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PHILIPPINES MAY BE TERRORISM'S NEW FRONTIER, DUTERTE TELLS ARMY
[RELATED: Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia next frontier of terrorism – Rody
]
(He said that based on intelligence reports from other countries, particularly in the Middle East, the IS seems to be looking for a new frontier. There are groups in Mindanao who have sworn allegiance to IS and Duterte said he tried to talk peace with them even before he assumed office last June.)
[RELATED(2): Duterte mulls hiring hatchet men, mercenaries to destroy Abu Sayyaf; Piñol: President focused on bandit group's annihilation]



OCTOBER 4 -File photo; 
The military must prepare to combat terrorism because militants may make the Philippines part of a new frontier of extremism, President Rodrigo Duterte said Tuesday. Speaking at the Philippine Army headquarters in Taguig City, Duterte said "terrorism is here to stay." The president said that "there seems to be no force, influence — forceful influence" that can stop extremism from spreading. "[F]rom what I just basa-basa and talks with the intelligence community of the other countries, especially in the Middle East, mukhang naghanap ito sila ng bagong frontier. And I think na ang susunod nito would be Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines," he said. He said that while he has been able to convince the "mainstream" rebel groups Moro National Liberation Front and Moro Islamic Liberation Front to talk peace, the government cannot talk to extremists like the Abu Sayyaf. The armed forces has been conducting intensified operations against the bandit group in Sulu province. READ MORE...RELATED,
Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia next frontier of terrorism – Rody... RELATED(2), Duterte mulls hiring hatchet men, mercenaries to destroy Abu Sayyaf;
Piñol: President focused on bandit group's annihilation...

ALSO Allies to Rody: Act like a statesman - Rody: 'Am not ready for the big league'
[ALSO: Sara Duterte says Davao blast suspect arrested]
[RELATED: Arrest of Davao bombers foiled plot for a 2nd attack]


OCTOBER 5 -Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte is greeted by supporters following his visit to the headquarters of the Philippine Army in suburban Taguig city east of Manila, Philippines Tuesday Oct. 4, 2016. U.S. and Philippine forces opened their first large scale combat exercises under President Duterte in uncertainty Tuesday after he said the drills will be the last in his six-year presidency partly to avoid upsetting China. AP Photo/Bullit Marquez
Despite calls for him to act like a statesman, President Duterte continued to lambast his critics yesterday as he vowed to continue to talk tough on illegal drugs and criminality. Duterte, who has been advised by his allies to talk less and to focus on his job, justified his style and gutter language, saying he does not belong to the “big league.”  “I don’t want to demean myself. Ang ugali ko talaga pang mayor lang (my character is only for a mayor). I’m not ready for the big league,” he told local executives in Makati. “Never mind my mouth. I never aspired to be a statesman,” he added. Duterte said he would continue to talk about the drug menace until the last drug pusher is taken out of the street. READ MORE...ALSO,
Sara Duterte says Davao blast suspect arrested... RELATED  Arrest of Davao bombers foiled plot for a 2nd attack...

ALSO: PH-US war games start amid uncertainty; US to PH - Our alliance remains a key source of stability in Asia (Watch video)
[RELATED:
Last PH-US war games?]


OCTOBER 5 -EMBASSY RALLY Policemen block protesters trying to get near the US Embassy during a rally against the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement between the United States and the Philippines. AP
US AND Philippine Marine commanders stressed the value of joint training as American and Filipino forces opened combat exercises under some uncertainty on Tuesday, days after President Duterte said the drills would be the last in his six-year term. Marine commanders from both sides said at the opening of the Philippine Amphibious Landing Exercise (Phiblex 33), involving 1,400 American and 500 Filipino military personnel, the drills were aimed at improving readiness by the two countries to respond to a range of crises while deepening their historic ties. Last week, Mr. Duterte, angered by US criticism of his brutal war on drugs, said Phiblex would be the last war games during his term, which started on June 30. READ MORE...RELATED, Last PH-US war games?...

ALSO: Defense chief Lorenzana says military can manage without US aid
[RELATED: Defense chief says Duterte 'misinformed' on importance of PHL-US war games]


OCTOBER 7 -LORENZANA -US-Philippines ties are going through "bumps on the road" and the Armed Forces of the Philippines could manage if treaty ally the United States were to withdraw aid, Defense Sec. Delfin Lorenzana said Friday. The Philippines intended to buy arms from China and Russia and there had been no adverse reaction from within the military to President Rodrigo Duterte's vows to scale back defense ties with the United States, Lorenzana said. Lorenzana's remarks suggested he was following other top officials in Duterte's administration in rallying behind the maverick president's tough anti-US agenda after weeks of scrambling to manage the fallout from his outbursts and threats to downgrade the alliance. Lorenzana had on Wednesday set a conciliatory tone, saying Duterte may have been misinformed when he said US-Philippine military exercises were no benefit to his country. But on Friday, Lorenzana said the value of US military aid to the Philippines was "not that much," and the military could ask Congress to make up for a shortfall of some $50 million-$100 million a year in US military aid. "We can live without (that)," Lorenzana told a foreign correspondents' forum. READ MORE...RELATED, Defense chief says Duterte 'misinformed' on importance of PHL-US war games...

