Thursday, November 14, 2019

Sustain peace momentum in Visayas, Army chief says

From the Visayan Daily Star (Nov 14, 2019): Sustain peace momentum in Visayas, Army chief says

Army chief Lt. Gen. Macairog Alberto challenged Brig. Gen. Eric Vinoya, newly-installed commander of the 3rd Infantry Division, to sustain the momentum of the peace campaign in Western and Central Visayas.

Alberto presided over the change of 3ID leadership on Tuesday from Maj. Gen. Dinoh Dolina to his deputy, Vinoya, in a ceremony held at Camp Macario Peralta in Jamindan, Capiz.


Alberto expressed his full trust and support to Vinoya, noting his accomplishments in his previous assignments, that be said are testaments to his competence and diverse capability to lead the 3ID.

As the new 3ID commander, Vinoya will supervise three Army infantry brigades in Panay, Negros and Bohol. He used to also be the Joint Task Force Negros commander, and Assistant Division Commander of 3ID.

Alberto also called on the officers, enlisted personnel and civilian workforce of the 3ID to always adhere to the highest standards of excellence and professionalism.

"Regard your new leader with the same respect and support you have extended to your former commanders," he said.

Dolina, who also served as officer-in-charge of the AFP Central Command, is retiring from the military service on Nov. 14. He was replaced by Maj. Gen. Robert Ancan, as AFP Central Command chief.

Vinoya underscored the importance of intensified stakeholder engagement in the peace and development efforts in Central and Western Visayas, and also encouraged 3ID troopers to sustain the gains more by the Joint Task Force Negros and Joint Task Force "SPEAR".

"All of these efforts should be done through the implementation of Executive Order (EO) Number 70 or the Institutionalization of the Whole of Nation Approach and the creation of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict, or NTF-ELCAC," Vinoya said.

He also challenged the local chief executives who are the chairmen of the Local Task Forces to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (LTF-ELCAC) to take the lead and be at the forefront in ending the insurgency in their respective localities.

"I do believe that good governance is the key to ending the insurgency," he stressed.

Vinoya also encouraged the different government agencies to do their part and be the Army's partners in fighting the insurgency to achieve the genuine peace and development that everyone is longing for.

On Nov. 9, Colonel Marion Sison also assumed command of the 301st Infantry Brigade in Iloilo. He replaced Brig. Gen. Alberto Desoyo, who is being groomed to be the incoming 3ID assistant division commander.

http://www.visayandailystar.com/2019/November/14/topstory8.htm

2 minor female teens surrender

From the Mindanao Times (Nov 15, 2019): 2 minor female teens surrender

Two underage amazons and a young bomb maker surrendered to the soldiers of the 23rd Infantry Battalion over the weekend.

1Lt. Roel Maglalang, the Civil-military Operations (CMO) officer the 23rd IB, i
dentified the two surrenderees as alias Gethel (political guide) and alias Christine (medic), both 17 years old.

Maglalang said they were recruited by alias Ron-ron, a member of Sub-Regional Command (SRC) 3, Sagay, North Central Mindanao Regional Committee. They were promised a brighter future, as well as financial support for their families.

Reportedly, the two female teenagers were in schools before they joined the New People’s Army.


“They were not clearly informed that they will be joining the armed movement. Contradictory to their promises, they only suffered loneliness, exhaustion and starvation until they found an opportunity to escape from the said group,” he added.

Meanwhile, alias Gethel expressed her resentment against the NPAs.

“I was a student by the time I was recruited. Due to the hardship and hunger I experienced inside the movement, I decided to go back to the folds of the law,” she said.

“At first, I was afraid because our leader told us that there’s a big possibility that the military will torture and kill me upon knowing that I am an NPA member, but I stand firm with my decision. I am so glad that the soldiers of 23IB never fail to help me and they assisted me to start a new life,” she added.

Moreover, alias Christine also revealed the struggle she encountered inside the armed movement.

“I didn’t know that I am going to be a member of CPP-NPA. My parents also do not know that I became a member of the NPA. We were not allowed to visit our parents, and even to contact them is strictly prohibited,” Christine added.

“Later, I knew that my family received death threat telling them that once they will report to the authorities regarding my situation, they will be killed,” she recalled.

Lt. Col. Francisco Molina Jr, commanding officer of the 23IB, warned parents to watch over their kids so they would not be decieved into joining the NPA.

“Some of the Leaders of the NPAs have already surrendered to the folds of the law, but it was so alarming that even the female youths are also fighting against the government troops just like what happened to Gethel and Christine,” he said.

“The recruitment of the youth is a big violation of the International Humanitarian Law (IHL) and Republic Act 7610 (Special Protection of Children against Abuse Exploitation and Discrimination Act),” he said.

Meanwhile, an NPA combatant who surrendered to the troops of 23rd Infantry (Masigasig) Battalion revealed the location of three weapons caches in Sibagat, Agusan del Sur on Nov. 8.

He was
identified as alias Marco, a former member of Sandatahang Yunit Propaganda 21C, Guerilla Front (GF) 21, North Eastern Mindanao Regional Committee (NEMRC), under the leadership of Anthony Sagdon Dagium.

The troops recovered three M14 rifles, 35-meter electrical wire, two blasting caps with detonating cord, one pair handguard for M16, one pair AR 18 handguard, and one improvised anti-personal mine, which was still planted inside CPP-NPA hideout.


He claimed that he started as a courier of the NPA when he was just 14 years old. He became a full-time combatant when he was 16.

Army’s mobile kitchen now in DavSur for quake victims

From the Mindanao Times (Nov 15, 2019): Army’s mobile kitchen now in DavSur for quake victims

The mobile kitchen truck of the Armed forces of the Philippines was already the deployed to serve the quake-stricken areas of Davao del Sur.

Lt Col. Ezra Balagtey, the Eastern Mindanao Command spokesperson, said the truck motored for the area on Tuesday.

Also, the Army’s engineering brigade also brought a water filtration machine to augment the water supply for the families.


“So, we are one with the Office of the Civil Defense in calling all the donors to follow protocol. This is to ensure the inclusive and equitable conduct of relief operations,” Balagtey said.

He also said the disaster response continues through the joint task force of 10th Infantry Division, utilizing the 901st Infantry Brigade in Kidapawan and the 1002nd Infantry Brigade based in Malungon, Sarangani Province.

The 10th Infantry Division’s Emergency Response Company was deployed in Makilala and Kidapawan for the search, rescue, and retrieval operations.

Balagtey said they also deployed two engineering battalions, the 534th and 512th, to help in the reconstruction efforts. For now, the engineering battalions are involved in reconfiguring the tents, as well as ensuring the hygiene and sanitation of the evacuation centers.

U.S. defense chief to visit Philippines, meet Lorenzana

From Rappler (Nov 14, 2019): U.S. defense chief to visit Philippines, meet Lorenzana

US Defense Secretary Mark Esper and Philippine Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana are expected to discuss 'regional security cooperation to uphold international rules and norms'


MANILA VISIT. United States Defense Secretary Mark Esper will visit the Philippines. File photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images/AFP

United States Defense Secretary Mark Esper will visit the Philippines early next week to meet with Philippine Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, as part of Esper's Indo-Pacific tour that includes a meeting of Southeast Asian defense ministers in Thailand over the weekend.

"In the Philippines, Secretary Esper will meet with his Philippine counterpart to advance the alliance as well as strengthen regional security cooperation to uphold international rules and norms,"
stated an announcement on the US Department of Defense website.


Esper will also pay his respects to fallen US service members buried at the Manila American Cemetery in Taguig City.

Esper's Asia visit began Thursday, November 14, in South Korea, where he is set to meet with his counterpart and other officials to discuss their alliance and bilateral defense cooperation. The talks are expected to cover issues with North Korea and other regional tensions.

He will then head to Thailand for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Defense Ministers' Meeting, which Lorenzana will also attend.

After his stop in the Philippines, Esper will visit Vietnam to meet his counterpart there and other officials. They will "discuss the regional security environment and ways to enhance the growing defense relationship."

The Philippines and the US regularly hold joint military exercises to flesh out their treaty alliance forged in 1951. The summer Balikatan exercises, the recent Kamandag drills between the two countries' marine corps, and the Sama-Sama naval exercises in the waters off Palawan are among the major yearly engagements of their defense forces.

Last September, both militaries agreed to hold more security engagement activities in 2020, and "reaffirmed their continuing and close relationship by enhancing cooperation in counterterrorism, maritime security, cybersecurity, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, and many others," a US embassy statement said at the time.

Also in September, the US and ASEAN states held their first joint naval exercises in the waters off Sattahip, Thailand.

The US is rekindling alliances and partnerships in the Indo-Pacific as an increasingly assertive China begins to dominate the region’s economy and politics. A trade war further complicates ties between the two countries. China has consistently criticized US activities in the region, calling it an "outsider." The US has retorted by referring to China's actions – reclaiming, militarizing, and swarming reefs in the West Philippine Sea – as "destabilizing."

