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Defense Secretary thanks Japan govt for military aircraft donation

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana expressed gratitude to the Japanese government as the latter donated three more Beechcraft King Air TC-90 aircraft to the Philippine Navy (PN).

“We are very thankful for this first grant project of JMOD (Japan Ministry of Defense) following the amendment of Japan Government’s Self-Defense Force Act which allows the donation of excess defense and military equipment to partner countries such as ours,” he said.

Lorenzana said these aircraft could surely bolster the Philippine Navy’s capability to provide humanitarian assistance and conduct disaster relief operations.

“Also, with its patrol range that is double compared to those of the existing Philippine aircraft which only has a maximum range of 300 kilometers, the maritime air surveillance and intelligence surveillance reconnaissance capability of PN will also be enhanced,” he added.

The TC-90, which is part of the Beechcraft King Air aircraft family, was offered by Japan shortly after the Agreement Concerning the Transfer of Defense Equipment and Technology was finalized last Feb. 29, 2016.

“On behalf of the One Defense Team, we are truly grateful to the government of Japan for its tremendous assistance in helping us improve our ability to carry out maritime security operations,” the defense chief said.

P2M worth of Marijuana seized, burned in Benguet

Government authorities in Benguet have joined forces to seize and burn P2 million worth of marijuana from the province.

Anti-narcotics agents from the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) Cordillera, PDEA Region 1, local police, and the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) Cordillera led the burning of 8, 700 fully grown marijuana plants during a two-day eradication operation in Kibungan town, Benguet.

An estimated 2.4 kilos of marijuana stalks at Sitio Bana, Barangay Tacadang were also burned by the authorities.

PDEA-Cordillera Information Officer Joseph Frederick Calulut said the “Plan Bana” operation covered five plantation sites.

This campaign in Benguet was part of the national government’s plan to free the Philippines from illegal drugs.

Duterte calls for unity against crime and corruption

President Rodrigo Duterte asked the public to join his administration in combating illegal activities in the country.

“I call upon every local government official, civic leader and the general public to stand with us in forging a drug-, crime-, and corruption-free Philippines,” the President said in his speech on March 14.

“Together, let us fight for a better government and for a better Philippines that will last generations. This will be our most important legacy as public servants and as Filipinos,” he added.

Duterte led the destruction of 14 smuggled luxury cars in Cagayan, which, he said, proves that the government still needs to exert more effort in eradicating this rampant crime.

The smuggled cars, amounting to P27 million, were from Japan and Korea.

Among the luxury vehicles destroyed were a Maserati Quattro Porte, a Porsche 911 GT3, a BMW Alpina B12, a BMW Z1, an Opel Manta, a Renault R5, and eight units of Mercedes Benz.

Some 841 luxury vehicles are already being reviewed and finalized for public destruction.

“I reiterate that I will never tolerate smuggling and all forms of irregularities in our ports, especially in our Freeports. Illegal practices will be dealt with to ensure that every department, agency and instrumentality of government is free from corruption,” he said.

“We reaffirm our commitment to build a country free from the shackles of corruption. This condemnation of these smuggled vehicles demonstrates our firm stand to put an end to a longstanding societal disease that has eroded public trust and tainted the government’s sincerity to deliver equitable social services,” Duterte said.

“To this end, we will continue to persevere in bringing transformative change so we can build a foundation of our nation’s unceasing sustainable growth,” he added.