Saturday, May 25, 2024

PBBM may touch on WPS dispute in Asia security summit in Singapore

From the Philippine News Agency (May 24, 2024): PBBM may touch on WPS dispute in Asia security summit in Singapore



President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. (File photo from the Presidential Communications Office)

MANILA – President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. might touch on the country's maritime dispute with China in the West Philippine Sea (WPS) during the upcoming Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore, an official of the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said on Friday.

In a Palace briefing, DFA's Office of the Asian and Pacific Affairs Assistant Secretary Aileen Mendiola-Rau raised the possibility of President Marcos discussing the WPS dispute in his keynote address at the 21st Edition of the International Institute For Strategic Studies' (IISS) Shangri-La Dialogue on May 31.

"I presume for all meetings and as well as the speech of the President, his keynote address, this issue will be touched but I do not wish to preempt the statements of the president," Mendiola-Rau said.

The dialogue will be attended by multiple stakeholders in the defense field ranging from heads of governments, heads of states, and defense of ministers to industry players.

Mendiola-Rau said the regional defense summit will serve as a platform for the Philippines to provide relevant stakeholders in the defense field an "important source of accurate, objective information on international strategic issues important to the region."

She said she expects representatives from about 40 countries to attend this year's Shangri-La Dialogue, ranging from heads of governments, heads of states, and defense of ministers to industry players.

"When you have a forum such as this, it gives a good platform for a country to actually expound and articulate its position on key issues. So, it will be an important platform for us to actually also convey our positions relative to what is happening within the region and what we are advocating for. So, it’s something that is useful not only for those who are attending but also for the country who’s actually participating in this international forum," she said.

Marcos will be in Singapore from May 30 to 31, where he is also expected to meet with the country's new leaders, President Tharman Shanmugaratnam and Prime Minister Lawrence Wong, Mendiola-Rau said.

"We want to ensure that the relationship continues under the new administration in Singapore," she said, noting that this year commemorates the 55 years of Philippines-Singapore diplomatic relations and the meeting between the new Singaporean leaders and President Marcos comes at this "very auspicious juncture."

The President also will have a brief meeting with the former prime minister and currently senior minister Lee Hsien Loong on the sidelines of the Shangri-la Dialogue.

Before his working visit in Singapore, Marcos is set to depart next week for Brunei Darussalam for his first state visit to the Sultanate.

President Marcos will visit Brunei from May 28 to 29 upon the invitation of His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah, the DFA said.

Mendiola-Rau said President Marcos’ visit to Brunei marks the 40 years of bilateral relations between the Philippines and Brunei Darussalam, which was established in 1984.

“Our ties are multifaceted encompassing cooperation in defense and security, maritime, agriculture and trade, as well as people-to-people relations. The state visit is a signal of our vibrant relations as both countries conducted the joint commission for bilateral cooperation chaired by the DFA last year,” she said.

“This state visit will provide an avenue for both leaders to take stock of the progress of our commitments and ongoing bilateral undertakings, and fine tune them accordingly,” she added.

Aside from being part of the tradition of the ASEAN leaders visiting fellow ASEAN countries, this state visit is in line with the President’s commitment to continue exploring avenues for economic growth and job opportunities for Filipinos as the business forum aims to boost trade and investments in the country, she said.

The Philippines also expects agreements will be signed during the President’s visit to Brunei Darussalam.

“We are actually currently in the process of finalizing text for several MOUs. But I can inform you that the MOUs that we are working with the Brunei insight will include priority areas ranging from agriculture to food security, maritime cooperation, tourism,” Mendiola-Rau said.

https://www.pna.gov.ph/articles/1225476

PAF commissions another C-130 plane from US

From the Philippine News Agency (May 20, 2024): PAF commissions another C-130 plane from US (By Priam Nepomuceno)



ADDITIONAL ASSET. Philippine Air Force (PAF) personnel pose for a photo with the newly blessed C-130H aircraft at the Brig. Gen. Benito N. Ebuen Air Base, Lapu-Lapu City, Cebu on Thursday (May 23, 2024). The PAF on Friday (May 24) said the aircraft is one of the two C-130H transport acquired from the United States under the Excess Defense Article Program in 2016. (Photo courtesy of the PAF)

MANILA – The Philippine Air Force (PAF) on Friday announced it has commissioned into service another Lockheed C-130H "Hercules" transport aircraft.

