AFP gets P57M worth of medical equipment, supplies from Australian government

Robie de Guzman   •   September 30, 2021   •   222

MANILA, Philippines – The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) has received about P57 million worth of medical equipment, supplies and personal protective equipment (PPE) from the Australian Government.

In a statement, the AFP said the donated items were turned over to the military in a ceremony held at Pier 15, South Harbor in Manila on Tuesday, September 28.

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana and AFP chief of staff Lieutenant General Jose Faustino Jr. led the ceremony with Australian Ambassador to the Philippines Steven Robinson AO handing over the donation.

“Throughout this unpredictable COVID19 pandemic, I am very pleased that Australia is able to provide flexible and responsive support to the Philippines. These additional medical and personal protective equipment will be critical in VLMC’s COVID-19 testing efforts, and treatment of COVID patients,” Robinson said.

“The turnover of donations from the Australian Government is a clear testament of the collaborative partnership that both our respective nations and military forces continue to nurture and sustain, as we aspire to work together in promoting the welfare of our people and country,” Lt. Gen. Faustino said.

Lorenzana, for his part, conveyed the Defense Department’s gratitude and appreciation to the country’s long-standing strategic partner.

“The Australian Government has expanded the coverage of its Defense Cooperation Program to include the pandemic needs of Filipino Soldiers; a gesture that conveys the message that we are not alone in this fight,” he said.

“Certainly, these donations will ramp up the day-to-day clinical management and quality of care and service which AFP’s medical arm is expected to provide,” he added.

The AFP said the donated equipment and supplies will be turned over to the AFP’s primary military hospital, the Victoriano Luna Medical Center (VLMC) to support its COVID19 response, testing efforts and capacity for hospitalization of minor to critical patients.

700K AstraZeneca vaccine doses donated by Australia arrive in PH

Robie de Guzman   •   November 24, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – Some 700,000 doses of AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine donated by the Australian government arrived in the Philippines Wednesday morning, the National Task Force (NTF) against COVID-19 said.

The shipment  landed at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminal 3 around 9:45 a.m.

Australian Ambassador Steven Robinson handed over the vaccines to NTF chief implementer Carlito Galvez Jr. and Health Secretary Francisco Duque III upon its arrival.

Robinson said these vaccine doses are part of their government’s domestic supply.

He said that overall, the Australian government will provide a total of 3.6 million vaccine doses to the Philippines by the end of 2022.

Philippine authorities thanked the Australian government for its generosity and substantial donation of vaccines.

The delivery of AstraZeneca doses comes ahead of the country’s upcoming three-day national vaccination drive on Nov. 29 to Dec. 1 which aims to to inoculate 15 million Filipinos.

To date, more than 33.8 million Filipinos have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 since the vaccination drive was launched in March.

 

Duterte names Army chief Centino as next AFP chief

Robie de Guzman   •   November 12, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte has designated Philippine Army chief Lieutenant General Andres Centino as the new chief of staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), Malacañang said Friday.

“We confirm that President Rodrigo Roa Duterte approved and signed the designation of LGEN Andres Centino as Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) effective November 12, 2021,” Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in a statement.

Centino will replace General Jose Faustino Jr. who is retiring from service as he reaches the mandatory age of 56.

“We are confident that Gen. Centino will continue the initiatives of his predecessors to bring lasting peace and development in the country while securing the State and upgrading our defense capability,” Roque said.

“We wish the success of Gen. Centino in his new role as AFP Chief,” he added.

Centino is a member of the Philippine Military Academy Maringal Class of 1988.

Meanwhile, the AFP said Centino’s designation “will prompt an upward movement in the AFP leadership that will further inspire our soldiers to surpass challenges with excellence and continue our campaign towards genuine transformation.”

“He has immense knowledge and experience in leading our troops on the ground and in supporting peaceful efforts to protect our people against various threats,” AFP spokesperson Colonel Ramon Zagala said in a separate statement.

“His integrity, management acumen and genuine desire for peace and development make him a competent leader who shall guide the AFP in fulfilling its mission while supporting national efforts to battle the current pandemic,” he added.

Prior to his appointment, Centino served as AFP deputy chief of staff for operations and infantry division commander in Northern Mindanao.

Military Black Hawk choppers deployed to aid missions in Western Mindanao

Robie de Guzman   •   November 5, 2021

Two Black Hawk helicopters acquired by the Philippine military have been deployed to the Western Mindanao, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) said Friday.

In a statement, the AFP Western Mindanao Command (WestMinCom) said its major Air Force Unit, Tactical Operations Wing-Western Mindanao (TOW-WM), has received the S70i Black Hawk Utility helicopters on November 4 at the Edwin Andrews Air Base.

These units will be used to aid in various missions, including support in combat operations and quick response for humanitarian aid, it added.

“We are very grateful that the top brass considered the deployment of these air assets which will greatly contribute to the accomplishment of our missions here in Western Mindanao,” said WestMinCom Commander, Maj. Gen. Alfredo Rosario, Jr.

Colonel Dennis Estrella, wing commander of the TOW-WM, said that the deployment of the Blackhawk helicopters will boost the capability of the armed forces in both lethal and non-lethal operations.

“Expect that with the deployment of the Black Hawk helicopters in our unit, our operations will greatly improve as these helicopters have larger capacity and more impressive horsepower allowing a faster and longer-range transport. In addition, the said helicopters have the ability to absorb high-impact velocities enabling it to withstand strong turbulent winds,” Estrella said.

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