Young officers join the ranks of 8th Infantry Division

Young Officers Join the Ranks of 8ID

CAMP LUKBAN, Catbalogan City – Twelve new 2nd lieutenants, who recently graduated from the Officers Preparatory Course and from the Officer Candidate School, were assigned with the Philippine Army’s 8th Infantry (Stormtroopers) Division here.

As part of the Army Command’s tradition, the young officers were presented during the flag-raising ceremony on November 9, 2015 in this camp, where they introduced themselves to the officers, enlisted personnel and civilian employees of the Army Command.

Eight of the newly-reported young officers are members of Officer Preparatory Course “Lakandiwa” Class 63 – 2014; while four are members of Officer Candidate Course “Gandilan” Class 44 – 2015. Seven of them are from Luzon, while five are from Mindanao.

The new 2nd lieutenants are: 2nd Lt. Philip R Umblas, 2nd Lt. Jim Kevin Z Dagpin, 2nd Lt. Eljing M. Macutob, 2nd Lt. Jay Rodante F. Figurasin, 2nd Lt. Reyzander K. Ga, 2nd Lt Edgardo B. Bernas Jr, 2nd Lt. Floilan I. Valenzuela, 2nd Lt. Rambi C. Onsat, 2nd Lt. Jose Ignacious V. De Leon, 2nd Lt. Jerome Cob D. Dela Cruz, 2nd Lt. Zaldy P. Lim-Ang, and 2nd Lt Bernabe John M Caro.

Before their deployment in the different field units, the new officers will undergo the Platoon Leader’s Course to refresh them of the military knowledge and skills they acquired from their respective military schools.

Major General Jet B. Velarmino, Commander of the Army in Eastern Visayas, stressed in his message to the new officers the Armed Forces of the Philippines’ Core Values, of Honor, Patriotism and Duty.

He said, “Cling on to these values and you will never go astray from the narrow path towards becoming an ideal soldier in the mold of our brave and noble military heroes.”

“The Country and the Filipino people expect much of you. Good luck and contribute as much as you can to the achievement of peaceful and development-ready Eastern Visayas,” he added. (8th Infantry Division’s Public Affairs Office)


Indian Armed Forces student officers visit Centcom


(Photo by PFC Jerome Gala, Army, of Centcom PIO)

As part of their foreign study tour in the Philippines, some 26 delegates from the Indian Armed Forces’ (IAF) College of Defence Management visited the Central Command (Centcom) Headquarter of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) on Thursday, October 29.

The 26 delegates from the Higher Defence Management Course, headed by CMDE Hemant Ansingkar, paid a courtesy call to Centcom commander, Lieutenant General Nicanor Vivar.

The IAF’s study tour in the country runs from October 25 to 31. Their itinerary includes visit to the beautiful beaches and tourist spots in Cebu.

Centcom’s support to the IAF student officers is in line with AFP’s thrust to develop mutual understanding and foster good relationship with the IAF.

The IAF’s study tour in the country aims to provide its delegates exposure with regard to the process of defense management of the country. It also aims knowledge exchanges in organization, culture and history of the Philippines.

8th ID soldiers urged to be non-partisan in 2016 elections

CATBALOGAN CITY, Samar, Oct. 26 (PNA) – The commander of the Philippine Army’s 8th Infantry Division in Eastern Visayas reminded all its men to be non-partisan in the 2016 national and local elections.

The military, according to Maj. Gen. Jet B. Velarmino “must reassure the people in the region that the military will remain professional, non partisan at all times and must always be a neutral instrument of the state, no matter which party holds sway.”

“Keeping our politics private is a good step,” he said. “We should always obey civilian authority, support and defend the constitution and to do our duty at all times.”

Velarmino stressed that he is not suggesting that military must abandon all personal opinions about social and political issues.

However, in the execution of their mission, it is expected that military must put aside their political preferences.

“Political opinions have no place in our conference room or even in military camps,” he said.

Velarmino noted that “part of the deal we made when we joined the military was to willingly subordinate our individual interests to the greater good of protecting vital national interests.”

Meanwhile, the Commission on Election here is set to have a meeting next month with the police and military in the region for an in depth assessment of the political situation in Samar province.

Previous election crisis in Samar seemed to have ignited an intense violence and prolonged political crisis, especially, in the first district, according to Velarmino. (Philippine News Agency)

Soldiers capture ‘bomb factory’ in Mamasapano

CAMP AGUINALDO, Quezon City – The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) has captured a factory of improvised bombs during the assault on a Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) stronghold in Mamasapano town yesterday (March 1).

Colonel Melquiades Feliciano, the commander of the Philippine Army’s 601st Infantry Brigade that spearheaded the offensive operations against the bandits, said that his troops captured the encampment owned by Mohammad Tambako in Barangay (village) Dasikil.

“Our troops successfully seized a bomb-making facility after assaulting the enemy positions yesterday. The enemy was able to escape but the equipment and materials that are used to fabricate home-made bombs were left behind,” said Feliciano.

Terrorist coddlers

Feliciano said that Basit Usman is currently coddled by small bands of notorious bandits from two different BIFF groups.

Mohammad Ali Tambako of Mamasapano town is one of Usman’s current protector. He is a BIFF leader who had carried out violent atrocities against civilians both in Maguindanao and North Cotabato.

Another one is BIFF leader named Kagi Karialan with at least 100 members. He led the attack on MILF communities and civilian communities nearby in Kabasalan and Bulol, both in Pikit, North Cotabato in two separate occasions, displacing at least 25,000 people.

Several tipsters have spotted Usman in the bailiwicks of these cohorts. Five foreign nationals who are believed to be members of an international terrorist organization, were seen moving with Usman as they evaded their pursuers.

