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AFP coordinates with counterparts over ‘entry’ of foreign terrorists in PH

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Friday, March 22nd, 2019

MANILA, Philippines — The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) has confirmed it is closely coordinating with its foreign counterparts over the possible entry of foreign terrorists in the country through its airports and backdoor channels.

AFP Western Mindanao Command (WESMINCOM) Spokesperson Col. Gerry Besana said this is following reports that some foreign terrorists are attempting to enter the country amid the strict security measures being implemented in the tri-boundary of the Philippines, Malaysia and Indonesia.

“We do not discount the possibility that they might use our airport here. How will you know that people sitting or standing beside you is a terrorist?Not unless he is holding a gun, carrying explosives or anything that will also indicate that he is a terrorist,” Besana said.

The AFP official also revealed that eight out of ten foreign terrorists who were monitored to have entered the Philippines have been tracked in Central Mindanao.

Five of these persons have been identified, including Iraqi Abdul Rahman who allegedly brought an Islamic State flag in the country, two Indonesian nationals, and a Singaporean named Mauwiya.

Mauwiya is believed to be a remnant of Zulkilfli Binhir alias Marwan, the Indonesian terrorist killed by the Philippine National Police Special Action Force (PNP SAF) during a controversial operation, dubbed as the “Mamasapano Encounter” in January 2015.

“We’ve been trying to account all of them, but, of course, [as I’ve] said it is so hard. Nobody can tell who the terrorist is if they simply pose as ordinary people, not unless those are high-value targets reported by our foreign counterparts,” Besana said.

The military assures to continue monitoring and patrolling the country’s borders with the help of other countries, which promised to assist the Philippines in its fight against terrorism. – Robie de Guzman (with details from Lea Ylagan)

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Police, military hospitals on standby amid national dengue alert

by Marje Pelayo   |   Posted on Thursday, July 18th, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Health (DOH) has tapped the service of military hospitals amid following the declaration of national dengue alert.

According to DOH Spokesperson Eric Domingo, they have asked the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) to be on standby in case the number of dengue cases increases beyond government hospitals’ capacity.

“Ang PNP at ang AFP natin may mga hospitals din naman sila and we have to network with them in case na talagang dumami ang pasyente (The PNP and the AFP also have hospitals and we have to network with them in case the number of patients increases),” Domingo said.

“Halimbawa may mga lugar na malayo sa amin tapos sila may hospital maari kaming makipagtulungan para ma- admit din ang mga pasyente sa mga hospitals nila (There are certain areas beyond our reach where military hospitals are located. We can ask for help to admit the patients there in their hospitals),” he added.

On Wednesday (July 17), Health Secretary Francisco Duque III met with the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) Health Cluster to discuss measures to curb the sudden rise of dengue infections in the country.

The DOH is in cooperation with other agencies like the Department of Education (DepEd), the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) in implementing actions in schools to prevent dengue, in educating the public on the dangers of dengue infection, and in coordinating with the local government units in destroying potential breeding grounds of dengue-carrying mosquitoes in different areas in the country.

“Kailangan talaga sa schools maglinis tayo, ma- educate natin iyong children at iyong parents kung paano iyong dapat natin gawin to prevent itong dengue at tsaka meron tayong changes sa mga patakaran sa school, (We need to have regularly clean up drive in schools and we need to educate the children and the parents on what to do to prevent dengue. Also, we have changes in school regulations,)” the DOH Spokesperson said.

Likewise, among the agencies’ action plans include designation of additional hospital rooms for dengue patients through Philippine Red Cross and the construction of extra hospital tents which can be used for emergency.

Domingo stressed the need to always be alert in providing the medical needs of dengue patients in order to prevent further deaths caused by dengue infection this year.

The DOH advises households to dispose stagnant water and dirty containers where dengue mosquitoes may breed.

Install protections such as window and door screens.

Likewise, do not let your child play or come near areas where mosquitoes are breeding.

Maganda pa rin talaga naka- pantalon at long sleeves ang mga bata para hindi siya makakagat ng lamok (It is better to have your child wear long pants and long sleeves to prevent mosquito bites),” Domingo advised.