ALSO: Aussie minister to Rody - Maintain ties with US
[RELATED: Robredo fears Duterte’s remarks will affect int’l support for gov’t programs]


OCTOBER 5 -Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop urged President Duterte to maintain the Philippines’ ties to the United States and ensure the cessation of “extrajudicial killings,” according to a report of the Australian Financial Review. UN/Jean-Marc Ferré, file
Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop urged President Duterte to maintain the Philippines’ ties to the United States and ensure the cessation of “extrajudicial killings,” according to a report of the Australian Financial Review. “Like Australia, the Philippines has an enduring interest in a continued American role in underwriting peace and stability in East Asia. It is up to the Philippines to decide how best to secure its long-term interests in the region,” Bishop said. This came after Duterte said that he would seek a review of the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA), which grants American troops access to Philippine military bases. READ MORE... RELATED, Robredo fears Duterte’s remarks will affect int’l support for gov’t programs...


READ FULL MEDIA REPORTS HERE:

Philippines may be terrorism's new frontier, Duterte tells Army


File photo

MANILA, OCTOBER 10, 2016 (PHILSTAR) October 4, 2016 - The military must prepare to combat terrorism because militants may make the Philippines part of a new frontier of extremism, President Rodrigo Duterte said Tuesday.

Speaking at the Philippine Army headquarters in Taguig City, Duterte said "terrorism is here to stay."

The president said that "there seems to be no force, influence — forceful influence" that can stop extremism from spreading.

"[F]rom what I just basa-basa and talks with the intelligence community of the other countries, especially in the Middle East, mukhang naghanap ito sila ng bagong frontier. And I think na ang susunod nito would be Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines," he said.

He said that while he has been able to convince the "mainstream" rebel groups Moro National Liberation Front and Moro Islamic Liberation Front to talk peace, the government cannot talk to extremists like the Abu Sayyaf. The armed forces has been conducting intensified operations against the bandit group in Sulu province.

READ MORE...

RELATED: Dureza: Extremism will not take root in the Philippines

According to reports, five radical preachers from the outlawed Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters have broken away to form a new group that aims to establish an Asian Islamic caliphate allied with the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.

The breakaway group has also reportedly formed alliances with the Maute armed group and the Abu Sayyaf.

On Sept.2, a bomb exploded in a night market in Davao City, killing 14 and leaving close to 70 injured. Duterte, who was in the city at the time, declared a State of National Emergency in the country after the bombing.

"[S]tart now dealing with terrorism. I’m giving so many books to you but one is sa drugs. You must… ‘yon ‘yung sa profiling. Naka-cap, naka-shades, naka-short pants. ‘Yan ang pag-aralan ninyo because ang terrorism is not being fought with armies eh... five, six, seven, car bombs, ‘yung ganon," the president said.

He added he was giving the soldiers Glock handguns because of the nature of the terrorist threat.

"In my time, in my time, you’d have everything you need to fight effectively. Wala kayong problema sa akin. May priority kayo sa government spending basta trabaho lang kayo because I know how hard it is to keep the peace of the country and to protect its integrity," he said.

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RELATED FROM PHILSTAR

Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia next frontier of terrorism – Rody By Christina Mendez (The Philippine Star) | Updated October 5, 2016 - 12:00am 2 8 googleplus0 0

MANILA, Philippines – President Duterte yesterday urged the military anew to prepare against terror threats, saying the next frontier of terrorism in Southeast Asia would be Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines.

Duterte said after drugs, terrorism would be the country’s next major problem, citing attacks by the Islamic State (IS) in other countries.

“Terrorism is here to stay, there seems to be no forceful influence that could stop them,” he said in a speech at the Philippine Army headquarters in Taguig.

“The battleground is the Middle East and the terrorists’ world is getting smaller every day because of the cooperation among Britain, France, Russia and the US against terrorism,” the President said.

He said that based on intelligence reports from other countries, particularly in the Middle East, the IS seems to be looking for a new frontier.

There are groups in Mindanao who have sworn allegiance to IS and Duterte said he tried to talk peace with them even before he assumed office last June.

The President had said he would never talk peace with the extremist Abu Sayyaf, a bandit group engaged in kidnap for ransom in the southern Philippines.

