Archive for category Philippine Navy (Hukbong Dagat ng Pilipinas)

The Revised AFP Modernization Law of 2012, signed!

AFP LogoI CHECKED my Facebook account this morning, and my fellas in the AFP Modernization-oriented pages started to post this article from InterAksyon-TV5 News Website.  And I was stunned!

Here is the article:

MANILA, Philippines — (UPDATE – 2:29 p.m.) President Benigno Aquino III on Tuesday signed into law the revised Armed Forces of the Philippines Modernization Act extending the program for another 15 years.

Republic Act No. 10349 gives the AFP modernization program a budget of P75 million (billion) for the first five years.

Aquino said the new law will “boost the AFP’s capability upgrade program as it shifts from internal to external defense capability.”

It institutionalizes the defense system of management, which incorporates a collegial and collaborative planning and decision-making process by senior defense and military leaders.

The new law also allows additional funding from public-private partnerships entered into by the Department of Defense as well as multi-year contracts.

Aside from this, it exempts from the value added tax and customs duties the sale of weapons, equipment, and ammunition to the AFP.

The law exempts from public bidding major defense purchases such as aircraft, vessels, tanks, armored vehicles, communications equipment and high-powered firearms.

AFP spokesman Col. Arnulfo Burgos hailed the siging of the law, saying it would “significantly contribute” to the military’s development, particularly towards addressing both internal and external security threats.

“With this the AFP will be able to push for the acquisition of equipment … (and) will also provide greater opportunities and enough time for us to finally achieve a minimum credible defense posture
which will help us in better fulfilling our mandate to protect the people and the state,” Burgos said. (with a report from Abigail Kwok, InterAksyon.com)

AUTHOR’S ASSESSMENT:

It’s been a long wait.  The Department of National Defense has been silent about this and we thought that the AFP Modernization Program is once more, a dud.  I even considered closing this blog site due to the lack of updates coming from the Defense Department.  But cheers to the men and women of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, also to its supporters in Facebook, Twitter, Timawa.net, and other defense-related websites because the long wait is over!

As of this moment, the Revised AFP Modernization Law of 2012 has been enacted into law by the President of the Republic of the Philippines, Benigno S. Aquino III.  This is a joyful moment for the AFP, for the supporters like us, and to all the Filipino People.  We can now enter and sign the pending contracts entered by the DND, especially the big-tickets like:

  • the Meastrale-class Guided Missile Frigate from Italy
  • the re-arming of the Gregorio del Pilar-class Frigates (couple of months ago, an article from a trusted news source stated that a Philippine Navy-officer revealed a plan of arming the two Frigates acquired from the U.S. with Harpoon Anti-Ship Missiles, Sonars, Torpedoes and Torpedo Decoys, and lastly Modern Sensors like Air and Surface Search Radars.  It is not unusual for these two former Hamilton-class cutter to be equipped with the said armaments and sensors.  A sister ship of the current GDP-frigates were already armed with the said armaments and sensors and successfully tested all of it.)
  • the Lead-in Fighter Trainer/Surface Attack Aircraft which will be for the Air Force (it hasnt been fully decided yet if what kind of a warplane are we going to purchase, but we should see some good update about this since the AFP-M Bill is now officially a law),
  • the Anti-Submarine Helicopters for the Navy (which will be used along with the Maestrale-class Frigates),
  • the Light and also the Medium Transport Aircraft for the Air Force as well (it has been circulating that the preferred Medium Transport Aircraft of the DND and the President is the C-27J Spartan from Italy but there are also some news that states that the CN-235 is also being considered),
  • the Long Range Maritime Patrol Aircraft (the DND said that they are considering an MPA from our neighboring country Malaysia, but they didnt specified what it is yet.  But if you’ll look on Malaysia’s Armed Forces Inventory, the only ideal MPA that the DND would consider is the CN-235MPA which is a variant of the CN-235 that is also being considered for the Medium Transport Role)
  • the Close Air Support Aircraft for the Air Force (the DND stated before that they prefer the EMB-314 Super Tucano for this role, though no contract was signed yet due to the pending AFP Modernization Law)
  • the Armed Scout/Attack Helicopter (about a month ago, the DND decided to give a go ahead sign to the Eurocopter AS550 Fennec.  But due to long delays, while the DND is still deciding, Eurocopter already sold the in-stock AS550 Fennecs back to the Pakistanis)
  • the Multi-role Vessels for the Navy (last time I checked, the DND and PN preferred the Makaasar-class MPV, but I am not sure if its still the current preferrence of the Defense Department and the Navy)
  • Tanks, Howitzers and Modern APCs for the Army (I am not very updated regarding the modernization of the Army branch of the AFP, since all of this time, they always get the attention from the Media and the Govt since they are the ones facing the Communists and Extremists.  But dont get me wrong, I also want them to be modernized and be equipped with modern vehicles and weapons like a Main Battle Tank.  But I saw an article couple of months ago that the DND is looking into acquiring MBTs for the Army)
  • and Modern Small Firearms for both Army and the Marine Corps (it has been reported recently that the Marine Corps will get new Rifles as part of the modernization program)

