Thursday, August 31, 2017

Troops start final push to retake Marawi from terrorists

From the Philippine Daily Inquirer (Aug 31): Troops start final push to retake Marawi from terrorists

 Government troops cross Mapandi Bridge, which was earlier controlled by Islamic State-inspired militants in Marawi. Government forces have started their final push to retake the city. (Photo by JEOFFREY MAITEM / Philippine Daily Inquirer)

Updated: 12:16 a.m.-- The crisis in Marawi entered its 100th day on Wednesday with government troops moving in on the last stronghold of the Islamic State (IS)-inspired terrorists who seized the city in May for a final battle.

The military stepped up airstrikes and mortar attack on the 500-square-meter pocket of the city on Tuesday to soften resistance from the Maute and Abu Sayyaf gunmen holed up in buildings there and clear the way for the government troops’ final push, Brig. Gen. Rolando Joselito Bautista, commander of the 1st Infantry (Tabak) Division, said on Wednesday.

“One of the lessons we learned is that we really have to support the advance of troops by pouring all the firepower in,” he said.

Last 500 meters

The advancing troops on Wednesday were just 500 meters to the lakeside where the terrorists fled after losing the bridge in Mapandi village to the government.

Brig. Gen. Melquiades Ordiales, commander of the 1st Marine Brigade, toured reporters around Mapandi on Wednesday and showed them the bridge, but did not tell them when the span was taken from the terrorists.

The Mapandi bridge had been important to the terrorists, as their supply route ran through it, Ordiales said.

Without the bridge and with all other routes to their last stronghold cut, the terrorists were running low on food, water, medicine and ammunition.

Beyond the bridge were what had been houses and buildings, now just rubble, and in the few buildings that remained standing, the terrorists were making their last stand.

“[I]t took us about two months to reach this bridge. [I]t took us one week to take it [and] be able to cross [to] this street. And we had so many casualties. We had a hard time in this very small space. We had a hard time crossing this bridge because the enemies had positioned themselves well,” Ordiales said.

Nearly 800 dead

He said the government lost five Marines in the battle for the bridge.

Thirteen other soldiers were wounded in the battle, he added.

Since the fighting erupted on May 23, when the terrorists seized parts of the city to establish an enclave for IS in Southeast Asia, nearly 800 people have been killed, including 133 soldiers and police, 617 terrorists, and 45 civilians.

The military had covered the right side of the bridge with tarpaulin, not to conceal the devastation, Ordiales said, but to prevent the terrorists from seeing soldiers crossing the span.

“All our logistic supplies run through here,” he said. “It’s very important for us to get this bridge so that our supplies will reach the front line.”

Ordiales could not say how long the final battle would be.

“As far as we are concerned, we are only about 500 meters from the lakeside from this point,” he said.

It would not be easy for the troops, according to Capt. Jo-Ann Petinglay, spokesperson for Joint Task Force Marawi and the military’s Western Mindanao Command.

50 hostages

Petinglay said the situation was complicated by the presence of civilians among the

The terrorists were still holding about 50 civilians as hostages, she said.

Among the hostages is Fr. Teresito Suganob, vicar general of Marawi.

The government has to end the conflict soon, or the residents of Marawi who have been displaced by the fighting may become more restive, according to the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), the largest Moro insurgent group in Mindanao that has signed a peace agreement with the state.

“Failure to do so by [the] government will perpetuate the conflict in Mindanao,” the MILF said on its website,, on Wednesday.

‘No popular support’

“Clearly, the Maute group does not enjoy popular support for now. But the civilians are caught between two evils, the Maute group’s terrorism and the massive destruction caused by artillery bombardment and aerial bombing. Add the heightening perception of the people that the government is going to drive them away, because the city is sitting on mostly military reservation,” it added.

“Add also the perceived lukewarm attitude of the government and the [House of Representatives] in fast-tracking the passage of the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law,” it said.

The military, however, called on the people “of all walks and whatever faith to continue to manifest their support for our troops and unceasingly pray for an early resolution to this conflict.”

“Our troops are doing their best and working overtime to end hostilities with the hope of rescuing the remaining hostages and expediting the road to normality of the City of Marawi,” Brig. Gen. Restituto Padilla Jr., spokesperson for the military, said in a statement.

Lakbayan to expose Duterte’s anti-people policies

Posted to the often pro-CPP online publication the Davao Today (Aug 31): Lakbayan to expose Duterte’s anti-people policies

‘WE ARE HERE’. Jerome Succor Aba, Suara National Chairperson and Lakbayan Co-Chairperson, says the abuses against national minorities inspired them to expose the anti-people polices of the Duterte administration. Aba delivers a speech at the Bonifacio Shrine in Manila on Thursday, Aug. 31.(Alex D. Lopez/
Thousands of “Lakbayan” delegates from various parts of the Philippines have now hit the streets of the Philippine capital of Manila after days of journey. Some came from Mindanao and Visayas, while others from the edge of Luzon.
There are at least 2,500 of them engaging in a month-long activity that would bring right to the doorsteps of the national government the various issues and concerns that affect the lives the indigenous peoples in the country.

Also called Lakbayan of National Minorities for Self Determination, Justice and Peace, the event is a vehicle of the Lumad and Moro people to expose and oppose the continuing implementation of anti-people programs and policies of the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte, especially on its adherence to the “dictates of the imperialist US government.”
“Just as thousands under Duterte’s ‘war on drugs’ are being killed, national minorities also face brutal killings and other forms of violence that are escalating by the day,” the group Sandugo said in a statement on Thursday, August 31.

Sandugo, or the Kilusan ng Moro at Katutubong Mamamayan para sa Sariling Pagpapasya is an alliance organization of Lumad and Moro people in the country.

SUPPORT GROUPS. Support from various sectors in the country is overwhelming as the delegates to this year’s Lakbayan of National Minorities arrived in Manila on Thursday, Aug. 31. to bring their issues and concerns right at the doorsteps of the powers in the country. (Alex D. Lopez/

The group also hit Duterte whom they dubbed as a “fascist thug,” They claim that he conspired with the US in declaring martial law in Mindanao and its continuing all-out war policy that destroys Lumad and Moro communities.
“The US-Duterte regime deserves the condemnation of the national minorities for its mounting crimes against us and the entire Filipino people,” the group said.

Sandugo also asserted that the Lumad and Moro people will not be cowed by the unrelenting attacks on their schools and communities.

“Our Lakbayan unites us with our fellow Filipinos to oppose the attacks not just in our communities but in all poor communities, as we are linked by the bloody trail of extrajudicial killings and other forms of state violence,” Sandugo said.

The group Bagong Alyansang Makabayan also issued a statement on Thursday as it led the various sectors in Metro Manila in welcoming the delegates to this year’s Lakbayan.

‘END FASCIST RULE’. Moro and Lumad women join hands in the call to end martial law and other forms of militarism that the President Rodrigo Duterte uses to address the armed conflict and other problems in the country. (Alex D. Lopez/

“The arrival of the Lakbayan comes at a time of emerging tyranny and increasing abuse of power by the Duterte regime. There is no stop to the fascist attacks against the people in the course of the war on drugs, the all-out war, and martial law, as well as the measures that seek to centralize power in the hands of the executive,” Bayan said.

