Friday, March 13, 2015

Soldier killed, 3 others wounded in rebel ambush in Philippines

From the Mindanao Examiner BlogSpot site (Mar 13): Soldier killed, 3 others wounded in rebel ambush in Philippines

One soldier was killed and three others wounded when communist rebels ambushed their convoy in Compostela Valley’s Mabini town in southern Philippines, officials said Friday. 

Officials said village leaders helped evacuate the wounded soldiers – Cpl. Delfin Agod, Pfc. Jimboy Apostol and Pfc Ar-jay Magallanes – after the attack staged by the New People’s Army, which is fighting for a separate state in the country. 

Col. Romeo Brawner, a spokesman for the Eastern Mindanao Command, confirmed the attack and said village leaders rescued the wounded soldiers and brought them to safety. 

He said a village chieftain, who was identified only as Anting, of Golden Valley, and council members whose surnames were Quirino and Calamba, of Anitapan village, rushed to the area after receiving reports of the ambush on March 12. 

Brawner said troops from the 71st Infantry Battalion led by Colonel Dennis Tanzo were evaluating the conduct of peace and development activities in Anitapan village when rebels attacked them. Tanzo was unhurt from the ambush, but Cpl. Wilson Binalay had been killed from the attack. 

General Aurelio Baladad, the division commander, condemned the attack on the soldiers and at the same time praised the village leaders for helping the wounded troops. 

“We appreciate the effort of the barangay officials who came to the rescue of the group of Colonel Tanzo. This is a manifestation of the support and appreciation of the community on the peace and development activities of our soldiers. The action of the NPA on the other hand proves that they are indeed anti-development and anti-people,” Baladad said. 

Meanwhile in Sarangani province, Baladad said two NPA rebels - Jun Dewil, 18; and Boyin Bugaoc, 25, - surrendered to the 73rd Infantry Battaluon on March 11. The two men are natives of Glan town and both were involved in the January 25 clashes with troops in the province.

Army steps up presence in rebel-infested Samar village

From the Philippine News Agency (Mar 13): Army steps up presence in rebel-infested Samar village

BASEY, Samar -- The Philippine Army’s 87th Infantry Battalion has intensified their presence in remote and rebel-infested Mabini village of this town in the bid to curb insurgency.

Recently, government troopers gathered nearly 1,000 participants from the community and local government for a peace forum to tackle key issues in the conflict-affected village.

Mabini has been plagued by encounters of military troops and armed rebels that have affected the security and well-being of the residents. In the past years, troopers have discovered camps of communist insurgents.

Since the latest fire fighting in the area, the 87th IB together with the local government pursued strategies of development and security to address the conflict, which combined the restoration of civilian justice.

The initiative featured a “responsive dialogue,” registering a call from the local community for a greater voice in the peace process, which local stakeholders, military participated-including residents of remote communities, that are especially affected by insurgency.

The dialogue allowed local participants to identify the four issues that most seriously weighed on their daily lives - personal and community security, access to justice, and education quality.

“Community members called for the pilot testing of safety areas, in which communities would assume responsibility for their own security as an alternative to formal military protection,” said 2nd Lt. Jezzel Anumbay, assistant civil military operations officer of the Army’s 87th IB.

"The perception caused by civilian casualties if ever, is one of the most complicated things we face in Samar,” she said.

“One split second tactical on-the-ground call has a strategic implications,” Anumbay added. “It has a long-lasting effects from whatever happens. That’s why it is a very, very difficult job.”

The 87th IB soldiers noted that rebels and some militia groups are flourishing in remote villages without a strong presence of military.

“Civilians or even village chiefs can’t repel because they don’t have guns, they don’t want to start a war, they don’t want their families killed,” Anumbay shared. “If there is no legitimate presence of soldiers in an area, the armed NPA’s can move in and do whatever they want.”

Young Moro professionals alarmed over massive evacuation in Maguindanao

From the Philippine News Agency (Mar 13): Young Moro professionals alarmed over massive evacuation in Maguindanao

The Young Moro Professionals Network-Western Mindanao (YMPN-WP) expressed condemnation and alarm over what it called "insufferable violence" affecting nearly more than 90,000 displaced individuals, most of them children, in at least 11 towns of Maguindanao because of the all-out offensive by the government against the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF).

Based on the records of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao Humanitarian Emergency Action Response Team (ARMM Heart), around 19,075 families were forced to abandon their homes in the towns of Shariff Saydona, Mamasapano, Datu Unsay, Shariff Aguak, Datu Salibo, Saudi Ampatuan, Rajah Buayan, Talayan, Guindulungan, Talitay, Datu Anggal, and Midtimbang.

"For many of bakwits , this new round of exodus is a repeated life of harrowing tragedy that they do not deserve," said Ameen Camlian, communications officer of YMPN-WM.

Camlian cited how school children have been affected by the conflict as they were forced out of school, some of them are supposed to graduate from elementary and high school this month.

"At the evacuation centers, we could only feel sorry for their pain and agony as they go through the hard life of being bakwits once again: congested sleeping areas, insufficient food and lack of clean drinking water, children getting ill, and the uncertainty of what's to come tomorrow for them and their children," Camlian said.

"The sad truth is – the civilians are suffering the consequences of the war waged by the government against the BIFF. It disrupted the normalcy of their lives, putting them in a situation where they are most vulnerable to more and more violence."

Camlian echoed reports of alleged abuses committed by soldiers as they pursue members of BIFF : An infant in Datu Saudi Ampatuan was allegedly hit by a stray bullet in the leg, the heavy shelling in civilian areas, the use of soldiers of government buildings, schools and mosques, and the looting activities. The war also destroyed homes and flattened crops.

"At the evacuation centers, the bakwits are a picture of human suffering," he said. "And all these reports of violations of human rights only prove the vulnerabilities of civilians in times of war."

That the soldiers are after the BIFF is something that the network understands, he said. He, however, said that what should be primarily considered is the impact of the war on the civilians.

"We are reminding the government and the BIFF to pay utmost respect to human dignity and basic rights as mandated by the Geneva Convention on the Protection of civilian persons and populations in time of war," said Camlian. "The civilians have been displaced from their homes already, living another agonizing chapter of unpeace. Dragging them into the war, and right into the battlefield is just too much already."

Trooper killed, 3 others wounded in NPA ambush in Compostela Valley

From the Philippine News Agency (Mar 13): Trooper killed, 3 others wounded in NPA ambush in Compostela Valley

A soldier assigned to the 71st Infantry Battalion was killed while three of his companions were wounded in an ambush by New People's Army (NPA) bandits in Barangay Anitapan, Mabini town, Compostela Valley Thursday noon.

