 27th bilateral exercise conducted annually to serve as a venue for joint and combined training between the Philippines and U.S. military forces.
“On a much larger scale, let me emphasize that this annual exercise endeavors to enhance regional cooperation, promote friendship and strengthen mutual relationships between the participating countries, as well as sustain professional skills of participants from both forces at every level,” Pama said.
The Navy FOIC was the guest of honor during Friday afternoon’s send-off ceremonies of the “Philippines-United States Balikatan 2011” at the Navy headquarters along Roxas Blvd. in Manila.
Pama said this is the huge value-added imperative that "Balikatan exercises have provided both our countries through the years of its existence."
The Navy chief specifically acknowledged the various programmed activities designed to develop the country’s maritime security capabilities by conducting series of symposia, practicals and other at-sea events that focus on anti-insurgency and terrorism activities.
“It is my great honor to join all of you here today, as we send-off all members of the PN contingent to the second phase of the Balikatan 2011 exercises," he said.
The Navy will send the destroyer escort Rajah Humabon (PF-11), the flagship of the PN which will ferry two company-sized personnel composed of sailors and marines, a team of navy sea, air and land (SEAL) team and a group of explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) as participants of the activity.
Two teams of Naval Special Operations Group (NAVSOG) equipped with an 11-meter rigid hull inflatable boat (RHIB), M-35 and Humvee trucks and other equipment that will be used for the Balikatan exercise were displayed during the send-off ceremony.
Also present during the event was Commodore Joseph Rostum Peña, Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) deputy commander of the Philippine Fleet and the PN exercise director of the Balikatan Exercise 2011.
Pama further said this year’s Balikatan Joint Exercise aims to improve US-Phl combined planning, combat readiness, and interoperability while enhancing security relations between the Philippines and the U.S.
“Balikatan” is a Filipino word which means "shoulder-to-shoulder" that characterizes the philosophy and intent of the exercise.
For this year, the military exercises will focus on revitalizing the interoperability of the Philippines and U.S. militaries in post-conflict response through the conduct of disaster rehabilitation and rural development projects.
Activities will include Engineering Civic Action Program (ENCAP), Medical Action Program (MEDCAP), Dental Civic Action Program, Veterinary Civic Action Program (VETCAP), and Community Relations (COMREL) activities which will be conducted in Central Luzon.
Five barangays in Central Luzon will benefit from the ENCAP activities. The combined engineering forces will construct two-room school buildings in each barangay while MEDCAP, VETCAP, and COMREL activities will also be conducted in these areas.
The Balikatan Exercise 2011 also aims to formulate and assess concepts for the Unilateral Defense Plan (UDP) through a Staff Exercise and Command Post Exercise (STAFFEX/CPX) at the Western Command in Puerto Princesa City, Palawan.
Further, it will also evaluate concepts of transition from UDP to Bilateral Defense Plan (BDP), and to a post-conflict response in a STAFFEX/CPX that will be held at the Northern Luzon Command in Camp Aquino, Tarlac City, Tarlac.
A Field Training Exercise (FTX), a core component of Balikatan 2011, will also take place to help stimulate the capabilities of the major services of the AFP.
The FTX, including ground forces, sailors, marines, and airmen from different AFP units and U.S. forces, will hold simultaneous field training exercises in Fort Magsaysay, Nueva Ecija; Basa Air Base, Pampanga; Clark Freeport Zone, Pampanga; Crow Valley Range, Tarlac; Naval Station L. Gantionqui, Zambales; Sangley Point, Cavite City; Marine Base Ternate, Cavite; and Mactan Benito Ebuen Air Base, Lapu-Lapu City, Cebu. (PNA) scs/JCA