Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Marine commandant named to head Westcom

From InterAksyon (Mar 26): Marine commandant named to head Westcom

Maj. Gen. Rustico Guerrero, who will become the new chief of the Western Command (photo from the Philippine Marine Corps website)

MANILA, Philippines -- Marine Corps commandant Major General Rustico Guerrero will take over the Western Command, which oversees the defense of the West Philippine Sea.

Guerrero will take over the Puerto Princesa City-based Westcom from Lieutenant General Juancho Sabban on April 1, Monday.

Before becoming Marine commandant, Guerrero, a member of the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) "Dimalupig" Class of 1981, commanded Joint Task Force Comet, the anti-terrorism unit based in Jolo, Sulu.

Guerrero earned his Masters of Military Study and Command and Staff College from the Marine Corps University in Quantico, Virginia.

Armed Forces of the Philippines spokesman Col. Arnulfo Burgos also announced other designation in the military:
  • Brigadier General Romeo Tanalgo, the current chief of the AFP Command Center, will be appointed as the new Marine commandant. Tanalgo is a member of the PMA "Matikas" Class of 1983
  • Colonel Oscar Lactao of PMA Class 1984 will replace Tanalgo. Lactao is currently the commander of the 303rd IB, 3th ID
  • Colonel John Aying will replace Lactao as 303rd IB commander
  • Brigadier General Cesar Dionisio Sedillo will be the chairman of the GRP-MILF Coordinating Committees on the Cessation of Hostilities
  • Brig. Gen. Ricardo Visaya will replace Sedillo as the new Assistant Division commander of the 6th ID
  • Col. Raul Farnacio will replace Visaya
  • Navy Captain Virgilio Garcia will be the new Naval Internal Auditor
  • Navy Captain Jorge Amba will be the Assistant Commandant and Dean of Academics, AFP Command and General Staff College
  • Brig. Gen. Glorioso Miranda is the new commander of the General Headquarters and Headquarters Service Command
  • Col. Marcial Constante Jr. is the new AFP Provost Marshall General

VIDEO | Salvors separate bow of USS Guardian

From InterAksyon (Mar 26): VIDEO | Salvors separate bow of USS Guardian

A salvage vessel dwarfs the USS Guardian as work continues to remove the minesweeper from Tubbataha Reef (photo by Elmer Badilla, InterAksyon.com)

PUERTO PRINCESA CITY, Philippines -- Salvage teams working to extricate the grounded USS Guardian from Tubbataha Reef have succeeded in cutting off the bow of the stricken mine sweeper, Task Force Tubbatah said Tuesday.

Commodore Enrico Efren Evangelista, commander of the Philippine Coast Guard Palawan District, said the bow of the ship is now being lifted and will be loaded onto either the SMIT Borneo or the S7000 Seabridge Barge.

On Tuesday, InterAksyon accompanied a flyby mission over Tubbataha by a Philippine Air Force N-22 Nomad.

[Video at http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=byGlK0GknZo]

Although the cutting away of the non-structural part of vessel’s hull is still underway, Evangelista said they consider the salvage operation “almost done,” attributing this to the “supportive” weather conditions.

Dahil summer na, medyo gumanda-ganda ang panahon kaya medyo napapabilis ‘yung operations sa area (Because it’s already summer, the weather has turned good and helped speed up operations in the area),” Evangelista said.

He said after the Guardian’s hull has been lifted, the salvors will conduct a cleanup of the debris and once the minesweeper has been totally removed, US and Philippine authorities will conduct a joint assessment to determine the extent of the damage to the UNESCO World Heritage Site.


Davao military troops deployed during Holy Week

From the Philippine News Agency (Mar 26): Davao military troops deployed during Holy Week

A sizeable number of elements of Task Force Davao and 10th Infantry Division have been here deployed since Sunday as part of the security measures implemented by law enforcement agencies here.

Lt. Col. Roberto Rivas, deputy commander of Task Force Davao, said that they are deploying personnel to 15 Catholic churches, two public terminals, and sea ports to safeguard the citizenry.

“We will be augmented by troops from the 10th ID to be detailed to the northern part and the 39th Infantry Battalion in the southern part,” Rivas said.

