Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Developments Within the Military,Last Quarter 2010,Part II:Carlos Garcia's Woes Continue, Dolorfino Retires and Nonoy does Nam

On December 30, 2010 4ID (Infantry Division) gave the CPP-NPA (Communist Party of the Philippines-New Peoples Army) an anniversary present to commemorate the CPP having turned 42 on December 26. What did the Division offer? The same hokey propaganda that makes most rational people not listen to a word the AFP says. The Armed Forces of the Philippines are its own worst enemy and the best weapon the Maoist Insurgency could hope for. New CO (Commanding Officer), Major General Victor Felix released the year end statistics for his IBs (Infantry Battalions). According to the Major General Felix, his men have killed 22 NPA guerillas this year (almost true), wounded 27 (purely an arbitrary number from supposed "bloodstains" seen in fire zones, 38 captures (absolute lie), 76 surrenderees (another absolute lie, even with the non-NPA members they convince to pose as guerillas). In addition, the esteemed General captured 78 camps (lying through their teeth, ask the CMO,the Civil-Military Officer, how many guerillas were captured or killed in those camps,then ask for their locations and see the huge discrepancies, most camps are non existent since the NPA does not engage in static encampments), and best of all, among the many dozens of weapons vouchsafed during the year the Division claims it captured 16 anti-personnel mines, 15 Claymores and 10 anti-tank mines. I have just one small acronym to lay down: IED. As long as the AFP insists on labeling IEDs, or Improvised Explosive Devices, as a "mine" of any kind noone with even a cursory knowledge of the Philippine Insurgency(ies) us going to 86 even the most basic claims made by the AFP as baseless military propaganda.

The word"Mine"in and of itself really isn't the problem.The crux of the issue is"Detonation," or to be more specific,"Command Detonation."The central thesis of the AFP is that "NPA mines" are an overt contravention of the Ottawa Treaty, ergo a violation of LOAC/IHL (Laws of Armed Conflict/International Humanitarian Law). The central problem is that the Ottawa Treaty is only binding upon those entities that have signed and than ratified the document, all of whom are sovereign nations. The NPA of course is a Non-State Actor. More to the point, the treaty addresses Anti-Personnel Mines, not Anti-Armour Mines,etc.,etc. Finally, the NPA uses Command Controlled Detonation. Its IEDs. Are wired so that a guerilla must actually flip the circuit before the device detonates. Using a detonating cable they are on site, watching and waiting and they therefore control the detonation so that it only assaults security personnel. The NPA utilises its IEDs as the initial primer of a classic 2-Step Ambush. 1 guerilla detonates the IED just as an AFP or PNP vehicle or element passes by and then barrels into a salvo with long arms, strafing survivors. The NPA doesn't bury an IED in the dirt to be tripped by pressure, etc.

Though my preceding paragraph was quite caustic I am by no means an NPA supporter (perish the thought). Indeed they are just as full of shi*. It is simply that the Filipino People do not need more fairytales. The people need truth, which is the main reason why I began this endeavour. However, when the AFP actually releases statisticss showing anti-personnel mines having been captured from the NPA, well that needs to be exposed as the boldfaced lie it is. The NPA has no external conduit for weapons. Ergo. It obtains virtually all its arms from its tactical (and rarely its defencive) operations against the AFP. IF the NPA has mines it would have had to have gotten them from the AFP, PNP or the Philippine Government..

The 4ID is headquartered at Camp Evangelista in Barangay Patag, CDO (Cagayan del Oro City) in Misamis Oriental Province. It is 1 of 4 IDs on Mindanao, the others being the 1st, 6th and the 10th. 4th AOR (Area of Responsibility) covers its home province, Agusan del Norte. Agusan del Sur (most), Surigao del Sur, Surigao del Norte (including Siargo Island which is no longer a province after a recent Supreme Court Ruling), and part of Bukidnon Province. In terms of overall area it covers the largest patch but within this AOR 2 provinces are entirely pacified (Surigao del Norte and Misamis Oriental), at least in official terms. Though the base (Evangelista) abuts the border of the MILF 102 Base Command's AOR, the Division only deals with the NPA (since the other Communist Insurgency,the RPM-M signed its Final Peace Agreement more than 3 years ago). As for the NPA, there are 2 Regional Commands within that AOR, NCMRC (North Central Mindanao Regional Command which is on shaky legs at the moment, barely fielding 2 Fronts (a "Front" is a military detachment, for the sake of all precious brevity I will leave it at that) and NEMRC (Northeast Mindanao Regional Command). NEM holds the largest number of Fronts (NPA detachments) on the island.