I just hope that the government wont get stuck with the promised P75 Billion in the next five years.  They should also allot more budget for the 10 remaining years of the modernization law since the bill stated that the modernization program should last for 15 years.  Aside from that, they should also increase not only the modernization budget, but also the annual expenses of the AFP and DND.  We might have some money to purchase new military equipments, but if we will not allot some more money to maintain them, then all of these are just a waste of time and resources.

Lastly, I would also like to tell the supporters to be vigilant and to stay frosty with  these modernization program.  We may be under a good administration, so there is no problem regarding the leadership and the higher-ups for now (and I trust them).  But I dont trust the people who are working with or under them, since sometimes, they are also the main source of corruption and massive delays.

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Defense Department Eyes a Long-Range Maritime Surveillance Aircraft for the Armed Forces

AN UPDATE from the Philippine Star Website:

DND plans to purchase Indonesian spy plane

MANILA, Philippines – The government plans to procure a spy plane from Indonesia and a troop transport aircraft from Italy, the Department of National Defense (DND) said yesterday.

Peter Paul Galvez, DND spokesman, said the long-range maritime patrol and surveillance plane is manufactured in Indonesia under a joint venture agreement with Spain.

“On our shortlist is the Indonesian aircraft,” he said. “The long-range patrol aircraft would be devoted solely to conducting maritime surveillance.”

The DND is also scouting for a medium lift aircraft from other European countries at a lower cost, Galvez said.

Once President Aquino approves the acquisition, the spy plane would strengthen the country’s maritime domain awareness.

For a long time, the Armed Forces has been relying mainly on a small number of islander planes for maritime and territorial patrol.

The spy plane is the CASA/IPTN CN-235. The CN-235 surveillance aircraft can double as a military transport plane. Its largest user is Turkey with 61 aircraft.

The surveillance plane has a crew of two, a pilot and co-pilot, and can carry 44 passengers and a payload of 13,120 pounds with a cruising speed of 454 kilometers per hour and a range of 2,730 nautical miles.

(http://www.philstar.com/Article.aspx?articleId=847577&publicationSubCategoryId=63)

AUTHOR’S ASSESSMENT:

The Department of National Defense has been quiet these couple of weeks regarding the progress of the AFP Modernization.  The news about the Harpoons was mentioned by a Naval Officer who refuses to identify himself.  But since this news about the Maritime Patrol Aircraft came from the mouths of the DND officials themselves, then this could be a real thing.

It was announced before that we might be asking the U.S. to conduct Maritime Patrols using the P-3C Orions on the West Philippine Sea.  But that action could agitate China and it could also spark some issue with the militants here in the Philippines because they would likely say that it is a violation of our sovereignty.  So what our Government did was to acquire a Maritime Surveillance Aircraft instead of asking Uncle Sam to do the patrolling for us.  Buying our own MSA?  Why not, right?  It’s a win-win solution for both the Philippines and the United States.  The Philippines wont have any headaches about rally and demonstration of the communist militants, and the United States wont need to make diplomatic moves just to justify the patrolling to China.

I have done some research about the Indonesian Air Force, and I found out that there is only one aircraft in their Inventory that has a Maritime Surveillance Capability, the CN-235MPA.