The DOH, as always, reminds the public to immediately bring the patient to the nearest hospital if symptoms of dengue manifest.

The agency can be reached through the DOH hotline numbers 711-1001 and 711-1002 for inquiry about dengue. — with reports from Aiko Miguel

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AFP: No sightings of anti-ship ballistic missile test in West PH Sea

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Friday, July 5th, 2019

A Filipino soldier patrols at the shore of Pagasa island (Thitu Island) in the Spratly group of islands in the South China Sea, west of Palawan, Philippines, May 11, 2015. REUTERS/RITCHIE B. TONGO/POOL

MANILA, Philippines – The Western Command (WESCOM) of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) said there is no monitored sighting of an anti-ship ballistic test in the West Philippine Sea, following reports of a missile launch by China in the area.

“Based on the report of our operating units, particularly the Joint Task Force West, there is no monitored sighting of anti-ship ballistic missile test conducted in our joint area of operations,” the AFP said in a statement dated July 3.

The military assured it is regularly conducting maritime patrol missions in the Philippine-held island detachments, especially in the West Philippine Sea.

“WESCOM is continuously monitoring our area of responsibility especially in the West Philippine Sea and conducts regular maritime and sovereignty patrol missions incessantly to sustain our presence in the 9 PH-held island detachments,” the AFP said.   

The military issued the statement after Pentagon reported about China’s “disturbing” missile launch near the Spratly (Kalayaan) islands that is contrary to Beijing’s pledge in 2015 not to militarize the man-made outposts in the disputed waterway.

The Philippine Department of National Defense earlier said an inquiry into the said reports will be conducted.

“We will decide later what to do if proven correct,” Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said in a message sent to reporters.  

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Military says Duterte ‘coup’ comment just random remark

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Wednesday, July 3rd, 2019

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte delivers his speech during the 72nd Philippine Air Force Anniversary at the Col. Jesus Villamor Air Base in Pasay City on July 2, 2019. VALERIE ESCALERA/PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte’s appeal for the military and police not to stage a coup d’etat during his term was just a random remark, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) said on Wednesday (July 3).

“That was a random remark on the part of the President and Commander-in-Chief, in so far as the AFP is concerned,” AFP spokesperson, Marine Brigadier General Edgard Arevalo said in a message sent to reporters.

In a speech at the 72nd Founding anniversary of the Philippine Air Force in Pasay City, Duterte said that staging a coup is not necessary as he is willing to step down from office is asked to.

He added that Soldiers and policemen who no longer find him deserving to lead the country could simply call and talk to him over a cup of coffee.

“Do not do it please during my term. I told you before all you have to do kung ayaw ninyo ako, do not bring your weapons and mechanized armors there. Just call me and we’ll have coffee and I am ready to say, “It’s yours for the taking,” Duterte said on Tuesday.

According to Arevalo, there is nothing new in the chief executive’s comment on coup d’etat as he already mentioned it when he first met with the AFP and the Philippine National Police upon assumption of office.

“As early as the first joint AFP-PNP Command Conference that he presided upon his assumption of office and in several other instances after that, he has conveyed that same message to the security forces,” Arevalo said.

“He says, in essence, forget about mounting a military take-over that would lead to violence, death, and destruction. If anyone among the military (or the police) thinks he or she can better run the country, just tell him (the president) and he will step down,” he added.

Arevalo further said the AFP, led by its chief, General Benjamin Madrigal Jr., is an institution comprised of professional and matured servicemen and women who are patriots and loyal to the constitution and the duly constituted authorities.

“We have learned our lessons from the past and we shall live by it,” he said.

Arevalo also added that the reforms implemented in the AFP, including its modernization the increase in pay, allowances, and benefits like housing, have helped them best perform the mandate.

“We were given more than what we can ask for from a president and commander-in-chief who has shown genuine care and concern to his soldiers, airmen, sailors, and marines,” he said.

Arevalo also assured that the military will always remain loyal to the Flag, the Constitution and the Filipino people.

“we have, time and again assured him, as we reassure him today, that we in the AFP shall constantly and will remain loyal to the flag, to the constitution, and to the Filipino people whom we swore to protect with our lives,” he said. (with details from Lea Ylagan and Rosalie Coz)

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