Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Marine Killed in Action in Latest Sulu Encounter A Veteran of Fierce Encounters in the South

Director, Naval Public Affairs Office

Tuesday, 23 February 2010

The Marine killed in action during Sunday’s clash in Maimbung, Sulu with the terrorist Abu Sayyaf Group had survived fierce encounters in the South in the recent past. Staff Sergeant Eliseo D Salo was known to have risked his own life to rush to wounded comrades in the heat of battle and even save innocent civilians caught in the firefight.

Corporal Cyrus A Talite who served under Salo’s team for five years described his team leader as someone who bravely faced the danger to save others. He recounts an encounter with the MILF sometime in 2000 in Matanog, Maguindanao when Salo crawled under a rain of fire to extract a wounded comrade who finally succumbed to a gunshot wound. Talite also recalls the June 2009 ambush by the Abu Sayyaf to members of MBLT 6 and PNP in Indanan when Salo rushed to wounded comrades.

In 2005 while carrying out Oplan Ultimatum in Indanan, Sulu, Salo rescued two children caught in the firefight in the hills of Bud Daho. A bullet only razed Salo’s shirt but he was unharmed. It was also in the same year, in Luuk, Sulu when Salo singlehandedly disarmed an ASG member of his M14 rifle and bolo during an operation. Salo’s team arrested two other ASG that time and turned them over to the local police in Jolo, Sulu.

Salo, a member of the Marine’s elite unite, the Force Reconnaissance Company (FRC), has figured in the successful operation in September 2006 that killed ASG leader Khadaffy Janjalani in Patikul, Sulu. In 2000, he was awarded the Gold Cross Medal in recognition of his gallantry in action while serving as a member of the Marine Battalion Landing Team 4 (MBLT 4) during the offensive and clearing operation of the MILF’s training center in Maguindanao.

For his part, 1LT CHARLIE CAÑA, who was Salo’s Commanding Officer in the FRC for two years, described his subordinate as “the most trusted”. “He knows how to encourage his teammates to carry out their tasks no matter how risky. He’s whole-hearted, matapang (brave), one of the best”, CaÑa, adds.

Salo, 32, of Misamis Oriental joined the Marines as a trainee in December 1997. He was immediately deployed to Patikul, Sulu upon graduation in May 1998 as a member of the Marine Battalion Landing Team 4 (MBLT 4). As befits soldiers who died in battle, the Philippine Marine Corps will render honors to SSgt Salo who will be awarded the Posthomous Wounded Medal.

Vice Admiral Ferdinand S Golez condoles with the family of Ssgt Salo. He vows the Navy will sustain its Fleet-Marine operations to rid the island-province of bandit and terror groups who continue to sow fear among the local populace. Vice Admiral Golez adds that the Navy remains committed to bringing peace and development in the South with a two-pronged approach—combat operations and humanitarian missions.

Monday, February 22, 2010

25 Captains, 10 Colonels Promoted in the Navy

Lieutenant Colonel Edgard A Arevalo PN(M)
Director, Naval Public Affairs Office

22 February 2010

Twenty-five Captains and 10 Colonels were added to the roster of senior officers of the Philippine Navy. Rear Admiral Feliciano Angue, Chief of Naval Staff, presided the donning of their rank insignias during the Monday morning colors today, 22 February 2010 at the Philippine Navy Headquarters in Manila.

The 35 Fleet- Marine Officers who were promoted to the ranks of Navy Captains and Marine Colonels are: Commanders Rommel Jude G Ong, Rey T dela Cruz, Erick A Kagaoan, Loumer P Bernabe, Rosauro M Sarmiento, Noel M de Vera, Rommel Jayson L Galang, Adeluis S Bordado, Joseph Melvin A Guevarra, Alberto A Cruz, Ramil Roberto B Enriquez, Opiniano M Jayme Jr, Restituto Q Bilbao Jr, Rigoberto O Banta, Francisco O Gabudao, Socimo F de Guzman Jr, Reginald B Rapanan, Alberto B Carlos, Nichols A Driz, Elpidio F Francisco, Cesar M Martinez, Rufino G Arias Jr, Ruel S Saonoy, Renato B Yongque, Carlito L Barizo, Lieutenant Colonels Elmer R Estilles, Martin G Villasan, Nathaniel Y Casem, Eugene Erwin R Martinez, Fernando R Gomez, Ferdinand M Fraginal, Raul Jesus L Caldez, Ariel R Caculitan, Jeson P Cabatbat and Jose P Cabanban. The ad-interim of their appointment was approved by Her Excellency President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo effective as of 06 February 2010.

