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31
AFP Statement on COA findings of 20 Unauthorized AFP Accounts

https://www.facebook.com/adrothph/posts/1834659723381939

The Armed Forces of the Philippines welcomes the report of the Commission on Audit regarding the unclosed AFP bank accounts.
It stated that 20 bank accounts with book balance of P1,812,797,567.87 are being maintained with several banks.

The accounts mentioned are for the AFP Modernization Act Trust Fund-Central Office (AFPMATF), AFP Educational Benefit System Office (AFPEBSO), AFP Real Estate Office (AFPREO), and General Headquarters Central Office (GHQ-CO).

For the AFPMATF, the AFP Procurement Service reported that three accounts were already authorized by the Permanent Committee and that they have already remitted a total of P62,386,689.47 to the Bureau of Treasury (BTr) from September 3, 2020 to February 3, 2021.
Moreover, two accounts were already zeroed out and balances were already returned to the BTr while two remaining accounts  shall be closed down after the completion of the ongoing modernization projects amounting to P1,228,540,484.00. The amount is earmarked as payment for ongoing projects and in accordance with RA 9184 or the Government Procurement Reform Act which will be disbursed as soon as requirements are sufficiently met.

The AFPEBSO on the other hand is working for a Special Provision in the General Appropriations Act to maintain the accounts which hold scholarship funds as it also identifies other bank accounts to be closed in compliance to COA recommendations.

The Office deemed that it is the best set-up for prompt and timely delivery of financial assistance to its grantees who are dependents of soldiers killed-in-action or incapacitated in line of duty.

Meanwhile, the AFPREO through the AFP Housing Board has already come up with a resolution approving to close one of its dormant accounts and retain one account which is being maintained for collections on rent of military quarters.

For the other accounts, the AFP will submit a status report within the time allotted by COA detailing the result of actions taken.
We would like to thank the Commission on Audit for informing us about their audit findings.

We are mindful about the zero-tolerance of the President on corruption that is why we are careful with regard to the processes that we undertake. This is also to assure our stakeholders on the AFP’s transparent and judicious use of tax payers’ money as it continually partners with COA to further improve fiscal management.

32
Duterte-Duterte tandem leads in Pulse Asia survey
By: Zacarian Sarao - @inquirerdotnet
INQUIRER.net / 04:45 PM July 13, 2021

https://newsinfo.inquirer.net/1459148/duterte-duterte-tandem-leads-in-pulse-asia-surveys

MANILA, Philippines — Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio and President Rodrigo Duterte led the list of Filipinos’ top bets for president and vice president in Pulse Asia’s 2022 national elections survey.
According to Pulse Asia on Tuesday, the survey was conducted on 2,400 respondents from June 7 to 16.

Presidential bets

Pulse Asia said that the face-to-face surveys indicated that Duterte-Carpio remains the most preferred candidate, with 28 percent of the respondents voting for her if elections were held on the day they were interviewed.

At second place on the list is Manila Mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso (14 percent), almost tied with former Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr, at 13 percent.

< Edited >

33
Space / Elon Musk will fly to space with Virgin Galactic: reports
« on: July 13, 2021, 10:29:12 AM »
Elon Musk will fly to space with Virgin Galactic: reports
By Mike Wall about 6 hours ago

The SpaceX chief has put down a $10,000 deposit.

https://www.space.com/elon-musk-will-fly-on-virgin-galactic

SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk has booked a ride to suborbital space with Virgin Galactic, according to media reports.

Richard Branson, the billionaire founder of the Virgin Group, made just such a trip on Sunday (July 11), flying on the first fully crewed spaceflight of Virgin Galactic's VSS Unity space plane. It was the fourth spaceflight overall for the six-passenger, two-pilot Unity, which is on track to start full commercial operations in early 2022, provided a few additional test flights this fall go well.

Branson told The Sunday Times that Musk has put down a $10,000 deposit to reserve a seat on a future suborbital flight, and a Virgin Galactic spokesperson confirmed the news to The Wall Street Journal. (The most recently stated full ticket price is $250,000.) It's unclear when Musk's flight will lift off.