The troopers were about to conduct peace and development missions in the locality when attacked by the rebels.

Killed in this attack was Cpl. Wilson Binalay, a member of the 71st Infantry Battalion.

Wounded were Cpl. Delfin G. Agod, Pfc. Jimboy P. Apostol and Pfc. Ar-jay G Magallanes.

Meanwhile, 71st Infantry Battalion commander Lt. Col. Dennis Tanzo, who accompanied his men to their peace and development work, survived the incident scar free.

As this develops, the Eastern Mindanao Command expressed its thanks to barangay officials of Barangay Anitapan for helping them treat and evacuate the wounded troopers.

"We appreciate the effort of the barangay Officials who came to the rescue of the group of Lt.Col. Tanzo. This is a manifestation of the support and appreciation of the community on the Peace and Development activities of our soldiers especially that of Lt. Col. Tanzo's unit," EMC head Lt. Gen. Aurelio Baladad said.

"The action of the NPA bandits on the other hand, proves that they are indeed anti-development and anti-people. What Ltc Tanzo was doing was to bring the government closer to the far flung barangays through Peace and Development activities," he said.

Wounded soldiers given basic photography, computer training

From the Philippine News Agency (Mar 14): Wounded soldiers given basic photography, computer training

In line with its efforts to uplift the morale and welfare of its soldiers wounded in the battle field, the Philippine Army (PA) announced that it has conducted a two-week basic photography training cross-trained with basic computer literacy for troopers undergoing rehabilitation and treatment at the Army General Hospital in Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City.

Lt. Col. Noel Detoyato, PA spokesperson, said that this took place last March 2 to 13,where a total of 42 battle-wounded soldiers benefited from the training.

Under the basic photography training, the soldiers were taught equipment familiarization, and basic theories in photo and video production.

Detoyato said participants were also asked to do practical exercises.

He added that this training will prepare the soldiers for non-combat duties as photographer/videographer when they return to their respective units.

Meanwhile, the basic computer literacy training, which comprised Computer Fundamentals, MS Word, MS Excel, and MS PowerPoint, will equip the soldiers with the necessary knowledge and skills to assume office or administrative functions once they are completely healed.

Also, the training helps provide the non-medical aspect of the process of healing which will lead to their speedy recovery and mentally prepare them prior to their release from hospital confinement.

Iloilo now declared as 'peaceful and ready for further development'

From the Philippine News Agency (Mar 13): Iloilo now declared as 'peaceful and ready for further development'

Iloilo was formally declared as "peaceful and ready for further development" Friday.

This was made possible after the Iloilo provincial government headed by Gov. Arthur Defensor, Jr., Police Regional Office-6 commander Josephus Angan and 3rd Infantry Division commanding officer Major Gen. Leonardo Guerrero formally signed a joint declaration during the first quarter meeting of the Regional Peace and Order Council of Region-6 at Amigo Terrace Hotel, Iloilo City.

The joint declaration is a manifestation that the collaborative efforts of the AFP, PNP and Iloilo provincial government have successfully prevented and denied the insurgents of their expansion and immensely contributed in keeping the peace and order in the province.

Also present to witness the signing was Central Command head Lt. Gen. Nicanor Vivar.

Lt. Gen. John Bonafos, Armed Forces of the Philippines vice-chief-of-staff, who graced and witnessed the joint declaration recognized the unity and the spirit of “Bayanihan” showed by the AFP, Philippine National Police, local government units, various government agencies, the civil society and other stakeholders in order to jointly address the common desire to have a just and lasting peace in the province.

DND to acquire 3 missile-capable MPACs

From the Philippine News Agency (Mar 14): DND to acquire 3 missile-capable MPACs

In line with its efforts to beef up the offensive capabilities of the Philippine Navy, the Department of National Defense (DND) announced that it is allocating Php270-million for the acquisition of three MPACs (multi-purpose assault craft) capable of being fitted with missiles and other advanced weapons systems.

Funding for this program, which is called MPAC Acquisition Project (Lot 1 - Platform), will be sourced from the General Appropriations Act and Armed Forces of the Philippines Modernization Act Trust Fund 2000.

The contract includes mission essential equipment and initial integrated logistics support packages.

"These new set of sea-going MPAC shall be capable of operating at sea state 5 without systems degradation and shall be fitted with provisions for installation of advanced weapons system (remote weapons system as well as missile launch system—Lot 2)," the DND announced.

The PN is currently operating six MPAC units.

Mission essential equipment package to be installed shall be composed of, but not limited to, day/night electronic navigation system, communications suite, safety-of-life-at-sea equipment, propulsion system, and seamanship /shiphandling equipment and gears.

The craft shall be built in-country and in accordance to the approved technical specifications of the PN.

Delivery of the Goods is required within a period of 365 calendar days from the receipt by the supplier of the Notice to Proceed (NTP) or the date provided in the NTP.

Interested bidders should have completed, within 10 years from the date of submission and receipt of bids, a contract similar to the project.

Pre-bid conference is scheduled for March 23 at 10 a.m. at DND-Bidding and Awards Committee conference room, right wing basement, DND Building., Camp General Emilio Aguinaldo, Quezon City.

Bid opening is on April 6 also at 10 a.m. and on the same venue.

MPACs that are being offered must be used by the armed forces of the country of origin or at least two other armed forces.

Goods being offered shall be from suppliers who are themselves the manufacturers.

Malaysia wants to heighten defense technology, military cooperation with PHL

From Ang Malaya (Mar 13): Malaysia wants to heighten defense technology, military cooperation with PHL

National Defense Secretary Voltaire T. Gazmin had a bilateral meeting with Malaysian Minister of Defense YB Dato Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein on March 11, 2015 in Manila, Philippines. The Malaysian defense official visited the country March 10 and 11.

Among the topics they discussed were the freedom of navigation in South China Sea, peaceful resolution of maritime disputes, threat brought by self-proclaimed Islamic State and cooperation in disaster risk reduction and disaster response.

They also encouraged Philippine and Malaysian military to pursue additional opportunities for engagement in the areas of HADR, peacekeeping, maritime security and military medicine, among others.

Moreover, they stated their intention to promote defense industry cooperation by encouraging industrial cooperation and facilitating the development of technology, commercial and economic links between defense related companies of the two countries.

Secretary Gazmin and the Malaysian minister also reaffirmed their resolve to heighten the level of defense cooperation in order to promote mutual understanding and trust and contribute to regional peace and stability.

