(Published in PDI dated 19 January 2010, page A14)
To: Isagani Yambot
Philippine Daily Inquirer
This has reference to an article written by one of your columnists Mr. Ramon Tulfo entitled “That’s How Callous GMA Has Become” wherein he cited that the Marine Corps is demoralized over the inaction by the AFP top brass on the Cal .50 Barrett Rifle found in the confiscated arsenal of the Ampatuans. He further cited that the said Barrett rifle belonged to a Marine sniper who was killed by the Abu Sayyaf in an ambush.
Please allow us to inform you and your readers of the prevailing situation in the Philippine Marine Corps relative to the news article. While it is true that the demise of our brother Marines in the past years has been very unfortunate, the morale of the rank and file of the Philippine Marine Corps remains high and strong. We are busy performing our mandated and designated missions. In particular, our units in the operational areas are running after the terrorists Abu Sayyaf, rogue members of MILF and other security threats in the provinces of Sulu, Basilan, Tawi-Tawi and Palawan under the helm of Major General Juancho Sabban, a competent and well-respected combat commander and current Commandant of the Marine Corps. Let me say that our troops in the field are well focused not only on the neutralization of the threat groups in their respective areas of operation, but also on the development of the socio-economic conditions of the civilian populace. Here at the headquarters, the Marines are actively focused in attending to the much needed support and services of all kinds for the troops. All these only prove that demoralization among our ranks is far from truth.
The Cal .50 Barrett Rifle that was found in the arsenal seized from the Ampatuans did not belong to any of our Marines. For the record, all the Barrett rifles issued to the Marine Corps are all accounted for and remain in the good hands of your Marine Corps. There was never a time that a Barrett Rifle was taken from any of your Marines, dead or alive.
In parting, let me just reiterate that your Marine Corps remains strong and spirited, and we shall always be so that we may continue fulfilling our commitment to protect our maritime nation and sovereign people.
We hope this merits your attention. Thank you very much
ALDEN GWYN T AMARGO
Director, Public Affairs Office