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RELATED(2) FROM THE INQUIRER

Duterte mulls hiring hatchet men, mercenaries to destroy Abu Sayyaf Piñol: President focused on bandit group's annihilation By: Allan Nawal / @inquirerdotnet Inquirer Mindanao / 11:55 PM September 04, 2016

DAVAO CITY — President Rodrigo Duterte wants the fight with the Abu Sayyaf to end in the bandit group’s annihilation that he is even willing to hire fearless hatchet men or mercenaries to make this happen, according to a ranking Cabinet official.

Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol said in a Facebook post on Sunday that during a meeting with security officials and some Cabinet members that started Saturday evening and ended about 4 a.m. on Sunday, Duterte was so furious at the Abu Sayyaf’s terror attacks, especially in the wake of the bomb attack here on Friday.

“If I have to hire the Gurkhas to help us fight the Abu Sayyaf, I am willing to do it,” Piñol quoted Mr. Duterte as saying during the meeting held at Enclaves in Matina, which he had also attended.

He said the President was referring to the Nepali Gurkhas, who had earned the respect of the British for being fearless during the Gorkha War of 1814-1816.

The Nepali Gurkhas were akin to the French Legion, which were close to, but were not considered mercenaries under the Geneva Convention.

Piñol said Mr. Duterte had acknowledged that the Abu Sayyaf and other extremist groups were “products of historical injustices” but their recent actions – such as the beheading of kidnap victims and bomb attacks – called for the use of force.

“There’s no other option. These people are like germs, which must be eliminated,” Piñol quoted the President as saying about the Abu Sayyaf.

“You started this. I wanted to talk to you but you leave me with no choice,” Duterte said, according to Piñol.

President Rodrigo Duterte stares at the ground of the Davao City night market where 14 were killed and around 60 were wounded on Sept. 2, 2016. (SCREENGRAB OF RTVM VIDEO/ Courtesy of Presidential Communications)
President Rodrigo Duterte stares at the ground of the Davao City night market where 14 were killed and around 60 were wounded on Sept. 2, 2016. (SCREENGRAB OF RTVM VIDEO/ Courtesy of Presidential Communications)

“The President, who was obviously hurting from the terror attack which left (14) people dead, including a young child, and over 60 others wounded, however, called on the nation to prepare for reprisals from the terror group similar to the bombing at Davao City’s Roxas (Avenue),” Piñol said.

But he said the “sacrifices to be made” would “address this problem once and for all.”

“The bombing in Davao City (on Friday evening) served as the proverbial last straw that broke the camel’s back,” Piñol said of the President’s new position.

The military has sent nearly 10,000 troops to Sulu in a bid to combat the Abu Sayyaf, which has recently killed 15 soldiers. Since August 26, the military said it has killed 30 bandits in the island-province. SFM


PHILSTAR

I’m not ready for the big league – Rody By Alexis Romero (The Philippine Star) | Updated October 5, 2016 - 12:00am 0 7 googleplus0 0


Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte is greeted by supporters following his visit to the headquarters of the Philippine Army in suburban Taguig city east of Manila, Philippines Tuesday Oct. 4, 2016. U.S. and Philippine forces opened their first large scale combat exercises under President Duterte in uncertainty Tuesday after he said the drills will be the last in his six-year presidency partly to avoid upsetting China. AP Photo/Bullit Marquez

MANILA, Philippines – Despite calls for him to act like a statesman, President Duterte continued to lambast his critics yesterday as he vowed to continue to talk tough on illegal drugs and criminality.

Duterte, who has been advised by his allies to talk less and to focus on his job, justified his style and gutter language, saying he does not belong to the “big league.”

“I don’t want to demean myself. Ang ugali ko talaga pang mayor lang (my character is only for a mayor). I’m not ready for the big league,” he told local executives in Makati.

“Never mind my mouth. I never aspired to be a statesman,” he added.

Duterte said he would continue to talk about the drug menace until the last drug pusher is taken out of the street.

READ MORE...

“They said I should stop making noise. No, I cannot stop. I’ll lose momentum. I cannot afford it. I’m now the president. The momentum has to be there,” he said.

“That got me into trouble. But whose s**t was it? Was it mine? This is my country. There is no law which says I cannot threaten criminals either as a mayor or president. If anyone disagrees, give me the provision or law,” he added.

Some lawmakers have advised Duterte to be more careful with his statements, noting that his pronouncements have stirred controversies and elicited negative reactions here and abroad.

Sen. Richard Gordon, chairman of the Senate justice committee, said Duterte is “falling on his own sword” and believes the President should refrain from constantly threatening to kill criminals.

Gordon also said the President is “noisy” and must learn to act and speak like a statesman because his statements are negatively affecting the image of the country.

“I feel like suggesting that we change our tourism slogan to ‘Welcome to the PI’ or ‘Wow PI,” said Gordon, a former tourism secretary, at the resumption of the Senate inquiry into the drug-related summary killings last Monday. “PI” refers to the first letters of the common Filipino cuss phrase.

