Sunday, November 23, 2014

Leading from the front: The story of Lt Dante Espiritu



Lt Dante 'Sprite' Espiritu proudly wears the 'tabak' on his left breast pocket after completing the rigorous Scout Ranger Course in 2011.

Since his college days, 1st Lieutenant Dante 'Sprite' Espiritu, 34, of Pagadian City,  always dreamed of becoming a certified Scout Ranger. 

While attending college, he complied all  the ROTC requirements religiously. He earned the admiration of his Tactical NCOs, some of whom were Scout Rangers. 

He can vividly remember the  likes of Msg Ruben Moreno and Tsg Amar. He said that they were higly-respectable Scout Ranger non-commissioned officers (NCOs).

"They inspired me to join the Army. I admired them because of their good demeanor.  I liked the way they conducted themselves during our training," said Espiritu, a B.S. Criminology graduate of Pagadian College of Criminology. 

He rose to become the ROTC commander in his school during which he gained more experiences on how to lead people. 

"I learned in ROTC that the higher your rank, the more responsibilities you will get. I also realized that the best way to motivate the subordinates in doing difficult tasks is to show the best example," he said. 

Army life

After finishing college, he took the Preparatory Officer's Training Course (POTC) in preparation to his journey in the military service. 

"I was quite determined to dedicate my life in the Army. I was no longer interested to pursue any other career," he revealed.
  
He was commissioned as a 2nd Lt in 2009,  and was called to active duty (CAD) a year later when he finished the Officer Preparatory Course (OPC) at the Training and Doctrine Command of the Philippine Army.

He found himself at SOCOM headquarters after spending his short admin break. 

"Perhaps, it was a stroke of luck that two of us from OPC were assigned to SOCOM. I knew that my buddy was a die-hard SF so I let him select a unit first. As expected, he opted to be with the Special Forces Regiment, so, I fulfilled my dream of joining the ranks of the elite Scout Rangers." 

In June 2010, Espiritu was assigned as a Platoon Leader of the 10th Scout Ranger Company that was based in Basilan. He knew that anytime, he would be joining the exciting adventures that every young officer wanted.

1st Lt Rey Daet, his Company Commander and a member of PMA Class of 2002, was his first mentor. He was still a 'non-Ranger' during that time but he wanted to prove his worth as a leader.

"I was lucky that my C.O. was an excellent leader and mentor. He taught me how to gradually immerse in the company that was composed of highly-experienced soldiers whose fighting tradition of 'walang iwanan' was widely known," he said. 

A few months later, he received his baptism of fire during a patrolling mission in Baiwas village in Sumisip town. 

While reconnoitering deep inside the jungle lair of the Abu Sayyaf, he found himself in the middle of an enemy encampment. 

"Visibility was almost zero during that time when we stealthily stalked the enemy deep in the forest. It was almost 4:00 am when we stumbled upon people who were sleeping on a makeshift tent," he said. 

"All of a sudden,  two people rose and scampered away, announcing our presence. In a few moment, the burst of gunshots commenced, hitting two of my teammates and prompted us to retaliate, triggering a heavy exchange of fires."

He would later experience another firefight in the succeeding patrols. He said that the presence of well-experienced SR NCOs mattered most in those encounters. 

"I was inspired more by the good examples shown by my NCOs in those bloody skirmishes. They took care of me and helped me in leading our patrols," said Espiritu. 

He remained unscathed in all of those bloody firefights which injured some of his subordinates. 

He already had the bragging rights as a 'mandirigma', but he lacked something: the SR "tabak".


Capturing "Musang"

When he was sent to the Scout Ranger Training School to join the Scout Ranger Course Class 180-11, he was very excited. 

He had long wanted to wear the much-coveted Scout Ranger 'tabak', the same one that was proudly worn by his ROTC mentors and NCO-leaders of the 10th Scout Ranger Company . 

"I have no other goal in my life during that year. I was determined to capture Haring Musang and become a true-blooded warrior,"he said. 


During my visit to the home of the First Scout Ranger Regiment last year, I gathered all Scout Rangers to pose for a 'look up' photo with "Haring Musang", the official SR mascot. Some of my subordinates from the 10th Scout Ranger Company joined me in this souvenir picture.

He said that he learned more of the art of combat leadership and counter-guerilla tactics while studying at the school. 

"I mastered the techniques, tactics and procedures in leading soldiers to combat under difficult conditions. I learned small-unit tactics from NCOs who had experienced real-life battles against different adversaries like the Abu Sayyaf, MILF and NPA bandits," he said. 


Lt Espiritu (2nd from left) and his batchmates pose for a souvenir photo during the lull of their SR Course training that was conducted in San Miguel, Bulacan sometime in 2011.


Espiritu and his batchmates later found themselves in the battlegrounds of Basilan for their Test Mission in 2011. 

Armed with his valuable experiences as a Platoon Leader in the same area, he was no stranger to the tactics used by the lawless elements.

His team figured in a fierce clash with Abu Sayyaf bandits somewhere in the boundary of Tipo-tipo and Al-Barka. They fought fearlessly, killing numerous bandits and grabbing 3 high-powered firearms including two M16A1 Assault Rifles and an M14 Assault Rifle. He earned his first Gold Cross Medal in that encounter.


Lt Dante Espiritu was awarded the Gold Cross Medal for acts of gallantry during the AFP Day in 2012. He was congratulated by the former CSAFP, General Emmanuel Bautista.

He finally fulfilled his dream of becoming a full-blooded Scout Ranger when he was pinned the Scout Ranger tab during the graduation rites in Camp Tecson in Bulacan. 

Ranger tradition: "Walang iwanan"

He was a certified 'Musang' when he came back to 10SRC in January 2012. 

1st Cpt Rodrigo Babaran was the new Company Commander when the unit figured in another major encounter with the Abu Sayyaf bandits in Baiwas village in Sumisip town. 


The warriors of the 10th Scout Ranger Company celebrated their victory after capturing an Abu Sayyaf camp in the hinterlands of Sumisip town, Basilan in July 2012. (10SRC Photo)



Cpt Arcel Soco, 32, a member of PMA Class of 2006, once mentored 2nd Lt Espiritu. As the former Executive Officer of the 10th SRC, they were together in at least three clashes in 2012. 

"He can lead people to fight under intense pressure. He can be trusted to perform dangerous missions," said Soco, one of the battle-hardened officers of the FSRR.