DND starts procuring three assault crafts as platform for ‘missile launch system’

From Ang Malaya (Mar 13): DND starts procuring three assault crafts as platform for ‘missile launch system’

The Department of National Defense launched an acquisition project that will increase the number of Philippine Navy’s Multi-purpose Assault Craft or MPACs. The DND-AFP is applying the amount of PhP270 million through the General Appropriations Act for the acquisition of 3 brand-new MPACS.

With the said amount, three MPACs must be delivered with Mission Essential Equipment and initial Integrated Logistics Support packages.  MPACs should be capable of operating at sea state five with 2.5 to 4 metres of waves or rough sea condition without systems degradation.

Procurement will be through single-stage open competitive bidding. Bid opening will be on April 6.

The DND also wants these three MPACs to be fitted with provisions for installation of advanced weapon system (remote weapon system as well as missile launch system). The government is procuring these three sea crafts as platforms. Missile launch system will be procured in a separate acquisition project.

Philippine Navy Vice-commander Rear Admiral Caesar C. Taccad said in December 2014 that there will be three missile-armed multi-purpose assault craft (MPACS). “It will be armed with stabilized weapon system with fire control complemented with a short to medium range missile system.”

These missile armed MPACS will be used for territorial sea interdiction operations with maritime situational awareness and limited credible deterrence for the protection of the country’s interest at the West Philippine Sea.

Philippine Navy is now operating six MPACs. Three from Taiwan while the other three were from Filipino shipbuilder Propmech Corporation in Subic Bay, Zambales.

4 suspected MILF fighters sighted in Iloilo

From ABS-CBN (Mar 12): 4 suspected MILF fighters sighted in Iloilo

The presence of suspected members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) in Iloilo City has alarmed the Ilonggo Muslim Community in Iloilo.

According to Ibrahim Bansara, one of the oldest Muslim businessmen in Iloilo, they were alarmed when they heard about the MILF fighters' supposed presence in Iloilo.

Bansara said they came to Iloilo a long time ago to stay away from conflict and harm in Mindanao.

He added that they do not allow MILF fighters within their community to avoid war.

Now that the information has been confirmed by the police, members of the Muslim community has become more cautious and vigilant.

According to Police Senior Supt. Kashmir Disomangcop of Iloilo City Police Office, four suspected MILF members went to Iloilo on board a ship from Cagayan de Oro City.

He added that the suspected MILF members came to Iloilo City unarmed.

Authorities, however, have yet to know their intention for going to Iloilo.

In the meantime, the police have been ordered to strengthen intelligence monitoring, and to intensify police visibility on the streets and crowded areas in the city.

First Lady Sergeant Major of Infantry Division in Philippine Army History hails from Camarines Sur

From the Philippine Information Agency (Mar 13): First Lady Sergeant Major of Infantry Division in Philippine Army History hails from Camarines Sur

The once male-dominated military profession has become the same arena where modern women have equally strutted their aggressive leadership prowess.  Some are now handling sensitive and high-ranking positions, expelling the wrong notion that women’s role are limited and should only be confined at the backseat.

Master Sergeant Rosa Maria C Lanila (SC) Philippine Army became one of the living testimonies of women’s continuous resolve to create a well-made niche in the society.  Lanila was hailed as the First Woman Sergeant Major after she assumed post as the Division Sergeant Major of the 9th Infantry Division, Philippine Army on January 15, this year.

Lanila is a product of the AFP Sergeant Major Course Class 09-14 at Non Commissioned Officer (NCO) Academy, Training and Doctrine Command, Philippine Army. Graduating on top in the academics, it is not surprising that she was also adjudged as Best in Staff Study in a Class of 56. 

Philippine Army 9th Infantry Division Spokesperson Captain Mardjorie Panesa shared that Lanila’s assumption as the first Lady Sergeant Major  also boosted the morale of female officers and those who are contemplating on joining the military.  She narrated Lanila’s humble beginnings and the officer’s accomplishment that made her worthy of her current position.

“She hails from San Jose, Pili, Camarines Sur. Her dream of becoming a “lady in uniform” started when she was a young CAT Officer, continued as ROTC Officer at the Camarines Sur State Agricultural College (CSSAC) in Pili, Camarines Sur where she earned Bachelor of Science Degree In 1986. She finally entered her military career as 2LT in the Reserve Force, AFP (Inact) in July 1987.”

Before her present designation, Lanila was the Battalion Sergeant Major of the Service Support Battalion (SSBn) from September 1, 2014 up to the time she assumed her present post at 9th Infantry (Spear) Division, Philippine Army. She became instrumental in promoting the welfare and professional growth of SSBn personnel in her short stint in the battalion.

Her hard work and dedication to the service earned her various Awards and Decorations as recipient of 30 Military Merit Medals, 23 Military Commendation Medals, Long Service Medal, AFP Conduct Medal, Presidential Unit Citation Badge, Military Civic Action Medal, Disaster Relief and Rehabilitation Operations Ribbon, Anti-Dissidence –Campaign Medal & Ribbon, Luzon Anti-Dissidence – Campaign Medal & Ribbon 137 Letters Of Commendation and Certificates of Appreciation and Recognition.

In 2005, her book entitled “2nd Infantry (Jungle Fighter) Division History” was published.  This has earned her an Outstanding Achievement Medal by the Secretary of National Defense during the Philippine Army 105th Anniversary celebration at Fort Andres Bonifacio Metro Manila. 

She is an Agronomist and a Researcher by profession.  She is happily married to Dental Technologist Leonardo A. Lanila Jr., who also works in the military. They are blessed with three children, Mark Leo who is a graduate of Civil Engineering at the Ateneo De Naga University, Jonathan who graduated with AB Communications degree and is now working as cameraman in ABS-CBN’s weekly magazine show MAGTV NA Oragon and Lhea Roselle, a 4th Year Dentistry student.

Lanila will not only serve as an inspiration to all women who are aspiring to make a difference. She will continue to serve as a testament of what women empowerment truly means.  She will continually prove that women’s participation is fundamental to the progress of the economy in the achievement of sustainable development.

Cotabato lass is PMA Class 2015’s “Tarzan”

From the Philippine Information Agency (Mar 13): Cotabato lass is PMA Class 2015’s “Tarzan”

A lady cadet from Tulunan, Cotabato  romps  off with  the elite  Athletic Saber Award  of  the Philippine Military Academy  Sinag-Lahi Class Of 2015

Cadette  1st Class Jul Laiza Camposano is the fifth  woman to receive   such award since PMA started accepting  female cadets in 1993. The award is  given  to the No. 1 in athletic related activities, intramurals and sports participation.