The CN-235MPA Aircraft of the Indonesians is armed with Exocet Anti-Ship Missiles and Torpedoes for Submarines.  Since there have been some news that we will be getting Harpoons, my assessment will be that these aircraft (in case acquired) will be certified on carrying and firing Harpoons as well.  Having two kinds of Anti-Ship Missiles on our inventory is kinda expensive, so I think it will just be certified for Harpoon (Air-launched version).  It also have an option to put in countermeasure pods.  So just in case that a SAM was fired from a Foreign Naval Warship, the Aircraft can defend itself then retaliate.

This aircraft is a good choice for the Defense Department.  It’s relatively and obviously cheaper compared to the P3-C Orion of the United States.  It is also a STOL aircraft, which means it could take-off and land in a short runway like the one on Pagasa Island in Spratlys.

Cheers for the DND, and looking forward for more updates to come.  I just hope that the Senate will pass the AFP Modernization Bill right away and they will stop stalling the Bill since we need the funds that will be generated by that law for us to buy these equipment.

-the Author

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Naval Cutters Transformed into Patrol Frigates, Then Converted Again into a Guided Missile Frigate

UPDATE from the a local Philippine media website:

Philippine Navy to arm US-acquired ships

The Department of National Defense intends to arm its recently-acquired warship, the Navy’s Hamilton-class cutter BRP Gregorio del Pilar, with antiship missiles, a DND official said Sunday.

The official, who requested anonymity because he was not authorized to speak on the matter, said the Gregorio del Pilar’s weapons system would be upgraded with Harpoon antiship missiles—described as a modern, all-weather, over-the-horizon defense system.

The Gregorio del Pilar,a decommissioned US Coast Guard cutter, was acquired last August as the Navy’s flagship vessel. Although “combat ready,” the US stripped the warship of its most sensitive armaments.

The Navy is getting another Hamilton-class cutter from the US, the Coast Guard cutter “Dallas,” and this would also be fitted with missiles here, the source said.

“These upgrades will make our Hamilton-class cutters more capable vessels. It will definitely satisfy our minimum deterrent capability as far as naval defense is concern,” the official said.

AUTHOR’S ASSESSMENT of the NEW UPDATE:

AFP Modernization and/or Military enthusiast, lets rejoice!  This news is better than the TA-50 acquisition.  Maybe because it was not expected by the majority of the AFP fans.  It was not unknown to us that a former sister ship of our Gregorio del Pilar-class Patrol Frigate, the USCGC Mellon (WHEC-717) was testedUSCGC Mellon, test firing a Harpoon Anti-Ship Missile during the 90’s to be equipped and capable on firing the Harpoon Anti-Ship Missiles.  It was installed, tested, and successfully fired (see the left image).  Proving the capability and versatility of the Hamilton-class Cutters.

Based on the U.S. Coast Guard website, the USCGC Mellon was not only equipped with Harpoons, but it was also equipped with Anti-Submarine Capability like Sonars, Torpedo Decoys and Torpedoes themselves.  If the government is willing to spend huge amount of money for the full upgrade of the Goyo and Alcaraz up to a Mellon class of upgrade, they can be a formidable escort along with the future Maestrale-class Guided Missile Frigates.

Up until now, I am still in a state of shock.  Getting the Maestrale-class Frigates were kinda expected, but arming the Goyo-class was unthinkable.  Considering that the United States removed its sensors and even its Phalanx CIWS.  Now I know the reason why the Philippine Government bought the Maestrale-class Anti-Submarine Frigate, instead of the Lupo-class Anti-Surface Frigate.  It’s because they have plans for the Gregorio del Pilar-class to be equipped with Anti-Ship Missile capability, so they don’t need the Lupo-class anymore.  Because if the Gregorio del Pilar-class Patrol Frigate will be upgraded into a Guided Missile Frigate, then the PN will be needing a Submarine Deterrent which will be the Maestrale-class Frigate.  I guess the Goyo-class will not be called a “Gunboat” by the Chinese.

And don’t forget that the Government is also in the canvassing mode for Anti-Submarine Helicopters.  Putting these helo on the back of the said boats will bring an awesome punch back into our proud Navy.  I just hope that this will continue with the help of our Working Filipinos to improve our economy so that we will have more purchasing power to buy new and more capable vessels in the future.  An Aegis-equipped Destroyer perhaps?  We’ll we need to contribute more into our economy, so keep on working and pay our taxes.  Let’s make the most of our honest government whose being led by an honest administration.