Soco said that in one instance, he tasked Espiritu's platoon to save civilians who were caught in a crossfire when their camp was attacked by bandits on July 1, 2012. 

"He fought bravely with his men to suppress the attackers and collect the civilians who were caught in the middle of the firefight. They used their own bodies to shield the people and brought them to safety," he said. 

Soco was again with Espiritu when their unit dashed towards an encounter site where members of the 11th Scout Ranger Company were pinned down by an overwhelming number of bandits on July 26, 2012. 

Soco entrusted his men to Espiritu when he and 10 others were wounded while fighting against the attackers of 11th SRC.

"Our C.O., Cpt Babaran, was also slightly wounded during that time. Though he (Cpt Babaran) chose to remain with the troops, we both relied on Sprite to spearhead the evacuation of all casualties from the encounter site. He courageously performed his task and we were able to save our wounded men," he said.

Helping engaged Scout Ranger buddies became a routine for Espiritu during his stint in the 10th SRC. 

In 2011, he also reinforced Lt Michael Asistores' platoon in a fierce encounter against bandits somewhere in Al-Barka. Asistores was was wounded in that clash but the unit managed to seize several high-powered firearms. 

In October 2013, he also reinforced the troops of 11th SRC when it incurred casualties in a firefight with bandits in Tong Bato village in Ungkaya Pukan town. 

"We are proud of this tradition of 'walang iwanan' among the Rangers. We better end up dead than leaving our fallen brothers behind," he said. 

Two hours of hell

On November 14, 2014, he was part of the operating troops of the 1st Scout Ranger Battalion who were tasked to hunt down the elusive bandits in the boundary of Patikul and Talipao. 

Since the release of the German hostages about a month ago, the bandits simply disappeared in the hinterlands. Except for the brief skirmishes, the soldiers always came hours behind the bandits who successfully evaded the pursuers. 

When his unit was pulled out from its deployment area in Visayas, he knew that they would be facing new challenges. Though he had experienced fighting the Abu Sayyaf in Basilan, he was not familiar to the new terrain in Sulu. 

"I have experienced the Abu Sayyaf's battle technique of swarming small patrols. Since I am a newcomer in Sulu, I have to be very careful because the terrain is different," he said.


The troops of the 1st Scout Ranger Battalion led by Lt Col Eugenio Boquio, hopped from one island province to another during their deployment in the Visayas region. (1SRB photo)

Early morning that day, he led a patrol to conduct area reconnaissance near the foothills of Bud Bagsak and Bud Tunggul, the known lair of Radulan Sahiron. 

His team spotted human traces but he could not ascertain if these were the bandits that they were looking for. Just before noon, he rejoined the Command Group led by his Battalion Commander, Lt Col Eugene Boquio to report his findings and to take some rest. 

It was about 12:30 pm when his Bat Com directed him to conduct another reconnaissance near the vicinity of Bud Bunga which was only about 300 meters away from the patrol base. 

He decided to discard all combat packs to lighten their load. He directed his subordinate leaders to carry only the mission-essential equipment.

"I could not describe my feeling before we left. I felt like someone was watching us. I told my Platoon Sergeant, SSg Ray Grabato to take extra precaution and supervise closely all patrol members during our movement."

Before they left, they prayed the Psalm 91 as part of their S.O.P. before any patrolling mission. Feeling calm and focused, he stayed with the spearheading team led by Sgt Elmer Lazaga. 

His Scout Ranger Course classmate, Pfc Joey Blanche, was with him in the leading team. They were together for 6 months during their training and they were happy to be assigned in the same unit. Sometimes he would pat the back of Blanche, motivating the latter to move on. 

As a Platoon Leader, he is expected to lead from the front where he can best control the operating elements. He trusted his subordinates because the NCOs were all battle-hardened soldiers. 

When he looked behind him, he saw determined faces of Sgt Eddie Lumandap and Sgt Rexelito Octa. Both of them were well-experienced team leaders who had been to countless battles. 

"Along the way, we saw some indications of human presence. There were newly cut branches and signs of ground disturbance," he said. 

Sensing danger, he decided to call for a short halt to observe the surroundings. Everyone froze in their respective sectors as they tried to feel the enemy presence.

"We tried to smell distinct odors that are not natural in the forest. We also tried our best to distinguish animal sounds from human voices," he said. 

Then, they heard something different: faint human voices that traveled through air along with the chirping sounds of birds!


Scout Rangers inspect the hut where bandits were spotted by the recon elements led by 1st Lt Dante Espiritu at 1:20pm on November 14, 2014. (1SRB photo)

In front of him, Cpl Taluyan showed the familiar arm signal, telling them that he saw a hut. Without any command, the whole leading team proceeded to skirmishers line. He signaled the others to form the "L" formation.

"We crawled towards a bamboo tree to observe the surroundings. We were shocked to see armed bandits about 15 meters away. I promptly directed everyone to spread out and maximize our firepower to the front," he said. 

As the teams crawled towards their respective positions, he grabbed his Global Positioning System receiver, lensatic compass and tactical map. He recorded his grid location and grabbed the radio that was carried by Cpl Larroza. 

"I am at vicinity GC 911666, over. 10 armed enemy sighted in a hut, 15 meters south of my position."

Sensing the signal interruptions, he grabbed his cellphone to send a text message. 

"I was lucky that there were 'three bars' of cellphone signal. I encoded the message and sent it to my commander."

When I inspected our position, all of us were in skirmishers formation, guns aimed at our respective targets. We were already excited to fight but we need to satisfy all the priority information requirements (PIR) of my commander. 

He grabbed his notes to write down his observation log. 

"I wrote down the events to complete my SALUTE report while waiting for Lt Asistores. By that time, his team was already preparing to perform link-up operations with me."

He was jotting notes when Cpl Blanche told him that they were about to be compromised.

"When I peeped through our concealment, I saw a bandit heading towards our position. He looked like heeding the call of nature," he said. 

Several meters behind the bandit, they spotted at least 10-15 others. 

"Some of them were cooking food behind the bush. They looked relaxed and unaware that we have our sights on them. Some of them were lying on their hammocks."

As the bandit came nearer, he knew he couldn't wait for the other platoon to arrive. His heart was pounding heavily and he had to make a bold decision: To kill or be killed!

He pulled the trigger while at the same time, shouting on top of his lungs.