< Edited >

34
SC junks petition to stop purchase, use of Sinovac jabs
By Benjamin Pulta  July 12, 2021, 5:56 pm

https://www.pna.gov.ph/articles/1146781

MANILA – The Supreme Court (SC) has dismissed a petition asking the government to stop the purchase and use of the Sinovac Covid-19 vaccine.

A 17-page decision dated May 11 and written by Associate Justice Jhosep Lopez junked the petition filed by the former Boac, Marinduque mayor, Pedrito Nepomuceno, who sought to compel the National Task Force (NTF) Against Covid-19 to observe the usual rules of the Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) on the acquisition, procurement and use of Covid-19 vaccines and for the FDA to issue a cease and desist order on the procurement and use of Sinovac, in particular.

Named as respondents were President Rodrigo Duterte, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III, and NTF Chief Implementer Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr.

"As the law has expressly excluded the conduct of clinical trials and exempted its procurement from the general rules of the bidding process, the Court cannot step in to add another layer of requirement before the procurement of Covid-19 vaccines, and their use, specifically those granted with EUA (Emergency Use Authorization)," the court ruled.

The SC likewise emphasized that the President is "not a proper party to be sued" as the Chief Executive cannot be sued while in office.

"This Court holds, and reminds litigants once again that an incumbent President of the Republic of the Philippines cannot be sued in any proceeding. With executive power solely vested in the President of the Philippines, he should be freed from any distraction that would imperil the performance of his duties as mandated by the Constitution. Thus, presidential immunity from suit shields President Duterte from facing any complaint or petition during his tenure," the court stated.

The decision added that under the principle of hierarchy of courts, the SC can only handle "questions of law" and not "questions of fact".

"A challenge to the efficacy of the Sinovac vaccine is a question of fact that is beyond the scope of this Court's jurisdiction. To go into the details of a vaccine's efficacy would require the presentation of its clinical trial results and a comparative analysis of the various results of the other vaccines in order to determine the acceptable standard of what an effective Covid-19 vaccine should be. However, it is a settled rule that the Supreme Court is not a trier of facts," the court said.

"Complementing this rule is the doctrine of hierarchy of courts, which requires a party to file the appropriate petition in the proper court, especially when the petition calls for an examination of the factual issues raised in the petition," the ruling further stated.

The court said the issuance of an EUA precludes the need for the completion of the conduct of clinical trials and that as long as the conditions are met, any vaccine given an EUA may now be administered in the Philippines.

"In evaluating the known and potential benefits of the drug or vaccine and its potential risks, as a factor in granting an EUA, the FDA takes into consideration the results of tests from abroad in addition to the tests done in the Philippines. The FDA, thus, gathers sufficient material information before it issues an EUA in favor of a vaccine. In the case of Sinovac vaccine, while many doubts its efficacy, it is not within the office of this Court to issue an order compelling the government to conduct further tests before the same can be distributed to the Filipino people. Notably, the FDA already granted an EUA in favor of Sinovac on February 22, 2021," the court added. (PNA)

35
Politics and Government / Duterte receives 2nd Covid-19 shot
« on: July 13, 2021, 03:03:04 AM »
Duterte receives 2nd Covid-19 shot
By Azer Parrocha  July 12, 2021, 7:43 pm

https://www.pna.gov.ph/articles/1146819
   
MANILA – President Rodrigo Duterte is now fully vaccinated against the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).

Senator Bong Go confirmed that Duterte received his second Covid-19 jab on Monday by releasing photos on his official Facebook page.

"Pangulong Rodrigo Roa Duterte, nabakunahan na ng kanyang second dose na Covid-19 vaccine ngayong araw (President Duterte has been inoculated with his second dose of Covid-19 vaccine today)," Go said in his Facebook post.

Go did not give further details.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque also confirmed that Duterte was inoculated with a Covid-19 vaccine developed by Chinese state-owned pharmaceutical company Sinopharm.

"I confirm that PRRD had his second dose of Sinopharm tonight before his meeting with select members of the [Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases]. [Health] Sec. Duque administered the jab to the President," Roque said.

Duterte received his first shot of Sinopharm Covid-19 vaccine on May 3.