It also hit Duterte for abandoning the peace talks and for choosing as an option militarist solution to the armed conflicts and other problems in the country.

Lakbayan will stay here until September 21 to allow delegates to share and discuss with the other sectors in Metro Manila through forums and other settings the plight of the Lumad and Moro people.

Protests against the anti-people polices of the US-Duterte regime will also be staged in the duration of this year’s Lakbayan.

WATCH | Bishop: It’s possible Fr. Suganob has converted to Islam under duress

From News 5/InterAksyon (Sep 1): WATCH | Bishop: It’s possible Fr. Suganob has converted to Islam under duress

Marawi fighting Chito Suganob

Marawi fighting. Inset shows file photograph of Fr. Chito Suganob, who many quarters believe may have been converted to the Islam faith by duress.

Marawi fighting. Inset shows file photograph of Fr. Chito Suganob, who many quarters believe may have been converted to the Islam faith by duress.

Even as signs indicate the fighting in Marawi is tantalizingly approaching it end, the military, through Brig. Gen. Rolando Bautista, Commander of Joint Task Force Marawi, believes Fr. Suganob “based on information coming from outside, is still alive.”

This development has led many quarters to observe that, for a captive Catholic priest to remain alive this long at the hands of radical Islamist elements, that man of the cloth must have converted to Islam – though not necessarily in a voluntary manner.

The radical Islamists are known to be ruthless in putting to death the kaafirs, or non-Muslims – infidels. Often, this would have meant a beheading.

Bishop Edwin de la Peña, who is a close friend and colleague, said of Fr. Chito: “the conversion under duress, if he indeed has converted, does not serve anything. No one is forced to embrace a religion against his will.”

De la Peña also said the conversion would be understandable, under the circumstances, and is quite possible, “as a way to survive.”

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Airbus Helicopters offers H145M military chopper to PH military

From Update Philippines (Aug 31): Airbus Helicopters offers H145M military chopper to PH military

Officials of Airbus Helicopters Philippines Inc. said that talks are currently ongoing for the possible supply of H145M helicopter to the Armed Forces of the Philippines.

“There are ongoing talks between Airbus and the Philippine military for the purchase of helicopters,” managing director Lionel de Maupeou told reporters on August 30, as quoted by GMA NEWS Online.

“We have been doing some general presentations. Last October, we did a presentation of some of our helicopters and they’re very interested [in some units],” Poesy said. “Nothing is signed up for now, but we have some hope.”

Airbus officials said they may push for H145M for use of Philippine Air Force, Navy, and Coast Guard requirements.

According to Airbus Helicopters H145M is equipped with a modern digital glass cockpit, night vision goggle compatability, and Airbus Helicopters’ advanced Helionix® avionics suite with a 4-axis digital autopilot.

“For armed operations, the rotorcraft carries a mission computer, two rigid multi-purpose armament pylons that are easily removable, an infrared/TV electro-optical system, and a laser range-finder/designator/pointer. With its open system architecture, this innovative weapon system contributes to full situational awareness for the crew,” it added.

NPA purging ranks, NORPPO head says

From the Visayan Daily Star (Aug 31): NPA purging ranks, NORPPO head says

Negros Oriental Provincial Police Office director, Senior Supt. Henry Biñas, said he believes there is purging of ranks in the rebel movement, particularly in the northern part of the province.

He said that as a result, uncooperative members, and those suspected of being penetration agents, are being liquidated due to what he believes as internal conflict going on with in the New People's Army.

This developed as charges are being finalized for filing against the shooters and masterminds in the ambush-killing of six police officers of Guihulngan City in July, he said.

Biñas said evidences are being reviewed, including the identity of one of the leaders, who graduated cum laude from a university in Iloilo.

Biñas is, however, saddened by reports that some witnesses are becoming uncooperative due to threats, while others received monetary offers to shut up. He refused to elaborate.

But he admitted Tuesday that police personnel in Guihulngan are directed to be extra cautious in responding to calls for assistance, especially in the hinterland barangays.

Biñas admitted that Guihulngan police cannot move alone without the help of the Philippine Army or the PNP's Special Action Force, who are better trained on the internal security operations, considering the treacherous manner that the NPA employs to target the police and other law enforcement operatives.

While it is not immediately easy to presume whether the motive for any killing is related to the drugs war or the terrorist movement, Biñas disclosed that he has directed the police chief of Guihulngan to coordinate with the Army or the SAF before responding to crime incidents, especially in the mountainous areas.

He admitted that shooting incidents in the mountainous areas of Guihulngan have gone up, although he didn't have available data yet.

He said the police are cautious when responding to calls, especially in the mountains, as anything can happen, such as the NPA terrorists using other people as “baits” by killing them so policemen will respond and in the process, the lawless elements can carry out attacks against them.

Militias bar social workers from Davao del Norte town

From Rappler (Aug 31): Militias bar social workers from Davao del Norte town

Amadeuz Celestial, 60th Infantry Battalion mediator, says the tribal leaders did not approve people from the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) conducting the agency’s one-stop service

A 17-member team of government social workers were barred from entering a village in Kapalong on Thursday, August 31, amid fears they were accompanied by organizations already declared “persona non grata” by the community.

Amadeuz Celestial, 60th Infantry Battalion mediator, said the tribal leaders did not approve people from the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) conducting the agency’s one-stop service.

The delegation was supposed to facilitate several anti-poverty programs in Sitio Patil, Barangay Gupitan in Kapalong, a municipality in Davao del Norte about 85 kilometers from Davao City.

“The response of the datus was not quite positive, as we understand they had previous experience when DSWD came with NGOs like PASAKA, Sildap, RNP” Celestial said in a phone interview on Thursday.

Celestial was referring to organizations previously declared persona non grata by a council of Lumad elders in Talaingod. One of them, PASAKA, was tagged an “enemy of the state” for its alleged links with the Communist Party of the Philippines.

Cancelled too were the distribution of 2,500 family food packs under a feeding program, said Celestial.

Meanwhile, Ronald Papag, DSWD’s focal person for the program, pointed out that it was the “Bagani” that actually did not want for the team to proceed.

Bagani forces are lumad warriors allegedly trained to attack symphatizers of the New People’s Army. In 2012, a former member of the notorious private army in Arakan alleged that the military paid a Bagani leader to murder Italian priest Fr. Fausto “Pops” Tentorio.

The DSWD team, according to Papag, had to fly from Manila all the way to Davao, before travelling to Kapalong by land.

It would have been the agency’s fifth time to conduct its one-stop services in Kapalong, where majority of its population belong to the Ata Manobo, Dibabawon, and Mandaya ethnic groups.

The items that were supposed to be distributed will be stored back in the agency’s warehouse in their regional office in Davao City.