“Hopefully, the President will hear me and realize that it’s (cussing) already too much,” he added.

Last week, Duterte caused an outrage after he issued a statement about German leader Adolf Hitler, who killed millions of Jews during World War II. According to him, he would be happy to slaughter three million drug addicts and criminals, a comment critics viewed as a comparison of the anti-drug war to the Holocaust.

Duterte has apologized for the remark, saying he did not intend to denigrate the memory of Holocaust victims.

Malacañang also downplayed the call of Duterte’s allies to tone down his rhetoric following criticisms over his cussing and tirades against the United States, United Nations and the European Union regarding his bloody war against drugs.

“I think he was being funny. Thank you,” presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella said, reacting to the criticism from Gordon. – With Christina Mendez

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ALSO  FROM ABS-CBN

Sara Duterte says Davao blast suspect arrested Kimberly jane Tan, ABS-CBN News Posted at Oct 07 2016 03:43 PM


DAVAO MAYOR SARA DUTERTE CARPIO

A primary suspect in the deadly September 2 blast in Davao City has been arrested, Mayor Sara Duterte said Friday.

"This development is commendable as we vow to expeditiously give justice to the 15 victims who died and the 69 others who were wounded in the blast," she said in a statement, ahead of a scheduled presentation of suspects in Camp Aguinaldo.

Duterte did not name the suspect. She said the arrest is just the beginning of the resolution of the incident.

"The arrest must ultimately lead us to the dismantling of terror groups in our midst or result in the failure of more senseless acts of violence and extremism," she said.

"We also need to remember that this does not end our desire to give justice to the victims and those whose lives were forever changed by that horrendous act of terrorism on the night of September 2 in our beloved city," she added.

The Abu Sayyaf Group earlier claimed responsibility for the attack.

In response, President Rodrigo Duterte vowed to tear them apart and eat them alive in front of people.

Before the Davao blast, the group also killed 15 soldiers during a clash in Sulu.

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RELATED FROM THE MANILA BULLETIN

Arrest of Davao bombers foiled plot for a 2nd attack by Francis T. Wakefield October 10, 2016 Share1 Tweet0 Share0 Email0 Share8

The chief of the Philippine Army (PA) said yesterday that members of the Maute Group planned to conduct another bombing in Mindanao 40 days after the bombing incident in Davao City which left 15 people dead.

The terrorist bombing at the Roxas Night Market last September 2, also left 70 others wounded.

Lt. Gen. Eduardo Año said that based on information they received, the Maute Group was planning to conduct another bombing in other cities in Mindanao but this was foiled by the arrest of the three main suspects in the Davao City blast.

The three Maute Group members earlier arrested in a military and police checkpoint in Cotabato City were TJ Tagadaya Macabalang, the man who allegedly detonated the bomb; Wendel Apostol Facturan, the alleged bomb courier; and Musali Mustapha, the one who took the video of the bombing to document it.

“Actually may plano sana sila (Maute Group) na mag conduct pa ng bombing after 40 days ng bombing sa Davao City. After 40 days magco-conduct sila ng another bombing pero na-disrupt na sila kasi sila (suspects) ang gagamitin,” Año said during an interview.

“Ang target nila mga cities sa Mindanao. Pero malabo na iyun kasi iyung gumawa eh nahuli na,” he added.

Año, however, did not give any specific detail on which city was the target.

Hunt for 10 others on

He said efforts are ongoing to arrest 10 other suspects who reportedly took part in the bomb blast.

“’Yung other members nila on the run. Once na lumabas na ’yung warrant na ito we will get all of them,” Año assured. “Oo, identified na namin ang mga iyan. Kilala na namin mga iyun,” he added.

Año said that based on their assessment, the Maute Group has100 members in its fold. Members, he said, even included teenagers who need work.


INQUIRER

PH-US war games start amid uncertainty; : US to PH: Our alliance remains a key source of stability in Asia By: Cynthia D. Balana @inquirerdotnet Philippine Daily Inquirer 01:50 AM October 5th, 2016


EMBASSY RALLY Policemen block protesters trying to get near the US Embassy during a rally against the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement between the United States and the Philippines. AP

EMBASSY RALLY Policemen block protesters trying to get near the US Embassy during a rally against the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement between the United States and the Philippines. AP

US AND Philippine Marine commanders stressed the value of joint training as American and Filipino forces opened combat exercises under some uncertainty on Tuesday, days after President Duterte said the drills would be the last in his six-year term.

Marine commanders from both sides said at the opening of the Philippine Amphibious Landing Exercise (Phiblex 33), involving 1,400 American and 500 Filipino military personnel, the drills were aimed at improving readiness by the two countries to respond to a range of crises while deepening their historic ties.

Last week, Mr. Duterte, angered by US criticism of his brutal war on drugs, said Phiblex would be the last war games during his term, which started on June 30.