Camposano, who excels in marathon, said she did not expect to receive the athletic saber award.  “Surprising nga din na ako yung athletic saber awardee kasi meron din naming taga Baguio  which is inate na sa kanila yung pagiging malakas, ” she said.

All the four  female recipients of the  Athletic Saber are from the Cordillera Administrative Region.  The first  lady  “Tarzan” as they call the athletic saber awardees, is  now Capt. Jessie Rose Bucalen  of  PMA Class 2002 who hails  from Kalinga.  The second  was then  Cadet First Class May Wangdali of Ambasing, Sagada, Mountain Province of  PMA Class 2006 , followed by   another Sagada lass, then  Cadet 1st Class Janice Baniaga Matbagan of PMA Class 2011.  Then Cadet 1st Class Zeporah Gabino Dalang  from Tinoc, Ifugao  bagged the same award in the  PMA Bagwis Class of 2012.

The 24 year old looker  used to play archery before venturing into running where she concentrated while in the academy. She has run in the Subic International Marathon, Quezon City International Marathon and North Face 100, among others.  She also plays chess and arnis.

Camposano is  among  the  171 members of  Sinag-Lahi Class  of 2015 who will  be graduating this Sunday, March 15 ,  with President Benigno  Aquino III as guest of honor and speaker. She will be joining the Philippine Air Force.

PHL-US army to build, repair Tapaz schools

From the Philippine Information Agency (Mar 13): PHL-US army to build, repair Tapaz schools

ROXAS CITY, Capiz, March 13 (PIA) – A school building in Tapaz town will be built in view of the Balikatan Exercises this year.

Public Affairs Office head Major Ray Tiongson disclosed that a two-classroom building will be constructed in view of the Philippine-United States Balikatan Exercise in Panay Island from March 15 to April 30 this year.

This, after a Memorandum of Agreement was recently signed between the 61st Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army’s 3rd Infantry Division  and the Don Joaquin Artuz Memorial School in Barangay Taft, Tapaz which signals the start of the construction, he said.

Tiongson said that Lt. Col. Victor Llapitan signed the said agreement in behalf of the battalion while Glenda Gevero, the school principal, signed the same document for the school. 

Aside from Don Joaquin Artuz Memorial School, a school in Barangay San Nicolas, Tapaz is also chosen as a beneficiary of the repair and repainting of their school buildings, he said.

He stressed that the personnel  from the 552nd Engineering Construction Battalion of the Philippine Army and the US Naval Construction Battalion will do the construction and repair activities.

“The Philippine-US 2015 is a partnership program between the Armed Forces of the Philippine and the United States Pacific Command,” Tiongson explained, pointing out that the said exercise will be in its 31st iteration in which one of its main activities is the humanitarian assistance and disaster response exercise.

He added that the exercise aims to provide humanitarian assistance and civic action programs to local communities affected by super typhoon Yolanda such as the construction and repair of school buildings.

He said that the Balikatan 2015 in Panay Island will also cover a series of month long activities in which training on disaster response and health seminars which aim to empower local communities in disaster preparedness, relief and rehabilitation will be conducted at the vicinity of the Tapaz town.

In his message during the MOA signing ceremony, 301st Infantry Brigade Commander Colonel Eric Uchida pointed out the Philippine Army’s commitment in winning the peace in the communities as he encouraged stakeholders to actively support the peace and development efforts of the government.

The event was also graced by Tapaz mayor Rosemarie Gardose who thanked the Philippine Army for the implementation of the program, pledging the commitment of the local government and the community in supporting the program stressing the value of education as one of the best gifts that anyone can give to an individual.

For his part, 3ID Commander Major General Rey Leonardo Guerrero emphasized the need to enhance disaster preparedness, response and recovery, calling on all stakeholders to support this endeavor in order to save lives during calamities.

Battalion chief condemns NPA anew for risking minor in clash vs. army in SurSur, 1 killed

From the Philippine Information Agency (Mar 13): Battalion chief condemns NPA anew for risking minor in clash vs. army in SurSur, 1 killed

TANDAG CITY, Surigao del Sur – A 17-year old female member of the New People’s Army (NPA) was killed on Thursday morning, March 12 in a clash against troopers in kilometer 7, Barangay Pakwan, Lanuza town, a 43 kilometers north, this city.

Capt. Al Anthony Pueblas, 36th Infantry Battalion (36IB) civil military officer (CMO) identified the victim as Kring Salahay Tagunsod a.k.a. “Che-che,” a resident of kilometer 7, Barangay Hinapuyan, Carmen town, adjacent municipality two kilometers down north.

The army CMO bared that the victim serves as “medic” for guerilla front 30 (GF 30).

Upon learning of the incident, 36IB Battalion Commander Lt. Col. Anastacio Suaybaguio, Jr. condemned anew the rebel groups here for recruiting a minor.

It can be recalled that last week, Suaybaguio has already condemned the acts of the NPA when they used a landmine in an ambush set for a private vehicle; 17-year old boy was hurt.

“Among gikondenar ang rebeldeng NPA sa ilang padayon nga pagpang-rekrut ug paggamit sa mga kabatan-unan sa armadong pakigbisog (We condemned the NPA rebels for keeping on enlisting and employing the youths I their armed struggle),” the battalion commander said.

“Ang atong kabatan-unan maoy kaugmaon sa atong nasud apan giguba lamang kiisa walay pulos nga idelohiya sa rebeldeng NPA (The youths are the hope of our nation only that they are ruined because of the nonsense ideology of the NPA),” the army official added.

Reportedly, the Charlie Company platoon led by 2Lt. Payanglo was conducting a security/pursuit operation when encountered some 15 NPA rebels that lasted for about a quarter of an hour which left “Che-che” dead whose companions scampered to safety, according to Pueblas.

Former NPA rebels to get CLIP assistance

From the Philippine Information Agency (Mar 12): Former NPA rebels to get CLIP assistance

Rebel returnees who surrendered recently to authorities will be enrolled into government’s Comprehensive Local Integration Program (CLIP).

As of this writing, 11 New People’s Army (NPA) rebels have already surrendered following the encounter between the Army’s 73rd Infantry Battalion and the NPA’s Front 75 last February 16 in So Tugal, Barangay Datal Anggas, Alabel, Sarangani.

 “Simula noong engkwentro ay 11 na silang lahat ang sumuko at inaasahan naming na marami pang sumunod upang makapag-avail ng Comprehensive Local Integration Program (Since the encounter, there were already 11 rebels who surrendered and we are expecting more to follow suit),” Capt. Rey Balibagoso, 1002nd Brigade’s civil military officer said.

