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Lorenzana: ‘Nothing wrong’ with deal between China-backed telco and military

Oct 18, 2019 - 7:40 AM

The defense chief says he 'most probably will sign' the agreement between the military and Dito Telecommunity, but holds off while the Senate reviews its security implications

DEFENSE SECRETARY Delfin Lorenzana at a Senate hearing on the proposed 2020 budget of the Department of National Defense and its attached agencies. September 30, 2019. Photo by Angie de Silva/Rappler

Army foils Abu Sayyaf bomb plot in Basilan

Oct 16, 2019 - 3:28 PM

Army troops recover 6 improvised explosive devices after a clash with more than a dozen Abu Sayyaf bandits

IEDS. While scouring the encounter site, troops found these improvised explosive devices. Photo from Westmincom

7 PMA cadets tagged in Dormitorio’s death to be court martialed

Oct 15, 2019 - 4:17 PM

Court martial proceedings will run parallel to criminal cases filed against the cadets accused of hazing, torturing, and murdering the 20-year-old plebe

COMMANDANT. Brigadier General Romeo Brawner speaks to reporters at the Philippine Military Academy. Photo by Nappy Manegdeg/Rappler

Philippines, U.S., Japan hold military drills near West PH Sea

Oct 15, 2019 - 8:54 AM

Japan joins the yearly exercise for the first time as regional allies build 'interoperability' in responding to security threats and natural disasters

TOPSHOTS  A Philippine naval personnel stands on guard during the arrival of missile destroyer USS Chung Hoon (DDG-93) before the US-Philippine joint naval military exercise entitled 'Cooperation Afloat Readiness Training' (CARAT) near the disputed Spratly islands, in Puerto Princesa on the western Philippine island of Palawan on June 28, 2011. The Philippines and the US will launch naval exercises as the long-time allies seek to deepen defence ties amid tensions with China over a maritime dispute. The 11-day event will see two US missile destroyers patrol Philippine waters close to the resource-rich and strategically vital South China Sea that is at the heart of the regional territorial row. AFP PHOTO/NOEL CELIS

Marine commandant resigns amid rumored feud with Navy chief

Oct 14, 2019 - 11:04 PM

Major General Alvin Parreño relinquishes his post 5 months before retiring and after a rift with Navy chief Vice Admiral Robert Empedrad, who had disagreed with a proposal to separate the Marines from the Navy

"WE'RE OKAY." Outgoing Marine Commandant Major General Alvin Parreño (center, in black) and Navy chief Vice Admiral Robert Empedrad (3rd from right) share a light moment after the change-of-command ceremony at Marine Barracks Rudiardo Brown in Taguig City on Monday, October 14, 2019. Photo by JC Gotinga/Rappler

Military scouring Zamboanga peninsula for kidnapped couple

Oct 07, 2019 - 4:12 PM

The gunmen who abducted Allan and Wilma Hyrons from their resort in Zamboanga del Sur have yet to be identified, but the military is looking at the Abu Sayyaf Group because of its history of kidnappings

SEARCH IS ON. The military has created a special task force to search for and rescue Allan and Wilma Hyrons, who were abducted from their resort in Zamboanga del Sur on October 4, 2019. File photo by Lito Borras/Rappler

Chinese vessels in Philippine waters: Who’s keeping score?

Oct 02, 2019 - 11:48 PM

As Chinese vessels of all sorts come and go through Philippine waters, exactly who among security officials is keeping count, and who's telling whom what to do?

BRP SIERRA MADRE. This aerial photo taken from a military aircraft shows the Sierra Madre ship of the Philippine Navy anchored near Ayungin Shoal (Second Thomas Shoal) with Philippine soldiers onboard to secure the perimeter in the Spratly Islands, on May 11, 2015. File photo by Ritchie Tongo/AFP

'Have heart and soul,' new PMA chief tells cadets

Oct 01, 2019 - 9:10 PM

Rear Admiral Allan Cusi formally takes his post two weeks after the gruesome death of a cadet exposed the horrors of hazing within the Philippines' premier military school

HEART AND SOUL. Rear Admiral Allan Cusi addresses cadets as he takes over as superintendent of the Philippine Military Academy in Baguio City on October 1, 2019. Photo by Mau Victa/Rappler

Senate to check AFP-Dito deal before Lorenzana decides on it

Sep 30, 2019 - 7:10 PM

Opposition lawmakers want a chance to back out of a deal that might give the Chinese government '130 listening posts' all over the Philippines

DONE DEAL? Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana (left) and Armed Forces of the Philippines chief Lt. Gen. Noel Clement face questions on a deal with China-backed Dito Telecommunity at the Senate on September 30, 2019. Photo by Angie de Silva/Rappler