Lorenzana earlier proposed to revisit the Philippines' Mutual Defense Treaty with the US to check whether it remains "relevant" in light of the growing threat from China. The US has since clarified that the treaty covers the West Philippine Sea, that is, it would come to Filipinos' aid in case of an armed attack in the contentious waters.

https://www.rappler.com/nation/244932-united-states-defense-chief-visit-philippines-meet-lorenzana-november-2019

Joma Sison praises NPA's deadly attack vs. soldiers in Eastern Samar

From GMA News Online (Nov 13, 2019): Joma Sison praises NPA's deadly attack vs. soldiers in Eastern Samar

Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) founder Jose Maria Sison on Wednesday lauded the New People’s Army (NPA) for a “successful tactical offensive” against soldiers during a clash in Eastern Samar on Tuesday.

The encounter between the NPAs and the 14th Infantry Battalion resulted in the death of six soldiers and one rebel.

“I salute and congratulate the Red commanders and fighters that carried put the successful tactical offensive in Samar,” he said in a statement.

“It is a sharp and resounding response to the repeated lie of the AFP and PNP that they have already destroyed the NPA by either by killing or making the NPA personnel surrender,” he added.

In a statement, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) said it is no longer surprised with Sison's praises for the rebels who took part in the encounter.

AFP spokesman Brigadier General Edgard Arevalo said Sison's act of lauding the "abominable act" of NPA only shows the self-exiled leader's unity with the communist rebels.

"It’s not surprising at all that he relishes in death and destruction. He was himself indicted for multiple murder and warrants of arrest were issued therefor for his involvement in the Inopacan massacre," Arevalo said.

More tactical offensives

The communist leader projected that the NPA will be launching more tactical offensives.

Sison noted to the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) that the use of command-detonated explosives is legitimate and allowed by the Ottawa Treaty and GRP-NDFP Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human rights and International Humanitarian Law.

He claimed that it was the AFP who actually used weapons of mass destruction allgedly against the lives and properties of the civilians like aerial bombs, mortars and artillery fire.

An initial information indicated that members of the 14th Infantry Battalion had a 30-minute firefight with more or less 50 communist rebels in Barangay Pinana-an.

Authorities said six improvised explosive device had exploded prior to the encounter.

Arevalo assured the public that the military would not be cowered by the encounter.

"We will press on with our pursuit to eliminate the communist terrorist group before the end of the Duterte administration," Arevalo said.

"This cowardly attack by these enemies of peace and development hardly establishes any point of strength. But rather weakness in attacking through anti-personnel mines soldiers out to aid our people needing help," he added.

https://www.gmanetwork.com/news/news/regions/715333/joma-sison-praises-npa-s-deadly-attack-vs-soldiers-in-eastern-samar/story/

Pampanga gov gives P675K to 45 ex-CPP surrenderees

From the Journal Online (Nov 13, 2019): Pampanga gov gives P675K to 45 ex-CPP surrenderees

Pampanga Gov. Dennis “Delta” Pineda handed over P675,000 in cash the other day to 45 former members of “White Area” of the Communist Party of the Philippines who had voluntarily surrendered to the government.

The initial assistance of P15,000 for every rebel returnee, was given after Regional Director Police Brigadier General Rhodel Sermonia and Provincial Director Police Colonel Jean Fajardo presented the former rebels to the governor and Vice Gov. Lilia Pineda.

Sermonia explained that rebels, who came from various parts of Central Luzon, are from “white areas” and do not own firearms but involved in legal front groups which aim to tarnish the government’s reputation.

The governor also pledged that the former rebels may enjoy the programs and services offered by the provincial government and other government agencies such as medical and educational assistance.

“Kung wala rin kayong pupuntahan sa probinsya ninyo at wala kayong magiging trabaho, try niyong lumapit sa amin,” he told the returnees.

Aside from that, the surrenderees are also entitled to receive cash assistance through the Enhanced-Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP).

According to Myrvi Apostol-Fabia, DILG provincial director, the surrenderees will be initially given P15, 000 eac.

Fabia added that they shall receive another P50, 000 as livelihood assistance after getting clearance from the Joint Armed Forces of the Philippines-Philippine National Police Intelligence Committee (JAPIC).

https://journal.com.ph/news/provincial/pampanga-gov-gives-p675k-45-ex-cpp-surrenderees

Duterte, Misuari target foreign militants, peace in Southern Philippines

From the New Straits Times (Nov 14, 2019): Duterte, Misuari target foreign militants, peace in Southern Philippines



President Rodrigo Duterte and Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) founding Chairman, Nur Misuari, meet next month. -NSTP/Filepix

INTENSIFYING campaign against local and foreign terrorists in Southern Philippines will be the main objective when President Rodrigo Duterte and Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) founding Chairman, Nur Misuari, meet next month.

This comes after officials raised concerns about foreign militants making Mindanao their base of operations.

Duterte and Misuari mostly hope to finalize the peace talks between the government and the rebel group, said The Manila Times, quoting Malaca├▒ang announcement.

One of the move to achieve the objective is by creating a coordinating body between the two sides, said government spokesman, Salvador Panelo, after Duterte and Misuari met in Malacanang early this week.


"They agreed to meet again because there’s a suggestion that there should be a committee that will help in the peace process.

“So, there will be a meeting in Davao by December to finalize (the talks). The purpose of course is to have peace with the MNLF and to ensure the success of the government,” he added.

Senior officials including Panelo will be representing the government panel including Presidential Adviser on Peace Process, Carlito Galvez Jr., National Security Adviser, Hermogenes Esperon Jr and a Department of Foreign Affairs lawyer.

Meanwhile, the Politics portal quoted Justice Secretary, Menardo Guevarra who said that the government wanted the MNLF to help fight elements linked with terrorist group Islamic State (IS).

Guevarra also confirmed that both parties are holding a series of meetings that will lead to the creation of a committee that's going to play a role in peace efforts in Mindanao.

The Palace explained further that the committee would aid the country in achieving peace by "helping in combating the Abu Sayyaf Group and convincing MNLF relatives to return to the fold of the law".

MNLF forged a peace pact with the national government in 1996 that saw the establishment of the now-defunct Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM). Misuari was governor then.

However, the ARMM was replaced by the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM), following the ratification of the Bangsamoro Organic Law anchored on the peace agreement with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), a splinter group from the MNLF that broke away several years before the 1996 peace deal.

Misuari are remembered by many for two sieges by MNLF in Zamboanga. In 2013, MNLF declared independence but failed in the attempt to raise the Bangsamoro Republik flag at City Hall.

The subsequent siege displaced over 100,000 people and affected the economies of Basilan and Sulu.

In Nov 2001, hundreds of MNLF members took over the Cabatangan Complex and held hostage dozens of civilians, including and also attacked a military base in Sulu province to stop the elections in the Muslim autonomous region after Misuari was ousted as governor.

According to Mindanao Examiner, more than 100 people were killed in the fighting and only ended when Mayor Maria Clara Lobregat permitted the attackers to leave Zamboanga in exchange for the hostages.

Misuari then escaped by boat to Malaysia, where he was arrested then deported to the Philippines.

He was eventually pardoned and released by President Gloria Arroyo in exchange for MNLF support to her election campaign in 2004.

BARMM Cabinet reshuffled: Ebrahim to serve as Finance Minister

From MindaNews (Nov 13, 2019): BARMM Cabinet reshuffled: Ebrahim to serve as Finance Minister

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 13 November) – Chief Minister Ahod “Al Haj Murad” Ebrahim announced changes in the Cabinet of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) effective November 11, among them his serving in a concurrent capacity as Finance Minister.

The BARMM Bureau of Public Information on Tuesday said Ebrahim, who served in a concurrent capacity since February as Minister of Public Works has taken over the Ministry of Finance, Budget and Management (MBFBM) from Eduard Guerra, a licensed architect who will now serve as Public Works Minister.


Ahod “Al Haj Murad” Ebrahim, interim Chief Minister of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao and chair of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front. He is concurrently serving as Finance Minister, effective November 11, 2019, MindaNews file photo by MANMAN DEJETO

Ebrahim, chair of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, had served in a concurrent capacity as Public Works Minister since the BARMM took over from the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao on February 26 this year.

Ebrahim, who made the announcement during a Cabinet meeting on Monday, said Abdulraof Macacua, who was appointed Environment Minister in February, will now serve as Executive Secretary aside from being Environment Minister of the nine-month old BARMM.

Before he was named to the Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA) and the BARMM Cabinet, Macacua was Chief of Staff of the Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Forces (BIAF).


Macacua replaced Mike Pasigan as Executive Secretary.

BARMM comprises the provinces of Basilan, Sulu, Tawi-tawi, Lanao del Sur and Maguindanao, and the cities of Marawi, Lamitan and Cotabato City, and 63 villages in six North Cotabato towns. Cotabato City and the North Cotabato villages voted yes to inclusion in the BARMM during the plebiscites in January and February but these local government units have yet to be turned over to the BARMM.

When they took over from the ARMM on February 26, Ebrahim, head of the Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA) that is governing the BARMM until June 30, 2022, vowed a government that will “really be free of all the ills of governance.”