The encounter has resulted in the “killing of seven rebels and the recovery of various subversive documents.”  

NPA leader Tolentino Bariquit alias Kumander Brigol was among those killed.

But Ka Renan, a rebel returnee who voluntarily surrendered in Alabel town last February 22 to 73rd IB headed by Lt. Col. Ronnie Babac revealed that the NPA had actually lost 13 comrades but they were able to ask some folk to help bury them. 

“Sinabi nyang 13 ang namatay sa kanilang kasamahan, pero 7 lamang ang narecover ng gobyerno, at ang 6 ay ipinalibing na lamang nila sa masa (He said they have actually lost 13 comrades but they were able to have common people bury them),” Balibagoso said, adding there were no casualties on government side.

He also said that in the last weeks they have received “surrender feelers” from rebels who want to return to the fold of law.

Ka Renan and the others will receive the necessary assistance as provided under the government’s reintegration program, the officer said.

In the meantime the returnees have been provided with short-term “food assistance.”

Under CLIP, returnees are entitled to avail socio-economic assistance such as a livelihood project to help them start a new life with their families.

CLIP is implemented pursuant to Joint Memorandum Circular (JMC) No. 2014-01 issued by the Department of Interior and Local Government and the Office of the Presidential Assistant on the Peace Process (DILG-OPAPP).

It aims to encourage members of the Communist Party of the Philippines, NPA, and the National Democratic Front to lay down their arms and rejoin mainstream society.

The returnees who are all Tagakaulo tribe, an indigenous people (IP) mostly found in Malungon, Sarangai, were presented to Gov. Steve Chiongbian Solon, the committee chair of CLIP in the province.

They will be awarded the CLIP assistance on March 19.

AFP explains chopper night-flights

From the Philippine Information Agency (Mar 11): AFP explains chopper night-flights

The military confirmed the night flights being conducted by the helicopters of the Philippine Air Force in the city skies.

Colonel Romeo Brawner, spokesperson of the Eastern Mindanao Command said the activity is called proficiency training flight of the Philippine Air Force.

“We need to do this in order to have the ability to fly during the night,” he said.

Brawner pointed out that time is very precious in conducting medical evacuation on wounded soldiers during a military operation, so chopper pilots must hone the skills in conducting night flights.

He said that in Davao City, night-flight training is conducted every other three days.

Brawner said that night flight training is also done simultaneously in the cities of Cebu, Lipa and Metro Manila.

MEDCAP beneficiaries hail 1CAV, 1FAB for holding free health services

From the Philippine Information Agency (Mar 10): MEDCAP beneficiaries hail 1CAV, 1FAB for holding free health services

TUKURAN, Zamboanga del Sur –Residents of barangay Manlayag here expressed their gratitude to the Philippine Army (PA) for successfully conducting a Medical and Dental Civic Action Program (MEDCAP), benefiting 304 poor people in this far-flung community.

The 1st Cavalry Squadron (Tagapanguna) Battalion of Mechanized Infantry Division and 1st Field Artillery Battalion of Army Artillery Regiment conducted the MEDCAP at Manlayag Elementary School here last March 7 as part of the Armed Forces of the Philippines’ (AFP) Internal Peace and Security Plan (IPSP) Bayanihan.

Esmeralda Padro, 52, a mother of 13 children said all of her 9 male children have availed of free circumcision during the MEDCAP.

She arrived very early with her three children at Manlayag Elementary School to avail of the said free services.

“Nalipay ko ug dako nga ang medical and dental mission gihimo dinhi sa among barangay aron kami makapahimulos sa libre nga serbisyo sa kagamhanan. Layo kaayo ang among health center sa among dapit mao nga igo na lang kami magpaabot nga ang mga programa sa gobyerno moduol  sa amoa,” Padro happily said.

(I am very thankful that the medical and dental mission was conducted in our barangay for us to avail of free health services from the government. Our health center is very far from our place. That is why we will just wait for the government programs to come to us.)

Alvin, 9, and Marjun, 7, have availed themselves of free circumcision. While their elder sister, Cherry, 12, availed herself of free tooth extraction and free medical checkup and medicines for their paprents.

“Pinaagi sa ilang gihatag nga libre nga serbisyo sa amoa dili na mobati ug kaulaw ang akong mga anak sulod sa ilang lawak-klasehanan,” Padro said whose three young children are attending classes at Manlayag Elementary School.

(With the free services the government provided us, our children are now inspired to attend their classes.)

Ricardo Laylay was also grateful for the activity saying that his two male children Kelvin, 9, and Carlo, 5, have also availed of the free circumcision.

“Dili na ko mogasto ug panahon ug kwarta nga moadto sa health center sa lungsod aron akong ipatuli ang akong mga anak tungod kay ang gobyerno miduol sa mga tawo sa among barangay,” Laylay said.

(I need not to spend time and efforts to go to our health center just to have my sons circumcised because the government is now bringing its services closer to the people right in our barangay.)

“Kini nga kalihokan dako kaayo kini ug ikatabang ilabi na kanamo nga mga kabus nga  mulupyo kinsa dili maka-afford mo-adto sa doctor, Laylay added.

(This activity is a big help especially for the poor who can’t afford to go to a doctor.) 

Meanwhile, Lt. Col. Charlemagne Batayola Jr., commanding officer of the

1st Cavalry Squadron battalion said the activity was just a follow-up of the gift-giving activity conducted by the units last Feb. 13 dubbed “Love Drive Program” wherein poor residents of Barangay Manlayag had received food packs, used clothing and slippers from the units, and the Brigada Eskwela last March 1 where the troopers helped the teachers, parents and students in doing minor repairs and cleanup on the school in preparation for the start of the next school year.

1st Cavalry Squadron conducts ‘Brigada Eskwela’ in selected schools

From the Philippine Information Agency (Mar 13): 1st Cavalry Squadron conducts ‘Brigada Eskwela’ in selected schools

In its desire to help schoolchildren to have a clean, well-maintained and comfortable classroom during the opening of classes in June, the 1st Cavalry Squadron (Tagapanguna) Battalion, 1st Mechanized Infantry Division conducted “Brigada Eskwela” in Manlayag Elementary School last March 5 and 10 respectively.

Capt. Ronnie Halangdon, civil-military operations officer said Brigada Eskwela was an initiative of the unit designed to help teachers, parents and students in doing minor repairs and cleanup in the school in preparation for the start of the new school year. “This is also part of the enhanced Internal Peace and Security Plan (IPSP) Bayanihan campaign of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP),” Halangdon added.