At that time, Sinopharm has yet to secure an emergency use authorization (EUA) for the administration of its Covid-19 vaccines.

In May, the World Health Organization (WHO) included Sinopharm in its emergency use listing.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) cleared Sinopharm for emergency use in June.

Initially, FDA only issued a compassionate use license for the inoculation of 10,000 doses of Sinopharm vaccine to members of the Presidential Security Group (PSG).

China approved the Sinopharm vaccine for general public use last December after the developer said the vaccine showed 79.34 percent efficacy based on an interim analysis of late-stage clinical trials. (PNA)

37
General Discussion / Patriot or traitor
« on: July 10, 2021, 12:54:53 AM »
The text below was taken from this post by this author



https://www.facebook.com/cove58/posts/4166447550078143

Patriot or Traitor

A group of retired generals and colonels calling themselves Advocates of National Interest (ANI) published a declaration entitled “Let us Unite and Rally to our Flag in Assertion of our Rights in the West Philippine Sea”. This declaration has been going the rounds of the various online chat groups of active and retired PMA alumni for more than a month now. The Chairman and Members of ANI  are mostly PMA Alumni, some of whom were former AFP Chiefs of Staff, a National Police Chief, a Senator, some Congressmen including a Magdalo rebel, and many other senior military and police officers.

On the surface, the declaration appears just a simple patriotic call. However, upon close scrutiny, there are things in the declaration that more than meets the eye. So instead of forging unity, the declaration unwittingly fanned animosities and created divisions among the PMA alumni, especially those already retired.

What more than meets the eye?

The declaration is an indictment of President Duterte. He is a lackey of China and a traitor to his country for not implementing the PCA Arbitral ruling. The group advocates a hawkish and confrontational stance toward China in the West Philippine Sea issue instead of Mr Duterte's friendly relations with China. The group is composed of avowed patriots who had years of government and military service. However, they fail to realize or simply do not want to realize that the President’s rapprochement to China and his independent foreign policy is the better approach to national interest at this time, than the group's version of what is good for national interest.

Rapprochement is the establishment of harmonious relations for mutual national interest. It is NOT conceding one’s rights, such as our sovereign rights in the WPS and the PCA ruling, which President Duterte said many times, but which the political opposition see, exploit, and interpret differently for political purposes. The group believes that the President’s leaning towards China and his veering away from the US is unpatriotic. They do not understand that the President is engaging the two superpowers the way he does because that is what is best for our national interest at this time. Sure, we can confront China and use all our country’s available tools of national power, which is not much. However, confronting China at this time will only embolden it to occupy more islands (which no country, even the US and the UN can stop) as it did when the Philippines opted to go to the PCA instead of negotiating directly with China. It is a fact that China occupied the rocks and shoals in the WPS, which it claimed to own, and built islands which it weaponized, for its national survival, and that not even a nuclear war can make it leave the islands. While the President’s China policy is based on reality, the ANI proposal to assert the PCA ruling and antagonize China at this time is based on fantasy. UN support will not come because China, as a permanent Security Council member, will definitely veto any moves against it in the WPS. We can only raise our voices till kingdom come and hope that other countries will join us. These will be for naught however since these countries have their own problems with their national interests different from our own. We will ultimately be on our own and be left with nothing in the WPS if we adopt what ANI and the political opposition espouse.

The group intimated that the President must abandon his friendly stance with China and instead adopt the combative ways of his Cabinet Secretaries - Sec Locsin of DFA and Sec Lorenzana of DND. Again, this group of bright soldiers does not realize that these secretaries cannot do or say anything contrary to that of the President’s foreign policies. The secretaries would have been long gone if they did that. This means the combative stance of the secretaries has the imprimatur of the President. This approach is a modified version of the Good Guy/Bad Guy technique in negotiation. Unfortunately, the President is acting as the Bad Guy here and his Cabinet Secretaries as the Good Guys. If the ANI group does not understand these, then the more they cannot understand the President’s
Strategy of Deliberate Ambiguity, which he has been effectively using even before he became President.