“The military is not the Armed Forces of the Government, it is YOUR Armed Forces.  Support them, Trust them, and Love them.” -the Author

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Do We Filipinos Really Want a Full-Scale Armed Confrontation with China? Seriously?

WHILE LISTENING to the Opening Theme Song of Dragon Ball, Magic Knights Rayearth, and Flame of Recca that reminds me of my Elementary Days, I was reading the post in those Facebook Pages that is related to the Philippine Military.

I have noticed that many Filipinos who are expressing their thoughts in these pages wants to declare war and kick some Chinese asses, right now.  If I know them in person, I would say, “Hey, Hey, Hey, Stop!  Can we think and talk about this first?!  Because I don’t think that you are thinking the consequences of wanting to go to war.  Especially with the second most powerful military in the world.”

I would like to quote one of the militants during their rally in front of the People’s Republic of China Embassy (they did their rally during the weekends, which is for me, questionable.  Paano nila malalaman ang gusto ninyong sabihin kung wala sila sa opisina dahil wala silang pasok?!).

He said, “We Filipinos do not hate the Chinese people, we got Chinese people who are living here in our country, who has been helping us to grow economically.  Most of us has Chinese-Filipino friends or even relatives.  So we do not hate the Chinese people.  We just don’t like the things that are being done by the Chinese government, like bullying us for them to take Scarborough Shoal.”

I hate militants, but this guy sure has a point.  He is right, we should not hate the people and the country itself.  Admit it, we are benefiting from them as well.  They just helped us on upgrading on of our major dams here in our country.  But on the other hand, I hate the bullying tactics that their COMMUNIST GOVERNMENT are doing to us.  Their actions are purely and obviously Communists moves.  I hate them, I so hate them.  But if someone will ask me, would you like us to go to war against China?  I’d say NO.

Here some of the reasons why I WON’T say ‘Yes’ if we will go to War with China, right now:

-First, our Military Power right now (even though it’s being upgraded) still sucks.  You know what I mean.  Compare the 1-Million Strong Active Force of China to the 130,000 Strong Active Force of the Philippine Military.  So seriously, you want to go to war?

-Second, even the United States would not want to go to war with China.  Why?  Because they are a beneficiary of China’s economy as well, just like us.  They owe China, about trillions of dollars.  If a country declares war with someone, it’s debts to the opposing country will be disabled or to grow more instead if they will be defeated in war.  So if the United States would want a war with China, they will sure prepare for it first.  Because if they lose, it will be a major slap to their faces and aside from losing many fortunes from waging war, they will still need to pay China its debts, maybe higher than their actual debt since it will be a part of the Surrender Condition if they lose.  But I highly doubt that the United States will lose.   I know that they know, that they need to prepare since China’s military is still no joke.  China even has a larger active force than the United States, but the advantage of the U.S. will be it’s technology.  It will be a stalemate if they will not prepare.  So the U.S. cannot be easily dragged by us into a war against China.  There are so many things to consider.

Even the mighty U.S. needs to prepare, why we Filipinos want to wage war right away?

-Lastly, in case we go to war against the Chinese, remember one thing.  They are effing Communists.  Every town, city, province, region that they will conquer, I am sure that they will do bad and nasty things aside from shooting our soldiers down.  These includes all of the things (or maybe worse) that the Japanese did to us during the World War II like, killing babies, terrorizing villages, looting our reserves, and the worse thing that I could think of is they will rape our mother, sister, girl-friend, wife or even our very young daughter and they will make them their Comfort Women.  Do you really want that to happen again?  Let me repeat, they are Communists.  They are harsh and brutal people.  If they succeed on defeating us after waging a stupid and unprepared war against them, it will take so much toll on us more than we can imagine.

So again, do you really want to wage war against China?

BUT WHAT about if we will prepare, and think about it first?

Those things that I said earlier were the negative things that will happen if we will act like stupid people.  Let’s move on the positive things.  If we Filipinos will stand united, think the same way and think of the same thing, we will stand a chance against China.  Oh no.. China wont even have a chance against us.  We just need to prepare and not rush things.  Here, let me give you an example.