Lumads push for peace sanctuaries

From MindaNews (Aug 31): Lumads push for peace sanctuaries

Erlinda Pagalan, a Lumad bakwit from Sitio Han-ayan, Barangay Diatagon in Lianga, Surigao del Sur shares with a grandchild a small space at the provincial sports complex in Tandag City on 1 October 2015. MindaNews file photo by H. MARCOS C. MORDENO

Tribal leaders are planning to establish peace sanctuaries within their ancestral domains in Mindanao that they hope the military and the New People’s Army (NPA) will acknowledge even if peace negotiations between the government and communist leaders won’t resume.

In a press conference Wednesday at the Mergrande Ocean Resort, Talomo District, Alim Bandara, Timuay Supreme Council on Justice and Governance of the Teduray-Lambiangan tribe in Upi, Maguindanao, said the Lumads need peace sanctuaries because it’s them who bear the brunt of the armed conflict.

He said the cancellation of the fifth round of talks between government (GRP) and National Democratic Front (NDF) in the Netherlands saddened them because they were hoping a bilateral ceasefire agreement would be forged.

He said this prompted them to gather tribal leaders in conflict areas around Mindanao to hatch peace sanctuaries that will be off-limits to armed encounters.

He said they want the peace sanctuaries established instead “kung hindi man kakayanin ng estado tsaka CPP-NPA na magkaroon ng kasunduan para ihinto ang kaguluhan (if the government and CPP-NPA could not arrive at an agreement to stop the armed conflict).”

Bandara said they plan to sit down with leaders of the Lumad Mindanao Peoples Federation, Mindanao IP Forum and Katawhang Lumad under Mindanao People’s Peace Movement to plan out the peace sanctuaries that will be presented to Indigenous Peoples peace panel chair Atty. Reuben Lingating before December.

He added they will negotiate with tribal leaders who are identified with the NPA because “halos walang natirang IP community na walang NPA (there’s almost no IP community left without NPA presence) as far as Mindanao is concerned.”

“Ang pagkakaunawa ko dun nasa discussion level pa sila (I understand they are still on the discussion level and they intend to submit it to the panel that I represent in the GRP-IP peace panel. So whatever that is, perhaps we can take that and engage them in-depth in the concept and then we will help in a way OPAPP (Office of the Presidential Adviser on Peace Process) can do,” Lingating said.

The government has its limitations, you cannot just go across the table,” he explained.

He said that “peace sanctuaries are a new concept” that would provide shelter to IPs who have been caught in the crossfire between the military and the NPA.

He acknowledged that conflicts among IPs emerged because some would side with the military and others with the NPA but “they do not forget the fact that they belong to one big family.”

“What they are, in fact, saying is maybe these families can talk without interventions with the government, military. They just talk it over and they will establish the peace sanctuary that even if soldiers and NPAs would fight it out, these areas will be spared,” he said.

He said the Lumad leaders would try to resolve the internal conflicts through the “traditional conflict resolution mechanism” that has been recognized by the indigenous communities.

Alim said IP communities have their own traditional justice system that would be enough to address conflicts, such as “rido” or family feud.

He said peace zones had been established in the past by government and rebel forces but it did not succeed as the conflicts persisted.

Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Secretary Jesus Dureza said what would make the peace sanctuaries different this time is that it will be the IPs who will decide on it without intervention by external groups.

“The big difference is that peace sanctuaries are initiated by themselves, by the Lumads, and then they see to it that they will find the mechanisms to make it work in their own indigenous way,” he said.

Is the BBL dead? proposed Bangsamoro law not among 28 priority bills

From MindaNews (Aug 31): Is the BBL dead? proposed Bangsamoro law not among 28 priority bills

Not a priority, just an afterthought.

The Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL), supposedly a priority measure that should be passed by yearend if the Duterte administration’s peace roadmap were followed, is not a priority after all.

Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella on Tuesday told a Malacanang press briefing that the BBL was not on the list of priority bills. “Alam mo wala siya rito sa ano ha — ‘yung sa ibinigay na listahan. But I’m sure it is priority. I’m sure it is of high concern,” he said.

But the BBL was not among 28 bills listed under the Common Legislative Agenda approved by the Legislative-Executive Development Advisory Council (LEDAC) in a full council meeting on August 29.

The list does not include the BBL.

But it will be added as the 29th, apparently as an afterthought.

Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III told MindaNews in a text message late Thursday afternoon that “BBL (is) to be added per motion by Presidential Legislative Liaison Office (PLLO) chief Adelino Sitoy.”

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte receives a copy of the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) from Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC) chair Ghazali Jaafar in a turnover ceremony at the Rizal Hall in Malacañan Palace on July 17, 2017. Also in the photo are (from left) Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) Peace Implementing Panel chair Mohagher Iqbal, MILF Chairman Murad Ebrahim, Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III, House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Jesus Dureza and Government of the Philippines Implementing Peace Panel Chair Irene Santiago. King Rodriguez/PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO

The 2014 Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB), signed by the government (GPH) and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) on March 27, 2014 provides for the creation of the Bangsamoro, a new autonomous political entity that would replace the 27-year old Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, “in recognition of the justness and legitimacy of the cause of the Bangsamoro people and their aspiration to chart their political future through a democratic process that will secure their identity and posterity and allow for meaningful self-governance.”

President Rodrigo Duterte, the first Mindanawon President and the first with Moro blood in his veins, has repeatedly promised he would address the historical injustices committed against the Bangsamoro, and on July 17, the day he received the draft BBL in Malacanang, declared, “within the context of the Republic of the Philippines, there shall be a Bangsamoro country.”

Duterte committed to “support and husband” the proposed BBL in Congress to ensure the passage of the law.

Expectations that at least a century of historical injustices committed against the Moro people will finally be addressed were high at the start of the Duterte administration particulary because both leaders of the two houses of Congress are also Mindanawons.

Still waters, stillborn

In March this year, when the Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC) was still starting to craft the draft Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL), President Duterte told a crowd in Baguio City that he would “pray it would sail on still waters” in Congress.

Peace stakeholders also prayed “sana hindi stillborn” (may it not be stillborn).

The non-inclusion of the BBL in the list of 28 priority bills, its inclusion as an afterthought, and the slow progress of the Bangsamoro peace process under the Peace and Development Roadmap of the Duterte administration belie Abella’s claim of “priority” or “high concern.”
It took the Duterte administration almost five months to issue an Executive Order 8 on November 7, 2016, creating the expanded BTC and another three months and three days to name the 21-member Commission.

After they were named, it took another two weeks to launch the Commission on February 24. But work could not immediately start as there was no budget allocated under the General Appropriations Act. The Commissioners themselves initially advanced payment of their transportation and staff expenses. No funds were released to the BTC directly. Budget expenses were coursed through the Office of the President. The BTC staff continues to await payment of its salaries.

President Rodrigo Duterte poses with the 21 members of the Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC) at the launch Friday, February 24, 2017 of the expanded body that will draft the Bangsamoro Basic Law. MindaNews photo by MANMAN DEJETO

When the BTC completed its draft on June 16, it took Malacanang several weeks before it could schedule the handover ceremony that was initially announced to be on July 18 and eventually re-scheduled to July 17.

It took another month before the draft BBL could reach Congress. Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Jesus Dureza told MindaNews on August 17 that the draft BBL reached the office of Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III on August 14.