At the Davao City Overland Transport Terminal in Ecoland, they are strictly implementing the inspection of baggage especially those coming from Manila to see to it that all passengers are safe in their travel.

“The public should bear with us with this inconvenience because this is for our own good and for our safety,” Rivas said.

He said they will be complementing the Davao City Police Office which will also be deploying their uniformed and non-uniformed personnel.


Military doubly alert on Lent season to avoid repeat of bombing incident last year in Palawan

From the Philippine News Agency (Mar 26): Military doubly alert on Lent season to avoid repeat of bombing incident last year in Palawan

PUERTO PRINCESA CITY -- The military in Palawan has been placed on heightened alert for the Lent season to avoid the repeat of the bombing incident that had shocked the province a year ago.

Major Oliver Banaria, deputy spokesperson of the Western Command, said the military personnel of the unified command have been ordered to be extra vigilant especially because this year’s Lent season also coincided with the anniversary of the New People’s Army (NPA).

Last year, the City of Puerto Princesa and the province of Palawan were rocked with simultaneous blasts that occurred in one of the public terminals in the city and in the tourists-favorite destination town of El Nido.

Though those "bombing" incidents were linked to a former member of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF), the military wants to ensure that that kind of incident will not happen this year as the Palawenyos prepare for the long holiday break.

Banaria said they have already coordinated with their police counterparts to make sure that the peace and order in the province and the city will not be disrupted during these times. The military official also appealed to the public to be on the watch, too.

He said they are also prepared to augment security personnel in terminals, as these places are expected to be crowded with people trying to go home to their hometowns where they will spend the holy week, and other public venues if need be.(

GPH peace panel chair downplays speculations on Mindanao peace process

From the Philippine News Agency (Mar 26): GPH peace panel chair downplays speculations on Mindanao peace process

The chair of the government peace panel talking peace with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front on Tuesday dismissed speculations regarding the postponement of the scheduled 37th exploratory talks on Monday in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

"In fact, we will have our meeting with the members of the Transition Commission," Professor Miriam Coronel-Ferrer, chief government negotiator told DXMS Radyo Bida here via her mobile phone Tuesday.

She said there was nothing wrong with the rescheduling of the talks since both sides remained focused on the completion of the annexes of the Framework Agreement on Bangsamoro (FAB). The meeting with Transition Commission is scheduled next month.

"There is nothing to worry about, we are on tract and we remained focused,” Ferrer said, responding to reports that spread through text messages that the postponement, the first under President Aquino's term is sending a message that should worry the Bangsamoro.

Ferrer said while the formal talks did not push through as scheduled on Monday, an executive meeting between members of the two panels was held during which vital issues on the peace process was discussed.

The Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP), said both sides also discussed the composition of the third party monitoring team, and the Independent Commission on Policing (ICP), and the first ever formal meeting of TransCom members next month.

Also discussed during the executive meeting was the proposed terms of reference for the Task Force Sajahatra Bangsamoro.

President Aquino's peace adviser Teresita Deles said the GPH and MILF panels also agreed to meet in the second week of April 2013 for the 37th round of Formal Peace Talks.

President Benigno Aquino III earlier asked for the postponement of the supposed March 25-27 peace talks in Malaysia.

“The President has requested that the 37th round of formal exploratory talks that was originally scheduled to begin March 25, be reset to April. The President deems it necessary to have more time for review and consultations on the draft annexes,” OPPAP’s statement said.

Ferrer said she relayed the President's request for the re-scheduling of the talks to the MILF peace panel and Malaysian facilitator during Monday’s executive meeting in Malaysia.

Simultaneous with the supposed holding of the 37th exploratory talks was the conduct of a series of peace rallies by Mindanao peace advocates in Pikit, North Cotabato, Cotabato City and Marawi City.

Malaysia, a member of the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC), had been helping the peace process as third party facilitator since 2003.

Aside from hosting the formal talks, Malaysia also had been sending peace monitors and leads the International Monitoring Team (IMT).

According to Ferrer, the President is within his self-imposed projection that a peace deal is signed in March or April.