The ANI declaration also generated controversy because of its purported use for partisan political purposes. The declaration was made public immediately after the organization of an opposition political party 1Sambayan, whose main platform is a replica of that of ANI - the combative assertion of our rights on the West Philippine Sea, particularly towards China. The declaration also coincided with the brouhaha on the withdrawal of support by retired military officers on President Duterte allegedly for his treasonous acts on the West Philippine Sea.

If not for its different approach to national interest and the politics involved, ANI's call for patriotism is actually good for the country, especially with the coming Independence Day. However, it is hard to believe that the ANI declaration is not tied to partisan politics. If the assertion of Philippine rights in the West Philippine Sea is the objective of the declaration, why single out China and exclude the other claimant countries who also occupied some of the islands in the WPS? If China is the issue, why raise only the violations of China in the WPS and exclude China’s control of our strategic national resources, among others. China, through the  State Grid Corporation of China (SGCC), controls the Philippine power grid through local company NGCP. The SGCC which, on paper, is only a minority shareholder of NGCP, can remotely shut down our grid anytime. It even blatantly denies Philippine government inspections of NGCP control stations and power facilities. Also, Huawei, a private Chinese company but effectively controlled by the China government, provides about 98% of the ICT equipment of our local Globe and Smart telecom service providers. It goes without saying that the Chinese government monitors vital Philippine communications - a critical concern without raising even a whimper from these patriotic advocates.

If the patriotic call was made as a convenient cover for partisan politics, then the call is lost and the callers worse than hypocrites. The ANI naturally denies engaging in partisan politics. However, the tenor of the declaration is a dead giveaway. If they deny engaging in politics in a declaration so laden with political innuendoes, then they are either naive or stupid. Since many of them are septuagenarians and octogenarians who spent long years in government, they must be naive rather than stupid. They lent their name and reputation and signed a document without them deeply analyzing its implications.  With this, I would say the declaration was not prepared by a former AFP Chief of Staff, but by a spurned rebel with a continuing tantrum.

38
Space / China conducts first space walk on Tianhe station
« on: July 09, 2021, 07:02:39 AM »
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n1GdQokVOt4

Chinese astronauts Liu Boming and Tang Hongbo performed a spacewalk outside the space station core module Tianhe on July 4, 2021. Full Story: https://www.space.com/china-space-sta...

The spacewalkers installed foot restraints and an extravehicular working platform on the mechanical arm," according to the China Manned Space Agency. 

39
General Discussion / PAF responds to rumors about Tucano
« on: July 09, 2021, 06:15:06 AM »
https://www.facebook.com/piopaf/posts/3915891865206665

An Open Letter for Max Defense

Dear Sir,

Your Philippine Air Force appreciates your efforts and genuine concern particularly on spreading awareness to our AFP and aviation enthusiasts and helping our air force achieve its vision of becoming a more capable and credible Air Force. However, your latest article pointed out several information that are deemed to be inaccurate which might mislead your followers. In aid to your continuous search for truth, hereunder are the important information which were not pointed out in your article.

On the statement that one of the PAFs A-29B Super Tucano suffered damage during one of the training flights in Clark and Sangley Air Base.

Fact: To the contrary, the aircraft was flown for a routine maintenance Equipment Check Flight (ECF) in Clark; not Clark and Sangley as posted. It was flown by a Brazilian Instructor Pilot of Embraer as Pilot-in-Command (PIC). The Wing Commander, 15th Strike Wing to which the aircraft is assigned, sat as Observer/Passenger in the entire duration of the flight. The aircraft sustained some damage during landing in Clark.  The Brazilian Instructor Pilot had full control of the aircraft and responsibility for the flight. The Wing Commander was just a mere passenger observing the performance and flight characteristics of the aircraft as part of his functions.

On the statement that the aircraft suffered damage beyond economical repair.

Fact: To the contrary, the damages incurred are all reparable. Based on the assessment made by Embraer, the structural integrity of the aircraft is very much intact and by replacing the component parts that were damaged, it will be put back to operational status. This was the commitment made by Embraer top management and it will be put into service the soonest possible time. By the way, the Pilot and the Observer did not sustain any injury.

On the statement that the aircraft was badly damaged and put out of commission for cannibalization.

