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Headlines - July 6,2008

75% of Cotabato City still underwater, NDCC says

07/06/2008 | 08:33 AM

MANILA, Philippines - Heavy downpours brought by Typhoon "Frank" and a drainage system blocked by water lilies have put three-fourths of Cotabato City in Mindanao under water, the National Disaster Coordinating Council (NDCC) said.

In its report dated 6 p.m. Saturday, the NDCC said the vegetation and water lilies served as an impounding dam that diverted the water flow of the Rio Grande de Mindanao to low-lying areas.

"The heavy downpour as a result of typhoon 'Frank' has left almost more than 75 percent of Cotabato City underwater. One urgent concern is the accumulation of water lilies at the delta bridge estimated seven hectares, three meters thick spanning the entire length of the bridge," it said.

As of Saturday night, it said some 14,014 families had been affected, with at least 3,058 families presently housed in 13 evacuation centers.

Rice prices in Mindanao return to 'old levels'
Sunday, July 06, 2008

TACURONG CITY -- Rice prices in Central Mindanao have declined to P35 a kilo from more than P50/kg a few weeks ago due to new palay (paddy rice) harvest and continuous infusion of government-subsidized rice stocks, a National Food Authority (NFA) official said over the weekend.

Antonio J. Adorable, NFA Central Mindanao assistant director, said there was a notable decrease in the retail and wholesale prices of rice in the second week of June, particularly in the markets of South Cotabato and Sultan Kudarat provinces.

Palace: There is enough evidence vs Adaza, 4 other coup plotters

07/06/2008 | 02:41 PM

MANILA, Philippines - Malacañang on Sunday denied it is going after the defenders and allies of anti-administration forces following the arrest of former lawmaker Homobono Adaza, who is acting as legal counsel for some rebel soldiers.

Interviewed over dzBB radio, Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Sergio Antonio Apostol said there is enough evidence against Adaza to back the charges filed against him and four other former police and military officials.

"Hindi totoo iyan (That’s not true). There is enough evidence against Adaza and the four colonels… That's why they filed the cases. The problem here is, it's not easy to look for justice in this country if we listen to the opposition, because the opposition always plays politics, not justice," he said.

Apostol was reacting to the statement of opposition senator Aquilino Pimentel Jr who said that the administration has shifted its attention to the counsels of anti-Arroyo groups and personalities.
Mr. Pimentel, I think its time for you to shut up..You are what this country does not need. An opposition who only uses his authority because of self interest..

Well, in any case all of this country's politicians are seated not because of conviction to serve the Filipino people but for the Filipino people to serve them..

AFP takes custody of colonel linked to coup plot

07/05/2008 | 02:04 PM

MANILA, Philippines - The military has taken custody over an Army colonel who had been arrested by the police for his alleged involvement in a plot to overthrow the Arroyo government, a military spokesman said on Saturday.

Lt. Col. Ernesto Torres, Armed Forces of the Philippines public affairs office chief, said Lt. Col. Oscarlito Mapalo was turned over by the Philippine National Police to the military on Friday night since the officer is still an active member of the armed forces and is on AWOL (absent without official leave) status."

Torres said AFP chief Gen. Alexander Yano has ordered Army chief Lt. Gen. Victor Ibrado to detain Mapalo at the Army’s Custodial Management in Fort Bonifacio “while his case is being investigated." It is in the same detention center where a number of officers linked to the Oakwood mutiny in July 2003 are being held.

Mapalo, along with lawyer Homobono Adaza, retired Colonels Ernie Amboy and Cesar dela Pena and retired police superintendent Rafael Cardeno were arrested at Ortigas center on Wednesday for allegedly proposing to commit a coup d’etat.

The Department of Justice on Friday filed criminal charges before the Quezon City Metropolitan Trial Court the five on Friday for an alleged attempt to extort $4 million from a Japanese investor to finance fresh plans to overthrow the Arroyo administration.

A lawyer for the Japanese man, Raymond Fortunm sought help from the police, resulting in the arrests.


More Philippine Defense News

DND wants frigate with 'surface-to-air' missile power

MANILA, Philippines - Defense spokesperson Peter Paul Galvez announced on Friday that one of the frigates to be acquired by the Philippines will have "surface-to-air" capabilities. That is, the ship will have the capability to fire missiles, guided by radar or heat sensors, at airborne targets.
"Aside from this, our latest frigate will have heavier gun armament and other equipment that will make it very effective in patrolling and securing the country's waters," Galvez said in Filipino.
He declined to state the particular country the Philippines will acquire this ship but stressed that acquisition will be done through a government-to-government transaction.
The Philippines has taken on a new sense of urgency to upgrade its naval capabilities as tensions continue to rise around the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea). US President Barack Obama's announced "pivot" for America towards the Pacific has stirred greater naval activity on the p…

No reduction in AFP manpower size

THERE will be no reduction in the number of soldiers of the Armed Forces of the Philippines when it implements the streamlining of commands by 2013, a senior officer told the Manila Standard in an exclusive interview.
“Under the Force Structure Review, there will be streamlining of units but this does not mean reduction in terms of the number of soldiers. In fact, the FSR calls for more recruits in the future,” the source, who requested anonymity, said.
At present, the military has a total of 125,000 soldiers, of which almost 85,000 are in the Army and the rest in the Navy-Marines and Air Force.
The FSR calls for an in-depth study of the AFP history in reference to pertinent laws of the land in conjunction with the challenges of internal and external defense.
The study also calls for the establishment of a strategic command that will focus on external defense where the main force would be the Air Force and Navy.
On instructions of Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin, former military ch…

Philippine Armored Vehicles with ad-hoc wood slat armor

While searching for Philippine armored vehicles for the updates being done for both the blog and the Facebook page I chanced upon images of Philippine Army and Marine armor assets covered with thick wood planks as slat armor for protection from rocket propelled grenades. This caught the eyes of Popular Mechanics who published an article last June 8th just for this subject.

According to the article,
Wood armor on armored vehicles won't save them from ISIS rockets. Not sure, I'll leave that to the actual reports from the Philippine Military in using wood as an ad hoc protection for rpg's, but yes this is only during emergencies. The Philippine Army and Philippine Marines should employ or use the real add-on armors currently in the market for armored vehicle protection. Or they could just simply buy new thicker-armored vehicles to be used for front-line operations and have the old vehicles to be used in secondary missions or as support vehicles.

Nonetheless the fast-thinkin…