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Europe, South Korea-Backed Consortium Wins Philippines Airport Project Formerly Pursued by China
By Aldgra Fredly September 19, 2022

A consortium composed of South Korean and European firms has been awarded an $11 billion airport project in the Philippines that was previously granted to a Chinese state-owned firm.

The Cavite provincial government awarded the contract to develop the Sangley Point International Airport (SPIA) to a multinational consortium comprised of companies from the Philippines, South Korea, and Europe on Sept. 14.

The group includes local firms Cavitex Holdings, House of Investments, and MacroAsia Corporation—owned by Filipino tycoon Lucio Tan—as well as South Korea’s Samsung C&T Construction, Germany’s Munich Airport, and Ove Arup & Partners Hong Kong Ltd.

< Edited >

China Lost SPIA Deal
MacroAsia initially partnered with China Communications Construction Co. Ltd. (CCCC). They won the $10 billion SPIA project in December 2019, but it was terminated last year over their failure to submit post-qualification paperwork.

This is despite the companies being given four extensions to submit the required documents, local outlet Rappler reported. Cavite Gov. Juanito Victor said that the cancellation was “not prejudicial against anyone.”

“While it does cancel the negotiations, the project shall restart and hopefully have a progressive negotiation with a more qualified partner by October 2021,” he said on Facebook on Jan. 26, 2021.

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Understanding Russia’s referendums in Ukraine
The Kremlin has used the tactic before as it held a hastily called referendum in Ukraine’s Crimea region in 2014.

20 Sep 2022

Russian-backed separatists began holding referendums in the occupied areas of eastern Ukraine, a move that triggered a chorus of condemnation.

The vote will pave the way for the formal annexation of swaths of territory by Russia after nearly seven months of the war with its neighbour, a former Soviet republic.

Why are the referendums happening?

The Kremlin has used this tactic before. In 2014, it held a hastily called referendum in Ukraine’s Crimea region that also was denounced by the West as illegal and illegitimate. Moscow used the vote as a justification to annex the Black Sea peninsula in a move that was not recognised by most of the world.

On Tuesday, authorities in the separatist Luhansk and Donetsk regions that make up Ukraine’s eastern industrial heartland known as the Donbas abruptly announced that referendums on joining Russia. Moscow-backed officials in the Kherson and Zaporizhia regions in the south also called votes.

Who wants a referendum?

The self-styled Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) and the Luhansk People’s Republic (LPR), which President Vladimir Putin recognised as independent states just before the invasion on February 24, have said they want referendums on joining Russia from September 23 to 27.

The Kherson and Zaporizhia regions, which are yet to be recognised as independent states by Russia, have also said they will hold their own votes.

Russia does not fully control any of the four regions, with only about 60 percent of the Donetsk region in Russian hands.

How much territory could Ukraine lose?
Russia controls more than 90,000sq km (34,750sq miles) of territory, or about 15 percent of Ukraine’s total area – roughly the size of Hungary or Portugal.

Russia annexed Crimea in 2014. With Crimea and the territory in the four other regions, Russia would gain an area about the same size as the US state of Pennsylvania.

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Informal settlers along ADB, JICA-backed rail project won’t be left out in the cold–DOTr
Published September 13, 2022, 5:35 PM

by Ellson Quismorio

The Department of Transportation (DOTr) revealed during the House Committee on Appropriations’ consideration of the agency’s proposed 2023 budget Tuesday, Sept. 13 that the particular ISFs will not only be relocated; they will also get monthly interim rental subsidy for 18 months.

DOTr Undersecretary for Rails Cesar Chavez told congressmen that the country’s loan agreement with Asian Development Bank (ADB) provides funds for relocation, a P3,000 to P10,000 rental subsidy, and payment for structures and plants that would be removed due to the project construction.

The multi-billion North-South Rail project, jointly funded by the ADB and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), is expected to be completed by 2028. Once finished, it will ferry hundreds of thousands of passenger from Clark, Pampanga to Bicol.

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Diokno welcomes Moody’s favorable Baa2 rating, stable outlook

Finance Secretary Benjamin Diokno welcomed Moody’s Investors Service’s rating decision on Thursday (September 15), which reaffirmed the Philippines’ Baa2 with a “stable” outlook, citing the resilience of the country’s economic recovery to external pressures and the government’s commitment to policy continuity.

“We welcome Moody’s reaffirmation of its favorable rating and outlook for the Philippines. The Marcos administration will continue to exercise fiscal prudence to ensure sufficient funding for our programs while meeting our financial obligations,” said Secretary Diokno.