Lorenzana wants Australia exempted from Duterte's foreign loan ban

Sep 30, 2019 - 4:02 PM

The defense department plans to enter a loan agreement with the Australian government to procure 6 offshore patrol vessels to be built in Cebu

LOAN FOR SHIPS. Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana wants Australia exempted from a loan ban to make way for a financing agreement for new Navy ships. Photo of Lorenzana at the Senate on September 30, 2019 by Angie de Silva/Rappler

Brawner bares tools in PMA war vs hazing: Mental healthcare, honor code

Sep 28, 2019 - 12:10 PM

Brigadier General Romeo Brawner, the new PMA Commandant of Cadets, bares his battle plan for his so-called war against hazing

COMMANDANT. Brigadier General Romeo Brawner speaks to reporters at the Philippine Military Academy. Photo by Nappy Manegdeg/Rappler

AFP appoints new PMA superintendent, commandant of cadets

Sep 26, 2019 - 7:30 PM

Brigadier General Romeo Brawner Jr 'declares war on hazing,' as the military grapples with the fatal hazing of Cadet 4th Class Darwin Dormitorio

WAR ON HAZING. Brigadier General Romeo Brawner Jr has been appointed PMA Commandant of Cadets to replace Brigadier General Bartolome Bacarro who resigned. Brawner says he is "declaring war on hazing." File photo by Martin San Diego/Rappler

3rd PMA cadet hospitalized for suspected hazing – AFP

Sep 25, 2019 - 10:23 AM

Three cadets from the country's premier military school are recuperating from injuries sustained from suspected hazing

PREMIER MILITARY ACADEMY. The facade of the Philippine Military Academy building in Fort del Pilar, Baguio City. Photo by Pediapediahan/Wikimedia Commons

Duterte skips ceremony as Clement assumes AFP top post

Sep 24, 2019 - 9:48 PM

It would have been Duterte's sixth change-of-command rites as Commander-in-Chief. His pick for AFP chief, Noel Clement, vows to pursue his order to end the communist insurgency.

NO SHOW. President Rodrigo Duterte skips the change-of-command ceremony for incoming AFP chief Lieutenant General Noel Clement. Vice President Leni Robredo and Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana are in attendance. Photo by Charlie Villegas/Office of the Vice President

AFP can still back out of deal with Dito telco 'if necessary' – Lorenzana

Sep 24, 2019 - 11:37 AM

The defense chief says he will look into the extent of China Telecom’s technological role in Dito Telecommunity after initially insisting it was a mere investor in the consortium

NOT YET FINAL. Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana says he may reject the Armed Forces of the Philippines' "co-location" deal with Dito Telecommunity "if necessary." Photo of the ceremonial signing of the deal at Camp Aguinaldo in Quezon City on Wednesday, September 11, 2019. Photo by Darren Langit/Rappler

WATCH: PH Navy debuts new amphibious vehicles, attack vessels

Sep 24, 2019 - 8:59 AM

The Navy's brand new amphibious assault vehicles (AAV) and multipurpose attack craft (MPAC) boosts its capability to defend the Philippines' maritime domain

ASSAULT VEHICLES. The Philippine Navy showcases its brand new amphibious assault vehicles (AAV) in a military exercise in Subic Bay, Olongapo City, on September 21, 2019. Photo by JC Gotinga/Rappler

Habeas corpus filed at SC for release of youth activist held by army

Sep 23, 2019 - 3:45 PM

The military wants Alexandrea Pacalda to register herself as a communist rebel returnee

HABEAS CORPUS. A petition for habeas corpus is filed with the Supreme Court on September 23, 2019, to demand the release of youth activist Alexandrea Pacalda who is in the custody of the military. Photo from Karapatan

AFP to 'let wheels of justice turn' in death of PMA cadet

Sep 22, 2019 - 2:26 PM

AFP chief General Benjamin Madrigal says all those involved in the death of PMA Cadet 4th Class Darwin Dormitorio 'will be made accountable'

PMA CADET. The Philippine Military Academy and police are probing the death of 20-year-old Cadet 4th Class Darwin Dormitorio. Photo from the Facebook page of Dormitorio

Military drill showcases PH’s first amphibious assault vehicles

Sep 21, 2019 - 7:18 PM

The capability to launch an attack from the sea straight into land is basic and essential for militaries of coastal states, and the Philippines is now catching up with the acquisition of brand new amphibious assault vehicles

AMPHIBIOUS ASSAULT. The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) debuted 4 of its 8 brand new amphibious assault vehicles (AAV) during its DAGIT-PA joint drills in Subic Bay, Olongapo City, on September 21. Photo by Rox Cezar, AFP Public Affairs Office

Central Visayas commander Noel Clement is new armed forces chief

Sep 20, 2019 - 7:38 AM

(3rd UPDATE) President Duterte picks the general who led an intense counter-insurgency campaign in Negros and nearby provinces in the last 10 months. He will retire in 4 months.

