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Mario J. Mallari

Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief of Staff Gen. Gregorio Pio Catapang Jr. yesterday presided over his last command conference, claiming the military gained grounds against enemies of the state under his watch.

Catapang, who is reaching the mandatory retirement age of 56 on July 11, claimed there were “undeniable gains” gained during the implementation of internal peace and security plan (IPSP) “Bayanihan.”
The outgoing AFP chief said the military scored big against the communist New People’s Army (NPA), the terrorist Abu Sayyaf group (ASG) and the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF).
A total of 340 NPA rebels and leaders were neutralized during the first quarter of 2015 in the different provinces while around 166 firearms were recovered in various operations.
Based on the 2014 Yearend report, there were 3,200 armed NPA members. In the first quarter of 2015, the AFP has recorded the neutralization of 340 armed NPA members NPA.
Catapang also reported that 58 provinces were already declared Peaceful and Ready for Further Development (PRFD) while 10 were already declared cleared.
A total of 330 cases were already filed against these NPAs in competent courts while 212 warrants of arrest were already released.
Among the top NPA leaders arrested were Adelberto Silva, tagged as the highest ranking communist commander in the country today, and Leoncio Pitao, alias Commander Parago, chieftain of the NPA’s Pulang Bagani Command-1 (PBC-1) which is the top NPA unit in Davao Region.
Silva was arrested in Cavite last month while Pitao was killed in an encounter with government troops just last week.
Against the Abu Sayyaf, Catapang said that the AFP was able to neutralize 72 terrorists during the first three months of 2015.
A total of 192 BIFF personalities were also neutralized during the all-out offensive launched last February in central Mindanao.
The IPSP “Bayanihan” was the Aquino government’s anti-insurgency campaign aimed at defeating the enemies of the state before 2016.

NDRRMC warns of ‘Egay’ fury in Northern Luzon

Saturday, 04 July 2015 00:00 Published in Nation

SIGNAL NO. 1 UP IN 7 AREAS

The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) yesterday warned of possible flashfloods and landslides in Samar and Bicol areas as tropical storm “Egay” maintained its strength upon entering the country’s area of responsibility.

Public storm warning signal No.1 has already been raised in the provinces of Isabela and Cagayan as “Egay” continued to move northeast direction.
“Residents in low-lying and mountainous areas of Bicol Region and Samar provinces are alerted against possible flashfloods and landslides,” the NDRRMC said in its bulletin.
“The public and the DRRMCs concerned are advised to take appropriate actions,” it added.
The NDRRMC directed all concerned DRRMCs to closely monitor the situation within their areas of responsibility and take necessary precautionary measures to prevent casualty.
“Initiate preemptive evacuation of families in low-lying and mountainous areas, if warrants,” it said.
As of 4 a.m. yesterday, tropical storm “Egay” was monitored at about 330 kilometers northeast of Virac, Catanduanes with maximum winds of 65 kilometer per hours near the center and fustiness of up to 80 kph.
“Tropical storm ‘Egay’ has maintained its strength as it continues to move in a northeast direction,” the NDRRMC said.
This morning, “Egay” is forecast to be at about 285 kilometers east northeast of Casiguran, Aurora.
“Estimated rainfall amount is from moderate to heavy within the 400-kilometer diameter of the tropical storm,” the NDRRMC said.
The estimated rainfall amount is moderate to heavy within the 400 km diameter of the tropical storm.
Fisherfolk are advised not to venture out over the eastern seaboard of Central Luzon, seaboards of Southern Luzon and Visayas and the northern and eastern seaboards of Mindanao.
Aurelio said most parts of the country including Metro Manila will experience rains due to southwest monsoon or “hangin habagat” enhanced by tropical storm Egay.
The state-run weather bureau also issued a gale warning due to the effects of southwest monsoon enhanced by tropical storm “Egay” as the sea condition will be rough to very rough due to strong gale force winds is expected to affect the seaboards of Southern Luzon and Visayas, the eastern seaboard of Central Luzon and the northern and eastern seaboards of Mindanao.
“Fishing boats and other small sea crafts are advised not to venture out into the sea while larger sea vessels are alerted against big waves,” it warned. With PNA

2 donated Aussie transport ships to arrive in RP soon

Saturday, 04 July 2015 00:00 Published in Nation

Two transport ships donated to the Philippine Navy by Australia are expected to arrive in the country within the next few weeks.

Cmdr. Lued Lincuna, Navy Public Affairs Officer, said that 10 Navy personnel comprising the initial sailing crew were already sent to Cairns, Australia last Monday for training in handling the two landing craft heavy (LCH).
“The initial sailing crew departed Monday for training and the support logistics personnel,” said Lincuna.
“We are expecting two (LCHs) last week of July or first week of August…it’s weather permitting because there are series of storms,” he added.
According to Lincuna, the Navy troops will be the ones bringing home the transport ships.
Lincuna said that the two LCH are in good operational condition and do not need refurbishment.
“There is no package of refurbishment upon evaluation. From what I know good as operational,” he said.
Lincuna said that additional Navy personnel would be flying to Australia to complete the initial sailing crew.
The Navy officer welcomed the two LCHs as a boost to the command’s humanitarian assistance and disaster response (HADR) and search and rescue capabilities
“This will beef up the capability for HADR…the main mission would be cargo transport and troops transport…they designed to fetch, they can get near the shore even without a pier,” said Lincuna.
Last May 30, the Philippine Navy also received a landing craft utility, also a transport ships, from South Korea. However, the LCU needs refurbishment and not on operational condition.

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