A certificate of urgency was expected but no such certificate accompanied the transmittal letter from the Office of the President to the two houses of Congress.

“Genuine aspirations of the Filipino people”

Instead, Undersecretary Ryan Estevez of the PLLO said in his August 14 letter to Pimentel that they “trust in the collective wisdom of Congress should they deem proper to refine the draft further in the course of the regular legislative mill in order to reflect the genuine aspirations of the Filipino people.”

“Per Deputy Executive Secretary Menard Guevarra, when all pending bills are consolidated into one bill, then certificate of urgency will be issued,” Dureza told MindaNews then.

Deputy Speaker for Mindanao Bai Sandra Sema of the first district of Maguindanao says she will see to it “that our voice is heard, our sentiments are expressed, and our aspirations realilzed.” MIndaNews file photo by Carolyn O. Arguillas

Maguindanao Rep. Bai Sandra Sema, Deputy Speaker for Mindanao told MindaNews late afternoon of August 17 that the draft BBL had just been received by the Secretary General of the House and “was immediately transmitted to the Speaker’s Office.”

“Congress is the policy-making body of the Republic of the Philippines. Its duty is not only to honor the commitment of the Government to the Bangsamoro but also to express the will of the Filipino people in the form of the law. As a leader of the Bangsamoro, I will see to it that our voice is heard, our sentiments are expressed, and our aspirations realized. Inshaallah,” Sema added.

Wanted: authors

The draft BBL is still apparently awaiting authors. Pimentel and Alvarez did not reply to MindaNews’ query on August 30 if the bill had been filed.

On August 18, MindaNews asked both if they would be the principal authors. Under the Aquino administration, the draft BBL was immediately filed, the Senate President and House Speaker as among the principal authors.

Alvarez did not send a reply but Pimentel told MindaNews he was “willing to be author” but “have to sked discussion with my legislative staff.”

The transmittal letter from the Office of the President took a month to reach Congress but no certificate of urgency accompanied the transmittal.

Instead, Undersecretary Ryan Estevez of the PLLO said in his August 14 letter to Pimentel that they “trust in the collective wisdom of Congress should they deem proper to refine the draft further in the course of the regular legislative mill in order to reflect the genuine aspirations of the Filipino people.”

Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Jesus Dureza. MindaNews file photo by MANMAN DEJETO

Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Jesus Dureza who earlier said the BBL would be certified as urgent, told MindaNews on August 17 that “per Deputy Executive Secretary Menard Guevarra, when all pending bills are consolidated into one bill, then certificate of urgency will be issued.”

There is a pending bill in Congress filed by former President and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, titled Basic Act for the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region (BABAR), which has been noted to be a resurrection of the Basic Law for the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region (BABAR) filed under the Aquino administration by Senator Ferdinand Marcos, Jr., then chair of the Senate Committee on Local Governments.

The BLBAR was criticized for allegedly rendering the future Bangsamoro less autonomous than the ARMM it is supposed to replace.

Violence, Impunity, Neglect

BTC chair Ghazali Jaafar declined to comment on Abella’s statement that BBL was not on the list of priority bills. “No comment for now,” he told MindaNews on August 29.

Guiamel Alim, a member of the Council of Elders of the Cotabato City-based Consortium of Bangsamoro Civil Society, told MindaNews that if BBL is not a priority, “it is unfortunate.”

“But the whole world knows that it was among the priority concerns as announced earlier on by the Executive Department,” he said.

A delayed passage of the Bangsamoro law will also delay the decommissioning of the weapons and combatants of the Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Forces.

NEVER-ENDING. Sisters Saria Namayo (left) and Cartiquia Cartin (right) of Barangay Elian, Datu Saudi Ampatuan, have lived a life of never-endng evacuations. The sisters in this photo taken in February 2015 hoped peace would come so they can return home and their grandchildren and great grandchildren do not experience what they went through, MindaNews photo by Carolyn O. Arguillas

Aside from the delays in legislation, the Duterte administration has yet to act on the recommendations of the Transitional Justice and Reconciliation Commission (TJRC) to set up a National Transitional Justice and Reconciliation Commission.

The TJRC was set up by the government and MILF in 2014 “to undertake a study and to propose appropriate mechanisms to address legitimate grievances of the Bangsamoro People; correct historical injustices; address human rights violation; and address marginalization through land dispossession.”

The TJRC report noted that the Bangsamoro narrative is “based on an experience of grievances that extends over generations” and is a result of three interlocking phenomena: violence, impunity, and neglect, rooted in the imposition “by force” of a monolithic Filipino identity and Philippine State “on multiple ethnic groups in Mindanao and the Sulu archipelago that saw themselves as already pre-existing nations and nation-states.”

Historical injustice across generations was cited “particularly with respect to land dispossession and its adverse effects upon their welfare as a community as well as their experience of widespread and serious human rights violations.”

AFP asks for public support to gov’t troops fighting in Marawi

From MindaNews (Aug 31): AFP asks for public support to gov’t troops fighting in Marawi

Philippine Marines backed by a V300 armored vehicle cross Mapandi Bridge in Marawi City on Wednesday (Aug. 30, 2017), 100 days since the Islamic State-inspired Maute group started a siege that has made the city a ghost town. Government troops recaptured the bridge from the militants late last month. MindaNews photo by FROILAN GALLARDO
Fighting in Marawi City between government troops and the Islamic State-inspired Maute Group marked its 100th day on Wednesday with the military calling on the public to support its troops.

“The AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines) calls upon all our citizens of all walks of life and whatever faith to continue to manifest their support for our troops and unceasingly pray for an early resolution of this conflict,“ AFP spokesperson Brig. Gen. Restituto Padilla said in a statement.

Loud explosions can be heard from the Lanao del Sur Provincial Capitol as heavy fighting continued on Wednesday.

AFP Chief of Staff Gen. Eduardo Ano said the soldiers have encircled the terrorists “in a 500 square pocket” in Marawi City.

“Our main goal is no way in and no way out for them,” Ano said in Manila.

AFP Western Command chief Lt. Gen. Carlito Galvez estimated that the city will be liberated in “two to three weeks”.

The military yesterday allowed a group of some 50 journalists to cross Mapandi Bridge, which both sides fought for control since the early days of the siege.

It was below this bridge where 13 Marines were killed when the militants ambushed them as they climbed up the Agus River bank last June.

Government troops recaptured the bridge late last month.

On Wednesday, the streets leading to the bridge had been cleared of debris and other signs that clashes took place there.

Philippine Marines take a brief rest before a damaged building in Marawi City on Wednesday (Aug. 30, 2017), 100 days since the Islamic State-inspired Maute group started a siege that has made the city a ghost town. MindaNews photo by FROILAN GALLARDO

A long line of blue tarp was hung along one side of the bridge to prevent snipers from targeting the journalists, according to Joint Task Force Marawi spokesperson Capt. Jo-Ann Petinglay.

Petinglay said heavy fighting occurred in Bangolo, Marawi’s commercial district, only two blocks from the Mapandi bridge.

“Some sniper rifles can reach up to two kilometers,” she said.