Moody’s rating action was driven by the view that the challenging global credit conditions will not derail the country’s continued recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

In Moody’s view, the rebound in the country’s economic activity since mid-2021 has been strong and will be resilient to the current challenges posed by the turn in global credit conditions over the near-term.

The Philippine economy is likewise not significantly exposed to Russia. The country is less dependent on external demand as compared to Asia-Pacific peers given its relatively large domestic market, which in turn is further supported by stable remittance inflows from overseas Filipinos.

Moody’s also said that the government’s commitment to policy reforms helps assure gradual fiscal repair, following a reversal of the strengthening of the government’s fiscal and debt metrics resulting from the pandemic.

Moody’s cited the Marcos administration’s introduction of a Medium-Term Fiscal Framework as an assurance of gradual fiscal consolidation and debt stabilization.

The Framework, which aims to reduce the fiscal deficit, promote fiscal sustainability, and enable robust economic growth, emphasizes broadening revenue generation and maintaining high infrastructure spending.

The Philippines likewise retains fundamental strengths in terms of the stability of the banking system and the capacity to meet external debt repayments, despite cyclical pressures on the balance of payments and consequent exchange rate depreciation.

Moody’s also reaffirmed the government’s foreign currency senior unsecured shelf rating at (P)Baa2 and the senior unsecured ratings for the liabilities of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) at Baa2.

According to Moody’s, the credit quality of the BSP is closely aligned with that of the government.

Air Force has limited operational fighters due to logistics woes
September 21, 2022 , 06:40 PM
By Manny Mogato, News5 editor-at-large

(September 21, 2022) – The Philippine Air Force’s capability to defend the country’s airspace has been seriously affected by the lack of spare parts to operate the squadron of South Korean-made FA-50 light fighters even after two of the aircraft were seen escorting the president’s plane enroute to New York on Sunday.

Only three of the 12 light fighters remained operational, according to an air force official who declined to be named for security reasons, because of logistics problems which make it hard for the air force maintenance staff to replace broken parts.

“The story here is logistics flow and the maintenance that’s not catching up,” the unnamed air force official said, adding most of the FA-50s were sidelined due to periodic maintenance. “It’s not about the skills of the maintenance crew but it’s about the logistics that are needed to maintain the aircraft. It’s like in cars, some components fail so we have to replace them, we call these ‘Time Change Items’. They’re scheduled for repair and we already requested for the spare parts but our order has yet to arrive.”

Hopefully, he said two aircraft will be brought back to operational status by November. The fighters were sidelined as early as the second quarter of 2022.

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Discussions about all nations and places / Kharkiv retaken
« on: September 22, 2022, 03:08:25 AM »
Ukraine has retaken settlements in Kharkiv region - Russian-installed official
September 9, 2022
9:29 AM PDT

MOSCOW, Sept 9 (Reuters) - Ukraine's advance in the Kharkiv region has been "very sharp and rapid" and Ukrainian forces have recaptured a number of settlements, the Russian-installed administrator of Russian-controlled parts of the region said in a live online broadcast.

"The enemy is being delayed as much as possible, but several settlements have already come under the control of Ukrainian armed formations," Vitaly Ganchev, head of the Russian-backed administration in Kharkiv region, said on state television host Vladimir Solovyov's daily livestream.

< Edited >

Putin mobilizes more troops for Ukraine, threatens nuclear retaliation and backs annexation of Russian-occupied land
In a rare national address Wednesday, the Russian leader announced the partial mobilization of reservists after a series of battlefield setbacks.

Updated Sept. 21, 2022, 9:30 AM PDT
By Yuliya Talmazan, Patrick Smith, Courtney Kube and Daniel Arkin

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday announced the partial mobilization of military reservists, a significant escalation of his war in Ukraine after battlefield setbacks left the Kremlin facing growing pressure to act.

In a rare national address, Putin also backed plans for Russia to annex occupied areas of southern and eastern Ukraine, and appeared to threaten nuclear retaliation if Kyiv continues its efforts to reclaim that land.

The announcement came just a day after four Russian-controlled areas announced they would stage votes this week on breaking away from Ukraine and joining Russia, in a plan Kyiv and its Western allies dismissed as a desperate “sham” aimed at deterring a successful counteroffensive by Ukrainian troops.

Vowing that Russia would use all the means at its disposal to protect what it considers its territory, Putin accused the West of nuclear blackmail and warned: “This is not a bluff.”