“Now we acknowledge that we are entering another level of our jihad. Our jihad will be more intense and more challenging, our jihad firstly will be against our own self,” Murad said, adding “our enemies are all the ills of governance… our enemy is graft and corruption, our enemy is the manipulation of government, our enemy is nepotism, our enemy is all those ills of government.”

Murad added that aside from taking their oath as BTA members before President in Malacanang on February 22, “we will also take oath to Allah, over the Koran, Inshallah. This is to ensure to you that, Inshallah, we will work for a government that will really be free of all the ills of governance.”

The Bay’a or taking of the oath of moral governance before the Koran, was done during the inauguration of the BARMM on March 29 this year.

Ebrahim explained then that when they started the revolution to assert their right to self-determination, they took an oath before the Koran. “Today as we start our governance, we will also do the same,” he said.

Ebrahim recalled that as they were guided in their armed struggle by the tenets of Islam, they will also be guided by the teachings of Islam “in delivering the trust given to us to run the Bangsamoro government, the brand of governance that Islam advocates — that is, moral governance.”

“We vow to make moral governance as the foundation of this leadership,” he said as he thanked President Rodrigo Duterte for making the event “more significant and historic.”

Duterte, who graced the inaugural, told members of the BTA that “your region’s future is now in your hands.”

“To my dear Bangsamoro sisters and brothers in the BTA, the power to chart the course of your region’s future is now in your hands. I trust that you will wield this power with utmost care, the future of succeeding generations of the Filipinos, especially the Moro of Mindanao, depends on it,” he said.

https://www.mindanews.com/peace-process/2019/11/barmm-cabinet-reshuffled-ebrahim-to-serve-as-finance-minister/

400 ex-MILF fighters to serve as ‘palaw’ rangers in BARMM’s greening program

From the Manila Bulletin (Nov 13, 2019): 400 ex-MILF fighters to serve as ‘palaw’ rangers in BARMM’s greening program

COTABATO CITY – The Bangsamoro region’s Ministry of Environment, Natural Resources, and Energy (MENRE) will recruit former fighters of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) as forest rangers to implement the government’s greening program in the region.



The BARMM’s Minister of Environment, Natural Resources, and Energy, Abdulraof Macacua at his recent guesting at the weekly “Kapehan sa Bangsaoro” media forum in Cotabato City. (Photo via Ali Macabalang / MANILA BULLETIN)

Bangsamoro parliament member and MENRE Minister Abdulraof Macacua who was appointed as concurrent Executive Secretary at the Office of Chief Minister Ahod “Murad” Ebrahim on Tuesday said the hiring of 400 forest rangers from the BIAF would pursue the normalization track of the 2014 peace accord with the MILF.

Macacua is more known as “Sammy Gambal Almansoor,” his pseudonym as chief of staff of the MILF’s Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Forces (BIAF), which Ebrahim once headed before their central committee named him MILF chairman a few weeks after founding chieftain Ustadz Salamat Hashim passed away on July 13, 2003.

In his first appearance at the weekly “Kapihan sa Bangsamoro” media forum here said: “The (hiring of 400 BIAF former combatants as forest rangers) would be like hitting two birds with one stone,” referring to the implementation of the normalization track and the enhanced greening program.

Macacua tagged the prospected rangers as “palaw guards,” who he said are the most potent protectors of mountains where they reside for decades. “Palaw” means mountain in Maguindanaon and Maranao dialects.

The greening program in the region has a total allocation next year of P300-million covering planting and protecting trees in 6,600-hectare mountain areas in Maguindanao alone for next year, he said.

Macacua said the prospected 400 “palaw” rangers will come from the BIAF not covered yet by the decommissioning process, and are retaining their service firearms to protect the remaining forest ranges in the region.

“They are the real forest rangers because they live in the forests and are aware of any intrusion,” he said.

Higher authorities led by President Duterte officially decommissioned 1,060 BIAF fighters and their 920 firearms in formal ceremonies last Sept. 7. Some of those decommissioned have undergone in-camp trainings alongside police and military counterparts to constitute Joint Peace and Security Teams (JPSTs) for security details in Bangsamoro official activities and in state-recognized MILF enclaves.

Those eyed for recruitment as forest rangers will undergo formal trainings on the mechanics of effective planting and protection of trees in logged over areas in the Bangsamoro, focused initially in Maguindanao, Macacua said.

The region, officially known as the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM), covers Lanao del Sur, Maguindanao, Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi provinces, the cities of Marawi, Lamitan and Cotabato and 63 barangays in six North Cotabato towns.

Maguindanao is said to have the most number of Timber License Agreements (TLAs) long granted by the national government before the creation of the BARMM and its predecessor – the 29-year old Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).

Macacua also announced that as of last October, his ministry has already remitted to the BARMM treasury a total of P134 million in mostly forest charges.

5 NPA fighters surrender to gov’t troops in South Cotabato

From the Philippine Infomation Agency (Nov 14, 2019): 5 NPA fighters surrender to gov’t troops in South Cotabato (By 27th IB Philippine Army)



KORONADAL City, South Cotabato, Nov. 14 (PIA) -- Five New People’s Army (NPA) fighters have surrendered to Philippine Army’s 27th Infantry Battalion based nearby Tupi town on Tuesday.

1Lt. Efren James Halawig, Civil Military Operations officer of 27th Infantry Battalion, Philippine Army, identified the surrenderees as Alias Toto, Diego, Ebing, and Alex/Peret, all members of of Sub Regional Committee-ALIP, Far South Mindanao Region (FSMR) from the area of Tampakan.

During their surrender, the NPA fighters handed over to government troops several firearms, including an AK47, an M16 colt rifle, a Garand rifle, an M1 Carbine, and an anti-tank mine.

Another NPA fighter, identified Alias Randy from Maasim, Sarangani Province, yielded to government troops and laid down his AK47. Randy is member of Sub-Regional Committee-Musa of FSMR.

In an interview, Randy said that government efforts to reach far-flung communities with development projects in contrast to the difficulty of life in the revolutionary movement has encouraged him to return to the fold of law.

"Daghan na kaayo ang pag bago sa pagkakaron sa atong pang gobyerno. Naa na mga proyekto para sa katawhan sumala sa mga farm-to-market road, libreng edukasyon, pagtabang sa pang lawas ug uban pang mga tabang" he said.

(So much has changed in the government. Projects such as farm-to-market roads, free education, health assistance and many others are already being implemented for the people.)

Halawig noted that besides the presence of government in the communities, the series of surrenders by members of the communist terrorist group in South Cotabato and Sarangani may also be attributed to the success of government troop operations, including the recent arrest of their top leader Nicanor Pason alias Kumander Costan.

Costan was wounded and arrested during a joint operation of the 27th IB and the police in Maitum, Sarangani on October 11. Also arrested during the incident were Josephine Sumagaysay, Reynaldo Loyola, and Bernard Presbetero alias Kumander Aldrin.

“With the implementation of President Duterte’s Executive Order No. 70, the ranks within the communist terrorist group in our area of operation is already dwindling,” said Lt.Col. Jones Otida, commanding officer of 27th IB.

“This is why we thank the people who have complemented our efforts by adding social pressure for the NPA terrorists to finally surrender.”

As rebel returnees, former NPA fighters may avail of government aid through the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP) that aims to prepare them for their eventual return to the mainstream society.

Under the E-CLIP, a former rebel is assured of safety and security guarantees by the law enforcement agencies and support for relocation for the FR and his or her immediate family

He or she will also be given immediate assistance of P15,000 for mobilization expenses while being enrolled in the E-CLIP, livelihood assistance of P50,000, and reintegration assistance of P21,000 to defray subsistence while in custody of the receiving unit and other incidental expenses such as securing birth certificate, identification card and others. An FR can also receive remuneration for every firearm surrendered.

Other help from government may include enrolment in PhilHealth, skills training and livelihood assistance from TESDA, DOLE, and DTI, housing from the National Housing Authority, and many others. (27TH IB, Phil Army/DED/PIA XII)

Featured Image

Source: 27th Infantry Battalion, Philippine Army

Manobo tribe to NPAs: Stop killing IP leaders

From the Philippine Infomation Agency (Nov 14, 2019): Manobo tribe to NPAs: Stop killing IP leaders (By 3rd Special Forces Battalion, PA)


BAYUGAN CITY, Agusan del Sur, Nov. 14 -- As indigenous peoples (IPs) in Caraga region become more empowered and determined to halt the atrocities of the New People’s Army (NPAs’), the Lianga Tribal Council of Elders has pushed the issuance of Resolution No.1, series of 2019 condemning the NPA’s killing of certain members of the Manobo tribe.

This was signed by the Lianga municipal chieftain, Datu Constancio Duhac, and adopted by the local government unit of Lianga led by mayor Novelita M. Sarmen.

The indigenous peoples mandatory representative (IPMR), with the tribal chieftains representing the whole Manobo tribe of Lianga, Surigao del Sur (SDS) called on the communist NPA terrorists (CNTs) to stop supplanting legitimate IP leaders citing that this causes divisiveness and the disintegration of their customs and traditions in Barangay Diatagon, Lianga, SDS.