Also present during the ceremony were Rear Admiral Geronimo Defensor, Commander, Philippine Fleet; Commodore Robert C Noblefranca, Commander Naval Construction Brigade; Commodore Zyril D Carlos, Commander, Patrol Force; Colonel Bernardo C Ferrer, Commander, Naval Reserve Command; Captain Philip L Cacayan, Commander Assault Craft Force; and other senior officers of the Navy and Marines.

Rear Admiral Angue encouraged these newly-promoted officers to be firm and vigorous in carrying out their duties and responsibilities as the Navy implements its Sail Plan 2020. He also recognized their efforts and achievements in attaining their hard-earned ranks through hard work and dedication to the service.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Marines Clash vs. ASG, 6 Terrorists Dead

By: Lieutenant Colonel Edgard A Arevalo PN(M)
Director, Naval Public Affairs Office

21 February 2010

Marines under the Operational Control of Joint Task Force Comet, aided by Naval Barrier from Patrol Gunboats of the Philippine Fleet and Close Air Support from assault aircrafts of the Philippine Air Force clashed with the terrorist Abu Sayyaf Group 7AM of 21 February 2010. BGen Rustico Guerrero Commander of JTF COMET reports to MGEN Juancho Sabban, Commandant of Philippine Marine Corps, that elite composite group of Marines from 2nd and 3rd Marine Brigades based in Sulu clashed with the bandit group led by Albader Parad and Dr. Abu at the vicinity of Sitio Kandang Tukay, Karawan in Maimbung, Sulu. Fierce firefight ensued for about an hour. As a result of the decisive surgical combat operations, bodies of 6 dead terrorists were recovered. Four firearms were also recovered-- a Belgian FN rifle, 2 M203 grenade launcher, and a Squad Automatic Weapon (SAW). Three Marines wounded and now at the trauma hospital in Camp Bautista.

This is a severe blow vs. ASG leadership but a major victory for the peace-loving people of Sulu who had been cooperating with our Marines by providing vital information about the bandit group.

This has been the third in a series of deliberate attacks by the Fleet-Marine Team backed by Air Force assault aircrafts. These law enforcement action by the Marines came in the heels of the atrocities the bandit ASG continue to perpetrate.

The Navy leadership will continue to spearhead operations to hunt down the remnants of the terrorist group following the case build-up that led to the arrest of Jumdail Arad in Pier 2 in North Harbor, Manila 5:15 PM Thu 18 February 2010.

Friday, February 19, 2010

ASG Member Kidnapper of Gracia Burnham Arrested

Director, Naval Public Affairs Office

Thursday, 18 February 2010

The long arm of the law has finally caught up with a suspected member of the dreaded terrorist Abu Sayyaf Group after hiding for nearly nine years. Jumadail Arad -- also known by the aliases Abu Hurayra and Asim Mangkabong Absar -- the reported speedboat operator of that daring kidnapping of the spouses Gracia and Martin Burnham and Guillermo Subero at the Dos Palmas Resort in Palawan in 27 May 2001 was arrested after over two months of intense surveillance operations by the naval intelligence.

Armed with warrants of arrest issued against him for the crimes of Kidnapping and Serious Illegal Detention, Murder, and Frustrated Murder, the joint team of navy intelligence operatives and elements of Southern Police District arrested the Abu Sayyaf Group member at around 5:15 PM of 18 February 2010. Arad was flagged down at the gate of Pier 2 in North Harbor in the City of Manila while he was on board a shuttle bus provided by the shipping company from Muntinlupa City where he resides to the pier where he is to board a ship bound to Zamboanga City. He initially denied his identity when he was accosted by the lawmen but had to later on submit himself to the arresting authorities when he was presented with his photographs attached to his arrest warrant.

