Saturday, June 06, 2015

Philippine Army, Navy to bid out P50-M projects

The Army and the Navy will hold biddings for close to P50-million worth of military projects.

The Army will spend P13.49 million to buy spare parts of a KM250 truck while the Navy will acquire 3,780 high explosive rounds worth P36.34 million. 

The truck spare parts and explosive rounds will be acquired through the Philippine International Trading Corp., a state-run firm created to secure cost-effective procurement deals. 

The bid notices for the two projects were published in The STAR yesterday. The procurement will be undertaken through open competitive bidding as provided by the implementing rules of the procurement law. 

The Navy project, meanwhile, involves the supply and delivery of 3,780 rounds brand new cartridge 25mm high explosive incendiary- tracer linked. The high explosives will be used for the Navy troops’ security operations.

Prospective bidders may obtain more information about the projects from the Bids and Awards Committee 1 Secretariat at the National Development Corp. building during weekdays.

By Alexis Romero (The Philippine Star) 

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

DND wants ‘partial’ termination of chopper deal with US firm

THE Department of National Defense wants its P1.2 billion chopper deal with an American firm be “partially terminated.”

Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin said in a letter addressed to Robert Rice of the Rice Aircraft Services and Eagle Copters dated March 25 that the company failed to deliver the units on time.

Only eight of 21 units of UH-1 choppers have been delivered and accepted by the Philippine Air Force.

“You have delivered the UH-1 units in tranches and as of the date of this Notice only eight out of the 21 helicopters including 21 sets of gun mounts has been accepted the TIAC,” the letter read.

“The contract price in the amount of P1.263 billion shall be partially terminated for exceeding the ten percent maximum liquidated damages,” it also said.

“The 10 percent maximum liquidated damages was reached on Jan. 31.  You failed to comply with the agreed schedule of requirement of the contract agreement which provides that the delivery should be within 180 calendar days upon opening of the letter of credit. The letter of credit was opened in March 27 2014 and the deadline for delivery for contract is on September 21 2014,” the letter also said.

The American firm was also asked to submit a verified position paper why the contract should not be terminated with seven days upon receipt.

“Failure  to show cause within the provided period, either by inaction or by default, shall cause the issuance of an order terminating the contract,” the letter read.

In his State of the Nation Address in 2012, President Benigno Aquino III mentioned that 21 choppers were being acquired to boost the capability of the Philippine Air Force. AC

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Philippine Air Force gets new Airbus transport plane

The Air Force received on Monday the first of three Airbus C295 medium-lift transport aircraft as the Philippines continued modernizing its military which is one of the weakest in Asia.
The twin-turboprop plane made by Airbus Defense and Space is the Air Force’s first brand new military transport aircraft in three decades. The last new military transport planes that the Philipppines had were F-27 Fokker aircraft which it bought in the 1980s.
Two more Airbus C295s will arrive in 2016 in a deal worth P5.29 billion.
Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin said the aircraft would be used for humanitarian assistance and disaster response, transporting troops, light vehicles and equipment.
“The Philippine Air Force is fortunate to have in its inventory the first of this type of aircraft that would certainly boost its transport and mobility capability in the movement through air of personnel and their equipment and supplies,” Gazmin said in his speech at the plane’s turnover ceremonies in Villamor Airbase.
“We have to persevere and be contented with what we can afford based on the priorities of our urgent operational needs and their financial affordability. Necessarily, we have to take small but definite and useful tips towards practical modernity,” he said.
plane 1
The Philippine Air Force received first of the three Airbus C295 medium transport planes in a turnover ceremony graced by Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin on Monday at Villamor Air Base. PHILIPPINE AIR FORCE
Like a new car’
Captain Geraldine Matienzo, one of the four pilots of the C295 and the only female pilot, described the new plane as “modern” for its glass cockpit and LCD features.
“It’s very modern, digital, but the concept of flying is the same any pilot can study it,” she told reporters.
She said everyone was happy with the latest acquisition.
“It’s like having a new car for all of us. Everybody is very happy to have this new equipment,” she added.
Despite not having the modern air assets, Matienzo said they were able to perform their missions but the new aircraft will enhance their capability.
More pilots will be trained for the C295. Matienzo, the lone female pilot from the first batch, said they were chosen based on qualifications.
“As a female pilot, we were chosen based on our qualifications. It didn’t matter if you are male or female,” she said.
The C295 will be maintained by the 220th Airlift Wing of the Air Force.
The plane, which can augment the C-130 cargo planes, can carry as many as 71 passengers, 50 paratroops, 24 stretchers with 5 to 7 attendants or up to about 20,000 pounds of cargo. It is capable of landing on and takeoff from short runways.
Some of the brand new aircraft of the Air Force include eight Sokol choppers bought in 2012 and 18 SF-260 trainer planes purchased in 2010.
Last year, the Philippines also signed an agreement to buy 12 FA-50 jets from South Korea.
The Philippines has been trying to modernize its armed forces amid China’s aggressiveness over disputed territory in the South China Sea (West Philippine Sea). AU

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Sunday, March 15, 2015

Breastfeeding mother of 2 mans big guns in all-out offensive vs BIFF

DAVAO CITY, Philippines—She was forced to stop breastfeeding her second baby because her job obviously would not allow her to bring her infant along.