The aircraft with tail number 5157 was commissioned during rites at the Brig. Gen. Benito N. Ebuen Air Base, Lapu-Lapu City, Cebu on Thursday, PAF spokesperson Col. Ma. Consuelo Castillo said in a news release.

Castillo said the aircraft is one of the two C-130H transport acquired from the United States under the Excess Defense Article (EDA) Program in 2016.

"This aircraft arrived last February 16, 2024," she added.

Meanwhile, the first C-130H aircraft was delivered on Jan. 29, 2021.

"With the delivery of this transport aircraft, the PAF now has five C-130 aircraft in its inventory that can be used for humanitarian, tactical, and strategic missions," Castillo said.

She added these heavy airlifters are significant in delivering relief goods and essential supplies, transporting troops and equipment, and lending support to communities in different areas around the country and even overseas.

https://www.pna.gov.ph/articles/1225490

Marcos orders review of PMA curriculum

From the Philippine News Agency (May 20, 2024): Marcos orders review of PMA curriculum (May 18, 2024)



MAIN GUEST. President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. makes his way to the Fort del Pilar grounds in Baguio City for the Philippine Military Academy “Bagong Sinag” Class of 2024 commencement exercises on Saturday (May 18, 2024). In his speech before the 278 graduates, the President said he shares with their parents the immense pride and joy over their achievements as the country's newest commissioned officers. (PNA photo by Joan Bondoc)

FORT DEL PILAR, Baguio City – President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. ordered the Department of National Defense (DND) and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) to review the curriculum of the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) to better prepare cadets face modern-day challenges at “this time of great complexity.”

Speaking at the commencement exercises of PMA’s Bagong Sinag Class of 2024 here, Marcos urged the military institution to step up and take on the task of ensuring that the next generation of leaders in the country is ready for emerging and future challenges.

“So, I direct the DND and AFP leadership to review the PMA curriculum to ensure that our cadets will be equipped with the 21st-century skills necessary to counter conventional and asymmetric threats,” the president said.

“In the digital battlefield, a clear vision for truth, integrity, and patriotism are necessary tools to combat attempts at disinformation and infiltration.”

Since the PMA’s establishment in 1935, the institution’s curriculum has undergone review 10 times in response to the growing demands of the security environment and technical advancements.

The review has become more frequent since 2021.

The current curriculum is designed to enhance the cadets’ competence in performing their basic roles in the AFP and ensure that the baccalaureate degree program is at par with international qualifications.

In facing the evolving threats against the people that corrode social and political trust, Marcos urged the new graduates to be always ready to keep the Filipino people safe and secure the territory and the democracy's stability.

During the ceremony, Marcos also recognized the hard work of the PMA instructors in providing a responsive military education, ensuring the cadets become worthy protectors of the country.

He said he was also impressed by the outstanding performances of the female cadets who dominated the top 10 achievers.

A total of 278 cadets graduated from Bagong Sinag Class of 2024. Of the figure, 143 will serve in the army, 62 in the Air Force, and 73 will join the Navy. (With reports from Liza Agoot/PND)

https://www.pna.gov.ph/articles/1225034

Cotabato City chapel grenade blast injures 2

From the Philippine News Agency (May 20, 2024): Cotabato City chapel grenade blast injures 2 (By Edwin Fernandez)



BLAST. Civilians and village officials mill outside Sto. Nino Chapel in Barangay Rosary Heights 3, Cotabato City, following a grenade attack (inset) that left two churchgoers injured on Sunday morning (May 19, 2024). A village watchman said two men aboard a motorbike tossed the grenade. (Photo courtesy of DXOL-FM Cotabato)

COTABATO CITY – Two churchgoers were injured when a suspected fragmentation grenade exploded inside a Catholic chapel here on Sunday morning.

The attack happened about 10:30 a.m. inside the Sto. Nino Chapel in Barangay Rosary Heights 3.

A "tanod" (watchman) saw two men on a motorcycle toss the grenade before speeding away, according to village chairperson Kagui Omar Pasawilan.


Mayor Bruce Matabalao said the city government would reward anyone who could provide information about the perpetrators.

“Let’s all fight violence and terrorism. The attack is an outright disrespect to the Roman Catholic Church and its believers,” Matabalao said in a statement.