 "Fire!"

He saw the bandits fell one by one in front of him. Some of them desperately dragged their dead companions. They were shouting at the others who were also around the place.

"Kabang-kabang!"

In a matter of seconds, the enemy retaliated with all their might, sending bullets flying towards them. 

Observing the source of gunshots, he noticed that they were in the middle of the enemy's engagement area. 


Part of the large harboring area that was occupied by more or less 300 bandits who almost encircled the recon elements of the 1st Scout Ranger Battalion. (1SRB photo)

He counted four M60 General Purpose Machineguns 'singing' a familiar tune. Most of the bandits were only about 10 meters around them. 

"Hold the line! Hold the line!"

He crawled towards Sgt Grabato and yelled at him amidst the deafening explosions. He knew that his platoon was facing a numerically superior enemy.

"Control your men! Keep your head low! Fire only single shots!"

Minutes later, he saw Pfc Blanche bloodied with a chest wound. He was staring at him as if asking for help. 

Bullets kept hissing around him but he didn't think twice to crawl in front to save his wounded friend. 

He told Lazaga and Cajes to give him covering fire as he pulled  his SR course classmate to safer grounds.

"I couldn't allow myself watching a friend die in front of me. I asked for God's protection and rushed towards him."

He successfully carried Blanche to a covered position beside his other teammates. Using his basic first aid skills, he tried to revive him. 

"He was vomiting blood and he was gasping for breath. I did my best but he died within minutes," said Espiritu. 

Returning to his position, he saw that Pfc Rendon stopped firing his K3 Squad Automatic Weapon. His SAW gunner was grimacing in pain due to his injuries.

"He got bullet wounds in his left hand and begged to reposition behind a tree. He couldn't operate the LMG anymore so I assisted him towards the rear."

As the fighting dragged for more minutes, he saw his men hit one by one. M203 high-explosive rounds kept raining around their position, sending countless shrapnel around them. 

Some of his platoon members were hit. One of them was peppered with shrapnel all over his face.

Emboldened by their unfavorable situation, the enemy kept on advancing while shouting 'Allahu akbar!'. They shot them one by one but they kept on rushing forward.

"I directed my men to throw grenades at the enemies who were only about 5 meters around us. Some of them scampered away but one of them threw back one of the grenades, killing Cpl Taluyan instantly."

Listening to the radio traffic, he realized that the reinforcing platoon led by Lt Asistores was already heavily engaged about a hundred meters to his left. 

The gunfire from the enemy gradually waned but his platoon was still confronting about a hundred young fighters who kept on assaulting their position. 

After an hour of trying to repulse the enemy, he saw that most of his subordinates were already wounded including two of his Team Leaders, Sgt Lumandap and Sgt Lazaga. 

There were only two remaining able-bodied soldiers beside him, Pfc Cajes who was also wounded, and Cpl Larroza who was manning the radio while engaging the attackers at the same time. 

About 10 meters away, some of his subordinates took care of the wounded while the others continued fighting. 

"Save your ammo. Let us fight to the last drop of our blood!"

One of his teammates engaged the enemy in a 'psywar'. 

"1st Company, assault! Assault!"

Despite their situation, they smiled when the enemy reacted by delivering heavy volume of fires that they never responded to save on ammunitions. 

"We wanted them to exhaust their ammo supply. We just wanted to fire only at exposed targets," he said.

As agreed, they shot everything that moves behind the bushes around of them. They heard people screaming after being hit. 

Finally, he was able to give the directions of the enemy to his battalion commander who was manning the 81mm Mortar. 

"Sir, 800 mils, 50 meters!" 

When they heard the loud blast near the enemy position, they were motivated to fight. He was down to three 30-round magazines after more than hour of trading fires with the bandits.

"Adjust fire, over! Left 50, add 50!".

He dodged bullets while transferring from one position to another to check on his subordinates. He found out  that some of them were severely wounded while the others sustained multiple shrapnel wounds.

At about 4:00 pm, they heard the attack helicopters hovering above them. 

"The sight of the choppers boosted our morale. They were heaven sent to us."

He gave the enemy's grid locations to the choppers. It looked liked an angry dragon as it blasted the enemy positions with Cal. 50 machinegun rounds and rockets. 

Gradually, the enemies stopped their advance. He directed a team to provide suppressive fires while the others slowly occupied an advantageous ground. They executed the "break contact" SOP.

Returning the favor

Later, he was able to link up with the platoon of Lt Asistores. He was saddened upon learning that along with 16 others, his Company Commander was wounded. 

He directed able-bodied soldiers led by Lt Binias to provide covering fires as the injured soldiers from the group of Lt Asistores were carried to the casualty evacuation point. 

When they accounted their patrol members, he was told that three soldiers belonging to the group of Lt Asistores were unaccounted. 

He learned that three soldiers remained in their original fighting position to provide covering fires, so that the wounded buddies can be evacuated.

Espiritu said that he was also thankful for the soldiers led by Lt Asistores who came to reinforce them. 

"They sustained injuries while trying to avoid the complete annihilation of my platoon. I had to return the favor by fighting for those who launched the counterattack to save us," he said.

In his quick estimate, they were left behind about 50 meters away where the bandits tried to surround the platoon of Lt Asistores. 

"I immediately organized a team to rescue the three heroes who sacrificed themselves so that the others like Sgt Kitong will be saved. I couldn't afford to leave them behind!"

Firing their way towards the enemy's last positions, they were met with resistance but the enemies ran away after a few minutes. 

He found the lifeless bodies of his subordinates who opted to pay the ultimate sacrifice to save many of their fellow Rangers. They were all his dear buddies: Cpl Villaluna, Cpl Caro and Pfc Achas. 

He was teary-eyed but maintained his composure. His team was able to retrieve two guns owned by the dead soldiers.

"I did my very best to save not only my platoon members but all members of my beloved unit, the 1st Scout Ranger Company. I am saddened by their untimely deaths. We are all thankful for their sacrifices. We are alive and ready to fight again because of their heroism."

An hour later, he reunited with the Command Group only to see all 28 wounded company mates including his company commander, Lt. Asistores.

He assisted Lt. Col. Eugene Boquio in preparing the helicopter landing zone (HLZ) where all casualties will be picked up. 

At around 10:00 pm, all wounded men were safely picked up by the Philippine Air Force pilots who dared to fly at night to 'MEDEVAC' the injured soldiers. 

