Thursday, November 23, 2017

Military foils NPA plan to sabotage ASEAN Summit

From the Philippine News Agency (Nov 23): Military foils NPA plan to sabotage ASEAN Summit

Military officials here revealed on Wednesday that they have foiled a plan by the terrorist New Peoples’ Army to sabotage the ASEAN Summit and Related Meetings.

Brigadier General Arnulfo Marcelo B. Burgos Jr, commander of the Army’s 202nd Infantry Brigade which supervises the operations. said an enemy encampment was discovered on Nov. 19 by troops from the 730th Combat Group of the Philippine Air Force (PAF) under Major Engelberto Nioda.

“The encampment is believed to have been occupied by NPA terrorists belonging to KLG Honda, the same NPA group which incurred heavy casualties during our focused military operations in Batangas City last September,” Burgos said.

On Monday (Nov. 20), government forces encountered the NPA terrorists in Barangay Utod in Nasugbu, Batangas around 8:18 a.m.

The military reported no casualty on the part of the government while the NPA is believed to have suffered undetermined number of casualties during their encounters.

Maj. Gen. Rhoderick M. Parayno, acting commander of the AFP’s Southern Luzon Command, disclosed that the NPAs which the government forces engaged have been on the run since September.

“Because of the PNP and soldiers’ sacrifices, commitment and dedication to their mission, the insurgents’ plans were disrupted and the terrorists were never given an elbow room to execute those plans,” he said.

Parayno added that pursuit operations have been launched against the NPAs.

“We have tapped and placed all military available assets, including aircraft, on red alert. The NPAs will face the full might of the government,” he warned.

He also vowed the military forces would protect the Filipino people from fear and atrocities which the NPA terrorists plan to sow while ensuring the safety of citizens in the area.

Capt. Melchor R. Durante, 2nd Infantry Division (2ID) public affairs office chief, also revealed that since the first week of October, joint AFP and PNP forces had been conducting security operations to ensure the country’s peaceful and successful hosting of the ASEAN Summit 2017.

The 2ID reported that intensified clearing operations were part of the security preparations for the high profile meetings among ASEAN and Dialogue Partners leaders held in Manila and neighboring provinces last week.

It also confirmed that government forces had been placed on high alert prior to ASEAN 2017 after recovering documents, including sketches, detailing terrorist plans to conduct tactical offensives in the region with the primary purpose of humiliating the Philippine government before the international community.

Antique guv: NPA-PNP encounter isolated incident

From the Philippine News Agency (Nov 23): Antique guv: NPA-PNP encounter isolated incident

Antique Governor Rhodora J. Cadiao has assured that the clash between the police and New People’s Army (NPA) rebels in Sitio Tumagad of Barangay Pis-anan in Sibalom town on Wednesday was an isolated incident.

The police force and the provincial government are “on top of the situation”, Cadiao stressed in her press statement released Thursday.

“We are giving all-out support to the police for the maintenance of peace and order,” she said.

The Wednesday encounter took place after policemen received a call that a Citizen Armed Force Geographical Unit (CAFGU) detachment in upper Barangay Bulalacao in Sibalom was strafed by NPA rebels earlier that day.

The Sibalom Municipal Police Station sent out a team to carry out preventive patrolling. But on their way to the CAFGU detachment, the team was hit by a landmine explosion in Barangay Pis-anan which damaged their patrol car and van.

A 15-minute firefight between the NPAs and the policemen ensued where three policemen were injured.

Cadiao said the provincial government is extending assistance to PO3 Gabby Orantes, who underwent surgery at the Angel Salazar Memorial Hospital in San Jose de Buenavista on Wednesday, due to a gunshot wound in the stomach.

Police Officers 3 Michael Alejo and Salvador Cordero suffered minor injuries and were treated at the Ramon Maza Sr. District Hospital in Sibalom.

It was uncertain if the NPA rebels suffered any casualty.

News of the encounter prompted Sibalom Mayor Joel Occena to immediately suspend classes on Wednesday.