Fact: To the contrary, the damages on the aircraft are all reparable and Embraer will provide the parts at no cost to the PAF. Thus, there is absolutely no reason for cannibalization. The replacement parts coming from Embraer in Brazil are ready for shipment and the aircraft technicians are all set to fly to the country to repair and put the aircraft back to operational status all to be shouldered by Embraer.

On the statement that the PAF, the AFP and DND leadership are hiding this incident from the public.

Fact: To the contrary, the PAF Leadership immediately informed the DND and the AFP of the incident on that same day. It was never hidden. The investigation by PAF and Embraer found that the Brazilian Embraer Instructor Pilot failed to initiate a go-around and prevent a positive landing. Embraer considered the event a minor flight incident that normally happens during flights. Further, per contract, Embraer will assume full responsibility for the aircraft throughout the duration of the training period. That is why during this period, all the Super Tucano aircraft can only be flown if an Embraer pilot is also present in the flight.
Point by point we gave the facts. If we may suggest, kindly refrain from subscribing to unreliable sources. More Power and we are one with Diwa, Galing, and Malasakit. We appeal to the public to support the Philippine Air Force and the Armed Forces. Let us help each other to elevate our AFP to become a modern force capable of protecting you, our countrymen and our nation.

42
US left Bagram Airbase at night with no notice, Afghan commander says

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-57682290

The US military left Bagram Airfield - its key base in Afghanistan - in the dead of night without notifying the Afghans, the base's new commander said.

General Asadullah Kohistani told the BBC that the US left Bagram at 03:00 local time on Friday, and that the Afghan military found out hours later.

Bagram also contains a prison, and there are reportedly up to 5,000 Taliban prisoners left in the facility.
The Taliban have been advancing rapidly in Afghanistan as US troops withdraw.

< Edited >

The US announced on Friday that it had vacated Bagram, effectively completing its military campaign in Afghanistan ahead of the official end date of 11 September, announced by President Joe Biden earlier this year.

The withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan is more than 90% completed, the Pentagon's Central Command said on Tuesday.

The Americans left behind about 3.5 million items, Gen Kohistani said, including tens of thousands of bottles of water, energy drinks and military ready-made meals, known as MREs. They also left behind thousands of civilian vehicles, without keys, and hundreds of armoured vehicles, the Associated Press reported.

They took heavy weapons with them and detonated some ammunition stocks, but left behind small weapons and ammunition for the Afghans, Gen Kohistani said.

< Edited >

43
China is cracking down on stocks that trade on U.S. exchanges. Here's what it means if you hold them
PUBLISHED WED, JUL 7 2021 10:42 AM EDT
UPDATED 2 HOURS AGO

https://www.cnbc.com/2021/07/07/china-is-cracking-down-on-stocks-that-trade-on-us-exchanges-what-it-means-if-you-hold-them.html

China’s most powerful companies — including Didi, Alibaba and Tencent — are suddenly under immense scrutiny as country vows to crack down on domestic companies that list on U.S. exchanges. That move could upend a $2 trillion market loved by some of the biggest American investors.

Beijing is stepping up its oversight on the flood of Chinese listings in the U.S., which are overwhelmingly tech companies. The State Council said in a statement Tuesday that the rules of “the overseas listing system for domestic enterprises” will be updated, while it will also tighten restrictions on cross-border data flows and security.

The crackdown on tech is not a new trend. But because the nation has the ability to move quickly, any action could wreak havoc in major areas on Wall Street. Market analysts say it could not only threaten the IPOs in the pipeline, but it could also pressure the popular Chinese ADR market.

< Edited >

44
Space / Apollo docking sequence
« on: July 07, 2021, 03:41:29 AM »
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4drYZcMY9jU

kevin hughes
928 subscribers

I made this video to hopefully help people understand the Apollo Docking System. I've read an unhealthy amount of documentation on the subject but I was frustrated that there weren't any animations to show the sequence. The first thing I did was collect photos of the probe and docking ring. this was helped when I contacted John Fongheiser at space1 who supplied me with some drawings of the probe that they had built.

45
Food Security / Davao durian arrives in Australia
« on: July 06, 2021, 11:17:18 AM »

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