Here are some things that we could do to make sure that their Yellowish-Chinese ass would never bully us again and to win a war against them:

-First, invest in Diplomacy.  I know, I know, Diplomacy is irritating.  I know some of you will say, “Stop that Diplomacy bullshit and lets go to China and kill them all!”.  What I would do, is just to laugh at you.  Did you know how many lives were saved because of Diplomacy?  Let me give you another example (if you know the whole history of the Cold War-era, you would probably know about this).  During the Cold War-era, the Soviet Union placed Long-Range Missiles in Cuba that are pointed towards the United States.  When U.S. learned about this, DEFCON-2 was immediately issued (the highest level ever issued in the United States Military History until now) that prompted ALL NUCLEAR-ARMED BOMBERS to go airborne because World War III could be a reality anytime soon.  But because of what you called the irritating Diplomacy, the Soviet Union were convinced to remove all of the Long-Range Missiles in Cuba in a condition that the Perishing Missiles of the U.S. stationed in Europe and pointed to the Soviet Union, would be removed as well.  Thanks to the Diplomacy that you hated, our parents had never seen World War III.

-Second, we need to show the world that we are not beggars especially in-terms of Military Equipment.  Come on, guys.  Many of you hated the U.S. when they gave their F-16s to Indonesia instead to us.  Many have said, “The U.S. are getting so much out of us and now they just gave us a weaponless Hamilton-class cutter instead of Fighter Jets?”.  If you have an open mind and well informed about how the U.S. thinks, you wouldn’t say that.  First thing, does the U.S. really benefited from the Philippines compared to the perks that they are getting from other countries?  We even kicked their butts and their bases during the Cory Aquino-era just to appease and to make peace with the Communists!  We let these Communist a-holes to poison our minds, that’s why when I talk to a ordinary Filipino, he will tell me that he hates the United States because they oppress people, and I say “What?!”.  And whenever a single warship or a submarine of the U.S. makes a port call just to replenish, militants are already storming the U.S. Embassy acting like the U.S. invaded us.  But instead of getting rid of these Communist Militants, our countrymen even elected some in the Congress and now one of them wants to be in our Senate.  So you think that the United States will just give us what we need?  We need to prove to them that if they will give us weapons, we will not point these weapons against them in the future, just what happened to Iran right now.  What we need to do is to show our seriousness, lets just follow their instructions for the mean time.  Their first instruction, familiarize ourselves in handling modern military equipment.  They have given us the Hamilton-class cutters as a starter, so our Navy would know how to sail using a modern ship.  Then they have given permission to South Korea to bid to our LIFT needs.  You know that if U.S. doesn’t want you to be armed, we would not have any bidders at all except from Russia and the Chinese, right?  So we got TA-50s now where our pilots can train how to use Modern Warplanes.  Then they asked Italy to provide us with modern and armed semi-modern warships like the Maestrale-class Frigates for our Navy Sailors to learn how to fire modern weapons like SAMs and ASMs.  If we were able to prove to them that we are damn serious about arming ourselves, then the new and other modern equipments will follow.  But we also need to rely on our own.  We need to buy those weapons using our own money, not from Uncle Sam.  We could even continue the stalled projects of the Martial Law-era, like the Indigenous Missiles and Multiple-Launched Rocket Systems that we were trying to develop before.  We just need to support our government and not to join the militants on their rally and electing their proxies and putting them in a government seat.

(Hey, wanna know why Indonesia got F-16s from the U.S.?  As I have mentioned before on my previous posts about the TA-50, we have lost our dog-fighting and fast jet operation capability.  And once you lost it, its not that easy to get it back.  It’s just like trust.  So we need to go back to the Basics, we already have SF-260s.  So now we got pilots that can fly, then here is the TA-50 for your Fighter and Air Combat Maneuvering Training.  Indonesia, even a third world country, has retained their F-16A and Bs even they are too old and uneconomical to maintain.  This enables them to retain their skills on maintaining and flying Fast Jets.  But since we decommissioned our F-5s last 2005 without an immediate replacement, we lost that ability.  Did you know that we were the ones who trained some of the Air Forces here in Southeast Asia to fly Fast Jets?  That’s how it’s painful for our Air Force when we decommissioned our F-5s.)