In my previous AFP entry I had very briefly mentioned the retirement of Lieutenant General Ben Dolorfino. Benjamin Mohammad Dolorfino is proof positive that despite the AFP being decrepid to the point of being years past euthanasia, it can still produce true military icons (or perhaps the more likely scenario is that DESPITE the AFP these men rise to the top).

On November 10, 2010 Lieutenant Dolorfino retired having reached the AFP's mandatory age of retirement on his 56th birthday. At retirement he concurrently held Command of the Marine Corps as well as being in Command at WESMINCOM, 1 of 2 Mindanao Regional Commands. He had only been at WESMINCOM for a bit more than a year but had still managed to piss the right people off (in Command, if you aren't making enemies you aren't doing your job correctly). His most controversial move came during Eid al Fit'r when Dolorfino, a convert to Islam, ordered a heavy aerial bombing over Jolo Island in Sulu Province. While the OV-10s did strike known ASG (Abu Sayyaf Group) position the MNLF's Kummander Ustadz Habir Malik insists that the bombs were meant for him. Malik after all had taken Dolorfino hostage back in 2007.

Though Asked his plans upon retirement Dolorfino swore that it would not involve actual participation in the political system since he doesn't want his hands "tied by politicians." He is sure that his future lies with an NGO committed to bringing peace to Mindanao though as yet he doesn't have a particular one in mind. Asked what stands out most from his long service with the AFP and he recalls the name of a mate from his Class at PMA (Philippine Military Academy), Class of 76. The classmate, 1st Class Cadet, Jan Efre Muyargas was killed soon after their graduation during their 1st Tour together on Basilan. Dolorfino dedicated his recent book, "Peacemakers, Peacekeepers and Peacebuilders" to Muyargas. Lieutenant Arthur Tabaquero has since been named Dolorfino's successor at WESMINCOM, the OIC (Officer in Charge, aka "Acting Commander") was Major General Romeo Lustestica, CO of 1ID, a choice of utility more than anything else since 1st Division is HQd in that same municipality, Zamboanga City.

That same day, November 10, 2010 it was revealed that President Aquino's recent trip to Vietnam has paid off with a Defence Pact that involves both Expert and Educational Exchanges. Secretary of National Defense Voltaire Gazmin accompanied the President on the 2 day State Visit that took place on October 25 and 26. Gazmin concluded the afore mentioned MoA (Memorandum of Agreement) with his counterpart, Minister of Defence , General Phung Quang. The 2 men also discussed contentions over the Spratly Islands, a group of mostly uninhabited atolls and reefs that are claimed by Brunei, Malaysia, China and Vietnam.

The day before the Agreement was announced, November 09, Gazmin was forced to abort a landing in 1 of the AFP's 3 functioning C130s on one of the Spratlys, Pagasa Isle due to a badly deteriorating airstrip. It was to be Gazmin's 1st trip while serving as Secretary of National Defense. With him was AFP Chief of Staff, General Ricardo David and WESCOM CO, Lieutenant General Juancho Sabban Upon landing at WESCOM headquarters on Palawan he said that he will priortise an upgrade and rehab of facilities in Pagasa so as to consolidate GRP claims on the group of islands. Back at WESCOM Gazmin mentioned that his Department is currently working on a multi-year budget to the tune of 5 Billion Pesos for modernisation of the entire AFP. He also revealed that talks are ongoing with DOE (Department of Energy) as to whether his Department will receive royalties from the MGPP (Malampaya Gas Pipeline Project) on Palawan. Secretary Gazmin hopes to use such royalties to help fund the AFP's push for modernisation.

No comments:

Post a Comment