“Our customary laws and traditions were disrespected as the NPAs forcefully supplant legitimate tribal leaders with communist-influenced IP leaders in the far-flung sitios so they can control and advance their armed and political struggle. “Stop exploiting us,“ said Hawudon Jumar Bucales, IPMR of Lianga.

The tribal council leaders also urged the Malahutayong Pakigbisog alang sa Sumusunod (MAPASU) to honor and respect the legitimate IP leadership to exercise the traditional tribal governance system based on the customary laws of the tribe and the authority of the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP).

“You (MAPASU) must not dictate the tribal council. You must adhere to our legitimate IP leadership. You are not supreme over the tribal council of elders and you must abide by our traditional governance system. You talk about fighting for self-determination and self-governance but your group is the first to violate our customary laws by defying the tribal council elders,” Datu Duhac said.

The MAPASU has resorted to lobby the support of Bayan Muna partylist representative Eufemia Campos Cullamat, the sister of Pablito Sinzo Campos (alias Batik), the communist NPA top propagandist and root cause of terror in Agusan and Surigao provinces who was nabbed by the 3rd Special Forces Battalion and the PNP in February 2018.

The tribal council of elders has steadfastly and repeatedly stated that not even Cullamat could dictate them because she is not the legitimate IP representative, citing that being a political leader does not necessarily equate to legitimate IP traditional leader.

The council further urged Cullamat to focus on crafting laws that will benefit the IPs instead of using her authority and privilege as a member of the Congress to discredit the government and the military in the IP communities during her privilege speeches.

The IP council urged the IP communities not to join or attend any CPP/NPA-oriented activities such as “bakwit” and any violent tactical offensives targeting government troops and defenseless civilians just to highlight the CPP’s founding anniversary on December 26. (1Lt. Krisjuper Andreo J. Punsalan, CMO, 3SFBn/PIA-Caraga)

Source: 3rd Special Forces Battalion, Philippine Army

Tagalog News: Higaonon sa Agusan del Sur suportado ang EO 70, CTG kinundina

From the Philippine Infomation Agency (Nov 14, 2019): Tagalog News: Higaonon sa Agusan del Sur suportado ang EO 70, CTG kinundina


LUNGSOD NG BUTUAN, Nobyembre 14 (PIA) -- Nagtipon-tipon ang mga lider at miyembro ng tribung Higaunon sa isinagawang “Dumalongdong” sa barangay Sinakungan, Esperanza, Agusan del Sur para talakayin ang usaping pangkapayapaan, at iba’t ibang hamong kinakaharap ng indigenous peoples (IP) community.

Dinaluhan rin ito ng mga opisyal ng National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict o NTF-ELCAC, Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP), National Intelligence Coordinating Agency (NICA), Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), Philippine Army, Philippine Information Agency (PIA), obispo ng Diocese of Butuan, at iba pang government stakeholders.

Layon nitong tugunan ang mga pangangailangan ng nasabing tribu at ipaabot ang suporta ng goberyerno sa pamamagitan ng pagbibigay ng basic services sa kanilang lugar.

“Ngayon na meron nang NTF-ELCAC, mas lalo pang mabibigyan ng pansin at atensyon hindi lamang ang tribu (Higaonon) ninyo kundi lahat ng tribu sa buong Mindanao at Pilipinas,” sabi ni Leouel Santos, director for operations ng NTF-ELCAC.

Ayon naman kay Atty. Leuben Lingating, chairperson ng Indigenous Peoples’ Peace Panel ng OPAPP, nais nitong palakasin at tugunan ang panawagan ng bawat katutubo na maipatupad ang Indigenous Peoples' Rights Act (IPRA) of 1997 upang sa gayun ay tuluyan nang makamit ang minimithing kapayapaan at kaunlaran.

Nakiisa rin sa Higaunon ang mga tribu ng Banwaon, Omayamnon at Polangiyon galing sa probinsiya ng Agusan del Norte, Misamis Oriental at Bukidnon para suportahan ang Executive Order 70 ni Pangulong Rodrigo Duterte.

Kinondena rin nila ang communist terrorist group o CTG na kanilang itinuturing na kalaban at hadlang sa kaunlaran lalung-lalo na ang pakikialam nito sa kanilang katutubong lupa at paglabag sa kanilang karapatang pantao.

Sinabi naman ni Inday Lindahog, isang Higaonon sa Agusan del Sur, na isinagawa nila ang Dumalongdong upang mapag-usapan at masolusyonan ang mga propaganda ng CTG.

“May karapatan kami na ipaglaban an aming tradisyon, kultura at lupain dahil dito kami namumuhay at minana pa namin ito sa aming mga ninuno,” sabi ni Lindahog.

Tiniyak din ng DILG-Caraga at NICA na tutukan ang kahilingan ng nasabing tribu.


“Ang aming opisina ay bukas ano mang oras sa kung sino man sa inyo na gustong komunsulta hinggil sa mga isyu. Nariyan din an gating mga lokal na pamahallan na lagging handang tumulong s ainyo. Kaya huwag kayong mag-atubiling lumapit sa amin, sa ating pamahalaan. Kaagapay ninyo kami at sama-sama nating itaguyod ang kapayapaan upang matamasa ang kaunlaran,” sabi ni DILG-Caraga Assistant Regional Director Donald Seronay.

Ipinaabot din ni Jun Bringas ng NICA na “ang NTF ay mananatiling kasama ng iba’t ibang tribu sa kanilang pangayaw laban sa NPA.”

Samantala, nagbigay ang NTF-ELCAC ng tulong pinansyal sa nasabing tribu.

Matatandaan na ang barangay Sinakungan ay inatake ng mahigit kumulang isang daang rebeldeng NPA taong 2018 sa araw mismo ng eleksyon ng barangay kung saan nagdulot ng pananakit sa ilang Higaonon. (VLG/PIA-Caraga)

https://pia.gov.ph/news/articles/1030159

Gov’t troopers conduct feeding program to school kid in Mainit town

From the Philippine Infomation Agency (Nov 14, 2019): Gov’t troopers conduct feeding program to school kid in Mainit town (By 30IB, Philippine Army)

SURIGAO CITY, Surigao del Norte, Nov. 14 (PIA) -- The soldiers from the Community Support Program (CSP) of Alpha Company under the 30th Infantry Battalion (30IB), Philippine Army generously conducted feeding program to day-care pupils in Barangay Tolingon, Mainit, this province.

Acting commanding officer Lt. Jonel G. Castillo said the activity aims to give hope and happiness to the children in their area of operation, provide assistance, and uplift the morale of the students who are inspiration to their families.

He said securing the future of the student is very important for them and seeing smiles on every face of these children gives them the inspiration to perform their duties well to achieve lasting peace and development.

Lt. Castillo said that the feeding program assisted by the military is a great opportunity for them to help children in rural areas that need a complete meal in a day.

“The army serves as a volunteer and teacher at the same time. They not only perform duties on the battlefield but serve the needy children through a collaborative effort, cooperation and involvement of various stakeholders,” Lt. Castillo added. (Susil D. Ragas/30IB, Philippine Army/PIA-Surigao del Norte)

Source: 30th Infantry Battalion, Philippine Army

402nd Brigade welcomes little brigade commander

From the Philippine Infomation Agency (Nov 14, 2019): 402nd Brigade welcomes little brigade commander (By 402nd Brigade, PA)


BUTUAN CITY, Nov. 14 -- In line with the celebration of the 27th National Children’s Month, the 402nd Infantry (Stingers) Brigade, Philippine Army welcomed the arrival of the little brigade commander at its camp on November 11, 2019 in Brgy. Bancasi, this city.

Officers and other personnel of the 402nd Brigade warmly greeted Nina Mae Pugtol, from Manila De Bugabos National High School, in a reception line led by Col. Cerilo C. Baloro, Jr., deputy brigade commander, that was followed by a meet and greet session to start the day of being the little commander.

The city government of Butuan through the Council for the Welfare of Children chaired by City Councilor Rema A. Burdeos has partnered with the 402nd Brigade and other government agencies to allow the children to enjoy a day of experiencing the role of being a local official.

It aims to inculcate to the young minds the principle of public service and trigger their interest to join the government service and become a public servant.


Pugtol currently led the Supreme Student Government (SSG) of their school as the president. She was given the opportunity to preside a military-style command conference with unit information briefing presentation held with the presence of all brigade staff officers and attached units of the camp.

“Hadlok man diay mag-preside sa conference kay daghan kag need nga mandoan kung unsa ang angay buhaton arun ma-keep ang peace. The more hinoon na mas na-inspire ko nga mag military. Gusto jud nako mag military kay aside sa taas sweldo kay maka serve pako sa katawhan (I was a bit petrified when presiding because I had to decide and delegate the things that need to be done to enforce peace and security. The more I am inspired and convinced to join the military service, not only for the high salary that I will be earning but more importantly to be able to serve the people and the country),” Pugtol said.


Also, Pugtol was given a brief orientation on the different individual and crew-served weapons. As the little commander, she visited and inspected different tenant units attached to the brigade and toured around the camp to see the different aspects of soldiery. To conclude her duty, Pugtol was treated with a lunch at the officers’ mess hall.