Mohaqher Iqbal, MILF chief negotiator and incoming chair of the Transition Commission, has said the 37th round of formal peace negotiations should have been the last and it will be followed by the signing of the accord.


Phil. Army's disaster response beefed up

From the Philippine News Agency (Mar 26): Phil. Army's disaster response beefed up

The 7th Infantry (Kaugnay) Division (7ID), Philippine Army has recently conducted a two-day Disaster Rescue and Relief Operations Squad Challenge in this military camp to enhance its capabilities in responding to calamities.

Fourteen teams from the field units of the 7ID participated in the two-day activities that include knot tying, bandaging, water rescue, basic life support, emergency rescue transfer and rubber boat handling.

Troops that participated were from the 702nd Infantry Brigade, 703rd Infantry Brigade, 3rd Infantry Battalion, 48th Infantry Battalion, 81st Infantry Battalion, 56th Infantry Battalion, 24th Infantry Battalion, 3rd Mechanized Infantry Battalion, 70th Infantry Battalion, 1st Regional Community Defense Group, 71st Division Reconnaissance Company, 72nd Division Reconnaissance Company, 73rd Reconnaissance Company and 7th Disaster Relief Unit.

Major General Gregorio Pio Catapang Jr. 7ID commander, said the event was organized to test the ability of the soldiers as a team while in the actual performance of their duties and at the same time, prepare them during natural calamities and disasters.

Catapang said the event also aims in promoting teamwork, discipline and alertness among the members of the participating teams.

“We are now facing a new kind of war that is 'climate change' and through this activity we could now assess how prepared our units are in facing disasters and calamities," he said.

He also said that the 7ID will continue to train soldiers on disaster rescue and relief operation to be more effective in delivering humanitarian assistance and disaster response to those who are in need.


Soldiers, cops lead 'Bikers for Peace' rally in Quezon

From the Philippine News Agency (Mar 26): Soldiers, cops lead 'Bikers for Peace' rally in Quezon

Quezon cops and soldiers from the Southern Luzon Command (Solcom) teamed up for the “bike run, motorcade and peace rally” organized by the multi-sectoral and civil society groups on Palm Sunday morning here.

Themed “Gusto Ko Po Kapayapaan, Itigil Na ang Karahasan” by lead organizer Bantay Bantay Foundation Incorporated (BBFI) headed by Dr. Ben Caralde, the “Bikers for Peace” run kicked off in front of the Sariaya town hall.

Quezon Police Provincial Office (QPPO) provincial director officer-in-charge Police Senior Supt. Dionardo Carlos and the SOLCOM chief Major General Caesar Ronnie Ordoyo enjoined their uniformed personnel to join the bikers for peace.

Police Chief Inspector Elmar Sillador, chief of Quezon’s Police Community Relations Branch and Sariaya police station chief Police Supt. Vilmor Manzano simultaneously cued the start of the bike run with 179 registered bikers.

Participation of bikers from other Quezon towns was facilitated by Lopez chief of police Supt. Arsenio Bantayan; Police Chief Inspector (PCI) Robert Enverga who heads the Quezon police provincial logistics and resource development branch (PLRDB) and Sariaya’s deputy police chief PCI Arvin De Asis also joined the bikers from different towns of Quezon province.

Reverend Father Rey Vera officiated the Palm Sunday mass followed by the floral offering and wreath-laying rites by various sectors at the “Bantayog ng Mga Biktima ng Karahasan.”

Aside from the non-government organizations, PNP officials offered wreaths led by Police Director Manuel Barcena, director for Integrated Police Operations (DIPO) of Eastern Mindanao (EM); Police Chief Supt. Leonardo Ingking, Deputy DIPO-EM and Police Senior Supt Nestor Quinsay Jr., deputy of the Police Community Relations Group (PCRG) and Police Supt. Renato Alba, Quezon Police deputy provincial director for administration (DPDA).

Brigadier General Rolando Jungco, Commander Civil Relation Group (CSG); Colonel Generoso Bolina, Solcom-U7 and Colonel Alex Capina, Brigade Commander 201ST brigade led the military brass for the wreath-laying.

Atty. Raymond Avin Mendoza, Human Rights Officer for Region 4A also attended the peace event.

