AFP eyes supplemental budget for Mindanao war


By Nikko Dizon
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 20:37:00 09/28/2008

MANILA — The Armed Forces has stressed the need to replenish the ammunition of soldiers in Central Mindanao in order to sustain its pursuit operations against commanders of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), who had led attacks on civilian communities.

“If we are to sustain our operations and increase our operational tempo, there is a need to replenish our expended ammunition,” Lieutenant Colonel Ernesto Torres, Jr. told reporters on Sunday.

Asked if there was a need for a supplemental budget for the military campaign, Torres said “it may be expected” but quickly added that he had no detailed information yet on the “request of the Armed Forces regarding this campaign.”

The defense department has proposed a P56.54 billion regular budget for 2009, more than half of which is for the Philippine Army whose troops are in the frontlines of the government’s campaigns against communist and Muslim insurgencies.

Torres said that in the last one-and-a-half months of operations in Central Mindanao, the military already expended a significant amount of ammunition.

The soldiers’ continued mobility needed to be ensured as well, Torres said, pointing out that the military recently lost a C-130 Hercules cargo plane in a devastating crash last August.

“We will proportionately increase our operational tempo so as not to allow the LMGs (lawless MILF groups) to hurt more people and destroy more properties,” Torres said, when asked if fighting could intensify with the end of the holy month of Ramadan in a few days.

In a separate statement, the Philippine Navy said on Sunday that its Landing Tank, BRP Benguet (LT507), left the Navy port in Cavite on Sunday to transport 220 tons of ammunition and 23 Army vehicles in support of the operations in Mindanao.

There were also relief goods for the soldiers under the 103rd, 104th and 403rd Brigades in Iligan City from the AFP Civil Relations Service office, said Capt. Leopoldo Alano, commander of the Naval Task Force 80, in the press statement.

The ship also brought truckloads of relief goods for typhoon victims in Visayas and evacuees displaced by the fighting in Mindanao.

The military is hunting down MILF commanders Ameril Ombra Kato, Abdullah Macapaar alias Bravo, and Aleem Sulaiman Pangalian who led their men in a rampage in North Cotabato, Lanao del Norte, and Saranggani province last August in protest of the scuttled signing of the agreement on ancestral domain between the government and the Moro rebel group.

The MILF rebels’ attacks left scores of civilians dead and displaced hundreds and thousands of residents in the impoverished Central Mindanao provinces.

==========

My Take:

Now what?

After commiting grave humn rights abuses and killing civilians with thier aerial bombings, they want us to shell out more money to sustain their wrong doings?

Just asking…

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