Three military trucks and ambulances ferried the journalists to Mapandi Bridge crossing where they were told to stay for a while.

Military officials led by Brig. Gen. Melquiades Ordiales held a press conference on the street.

Military praises MILF for anti-terror cooperation

From the Mindanao Examiner (Aug 31): Military praises MILF for anti-terror cooperation

The Philippine military praised the rebel group Moro Islamic Liberation Front for its cooperation in the on-going operations against members of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters allied with the Islamic State.

“The cooperation of the MILF leadership in adhering to the provisions of the ceasefire agreement was also acknowledged as the conduct of the military operations had been coordinated to ensure that no skirmishes between the government troops and BIAF occurred,” said Major General Arnel dela Vega, commander of the 6th Infantry Division.

The acronym BIAF stands for “Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Forces”, the MILF’s military wing.

Dela Vega’s statement came out after the MILF stayed away from fighting between the BIFF and security forces on Wednesday that killed one gunman and left one army soldier wounded in the village of Tukanalipao in Maguindanao’s Mamasapano town.

Troops also recovered an M16 automatic rifle, a shotgun, a hand grenade and an anti-tank rocket, including assorted ammunition and improvised explosives left behind by BIFF forces.

The town is a known stronghold of the MILF and BIFF whose forces had killed 44 police commandos during a clandestine operation in January 2015 that targeted Malaysian bomber Zulkifli Abdhir alias Marwan.

Zulkifli’s hideout was deep inside MILF territory where commandos managed to kill the foreign militant, believed to be under the protection of the rebel group.

While about to reunite with their unit, members of the Special Action Force, were trapped after MILF and BIFF gunmen attacked them and eventually killed all of them. The army also did not attempt to rescue the embattled commandos, saying, it was unaware of the police operation.

Those who managed to escape the attack were able to bring one of Zulkifli’s fingers and handed it over to Federal agents for DNA test to confirm his true identity.

The MILF, which signs an interim peace agreement in 2014, declined to surrender those involved in the brutal attack on the commandos.

Duterte tells star rank officers to guide PNP in fulfilling mandate

From the Philippine News Agency (Aug 31): Duterte tells star rank officers to guide PNP in fulfilling mandate

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte on Wednesday, August 30, directed the newly promoted officials of the Philippine National Police (PNP) to lead its personnel to be “effective and exemplary.”

"To the newly appointed and promoted officials, I ask you to lead the men and women of the PNP as together, you fulfill this task," President Duterte said in a speech during the oath taking ceremony of PNP star rank officers in Malacañan Palace.

“Guide them to become the exemplary and effective police officers that our country needs at this important juncture of our history,” he said.

The Chief Executive highlighted the duty of the police to ensure that Filipinos are protected from the various elements that prey on the citizenry.

“You are the protectors of our people and they look to you for respite, succor and safety,” he said.

According to the President, illegal drugs and criminality remain among the most difficult challenges that the country needs to hurdle.

“The problem, it appears, is the lack of political will to combat these ills from our country’s leaders,” Duterte said, noting that many politicians are either cowed or are protectors of drug lords and criminals.

“Some are even drug lords and criminals so they neither have the urgency nor possess the resolve to deal with the many evils affecting our society today,” he further noted.

In his speech, the Chief Executive ordered the police force to remain vigilant, stay alert, and be ready, noting that the country is not yet safe from harm and danger despite the headway made against illegal drugs and criminality.

He likewise said police officers should sustain their efforts against illegal drugs and crime. “Do not be afraid as long as you do your duties,” Duterte said.

The President pledged that his administration will never tolerate any abuse of power, corruption and illegal activities in the PNP and the entire bureaucracy.

Also during his speech, President Duterte reiterated the need for 20,000 new soldiers and the recruitment of five to seven battalions of Special Action Force (SAF).

“Alam mo sabi nga nila noon marami tayong sundalo. Totoo ‘yan. In times of peace, wala tayong problema. Kung walang gulo, no deployment or nothing and there’s a big space for everybody to move. Noon ‘yun. But with the coming of the ISIS, drugs coming in from anywhere and everywhere, pati itong terrorism, criminality, hirap tayo ngayon,” he said.

Duterte also mentioned the need to improve the country’s assets to address domestic threats. “So we have to improve on our assets. Madagdagan ko lang ng 12 ‘yang Air Force natin, make it a 24 in numbers, it would be a credible Air Force, [FA-50]. But I need the fast boats and the powerful precision-guided missiles. That’s what I’ve been trying to get,” he said.

The President said fast boats are also needed to pursue the pirates and terrorists.

PH combat troops must be given urban warfare training

From the Philippine News Agency (Aug 31): PH combat troops must be given urban warfare training

All Filipino combat troops must be given more training and orientation on urban warfare to make them more capable of neutralizing terrorists planning to conduct attacks in cities and highly populated areas.

This is one of the lessons learned by the military in the ongoing campaign against Maute group remnants in Marawi City, said Joint Task Force Ranao deputy commander, Col. Romeo Brawner on Wednesday.

This is to ensure that Filipino soldiers are capable of dealing with terrorist threats and not only on the insurgency menace. Fighting in the city has reached its 100th day on Wednesday. The conflict started on May 23 after government troops tried to arrest Abu Sayyaf leader Isnilon and his cohorts.

Originally, only specialized troops like the Light Reaction Regiment, were given training on urban warfare while the rest were only trained on jungle warfare to counter insurgency, Brawner said.

With terrorism is becoming a growing concern worldwide, more Filipino troops must be trained on urban warfare to counter the threat.

The Light Reaction Regiment is only a battalion-sized military formation which was expanded shortly after the Zamboanga City Siege Crisis in 2013 to ensure that a premier unit can be deployed to deal with urban warfare scenarios.

Padilla appointed AFP deputy chief-of-staff for plans (BG Padilla Bio Data)

From the Philippine News Agency (Aug 31): Padilla appointed AFP deputy chief-of-staff for plans

Military spokesperson Brig. Gen. Restituto Padilla was designated Thursday as Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Deputy Chief-of-Staff for Plans (J-5) which is responsible for crafting of plans and doctrines of the military.

Padilla also serves as the incumbent AFP Assistant Deputy Chief-of-Staff for Civil-Military Operations (J-7).

Padilla is a member of Philippine Military Academy (PMA) Class of 1985 and also served as the AFP Liaison Officer to the US Pacific Command in Honolulu, Hawaii from 2011 to 2014.

He was born in 1963 and comes from a family of dedicated professional servicemen and government workers.

After his graduation at the PMA, he joined the Philippine Air Force (PAF) and earned his Aviator (Pilot) Wings from the PAF Flying School in 1987.

As an aviator, he has more than 2,800 flight hours to his credit.

He has flown the following aircraft types: T-41D, SF260M, T-28, B-205A, UH-1H, CH-46, Bell 212 & 412, the Bell 206 Jet Ranger & Long Ranger, and the Robinson R-22 and R-44.

He has earned his ratings as a Flight Commander, Test Pilot (UH-1H/B205A) and as an Instructor Pilot (UH-1H/B205A).