Among those recovered include vital components for making bombs such as mortar fuses, ammonium nitrate, blasting caps and tie wires.

Law enforcement operation

On March 1 (Sunday), the Army’s 6th Infantry Division led by Major General Edmundo Pangilinan facilitated a meeting with different local government officials in order to shed light on the ongoing ‘all-out offensive’ actions against the BIFF.

The meeting, held inside the Phil. Army’s 6th ID headquarters in Maguindanao, tackled different issues including the purpose of the ongoing law enforcement operations against the BIFF.

During the meeting, the military officials explained that the government forces are hunting down Basit Usman’s group who were sighted in the hinterland villages of Shariff Saydona and Mamasapano municipalities.

The government officials also agreed to collaborate on how to protect the civilian population and in providing humanitarian assistance to at least 5,700 affected families who were displaced from their homes.

As of today, the AFP has accounted nine (9) members of the BIFF who were killed in the recent law enforcement operations in Maguindanao.

Three soldiers were also wounded in the fighting. (BY AFP PUBLIC AFFAIRS OFFICE)

K9 teams deployed for Papal Visit

CEBU CITY— About 40 K9 teams have passed and will be deployed in Tacloban City for the slated visit of Pope Francis on Jan. 17.

Prior to their deployment, K9 teams from the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) units, Philippine Coast Guard and private security firms were assembled for a series of exams.

The Philippine National Police (PNP) Civil Security Group (CSG) sent a team to Cebu on Jan. 7 and spearheaded the exam.

The K9 teams which is composed of a handler and dog underwent a four-level test at the headquarters of the AFP Central Command in this city.

These exams include baggage inspection, room inspection, vehicular inspection and open area inspection. Real explosives were planted during the exams.

K9 teams (both handler and dog) should pass three exams out of the four.

Lt. Commander Jim Alagao, spokesman, said these K9 teams will be an added security asset for the Papal Visit. (BY Public Information Office, Central Command, AFP) 


Army to continue security patrols in spite of suspension of military operations

Camp Peralta, Jamindan, Capiz – The Philippine Army’s 3rd Infantry Division (3ID) here in Western Visayas has committed to abide by the rules and regulations set forth by the government’s Suspension of Offensive Military Operations (SOMO) from December 18, 2014 to January 19, 2015.

While the 3ID will be suspending all deliberate offensive military operations here in Western Visayas, it will continue its presence in communities by maintaining its security patrols aimed to protect the civilian populace, government and private infrastructure, and military camps and detachments in order to maintain peace and security in the area.

“Your Army remains committed and sincere in its resolve to peace especially during this Christmas season. Our people deserve to celebrate the Yuletide peacefully,” Major General Rey Leonardo Guerrero, Commander of 3ID said in a statement.

Likewise, the 3ID will also maintain its activities supporting the government and civil authorities’ peace, development, law enforcement operations and humanitarian assistance programs.

Meanwhile, taking into consideration the transgressions of the New People’s Army in the past that took advantage of the ceasefire of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, the military will continue with its proactive defense counter measures to prevent imminent NPA attacks.

MGen Guerrero also instructed the units in the field to remain vigilant especially in protecting the civilian communities. (BY Division Public Affairs Office, 3rd Infantry Division, Phil. Army) 

South Korean soldiers bid farewell to Leyte, completes rehabilitation efforts there

SYMBOL OF ARAW. Philippine government officials led by Defense Sec. Voltaire Gazmin graced the ribbon-cutting ceremony of the Araw Shrine in Leyte. (Photo by: Office of the Civil Military Operations (U7), Central Command, AFP)

SYMBOL OF ARAW. Philippine government officials led by Defense Sec. Voltaire Gazmin graced the ribbon-cutting ceremony of the Araw Shrine in Leyte. (Photo by: Office of the Civil Military Operations (U7), Central Command, AFP)

CEBU CITY—Almost a year after their arrival, South Korean soldiers have bid goodbye to the people of Leyte leaving their traces of sunshine through the houses they have built and schools they have repaired and reconstructed.

Team Araw composed of at least 300 South Korean soldiers of the Republic of Korea Armed Forces (ROKAF) has formally ended its rehabilitation and recovery efforts for the survivors of the super typhoon ‘Yolanda’ (international name ‘Haiyan’) in the towns of Palo and Tanauan, Leyte province.

In a Mission Completion Ceremony held at their temporary base in Campetic, Palo town, officials from the Philippine government led by Department of National Defense (DND) Sec. Voltaire Gazmin and National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) Executive Director Undersecretary Alexander Pama thanked them for the efforts they have put up in rehabilitating schools, government offices, as well as houses of war veterans devastated by Haiyan.

Sec. Gazmin and Usec. Pama awarded the “Bakas Parangal ng Kadakilaan” (roughly “footprint award”) to the team led by Col. Chol Won Lee.

This award is given to given to honor the noble service of the ROKAF Joint Support Group in rehabilitation efforts despite the obvious hardships of the situation.

Col. Lee also received the “Bakas Parangal ng Kabayanihan”, which is given to the leader of the unit or group that exhibited exemplary acts of heroism.

There was also an unveiling of the ‘Araw Shrine’ where the words “We repaid your sacrifices of blood with our sweat drops” were carved on a huge stone monument.

Team Araw is set to leave the country on Dec. 22 where they will go back to their country and spend Christmas with their own families.

Team Araw arrived in the country last Dec. 27, 2013. The team was named after ‘Araw’ (English: Sun) to symbolize ‘hope’ to the typhoon survivors. (BY Public Information Office, Central Command, AFP)