“Ms. Pugtol was overjoyed upon serving as our little brigade commander and we cannot help but be proud and honored that she was inspired and wanted to be one of us," said Col. Balaoro.

"That only justifies that the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) is on the right track in its pursuit for peace and development. Sometimes, we need the innocent minds of the children to somehow understand the military profession and recognize the sacrifices and dedicated service that the soldiers had been doing to the people and this country,” he added.

Meanwhile, Brigade Commander Col. Maurito L. Licudine vowed full commitment in upholding the children’s rights. “We are always committed to supporting the children. This is in recognition of the importance of the children in nation-building and as part of our mandate to protect the welfare of the children against those who violate their rights under the provisions of International Humanitarian Law and the fundamental laws of the land,” he said. (Major Francisco P. Garello, Jr., 402nd Bde-CMO Officer/VLG/PIA-Caraga)

Source: Civil Military Operations, 402nd Infantry Brigade, Philippine Army

NCRTF-ELCAC approves anti-insurgency plans

From the Philippine Infomation Agency (Nov 14, 2019): NCRTF-ELCAC approves anti-insurgency plans


Members and stakeholders of the NCRTF ELCAC show the approved implemantation plan that will operationalize the whole-of-nation approach to end the decades-long communist armed conflict. (PIA)

MANILA, Nov. 14 (PIA) -- The National Capital Region Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NCRTF ELCAC) on Wednesday (Nov. 13) signed and approved its Implementation Plan at the historic Intramuros Golf Club aimed at addressing communism in the country's premiere region.

The plan will integrate, harmonize, and operationalize the various efforts of the whole-of-government and of all sectors of society in delivering goods, services, and information, as well as in providing for peace, security, and development in Metro Manila.

The group also approved its cluster-level implementation plans for the task force’s 12 Lines of Effort to end the decades-long communist insurgency problem.

During the event, concurrent NCRTF technical working group head and DPWH NCR regional director Ador Canlas, CESO IV said the plans’ approval is a step among many strategic steps to address the communist insurgency.

“This will be preparation for our National Summit sometime next week at the Heroes Hall in Malacanang,” Canlas said.

“Our very special guest will be non other than our President, President Rodrigo Roa Duterte. So we will be there and we will send to him these plans, a regional plan, together with the other cluster-level plans.

He said the plans would converge their efforts towards a long and lasting peace not only in Metro Manila but the entire Philippines.

It has been learned that the curent support system of communist groups are in Metro Manila.

It can be recalled that the NCRTF ELCAC was formally created as a part of President Duterte’s 2018 order for a “Whole of Nation” approach for sustainable peace.

The special task force seeks to counter the recruitment efforts of groups such as CPP-NPA and their deceitful propaganda in schools and poor communities in Metro Manila.

The task force also seeks to ensure direct delivery of social services to the poor, who security sector officials said are being targeted for recruitment. (PIA NCR)

Lapinig, Mapanas towns of NorSamar create Municipal Task Force-ELCAC

From the Philippine Infomation Agency (Nov 14, 2019): Lapinig, Mapanas towns of NorSamar create Municipal Task Force-ELCAC

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TACLOBAN CITY, Nov. 14 (PIA) -- The local government units of Mapanas and Lapinig, both in Northern Samar, have organized on November 11, their respective Municipal Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (MTF-ELCAC).

In the same occasion, both Task Forces also passed their respective resolutions declaring the CPP-NPA persona non-grata.

The meeting which was held in Mapanas was attended by the members of both towns’ Municipal Development Council and Municipal Peace and Order Council.

Before the creation of both Task Forces, the Regional Task Force-ELCAC 8 Situation Analysis and Knowledge Management Cluster presented the salient points of EO 70, Call to Action while the DILG-Northern Samar gave a briefing on Retooled Community Service Program and the role of the LGUs in the EO 70. The 803 Brigade presented the ECLIP while the 20th Infantry Battalion Commander gave a briefing on the Security Situation in Mapanas and Lapinig and its adjacent areas.

Mapanas Mayor John Tejano and Lapinig Mayor Maria Luisa Menzon expressed their gratitude for the attendance of all government agencies concerned during the activity.

Although, they were not able to place a Tarpaulin indicating the Resolution and statement declaring the CTG as Persona Non Grata, they promised to implement it as soon as possible. 20IB Commander will follow up said compliance.

Another highlight is the signing of the Pledge of Commitment by the members.

Aside from the two Mayors, present during the activity were RD NICA 8, Colonel Oliveros, 803 Bde commander, Ltc John Gullem, Bn Comdr of 20IB, 8ID,PA, DILG 8 NS Provincial Director Danny Laguitan, NS PPO PCol Dela Cruz, and MLGOOs of Mapanas and Lapinig municipalities. (PIA-8)

https://pia.gov.ph/news/articles/1030201

One more LGU in NorSamar organized MTF-ELCAC

From the Philippine Infomation Agency (Nov 14, 2019): One more LGU in NorSamar organized MTF-ELCAC

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TACLOBAN CITY, Nov. 14 (PIA) - The Municipal Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (MTF-ELCA) was officially set in place in Rosario, Northern Samar on November 13, 2019.

In a joint meeting, the Municipal Development Council and the Municipal Peace and Order Council of Rosario, jointly passed a resolution for the creation of Rosario MTF-ELCAC.

The creation of the MTF-ELCAC was preceeded by orientation and briefings by the Regional Task Force-ELCAC 8 Situation Awareness and Knowledge Management Cluster led by NICA, together with the LGOO DILG, and NSPO.

The topics included EO 70, NTF70 Call to Action and Retooled Community Support Program.

In the same occasion, the MTF-ELCAC reiterated its stand declaring the CPP/NPA/NDF as Persona Non-Grata (PNG), which they have issued months ago.

The joint MPOC-MDC meeting was attended by 52 LGU department heads, Punong Barangays, Community Service Officers, and SB members, led by Rosario Mayor Gerardo Miranda and Vice Mayor Vicente Arillo Jr.

Also present were LGOO Malou Ortega of DILG-NSamar; MLGOO Cecelio Abesamis; OIC Chief of Police Plt Lyndon Dagalea; Bravo Coy 52nd IB Detachment Comdr Sgt Erwin Din; and 803rd Reg'l Mobile Force (RMFB8) Opns PNCO Allan Pofnias Jr. (PIA-8)

https://pia.gov.ph/news/articles/1030199

Two female NPA minors surrender to Army

From the Philippine Infomation Agency (Nov 14, 2019): Two female NPA minors surrender to Army (By 23IB Philippine Army)



BUENAVISTA, Agusan del Norte, Nov. 14 -- Another two female members of the New People’s Army (NPA) who are minors voluntarily surrendered to the 23rd Infantry (Masigasig) Battalion (23IB) in the months of September to October 2019.

The two surrenderees were i
dentified as alias "Gethel" (Political Guide), 17 years old and alias "Christine" (Medic), 17 years old. They were recruited by alias "Ron-ron," a member of Sub-Regional Command (SRC) 3, SAGAY, North Central Mindanao Regional Committee (NCMRC) through black propaganda regarding the present situation of the country. They were deceived and promised to be given a brighter future including their families once they join in their group.


Prior to the recruitment, these two surrenderees were studying, but they were not able to finish their studies because of the exploitation, deception and manipulation of the NPAs.

They were not clearly informed that they will be joining the armed movement. Contradictory to their promises, they only suffered from loneliness, exhaustion and starvation until they find an opportunity to escape from the said group.


Meanwhile, Gethel expressed her resentment against the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army Terrorists (CNTs). “I was a student by the time I was recruited by the CNTs. Due to the hardship and hunger I experienced inside the movement, I decided to go back to the folds of the law. I am also afraid to lose my dreams, future and precious life because of the continuous military operation. At first, I was afraid because our leader told us that there’s a big possibility that the military will torture and kill me upon knowing that I am an NPA member, but I stand firm with my decision. I am so glad that the soldiers of 23IB never fail to help me and they assisted me to start a new life," she said.

Moreover, Christine also revealed the struggle she encountered inside the armed movement. “I didn’t know that I am going to be a member of CPP-NPA. My parents also do not know that I became a member of the NPA. We were not allowed to visit our parents and even prohibited us to contact them. Later, I knew that my family received a death threat telling them that once they will report to the authorities regarding my situation, they will be killed. They were also forced to leave our home and stay away from our barangay," she recalled.



Lieutenant Colonel Francisco Molina, Jr., commanding officer of 23IB continuously reminds the youth to be vigilant to the alarming NPA recruitment. "Some of the leaders of the NPA have already surrendered to the folds of the law, but it was so alarming that even the female youths are also fighting against the government troops just like what happened to Gethel and Christine. They were recruiting the young ones to be victims of their false ideology and these innocent youths will be suffering their entire life being enslaved by the CNT leaders. The recruitment of the youth is a big violation to the International Humanitarian Law (IHL) and Republic Act 7610 (Special Protection of Children against Abuse Exploitation and Discrimination Act)," he said.