Padilla is a fully qualified Academic Instructor, having completed his Academic Instructor Training at the Air University at Maxwell Air Force Base in Alabama, USA.

With a Masters Degree in Development Management from the Asian Institute of Management, Padilla is also a recipient of numerous awards and commendations coming from the military and civilian sector and includes the Distinguished Aviation Cross, the highest award for an airman in the Air Force for his superb and gallant airmanship in a rescue and recovery incident.

His various awards also include three Distinguished Service Stars, two Silver Wing Medals, and numerous combat awards.

Significant progress made in Marawi rehab plans: DND chief

From the Philippine News Agency (Aug 31): Significant progress made in Marawi rehab plans: DND chief

Significant progress has been made in the plans for the rehabilitation and recovery plans of war-torn Marawi City.

This, according to Department of National Defense (DND) Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, as efforts to root out the remaining Maute Group terrorists have reached its 100th day on Wednesday.

"As our troops continue to mount their offensives against cornered leaders and members of the Maute-Daesh (Islamic State) group, we are pleased that the Task Force Bangon Marawi has made headways in the rehabilitation and recovery programs we have planned for our affected residents," he added.

Lorenzana said the government continues to consult, coordinate and partner with various sectors, particularly the traditional, political and religious leaders in the locality regarding the various rehabilitation and recovery programs.

"Most importantly, we are working with the internally displaced persons (IDPs) themselves, our Maranao brothers and sisters, who are as eager as we are to start a new life, and chart a better future for their beloved city," he added.

The DND chief also urged all Marawi residents and the various stakeholders to do their share in fighting radicalism and terrorism so that peace will reign in the land.

Earlier, Lorenzana said the rehabilitation at Marawi City is aimed at repairing and ensuring that all infrastructures, bridges, streets, and other facilities are cleared and put in running order as quickly as possible, to expedite the rehabilitation of the city, including its business district.

Also, evacuees, whose houses were not damaged in the fighting, will be quickly returned to their homes as soon as possible.

"Then, we will (open) stores and deploy Department of Trade Industry's rolling stores, to ensure that returning evacuees will have sources to acquire their supplies and other daily needs," the defense secretary pointed out.

Temporary homes are also being eyed for residents whose homes were damaged by the fighting which started last May 23 when government forces tried to arrest Abu Sayyaf leader and ISIS "emir" Isnilon Hapilon.

"As soon as the last shot is fired, the rehabilitation phase will start immediately. All available engineering equipment are there, including (those of) the Department of Public Works and Highways," the defense chief stressed.

DWDD: VIGILANCE | AFP guarding Lanao Lake vs Maute supporters

From DWDD AFP Civil Relations Service Radio Website (Aug 31): VIGILANCE  |  AFP guarding Lanao Lake vs Maute supporters

MINDANAO (DWDD) – The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) is tightly guarding the entire Lanao Lake against possible incursion of reinforcements by Maute sympathizers and to also block their escape.

According to Col Romeo Brawner, Deputy Commander of Joint Task Force Ranao, they have received reports that the Maute group is offering P50,000 to fishermen for the use of their boats to ferry Maute symphatizer into Marawi or to escape.

Recently, troops neutralized ten (10) Maute reinforcement trying to enter Marawi City through Lanao Lake.

The AFP is closely coordinating with Local Government Unit’s, specially the Mayors of the different towns around the lake, to make sure that the terrorist will not be able to secure any water crafts to take them in or out and/or re-supply their comrades in the main battle area.

Col Brawner added that there are strong indications that the Maute group within the conflict zone is running out of bullets and food supplies, that is why they are scouring the area for boats they could use.

The AFP is also confident that Maute leader’s, Omar and Abdullah Maute, and Abu Sayyaf leader Isnilon Hapilon is still within the main battle area, that is why they are tightening their cordon around the remaining stronghold of the terrorist to prevent their escape. AES / ALS

DWDD: 101 DAYS | AFP to make adjustment from lessons learned in Marawi

From DWDD AFP Civil Relations Service Radio Website (Aug 31): 101 DAYS  |  AFP to make adjustment from lessons learned in Marawi

MINDANAO (DWDD) – The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) needs to strengthen its training on Urban Warfare.

According to Col Romeo Brawner, Deputy Commander of Joint Task Force Ranao, this is some of the lessons they learned from their battle with the Daesh-inspired Maute Terror Group in Marawi for the past 100 days.

The AFP is amenable that most of our soldiers were trained in jungle warfare, to combat communist and secessionist rebels, while only our Light Reaction Battalion are specialized in urban warfare.

It can be recalled that after the Zamboanga siege in 2013, our Light Reaction Battalion was upgrade to a regiment in the event that fighting will once again shift to an urban setting. But with the lesson of Marawi, it is important that all our soldiers are trained on both jungle and urban warfare.

Col Brawner added that the AFP must also train more soldiers as snipers, because in Marawi most of the fighting was sniper versus sniper.

For the past 101 days, the death toll has almost reached 800, where 617 is from the enemy side, 133 from the government and 45 are civilians. AES / ALS

DWDD: DEDICATED SERVICE | MGen Carandang bows out of service

From DWDD AFP Civil Relations Service Radio Website (Aug 30): DEDICATED SERVICE  |  MGen Carandang bows out of service

COL JESUS VILLAMOR AIR BASE, Pasay City (DWDD) – After more than three decades of dedicated service, outgoing Air Force Inspector General (AFIG), Major General Ruben L Carandang AFP, has retired from his military career.

During the Change of Office, Testimonial Review and Retirement Ceremony held yesterday afternoon, August 29, at the Philippine Air Force (PAF) Grandstand, Colonel Jesus Villamor Air Base in Pasay City, hundreds of spectators composed of officers, enlisted personnel, civilian employees of the headquarters, and guests witnessed how the PAF displayed its heartfelt appreciation for the hard work and passion of Major General Carandang.

As the AFIG, he was able to assess the performance of mission, state of morale and discipline, efficiency and effectiveness of PAF units, and also investigated and reported various complaints and allegations directed against the Command and its personnel.

Major General Carandang previously held a number of positions such as Wing Commander of 710th Special Operations Wing; Air Force Provost Marshal; Group Commander of the Headquarters Service Support Group; Group Commander of 730th Combat Group, 710th Special Operations Wing securing some areas in Nasugbu, Batangas, and many others.

As he rendered his retirement, Major General Carandang has been replaced by Brigadier General Dino C Diño AFP.

The incoming AFIG is a member of Philippine Military Academy “Maharlika” Class of 1984. Prior to his present assignment, he was designated to the following positions: Wing Commander of 2nd Tactical Operations Wing; Wing Commander of 560th Air Base Wing; Deputy Commander of 2nd Air Division; Deputy Inspector General of the AFP; and Deputy Wing Commander of 410th Maintenance Wing. PIO PAF / MCAG

DWDD: FALLEN WARRIORS | PA turns over P68M to families of soldiers KIA in Marawi

From DWDD AFP Civil Relations Service Radio Website (Aug 30): FALLEN WARRIORS  |  PA turns over P68M to families of soldiers KIA in Marawi

FORT ANDRES BONIFACIO, Metro Manila (DWDD) – The Philippine Army turned over Financial Assistance checks amounting to one million each to the families of the 68 fallen Army soldiers who fought for Marawi City last Monday at the Ricarte Hall, Philippine Army Officers Club here.

