Around the Nation

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New AFP NolCom chief named

Major General Romeo Tolentino yesterday formally took over the leadership of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Northern Luzon Command (NolCom), replacing Lieutenant General Romeo Dominguez who retired from the service after turning 56 years old.

Defense Secretary Avelino Cruz Jr. presided the turnover ceremonies at the NolCom headquarters in Camp Aquino in Tarlac City yesterday morning.

Cruz admitted that the ongoing communist insurgency, Muslim rebellion and Abu Sayyaf terrorism in the south continue to threaten the national security. "Neither it can be denied that the resolution of these threats will foster a climate conducive to faster economic growth."

Cruz commended the AFP Nolco for its continued efforts in neutralizing New Peoples Army (NPA) guerrillas in the northern part of Luzon, saying that it remained unaffectedly by the political crisis now hounding the Arroyo government.

Cruz asked the Nolcom to assist the Defense department in effecting its Philippine Defense Reform Program (PDR) to enhance professionalism and discipline among the military personnel.

The PDR, he added will likewise facilitate the implementation of the much-delayed modernization program of the AFP.

"For the next six years, the AFP-Capability Upgrade Plan (AFP-CUP) will focus on acquiring basic individual and unit equipment that are needed in internal security operations," he pointed out. The AFP-CUP will enhance mobility, firepower, communications, force protection and combat life-support of AFP personnel and will cost the government some R30 billion to implement. (Aris R. Ilagan)

RP, US sign pact to detect nuclear material shipments

The United States and Philippine governments will sign on Tuesday, July 19, 4 p.m., an agreement to install special equipment at the Port of Manila to deter and detect illicit shipments of nuclear and other radioactive material. The signing will be held at the Conference Room of the Department of Science and Technology, General Santos Avenue, Bicutan, Taguig, Metro Manila.

US Embassy Charge d Affaires Joseph Mussomeli will sign the agreement on behalf of the US Department of Energys (DoE) National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) with Secretary Estrella Alabastro of the Philippines Department of Science and Technology. …