In his remarks at the program, Dr. Ben Caralde urged everyone to work together to attain long term peace and discouraged persons from joining insurgent groups.

More than a thousand people attended the program as they listened to the testimonies of the victims of violence inflicted by the rebel groups.

Col. Generoso Bolina stressed the military’s focus on community development programs on health services, education and environmental protection and enjoined every citizen’s effort for peace.

Eastern Mindanao police operations director Manuel Barcena said “Magtulungan tayo (Let's help each other) and let’s talk” which calls for dialogue, peace talks and endeavor for lasting peace.

Lead organizers and officials later released dozens of white doves to symbolize a violence-free Quezon province.


Navy, civic group strengthen disaster response

From the Philippine News Agency (Mar 26): Navy, civic group strengthen disaster response

The Naval Forces Northern Luzon (NFNL) has signed a memorandum of agreement with the Disaster Emergencies Land Traffic Assistance Communicators Philippines Inc. (Deltacom) seeking to strengthen their disaster response operations in Northern Luzon.

Commodore Nodolfo V. Tejada, NFNL commander, said the agreement is a significant step towards the realization of Navy's aspiration to provide responsive, competent and excellent service to the people.

Under the agreement, the NFNL will provide ground mobility to lift personnel and cargo anywhere within its designated area of responsibility, make available appropriate training area to Deltacom members at no cost and provide personnel to participate in disaster response-related activities for civic action.

On the other hand, Deltacom vowed to offer radio communications assistance and feed information with dispatch to the NFNL.

The group will relay information coming from its members in the provinces of Ilocos, Pangasinan, Benguet, Nueva Ecija, Nueva Viscaya, Tarlac and Zambales.

Tejada said the partnership between NFNL and Deltacom could speed up disaster response operations in Northern Luzon.


DND chief: Sabah row getting harder to resolve

From the Philippine News Agency (Mar 26): DND chief: Sabah row getting harder to resolve

Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin Tuesday said the fighting in Sabah will prove difficult to resolve as it now has turned into a "low intensity" one between followers of Sulu Sultan Jamalul Kiram III and Malaysian security forces.

“(Looking for one man) is like looking for fish in water,” he added.

Malaysian authorities are using 12 battalions of soldiers -- around 7,200 troops in all -- to locate and arrest Datu Raja Muda Agbimuddin Kiram.

“(But the military condition is) low intensity conflict. It’s like when you have only water as support, it would be very, very difficult to locate the fish,” Gazmin said.

Since Feb. 9, Kiram and his followers have been ensconced in Sabah, a 150-minute boat ride from Sulu.

Their demand for recognition has triggered severe fighting early March which led to the death of 63 of his followers and displaced 3,879.

Gazmin said the DND has not received any report that the Raja Muda has left Sabah and is now in the Philippines.

Gazmin added: “Remember the Raja Muda has been there for quite some time and he’s been moving in and out of Malaysia so he knows the terrain, he has a lot of relatives.

"Once upon a time, he was an officer of a barangay so he knows the area.”

The DND chief added Philippine security authorities don't see Raja Muda bringing the violence to Mindanao.


Medical-Dental outreach marks Army Day in Mati, DavOr

From the Philippine Information Agency (Mar 25): Medical-Dental outreach marks Army Day in Mati, DavOr

Soldiers and volunteer doctors served 914 patients during a medical-dental reach-out activity in commemoration of the 116th Philippine Army founding anniversary in Sitio Sudlon, Barangay Central, Mati City, Davao Oriental, Friday, March 22.

Captain Reginaldo Celada, civil-military operations officer of the 701st Infantry Brigade said residents availed of services ranging from regular medical and dental consultations, circumcision, feeding program and bloodletting.

He said the activity was part of the Peace and Development Outreach Program of the Philippine Army and its continuing effort to bring the government closer to the people through the delivery of basic health services with the support of the Davao Oriental Provincial Health Office, doctors and dentists from the St Camellius Hospital, Municipal Health Office of San Isidro and the Philippine Red Cross.

