Skip to main content

Palace: Grants to insurgents a good thing

Malacañang on Saturday defended the multimillion-peso grants the government has been giving insurgent groups to further the peace process, particularly breakaway factions of the Communist Party of the Philippines and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.

Secretary Edwin Lacierda, President Benigno Aquino III’s spokesperson, said the government was taking full responsibility for the releases even if the grants were in compliance with agreements entered into with the insurgents during past administrations.

Lacierda made the statement after several bishops expressed their disapproval of what they described as government doles to the insurgent groups.

Former military chaplain Lipa Bishop Ramon Arguelles said the grants won’t help the peace process as the funds might even be used to arm the rebels and mean more “dead soldiers, widows and orphans.”

Gov’t is sincere

In an interview over state radio dzRB, Lacierda said: “How will that not affect positively the peace process or the peace talks with the rebels? Isn’t this proof that the government is sincere in making sure that their lives are enhanced, are improved so they would be able to become constructive members of society once more?”

“If you look at the program, Pamana is an assistance to our countrymen who want to return to their communities and to the fold of the law,” he said.

The bishops’ remarks came in the wake of the government’s P31-million allocation for communities in Negros Oriental and Panay Island and the P5-million fund for the Bangsamoro Leadership and Management Institute.

Pamana is the program that provides livelihood assistance to communities in furtherance of the peace process.

Lacierda said that contrary to Arguelles’ statement, even a military general in the person of 3rd Infantry Division chief Major General Emmanuel Bautista agreed with the program.

“If there’s no incentive for them to return (to the mainstream of society), isn’t it possible that they will go back to the mountains?” Lacierda said.

“That’s why we are providing them programs. This is not bribery. This is assistance to them. We want to give them programs so that they’ll be integrated back to the community where they should be to be with their families,” he said.

Lacierda also addressed the criticism that the administration was passing the buck for the brickbats it received following the fund releases.

Full responsibility

He said the administration found the programs worth pursuing even if the agreements with the groups concerned were forged during past administrations.

“We are not shirking from that responsibility, we take full responsibility,” Lacierda said.

“Former Secretary [Benjamin] Diokno has said we can always cancel them. Correct, that’s true. We are reviewing all the contracts by the previous administrations and, based on the recommendation, these are worth pursuing,” he said.

“If they are worth pursuing, why cancel them? We are taking full responsibility for this P5 million and the P31 million that we are going to provide for livelihood programs for rebel returnees. We’re not blaming the previous administrations. All we are saying is we are outlining the history, the timeline of these and these are all borne out by documents,” Lacierda said.





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…