The brave flyboys also airlifted the human remains of 5 soldiers who died fighting heroically that day.

The Joint Task Group Sulu led by Col. Alan Arrojado accounted 10 bandits dead including 2 notorious leaders like Hairullah Asbang and Juli Ekit. At least 15 others were wounded. 

The Abu Sayyaf suffered big losses for the first time in at least 2 years of successfully evading the security forces.

For Lt Dante 'Sprite' Espiritu, the mission is not yet over. He will go back to lead from the front. 


The Scout Rangers recovered personal belongings and solar panels after the encounter in Bud Bunga, Talipao, Sulu on November 14, 2014.


AFP Chief of Staff, General Gregorio Catapang Jr. awards the Gold Cross Medal to Sgt Eddie Lumandap who fought alongside Lt Espiritu against more or less 300 Abu Sayyaf bandits in Talipao town, Sulu on November 14, 2014.


I posed for a souvenir photo with Lt Mike Asistores and Lt Dante 'Sprite' Espiritu during our visit in Zamboanga City. Lt Asistores got wounded for the third time in his career while serving in the field as a company grade officer.


 Sgt Castro 'Caster' Kitong, 38, was my former 'Kaldero 6' in the 10th Scout Ranger Company that I commanded from 2000-2002. Though wounded, he flashed a smile when I came to cheer him up last week. He received his 2nd Wounded Personnel Medal (WPM) from the CSAFP, General Gregorio Catapang Jr.

Sgt Delio Surio, a certified Scout Sniper, experienced one of the bloodiest battles in his life wherein the enemies were only a few meters around him. He engaged a bandit in a 'duel' at around 10 meters using his M16 Rifle. He hit the bandit in the chest but the latter managed to hit his forehead with an M203 Grenade launcher. He was lucky that the HE round did not explode upon impact but he almost passed out.


47 comments:

  1. My Salute and Respect. Mabuhay. God Bless.

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  2. omg... m203 sa noo? buti nalang hindi sumabog... sabog sana sya...

    MY SNAPPY SALUTE TO EVERYONE WHO RISK THEIR LIVES AT THE FRONTLINE... May God take care of you.

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  3. isa ka talagang alamat Sgt. Delio Surio! akalain mo M203 Grenade? haha My Snappy Salute to Everyone!!!

    Meron na bang device na pwede pang decoy? parang gusto ko mag imbento ng isang device pwede pang decoy pag halimbawa outnumbered ang isang sundalo. kung tingnan sa malayo parang mga tao o sundalo pero ito ay mga decoy lang...

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  4. just an opinion: hindi po ba delikado ang mga ganitong blogs coz we are exposing the faces, units, places of assignments, personal details, names and kulang na lang pati serial number ng mga "active" na tropa ntin? this can be utilized by sparrow units of bandits and terrorists thereby exposing our military men to further danger? i think information such as these should be classified and confidential coz they pertain to matters involving national security and should not be the subjects of blogs which is very much available and accessible in the worldwide web, hindi po ba kinoconsider ng armed forces ang confidentiality lalo na sa mga ganitong bagay? adopting the US navy seals mantra - "We do NOT advertise the nature of our work, NOR do we seek recognition for our actions", hindi po ba ganyan ang nature dapat ng military operations?

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    Replies
    1. I am a civilian and I am first to admit that I know little about military life and activities. But I think what this blog has successfully done is to humanize our soldier and open our eyes to their sacrifice and bravery. It also bring the soldier closer to the people that they served. If nobody tells their story how would we the civilians appreciate them and know their bravery? It is true that I was among those that jeers the military as a good for nothing organization especially when the "General" issue came about... but this blog gives me something to think about that there are still people out there that are willing to give their life for our country and people. I think the soldiers will appreciate that the civilian they serve are grateful to them instead of fearful.

      My two cents on the matter.

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    2. i think being grateful to the soldiers is already a "given" matter, especially that the press is already there to publish on print and broadcast wat transpires on field, but going into so many details such as dis is i think dangerous for our troops, they are being vulnerable not only on military operations but most specially wen they'll be on their private lives coz that will be the best times that sparrow units have the better advantage to attack them...lalo na mga rangers po mga yan, malaking score sa mga kalaban kung makapatay ng military officers na ranger pa,safety i think is far more important than being thanked....aanhin pa ang damo kung patay na ang kabayo di po ba?let the heavens thank their achievements, we can never bring a good man down, published or not....blogged or not...thanks po...

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    3. in addition po, informing the world wide web on matters like these is already beyond the constitutional mandate of the armed forces. it's true that this blog is written on a private capacity of the blogger and not as official announcements or statements of the AFP as a government agency but it should not be disregarded that it deals with matters or issues pertaining to national interest and security not to mention the fact that the blogger posses himself as an active military officer and a ranger in particular occupying a critical post in the ladder of the AFP plantilla. the only mandate of the AFP and i quote "The AFP is responsible for upholding the sovereignty, supporting the Constitution, and defending the territory of the Republic of the Philippines against all enemies foreign and domestic; advancing the national aims, interest and policies; and planning the organization, maintenance, development, and deployment of its regular and citizen armed force for National Security." None was mentioned of a duty that the AFP should educate or inform the citizens on military operations. keeping with the constitutional mandate is far more important or atleast the only important mission of the AFP. that mandate should always take precedence above anything else and should always be the consideration of any person in the military organization in all their actions. thanks again...

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    4. ano ang classifieds diyan? nagseshare lang naman ng experience sa battle field eh... wala naman sinasabing ek ek diyan... psywar nga ang nangyayari eh...

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    5. details about personal information on the soldiers, also their units and places of assignment..alam mo ba ang SOI ng sundalo?nakakita ka na ba nun? may nakatatak na CONFIDENTIAL sa papers na un, dat means the AFP recognizes such matters as confidential thus classified...

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    6. hindi pa ako nakakakita..

      siguro naman, mas may alam yung writer kesa sayo about sa SOI na sinasabi mo... wala naman akong nakikitang classified sa sinulat.

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    7. Gripping ka bok? Wala bang nakarecognize sa ginawa mo? Ang bitter mo ah!

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    8. reading the information supplied here is as if already reading the soldier's SOI...nabuburnout ang mga tropa sa mga nakasulat dito, if u want to expose them to the NPA's sparrow unit then go ahead, blog pa more....