Pasawilan identified the injured residents as Maribel Abis, 46, and Aniceta Tobil, a senior citizen.

https://www.pna.gov.ph/articles/1225066

NPA remnant killed in central Negros encounter

From the Philippine News Agency (May 21, 2024): NPA remnant killed in central Negros encounter (By Nanette Guadalquiver)



ENCOUNTER. A location map of the encounter between troops of the Philippine Army’s 62nd Infantry Battalion and remnants of the Central Negros 1 guerrilla of the New People’s Army in Moises Padilla, Negros Occidental, on May 21, 2024. A remnant of the dismantled Central Negros 1 guerrilla front, Richard “Rocky” De la Peña, was killed in the encounter.(Image courtesy of 62nd Infantry Battalion, Philippine Army)

BACOLOD CITY – A remnant of the New People’s Army (NPA) was killed during an encounter with troops of the Philippine Army’s 62nd Infantry Battalion (IB) in a remote village of Moises Padilla, Negros Occidental Tuesday morning.

In a report, the 62IB identified the fatality as Richard “Rocky” De la Peña, 50, from the dismantled Central Negros 1 guerrilla front.

First Lt. Mary Liza De Guzman, civil-military operations officer of 62IB, said in a statement that De la Peña died during a 10-minute clash that took place around 7 a.m. in Sitio Inangaw, Barangay Quintin Remo.

The soldiers launched focused military operations following reports of civilians about the presence of NPA remnants conducting extortion and forced recruitment, she added.

After the encounter, the troops recovered the body of De la Peña along with an M16 rifle, three magazines with live ammunition, a bandolier, and subversive documents.


According to the 62IB, De la Peña was involved in various crimes and human rights violations, among these the murder of Albert Navaro Goles, whom the NPA accused of being a military informant, last April 24.

It was also reported he was in the company of Marivic “Ivan” Ebarle, a communist rebel killed in an encounter on July 20, 2023, at Sitio Kawayanan, Barangay Montilla, Moises Padilla.

In a separate statement, Maj. Gen. Marion Sison, commander of the 3rd Infantry Division, commended the operating troops and the locals of Barangay Quintin Remo for their concerted efforts that led to the neutralization of the NPA remnant and the recovery of a high-powered firearm.

“Our peace and security efforts in Negros will persist even as the achievement of a stable internal peace and security environment for all Negrenses is at hand. This is an integral part of our sustainment strategy to prevent any attempts at recovery and resurgence by the dismantled guerrilla fronts of the NPA,” he added.

https://www.pna.gov.ph/articles/1225232

79 ex-rebels in Negros Oriental to get land titles

From the Philippine News Agency (May 22, 2024): 79 ex-rebels in Negros Oriental to get land titles (By Mary Judaline Partlow)



SITE INSPECTION. Members of the Negros Oriental Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict conduct a site inspection in Barangay Bongalonan, Basay town in this undated photo. Manuel Galon (2nd from left), Provincial Agrarian Reform Program officer, said on Wednesday (May 22, 2024) that 79 former rebels will receive individual and collective land titles for this 13-hectare site for housing and communal farms. (PNA file photo by Mary Judaline Flores Partlow)

DUMAGUETE CITY – At least 79 former rebels (FRs) of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) in Negros Oriental will receive individual and collective land titles from the government, a Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) official said Wednesday.

“The distribution of land titles to FRs is in line with efforts of the Task Force To End Local Communist Armed Conflict (TF-ELCAC) to provide them decent housing and a source of income or livelihood through communal farms,” Manuel Galon, Provincial Agrarian Reform Program Officer (PARPO) II of DAR-Negros Oriental, said.


Some 13 hectares of government land in Barangay Bongalonan in Basay, the southernmost town of Negros Oriental, have been identified for distribution to the FRs.

The area is part of the former CDCP Mining Corporation, now a government-owned and controlled corporation.

The 79 beneficiaries, four of whom are from Basay, have already been profiled and have gone through the process of validation by the Joint Armed Forces of the Philippines-Philippine National Police Intelligence Committee (JAPIC).

Each beneficiary will receive no less than 100 square meters of land for their housing, where individual land titles will be issued, while the remainder of the property will be for communal farms that will be issued a collective title, he added.

DAR Secretary Conrad Estrella will lead the land distribution in August or September.

https://www.pna.gov.ph/articles/1225298

Northern Negros LGU, Army strengthen alliance for peace

From the Philippine News Agency (May 22, 2024): Northern Negros LGU, Army strengthen alliance for peace (By Nanette Guadalquiver)



BACOLOD CITY – The municipality of Calatrava and the Philippine Army’s 79th Infantry Battalion (IB) in Negros Occidental have strengthened their alliance for peace in the wake of the series of killings perpetrated by the New People's Army (NPA) in the northern Negros locality.