NEW MILITARY CHIEF. Lieutenant General Noel Clement has been appointed Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines. Photo: Clement inspects the ranks of the Philippine Army's 10th Infantry Division on July 20, 2017. Photo from the Philippine Army 10th Infantry Division

Military taps sardine fishing crews as 'reserve force' in Sulu Sea

Sep 19, 2019 - 2:15 PM

Crews of two major canned sardine companies have been armed and trained as 'special CAFGU' to guard the waters off the Zamboanga Peninsula, says the military

RESERVE FORCE. The military has enlisted the fishing crews of some big sardine companies as a paramilitary force to help guard against security threats in the Sulu Sea. Photo by Bobby Lagsa/Rappler

AFP to probe Murad’s claim that military is ‘main source’ of Mindanao loose firearms

Sep 18, 2019 - 5:07 PM

The interim chief minister of the new Bangsamoro autonomous region earlier said that many loose firearms in Mindanao bear the markings of the Department of National Defense

LOOSE FIREARMS. Al Hajj Murad Ebrahim, BARMM interim Chief Minister and MILF Chairman, said the military is the 'main source' of illegal firearms in Mindanao. In this photo, Presidential Peace Process Adviser Carlito Galvez Jr inspects guns submitted by the MILF for decommissioning in Simuay, Sultan Kudarat on September 7, 2019. Photo by Rappler

AFP chief downplays Dito Telecommunity's Chinese connection

Sep 17, 2019 - 11:58 PM

'You are dealing with a Chinese company, not the Chinese government,' General Benjamin Madrigal Jr says of the Chinese government-owned China Telecom

NO WORRIES? Armed Forces of the Philippines Chief of Staff Gen. Benjamin Madrigal Jr downplays Chinese espionage worries over the military's co-location deal with Dito Telecommunity. Photo by Darren Langit/Rappler

Lorenzana unaware of AFP-Mislatel deal, vows probe – Panelo

Sep 16, 2019 - 12:48 PM

The Philippine government can still pull out of the deal if officials identify security risks in the arrangement, says Malacañang

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte discusses matters with Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana on the sidelines of the Joint Armed Forces of the Philippines-Philippine National Police (AFP-PNP) Command Conference at the Malacañan Palace on June 18, 2019. SIMEON CELI JR./PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO

'Absurd': Why build China-backed telco towers in military camps?

Sep 13, 2019 - 8:45 AM

A senator and a security expert say the deal exposes the Philippine military to Chinese spying at a time when other countries are shunning Chinese technology companies

Abu Sayyaf terrorist killed in Sulu clash was planning suicide attack – military

Sep 12, 2019 - 10:39 PM

The military says Nanz Sawadjaan, nephew of ISIS' leader in the Philippines, would have become a suicide bomber if he had not been killed in a raid on Tuesday, September 10

FOCUSED OPERATIONS. The Armed Forces of the Philippines has launched a series of operations targeting the terrorist Abu Sayyaf Group in Sulu. File photo by Jire Carreon/Rappler

Nephew of pro-ISIS Abu Sayyaf leader killed in Sulu – military

Sep 12, 2019 - 7:22 PM

(UPDATED) Nanz Sawadjaan, nephew of Hatib Hajan Sawadjaan, is killed in a firefight with government troops. His death is a 'great loss' to the Abu Sayyaf Group, says the military.

TERRORIST CAMP. Philippine Army troops overran a lair of the Abu Sayyaf Group in Patikul, Sulu, after a firefight on Tuesday, September 10. Photo courtesy of AFP Western Mindanao Command

Female ‘suicide bomber’ in Sulu blast was from Abu Sayyaf – military

Sep 09, 2019 - 6:47 PM

The chief of the military’s Western Mindanao Command says terror groups in Mindanao could be weakening, while an analyst says they are evolving and could launch devastating attacks in the future

LESSONS LEARNED. Philippine Army soldiers survived a terror attack in Indanan, Sulu on Sunday, September 8, because of tactics drawn from past deadly bombings. File photo of soldiers in Datu Odin Sinsuat, Maguindanao Province. Photo by Lito Borras/Rappler

