Retired AFP chief supports PRRD’s termination of peace talks with CPP-NPA-NDF

admin   •   November 28, 2017   •   3675


MANILA, Philippines — Retired AFP Chief of Staff Ricardo Visaya agreed with the government’s move to cancel the peace talks with the communist rebels.

“Kung talagang maganda yung intention sana nila noon pa tapos na. Pero nakikita natin na ganyan talaga yan because ang strategy talaga is a protracted war, pahabain ng pahabain yan,” said Visaya.

Visaya also favors all-out pursuit against the rebel group and is confident that the leftists will not win against the government troops.

“Would you suggest an all-out-war?” asked Kuya Daniel.

“Actually pwede. Pwedeng all-out war ito but titingnan natin kung alin ang pinakamaganda na, the least expensive,” said the National Irrigation Administration (NIA) administrator.

The retired general also exposed the recruitment strategy of the National Democratic Front (NDF) which starts with a simple protest activity.

He believes the rebel group is exploiting farmers.

“Nasa likod palagi ang mga armado na tinutulak nila yung mga raliyista para masaktan sila. Kasi pagka sinabi mong hanggang dito lang kayo, gusto nilang lumampas. Now, hindi papayagan pulis naman yan. Pagka lumampas na diyan masasaktan sila. Yun yung gusto ng mga NDF, mga komunista. Para masaktan yung tao sasabihin nila dyan, ‘Uy Daniel ‘wag ka na masyadong magpakita diyan mainit na ang pulis sa iyo. Hinahanap ka na so magtago ka.’ O san ako magtatago? Pinakamaganda dyan magtago ka sa bundok,” said the retired general.

Visaya said that irrigation projects are one of the sources of fund of the communists.

“Ang paggawa ng dams ay ginagawa ito ng mga private contractors at malaking pera talaga. Ito’y one of the sources of funds ng NPA,” said Visaya.

The former chief of staff also noted that the problem with the rebels will be solved with the help of different agencies and the support of the public. — Rey Pelayo | UNTV News & Rescue

PH Air Force receives last batch of S-70i Black Hawk helicopters – AFP

Robie de Guzman   •   December 6, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine Air Force has completed its fleet of S-70i Black Hawk helicopters, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) said.

In a statement, the AFP said the third and final batch of choppers have been delivered and turned over to the Philippine Air Force.

The formal acceptance and turnover of five additional helicopters was held at the Clark Air Base on Friday, December 3.

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana and AFP chief of staff Lieutenant General Andres Centino led the ceremony, which was also witnessed by other military and government officials.

The AFP said the five helicopters were part of the total 16 units ordered by the military.

The first batch of six was delivered in November 2020 while the other five received in October this year, it added.

The S-70i Black Hawk helicopters are being used in transporting COVID-19 vaccine supplies to far-flung and hard to reach areas in the country.

These units are also being used to support various military missions, including quick response for humanitarian aid.

Esperon defends NTF-ELCAC amid budget cut

Maris Federez   •   November 10, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — National Security Adviser (NSA) Hermogenes Esperon Jr. has expressed his dismay over the reduction of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict’s (NTF-ELCAC) budget for 2022 by Php24 billion.

He underscored the importance of having a strong political will to fight communist insurgency which the Duterte administration has endeavored to accomplish.

Esperon, who also sits as the vice-chairman of the anti-communist task force, said lawmakers should consider that communist insurgency has been a recurring problem for more than five decades already.

“I hope they understand that we are addressing a 53-year insurgency led by the CPP-NPA-NDF (Communist Party of the Philippines, New People’s Army, and National Democratic Front) terrorist triad. I also hope that our senators will take to heart the plight of the people in the barangays affected by the prolonged conflict,” he said.

The Senate Committee on Finance on Tuesday announced the cut in the NTF-ELCAC budget, leaving the task force with only Php4 billion to work with for the whole of 2022.

Esperon said that while he understands the senators’ desire to prioritize the efforts to counter the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, the focus must also be given to the local communist armed conflict which equally causes stunted growth in the countryside. This, the top security adviser stressed, also has a severe effect on the entire nation.

“We have spent almost a trillion to combat COVID-19. Let’s have the political will to fight the long-standing number one political security threat in our country,” Esperon said.

Aside from the big slash in the NTF-ELCAC fund, senators also moved to reduce the budget of the task force’s flagship project, the Barangay Development Program (BDP), allocating it with only Php2.3 billion.

The BDP finances barangays that were cleared of communist influence Php20 million worth of development package, comprising of farm-to-market roads, health stations, classrooms, water and sanitation systems, rural electrification, and livelihood projects.

The first batch of beneficiaries is composed of 822 barangays that were freed from CPP-NPA-NDF from 2016 to 2019, which has a 2021 funding of Pnp16.44 billion.

The second batch of beneficiaries comprising 1,406 barangays was cleared from 2020 to 2021, in which the government targets to provide Php20 million per cleared barangay.

Esperon said this was the reason why the NTF-ELCAC requested for Php28.1 billion budget for 2022. —/mbmf

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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