Halangdon said a squad of 1st Cavalry Squadron with its masonry and carpentry skills volunteered to make the school ready for the coming school year.

Asked why they implemented Brigada Eskwela early this March when it is usually held by the volunteers two weeks before the opening classes, Halangdon replied: “We did it in advance for we could no longer wait to see the schoolchildren attending classes with some of their chairs and tables are dilapidated.

“Naaawa kami sa mga bata na nag-aaral na galing pa sa kanilang malalayong bahay. Maraming bundok pa ang kanilang lalakarin bago nila maabot ang kanilang paaralan at sa pagpasok nila ang makikita nila ay ang mga depektibo nga lamesa, upuan at blackboard. Gusto namin na komportable ang kanilang pag-aaral habang nasa loob ng classroom,” Halangdon explained. 

(We pity the schoolchildren who came all the way from faraway houses. They have to walk and climb several mountains before reaching their school and when they enter their classrooms, all they can see are defective tables, chairs and blackboards. We want them to feel comfortable inside their classrooms).

“This is the second time that we conducted Brigada Eskwela in public elementary schools. The first, was held in Navalan Elementary School. They are our adopted schools,” Halangdon disclosed.

Halangdon said the team repaired the chairs, tables and blackboards, cleaning the surroundings of the school and built a gate in the school.

Meanwhile, school principal Jessica Casio lauded the officers and men of 1st Cavalry Squadron (Tagapanguna) Battalion for doing the activity in her school saying that their efforts is a manifestation of their genuine concern not only for the schoolchildren but for the entire community as well. 

“I am very thankful for the leadership of 1st Cavalry Squadron for giving their time and effort in realizing this activity,” Casio said.

“I thank them for choosing our school as their pilot area of their Bayanihan activities,” Casio said. She also revealed that these schoolchildren were the beneficiaries of the unit’s gift-giving activity dubbed “Love Drive Program” last Feb. 14.

PIA-Sibugay conducts trainers’ training for 44th IB soldiers

From the Philippine Information Agency (Mar 13): PIA-Sibugay conducts trainers’ training for 44th IB soldiers
To capacitate the soldiers of the 44th Infantry Battalion, Philippine Army (PA) in facilitating youth leadership summits in its area of responsibility, the Philippine Information Agency (PIA)-Sibugay gave them on Tuesday (March 10) a lecture on effective communication to develop their communication skills and their ability in handling group discussions.

“The ability to communicate effectively is important in relationships, education and work,” said Information Center Manager Alma L. Tingcang of PIA-Zamboanga Sibugay before the participants in the said training held here.

She said people with improved communication skills usually enjoy better interpersonal relationships with friends and family. “Effective communication skill is fundamental to achieve success in various aspects of our life,” she remarked.

Ms. Tingcang told the 10 participants attending the training that a good communicator or speaker must have the courage to say what they think, finding it worthwhile to contribute ideas in a conversation.

“Take time each day to be aware of your opinions and feelings so you can adequately convey them to others.”

According to Ms. Tingcang constant practice is required to develop one’s ability in speaking. “New skills take time to refine, but each time you use your communication skills, you open yourself to opportunities and future partnerships,” she said.

Making eye contact, gestures, and mirroring one’s language are among the keys to effective communication as explained by Tingcang.

However, communication may be disrupted through noise, generation gap, cultural differences, hearing and language –also known as the barriers to communication, which can lead to misunderstanding and confusion.

“Choose to be honest, patient, optimistic, sincere, respectful, and accepting of others when in a conversation,” Tingcang stressed.

Meanwhile, handling group discussion was also discussed. The participants were given exercises and tasks that they presented at the end of the training.

PIA-9 also conducted the same training on September 12, 2014 to another batch of YLS facilitators of 44th IB in Imelda town.

BOI: 6 Americans gave 'real-time' info to SAF

From Rappler (Mar 13): BOI: 6 Americans gave 'real-time' info to SAF

(UPDATED) The PNP BOI's report on the Mamasapano clash confirm 6 Americans were at the SAF's tactical command post on January 25

US military personnel (L) help their Philippine counterparts prepare to load an injured police commando from one stretcher to another and onto a waiting US military helicopter in the town of Mamasapano on January 26, 2015, following clashes with Muslim rebels. File photo by Mark Navales/AFP

US military personnel (L) help their Philippine counterparts prepare to load an injured police commando from one stretcher to another and onto a waiting US military helicopter in the town of Mamasapano on January 26, 2015, following clashes with Muslim rebels. File photo by Mark Navales/AFP
“Six American nationals” provided “real-time information” during a police operation on January 25 that claimed the lives of 65, including 44 elite cops, 5 civilians, and 18 Muslim rebels, according to a report by police investigators.

The American nationals, the Philippine National Police (PNP) Board of Inquiry (BOI) said in its report, were at the tactical command post during “Oplan Exodus,” a PNP Special Action Force (SAF)-led operation that targeted bomb makers and terrorists Zulkifli bin Hir (alias “Marwan”) and Abdul Basit Usman.

"The US counterparts provided real-time information on the actual movements of friendly and enemy forces in the area of operations. The US personnel at the tactical command post were able to do this by providing the special technical equipment and aircraft, which they themselves operated," read the 130-page report.

The report, however, emphasized that no armed US troops were at the area of operations on January 25.

Marwan was killed but Usman escaped in what would be the bloodiest one-day operation in PNP history.

Marwan is one of the most wanted terrorists of the United States’ Federal Bureau of Investigation, which put a US$5 million bounty for his capture. The Philippine government offered P7.4 million for his arrest. (READ: Marwan and the ties that bind)

Usman, on the other hand, has a US$1 million bounty from the US government and a P6.4 million bounty from the Philippine government on his head.

The US was involved even after the operation.

According to sacked PNP SAF commander Police Director Getulio Napeñas, the left index finger of Marwan that was taken for DNA sampling was “sent to two representatives of the US FBI (Federal Bureau of Investigation) waiting at General Santos City on January 28.”

But this, the BOI report noted, should not have happened. "The standard procedure should have been to turn-over the DNA sample to the PNP Crime Laboratory," it said.

Photos of a dead Marwan taken by the SAF assault team were also handed over to the FBI, the PNP, and the Interior Department.

The report, or at least parts of the report shown to media, did not explain why the FBI was already waiting at General Santos City, or what the protocols of the FBI’s involvement post-operation were.