READ MORE...

Foreign Secretary Perfecto Yasay said, however, that the decision was not final, sparking questions as to whether other annual US-Philippine military exercises would proceed as planned.

US Embassy officials said Manila had not formally notified Washington of any move to scrap other planned drills.

Such a move by Manila would impede Washington’s plans to expand the footprint of US forces in Southeast Asia to counter an increasingly aggressive China.

War games between US and Philippine forces are held every year under the Visiting Forces Agreement, an offshoot of the Mutual Defense Treaty signed by the two countries in 1951.

Security accord

Two years ago, the two countries signed an Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (Edca), which allows US forces access to five Philippine military bases to help counterbalance China’s expanding presence in the South China Sea.

But angered by US warning that continued military aid to the Philippines was tied to his human rights record, Mr. Duterte on Sunday threatened to scrap Edca in his latest outburst against the United States that was full of typical invectives.


U.S. Marines Brig. Gen. John Jansen, third from left front row, of the 3rd Marine Expeditionary Brigade and Maj. Gen. Andre Costales, third from right front row, Commandant of the Philippine Marines Corps, pose with other military officers following the opening ceremony for the 33rd joint U.S.-Philippines amphibious landing exercises dubbed PHIBLEX at the marines corps in suburban Taguig city, east of Manila, Philippines Tuesday Oct. 4, 2016. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)

“This Edca is an official document…but it does not bear the signature of the President of the Republic,” he said at the opening of the MassKara Festival in Bacolod City, Negros Occidental province.

“The Americans, I don’t like them…they are reprimanding me in public. So I say: ‘Screw you, fuck you,’” he said, while signaling again that he wanted to forge closer alliances with China and Russia.

“Better think twice now because I will be asking you to leave the Philippines altogether,” he added.

Navy Capt. Jeff Davis, a spokesperson for the Pentagon, said the US military was aware of Mr. Duterte’s comments.

“It hasn’t really so much translated into tangible actions that we’ve seen with regards to our actions under the alliance,” he said.

“In as much as our alliance with the Philippines is concerned, it’s very much solid and stable and secure and on track,” Davis said, pointing to continued cooperation in operations in the southern Philippines.

Marine Capt. Ryan Lacuesta, a spokesperson for the Philippine side of Phiblex, sidestepped the question of whether Mr. Duterte’s remarks had affected the troops and the atmosphere of the joint exercises, partly staged to improve camaraderie between the two combat forces.

“As much as I would like to answer that question, I would leave that to higher authorities,” Lacuesta said on Tuesday.

Joint training

At the opening of Phiblex at the Philippine Marine Corps headquaters in Taguig City on Tuesday, Maj. Gen. Andre Costales, Philippine Marine Corps commander, and Brig. Gen. John Jansen, commander of the US 3rd Marine Brigade, highlighted the good bond between the two combat forces and the value of joint training.

Costales said that by focusing on the shared vision of integration and interoperability, the two sides would be able to demonstrate their strong bond as military friends and allies.

He said the mission of Phiblex was to integrate the use of strategic sea-lift vessels and other nontraditional platforms, such as landing craft from Australia and small riverine craft from the United States.

The goal, he said, was to prepare the ground for the Philippine Marines to build up, with or without external interventions, including the rehearsal for the activation of the Marine combat component of the Armed Forces of the Philippines’ rapid reaction force and the use of landing and offloading sites other than those traditionally used in previous exercises.

“Our vision is not for our nation’s Marines alone, it involves the international and regional partner armed forces as well,” Costales said.

The strong bond between the two combat forces, Jansen said, builds on impressive levels of interoperability, readiness and response when faced with crisis.

“We share so much in common, right down to our interwoven values: honor, duty, heroism—that is what makes the fabric of our forces, so strong and proud,” he said.

Jansen said the exercises were specifically designed to enhance the capabilities of the two combat forces and strengthen their ability to cooperate for disaster relief and regional security.

But more stress will be given to humanitarian assistance to improve the capabilities of the two combat forces to save lives during disasters, he said.

Phiblex ends on Oct. 12. With reports from AP and AFP

VIDEO : US to PH: Our alliance remains a key source of stability in Asia

 
https://youtu.be/FcBgbgGqWZI
US to PH: Our alliance remains a key source of stability in Asia INQUIRER.net INQUIRER.net Subscribe64,723 Add to Share More 488 views 5 0 Published on Oct 4, 2016 The United States on Tuesday highlighted its partnership with the Philippines at the opening ceremonies of the potentially last joint war games under the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte.