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PH-UAE defense industry at ship building partnership pinag-aaralan
Jerome Fadriquela | TFC News
Posted at Aug 31 2022 03:10 PM

ABU DHABI - Pinag-aaralan ng United Arab Emirates at Pilipinas ang posibleng kooperasyon sa defense industry at shipbuilding matapos ang pagdalaw kamakailan ng top-level executives ng Abu Dhabi Ship Building (ADSB), isang major UAE defense company sa tatlong pinakamalaking shipyard sa Pilipinas.

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The Philippine Navy's First Overseas Wartime Escort Mission
By CDR Mark R Condeno

Today, marks the 72nd Anniversary of the Escort Mission provided by the Submarine Chasers RPS Capiz (PS-27) and RPS Negros Oriental (PS-26) to the US Naval Transport Ship USNS SGT Sylvester J Antolak (T-AP-192) carrying the First Philippine Expeditionary Force to Korea (PEFTOK) Contingent 10th Battalion Combat Team to the Republic of Korea.

The emotions were high as the Families of the Soldiers bid farewell to their love ones, the multitude of crowd gathered at the pierside to support the first joint overseas deployment of the Three branches of Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).

In nearby Corregidor Island, the famous World War Two Fortress, which has become the home of the then Philippine Naval Patrol's Submarine Chasers, the Officer's and Crew of RPS Negros Oriental (PS26) and RPS Capiz (PC-1564/PS27) were also on the alert as they will be escorting the US Transport Ship up to the outskirts of the South China Sea, making it the First Escort Mission for the Navy.

When nearing Korean Waters, the Two Filipino Warships would be met by two US Navy Destroyers who would take over from their escort duties up to the Harbor of Pusan.

This would be the routine until and after the end of the Korean War whenever US Navy or our own Landing Ship Tanks ferry Filipino Troops to the Korean Campaign.

Actual Photograph Below shows RPS Capiz ( PC-1564/PS-27) escorting USNS SGT Sylvester J Antolak (T-AP-192), Photograph Courtesy of the late LT Faustino Tumamak, 10th BCT, PEFTOK.

Note: RPS Capiz as well as other ships of the Philippine Navy still sports their old American Hull Numbers until 1953, when the ships would have its Filipino names and hull numbers, only the 6 Ex-USCG Lighthouse Tenders transferred in 1945 would maintain their American names until decommissioned.

General Discussion / BRP Benguet's 46th commissioning anniversary
« on: September 18, 2022, 03:39:39 AM »

The crew of BRP BENGUET skippered by CDR JIMAR E GEMENTIZA PN celebrated her 46th commissioning anniversary in the Philippine Navy. The activity commenced with a holy mass celebration by CG LT RENANTE B BOSE PCG, Command Chaplain of the Philippine Coast Guard District, Palawan.

It was followed by a symbolic cake-cutting ceremony where the Commanding Officer presented a slice of cake to the ship's senior and youngest crew. This signifies the honor and respect accorded to experience and seniority while the latter represents the passing of knowledge and expertise to young sailors.

BRP BENGUET (LS507) was formerly known as USS DAVIES COUNTY (LST-692). She was commissioned in the Philippine Navy on 13 Sept 1976.

General Discussion / Pitch Black 2022
« on: September 18, 2022, 02:11:08 AM »
Exercise Pitch Black 2022: Practicing Real Wartime Situation

The Exercise Pitch Black 2022 in Australia focused on Large Force Employment for Day and Night air-to-air battles between the Red and Blue Forces. Each possesses various Multi-Role Fighter Aircraft from stealth F-35A Lightning IIs and F-35Bs, F-15s, F-16s, E/A-18G Growler, Dassault Rafale, Eurofighter Typhoons, Su-30MKIs, Mitsubishi F-2A/B Viper Zero, and support aircraft such as Air to Air Refuellers including KC-30A MRTT, A330MRTTs, and E-7A Wedgetail. Mobile Radars, and AEWACS provided the Command and Control and air battle management in 90,000 Square Nautical Miles of Battle Space. Participated by 17 International Air Forces with 2,500 personnel and more than a hundred aircraft integrated into their respective roles made the Exercise operationally realistic.

The Philippine Air Force Pitch Black Team has invaluable first-hand experiences during the Pitch Black. We expected to learn from our counterparts, validate our existing Doctrines, Tactics, Techniques, and Procedures and be military ambassadors building relationship with them. Ultimately, we were there as cohorts; we shared what we had and took what they shared. That is the essence of alliance and strategic partnership. We may have the challenge of varying Doctrine, TTPs, and language barriers, but we are a team, and we fight as one!