“We we able to accommodate 563 patients for medical consultation, 90 patients for tooth extraction, 42 boys circumcised, 200 children for the feeding program and 19 civilian residents and soldiers donating blood,” Celada said.

Abdias Subingsubing, purok leader of Sudlon lauded the soldiers, doctors and volunteers for the delivery of basic medical services.

He also thanked the soldiers for maintaining peace and order in the barangay.

Colonel Paterno Morales, deputy brigade commander of the 701st Brigade cited the cooperation of the residents to the success of the peace and development program.

He also thanked the assistance of the provincial and municipal health offices in addressing the health needs of residents in the area.

“The success of the activity is a convergence effort of the different stakeholders in delivering basic services to the people of Davao Oriental,” Morales said.


AFP brands NPA harassment as act to gain public sympathy

From the Philippine Information Agency (Mar 26): AFP brands NPA harassment as act to gain public sympathy

The military believed that the latest harassment carried out allegedly by the communist rebels 5:30 am Monday, March 25 in Barangay Magangit, New Bataan, Compostela Valley was a desperate move to get the support of the residents back to the rebel movement.

Major Jacob Thaddeus Obligado, commanding officer of the 10th Civil-Military Operations Battalion said the rebels only wanted to show that they are still active in the area.

He said that instead of winning public sympathy, the rebels instill fear among the residents.

Obligado said the rebels also failed to attract the attention of the soldiers despite conducting a checkpoint and firing at their positions so they set off their improvised landmine.

He said soldiers have been ordered to defend their positions first before responding to enemy movement.

Obligado said that under these circumstances soldiers must maneuver on foot and not to use the four-wheel vehicle.

“Concerned citizens reported the presence of rebels blocking and laying an improvised landmine along the road. When the troops did not immediately react to the checkpoint, they fired upon Magangit Patrol Base to force the troops to go after them. When they failed to lure in the troops, they just detonated the improvised explosive instead of retrieving it,” he said.

Obligado said the rebels put the lives of residents to danger even with their presence, by luring the soldiers into a firefight and the laying and exploding of an improvised landmine on the road used by the people.

Lt. Colonel Michael Logico, commanding officer of the 66 Infantry Battalion said the rebels positioned themselves in front of a school, the most populated area in the barangay.

He said it was the call of the soldiers not to react immediately in order not to endanger the lives of the residents.

“The safety of the populace is the primary consideration by our troops in every operation,” Logico said.

He said that though the rebels did not hold hostage, they caused fear among the innocent civilians.

Residents reported that the rebels laid an improvised landmine along the road going to Maragusan.

They also said that the rebels held a bus and ordered all passengers to alight before burning the tires of the vehicle.


NPA shoots civilians in MisOr, 1 NPA dies in Bukidnon

From the Philippine Information Agency (Mar 25): NPA shoots civilians in MisOr, 1 NPA dies in Bukidnon

CAMP EVANGELISTA, Cagayan de Oro City -- The New People’s Army (NPA) shot a civilian at Sitio Sidlakan, Barangay Bangbang, Medina, Misamis Oriental at 8:45 a.m., March 24.
Said incident followed after the rebels harassed the Command Post of Army's Bravo Company, 58th Infantry “Dimalulupig” Battalion in the area.

The wounded civilian is a certain Virgilio Legazpi, of legal age, poultry owner, and fondly called “Tatay Beloy” by the residents. Tatay Beloy went out of his hut with his step-daughter heading towards their poultry house to attend to some farm chores when the armed rebels fired upon them hitting the victim in his stomach.

The troops responded to aid the two civilians in an aim to extricate them from the rebels volume of fire but the latter continuously fired upon to these unarmed and innocent civilians. After the continuous effort to repel the enemy fires, the encounter ended.

Tatay Beloy was given first aid by his daughter using medical items from the Combat Life Saver kit of the troops. He was then evacuated to Bagong Lipunan Hospital in Gingoog City for immediate medical treatment with the help of the Local Government Unit of Medina.

Tatay Beloy was out of danger as of this writing.

Meanwhile, another encounter ensued between the rebels and the troops from 5th Scout Ranger Company, 2nd Scout Ranger Battalion, Special Operations Command operationally controlled by 403rd Infantry “Peacemaker” Brigade at Barangay Dalwangan, Malaybalay City at 11:35 before noon last Sunday.