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RELATED FROM THE MANILA BULLETIN

Last PH-US war games? by Francis T. Wakefield October 5, 2016 Share1 Tweet0 Share1 Email0 Share18


LAST WAR GAMES — Maj. Gen. Ande M. Costales Jr., commander of the Philippine Marines, salutes the country’s flag (left) at the ceremony kicking off what could be the last joint military exercises of Philippine and United States forces, dubbed Philippine Amphibious Landing Exercise or PHIBLEX in Taguig City, yesterday. (Jansen Romero/Manila Bulletin)

The Philippines and the United States (US) yesterday formally opened their joint war games as part of efforts to further enhance the two countries’ inter-operability across different range of military operations.

The joint military exercises may be the last after President Duterte announced before the Filipino community in Vietnam a few days ago his plan to scrap further war games between the two allies.

“You are scheduled to hold war games again, which China does not want. I would serve notice to you now that this will be the last military exercise. Jointly, Philippines-US, the last one,” Duterte said in Hanoi as he vowed to establish new alliances for trade and commerce.

The PH-US Amphibious Landing Exercise (PHIBLEX 33) drills will involve around 1,400 US Marines and sailors based in Okinawa, Japan, and 500 Philippine Marines “working side by side to grow capabilities and better prepare to operate together during a natural disaster or armed conflict,” the US Embassy in Manila said.

READ MORE...

The military exercises, which run through Oct. 12 in Luzon and Palawan, including waters close to the disputed South China Sea, are part of a series of regular joint drills, the largest of which is an annual exercise called Balikatan – “shoulder to shoulder” in the Filipino language – which brought together around 8,500 troops from the two countries in April.

Marine Major General Andre M. Costales, commandant of the Philippine Marine Corps, was the guest of honor during yesterday’s opening at the Marines headquarters in Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City.

Also present in Brig. Gen. John M. Jansen, commanding general of the 3rd Marine Expeditionary Brigade of the United States Marine Corps; and Brig. Gen. Maximo J. Ballesteros, the deputy commandant of the Philippine Marine Corps and the exercise director of PHIBLEX 33 for the AFP.

Jansen said the alliance between the Philippines and the US remains a key source of stability in the Asia Pacific region.

“We share so much in common, right down to our interwoven values: Honor, duty, heroism – that is what makes the fabric of our forces so strong and proud,” Jansen said.

Jansen said the training ahead is specifically designed to enhance the capabilities of the two countries forces and strengthen our ability to cooperate for disaster relief and regional security. Additional focus will be given to improving the combined efforts during humanitarian assistance scenarios.

“The inspiration for an exercise like this is our mutual commitment to our relationship as friends and allies,” he said.

Likewise, the President threatened to junk the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) signed by the Philippines and the US.

“Better think twice now because I will be asking you to leave the Philippines altogether,” Duterte said last Sunday.

The US embassy in Manila, through its press attaché Molly Koscina, said the US “will continue to work closely with the government of the Philippines to address any concerns they may have.”

In an email to the Manila Bulletin, Koscina also said Washington will continue to honor its alliance commitments, as it also expects the Philippines to do the same.

SERIES OF EXERCISES

Captain Ryan F. Lacuesta, Marine Corps Public Information Officer, said PHIBLEX 33 is the 33rd in a series of this bilateral exercise which will be conducted from October 4 to 12. PHIBLEX 33 will serve as a venue for combined training between the Philippine Marine Corps and United States militaries to further enhance the inter-operability across different range of military operation. These include Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Response operation.

Lacuesta said the training exercises will be held simultaneously in various venues, including Clark and Basa Air Bases in Pampanga; Marine Barracks Gregorio Lim in Ternate, Cavite; Crow Valley in Tarlac; Naval Education and Education and Training Command in San Antonio, Zambales; Palawan and Cagayan in Northern Luzon.

Lacuesta said the exercise will have three major events: the Command Post Exercise, Field Training Exercise and Humanitarian Civic Action.

The US participating units include Amphibious Squadron 11, the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit, and the three ships of Bonhomme Richard Amphibious Ready Group (BHRARG) – the USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD6), USS Green Bay (LPD 20), and the USS Germantown (LSD-48).

The Philippine units include the 3rd Marine Brigade, 4th Marine Battalion, 2nd Marine Battalion, AW 109 from the Naval Air Group, and one Landing Craft (BRP Bagobo LC 293) of the Philippine Fleet.

Lacuesta said the joint military exercises will also focus on the interoperability of the Philippines and US militaries in post crisis response through the conduct of disaster rehabilitation and rural development activities.

“These will materialize through the Engineering Civic Action Program (ENCAP) and Community Health Engagement (CHE) which will be conducted in Northern Luzon, particularly in Sta. Ana, Cagayan.