Molina further reminded the youths to become active peace advocates towards a brighter future. "Be vigilant! Do not fall victim to their trap," he added. (1Lt. Roel T. Maglalang, CMO Officer, 23IB, PA/PIA Agusan del Norte)

Source: 23rd Infantry Battalion, Philippine Army

New batch of 27 NPA supporters surrender in Nueva Ecija

From the Philippine Infomation Agency (Nov 14, 2019): New batch of 27 NPA supporters surrender in Nueva Ecija

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FORT MAGSAYSAY, Nueva Ecija, Nov.14 (PIA) -- A new batch consisting of 27 supporters of the New People’s Army (NPA) in Nueva Ecija voluntarily surrendered to the folds of the government.

The surrenderees, which include two minors, are members of the Underground Mass Organization under Komiteng Larangang Gerilya Sierra Madre.

“They surrendered last Tuesday, November 12, in Sitio Malidhi, Barangay Minuli, Carranglan town. This was possible through the help of the 2nd Provincial Mobile Force Company of the Nueva Ecija Police Provincial Office and the Barangay Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict of Minuli. The combined efforts of these agencies & instrumentalities ensured the smooth surrender of the underground mass supporters,” 84th Infantry Battalion Commanding Officer Lieutenant Colonel Honorato S. Pascual Jr said.


A new batch consisting of 27 supporters of the New People’s Army in Nueva Ecija voluntarily surrender to the folds of the government. The surrenderees, which include two minors, are members of the Underground Mass Organization under Komiteng Larangang Gerilya Sierra Madre. (7th Infantry Division)

“We will continue to work with local government units and the different sectors of the society. We will provide livelihood projects and capacity development programs that will prevent them (the youth and cultural minorities) from being tricked once again by the unscrupulous acts of the NPA,” Pascual added.

In a statement, Army 7th Infantry Division Commander Major General Lenard T. Agustin said he is glad of the series of surrenders that have been taking place in the provinces under his area of responsibility.

“It is very alarming that communist terrorist groups are exploiting vulnerable minorities, especially the youth sector. We are countering these activities by enhancing our information drives, working hand-in-hand with other agencies and local government units, using the whole-of-nation approach. The Barangay Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict of Minuli has done well. It must be aggressive in making other mass supporters see the light as we cannot just stand by and let the NPA influence the youth. It is their children at stake here,” Agustin added. (CLJD-PIA 3)

https://pia.gov.ph/news/articles/1030229

69IB holds mushroom production seminar in Cuyapo

From the Philippine Infomation Agency (Nov 14, 2019): 69IB holds mushroom production seminar in Cuyapo


About 150 farmers attend a one-day mushroom production seminar conducted by the 69th Infantry Battalion and Municipal Agriculture Office in barangay San Antonio, Cuyapo town.Participants were members of three farmer groups namely United Farmers Association, Samahang Manggagawang Bukid ng San Antonio and Cuyapo Farmers League. (7thInfantry Division)

FORT MAGSAYSAY, Nueva Ecija, Nov.14 (PIA) -- About 150 farmers attended a one-day mushroom production seminar conducted by the 69th Infantry Battalion (69IB) and Municipal Agriculture Office in barangay San Antonio, Cuyapo town.

Participants were members of three farmer groups namely United Farmers Association, Samahang Manggagawang Bukid ng San Antonio and Cuyapo Farmers League.

“The seminar was an immediate response to the prevailing issues identified during the Needs Assessment Survey conducted by 69IB in the area which include lack of livelihood due to farm mechanization which resulted to the loss of jobs among farmers who used to be hired for variety of farm works. This has become an issue exploited by organizations affiliated to the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA),” 69IB Commanding OfficerLieutenant Colonel Arcadio S. Posada said.

With the conduct of the seminar, farmers now have the knowledge and skill on mushroom production which they can use to start their own livelihood and have additional means to support their needs.

“As facilitators of peace and development, it is a must to deliver the services of the government to those in need. The efforts of our Community Support Program team in barangay San Antonio, Cuyapo is a manifestation of the commitment of the Philippine Army to contribute to nation-building. We will continue to support the farmers in our own capacity because we want them to believe that the government cares for them,” Posada furthered.

“As we call for our brothers in the armed struggle to return to the government fold, we are also creating the best avenues for those who have already surrendered to have a source of income and start a new life. In collaboration with the different agencies, we also respond to the needs of our poor farmers so that they will no longer be used by the CPP-NPA to create chaos and confusion in communities. Together with the local government units and other agencies, we will enhance the delivery of basic social services and help uplift their lives. Again, this is the whole-of-nation approach that has all of us working together to bring an end to the local communist armed struggle,” Army 7th Infantry Division Commander Major General Lenard T. Agustin said. (CLJD-PIA 3)

https://pia.gov.ph/news/articles/1030230

2 Reds surrender, yield arms in Mindoro

From the Philippine News Agency (Nov 14, 2019): 2 Reds surrender, yield arms in Mindoro



Mindoro map courtesy of en.wikipedia.org

CAMP GEN. CAPINPIN, Tanay, Rizal — Two former members of the New People's Army (NPA) have yielded to police and military forces in Occidental Mindoro on Tuesday.

The former rebels also surrendered two M14 rifles after signifying their intention to return to mainstream society and disclosed their arms cache during the government forces’ intelligence operations.

Col. Antonio Lastimado, Commander of 203rd Brigade, said the surrender of the two rebels brings the number of rebel surrenderers in Mindoro island to 65.


Lastimado said the two rebels, whose identities are being withheld for security reasons, will receive similar benefits which earlier surrenderers got under the government’s Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP).

“This accomplishment is a direct result of the Regional Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (RTF ELCAC)-MIMAROPA’s proactive stance in implementing President Duterte’s Executive Order Number 70 which calls for a whole of nation approach in solving insurgency in our country,” Lastimado said in a statement Wednesday.

He also expressed confidence on the success of the localized Provincial Task Force ELCAC of Occidental Mindoro under Governor Eduardo Gadiano.

“We will be able to defeat insurgency in this part of the country through the civilian agencies’ consistent delivery of social services to far-flung areas complemented by the military’s unrelenting intelligence-driven focused military operations,” he added.

He also reiterated the soldiers’ commitment to serve the Filipino people and ensure their security at all times so that they may enjoy their families’ company in peace especially at the onset of the holiday season.

In a related report, Lt. Col. Mario Lito Retirva, Commanding Officer of the 76th Infantry Battalion, said government troops also recovered numerous M14 magazines with ammunition.

“We are expecting more war materiel will be handed-over by these former rebels in the coming days,” Retirva said.

He pointed to military records that showed the unprecedented snowball of NPA surrenders in Southern Tagalog were attributed to discontent from the terrorist rebel movement leaders and demoralization among the terrorists’ ranks.

“These are on top of the swift implementation of E-CLIP, which provides grants to former rebels to help them and their families reintegrate to mainstream society and lead normal lives,” he added.

The military said some 80 former rebels will receive PHP1.2 million worth of grants covering immediate and livelihood cash assistance during a ceremony to be led by Gadiano in San Jose City, Occidental Mindoro on November 26.

In a separate statement, Brig. Gen. Arnulfo Marcelo Burgos Jr., Commander of the Philippine Army’s 2nd Infantry Division (2ID), lauded the troops for the successful localized peace negotiation.

Burgos said President Rodrigo Duterte has been promoting the localized peace talks after realizing that prominent CPP leaders like Joma Sison no longer command obedience from the NPA terrorists on the ground.

“Today more than ever, through the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict, we are in a position to finally defeat insurgency and finally pave the way for peace, prosperity and development which every Filipino deserves,” Burgos said.

He affirmed military’s assessment the NPA units operating in southern Tagalog are now on the verge of collapse due to massive losses in terms of manpower, firearms as well as mass base and financial support.

He reiterated his call to the few remaining NPAs to put down their arms, avail E-CLIP grants, return to mainstream society and join the Filipino people in moving forward as a nation.

The NPA, the armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines, is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, the European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines.

https://www.pna.gov.ph/articles/1085959

E. Samar officials mourn death of 6 soldiers

From the Philippine News Agency (Nov 14, 2019): E. Samar officials mourn death of 6 soldiers



FALLEN HERO. Soldiers carry a body of a soldier who perished in a bombing and gunbattle in the upland Pinanag-an village of Borongan, Eastern Samar. Local officials in Eastern Samar province were saddened over the death of six soldiers in Borongan City after the New People’s Army detonated landmines and ambushed them Monday afternoon (Nov. 11, 2019). (Philippine Army photo)

TACLOBAN CITY -- Local officials in Eastern Samar province were saddened over the death of six soldiers in Borongan City after the New People’s Army (NPA) detonated landmines and staged an ambush Monday afternoon.

The 30-minute gun battle after the blasts that also wounded 20 soldiers of the 14th Infantry Battalion is a very sad incident that happened in a peaceful province, Eastern Samar Rep. Maria Fe Abunda said in a statement issued Wednesday.