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    9. sus.. matagal nang tisnatsalens ng army ang NPA..and still they're good sa traiduran na labanan and keep hiding in the forest... saka may isparu pa ba? lols

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    10. AY SUS, GINOO KO NIMO ANONYMOS! KAYA PALA AYAW MONG MAGPAKILALA KASI AYAW MONG MAILAHAD NA ISA KANG DAKILANG TANGA!

      SAAN SA SULAT NI RANGER CABUNGSKY ANG VIOLATION SA NATIONAL SECURITY? SAN DYAN ANG PAGLALAHAD SA NILALAMAN NG SOI NAMING MGA SUNDALO? SAAN HA? MERON BANG COMPLETE ADDRESS NG TROPA? MERONG SERIAL NUMBERS? MERONG SKETCH NG BAHAY? MEROOOOOON? ITO SAYO OH, SAPAAAK!

      ITO PA, IETO PA! SAAN DYAN ANG NAGSASABI NG PLANO NG MGA SUNDALO? ACTUAL LOCATIONS NG ASSEMBLY AREA, LINE OF DEPARTURE, RESUPPLY POINT, ACTUAL RELIEVING IN PLACE EVENTS?

      MATALINO KA MASYADO ANO? BAKIT MAS GUSTO MONG BASAHIN ANG HULA-HULA NA KWENTO NG MGA OUTSIDERS TUNGKOL SA SUNDALO? BAKIT GUSTO MO YONG GINAGAWANG GAGO ANG MILITARY TRADITIONS? BAKIT MO GUSTO YONG IMAHINASYON ANG BASEHAN? ITO ANG INAANTAY NAMIN GAGA, ANG TUNAY NA KWENTONG SUNDALO ANG TUNAY NA PAGSALARAWAN NG PAGHIHIRAP NAMING MGA SUNDALO.

      HOY NPA KA YATA EH PA CUTE KA LANG KUNWARI ME PAKIALAM KA SA AMING KAPAKANAN. STYLE NYO BULOK! MAY PA SOI KA PANG ALAM, TANGENGOT NAMAN ANG BANAT MO.

      GO RANGERS! SINISIRA NG MGA TANGANG EXPERT KUNO ANG KWENTO NG BAYANING SI LT SPRITE. BWEEEEEEEESSET.

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    11. In blogging, do not expect that all readers or commentators for that matter will agree on wat has been blogged. Some may agree, others may not. As long as comments are formulated in such a way dat it would licit educational information or suggestions, why not acknowledge – be it in conformity or in incongruity with the issue being undertaken. That’s how an intelligent or educated reader should think. Also, reading the other comments of those above who are likewise hiding under the cloak of anonymity, i hope and pray that they do not belong to the military profession. Coz if they do, they are a disgrace to the profession. Talking or commenting in an unprofessional and ungentleman manner. If that’s how our soldiers think and act in reality, then no wonder civilians no longer idolize them or at the very least, trust them. We should bring back professionalism in the armed forces kht man lng sa comments ntn sa mga social media. Let us not give the impression that we are barbaric and cannot accept constructive criticism. Galit kau ke general pero sa manner ng pananalita nyo wala din nmn kau pinagkaiba ke general. Daig nyo pa ang mga lasing na ma-oi kung makapag coment, ipakita nyo man lng na professional kau at may mga pinag aralan kht man lng sa mga comments nyo! DISGUSTING!

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    12. Public Indifference is the cause of casualty among soldiers. Ang kawalan ng pakilam at malasakit sa ating kasundaluhan ang dahilan kung bakit natin sila ipinadadala sa gera na walang sapat na kagamitan, Ito ang dahilan kung bakit pag sila ay nasusugatan limitado lang ang kagamitan at kakayanan ng ating military hospital para bigyan sila ng sapat na lunas. Ito rin ang dahilan why we do not give them the right compensation... Magkano ba ang hazard pay ng isang sundalo? nakakahiyang sabihin.

      Why is the pubic so indifferent? Tama ang comment ng isang anonymous dahil walang nakakaalam ano ba ang ginagawa ng sundalo para sa kanila. Stories of Heroism should not be kept in the closet and left to dust (and I am glad that this blog is giving due recognition to the soldiers), it should be told an retold to the point that people becomes aware, starts to care, and ultimately act. Para hindi sila maging manhid. Para magkaroon sila ng sense of ownership sa kanilang kasundaluhan Hopefully, the time will come, when we see a soldier we can proudly say that "yan ang sundalo ko! I will fight for his needs so that he can do his work well".

      This is a bias opinion of a Military Wife. Fulfilling her own calling of "SERVICE"!

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    13. in defense to the original post which i assume caused all these swirl in emotions, i think the original post does not suggest nor imply apathy nor indifference to the plight of our soldiers. Widen your horizon and realize dat the commentator simply is concerned about the safety of the identity of the soldiers, no mentioning here of being indifferent nor any showing at all of i-dont-care attitude. We all care for our soldiers, we just have different views on how to.

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  5. To each his own...

    For me being grateful to the soldiers is not a "Given" and I know many who feels the same way as I do. What stories in the media are there that depicts the heroism of the soldier? What you hear are statistics...May engkwentro sa ganitong lugar... Bilang ng mga namatay... pangalan ng namatay...What you hear are corruptions in the military...The Rabusa incident...The corruption in V. Luna, What you hear are stories of military excesses and abuses. Making the Military, a one powerful but corrupt organization.. bakit ako magiging grateful?

    Paano ko malalaman ang mga ginawa nyo para sa akin kung walang magsasabi? Reading stories of soldier heroism written by people who where there made me pause and think that there are still good men in the Military. Na hindi ako dapat matakot sa naka-unipormeng sundalo. Na pwede ko silang ngitian at hindi iwasan na parang may ketong. You now have one less man off the street na nakikibaka laban sa Militar...That is what gratitude does.

    Again, your opinion may not be mine...but I think what we wish is the best for our soldiers!

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    1. being in the military is a SERVICE, recognized or not, thanked or not dapat gawin pa din ang trabaho, dat is wat service means...