In his speech, Costales said for 2016, their mission is to integrate the use of Strategic Sealift Vessels (BRP Tarlac), and other non-traditional platforms such as the landing craft from Australia and small unit riverine craft from the US with platforms and mechanisms of the other Armed Forces

“But our vision does not end here. Our goal further extends its breadth by preparing the grounds for the Philippine Marine Corps capability build up with or without external interventions; thereby including the rehearsal for the activation of the marine combat component of the AFP’s joint rapid reaction force and the utilization of landing and offload sites other than those traditional used in previous Phiblex engagements,” he said. (With reports from AFP, WSJ, Roy C. Mabasa, and Elena L. Aben)


GMA NEWS NETWORK

Defense chief Lorenzana says military can manage without US aid Published October 7, 2016 10:12am Updated October 7, 2016 1:15pm

US-Philippines ties are going through "bumps on the road" and the Armed Forces of the Philippines could manage if treaty ally the United States were to withdraw aid, Defense Sec. Delfin Lorenzana said Friday.

The Philippines intended to buy arms from China and Russia and there had been no adverse reaction from within the military to President Rodrigo Duterte's vows to scale back defense ties with the United States, Lorenzana said.

Lorenzana's remarks suggested he was following other top officials in Duterte's administration in rallying behind the maverick president's tough anti-US agenda after weeks of scrambling to manage the fallout from his outbursts and threats to downgrade the alliance.

Lorenzana had on Wednesday set a conciliatory tone, saying Duterte may have been misinformed when he said US-Philippine military exercises were no benefit to his country.

But on Friday, Lorenzana said the value of US military aid to the Philippines was "not that much," and the military could ask Congress to make up for a shortfall of some $50 million-$100 million a year in US military aid.

"We can live without (that)," Lorenzana told a foreign correspondents' forum.

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Duterte, well known for a ruthless stand against crime from his years as mayor of a southern city, won election in May on a promise to wipe out drugs and drug dealers.

Over 3,000 people have been killed in his anti-drugs drive and he has been enraged by questions about human rights, from the United States and others, that the bloodshed has raised.

Duterte said on Thursday in Butuan City that if the United States and European Union objected to his drugs war and wished to withdraw aid, they should do so, and the Philippines would not beg.

"I do not expect human rights, I do not expect Obama, I do not expect the EU to understand me. Do not understand me. And if you think it's high time for you to withdraw assistance, go ahead. We will not beg for it," Duterte said.

“Ano’ng paningin n’yo sa amin? How do you look at us? Mendicants? Na magsige lang sunod-sunod kami?” he added. “We will survive. We will survive as a nation.”

US State Department spokesman John Kirby responded to that saying total U.S. assistance to the Philippines in the fiscal year that began on Oct. 1 was $180 million "and we're committed" to delivering that.

'Not too dependent'

Lorenzana said he believed Duterte's objective was to diversify Philippines' foreign ties and cut dependency on former colonial ruler the United States.

"The president is trying to develop a relationship with the US that is not too dependent on one country," he said.

Duterte has caused a diplomatic storm by declaring that joint US-Philippines military exercises would cease, a defence agreement would be reviewed and, at an undisclosed time, he might "break up" with the United States.

On Monday, Duterte said US President Barack Obama should "go to hell."

Lorenzana said there had been no official directive to scrap a two-year-old Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement. He said the uncertainty in the US-Philippines relationship was "just going through these bumps on the road."

"Maybe we should re-assess (the relationship)," he said. "Are we benefiting, are we getting what we should be getting from alliance? It is part of this growing up."

He said Duterte was sensitive to concerns about his drugs war and it was likely the president would dial down his rhetoric if questions from the West about human rights stopped.

Asked how changes in the security relationship could impact a strategic US "rebalance" to Asia, he said: "They are not lacking of any place to park their ships if they are no longer allowed to park their ships here."

He said there may be some issues of compatibility with defense procurements from Russia and China, which were willing to sell to the Philippines.

A Philippine dispute with China over sovereignty in the South China Sea would not impede defense procurements, he said, adding there had been no discussion of the two countries working together militarily.

"All we are thinking now is buying equipment," he said. "No talks yet about military alliance. Just simple transaction of buying equipment."

Lorenzana's show of accord with Duterte's anti-US stand follows a similar tough line from Foreign Affairs Secretary Perfecto Yasay who said this week that Duterte wanted to liberate the country from a "shackling dependency" on the United States.

Yasay said the president was "compelled to realign" Philippine foreign policy and not submit to US demands and interests. — Reuters with GMA News/RSJ

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RELATED FROM GMA NEWS

Defense chief says Duterte 'misinformed' on importance of PHL-US war games Published October 5, 2016 5:19pm By AMITA LEGASPI, GMA News

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana on Wednesday said President Rodrigo Duterte may have been misinformed when he said that the country does not benefit from its joint military exercises with the United States.

"Ayon sa kanya, ang mga Kano lang ang nagbebenepisyo sa mga exercises na 'yan. Pero ayon naman sa mga nakalap ko sa mga opisyales sa General Headquarters at Army, meron naman [benepisyo sa Pilipinas]," said Lorenzana.