According to MGen Juancho M Sabban, the Commandant of the Philippine Marine Corps in his report to Vice Admiral Ferdinand S Golez, the Flag Officer in Command of the Philippine Navy, Jumadail Arad has been in hiding since 2001. According to the said report, Arad laid low after Aldam Tilao a.k.a. Abu Sabaya, Hamsiraji Sali, and Khadaffy Janjalani -- top honchos of the terrorist Abu Sayyaf Group – were neutralized separately during fierce encounters with the security forces led by the Marines. Arad falsely believed that he has already eluded arrest after a lapse of more than nine years that he was just moving around Metro Manila and Mindanao unabated and undisturbed by lawmen.

Jumadail Arad from the Tausug tribe and a native of Patikul, Sulu was reportedly in an errand for ASG leader Isnilon Hapilon to buy ammunition when arrested. He is presently under the custody of the Philippine National Police.

The Fleet-Marine Team relentlessly pursues terrorists and enemies of the state. It shall continue its resort to ways and means to arrests the remnants of the dreaded Abu Sayyaf Group to free our fellow citizens from fear. These bandits may run for a while, but they cannot run and elude arrest forever.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Navy Chief Condoles with Families of 3 Dead Navy Personnel

Director, Naval Public Affairs Office

Monday, 15 February 2010

Vice Admiral Ferdinand S Golez, Philippine Navy Flag Officer In Command expresses the condolences of its personnel to the three students of Specialization Course who succumbed in a vehicular accident in North Luzon Expressway (NLEX). The incident happened in KM 43 Northbound between Sta Rita and Pulilan, Bulacan past 3 p.m. Sunday, 14 February 2010.

Incident report submitted by Rear Admiral Vicente Agdamag, Commander, Naval Education and Training Command (NETC) to VADM Golez reveals initial details of the untoward incident. Nine students undergoing training were on their way back to Naval Education and Training Command in San Antonio, Zambales on board a Tamaraw FX when they met the accident.

Two of the passengers were declared dead on the spot: S2YN Christopher C Lumaban and S2DP Marlon A Bay while S2DP Reymund A Tañag died at Our Lady of Mercy Hospital, Pulilan, Bulacan. One of the passengers was brought to Manila Naval Hospital for treatment of head injury while five others were brought to Naval Station Leovigildo Gantioqui Hospital (NSLGH) in Zambales for treatment of minor injuries. The alleged loss of control of the driver while the vehicle was traversing NLEX was the reported cause of the accident.

Philippine Navy Responds to Craft in Distress, saves 73 passengers on Board

Director, Naval Public Affairs Office

Saturday, 13 February 2010

Legazpi City – DF 321 stationed at Puerto Real, Quezon responded to a distress call sent by Mr Zaldy Arzaga, boat captain of a passenger vessel named M/B Raffy Nantes which encountered mechanical problem while underway at vicinity 3.6 kms off Dinahican Pt., Infanta, Quezon. Said boat carries 9 crews and 64 passengers and was on its way from Polilio Island to Real when its shaft connecting the engine and propeller was detached. DF 321 conducted search and rescue operation and rescued M/B Raffy at 7 a.m. Friday, 12 February 2010.