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    2. gusto lang ng mga ating military na ipahayag ang kanilang mga damdamin or ishare ang kanilang mga eksperyens... lahat ng kalaban nila pinoy din...

      baka dahil dito sa blog na to, maintindihan nila ang mga nangyayari sa bansa... isang daan din ito para mabigyan ng konting aral ang lahat, kakampi man or kalaban.. okthanksbye

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    3. Military profession is a service pero kahit saang profession ka naman nabibilang so long as you do you are doing your job well you are rendering "Service". Teachers, Doctors, Lawyers, Reporters, etc are all rendering service hindi sya exclusive sa isang profession. Having said that, In whatever profession you are in, it is a basic human need to be recognized for doing a good job (see Maslow Hierarchy of Needs) and this need to be recognize includes the Soldier. Even within the military, they have award system e.g. Gold Cross, DCS and the coveted Valor. So it is not a bad idea to tell the Filipinos about stories their heroism. Aside from hopefully getting the appreciation they deserve (which should be translated to tangible forms e.g. right equipment, sufficient pay, etc.), it will eventually change how the public view, see and perceive them.

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  6. Tengene nemen Anonymous nagpapapansin ka rin dito! May pa kapi paste style ka pa para magmukha kang expert kuno sa national security! Buang ka pala ay. Ang gusto mo ay kwnto ng mga hunghang na writer yong umiimbento na kesyo pinalusot ng Abu Sayap ng mga sundalo at alaga raw ni general ang mga terorista. Ang masarap mong basahin ay yong panay pinupugutang ulo na mga sundalo at yong guni-guning kwento ng gagong direktor ng movie na Captive akala mo alam nya lahat.

    Saan dyan ang breach sa national security? Asan dyan ang ikapahamak ng sundalo? Me pa stayl ka pang kunwari may pagmalasakit ka sa sundalo, nagpapapansin ka lang paingles ingles ka pa! Makigapang ka sa tropa doon sa Jolo hoy para maintindihan mo ang violation sa comsec at opsec! Drama mo!

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  7. Tama gumapang ka kasama ng tropa sa Jolo baka hindi pa napapahiran ng putik yang uniporme mo at sa range ka lang nakakarinig ng putok ng baril office boy!

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  8. Ladies and gentlemen, I wrote this piece to honor our modern-day heroes like Lt Espiritu and his company mates who fought bravely against the enemies of the state.

    To the Anonymous who commented, I have not disclosed any classified information that would endanger our soldiers.

    I understand that Mr (or Ms) Anonymous is just concerned about the welfare of our soldiers.

    Sa mga katropahan dyan, relax lang. Ipaliwanag nating mabuti ang ating kalagayan at wag idaan sa pagmumura o pang-aalipusta. Tungkulin nating ipaliwanag sa ating mga kababayan kung ano ang buhay sundalo at kung paano sila makasuporta sa atin.

    Harinaway hintuan nyo na ang alitan na iyan. Mabuhay ang sundalong Pilipino!

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    1. Sir, meron pa po bang karugtong itong heroic action story na ito? Baka puede nyo pong ituloy yung resulta ng pursuit operations kung meron pa po bang nahuling buhay na mga bandido at maiharap sa hustisya?

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    2. wala dahil palpak nmn ang operation na yan, it's wat they call "OPERATIONAL BLUNDER"

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    3. Palpak ! Blunder! di nga...o baka po may galit ka lang sa mga Rangers. O sige ipaliwanag mo nga kung ba't nasabi mo yan?

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    4. "Operational Blunder"? IYAN ANG PANINGIN MULA SA IYONG AIRCONDITIONED ROOM ANU? NAPUDPUD NA BA COMBAT BOOTS MO? DI MO NASUBUKAN ANU? KAYA GANDA NG ANALISA MO KAHIT DI KA NAMAN KASAMA SA AFTER ACTION REVIEW NAMIN. PUSTAHAN TAYO, KUNG IKAW ANDUN PUGOT ULO KA SIGURO PRE!

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    5. So now the Sayyaf know the military tactics

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  9. Filipino soldiers are simply the best. God bless you guys. My snappiest Salute goes to all of you Heroes.

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  10. do not blame the public on the lack of equipment nor hospital facilities to cure wounded soldiers. blame it on the people of the armed forces who control the funds. ayusin ang systema ng AFP and fore sure maaadress lahat yang grievances nyo. do not expect the public to fix the system for you if you yourselves cannot clean your own backyards! ang totoong walang concern e hindi ang public kundi yang mga asa loob mismo ng AFP. charity begins at home ika nga. hindi nmn public ang may hawak ng pondo ng AFP eh. if only corruption is eradicated inside the armed forces wala sana tau ngaun dto na nagbabangayan. CHECK THE SYSTEM AND YOU'LL GET WAT U WANT! funds were not utilized the way they should be, and whose to be blamed for that? is it the public? NO! it is the armed forces themselves! pano kc CO pa lang corrupt na, ano ba nmn kc maexpect pag ganon ang mga nagpapalakad sa AFP?! corruption ang ugat ng mga issues sa AFP like kawalang ng proper equipment, mga baril, bala, hazard pays, etc....if only concerned din sana ang mga asa taas na pwesto sa AFP sa mga problema ng mga asa baba then everybody happy, but the sad thing is, AFP is not concerned with its own people kaya wag mg expect na ang public ang mgpupuno sa pgkukulang mismo ng AFP, godbless the armed forces!mabuhay ang mga tunay na kawal ng pilipinas!

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    Replies
    1. Kapatid na Anonymous, payong kapatid ay mag usisa ka rin bago ka magkomento ha. Lektyuran kita ng konti tungkol sa Defense Budget. Hindi naman iyan nasa kontrol ng AFP. Uulitin ko ha, hindi kontrol. Sino ang gumagawa ng budget? Di ba't ang mambabatas! Ang modernization program ng AFP ay walang saysay kung hindi magpasa ng batas ang kongreso para magkaroon ng pondo. Ang pondo ay nasa Department of Budget and Management at wala sa budget officer ng AFP. Si Pnoy lamang ang Presidente na nakapaglaan ng malaking pondo para sa modernisasyon ng AFP simula noong 2010, at ito ay umabot ng 75Billion. Alam mo ba iyon? Mag-google din kapag may time ha. Hirap sa inyo satsat ng satsat pang-kanto-kanto lang ang alam nyo, naninisi na kayo agad sa organisasyon. Mag-aral din tayo ng mga isyu ng bayan kung may taym ha.