“We don’t want this to happen again. My office is open for dialogue that will lead to ending armed struggle since conflict is detrimental in achieving development goals,” said Abunda, a former three-termer mayor of Borongan City, the provincial capital of Eastern Samar province.

Abunda expressed her condolences to the families of the six soldiers who perished in Pinanag-an, a remote village in Borongan, situated more than 30 kilometers away from the city center and accessible through pump boat ride and hiking.

Killed were Sgt. Rex Jadulco, Cpl. Ronald Go, Cpl. Limar Banug, Pfc. Kent Loyd Agullo, Pvt. Charlie Del Rosario, and Pfc. Junmar Buranday.

A communist terrorist was also killed during the armed encounter.

Easter Samar Governor Ben Evardone also expressed his sadness over the ambush of the soldiers in a statement.

"The incident the other day in Barangay Pinanag-an, Borongan City, was very unfortunate, tragic and a clear act of barbarism. Definitely, this will not sit well in our desire to attain just and lasting peace in Region 8 in particular and the whole country in general," the governor said.

"But this will not cow us or deter us from pursuing peace and development in the region. We must relentlessly mobilize all our resources not only to bring justice to our fallen heroes but to ensure peace, stability, and development in the region," Evardone added.

As a token gesture of support to our fallen heroes, the provincial government of Eastern Samar will give PHP25,000 cash or livelihood assistance to the families of six casualties and PHP10,000 to each wounded.

Arteche, Eastern Samar Mayor Roland Boie Evardone said the death of their townmate Pfc. Kent Loyd Agullo is sad news since the fallen soldier served to achieve peace.

"Kent Lloyd is a son, a brother, a friend, a hero and pride of Arteche. Until his last breath, he made us proud,” Evardone added.

“The local government and the residents of our town are in grief with the news and we express our condolences with the family of soldiers who perished and praying for the speedy recovery of those who are wounded," he said.

The mayor reiterated their stand to declare the NPA persona non grata in Arteche town through a resolution signed on August 6, 2019.

Pursuit operations against the communist terrorist group are still ongoing, Philippine Army’s 8th Infantry Division spokesperson, Capt. Reynaldo Aragones said.

“Although we suffered losses, this doesn't mean that we have to abandon our duty in pursuing against the rebel and on our fight for a peaceful land,” Aragones said.

“We are thankful to the people of Eastern Samar for providing us information about the presence of the communist members in their area, although this resulted in the death of our soldiers, this also helps us in monitoring their presence,” the official added.

Acting on reports from civilians, the three platoons were heading to an NPA lair also being used for bomb-making when rebels detonated six anti-personnel landmines and fired on soldiers.

The military has repeatedly condemned the NPA for using landmines in their attacks, showing disrespect for basic human rights. The terrorist attack also disregards the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law.

The NPA, the armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines, is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, the European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines.

https://www.pna.gov.ph/articles/1085880

Authorities express alarm over 'cult' activities in Surigao Norte

From the Philippine News Agency (Nov 14, 2019): Authorities express alarm over 'cult' activities in Surigao Norte



ALARMED. A video grab shows what appears to be a military training exercise by members of the group called Bayanihan Services, Inc. Governor Francisco T. Matugas has created a task force composed of various government line agencies to dig deeper into the activities of the organization, which is based in Bucas Grande Island. (Photo grab from Surigao del Norte website)

BUTUAN CITY -- Top Surigao del Norte officials have expressed alarm over the recent activities of the group called Bayanihan Services, Inc. (Bayanihan) in the town of Socorro, Bucas Grande Island.

Surigao del Norte Governor Francisco Matugas believes the group is engaged in fanaticism "based on their activities and actions" as reported by authorities and posts on various social media platforms.


In Surigao del Norte, the group is generally regarded as a doomsday cult, whose members believe they must prepare for the end times.

“They are already fanatics. Some left their works just to join the group. We also saw pictures of the group marching,” Matugas told reporters on Wednesday.

A video circulating on Facebook showed Bayanihan members undergoing what appears as military training exercise in an area known as Kapihan View Park in Barangay Sering, Socorro town.

Matugas said the Bayanihan group presence has long been reported in Socorro but their recent activities have worried authorities.

However, the group's secretary-general, Mamerto Galanida, denied any irregularity in their activities saying they are not forming a militia nor establishing a military camp in the area.

Galanida is a former Sangguniang Panlalawigan member of Surigao del Norte.

In a recent interview with the local media, Galanida said their activities were related to the 87th birthday celebration of their leader Rosalina Taruc.

Rosalina is the wife of the group’s founder, the late Don Albino Taruc. The group has more or less 2,000 members.

Last year, the Bayanihan group was accused of making preparations for the “end of the world” and allegedly required their members to stay at the Kapihan View Park, an elevated area in Socorro town.

Matugas said the activities of the group have resulted in the absence without leave (AWOL) of some police officers, teachers abandoning their duties, and children no longer reporting to their classes.

He added that a task force was already created to investigate the Bayanihan group composed of the Philippine National Police, the Army, the Department of the Interior and Local Government, Department of Education, Department of Health, Department of Social Welfare and Development, and the Department of Justice.

The task force, he said, will look into the accountability of Bayanihan members employed in government agencies who have abandoned their duties.

Matugas said the task force will soon come out with a report and recommendations.

https://www.pna.gov.ph/articles/1085962

Army, NGO bring health care to 1K Maguindanao indigents

From the Philippine News Agency (Nov 14, 2019): Army, NGO bring health care to 1K Maguindanao indigents



HEALTH MISSION. Soldiers of the Army's 602nd Infantry Brigade help bring health services to far-flung Barangay Dungguan, Datu Montawal, Maguindanao on Wednesday (Nov. 13, 2019) together with Team Jesus, a Manila-based non-government organization. A total of 1,032 indigents benefited from the mission in the village often rocked by recurring armed hostilities involving Moro families locked in clan wars emanating from land disputes. (Photo courtesy of 602Bde)

CAMP SIONGCO, Maguindanao -- An Army brigade in North Cotabato, in partnership with a non-government organization (NGO), took time out to help bring health services to 1,032 indigent residents of Datu Montawal, Maguindanao Wednesday.

The Army's 602nd Infantry Brigade (602Bde), together with a pool of doctors from “Team Jesus,” a Manila-based NGO, provided a free medical, dental, optical and haircut undertaking to far-flung Barangay Dungguan, Datu Montawal town.

Brig. Gen. Alfredo Rosario Jr., 602Bde commander, said their participation in the activity forms part of their peace and development efforts to conflict-affected areas of the province.


“The residents of the village have been displaced by recurring armed hostilities involving Moro families who were locked in “rido” (clan war) or family feud triggered by a land dispute,” Rosario said.

Villagers availed of dental services, medical consultation with free medicine, circumcision, optical assistance, and haircut and massage.

Aside from medical services, Team Jesus also distributed a total of 500 story booklets, hygiene kits, and food packs.

Rosario said the medical and dental mission aims to promote a holistic approach in solving armed conflicts in the area by making basic health services accessible to remote communities.

https://www.pna.gov.ph/articles/1085975

BARMM anti-insurgency task force holds workshop in Zambo

From the Philippine News Agency (Nov 14, 2019): BARMM anti-insurgency task force holds workshop in Zambo


STRATEGIC PLANNING. The Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao Regional Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict holds a strategic planning workshop in Zamboanga City to apprise the regional task force on the BARMM and the security concepts of Executive Order 70. (Photo courtesy of Western Mindanao Command PIO)

ZAMBOANGA CITY --The Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) Regional Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (RTF-ELCAC) is conducting a three-day strategic planning workshop here.

Maj. Arvin John Encinas, Western Mindanao Command (Westmincom) spokesperson, said the workshop opened Wednesday and ends Friday with BARMM officials, soldiers and policemen as participants.

Encinas said the activity, spearheaded by the Department of National Defense (DND), aims to apprise the regional task force on the BARMM and the security concepts of Executive Order 70.

President Rodrigo Duterte issued EO 70 institutionalizing the "whole-of-nation" approach in attaining inclusive and sustainable peace, creating a national task force to end local communist armed conflict, and directing the adoption of a national peace framework.

Encinas said the three-day activity will also serve as the venue for the identification of the problems of BARMM and the possible solutions through the National Task Force framework.

He said the participants will also designate the BARMM RTF-ELCAC officials during the three-day workshop.

Encinas said the three-day workshop aims to formulate a strategic plan of the regional task force, which will provide guidance on the operationalization of the EO 70 and other security concerns in BARMM.

https://www.pna.gov.ph/articles/1086008

5 more NPA rebels yield in SoCot, Sarangani

From the Philippine News Agency (Nov 14, 2019): 5 more NPA rebels yield in SoCot, Sarangani



SURRENDER. Five more New People’s Army rebels from South Cotabato and Sarangani provinces surrendered last Tuesday (Nov. 12, 2019) to the Army’s 27th Infantry Battalion following a series of negotiations. Photo shows three of the five surrenderers who yielded along with high-powered firearms. (Photo courtesy of the 27IB)

GENERAL SANTOS CITY -- The government’s intensified campaign against the communist insurgency has continued to gain ground in South Cotabato and Sarangani provinces, with the surrender early this week of five more members of the New People’s Army (NPA).