But Capt. Joan Pacudan, who as a battery commander in the 6th Field Artillery Battalion (FAB) helps direct the field artillery that provides the fire support in a combined military operation, said she had no regrets about leaving her two daughters to carry out a mission: to restore peace in conflict zones.

“It’s sad to be away from my children but I am happy knowing that the internally displaced civilians were able to return to their homes,” said Pacudan, whose unit is involved in the current military offensive against the Moro insurgent group Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) in Pikit, North Cotabato, last month and in Maguindanao now.

In the Pikit operation, more than a dozen BIFF gunmen were killed “mostly from artillery fire” and majority of the 20,000 displaced residents have since returned home, the military said.

Pacudan, who delivered her second baby late last year, had just ended her maternity leave when Armed Forces Chief General Gregorio Pio Catapang Jr. declared an all-out offensive against the BIFF in late February.

She had to leave her daughters in the care of a nanny and took up her assignment in the campaign to subdue the BIFF.

Very important job

Lt. Col. Ray Claudio Abaya, the battalion commander of the 6th FAB, said Pacudan’s job as artillery commander was very important for operating troops because the targets were open field, near marshy areas, or surrounded by running trenches and barricades.

“It was difficult for the ground troops to assault the BIFF positions since they enjoyed a vantage position,” he said.

“It was a challenge for Joan to make sure the artillery rounds would fall exactly on their (BIFF) positions,” Abaya said.

Because of the artillery support given by Pacudan, the BIFF was “caught by surprise and were forced to leave their vantage position after suffering heavy casualties,” Abaya said.

“The government troops maintained their offensive posture due to the responsive and accurate artillery fire support that covered their advance,” he said.

With all the difficulties attendant to a mother in her position, Pacudan never complained, he said.

Pacudan said she has not been sleeping well for more than a week now as government troops continue to pursue the BIFF in Maguindanao, particularly in the so-called Reina Regente complex.

“We’ve been moving from one fire base to another and I’m just sleeping on a hammock slung between the trees, together with my troops,” she said.

Late last year, Pacudan was awarded the Bronze Cross Medal by the Regiment Commander of Army Artillery Brig. Gen. Leandro Loyao III for acts of heroism involving risks of life.

Women troops

Loyao, now based in Fort Ramon Magsaysay, Nueva Ecija, said in a statement that the artillery regiment “always considers the importance of the equal and full participation in decision-making, peace-building and peacekeeping; maintenance and promotion of peace and security” of women soldiers.

“We have four female officers designated as battery commanders, one is in Luzon, one in the Visayas and two in Mindanao. There are also other junior and field-grade female officers performing battalion and regiment staff duties, with enlisted women providing backup in clerical and administrative tasks,” Loyao said.

When not engaged in war duties, the women in the artillery units are kept busy with various civil-military and humanitarian activities, he said.

From teacher to soldier

Pacudan, 34, is a Mindanao-born former teacher, according to Maj. Rosa Ma. Cristina Manuel, the public information officer of the artillery regiment based in Nueva Ecija.

She left teaching and joined the Armed Forces in 2004 through the Officers Candidate School, completing the Officer’s Preparatory Course Class 49.

Pacudan married a classmate of Class 49, who is also a military officer, Manuel said.

After graduation, Pacudan was assigned to the 9th Infantry Division in the Bicol Region as chief of the pension, gratuity and assistance office until 2006. She became deputy assistant of the chief of staff for personnel in the region, eventually becoming a battery commander in the 6th FAB.

Abaya said that despite being a woman, Pacudan is every bit the commander.

“Wait until you hear this lady command the cannons during fire missions. She would do this with authority and she would growl on top of her voice sending shivers to her troops. She always hits the target earning praises and accolades from the unit commander,” he said.

Source: Allan Nawal -

Philippine Air Force to receive new aircraft from Spanish firm

The government will receive this month one of the three medium-lift fixed-wing aircraft it acquired from a Spanish firm.
Defense Usec. Fernando Manalo said the first C-295 plane will be delivered by Airbus Military in Clark, Pampanga by March 23 to 25.
“It will be the first delivery of the brand new aircraft. We will be there to receive the aircraft delivered from Spain,” Manalo said.
The Air Force welcomed the development, saying the aircraft would provide added capability in times of disaster.
“It will serve as additional transport support for the Armed Forces’ requirements (and complement) the three existing C-130s,” Air Force spokesman Lt. Col. Enrico Canaya said.
“They will be especially helpful in HADR operations,” he added, referring to the military’s humanitarian assistance and disaster response.
Last year, The STAR reported that Airbus Military won the bidding for the supply of three medium-lift fixed-wing aircraft worth P5 billion.
The notice of award was issued to the aircraft manufacturer in February 2014.
Airbus offered to supply three C-295 planes for P5.29 billion, lower than the approved budget of P5.3 billion.
Airbus said the C-295 is “the most capable and versatile transport and surveillance aircraft.” It can carry as much as nine tons of payload or up to 71 people at a maximum cruise speed of 480 kilometers per hour.
The acquisition is expected to boost the overall lift capability of the Air Force.
The two other C-295 planes are scheduled to arrive next year.
Other aircraft due for delivery this year include six units of close air support aircraft worth P4.97 billion, eight units of combat utility helicopters worth P4.8 billion, eight attack helicopters worth P3.44 billion, two lead-in fighter trainer jets worth P3.16 billion and two units of light-lift aircraft worth P813 million.