First Lt. Dan Carlo Samoza, civil-military operations officer of 79IB, said on Wednesday that Mayor Marilyn Era, who chairs the Municipal Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (TF-ELCAC), condemns the atrocities of the remnants of the NPA.


“This is a manifestation of the mayor’s sincerity of protecting her constituents in line with her mandate as the head of the municipality’s TF-ELCAC,” he told the Philippine News Agency.

This year alone, five persons were killed by NPA assailants in Calatrava, as admitted by the communist terrorist group in their public pronouncements; the latest was Alexander Alquizar, a village watchman of Barangay Lagaan, who was gunned down on April 20.

In a meeting at the municipal hall on May 20, Era expressed her condemnation as she also appealed for the remaining NPA rebels in Calatrava to surrender to the authorities.

“I personally condemn the killing incidents that happened in my municipality without a valid reason. I am pleading to my brothers on the other side to please come and join the government that is ready to help you,” the mayor said.

First Lt. Kenn Brian Adesas of the 79IB, Lt. Artus Escuadra of the Calatrava Municipal Police Station, and representatives of other government agencies attended the meeting to assure the NPA remnants of support for their reintegration to their respective communities once they decide to surrender.

In a statement, Lt. Col. Arnel Calaoagan, commander of 79IB, welcomed the mayor’s condemnation of the killings and her call on the communist rebels to surrender.

“This is a manifestation of our strong alliance towards the same goal and shared aspiration of making Calatrava a haven of peace and progress. We will remain steadfast in our commitment and support to the local government units to once and for all decimate this terror group,” he added.

https://www.pna.gov.ph/articles/1225307

Former MagSur town councilor-cum-Moro Islamic Liberation Front leader shot dead in Cotabato

From the Philippine News Agency (May 22, 2024): Former MagSur town councilor-cum-Moro Islamic Liberation Front leader shot dead in Cotabato (By Edwin Fernandez)



CRIME SCENE. Police investigators cordon off the site where a former Maguindanao del Sur town councilor-cum-Moro Islamic Liberation Front commander was shot dead by gunmen in front of a hotel in Cotabato City on Wednesday noon (May 22, 2024). The victim had just received a certificate of house ownership for a housing project of the BARMM. (Photo courtesy of Nigel Sumanghid/DXMS-Cotabato).

COTABATO CITY – Unidentified gunmen shot dead here a former municipal councilor of Maguindanao del Sur who was a recipient of a housing project built by the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM).

Col. Querubin Manalang Jr., city police director, identified the victim as Abdulrahman Kasid, a resident of Mamasapano town in Maguindanao del Sur and a field commander of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.


Kasid was walking with his relatives toward his car parked in front of the EM Manor Hotel when shot by gunmen using assault rifles around noontime.

“The turnover program was held at the function hall of the same hotel,” Manalang said, referring to the housing project of the Ministry of Human Settlements and Development (MHSD) - BARMM in Barangay Pimbalakan, Mamasapano. “Relatives rushed him to the hospital but he was declared dead on arrival due to multiple gunshot wounds.”

Police investigators recovered 10 empty shells from an M16 rifle.

Authorities remained clueless as to the motive and identities of the attackers.

https://www.pna.gov.ph/articles/1225338

2 ranking NPA rebels, 1 other killed in Agusan, MisOr skirmishes

From the Philippine News Agency (May 23, 2024): 2 ranking NPA rebels, 1 other killed in Agusan, MisOr skirmishes (By Alexander Lopez)



DEAD REBELS. Two ranking New People’s Army (NPA) rebels lay dead after an encounter with government troops in Gingoog City, Misamis Oriental on May 21, 2024. A day earlier, an NPA rebel was also slain in a clash with military troops in Jabonga, Agusan del Norte. (Photo courtesy of 4ID)

BUTUAN CITY – Two ranking New People’s Army (NPA) rebels and a member were killed in recent encounters that took place in Agusan del Norte and Misamis Oriental provinces, the Army’s 4th Infantry Division (4ID) said in a statement Thursday.