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    2. 1. What is government budgeting?
      Government budgeting is the critical exercise of allocating revenues and
      borrowed funds to attain the economic and socia l goals of the country. It also entails the management of government expenditures in such a way that will create the most economic impact from the production and delivery of goods and services while supporting a healthy fiscal position.
      2. Why is government budgeting important?
      Government budgeting is important because it enables the government to plan and manage its financial resources to support the implementation of various programs and projects that best promote the development of the country. Through the budget, the government can prioritize and put into action its plants, programs and policies within the constraints of its financial capability as dictated by economic conditions.
      3. What are the major processes involved in national government
      budgeting?
      Budgeting for the national government involves four (4) distinct processes or phases : budget preparation, budget authorization, budget execution and
      accountability. While distinctly separate, these processes overlap in the implementation during a budget year. Budget preparation for the next budget year proceeds while government agencies are executing the budget for the current year and at the same time engaged in budget accountability and review of the past year's budget. (continuation below)

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    3. 4. How is the annual national budget prepared?
      The preparation of the annual budget involves a series of steps that begins
      with the determination of the overall economic targets, expenditure levels,
      revenue projection and the financing plan by the Development Budget
      Coordinating Committee (DBCC). The DBCC is an inter-agency body composed of the DBM Secretary as Chairman and the Bangko Sentral Governor, the Secretary of the Department of Finance, the Director General of the National Economic and Development Authority and a representative of the Office of the President as members. The major activities involved in the preparation of the annual national budget include the following:
      a. Determination of overall economic targets, expenditure levels and budget framework by the DBCC;
      b. Issuance by the DBM of the Budget Call which defines the budget
      framework; sets economic and fiscal targets; prescribe the priority thrusts
      and budget levels; and spells out the guidelines and procedures, technical
      instructions and the timetable for budget preparation;
      c. Preparation by various government agencies of their detailed budget
      estimates ranking programs, projects and activities using the capital budgeting approach and submission of the same to DBM;
      d. Conduct a budget hearings were agencies are called to justify their
      proposed budgets before DBM technical panels;
      e. Submission of the proposed expenditure program of
      department/agencies/special for confirmation by department/agency
      heads.
      f. Presentation of the proposed budget levels of department/agencies/special purpose funds to the DBCC for approval.
      g. Review and approval of the proposed budget by the President and the
      Cabinet;
      h. Submission by the President of proposed budget to Congress.
      To meet the Constitutional requirement for the submission of the President's budget with 30 days from the opening of each regular session of Congress, the budget preparation phase is guided by a budget calendar.
      (continuation below)

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    4. 5. How does the budget become a law?
      In accordance with the requirements of the Constitution, the President submits his/her proposed annual budget in the form of Budget of Expenditure and Sources of Financing (BESF) supported by details of proposed expenditures in the form of a National Expenditure Program (NEP) and the President's Budget Message which summarizes the budget policy thrusts and priorities for the year. In Congress, the proposed budget goes first to the House of Representatives, which assigns the task of initial budget review to its Appropriation Committee. The Appropriation Committee together with the other House Sub-Committee conduct hearings on the budgets of departments/agencies and scrutinize their respective programs/projects. Consequently, the amended budget proposal is
      presented to the House body as the General Appropriations Bill.
      While budget hearings are on-going in the House of Representatives, the
      Senate Finance Committee, through its different subcommittees also starts to conduct its own review and scrutiny of the proposed budget and proposes amendments to the House Budget Bill to the Senate body for approval. To thresh out differences and arrive at a common version of the General Appropriations Bill, the House and the Senate creates a Bicameral Conference Committee that finalizes the General Appropriations Bill.
      (continuation below)

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    5. 6. What is the General Appropriations Act?
      The General Appropriations Act (GAA) is the legislative authorization that
      contains the new appropriations in terms of specific amounts for salaries,
      wages and other personnel benefits; maintenance and other operating
      expenses; and capital outlays authorized to be spent for the implementation of various programs/projects and activities of all departments, bureaus and offices of the government for a given year.
      7. How is the budget implemented?
      Budget implementation starts with the release of funds to the agencies. To
      accelerate the implementation of government programs and projects and ensure the judicious use of budgeted government funds, the government
      adopted the Simplified Fund Release System (SFRS) beginning 1995.
      In contrast to the previous system of releasing funds based on individual
      agency requests, the SFRS is a policy-driven system which standardized the release of funds across agencies which are similarly situated in line with specific policy initiatives of the government. Following the SFRS, the agency budget matrix (ABM) is prepared by the DBM in consultation with the agencies at the beginning of each budget year, upon approval of the annual General Appropriations Act. The ABM is a disaggregation of all the programmed appropriations for each agency into various expenditure categories. As such, the ABM serves as a blueprint which provides the basis for determining the timing, composition and magnitude of the release of the budget.Based on updated resources and economic development thrusts and consistent with the cash budget program, the Allotment Release Program (ARP) which prescribes the guidelines in the prioritization of fund releases is prepared. The ARP serves as basis for the issuance of either a General Allotment Release Order (GARO) or a Special Allotment Release Order (SARO), as the case maybe, to authorize agencies to incur obligations. Subsequently, the DBM releases the Notice of Cash Allocation (NCA) on a monthly or quarterly basis. The NCA specifies the maximum amount of withdrawal that an agency can make from a government bank for the period indicated. The Bureau of the Treasury (BTr), replenishes daily the government servicing banks with funds equivalent to the amount of negotiated checks presented to the government servicing banks by implementing agencies. The release of NCAs by the DBM is based on: 1) the financial requirements of agencies as indicated in their ABMs, cash plans and reports such as the Summary List of Checks Issued (SLCI); and 2) the cash budget program of government and updates on projected resources. Agencies utilize the released NCAs following the "Common Fund" concept. Under this concept of fund release, agencies are given a maximum flexibility in the use of their cash allocations provided that the authorized allotment for a specific purpose is not exceeded. Project implementation is thus made faster.
      8. Why are adjustments made on the budget program?
      (continuation below)