CA confirms Cirilito Sobejana as AFP Westmincom chief

Sep 04, 2019 - 4:58 PM

Marawi-based 103rd Infantry Brigade commander Brigadier General Romeo Brawner Jr also gets the nod of the powerful Commission on Appointments

CONFIRMED. Lt Gen Cirilito Sobejana has been confirmed by the Commission on Appointments. Photo by Angie de Silva/Rappler

PH Navy to get submarines, might lease HQ

Aug 29, 2019 - 12:11 AM

Racing to keep up with other countries' naval capabilities, the Philippines plans to acquire new warships and submarines, but it might lease its naval headquarters to help fund the asset-buying spree

NAVY CHIEF. Philippine Navy Flag Officer in Command Vice Admiral Robert Empedrad speaks to reporters at Naval Station Jose Andrada in Manila on August 28, 2019. Photo by JC Gotinga/Rappler

LIST: These celebrities are also reservists in the AFP

Aug 22, 2019 - 7:00 PM

The AFP reserve force is now star-studded

RESERVISTS. Matteo Guidicelli, Dingdong Dantes, and Vilma Santos are among the celebrities who are part of the AFP reserves. Rappler file photos

Chinese Coast Guard ship spotted near Ayungin Shoal

Aug 20, 2019 - 8:48 PM

The military also reports that Chinese and Vietnamese fishing vessels were sighted around Panata Island in the West Philippine Sea

BRP SIERRA MADRE. This aerial photo taken from a military aircraft shows the Sierra Madre ship of the Philippine Navy anchored near Ayungin Shoal (Second Thomas Shoal) with Philippine soldiers onboard to secure the perimeter in the Spratly Islands, on May 11, 2015. File photo by Ritchie Tongo/AFP

Police, AFP presence in campuses needed to prevent U.S.-like school shootings – Galvez

Aug 20, 2019 - 6:45 PM

Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Carlito Galvez Jr points to the 'international' spread of school shootings, saying this is enough to reconsider the 1989 deal banning police and military from UP campuses

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte welcomes newly-appointed Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Carlito Galvez Jr., as a new member of his cabinet prior to the 33rd Cabinet Meeting held at the Malacañan Palace on January 7, 2019. ROLANDO MAILO/PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO

Youth activist to military: Don’t use me to railroad your agenda

Aug 14, 2019 - 5:20 PM

Alicia Lucena denies she was kidnapped by Anakbayan and slams the military for using her 'family issues' to revive the Anti-Subversion Law

NOT KIDNAPPED. Anakbayan youth member Alicia Lucena faces the media together with members of the progressive Makabayan bloc. Photo from Makabayan bloc

Duterte to 'fill up' Negros Island with military troops

Aug 06, 2019 - 6:26 PM

'I will never declare martial law, except in Mindanao because it is really needed there, because of rebellion,' says President Rodrigo Duterte, as he ruled out a martial law declaration in Negros Island

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte presides over the 40th Cabinet Meeting at the Malacañan Palace on August 5, 2019. ACE MORANDANTE/PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO

LOOK: Government brings former NPA rebels to Hong Kong for sightseeing, shopping

Aug 05, 2019 - 1:49 PM

The trip follows statements from President Rodrigo Duterte that he would reward communist guerrillas who surrender to the government

The government took 89 former NPA rebels on an all-expense-paid trip to Hong Kong from July 30 to August 2, 2019, to give them a "better and another perspective in life." Photo from AFP Eastern Mindanao Command.

AFP to train 255 ex-MILF fighters to help secure Bangsamoro region

Aug 01, 2019 - 12:31 PM

Members of the Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Forces will work alongside soldiers and cops in the Joint Peace and Security Team, says Presidential Peace Adviser Carlito Galvez Jr

WAR AND PEACE. Former MILF rebels join a training on capability building in Al Barka, Basilan. Photo by Richard Falcatan/Rappler

Lorenzana: 7 ‘foreign terrorists’ may be in Jolo

Jul 25, 2019 - 7:17 PM

The country's defense chief confirms an earlier report that the suspects may be training suicide bombers for an ISIS-linked faction of the Abu Sayyaf

FOREIGN TERRORISTS. The war-torn city of Marawi was an example of the impact of foreign terror groups' influence on local extremists. Photos by Bobby Lagsa/Rappler

AFP confirms report: Indonesian couple behind Jolo Cathedral bombing

Jul 24, 2019 - 3:26 PM

ISIS terrorists looking to carve out a territory in Southeast Asia present a challenge to the region's security forces, especially in the Philippines

JOLO ATTACK. Policemen and soldiers stand outside bomb-hit church in Jolo, Sulu province on the southern island of Mindanao, on January 27, 2019. - At least 18 people were killed when two bombs hit a church on a southern Philippine island that is a stronghold of Islamist militants, the military said on January 27, days after voters backed the creation of a new Muslim autonomous region. (Photo by NICKEE BUTLANGAN / AFP)