On May 21, the Army’s 16th Infantry Battalion (IB) engaged in a 10-minute skirmish with a group of NPA rebels in Barangay Bal-ason, Gingoog City, Misamis Oriental, which resulted in the death of two ranking leaders.

The fatalities were identified as Zaldy Galamiton, the secretary of the Sub-Regional Committee 1, and Johnjhon Ayuma Ramos, the commanding officer of the Sub-Regional Sentro De Grabidad Eagles, both under the NPA North Central Mindanao Regional Committee.

Recovered from the encounter site were two M16 rifles, bandoliers, magazines, ammunition, and personal belongings, the 4ID said.


On May 20, troopers of the Army’s 29IB on a pursuit operation in Bangonay, Jabonga, Agusan del Norte also clashed with a group of communist insurgents.

The insurgents immediately abandoned their position after the five-minute firefight and left behind a dead comrade identified as Berto Dayong, a member of the NPA Sub-Regional Sentro de Grabidad West under the North Eastern Mindanao Regional Committee.

Government troops also recovered a 9mm pistol and a .45-caliber pistol at the clash site.


Maj. Gen. Jose Maria Cuerpo II, 4ID commander, commended the 29IB and 16IB for swiftly responding to citizens' reports of the presence of NPA guerrillas in their localities.

“These reports indicate the continuing support of the civilians to our government and our forces,” Cuerpo said.

The operations, he added, also thwarted the plans of the insurgents to conduct extortion and harassment of civilians in the area.

https://www.pna.gov.ph/articles/1225387

2 NPA rebels slain in S. Cotabato clash

From the Philippine News Agency (May 23, 2024): 2 NPA rebels slain in S. Cotabato clash (By Edwin Fernandez)



Google map of T’boli, South Cotabato.

CAMP SIONGCO, Maguindanao del Norte – Two communist New People's Army (NPA) rebels were killed as authorities served an arrest warrant against one of them in T'boli, South Cotabato on Thursday.

Maj. Gen. Alex Rillera, Army's 6th Infantry Division chief, said one of the soldiers backing up the local police was wounded when the suspects resisted and traded shots with law enforcers at about 10 a.m. in Barangay Talcon.

Citing a report from the Army's 5th Special Forces Battalion, Rillera, also the head of Joint Task Force Central, identified the slain rebels as Yasser Catacutan and Eizar Emam.


"Police and military forces were to serve an arrest warrant for Catacutan, who was facing murder charges when he resisted upon seeing lawmen near his home," he said.

The injured soldier belonged to the Army's 10th Special Forces Company.

All injured were rushed to a hospital, but the two suspects were pronounced dead on arrival, while the soldier is now in stable condition, Rillera said.

Seized from the suspects were a .45-caliber pistol and a homemade explosive device.

https://www.pna.gov.ph/articles/1225400

NPA remnant killed, weapons recovered in northern Negros clash

From the Philippine News Agency (May 23, 2024): NPA remnant killed, weapons recovered in northern Negros clash (By Nanette Guadalquiver)



CLASH SITE. The site of the encounter between joint troops of the Philippine Army’s 62nd Infantry Battalion and the Philippine National Police 1st Negros Occidental Provincial Mobile Force and remnants of New People’s Army Northern Negros Front in Calatrava, Negros Occidental on Wednesday (May 22, 2024). The body of NPA fatality Jeje Redobles was recovered from the encounter site, the 3rd Infantry Division said. (Image courtesy of 49th Infantry Battalion, Philippine Army)

BACOLOD CITY – A remnant of the dismantled Northern Negros Front of the New People’s Army (NPA) was killed in a clash with joint government troops in Barangay Cambayobo, Calatrava, Negros Occidental Wednesday afternoon.

The Philippine Army’s 3rd Infantry Division (3ID), in a report on Thursday, identified the fatality as Jeje Redobles, whose body the government troops recovered from the encounter site.


Maj. Gen. Marion Sison, commander of the 3ID, lauded the troops of the 79 Infantry Battalion and their counterparts from the Philippine National Police 1st Negros Occidental Provincial Mobile Force for the successful joint enhanced military and police operations.

“This unity is evident in the series of encounters where information from local residents plays a crucial role in our combat operations, especially in locating and hitting the remnants of the communist-terrorist group with precision,” he added.

Sison renewed his call for the remaining NPA rebels in Negros to return to the fold of the law.

“Surrender now while you still have time. Negros is no longer a safe refuge for you,” he added.