The Philippine Air Force fielded Air Battle Managers from the 580th Aircraft and Control Warning Wing and Fighter Pilots from the 5th Fighter Wing under the Air Defense Command were involved in the Mission Planning and execution, particularly in Command and Control and Air Combat Missions during the Large Force Employment Missions. The PAF Air Battle Managers acted as Battle Directors and Weapons Directors directing and supervising the air battle with their International Counterparts with more than a hundred aircraft in the air during the LFE. Likewise, the Fighter Pilots were engaged in Mission Planning and embedded with other International Fighter participants.

Flying with the French Air and Space Force with their Dassault Rafale during an Offensive Counter Air Mission highlighted the importance of Network Centric Warfare Operations when operating with multiple air forces with different capabilities, doctrines, and TTPs. Mission Planning is the key for a Large Force Employment wherein these capabilities must be synchronized and maximized. Every package component must capitalize on its capabilities to negate the limiting factors and ensure the accomplishment of the mission. The air battle involving 100 dissimilar Multi-Role and support aircraft in a pitch-black setting executing air-to-air refueling and Beyond Visual Range air combat engagement provides the capability to fight real warlike situations. Merci beaucoup Armée de l'air et de l'espace pour la mission anti-aérienne offensive!

We are developing our capability enablers, and we have proven that our doctrines and TTPs are within the standards, and we can effortlessly integrate and interoperate with the friendly air forces for worldwide or regional security contingencies. I attribute the feat to the frequent sending of our Air Battle Managers to International Military Schooling and the Fighter Pilots' sustained participation in Bilateral Air Combat Exercises with our allied air forces. Likewise, the Philippine Air Force and Air Defense Command and its sub-units for its thrust on Doctrine Development and enhancement of TTPs.

We appreciate the leadership of the Air Defense Command and its subordinate units (580th Aircraft and Control Warning Wing and 5th Fighter Wing), the Philippine Air Force and the Armed Forces of the Philippines for their utmost support and thrust to send Philippine Air Force members not as observers but as participants in a major international exercise hosted by the Royal Australian Air Force.

General Discussion / ScanEagle @ PN Naval Air Wing
« on: September 17, 2022, 06:03:19 AM »

Sangley Point, Cavite City – The Naval Air Wing (NAW) conducted a simple send-off ceremony of the ScanEagle Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) at Headquarters Naval Air Wing, Naval Base Heracleo Alano, Sangley Point, Cavite City. Said ceremony was spearheaded by CAPT JUARIO C MARAYAG PN(GSC), the Acting Commander, Naval Air Wing.

This send-off ceremony marks the first deployment for the Maritime Unmanned Aerial Reconnaissance Squadron 71 (MUARS71), NAW after completing their one (1) year in-country training.

The “Alpha Flight” of MUARS-71 is composed of five (5) officers and nine (9) maintenance crew. This is their first deployment for this type of air asset for the Philippine Navy to conduct different missions like patrols and surveillance to secure the sovereignty of our nation.

The ScanEagle UAS was acquired by the Philippine Navy from the United States and it was formally accepted on 25 November 2020 at Magluyan Hall, Naval Base Heracleo Alano, Sangley Point, Cavite City.


General Discussion / Replenishment-At-Sea training for BRP Antonio Luna
« on: September 17, 2022, 06:00:31 AM »

NOB-Subic- Teamed up by training personnel from FORTEG and crew of BRP Antonio Luna (FF151), a productive Replenishment-At-Sea (RAS) lecture and simulated training was conducted yesterday, 14 September 2022.

Unknown to many, RAS is a ship's evolution where fuel, supplies and transfer of personnel at sea are done. "UNREP" it may sometimes be called, which means, "Underway Replenishment". This evolution is essential for the ship to operate for extended periods of time at sea without going back to port to replenish. RAS involves two(2) ships or more to conduct said evolution depending on the capabilities of the delivery ship.

BRP Antonio Luna is a RAS capable ship that is outfitted with the necessary tools and equipment to carry out this evolution, however, the ship needs to be qualified first before going to an actual RAS. In order to do this, it is the initiative of the ship's training team and crew to conduct a drill related to RAS through simulation in order to enhance the ship's capability to operate at sea when necessary.
Lecture in the morning, simulation in the late afternoon, thank God the heavy rain had stopped! While FF151 is the delivery ship, some of the crew went to the dock and used a scaffolding or contruction platform to serve as the receiving ship. Conducting stated drill for the first time wasn't simple, but with persistence and the willingness to learn, the training was successful! Indeed, the ship's crew can anticipate another RAS drill the following week!

Yesterday's training ended through giving of tokens and certificates of appreciation to FORTEG personnel. The ship's crew were left with words to never stop training and grow weary of learning.


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