Cops foil bombing try at Sultan Kudarat festival

From the Philippine News Agency (Nov 23): Cops foil bombing try at Sultan Kudarat festival

ISULAN, Sultan Kudarat—Civilians and police authorities prevented Wednesday night a bombing attempt, in what could have been a bloody culmination program of a local festival here.

Police Senior Supt. Raul Supiter, Sultan Kudarat police provincial director, said combined police and force multipliers consisting of civilian volunteers discovered the homemade bomb left on a roadside in Barangay Kalawag here, where people had been gathering for the week-long Kalimudan (Thanksgiving) Festival.
Supt. Supiter said police bomb experts were quickly deployed and disarmed the powerful improvised explosive device (IED) made of black powder, cut nails and metal sheets with torch as triggering device around 9:30 p.m.

He said it was placed by still unidentified men in the middle of parked vehicles near the main entrance of the provincial capitol grounds, the venue of culminating program.

Supiter said the IED could blow up a car and could send its metal shrapnel to as far as 500 meters away had it exploded. He lauded the alert civilians tasked by police to serve as eyes and ears against lawless elements out to disrupt the festival.

Following the attempt, more soldiers from the Army’s 33rd Infantry Battalion had been deployed as the celebration lasts until December.

Hopes high as advocates mark Mindanao Week of Peace

From the Philippine News Agency (Nov 23): Hopes high as advocates mark Mindanao Week of Peace

Peace advocates in Mindanao are not losing hope genuine peace is still attainable in the island and country as a whole.

A Roman Catholic bishop, who has been working for peace, will lead this year’s celebration of Mindanao Week of Peace that features various activities promoting peace and solidary among Mindanao’s tri-people constituents of Christians, Muslims and “Lumads” (natives).

The Mindanao Week of Peace starts on Nov. 29-Dec. 6 with this year’s theme: “Owning Mindanao’s History for Peace and Development.”

In a statement released here today, Kidapawan Diocesan Bishop Jose Colin Bagaforo, DCC, said two major activities would form part of programs prepared by peace advocates in various areas in Mindanao.

Bishop Bagaforo said he believes that genuine peace is still a big possibility in Mindanao amid rising violence and terrorism.

“We will not stop working for peace, nobody can stop peace advocates from doing their shares in our desire to have peace in our land,” he said in one of his recent homilies.

For the Diocese of Kidapawan, a Peace Summit to be held at the North Cotabato provincial capitol gymnasium will kick off the weeklong celebration. Expected to participate are multi-sectoral groups to include local government units, representatives from the military, police, Moro Islamic Liberation Front and other security sectors.

Another activity where various sectors were invited to actively participate is the Bike for Peace which Bishop Bagaforo, a bike enthusiast, will personally lead.

Bagaforo said thousands of bike enthusiasts from three areas of Kidapawan, Marbel and Cotabato, more known as KIDMACO, have expressed desire to participate and share their simple contribution for the attainment of peace in the island.

Terror group 'member' nabbed in Sarangani

From the Philippine News Agency (Nov 23): Terror group 'member' nabbed in Sarangani 

Police operatives arrested in an outskirt village in Maasim town Wednesday an alleged member of a terrorist cell operating in Sarangani Province.

Police Sr. Supt. Joseph Semillano, Sarangani police director, identified the suspect as Akbar Maguid Buyoc alias Abu Saipen, who was arrested in an operation at around 3:15 a.m. insidee his residence in Sitio Dampilan, Barangay Lumatil in Maasim.

Buyoc is tagged as directly involved in several bomb attacks in the area staged by terror group Ansar Al-Khilafah Philippines (AKP).

Operatives recovered during a search at the suspect's house a PRB 423 fragmentation grenade, Supt. Semillano said.

Semillano said Buyoc was arrested based on Arrest Order No. 2 issued last June 5 by Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, in line with the declared martial law in the entire Mindanao.

It directed law enforcement authorities to "arrest, take into custody and conduct/continue the investigation" of the 185 persons "for violation of Article 134 (Rebellion) of the Revised Penal Code" and any crime related to it.