Redobles died during a 10-minute firefight between government troops and seven NPA remnants in Sitio Manaysay just before 4 p.m., the 3ID report said.

During the clearing operation, the soldiers and police officers recovered weapons, including an M16 rifle, hand grenade, and magazines containing ammunition, along with subversive documents, medicines, food items, and personal belongings.

The encounter in Calatrava came a day after troops of the 62nd Infantry Battalion (62IB) clashed with remnants of the dismantled Central Negros 1 guerrilla front in Sitio Inangaw, Barangay Quintin Remo, Moises Padilla.

NPA rebel Richard “Rocky” De la Peña, 50, died during the gunbattle Tuesday morning, the 62IB reported.


https://www.pna.gov.ph/articles/1225416

AFP to hold peace-geared seminars for job seekers in Laguna city

From the Philippine News Agency (May 23, 2024): AFP to hold peace-geared seminars for job seekers in Laguna city (By Zen Trinidad)



MEETING OF MINDS. San Pedro, Laguna Mayor Art Mercado meets with Lt. Col. Rolando Acido, commander of the 2nd Civil Military Operations (2CMO) Battalion, at the city hall on Wednesday (May 22, 2024). The military seeks a bigger role in supporting the city's economic development by conducting peace and order-oriented seminars for job-seekers and other community stakeholders. (Photo courtesy of 2CMO)

SAN PEDRO CITY, Laguna – Instructors from the Armed Forces of the Philippines’ (AFP) 2nd Civil Military Operations (2CMO) Battalion will soon be conducting peace and order-oriented seminars for first-time job-seekers in this city in hopes of steering them away from communist rebels’ influence.

This plan came together as San Pedro is poised to be awarded the stable internal peace and security (SIPS) designation, a seal the AFP confers on jurisdictions that have been without significant rebel activity for at least one year.

In an interview on Thursday, Lt. Col. Rolando Acido, commander of 2CMO, said the military looks forward to contributing to the city’s economic development by promoting constructive relations between the workforce tripartite, which is composed of the government, employers and the labor force by upholding industrial peace.

The Army officer said there was a meeting of minds when officers of the AFP and the Philippine National Police held an engagement meeting with local government leaders at the city hall on Wednesday.

He disclosed that San Pedro Mayor Art Joseph Mercado gave his support for the proposal to conduct AFP-led seminars for prospective entrants to the workforce in venues to be determined by the local leader.

"By fostering an environment of enduring peace within the community and becoming the pioneer city in Laguna to achieve SIPS status, Santa Pedro City can unlock its full economic potential for the benefit of all its constituents," Acido said.

He explained that his office hopes to leverage the participation of the human resource departments of the various hiring enterprises in the city to ensure they have access to as many applicants as possible.

Additionally, it was also agreed upon during Wednesday’s meeting that the military would conduct similar seminars for other community stakeholders, including village representatives and the youth of San Pedro.

“The local government has generously offered venues and other necessary support, while the PNP and CMO will contribute by providing speakers and moderators,” Acido added.

He noted that Santa Pedro has remained devoid of violent terrorist incidents for over a year, and as such, the SIPS seal should be forthcoming.

https://www.pna.gov.ph/articles/1225435

13 ex-NPA rebels complete ALS studies in Agusan Norte

From the Philippine News Agency (May 24, 2024): 13 ex-NPA rebels complete ALS studies in Agusan Norte (By Alexander Lopez)



GRADUATES. Thirteen former rebels who separately surrendered to the Army’s 23rd Infantry Battalion (23IB) in 2023 and this year completed their Junior High School studies through the Alternative Learning System of the Department of Education following their graduation held in Butuan City on Thursday (May 23, 2024). The former insurgents lauded the government for the opportunity to change their lives as they rejoin the mainstream society. (Photo courtesy of 23IB)

BUTUAN CITY – At least 13 former combatants of the New People’s Army (NPA) in Agusan del Norte have completed their Junior High School studies under the Alternative Learning System (ALS) of the Department of Education.

The former rebels (FRs) had surrendered to the Army’s 23rd Infantry Battalion (23IB) on different occasions in 2023 and this year.


“The ALS program is among the benefits that our FRs availed from the government when they decided to abandon the communist group,” the 23IB said in a statement on Friday.

The former rebels were among the hundreds of ALS scholars who graduated from the program in a ceremony held in Butuan City on Thursday.