Technical intelligence

But even prior to the bloody police operation, the US “had been providing reliable information about Marwan and Usman… The technical intelligence support also facilitated the formulation and execution of the Oplan Exodus,” said the report, which was submitted to PNP office-in-charge Deputy Director General Leonardo Espina on Thursday, March 12. (READ: Senate hearings: Was there US involvement in SAF ops?)

Quoting from interviews and the affidavit of Superintendent Michael John Catindig Mangahis from the SAF, the BOI noted that the 6 Americans also “helped in the medical evacuation of the besieged and wounded SAF Commandos.”

Mangahis also said the “pilots of the helicopter who helped in evacuating wounded personnel to the hospital” were the same ones present at the tactical command post.

The FBI has since said that based on “preliminary test results the FBI has evidence that supports the claim that the DNA sample provided by the Government of the Philippines (GOP) on 27 January 2015 is related to the currently incarcerated subject Rahmat Abhdir.”

Abhdir is Marwan’s brother, who is currently detained in the US.

Sticky issue

“Oplan Exodus” has become controversial for a score of reasons. The SAF command decided to keep the Philippine military and top PNP brass out of the loop, informing them of the operation only after troopers had entered Mamasapano town in Maguindanao.

US involvement has also been a sticky issue, with various reports – from media outfits and Mamasapano residents – of sightings of foreigners during the operation and of a drone that hovered over the area prior to and during the operation.

The US has been involved in counterterrorism operations in the Philippines for more than a decade now.

Napeñas said during a Senate hearing that having US counterparts involved in the operation “is authoritzed as such involvement is part of a continuing legitimate project.”

The BOI in its report said it “cannot ascertain the validity of this claim” and that it would be up to the Philippine-US Security Engagement Board to determine if Napeñas’ reasoning was valid.

An expert has dismissed US intelligence description of Marwan as a top terrorist. He was “a little snake who has been blown up into a dragon," said the Institute for Policy Analysis of Conflict headed by Sidney Jones. (READ: Marwan not 'world-class terrorist')

The BOI report is the result of a 6-week long probe by selected police officers. The board was formed the day after the bloody operation in Mamasapano.

BIFF death toll now at 125 as 9 more fighters killed in Maguindanao air strikes

From InterAksyon (Mar 13): BIFF death toll now at 125 as 9 more fighters killed in Maguindanao air strikes

Air assets of Joint Task Force Central killed nine more members of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) and wounded two others during a series of missions in Sitio Lipao, Barangay Palanaken, Datu Piang town, Maguindanao Thursday night.

Armed Forces of the Philippines spokesperson Brig. Gen. Joselito Kakilala on Friday said the air strikes were carried out using four MG-520 "Defender" attack helicopters after concerned civilians reported the presence of 50 armed BIFF members in the area.

The group was reportedly headed by one Commander Torex Tasil, according to Kakilala.

The military placed the total number of BIFF fatalities at 125 with another 65 wounded.

The offensive against the group started last February 25.

Kakilala said the continuation of the air and ground offensives against the BIFF would be determined by 6th Infantry Division commander Major Gen. Edmundo Pangilinan, the incumbent head of Joint Task Force Central.

Executive Summary of the PNP Mamasapano Board of Inquiry Report

From InterAksyon (Mar 13): Executive Summary of the PNP Mamasapano Board of Inquiry Report

Department of Interior and Local Government Secretary Mar Roxas receives the report on the Mamasapano incident by the board of inquiry from BOI chairman, Director Benjamin Magalong and acting PNP chief P/Deputy Director General Leonardo Espina.(Krisken Jones/

What follows is the text of the Executive Summary covering the report of the Philippine National Police Board of Inquiry into the Mamasapano incident.
To see the full report, click here.
On January 25, 2015, sixty-seven (67) Filipinos died in Mamasapano, Maguindanao, as a result of an encounter triggered by Operation Plan (Oplan) Exodus.

The goal of Oplan Exodus was to neutralize high value targets (HVTs) who were international terrorists—i.e., Zhulkifli Bin Hir/Zulkifli Abhir (Marwan); Ahmad Akmad Batabol Usman (Usman); and Amin Baco (Jihad). 

Forty-four (44) members of the Special Action Force (SAF)—considered as the elite unit of the Philippine National Police (PNP) against terrorism and internal security threats—lost their lives in Mamasapano, while sixteen (16) other SAF members sustained severe injuries.

The tragic incident in Mamasapano raised several questions. How could a group of elite forces be massacred?  Who was responsible for their deaths?  What caused the tragic encounter in Mamasapano?  Who were the hostile forces encountered by the SAF troops?

The Board of Inquiry (BOI) was created by the Philippine National Police (PNP) primarily to investigate the facts and circumstances surrounding the Mamasapano encounter, to establish facts regarding Oplan Exodus, to determine possible lapses in the planning and execution of Oplan Exodus, and to provide recommendations in order to address such possible lapses.

The methodology used by the BOI in preparing this Report is described in Chapter 1.

The BOI notes that information obtained from certain key personalities were limited.  For instance, the BOI failed to secure an interview with the President Benigno Aquino III, suspended Chief PNP (CPNP) Alan Purisima, Chief-of-Staff AFP (CSAFP) General Gregorio Catapang, and Lieutenant General Rustico Guerrero.  All concerned officers of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) refused to be interviewed by the BOI despite repeated requests. 

The BOI did not have access to other crucial information such as contents of Short Messaging System (SMS) or text messages, and logs of calls and SMS.  BOI’s requests for the submission of cellular phones for forensic examination were also denied by CSAFP Catapang, Guerrero, suspended CPNP Purisima and AFP officers.  However, the sworn statement of suspended CPNP Purisima included a transcript of his SMS exchanges with the President on January 25, 2015.

Despite the foregoing limitations, the BOI succeeded in conducting several interviews, obtaining various types of evidence, processing and reviewing hundreds of documents, and conducting ocular inspection in Mamasapano to produce this Report.

Based on the records, Oplan Exodus was approved by the President and implemented by suspended CPNP Purisima and the Director of SAF (Napeñas) Getulio Napeñas, to the exclusion of the Officer-in-Charge of the Philippine National Police (OIC PNP) Leonardo Espina, who is the concurrent Deputy CPNP for Operations. 

On December 16, 2014, the OIC-PNP issued Special Order No. 9851 which directed suspended CPNP Purisima and other suspended PNP officers, to "cease and desist from performing the duties and functions of their respective offices during the pendency of [their respective cases filed by the Ombudsman] until its termination." 