Lt. Col. Jones Otida, commanding officer of the Army’s 27th Infantry Battalion (IB), said Thursday the rebels formally yielded and turned over their firearms last Tuesday at the Army headquarters in Tupi, South Cotabato.

He said that four of the rebels were from Tampakan, South Cotabato and one from Maasim, Sarangani.

Otida identified the four surrenderers from Tampakan as aliases “Toto,” “Diego,” “Ebing” and “Alex/Peret,” who were listed as members of the NPA’s Front 74 Sub-Regional Committee Alip-Far South Mindanao Region (FSMR).

He said they voluntarily handed over an AK47 rifle, M16 Colt rifle, Garand rifle, M1 Carbine rifle, and an anti-tank mine.

Another surrenderer from Maasim, identified only as alias Randy, surrendered along with his AK47 rifle, he said.


Otida said alias “Randy” was a member of the Front 73 Sub-Regional Committee Musa-FSMR, which operates in the hinterland tri-boundaries of South Cotabato, Sarangani, and Sultan Kudarat provinces.

“They decided to surrender due to their difficult situation and desire to go back to their families,” he said in a statement.

Alias “Randy” was quoted as saying there was no more reason for them to continue the armed struggle as government services and development projects are now reaching even the remote communities.

"I have seen how our communities developed these past years through various government interventions. We now have more farm-to-market roads, we have free education and health services,” the former rebel was quoted by the 27IB as saying.

Otida said the surrender of the rebels “can be associated” to the arrest in Maitum, Sarangani last month of Nicanor Pason, a top leader of the NPA-FSMR.

He also credited it to the continuous support of concerned stakeholders, especially the local government units, and the implementation of President Rodrigo Duterte’s Executive Order No. 70, which institutionalized the "whole-of-nation" approach as a strategy to attain inclusive and sustainable peace in the country.

“The ranks of the communist terrorist group in our area of operation are already dwindling because of these efforts,” he said.

Otida added that they will enlist the surrenderers into the government’s Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program, which will provide them with livelihood assistance and other socio-economic interventions.

Last week, at least 19 NPA rebels from parts of South Cotabato also surrendered to the Police Regional Office-12’s intelligence unit.

https://www.pna.gov.ph/articles/1086020

22 ex-NPA rebels in SoCot get livelihood training

From the Philippine News Agency (Nov 14, 2019): 22 ex-NPA rebels in SoCot get livelihood training



LIVELIHOOD TRAINING. At least 22 former New People’s Army rebels in South Cotabato are now certified poultry production specialists after completing a 33-day training program of the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority. The beneficiaries received National Certificates II Animal Production (Poultry Chicken) after graduating from the training held at the Umani Farm, Barangay Paraiso in Koronadal City. (Photo courtesy of TESDA-12)

GENERAL SANTOS CITY -- At least 22 former New People’s Army (NPA) rebels in South Cotabato are now certified poultry production specialists after completing a training program of the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA).

TESDA-12 director Rafael Abrogar II said Thursday the returnees graduated last week from a 33-day training on Animal Production (Poultry Chicken) National Certificate (NC) II held at the Umani Farm, Barangay Paraiso in Koronadal City.

Abrogar said the graduates received NC II certificate of competencies and can now pursue livelihood ventures on poultry production.

“This is part of our interventions to assist the reintegration of our former rebels to their communities and make them into productive citizens,” he told reporters.

TESDA provides livelihood training to rebel returnees as part of the national government’s flagship Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (ECLIP).

The 22 beneficiaries, mostly indigenous peoples, are former members of the NPA operating in South Cotabato who surrendered in the last two years and enlisted into the ECLIP.

One of them was an alias “George,” who was a member of the NPA’s Front 73 for over 10 years.

The former rebel, according to TESDA-12, decided to surrender early this year after reportedly getting tired of fighting the government.

“George” was quoted as saying he wanted to lead a normal life with his family and strive to give them “a better future.”

Abrogar said they will assist the returnees in starting their own livelihood projects in coordination with other government agencies.

TESDA has existing linkages with the Department of Trade and Industry and the Department of Labor and Employees for the provision of livelihood grants to their graduates.

Since January, the agency already trained a total of 238 rebel returnees from parts of Region 12 (Soccsksargen) on skills and provided various livelihood assistances.

https://www.pna.gov.ph/articles/1086015

Lady traffic enforcer shot dead in Davao Sur

From the Philippine News Agency (Nov 14, 2019): Lady traffic enforcer shot dead in Davao Sur



Google map of Digos City, Davao del Sur.

DIGOS CITY, Davao del Sur – Police investigators are still facing a blank wall in the killing of a female employee of the Traffic Management Center (TMC) on Wednesday afternoon just few meters from a bus terminal here.

Col. Ernesto Castillo, Digos police chief, identified the victim as Angelica Lazaga, 23, an office staff of the TMC, and a resident of Sulop, Davao del Sur.

Lazaga sustained two bullet wounds in the chest and neck, killing her on the spot.

Initial investigation showed that Lazaga had just alighted from a tricycle near her workplace when a gunman shot her twice at close range.

The attacker sped off in a motorcycle driven by another unidentified person.

Castillo said they are conducting an in-depth investigation as to the identity of the attackers and the possible motive behind the daring broad daylight attack.

The crime scene is just few meters away from the police outpost and a command post for soldiers who serve as security augmentation force of the bus terminal.

Police did not say whether the incident was caught by one of the CCTV cameras installed in the area.

https://www.pna.gov.ph/articles/1086047

AFP chief leads destruction of guns seized by Westmincom troops

From the Philippine News Agency (Nov 14, 2019): AFP chief leads destruction of guns seized by Westmincom troops



LOOSE GUNS. AFP Chief-of-Staff, Gen. Noel Clement (left) and Lt. Gen. Cirilito Sobejana, Western Mindanao Command (Westmincom) chief, inspect Thursday, November 14, the loose firearms the Westmincom troops seized in law enforcement and combat operations since January, this year. (PNA photo by Teofilo P. Garcia Jr.)

ZAMBOANGA CITY -- The chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) led Thursday the destruction of more than 600 loose firearms in Camp Basilio Navarro here.

“The fewer firearms in the hands of the people, who are not authorized to possess guns, the better for the peace and order,” said Gen. Noel Clement, AFP chief-of-staff, who visited the Western Mindanao Command (Westmincom) headquarters here.

The destroyed firearms were seized by various Westmincom units from lawless elements such as the Abu Sayyaf Group and New People’s Army rebels.

The firearms of different calibers, including crew-served weapons, were first cut into pieces with the used of electric grinder and later burned.

Maj. Arvin John Encinas, Westmincom spokesperson, said the firearms were seized by the troops in law enforcement and combat operations since January this year.

Clement said the confiscation of the firearms has lessened the capability of lawless groups in creating havoc here in areas under the Westmincom jurisdiction.

Meanwhile, Clement said that the AFP is set to deploy new equipment and armaments to boost the capability of the troops in addressing “threat groups” in this part of the country.

“Once these (equipment) are declared mission capable, we will be deploying that here in Westmincom area,” Clement said.

Earlier this week, the Philippine Navy has deployed the BRP-Emilio Jacinto (PS35) to the Naval Forces Western Mindanao to strengthen its maritime patrol and interdiction.

https://www.pna.gov.ph/articles/1086051

2 Abu Sayyaf members yield in Zambo Sibugay

From the Philippine News Agency (Nov 14, 2019): 2 Abu Sayyaf members yield in Zambo Sibugay



ASG SURRENDERERS. Two Abu Sayyaf bandits surrender Thursday (Nov. 14, 2019) to military authorities in the town of Imelda, Zamboanga Sibugay. Photo shows the Abu Sayyaf surrenderers handing over two Garand rifles to Lt. Col. Don Templonuevo, Army's 44th Infantry Battalion commander. (Photo courtesy of the Army's 1st Infantry Division PIO)

ZAMBOANGA CITY -- Two followers of the Abu Sayyaf group surrendered to military authorities in the province of Zamboanga Sibugay, military officials said Thursday.

Lt. Col. Don Templonuevo, the Army’s 44th Infantry Battalion commander,
identified the surrenderers as Jolo Usman and a certain Abu Jul, both residents of the municipality of Talipao, Sulu.

Templonuevo said the duo turned over two Garand rifles when they surrendered to his command around 8:30 a.m. Thursday in the town of Imelda, Zamboanga Sibugay.

Templonuevo said the two were followers of Sibih Pisih, one of the Sulu-based Abu Sayyaf Group leaders, who have since laid low and had been staying in Zamboanga Sibugay province since 2016.


Col. Leonel Nicolas, Army’s 102nd Infantry Brigade commander, welcomed the surrender of Usman and Jul, adding he is also looking forward for other ASG bandits to return to the fold of the law.

“We continuously encourage terrorist groups and their supporters to surrender and submit themselves to the folds of the law and become productive Filipino citizens,” Nicolas said.

https://www.pna.gov.ph/articles/1086059