“I am happy that I achieved something after leaving my violent past under the NPA movement,” Ka Arlene of Buenavista, Agusan del Norte, said in a phone interview on Friday.

Ka Arlene turned herself to the 23IB in middle of 2023 after spending more than five years in the communist movement.

Another former rebel, Ka Dondon, acknowledged the government for the opportunity given to change his life.

“After my surrender last year, I immediately received assistance from the government,” Ka Dondon said, adding he plans to take up a vocational course following his completion of the ALS program.

https://www.pna.gov.ph/articles/1225475

Army seizes NPA war materiel, food supplies in Agusan Sur

From the Philippine News Agency (May 24, 2024): Army seizes NPA war materiel, food supplies in Agusan Sur (By Alexander Lopez)



NPA FOOD SUPPLY. The hidden food supply of the New People’s Army rebels recovered by government troops during an operation on May 22, 2024 in far-flung Barangay Kolambogan, Sibagat, Agusan del Sur. Soldiers also recovered various war materiel in the area. (Photo courtesy of 4ID)

BUTUAN CITY – Government troops recovered war materiel and food supplies of the New People’s Army (NPA) in a series of recent military operations in Caraga Region, the Army’s 4th Infantry Division reported Friday.

On May 22, 4ID said civilians in Sibagat, Agusan del Sur, reported to the Army's 65th Infantry Battalion (65IB) the location of NPA war materiel and food supplies.

This led to an operation in which the 65IB troopers recovered from a cave in the hinterlands of Barangay Kolambogan various food supplies and NPA war materiel.

The recovered war materiel include various rounds of ammunition for M16 rifle, M14 rifle, Garand rifle, a fragmentation grenade, rifle grenades, M79 projectile grenades, blasting caps, and detonating wires for anti-personnel mine.

“The food cache and war materiel belonged to the NPA Sub-Regional Sentro De Grabidad Westland of the North Eastern Mindanao Regional Committee (NEMRC),” the 4ID report said.


On the same day, troops from Special Recon Team of the Army's 901st Infantry Brigade chanced upon a group of NPA rebels, also from the NEMRC, resulting in a 20-minute firefight in Barangay Camayahan here.

Government troops recovered from the encounter site an M16 rifle, magazines with ammunition, and bandoliers.

Maj. Gen. Jose Maria Cuerpo II, the 4ID commander, said the NPA rebels in the region are already demoralized due to the intensified focused military operations.

“We will not stop until these remaining rebel groups will finally collapse, and their few remaining members will choose to embrace the path to peace,” he said.

https://www.pna.gov.ph/articles/1225480

Saturday, May 11, 2024

Army to LGUs, landowners: Do not support NPA front organizations

From the Visayan Daily Star (May 11, 2024): Army to LGUs, landowners: Do not support NPA front organizations (By GILBERT P. BAYORAN)

The Army’s 3rd Infantry Division yesterday enjoined local government units (LGUs), businesses, landowners, small and medium enterprises, as well as the local populace to refrain from, desist, resist, and avoid by any means necessary the giving of any financial and material support to the CPP-NPA-NDF, or any of their front organizations.

The long arm of the law will reach those who violate the law with severe penalties as provided for under our anti-terror laws, disclosed Lt. Col. J Jay Javines, 3rd Infantry Division Civil Military Operations officer.

We ask that our LGUs and their chief executives, including our local legislators, be prudent and vigilant so that CPP NPA affiliated organizations cannot exploit our legal processes and cannot have access to government funds and resources, Javines further said.

The Supreme Court has declared red-tagging a threat to people’s life, liberty and security, and could warrant the issuance of a protection order.

Human rights group  called on President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. to end the practice of red-tagging and abolish the government task force notorious for vilifying activists and critics as fighters or supporters of the country’s communist insurgency.

Javines said those charged for various violations of Republic Act No. 10168 or the Terrorism Financing Prevention and Suppression Act of 2012, which he did not identify, were afforded due process under our laws.

These cases are a result of tedious case build-up and have garnered the support of the peace-loving people of Negros Island, he added.

This is a manifestation of our people’s collective resolve and aspiration to attain a just and lasting peace by ending the CPP-NPA-NDF and their lifeline by cutting all sources of funds to finance the communist terrorist group’s (CTG) terror activities, Javines further said.*

https://visayandailystar.com/army-to-lgus-landowners-do-not-support-npa-front-organizations/