We would like to address the points raised by Atty. Dodo Dulay in his July 21, 2015, Flipside column entitled “Gazmin’s plunderous blunder”.
There is simply no truth to the allegations that the UH-1D choppers are “inoperable due to defects and missing parts”. All seven UH-1D helicopters that were accepted by the Philippine Air Force (PAF) flew to Camp Aguinaldo from different parts of the archipelago just for the flight demonstration, with some pulled out directly from combat zones. It is, therefore, preposterous to suggest that the UH-1D helicopters are not airworthy nor mission capable.
It would have been ideal to fly all of the media in each one of the seven UH-1Ds, but that would have been imprudent and construed as extravagant. Some members of the media were actually able to ride both the UH-1H and a UH-1D models, and compare firsthand the two helicopters. Even the Manila Time’s Miguel Antonio de Guzman, in his published personal account entitled “Bumpy ride of the Valkyries”, wrote about his personal observations.
In the interest of transparency, accountability, and good governance, the DND is conducting its own investigation of the allegations to ascertain the truth, and we assure the Filipino people that our investigating panel will leave no stone unturned. Again, we would like to emphasize that Defense Secretary Voltaire T. Gazmin will never be a party to nor condone graft and corruption in the AFP Modernization Program as insinuated in Atty. Dulay’s column.
DIR. ARSENIO R. ANDOLONG, MNSA
Chief, Public Affairs Service
Department of National Defense
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Okay to increase AFP materiel but decrease taxes
Of having helicopters, jet fighters and warships for our Armed Forces, I won’t mind if this would mean increased tax deductions. It’s about time for Armed Forces of the Philippines modernization to secure and protect our territory and sovereignty from unlawful intrusion.
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For more than a couple of decades now, the NPAs in the countryside continue their atrocities. They even conduct economic sabotage which hinders the growth and development of the locals. Recently, a twelve year old boy identified as Efren Rule and a soldier were reported dead after a huge number of rebels around 50 NPAs attacked a military outpost in Bukidnon. The boy was said to be playing near the outpost when the attack took place and he was caught in the attack.
The presence of military in the area is to secure the ongoing farm to market road construction connecting Bukidnon and Davao del Norte where its contractor, the Ulticon Builders Incorporated (UBI) has been targeted several times but refused to give extortion fees to the NPAs. The said construction project is part of the basic services rendered by the government to its people, a clear manifestation that the government is doing its best in the service of our countrymen.
Unfortunately, the NPAs disrupt this endeavor to lure the locals and make them (locals) believe that the government neglects them; that they are left behind, that only the NPAs in the countryside can help them. Eventually, such plea will fuel the locals agitated by the NPAs to go against the government.
This is the sad reality in the countryside. People are endangered with these armed groups known as NPAs. People live in fear and trauma. The cruelty of these NPAs claimed a young boy’s life.
Where are you now Human Rights advocates? Why don’t you cry for justice not only for the death of a minor in an NPA attack but also for the rights of those who live in the countryside to live peacefully away from the harm and danger of the NPA bandits. May we all live in peace.
May you give me a space in your publication to air my sentiments for the sake of those who are in the countryside. I wish to reach the ears, the hearts, and the minds of peace and human rights advocates through you.
Sta. Cruz, Davao del Sur