Philippine Army Commanding General Lt General Glorioso V Miranda hands over a Financial Assistance check worth one million pesos to a family member of one of the Army soldiers who was killed-in-action during the Marawi Rebellion at the Ricarte Hall, Philippine Army Officers Club here.

The beneficiaries while waiting for the start of the program where the Philippine Army turned over Financial Assistance checks amounting to one million each to the families of the 68 fallen Army soldiers who fought for Marawi City at the Ricarte Hall, Philippine Army Officers Club here.

The Philippine Army is grateful for the support extended to the families of our fallen soldiers. This will surely serve as an inspiration to our troops still fighting in Marawi City.

The said Financial Assistance was donated to the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) by a number of philanthropists who wished to remain anonymous.

On August 2 and 9, the AFP has already distributed Financial Assistance checks worth 1 million each to selected beneficiaries of the Marawi KIAs which included the next of kin of 6 KIAs from the Army.

The next of kin of another 68 fallen soldiers will be given their Financial Assistance checks during the ceremonial turn over to be led by the Commanding General Philippine Army Lieutenant General Glorioso V. Miranda. The 68 beneficiaries were chosen based on the chronological order of the fallen soldiers’ date of casualty.

As of August 24, there has been a total of 98 Army soldiers killed-in-action (KIA) in the continuing fight in Marawi City against the Daesh inspired group Maute.

The Financial Assistance for the remaining KIAs is now being processed to be released to the Philippine Army which will also be turned over to the beneficiaries.

“The Philippine Army is grateful for the support extended to the families of our fallen soldiers. This will surely serve as an inspiration to our troops still fighting in Marawi City,” said Ltc Enrico Gil Ileto, Acting Chief of the Army Chief Public Affairs Office.

Since the start of the Marawi Rebellion, there has been an outpouring support from Army stakeholders and private sectors. Aside from financial assistance to the families of KIAs, people has been sending care packages with written letters from children to show their gratitude and boost the morale of soldiers currently deployed in Marawi City. OACPA / MCAG

DWDD: SECURED | AFP in control of territories in the WPS

From DWDD AFP Civil Relations Service Radio Website (Aug 29): SECURED  |  AFP in control of territories in the WPS

COL JESUS VILLAMOR AIR BASE, Pasay City (DWDD) – The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) has troops securing all nine (9) island, reefs, and atolls in the Kalayaan Island Group.

According to AFP Chief of Staff Gen Eduardo Ano, despite the events transpiring n Marawi, the AFP is still fulfilling its mandate of protecting our territory, especially in the West Philippine Sea.

Recently, Magdalo Rep. Gary Alejano alleged that a Chinese flag was seen planted on a sandy cay, seven nautical miles off Kota Island. A sign, he said, that China’s incursion into our territory continues despite warmer relations between the two country..

Gen Ano explained that the “alleged Chinese flag” was just an indigenous pole with a plastic / sack attached to it and was probably placed there as a guide for seafarers. He also made it clear that it was not the Philippines who placed it there, but they were the one who removed it.

Currently, the priority of the government is to refurbish and renovate our facilities on Pagasa Island and other territories we currently occupying in the KIG, which is well within the Declaration of the Code of Conduct in the South China Sea. What is not allowed by the code is the occupation of additional island or atolls, Ano added. AES / ALS

DWDD: ALL FEMALE | Women Soldiers, Police to Assist IDPs in Marawi

From DWDD AFP Civil Relations Service Radio Website (Aug 29): ALL FEMALE  |  Women Soldiers, Police to Assist IDPs in Marawi

COL JESUS VILLAMOR AIR BASE, Pasay City (DWDD) – The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and Philippine National Police (PNP) officially deployed the 100-strong, all-female Civil Relations Company (CRC) to Marawi, this morning in a simple send-off ceremony at Col Jesus Villamor Airbase in Pasay City.

“The all-female CRC will be deployed to Marawi to form part of an inter-agency team that shall assist in the implementation of rehabilitation and recovery programs for Internally-Displaced Persons (IDPs) in the battle-stricken city,” Colonel Edgard Arevalo, AFP Public Affairs Chief said.

General Eduardo Año, AFP Chief of Staff and Police Director General Ronald Dela Rosa, PNP Chief led the ceremony.

The 60 enlisted personnel from the Philippine Army and 40 non-commissioned police officers is led by four female officers from the Army. Their mission is to assist in the implementation of programs that will help IDPs who have been traumatized by their experience in the ongoing rebellion in the city.

“The CRC may also serve as a mother or elder sister figure to the evacuees, especially the youth, to help alleviate their conditions in various evacuation centers,” Colonel Arevalo added.

Prior to their send-off, the CRC completed the required pre-deployment training organized by the AFP Civil-Military Operations School, and Teach Peace, Build Peace Movement from 21 to 25 August 2017.

The CRC will be under the operational control of Western Mindanao Command. They will be positioned in evacuation centers as well as in communities that significantly need rehabilitation.

The deployment of the all-female CRC is one of the efforts of the Joint AFP-PNP Civil Relations Committee (JAPCRC). It seeks to promote and enable the coordination and synchronization of AFP Civil-Military Operations and PNP Police Community Relations on matters relating to national security and development.

“The AFP and PNP recognize the need to address the substantial psychological stress experienced by the residents of Marawi City. With this, we commit our forces to not only liberate Marawi from the terrorists but to help the city get back up on its feet again, and ensure the protection of its citizens,” General Año said. PAO AFP / MCAG

DWDD: ENCOUNTER | 6 Rifles recovered from NPA in Agusan Norte

From DWDD AFP Civil Relations Service Radio Website (Aug 29): ENCOUNTER  |  6 Rifles recovered from NPA in Agusan Norte

CAMP EDILBERTO EVANGELISTA, Patag, Cagayan de Oro City (DWDD) – Troops of the 29th Infantry Battalion encountered members of the New People’s Army – Guerrilla Front 16 at Brgy San Roque, Kitcharao, Agusan del Norte at around 4pm yesterday, August 28, 2017

The soldiers recovered four (4) AK47, one (1) M16 and one (1) M4 rifle.

“The NPA presence was earlier reported by the residents of the Brgy which prompted us to track them”, said Ltc Glen Aynera of the 29th IB.

Col Franco Nemesio Gacal, 402nd Infantry Brigade Commander directed the 29th IB to pursue the NPAs who run away with their wounded to different directions during the firefight.

MGen Ronald Villanueva, the newly installed 4ID Commander lauded the troops and exhorted the Brigade to continue pursuing the NPAs. He also thanked the community for giving a timely information that resulted to this successful operation.

“I congratulate the troops for successfully addressing this armed group that is terrorizing the people in that peaceful community. The villagers are already fed up with the deceptions and terrorist activities of this group. There will be no let up on our operation.”