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    6. Adjustments are made on the budget even during implementation primarily
      because of the following:
      • Enactment of new laws - Within the fiscal year, new legislations with
      corresponding identified new revenue sources are passed which necessitate adjustments in the budget program.
      • Adjustments in macroeconomic parameters - The macroeconomic targets
      considered in the budget are periodically reviewed and updated to reflect
      the impact of recent developments in the projected performance of the
      national economy and on the set fiscal program for the year. The relevant
      indicators affecting the budget aggregates include the following: the Gross
      National Product (GNP), inflation rate, interest rate, foreign exchange rate,
      oil prices, and the level of imports. Thus, a sensitivity measure on the impact of these parameters on the budget will determine whether recent
      macroeconomic developments have a negative or favorable effect on the
      budget.
      • Change in resources availabilities - Budget adjustments are undertaken
      when additional resources becomes available such as new grants, proceeds from newly negotiated loans and grants. Corresponding budget
      adjustments are also made when resources generation falls below the
      targets.
      9. What mechanism ensure that funds have been properly allocated
      and spent?
      Cognizant of the fact that no propitious results can be obtained, even with
      maximum funding, if agency efficiency is low and funds are wastefully spent, systems and procedures are set in place to monitor and evaluate the performance and cost effectiveness of agencies. These activities are subsumed within the fourth and the last phase of the budget process-the budget accountability phase. At the agency level, budget accountability takes the form of management's review of actual performance or work accomplishment in relation to the work targets of the agency vis-à-vis the financial resources made available. Also, detailed examinations of each agency's book of accounts are undertaken by a resident representative of the Commission on Audit (COA) to ensure that all expenses have been disbursed in accordance with accounting regulations and the purpose(s) for which the funds have been authorized.
      (continuation below)

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    7. 10. Is the role of the DBM in the budgeting process limited to
      national government agencies?
      No, the role of the DBM in the budgeting process is not limited to national
      government agencies. It coordinates all three levels of government-national
      government department/agencies, government-owned and controlled
      corporations (GOCCs) and local government units (LGUs) - in the preparation, execution and control of expenditures of their corresponding components entities. The DBM reviews the corporate operating budgets of GOCCs and ensures the proper allocation of cash. The DBM likewise formulates and recommends the budget policy covering the allowable deficit and the criteria for the determination of the appropriate subsidy and equity of GOCCs.For LGUs, the DBM reviews the annual and supplemental budgets of provinces, and highly urbanized cities and manages the proper allocation and release of the Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA) of LGUs and their share in the utilization of national wealth.
      NOW READ CAREFULLY ITEMS # 6, 7 & 8. THAT IS WHERE CORRUPTION ENTERS. THE DBM ONLY PREPARES AND ALLOCATES THE BUDGET BUT THE IMPLEMENTING OF THE FUND STILL LIES ON THE HANDS OF THE AGENCY. IF THE BUDGET IS PROPERLY ALLOCATED AND WERE REALLY PLACED TO WHERE THEY SHOULD BE, THEN MANY ISSUES WILL BE RESOLVED!!!WAG KA NGA IPOKRITO/IPOKRITA!!!HINDI NMN BOBO ANG MGA TAO NA HINDI ALAM NA RAMPANT ANG CORRUPTION JAN SA AFP EH! NOW U GO AND EDUCATE URSELF... IKAW ANG MGBASA AT BAKA DI MO ALAM PANO NAGAGAMIT PONDO NG AFP AT KUNG PANO NAKAKAKICKBACK C GENERAL HEHEHEHE. ALLOCATION LNG ANG GINAGAWA NG DBM, AFP PA RIN ANG NAG IIMPLEMENT NG BUDGET GETS MO????

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    8. OR BAKA NAMAN KC MAY ALAM KANG IBANG PINAGKUKURAKUTAN NG AFP KAYA DEPENSA MO NA WALA CONTROL ANG AFP SA BUDGET? BAKA SA MGA BUSINESS DEALINGS NI MRS. SA SUPPLIES NG AFP HAHAHAHA

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  11. I salute all the soldiers engaged in this fight. I salute you also LT. DANTE ESPIRITU dapat kang tularan ng maraming sundalo sa buong mundo. Nagbibigay ka ng magandang ehemplo sa mga kapwa mong sundalo. Godbless you all.

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  12. I'am really proud for Our Filipino soldiers who fought in countless battles risking their own lives just to protect the citizens against lawless bandits. the blogger is right, every comment should be treated as a constructive criticism, we should not be carried away with our emotions. having seen the photos above it shows the lack of equipment for our soldiers. I hope thru modernization programs and this blog, persons in the higher ranks and government officials (congress and senate) will open their eyes for the real situation so they will approve enough funding and spend properly so that they will be provided with proper protection equipment and no one will be allowed to go on mission with out complete protection equipment. as civilians, we recognize the gallantry of the Filipino soldiers. Reforms of the Philippine Government is in our hands. VOTE WISELY not for MONEY!

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  13. Meron naman pala silang bulletproof vest at kevlar helmet pandagdag personal protection sana kaso optional lang palang isuot at binawasan din nila combat packs...so lamang na lamang ang mga bandido...nakakalungkot.

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  14. My husband is a Ranger who graduated in 2011 too a member of PMA Class 2009. He is at the moment somewhere where signal is difficult and raining most of the time...not in an Air conditioned room nor in the "city". I pray for his safety and his troops so they could continue as shields and guardians of our race. God bless all soldiers.

    -Proud Ranger Wife

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  15. please comment on this post sa facebook.."Looks like the operations against the ASG have fizzled out. The large gathering of more than 300 terrorists earlier reported by the AFP has managed to evade cordoning troops, breaking into dozens of small groups that are difficult to track and pursue.

    Till the next kidnapping and ransom payment folks.."

    https://www.facebook.com/philippinesdefense?fref=nf

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  16. I am proud of you soldiers, my prayer may always be with you, I am a native from Mindanao, I know hows the life and difficult situation we are facing..We are thankful for having those soldiers who are deployed in our place, without them we are nothing,..this is true heroism, they will suffer their lives for the sake of other..but,sad to say the gadgets and weapons of ABU are high tech. compare to our soldiers,some of the relatives or families of the ABU who are working in abroad, they are helping and sponsoring them by sending money to buy weapons, they are united when it comes to this matter... stop blaming our Government,because they are trying to do their best too, the problem in some of us we are keep on blaming and complaining, instead we unite each other to come up with a good solution...better the bandits in this way because they are more united than us...we sovereign Filipino we must unite and stop complaining, because complain and complain it doesn't make sense...

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  17. Sana yung mga haters na lang ang pumunta sa mindanao, mukha yatang mas kaya ng mga Chairborne Rangers na ito na kalabanin ang Abusayaf eh

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