Duterte has openly expressed his dislike with the PHL-US military exercises, even going as far as saying that the war games being held from October 4 to 12 in different areas in the Philippines will be the last under his term.

He also threatened to scrap the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA).

Lorenzana, however, said he believes Duterte just did not receive the complete information from the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Department of National Defense regarding the joint military exercises.

"Kaya nasabi kong misinformed ang ating mahal na Presidente ay dahil mukhang hindi kumpleto ang mga impormasyong dumadating sa kanya," he said. "Siguro nagkulang ang DND at ang AFP ng pagbibigay ng wastong information."

"Ito ang siya naming tutugunan sa mga darating na araw," Lorenzana added.

Benefits

He said the benefits of the war games include the Filipino soldiers' use of brand new firearms and protective clothing, and their exposure to new war systems, tactics, and concepts such as joint landings, marksmanship, fire and maneuvers.

Lorenzana said under the joint exercises, Filipino soldiers are trained on humanitarian assistance and disaster readiness, which he said is necessary for a calamity-prone country like the Philippines. He cited the assistance provided by US troops after Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) hit the country in 2013.

"Dahil sa close military-to-military relations, madaling naka-coordinate ang US at AFP para ipadala sa Tacloban ang kanilang barko at helicopter nang agaran pagkatapos salantain ng Haiyan ang Tacloban noong November 2013. Sa katunayan sila ang mga unang dumating at sumaklolo," he said.

Lorenzana said Filipino and US troops also conduct civil actions whenever they have joint exercises in a certain area. He also said that top officials also learn how to conceptualize and execute strategies during TableTop Exercises. —KBK, GMA News


PHILSTAR

Aussie minister to Rody: Maintain ties with US By Pia Lee-Brago (The Philippine Star) | Updated October 5, 2016 - 12:00am 3 13 googleplus0 0


Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop urged President Duterte to maintain the Philippines’ ties to the United States and ensure the cessation of “extrajudicial killings,” according to a report of the Australian Financial Review. UN/Jean-Marc Ferré, file

MANILA, Philippines – Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop urged President Duterte to maintain the Philippines’ ties to the United States and ensure the cessation of “extrajudicial killings,” according to a report of the Australian Financial Review.

“Like Australia, the Philippines has an enduring interest in a continued American role in underwriting peace and stability in East Asia. It is up to the Philippines to decide how best to secure its long-term interests in the region,” Bishop said.

This came after Duterte said that he would seek a review of the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA), which grants American troops access to Philippine military bases.

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Earlier, Duterte said he would no longer allow the conduct of Philippine-US military exercises and joint patrols with the US through contested areas of the South China Sea.

Bishop previously questioned why the Philippines was not enforcing the ruling of the Permanent Court Arbitration (PCA) that China’s excessive claims in the South China Sea had no basis.

She said she was surprised by Duterte’s decision not to allow the Philippines to join the joint patrols in the South China Sea and not to traverse the territory the PCA found within the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone (EEZ).

The report also said Bishop stated that Australia is calling for an end to the “extrajudicial killings” and for the government to allow those accused of drug crimes to face court.

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RELATED FROM GMA NEWS

Robredo fears Duterte’s remarks will affect int’l support for gov’t programs Published October 5, 2016 1:55pm By ROSE-AN JESSICA DIOQUINO, GMA News

Vice President Leni Robredo on Wednesday expressed fears that President Rodrigo Duterte's remarks against world leaders and institutions would affect international support for the government's anti-poverty initiatives.

Robredo made the pronouncement the day after Duterte told US President Barack Obama to "go to hell."

"Ako parating nandoon 'yung pangamba, parating nandoon 'yung pangamba kasi napakahalaga nu'ng good relations natin with the international community," Robredo said when asked if she feared Duterte's words would eventually affect her office's programs for the poor.

"Marami tayong inaasahang tulong galing sa kanila and bawat insidente na puwedeng magdulot ng strain sa relations na 'to nakakabahala," Robredo said.

"I am one with everyone in also wishing na sana, sana hindi lumala 'yung sitwasyon, sana mag-improve siya for the better," she added.

Aside from Obama, Duterte has also had choice words for the United Nations, the European Union and UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon for their criticisms of his administration's war on drugs.

The personalities and groups have expressed concern over the more than 3,000 deaths attributed to the anti-drug campaign during Duterte's less than 100 days in office.

Robredo, however, said that the controversies have yet to affect her advocacies.

"Siyempre parati din tayong nagiging anxious kung merong epekto 'yung mga recent events sa commitments na ibinibigay sa atin o ipina-promise sa atin ng international community, pero right now wala namang ganoon," Robredo said.

"In fact, we have received several ambassadors already who came over for a courtesy visit, and whenever we present to them our anti-poverty programs, all of them have signified their commitment," he added. —NB, GMA News


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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