Also recovered were landmines, assorted ammunition, handheld radios, subversive documents, medical supplies, and foodstuffs left by the NPAs in the encounter site. 4DPAO / MCAG

DWDD: FUTURE AIRMEN | PAF Examination Schedule

From DWDD AFP Civil Relations Service Radio Website (Aug 29): FUTURE AIRMEN  |  PAF Examination Schedule


COL JESUS VILLAMOR AIRBASE, Pasay City (DWDD) – Calling all aspiring applicants of the Philippine Air Force. Kindly check the scheduled dates for the upcoming examinations. You can also download the actual application form. PAF PIO

Examination AreaScheduleExamination AreaScheduleExamination AreaSchedule
580th ACW,             San Fernando, La Union01 September 2017TOG 6,                      Dinge, Ilo-ilo City01 September 2017TOG 10, Cagayan de Oro City01 September 2017
5th FW,                       Basa Air Base, Pampanga01 September 2017TOG 6 TACP, Bacolod,                           Camp Alpfredo, Montelibano, Bacolod City05 September 2017TOG 11, Sasa,        Davao City05 September 2017
TOG 1,                    Loakan Airport, Baguio City05 September 2017560th ABG,           Benito Ebuen                 N Air Base,                 Lapu-Lapu City09 September 2017TOS             Rajah Buayan, General Santos City09 September 2017
600th ABG,           Clark Air Base, Pampanga05 September 2017TOG 8,            Tacloban City13 September 2017TOG 12,                  Datu Udin Sinsuat, Cotabato09 September 2017
570th CTW,         Antonio Bautista Air Base, Palawan09 September 2017528th (DAST) Negros Oriental University, Main Campus II, Dumaguete City13 September 20173rd TOW, Edwin Andrews Air Base, Zamboanga City17 September 2017
AETDC,         Fernando Air Base, Lipa City, Batangas13 September 2017
TOG 2,               Cauayan Airport, Cauayan, Isabela13 September 2017
TOG 5,                 Legazpi City17 September 2017
710th SPOW, CERAB, Capas, Tarlac17 September 2017
CJVAB,               Pasay City21-22 September 2017

Just click the link below.…/20…/Genericapplication16JUNE2017.pdf

DWDD: OPERATIONAL UPDATES | JTF Marawi marks significant success

From DWDD AFP Civil Relations Service Radio Website (Aug 28): OPERATIONAL UPDATES  |  JTF Marawi marks significant success

CAMP RANAO, Marawi City (DWDD) – As of August 28, 2017 or 98 days since the start of the siege in Marawi, the government has marked significant success in its campaign to free the city from the grasp of the Daesh-inspired Maute Group.

According to Joint task Force Marawi, since August 27, they have recorded 603 terrorist killed and 665 firearms recovered from the group.

Yesterday, soldiers were able to recover 32 Improvised Explosive Devices (IED) and Unexploded Ordnance or a total of 1,270 IEDS and UXOs from different structures in the Main Battle Area.

Other significant events for the past week:

– retaking of the Islamic Center
– retaking of St Mary’s Cathedral
– retaking of the Lanao Del Sur Police Provincial Office
– the holding of a Congregational Prayer help, done for the first time
– and, 10 Maute members killed after attempting to enter the Main Battle Area.

Meanwhile, there were no change in the number of civilians killed, 45, and number of civilians rescued at 1,728, while the number of government casualties is now at 130 killed in action. AES

DWDD: RETAKEN | Troops took back control of St Mary’s Cathedral-Marawi

From DWDD AFP Civil Relations Service Radio Website (Aug 28): RETAKEN  |  Troops took back control of St Mary’s Cathedral-Marawi

CAMP RANAO, Marawi City (DWDD) – Troops were able to retake the St Mary’s Cathedral located in Brgy Marinaut, Marawi City, ninety-five (95) days after the Maute terror group took siege of the city.

Soldiers of the 10th Infantry Battalion stealthily and decisively moved in to clear the church, located in the heart of the business district of Marawi City, at 3 o’clock in the afternoon last August 25.

It can be recalled that during the first week of the siege, video footages of the Daesh-inspired terror group were posted on the internet showing members of the terror group rampaging all over the church destroying statues of Catholic saints.

After the successful recovery of the church, operating troops were able to recover three (3) high powered firearms and assorted ammunition inside the building.

Meanwhile, the Islamic Center was also recovered by the soldiers at around 2 o’clock pm last August 24 (Thursday) or two (2) hours before President and Commander in Chief Rodrigo Duterte arrived in the Main Battle Area to visit the troops.

Following several days of operation and planning, soldiers and policemen were able to drive away the members of the Maute group from the area and kept it preserved from further damage from indirect fire or mortar.

It can be recalled that the group used the compound as their main base and storage are for their ammunition and firearms. During the clearing oeratios, soldiers recovered three (3) booby traps; one suicide bomb suit with Improvised Explosive Device; two Rocket Propelled Grenade launchers; one RPG; one tripod for 50 caliber machine gun; and one Daesh black flag. They also discovered a tunnel under the mosque that they used to hide their ammunition.

According to Lieutenant General Carlito G Galvez, Jr., Commander of the Western Mindanao Command, we have been witnesses to how these terrorist have shown their disrespect for any religion when they desecrated both the Islamic Center and the St Mary’s Cathedral. “This only shows how these people do not respect any religion may it be Christian or Muslim.” “We abhor the acts of the terrorists and we know that they will never have a place anywhere in the world.” AES / ALS

DWDD: MONITORING | Death of Cayamora Maute might be used for propaganda

From DWDD AFP Civil Relations Service Radio Website (Aug 28): MONITORING  |  Death of Cayamora Maute might be used for propaganda

LNMB, Fort Bonifacio, Metro Manila (DWDD) – The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) warns the public against the possibility that the death of Cayamora Maute, patriarch of the Maute Brothers, maybe used by the terror group for propaganda.

According to AFP spokesperson BGen Restituto Padilla, the AFP is not discounting the possibility that the incident may be taken advantage by the terror group or their sympathizers’ to help their beleaguered comrades in Marawi.

The elder Maute was rushed to the Taguig Pateros Hospital as an emergency case but was declared “dead-on-arrival” by the attending physician.

Before he was rushed to hospital, at 4:30am, he was already experiencing difficulty in breathing and body weakness. Continuous monitoring was made on Cayamora. At 10:20am, he was administered with antibiotics. He again complained of difficulty in breathing at around 12:30pm. BJMP nurse conducted nebulization twice. He was supported by oxygen.

During the medical examination conducted on him upon his arrival last June 8, 2017 at Camp Bagong Diwa, Maute was suffering from hypertension, diabetes, pneumonia and viral hepatitis. Last August 9, he was complaining of body weakening and “manas”. He was in full monitoring and medication (antibiotics and diuretics) for a week until he regained his strength and his vital signs normalized. August 13, he was diagnosed with hypertension type 2, diabetes type 2 uncontrolled, gastroenteritis, and ascites.

After he was declared dead, the body of Cayamora was brought back to BJMP Complex for a short viewing of his immediate family. The family representative of Maute left the facility with the remains of the elder Maute around 7:15pm. He was 64 years old. AES / ALS