-Lastly, we really need to look like we are being bullied by the Chinese government and we are helpless against China’s might.  The International Community needs to see that, so that we could get their sympathy and support.  If they see that Filipinos are acting like the aggressors and even teasing China, then we will not get their support.  Remember, even we were able to complete the whole modernization of our Military, we wont win.  Even the United States will not win, if they will fight China single-handed.  We need the support of the International Community.  And how would we get that support if the observers of other countries will see our posts in our Facebook Pages that we want to go to war against China?  We will look like ruthless and stupid people and we don’t want that to happen.  Let’s stay HUMBLE, ALWAYS PRAY, and be CALM when posting your opinion in a Facebook Page.  If China will never stop bullying us even though we were trying our best to be humble, we don’t need to wage war anymore.  The International Community will do that for us.  We don’t even need to deploy one single soldier into the battlefield, the International Community will do that for us.

So again, lets stay humble.  Okay?!

“The military is not the Armed Forces of the Government, it is YOUR Armed Forces.  Support them, Trust them, and Love them.” -the Author

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Philippine Navy To Buy 3 New Ships and Installs New Coast Watch Stations in Mindanao

NEW UPDATE from the Philippine Navy.

An official of the Naval Forces Eastern Mindanao Command (NFEMC) said the Philippine Navy is planning to procure three new ships to boost the country’s maritime and territorial defense.

Speaking in Wednesday’s Club 888 forum, Captain Robert Empedrad, deputy commander for fleet operations and commander naval task force seahawk of Naval Forces Eastern Mindanao, said two of three planned purchases are frigate warships that will be bought from Italy next year.

Empedrad said the warship, which is as big as BRP Gregorio del Pilar, is expected be delivered by April next year.

“It’s only now that we have fast-paced modernization,” he said.

The areas of operation for these ships will cover the entire Philippines, especially in some priority areas where there are maritime threats, including poaching of fishes, smuggling of illegal firearms and drugs, and piracy.

Empedrad said the NFEMC established six Coast Watch Stations in strategic locations in Matium, Maasim, Balut Island in Saranggani Province, Tinaca Point, and Jose Abad Santos in Davao del Sur, and Cape San Agustin in Davao Oriental.

These stations are equipped with high-tech equipment that can monitor any water vessel intruding Mindanao seas. In this way, NFEMC believes this will mitigate maritime crimes.

“If there are intruders entering Mindanao seas, the coast watch stations will report it to Coast Watch Center in Camp Panacan. Then, we will send our ships to the area to respond to it,” he said.”

Each coast watch station is worth about P100 million. -Antonio L. Colina IV (SunStar)

AUTHOR’S ASSESSMENT:

I was shocked when I first saw this article from SunStar.  Three Ships?  I thought there were only 2 ships that we will be getting next year?!  Well aside from the BRP Ramon Alcaraz, which is technically ALREADY acquired this year.  And it is just undergoing refurbishment in the U.S., that is why it is not here yet.  So no one should say that the third vessel will be the Alcaraz.

So three ships, huh!  I just hope that this is really going to happen and lets just wait for another update.  I also hope that the third ship will be a Lupo-class Frigate (right image) from Italy.  Since the 2 Maestrale-class Frigates (left image) that we will be getting first are more into Anti-Submarine Warfare, and the Lupo-class Frigate are more into Anti-Surface Warfare.  But these two classes of Italian Frigates are still technically Multi-Role Frigates (you can see the difference on the image provided. even the location of the Surface-to-Air Missiles are not the same), they just have some sort of a specialty to distinguish its role in the Italian Navy.

About the Coast Watch Stations.  They are reinforcing the surface monitoring in the southern part of the Philippines (locations of current stations can be seen in the image on the right side).  I think the reason is, because some months ago, a Chinese Missile-armed Frigate has ran-aground on an island/reef/shoal only a couple of miles near Palawan.  That is a face slap on the Navy because that Foreign Warship is not only in our Exclusive Economic Zone, they are actually so near in our doorsteps, that they can already kiss the door!  So this action of the Government is right.

I just hope that the Communist Militants will shut their mouths!  Because if this news circulated, I know that they got something negative to throw on the Military again!

“The military is not the Armed Forces of the Government, it is YOUR Armed Forces.  Support them, Trust them, and Love them.” -the Author

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