The exchange of fire lasted for 15 minutes. After which, the troops searched the encounter site and found one dead body of a rebel (name still unknown) and one M14 rifle. The rebels fled unconcerned of their dead comrade who was left in the place of incident.

The troops turned-over the body to the local officials of the Barangay Dalwangan, Malaybalay City for proper disposition.

Colonel Francisco Pabayo INF (GSC) PA, Commander of 403rd Infantry “Peacemaker” Brigade said, “We are saddened by the actions of these rebels of targeting unarmed civilians, they are becoming more desperate that they will consider almost killing civilians as retaliation to their failed attack against the military post. I challenge these rebels that, if they are really concerned to the people as they always claimed, spare them because these civilians cannot defend themselves on their own.”

Lieutenant Colonel Eugenio Julio C Osias IV, 4ID Spokesperson said “These rebels continue to loss the support of the people who already realized that these NPAs are mere criminals who take pride of launching atrocities unmindful of hurting civilians. I also felt sorry for the family of the rebel who died in the said encounter. This incident should not have happened if only these rebels heed the peaceful offer of the government for a meaningful reconciliation.”


91 new soldiers join army force

From the Philippine Information Agency (Mar 26): 91 new soldiers join army force

CAMP EVANGELISTA, Cagayan de Oro City -- Ninety-one male candidate soldiers successfully completed the prescribed requirements of the Candidate Soldier Course Class 302-12.

The graduation ceremony was held yesterday at the 4th Infantry “Diamond” Division Grandstand at 4:00 p.m.

Most of the members of the class came from several provinces in Region 10 and 13. They passed both the physical and academic aspect of the training.

They all hurdled the six-month basic soldiery training which transformed them to discipline soldiers. They were trained on tactics and enriched technically to satisfy the basic requirement for a soldier who can perform his task as a member of the army.

The 4th Division Training Unit (4DTU) headed by Lt. Col. Jose Emmanuel L. Mariano (INF) GSC PA administered the training of the new soldiers. They were taught on basic military knowledge and skills, jungle warfare, mountaineering operations, the core values of the army, rule of law, human rights and international humanitarian laws. 

Maj. Gen. Nestor A. Añonuevo, 4ID commander, congratulated the members of CSC CL-302-12 for successfully completing the course. He also congratulated and thanked the parents who painstakingly supported their sons from the application process until the day of their graduation.

He said the support of the family to a soldier will give them the strength to overcome all the challenges of this noble profession, the separation, the loneliness, the physical and mental demand.

“Make your family and country proud, treasure your service by making your every action contribute towards attaining peace for the people,” Añonuevo said.


Bantay Bayanihan launched in Basilan

From the Philippine Information Agency (Mar 25): Bantay Bayanihan launched in Basilan

ISABELA CITY, Basilan, Mar 25 (PIA) -- The civil society group in Basilan launched recently the Bantay Bayanihan (BB) to ensure the Internal Peace and Security Plan (IPSP) Bayanihan of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) is being implemented in accordance with its guidelines.

Miriam L. Suacito, executive director of Nagdilaab Foundation said, “The IPSP signifies the intent of the AFP to draw support and increase involvement of multi-stakeholders in all levels in addressing peace and security concerns.”

The IPSP is the security sector’s commitment to attaining quality and progressive life for the Filipino people as a partner in peace and development.

“In Basilan, the IPSP partners had been doing efforts toward realizing the intended goal, which is lasting peace and development through the collaborative efforts of civil society, government line agencies and security sector,” Suacito stressed.

The conveners of the oversight group in Basilan, decided to launch the BB last March 5 during the duration of the Pakaradjaan Festival, were the Nagdilaab Foundation Inc. and the Bapesda (Basilan Advocates for Peace, Environment, and Sustainable Development Association).

Ribi Daño, representative of the national secretariat said, "The BB is a civil-society-led oversight body that will monitor the implementation of IPSP. It is an initiative that aims to create an oversight body over the armed forces, including defense and security policies (strategic, tactical and operational levels).”

