fix articles 492259, defense secretary hermogenes ebdane jr
PHILIPPINES:Gonzales to Reds: Truce or terror tag? (tags)
National Security Adviser Norberto Gonzales, who assumed his post yesterday as officer-in-charge of the defense department prior to the installation of the permanent defense secretary, warned communist rebels that they would be identified as terrorists once the anti-terror law or the Human Security Act of 2007 takes effect this month. Gonzales said the New People’s Army (NPA), however, could avoid the terrorist tag if the rebels declare a ceasefire. “If the NPA rebels refuse to implement a ceasefire, they will be branded as terrorist like the Abu Sayyaf, Rajah Solaiman Group and the Jemaah Islamiyah,” Gonzales told reporters during turnover rites at Camp Aguinaldo in Quezon City, attended by outgoing Defense Secretary Hermogenes Ebdane Jr. and Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita.
RP, Australia sign defense pact (tags)
The Philippines and Australia signed signed a security pact yesterday that will allow the countries’ militaries to hold joint counterterrorism exercises. The Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) is the second such agreement entered into by the Philippines. President Arroyo and Australian Prime Minister John Howard witnessed the signing of the agreement by Defense Secretary Hermogenes Ebdane Jr. and Australian Minister for Defense Dr. Brendan Nelson. Bayan Muna Rep. Satur Ocampo vowed to question SOFA and said that they would press for the public disclosure of all the terms indicated in the agreement. “The VFA has already allowed the year-round presence of American troops. Now, they have the SOFA and they are saying that they are also taking other countries. How many soldiers from foreign countries would be allowed in our country?” he asked. Ocampo said Congress, particularly the committee on foreign affairs, was not informed about the provisions of the agreement.