Amidst our limitations in terms of number of ships vis-a-vis the mission we are tasked to accomplish, your Navy remains committed to serve our people as a dependable sea force in times of emergency.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Local volunteers and Navy converge for Bakawanan 2010

By: Lieutenant Colonel Edgard A Arevalo PN(M)
Director, Naval Public Affairs Office

07 February 2010

More than 120 Navy troops from the Philippine Fleet and local volunteers converged today, 06 February 2010 in Barangay Ligtong II, Rosario, Cavite, Barangay San Rafael 4, Noveleta, Cavite and Sitio Pulo, Barangay Tanza, Navotas to participate in a mangrove planting activity dubbed as “Bakawanan 2010”, one of the Navy’s coastal environment programs.
Bakawanan 2010 involves a series of mangrove planting activities conducted by various PN units throughout the country and was initiated by the Department of National Defense to mitigate the causes of natural calamities through instituting sustainable measures managed by the local barangay officials.
Volunteers from four barangays of Rosario, Ligtong I to IV, took part in the planting activity together with representatives from the Municipal Agricultural Office and students of Ligtong Elementary School. Rosario’s Municipal Mayor Jose “Nonong” Ricafrente was the Keynote Speaker during the launching in Barangay Ligtong II.
The nationwide environmental activity took-off with the first phase of its implementation last January 30, 2010 that consists of orientation and information drive campaign designed to educate local communities on the benefits of mangroves and the procedures in planting. The second phase was the planting proper in which 2,500 mangrove seedlings were planted.
“Due to the effects of typhoon “Ondoy” that caused massive flooding in Metro Manila last year, the Fleet is taking active roles in coastal resource management as well as climate change adaptation, said Rear Admiral Geronimo Defensor, Commander of the Philippine Fleet. He further added that it is revisiting its “Adopt a Bay” program, specifically the mangroves rehabilitation and management.
In recent years, the Philippines had an estimated 450,000 hectares of mangroves. This area was reduced to only 138,000 hectares in 1993 then shrank to 117,000 hectares in 1995. Further, it was estimated that our country loses about 8,200 hectares every year. This loss was largely attributed to the conversion of mangroves into fishponds during the 1970’s until now; other factors include reclamation for residential and industrial purposes.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Military and Policemen Pedal for an A.C.E.

Director, Naval Public Affairs Office

Friday, 05 February 2010

In what would yet be another show of unity for an honest, orderly, and peaceful election, some 500 cyclists from bicycle teams from the Philippine Navy, Army, Air Force, and National Police will run a 7-leg route on Saturday, February 6, 2010. Dubbed as ACE or Advocacy for Credible Elections “Protect the Votes” Bike-a-thon shoves off 5:30 in the morning from the Headquarters Philippine Army Grandstand and back or a total of 35.5 kilometers. The route traverses Market! Market! In Taguig City; Ninoy Aquino Monument in Ayala Avenue; Luneta Park in Manila; then the Navy Headquarters at Naval Station Jose Andrada in Roxas Boulevard; SM Mall of Asia to Villamor Airbase both in Pasay City; then to the Headquarters Philippine Marine Corps in Taguig City then back to the Army Grandstand for the final leg.

Gen Victor S Ibrado, the AFP Chief of Staff, commends senior AFP leadership who envisions and makes this activity with the Philippine National Police a reality. He stresses that, “We use to exercise our rights of suffrage by casting our votes during elections. But by embarking on this novel endeavor, sailors, marines, infantrymen, airmen, and policemen seek to manifest to the people their ardent concern for the conduct of a credible first-ever automated election.”

For his part, Rear Admiral Feliciano Angue, the Chief of Naval Staff and prime-mover of this activity exhorts civilian bicycle groups to join the succeeding bike-a-thons. “We cordially invite biking enthusiasts and hobbyists to join their soldiers and policemen pedal their way to the consciousness of fellow citizens the shared obligation to protect our votes.”

This will hitherto be an every Saturday biking activity that will bring the bikers to different areas in metro manila to make a run for an ACE – Advocacy for a Credible Election. Interested bike groups may coordinate with the Naval Public Affairs Office or the AFP Public Affairs Office for details of the next biking Saturdays.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Inter-agency Cooperation Thwarts Illegal Maritime Activities in Bicol

Director, Naval Public Affairs Office

Thursday, 04 February 2010

Inter-agency cooperation among the Philippine Navy and local authorities in Bicol resulted to the recovery of 400 flitches of illegally cut logs and capture of a vessel engaged in illegal fishing. Diesel Fast Craft 321 (DF 321) with a SEAL team and intelligence operatives on board recovered the logs 7 kilometers off Dinahican, Quezon while being towed by two separate vessels early morning of Wednesday, 03 February 2010.

