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Philippine Marine chief in Basilan sacked (tags)
-The commander of the Marine brigade battling Muslim extremists in Basilan was sacked from his post for not personally leading his troops into battle, the military’s chief said Wednesday. The removal of Col. Ra miro Alivio, commander of the 1st Marine Brigade, comes just days after heavy troop casualties in clashes with the Abu Sayyaf. Alivio would be moved to another position in the Marine headquarters in Fort Bonifacio “where his intelligence background will serve our organization best,” said Armed Forces Chief of Staff Gen. Hermogenes Esperon. He has been replaced by Col. Rus tico Guerrero, Esperon said.
Naval blockade in Sulu (tags)
The Philippine armed forces fielded more than 10 warships around Sulu in what could be the single biggest naval blockade meant to trap Abu Sayyaf terrorists in their lair. Armed Forces chief Gen. Hermogenes Esperon Jr. said yesterday the naval blockade formed part of the "small unit tactics" designed to eventually wipe out local and foreign terrorists holed out in Sulu, as part of the military’s ongoing offensive dubbed Oplan Ultimatum
Esperon: AFP to wipe out NPA rebels in next 3 years (tags)
The military announced an intensified offensive against communist rebels in the country, vowing to wipe out the insurgency over the next three years, Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief General Hermogenes Esperon Jr. said.
Philippine Military To hire 9,000 militia to end insurgency by 2010 (tags)
The military will recruit 3,000 new soldiers and 9,000 additional militiamen to boost the counterinsurgency campaign and end the communist uprising by 2010, Armed Forces chief Gen. Hermogenes Esperon Jr. said yesterday. Esperon said President Arroyo approved the recruitment of 9,000 members of the Civilian Armed Forces Geographical Units (Cafgus) and 3,000 troopers to be deployed in areas threatened by communist New People’s Army (NPA) rebels as part of the government’s intensified counterinsurgency drive.
AFP ASSESSMENT THAT THEY WILL ERADICATE THE NPA BY 2010- A BIG BLUFF (tags)
The Philippine Peasant Support Network (Pesante)-USA - a human rights, environemtal and a peasant advocacy network based in Los Angeles, called the AFP assessment that they will destroy the New People’s Army (NPA) by 2010, at the end of the President Arroyo’s term “ A big bluff and an empty pipe dream!.”
NPA'S BEATEN BY 2010- AFP (tags)
Government forces are geared up to accomplish their mission to neutralize the communist New People’s Army (NPA) before President Arroyo ends her term by 2010, Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief Gen. Hermogenes Esperon declared yesterday
AFP Southcom split into 2 commands (tags)
Southcom split into 2 commands By Jaime Laude The Philippine Star 08/27/2006 The military’s biggest troop contingent in Mindanao will be deactivated and split into two separate commands effective today. Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief Gen. Hermogenes Esperon said the Southern Command under Maj. Gen. Gabriel Habacon will be divided into the Western Mindanao Command and the Eastern Mindanao Command. Esperon stressed the division of the Southcom into two military units is for a more effective control and deployment of troops in the whole of Mindanao. Maj. Gen. Eugenio Cedo has been designated as first commander of the Western Mindanao Command that will be based at the Southcom headquarters at Camp Navarro in Zamboanga City. On the other hand, the Eastern Mindanao Command to be based in Davao City will be under the command of Maj. Gen. Rodolfo Obaniana. Esperon explained the split of Southcom is necessary for better control of the troops and to put more focus on the fight against the communist New People’s Army (NPA) guerrillas in the eastern part of Mindanao, and the fight against the Abu Sayyaf and other terror groups in the western part of the region. Southcom, which has responsibility over the whole of Mindanao, is composed of three Army divisions, two joint task forces, two naval forces, a tactical operations wing of the Air Force, two elite Special Forces battalions and one company of troops from the Light Reaction Battalion. Esperon said there would be some redeployment of troops where their presence is mostly needed. The Southcom comprises roughly 60 percent of the 120,000-strong military, all under its administrative and operational control. "These two targets (Islamic extremists and communist rebels) are very important that’s why we assigned two commanders there. With the split, we believe that the commanders will be more focused," Esperon said. Esperon said the decision to split Southcom into two units is a strategic move to sustain the pursuit operations against the Abu Sayyaf in Sulu. The decision, however, left Habacon with no unit to command. Habacon, one of the remaining so-called "Garci generals," said the deactivation of the Southcom will mean the closure of his military career. He opted to retire early, with only a few days left on his active service before his mandatory retirement on Sept. 9 on reaching the age of 56. "He (Habacon) decided to retire early due to personal reasons. He may have planned it earlier," Southcom spokesman Col. Susthenes Valcorza explained yesterday. Esperon will preside over the deactivation of Southcom today, on the same occasion where Habacon will be given retirement honors, Valcorza said. When asked if the splitting of the Southcom prompted Habacon to seek early retirement, Valcorza replied: "It could be one of the reasons." Habacon was among the generals mentioned in the controversial wiretap recordings that became an issue against President Arroyo. Aside from Habacon, among the generals mentioned to have helped in the rigging of the results of the May 10, 2004 elections in Mindanao include retired Lt. Gen. Roy Kyamko, former Southcom chief and retired Marine Brig. Gen. Francisco Gudani, along with Esperon. Kyamko has already retired when the tapes were leaked in June 2005. Gudani retired in October that same year, days after he exposed alleged cheating operations in Central Mindanao before a Senate investigation. A military fact-finding board headed by Navy Chief Vice Admiral Mateo Mayuga cleared the four generals of involvement in the alleged cheating operations.
New AFP Chief Esperon vows to crush insurgency (tags)
New Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief Lt. Gen. Hermogenes Esperon vowed yesterday to crush the 37-year-old communist insurgency during his watch, saying he would devote his last years as a soldier to finish the task. "The President has renewed her call for the defeat of the insurgents ... I welcome the challenge," Esperon said in a speech as he formally took the helm of the 117,000-strong AFP.