AFP reports 7 'foreign terrorists' in Sulu, Basilan, Maguindanao

Jul 23, 2019 - 4:18 PM

The commander of the Armed Forces in Western Mindanao says the 7 suspects are grooming suicide bombers among local extremist groups

AT LARGE. This image from the main battle area of the 2017 siege of Marawi City is a grim reminder of the lingering terrorist presence in the Philippines. Rappler photo

Malacañang: Pacquiao's win shows Filipino spirit a 'fighter'

Jul 21, 2019 - 3:34 PM

'Pacquiao's victory is not on his, but of the entire nation.... The Palace is one in rejoicing with the Filipino people as the Pambansang Kamao once again puts the flag above the pedestal with his display of tenacy and courage,' says Malacañang

WINNER. Boxing icon Senator Manny Pacquiao snatches the super welterweight title from American boxer Keith Thurman. MP Promotions photo

[ANALYSIS] Philippine defense spending in 2018: What data tells us

Jul 12, 2019 - 1:00 PM

The Philippines has to be smart about improving its security beyond defense budgets and military acquisitions and allocations

AFP, PNP: Filipino suicide bomber behind Sulu attack

Jul 10, 2019 - 5:35 PM

This is the first officially confirmed case of a suicide bombing in the Philippines perpetrated by a Filipino, and marks an escalation in terror tactics by local extremists

SUICIDE BOMBER. On July 10, 2019, the AFP and PNP announced that Norman Lasuca, a Filipino, was one of the suicide bombers behind the twin blasts in Indanan, Sulu on June 28, 2019, which killed at least 7 people. Photo from AFP WESTMINCOM

Matteo Guidicelli hits critic: 'I suggest you just stop talking'

Jul 08, 2019 - 6:48 PM

The actor-athlete is the subject of attention online over his views on 'patriotism' and people 'talking smack about different issues'

'TALK SMACK?' Actor Matteo Guidicelli is criticized for a post of nationalism and criticism. Image from Matteo Guidicelli's Instagram

Suspected Al Qaeda member arrested in Zambales

Jul 02, 2019 - 10:32 PM

A police report links the Kenyan national to the Al Shabaab terror group affiliated with Al Qaeda, and which operates mainly in East Africa

SUSPECTED TERRORIST. Kenyan national Cholo Abdi Abdullah was arrested on July 1, 2019 in Iba, Zambales, for illegal possession of firearms and explosives. Photo from PNP-CIDG

COA: Wounded Marawi soldiers received crumbs from P274-million aid

Jun 30, 2019 - 11:15 PM

The Commission on Audit says there were 'no clear guidelines' that served as basis for the distribution of cash assistance to wounded soldiers

RUINS. Marawi, as photographed in May 2019, has yet to recover from the destruction brought about by the terrorist siege two years earlier. Photo by Bobby Lagsa/Rappler

Zambales town opposes planned AFP Subic Naval Reservation

Jun 26, 2019 - 8:36 PM

The proposed 300-million-square-meter development will leave only 30% of San Antonio's land area, and will disrupt the town's tourism industry

OPPOSITION. Mayor Estela Deloso Antipolo says the development will leave San Antonio as one of the smallest towns in the Philippines. Photo from San Antonio FB

AFP: Chinese vessel's sinking of PH boat 'far from accidental'

Jun 12, 2019 - 9:08 PM

'Kung titingnan n'yo po sa incident report, may intentionality e, kasi hindi tumigil,' says AFP Western Command Spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Stephen Penetrante

'INTENTIONALITY.' The Armed Forces of the Philippines sees intention in a Chinese fishing vessel ramming into a Filipino fishing boat in the West Philippine Sea. File photo by Darren Langit/Rappler

Philippine military all set for May 13 elections

May 12, 2019 - 3:30 PM

The Armed Forces of the Philippines places all its units on red alert ahead of the country's midterm elections on May 13

Batallion troops patrol Lanao del Norte's national highway on the eve of the May 13 elections. Photo by Bobby Lagsa/Rappler

6,000 soldiers, cops to secure Caraga, Northern Mindanao for May 13 polls

May 09, 2019 - 12:22 PM

'We will not allow any threat groups or individuals to disrupt or sabotage the electoral process,' says Brigadier General Tyne Bañas of the Army's 4th Infantry Division

READY TO SERVE. This file photo shows soldiers awaiting deployment in Surigao del Sur in 2015. Photo by Bobby Lagsa/Rappler