COMMO JOEL BABAS, Naval Forces Southern Luzon (NAVFORSOL) Commander reports to VICE ADMIRAL FERDINAND GOLEZ, Flag Officer In Command, Philippine Navy that said forest products amounting to 1.5 million pesos were intercepted by DF 321 during a maritime operation. The Navy has turned over the recovered items- approximately worth P1.5 million pesos- to the DENR. Meanwhile PG 378 apprehended a vessel- locally known as Superlights- engaged in illegal fishing at 8 kilometers southwest off Cabarian Pt, Libon, Albay.

COMMO BABAS added that the operations are a component of the Navy’s relentless effort to protect the country’s natural resources and biodiversity both inland and at seas. Incessant illegal logging activities has been blamed as the primary cause of landslides and flooding that has claimed hundreds of lives and properties especially in Quezon in the year 2004.

Thru cooperative efforts among concerned agencies enforcing maritime law, the NAVFORSOL in July last year recovered approximately 600 pieces of illegally cut logs in Infanta, Quezon after DF 321 chased unidentified motor bancas towing volumes of round logs in the area.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Sulu Unites for Road Project

Director, Naval Public Affairs Office

Thursday, 28 January 2010

In a show of unity for peace and progress, residents of Barangays Batu-bato, Malimbaya and Sionogan in Indanan, Sulu pushed for the resumption of works to finish the 8km Malimbaya-Sionogan Road on 22 January 2010. The road project, which is part of the Sulu Circumferential Road Network, is being funded by the United States Government through the civic action program of the US Armed Forces who are helping the Philippine Marines to combat terrorism in Southern Philippines. Rogue members of the MNLF and Abu-Sayaff terrorists have attempted to sabotage the project several times in the last four months.

According to LtCol Robert Velasco, Commander of the 6th Marine Battalion in Indanan area who spearheaded the resumption of the roadwork, terrorists have sabotaged three bridges along the road stretch and continued to harass civilian workers and the Marines who are securing the project. Velasco said that in the past two weeks alone, there were three skirmishes between the Marines and the Abu-Sayaff. This angered the local populace who directly benefit from the project. Salip Tito Jainal, one of the barangay captains in the area, said that peace and development cannot be held back by the terrorists. “Gusto lang naman namin ng maayos na kalsada at kung kailangan naming maninidigan dito ay gagawin namin”, Jainal said.

The road project has been stalled for the past four months because of the threats in the area. However, Brigadier General Tino Pereyra of the 3rd Marine Brigade initiated a multi-sectoral effort to push for the continuation of the project. Pereyra said that it was the Marines, LGU, civic organizations, and the local people themselves who united so that the project will continue. “This road is for the people and by the people. The Marines is just an instrument so that peace and development loving people can come together to work for development projects like this one” added Pereyra who is well known is Sulu for his down-to-earth ways of dealing with the locals.

Last January 15, a similar 7km road project was opened in Indanan. A school project and a barangay hall were also handed over to the local officials by Brigadier General Rustico Guerrero, Commander of the anti-terror Task Force Comet, and Colonel Bill Coultrup of the US forces. Two US soldiers and a Philippine Marine died while constructing this school building when terrorists attacked their convoy with IED in November last year. Guerrero said that they will continue to push for development projects and they will not let violence hamper peace and progress. The RP-US partnership and peace endeavor in Sulu is fast becoming a model of countries combining their efforts in addressing the root causes of terrorism.

The Malimbaya-Sionogan road project is expected to be completed in March. Velasco said that they will do it fast because the people in Sulu have long deserved this good road. “We will show the people in these far flung areas that the government is here and that other peace-loving people will help them. Several other low cost development projects that directly impact the lives of poor people are lined up for implementation in Sulu Province through the help of the US government,” Velasco said.