Withdrawal of support for Duterte, fake news — DND

Maris Federez   •   April 18, 2021   •   578

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of National Defense has denounced what it called “the irresponsible propaganda” that has been making rounds on social media which alleged that a group of retired and active military officers is withdrawing their support for President Rodrigo Duterte.

“This is fake news! I am not, and will never be, a part of any such group — neither are the officials at the Department of National Defense, many of whom are also retired military officers,” DND Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said in a statement issued on Sunday (April 18).

Lorenzana stressed that “such disinformation is an act of reckless agitation emanating from detractors, who have a limited and myopic appreciation of issues.”

The Defense chief urged what he called “destabilizers” to stop issuing such malicious propaganda amid the uncertainties brought by the coronavirus disease pandemic.

“We call on these destabilizers to cease from propagating malicious statements especially at a time when our people should all be coming together in the face of the challenges that we are all currently facing. You are not helping our country and people at all,” Lorenzana’s statement concluded. —/mbmf

US offers support to Philippines after C-130 plane crash in Sulu

Robie de Guzman   •   July 5, 2021

The United States of America (USA) has extended its condolences to the Philippines after a C-130 military plane with 96 people on board crashed in Sulu on Sunday.

“On behalf of the United States, I offer our deep condolences to the people of the Philippines regarding the tragic plane crash in which several dozen service members were killed,” US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said in a statement.

“Our thoughts are with those who were injured and the families of those who were lost,” he added.

Sullivan also offered support to the Philippines in its disaster response effort.

“We stand shoulder to shoulder with our Philippine allies at this difficult time and are ready to provide all appropriate support to the Philippines’ response effort,” he said.

A Philippine Air Force C-130 plane, with tail number 5125, crashed around 11:30 a.m. on Sunday.

Initial investigation showed that the plane took off from Lumbia Airport in Cagayan de Oro City and was about to land in Jolo port in Sulu when it crashed. The plane was said to have missed the runway while trying to land.

As of Monday, the number of military personnel who died from the fiery crash climbed to 47, while 49 were injured.

Of those injured, 32 were evacuated to Zamboanga City while 18 are being treated at Kuta Heneral Teodulfo Bautista Station Hospital and 11th Infantry Division Hospital.

Three civilians on the ground were also killed and four others were hurt.

The military said all passengers, pilots, and crew were already retrieved.

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenza has ordered a full investigation into the incident.

Lorenzana on allegations that AFP procures, uses defective equipment: ‘Baseless and disrespectful’

Maris Federez   •   July 4, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — Department of National Defense (DND) Secretary Delfin Lorenzana has called out those who have spread speculations following the C-130 plane crash in Patikul, Sulu before noon on Sunday.

“With the investigations of the past mishaps still ongoing, such speculations are as of yet baseless and disrespectful to the affected men and women of the Philippine Air Force, AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines) and their families,” Lorenzana said.

The defense chief further said that the department as well as the AFP are using all means in conducting search and rescue operations in the crash site.

“We are currently focusing our attention on the rescue of the survivors of the C-130 crash and all available resources of the AFP are being utilized for the ongoing search and retrieval operations,” he said.

Lorenzana also called on the public to refrain from spreading highly speculative statements about the unfortunate incident.

Meanwhile, Joint Task Force Sulu commander MGen William Gonzales said that the Philippine Army is hopeful that their search and rescue operations will yield more survivors.

“We remain to be hopeful that we could find more survivors. Our search and rescue (operation) is still ongoing with 17 personnel unaccounted. These individuals were supposed to report to their battalions today. They were supposed to join us in our fight against terrorism,” Gonzales said.

“This is a sad day but we have to remain hopeful. We enjoin the nation to pray for those who are injured and those who have perished in this tragedy,” he added. —/mbmf

Lorenzana dares Pacquiao to prove claims of corruption in Navy frigate deal

Marje Pelayo   •   July 2, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana challenges Senator Manny Pacquiao to prove his allegations of corruption in the Defense Department’s acquisition of the $300-million worth of Philippine Navy frigates.

In a statement released on Thursday (July 1), Lorenza denied the allegation saying “the frigate deal has been thoroughly investigated by the Senate in 2017 and they found nothing anomalous.”

“In fact, you were in one of the hearings,” Lorenzana reminded the senator.

Lorenzana asked Pacquiao to provide details of the allegations if he seemed to be so sure of it.

Nevertheless, the Defense chief insisted that the concerned military assets were properly acquired.

“Those frigates were delivered last year ahead of schedule and they passed the Navy’s Technical Inspection and Acceptance Committee,” he stressed.

The acquisition of the two brand new frigates was part of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) modernization program.

In a sudden twist in Philippine politics, Pacquiao started a word war with his former ally President Rodrigo Duterte, naming some agencies under the latter’s administration as being involved in a number of corrupt activities including the Department of Health (DOH).

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