The listed subjects were alleged members/supporters/spies/couriers of the Maute group, Abu Sayyaf Group, Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters and the Maguid Group (AKP). Number 83 in the list was named "Akbar Buyo," reportedly referring to the suspect.

Citing intelligence reports, Semillano said Buyoc was a close ally of alleged AKP founder Mohammad Jaafar Sabewang Maguid alias “Tokboy,” who was killed in an encounter with police operatives in January at a beach resort in Kiamba, Sarangani.

He said the suspect handled the purchase of bomb-making materials for the AKP as tasked by Maguid.

AKP, which has pledged support to the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, had been blamed over a string of terror attacks in Sarangani and neighboring areas these past years.

"We're continuously conducting intelligence monitoring for alleged regrouping activities of AKP remnants," Semillano said in a press conference.

TC-90 to help PH Fleet identify threats, says commander

From the Philippine News Agency (Nov 22): TC-90 to help PH Fleet identify threats, says commander

The newly-activated Japanese-donated Beechcraft King Air TC-90 will help the Philippine Fleet determine the exact capability needed to defeat a particular threat in the country's waters, a Navy official said.

"(The) TC-90 will have a big role in maritime air surveillance, which is a critical component of naval operations. It will provide a bigger and better perspective of the operating environment, which is crucial for decision making because it will determine the type of capability needed to address a certain threat," Philippine Fleet commander, Rear Adm. Gaudencio Collado, said Tuesday.

TC-90 with tail number 390, one of the two Japanese aircraft donated to the Philippines last March 27, was activated during short ceremonies at Naval Base Heracleo Alano, Sangley Point, Cavite City on Tuesday.

Its activation will boost the operations and maritime air surveillance capabilities of the Naval Air Group (NAG).

With the completion of this process, the plane is mission-ready and could be deployed to any area designated by the Navy headquarters.

Prior to its activation, the TC-90 was fitted with navigation and maritime air surveillance equipment, apart from other upgrades.

Philippine Fleet spokesperson, Lt. Sahirul Taib, earlier said no schedule has been set on the activation of the second TC-90.

The first airplane has also been used for familiarization and training of other NAG pilots.

The TC-90 has a range of more than 1,000 nautical miles and a cruising speed of 260 knots, and is capable of carrying eight passengers along with the pilot.

At present, the Navy is operating about six Norman Britten "Islander" patrol aircraft, four GAF "Nomad" airplanes, five Agusta Westland combat utility helicopters, and one Robinson R-22 training helicopter.

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 on Feb. 29, 2016.

Two TC-90s were delivered to Sangley Point, Cavite last March 27. Three more will be delivered in the first quarter of 2018.

DND: PRRD tired of rebels’ 'double-talk' on peace

From the Philippine News Agency (Nov 22): DND: PRRD tired of rebels’ 'double-talk' on peace

President Rodrigo Duterte has had enough of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People's Army-National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF) double-talk and continued atrocities against the Filipino people, a defense official said Wednesday.

"The President has had enough of the Communist movement’s penchant for double-talk and continued acts of atrocities against the Filipino people. In keeping with the President's guidance, the DND (Department of National Defense) and AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines) will continue to vigorously pursue operations against their armed components," DND public affairs office chief Arsenio Andolong said after Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Jesus Dureza announced the cancellation of planned meetings to revive peace talks with the CPP-NPA-NDF.

Dureza, in a statement, said that atrocities and other violent incidents committed by the rebels forced the Chief Executive to decide to cancel all planned meetings with the CPP-NPA-NDF.

"Recent tragic and violent incidents all over the country committed by the communist rebels left the President with no other choice but to arrive at this decision. We take guidance from the President’s recent announcements and declarations. This is an unfortunate development in our work for peace. Never before have we all reached this far in our negotiations with them," he added.

Peace talks between the Philippine government and the CPP-NPA-NDF were suspended last Feb. 4 following a series of atrocities conducted by rebel forces against unarmed security troops and civilians.