The BB is envisioned to be a dialogue space that brings together civil society organizations, the academe, civilian government units (whose services have direct bearing on conflict formation and peace building), and the AFP.

“There’s a national secretariat that serves as the working group on security sector reform, a research unit under the Department of Political Science of Ateneo de Manila University (AdMU),” Daño said.

She added the secretariat serves as the communication channel and liaison between and among chapters from Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao. Also, it serves as the agenda-setter during national meetings of the group.

“The nature of engagement is constructive, but critical in the sense that we are an oversight; we have a tool for monitoring the assessment of the implementation of the IPSP, but at the same time constructive because we know that we are part of the solution. We criticize but at the same time we give recommendation,” she explained.

She also revealed that an annual assessment will be held this coming June to present the results of the assessment matrix crafted by the Bantay Bayanihan to the civil society organizations.

The security sector reform research unit of AdMU is expected to publish its results and findings, have a book launch, and do some policy recommendations to legislators.

“Bantay Bayanihan is already an institutional partnership between the CSOs and the AFP,” Daño further said.

As to the impression about Basilan, she said “When one is not from Basilan, the impression is that the place is dangerous and that one should have to coordinate his movements with the authorities. But surprisingly it’s just like Batangas, just like I am having a vacation here,” she observed, noting further that the CSOs in Basilan are very passionate about fighting for peace and development in the province.

Regional convener, Dr. Grace Rebollos of Peace Advocates Zamboanga (PAZ) presented the concept of the Bantay Bayanihan. The security sectors—the AFP and the police—also presented their security strategies and programs in winning peace in the province.

104th Brigade Commander Col. Carlito Galvez said “the military is studying the dynamics of the different areas where it operates as basis for their strategic approach in addressing security concerns in the area.

He also observed that “the people of Basilan are already saying NO to war and are thirsting for development projects.”

He said that security concerns should be resolved in as peaceful way as possible with the support of the peace and order councils in the area.

Security Sector Reform means transforming the security sector/system, which includes all the actors, their roles, responsibilities and actions—working together to manage and operate the system in a manner that is more consistent with democratic norms and sound principles of good governance, and thus contributes to a well-functioning security framework.

The groups that form the security sector are: the armed forces, the police, Intelligence, Border Management Services, and the supporting institutions—oversight bodies such as Congress, justice and penal systems, non-statutory security forces and civil society groups.

A core objective of Security Sector Reform is to reform the security sector institutions so that they are transparent, respectful of the rule of law and human rights, and accountable to democratic civilian authority, such as the parliament and the justice system. Hence, it is an important component of peace-building, democratization, and development.


41st Infantry Battalion adjudged as 5ID's Best Battalion 2012

From the Philippine Information Agency (Mar 25): 41st Infantry Battalion adjudged as 5ID's Best Battalion 2012

LICUAN-BAAY, Abra -- The 41st Infantry (Partner for Peace) Battalion based in Sitio Baquero, in this town, is adjudged the 5th Infantry Division’s(5ID) Best Battalion for Calendar 2012 in the evaluation conducted by the 5th Infantry Division, Philippine Army, based in Upi Gamu, Isabela last March 4.

Lt.Col. Danilo R. Domingo, the Commanding Officer of 41st IB, received the plaque of recognition from Maj. Gen. Joel P. Ibanez, Commander of 5th ID, during the Monday flag raising ceremony at the division headquarters last week.

In his message, Ibanez exhorted Domingo to take another extra effort to meet the challenges to sustain the gains of the unit. The 41st IB covers 13 of the 27 municipalities of Abra, where the unit successfully accomplished triad operations with its strengthened personnel and logistics administration.

The implementation of the Internal Peace Security Plan (IPSP) of the Armed Forces of the Philippines dubbed as Bayanihan, had gained popular support to the 41st IB from the local chief executives, and stakeholders working together toward peace security and development.

The contribution of the officers and men of the 41st IB as individual troopers had contributed to the unit’s outstanding performance that they have been recognized since 2011.

In his acceptance message, Domingo said the recognition serves as a continuing inspiration for all his troopers to continue doing even better and be of service to the Abrenians, to God and their country.