Napeñas and suspended CPNP Purisima ignored the established PNP Chain of Command by excluding OIC-PNP Espina in the planning and execution of Oplan Exodus. Napeñas and suspended CPNP also failed to inform the Secretary of the Interior and Local Government (SILG) Mar Roxas about Oplan Exodus, and made no prior coordination with the AFP.  Based on the records, SILG and OIC-PNP were informed of Oplan Exodus only in the morning of January 25, 2015 when such operation was already being executed.  OIC-PNP was first informed about Oplan Exodus through a phone call by suspended CPNP Purisima at 05:50 a.m. on January 25, 2015.  SILG learned about the operation when he got an SMS from Police Director Charles Calima Jr. at 07:43 a.m. on January 25, 2015.

The participation of the suspended CPNP in Oplan Exodus was carried out with the knowledge of the President.  Records revealed instances when the suspended CPNP met with the President and Napeñas to discuss Oplan Exodus; and communicated with the President via SMS messages regarding the execution of Oplan Exodus on January 25, 2015.

Records also show that suspended CPNP Purisima failed to deliver his assurances to coordinate with the AFP.  At a crucial stage of the crisis, the suspended CPNP Purisima provided inaccurate information from an unofficial source, which further jeopardized the situation of the 55th  SAC and 84th Seaborne in Mamasapano.

There are indications that Napeñas may not have considered differing opinions raised by his subordinate commanders.  The mission planning appears to have been done by a group of officers and not by a planning team, with inputs heavily influenced by Napeñas.  Subordinate commanders expressed that Napeñas had unrealistic planning assumptions such as the swift delivery of artillery fire and the immediate facilitation of ceasefire.

Napeñas chose to employ a "way-in/way-out, by foot and night-only" infiltration and exfiltration Concept of Operation (CONOPS) for Oplan Exodus.  During an interview with BOI, Napeñas admitted that he expected casualty of around ten (10) SAF Commandos to accomplish the mission.

Napeñas also admitted that key variables for the success of Oplan Exodus, such as the coordination with the Sixth Infantry Division (6ID), and with the Coordinating Committee on the Cessation of Hostilities (CCCH) and Ad Hoc Joint Action Group (AHJAG) were not thoroughly considered in the mission planning.  The established protocols and Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) of the AFP, CCCH and AHJAG in providing reinforcement and effecting ceasefire were not sufficiently discussed.

Napeñas proposed to the President the adoption of the "Time-On-Target" (TOT) concept of coordination for Oplan Exodus.  Application of the TOT concept restricted disclosure of information to a limited number of persons until the target is engaged.  It appears that Napeñas’ primary consideration for adopting the TOT concept was operational security (OPSEC) to reduce the risk of having Oplan Exodus compromised.

The records show that when the President gave instructions to CPNP Purisima and Napeñas to coordinate with the AFP, Napeñas raised his concern that the AFP might be compromised due to intermarriages of some AFP personnel with the local people.  He cited previous SAF operations against the same HVTs that were coordinated with the AFP.  Suspended CPNP Purisima and Mendez shared the qualms of Napeñas. 

When Napeñas proposed to the President the adoption of the TOT concept for Oplan Exodus, the President remained silent.

Police Superintendent Raymund Train of the 84th SAC (one of the survivors from the Mamasapano encoutner) attested that, in case of heavy enemy fire, the first planned mitigating action for Oplan Exodus was indirect artillery fire support from the AFP.  The second planned mitigating action was the commissioning of the peace process mechanisms to facilitate ceasefire.

However, Napeñas failed to consider the consequences of the TOT concept vis-a-vis the required mitigating actions.  He appeared to have relied heavily on the verbal commitment of the suspended CPNP Purisima to arrange for the needed AFP support.  Coordination with the 6ID and CCCH and AHJAG was planned to be made at TOT, that was, upon engagement of the target.  There was no plan for close air support.

With respect to the peace process mechanisms as mitigating actions in Oplan Exodus, the required coordination to trigger such mechanisms (such as a ceasefire) were not followed.

Prior communication with Brigadier General Carlito Galvez could have informed Napeñas that, in past experiences, a ceasefire could only be achieved after at least six (6) hours of negotiation.

By the time the AFP was informed about Oplan Exodus, a hostile encounter between the SAF Commandos and various armed groups in Mamasapano had already ensued. 

Considering that the CONOPS adopted the way-in/way-out-in/way- that the CONOPS adopted heavy support from other SAF Commandos to secure the withdrawal route of the Main Effort (Seaborne). The plan was for the 84th Seaborne to link-up with 55th SAC and progressively with 4SAB units along the withdrawal route.

The delay in the movement of the Seaborne affected the movement of the 4SAB and other reserve forces. When the containment and reserve forces arrived at the Vehicle Drop-off Point (VDOP), the situation in the area of operation was already hostile.  Heavy sound of gunfire were heard coming from the location of the 55th SAC.  The troops immediately disembarked, organized themselves and rushed to their designed waypoints (WP).  Midway between WP8 and WP9, the reinforcing troops came under heavy enemy fire.  The exfiltration route became dominated by hostile forces. The Ground Commander at the Advance Command Post (ACP) was not able to maneuver the troops to break enemy lines and force their way to reinforce the 55th SAC Commandos near WP12. Ineffective communication system further exacerbated the situation.

During the site survey in Mamasapano on February 24, 2015, the BOI took note of the unfavorable terrain faced by the reinforcing troops.  The wide terrain between their location and that of the 55th SAC was literally flat without adequate cover and concealment.  Tactical maneuvers, such as the "Bounding Overwatch" technique, would have been difficult and may result to more casualties.  According to the platoon leaders, enemy fires were coming from all directions which prevented them from maneuvering and reinforcing 55th SAC.

In a joint interview with BOI, Mayor Ampatuan of Mamasapano and the Barangay Chairman and Officials of Tukanalipao in Mamasapano claimed that in the past, armed elements would readily withdraw from the encounter site whenever white phosphorous rounds were delivered by the Field Artillery Battery of the 6ID PA.

In an interview with BOI, Napeñas claimed that the 6ID immediately provided artillery fire support when one of its infantry company was harassed by armed elements sometime in late November or early December 2014.

However, during the execution of Oplan Exodus, three (3) white phosphorous rounds were delivered late in the afternoon and not earlier in the morning when such rounds could have mattered most to the 84th Seaborne and the 55th SAC.

SAF coordinated and requested for indirect artillery fire support from the 1st Mechanized Brigade as early as 07:30 a.m.  The Brigade Commander of the 1st Mech Brigade, Colonel Gener Del Rosario sought clearance for artillery fire from the 6ID Commander, Major General Edmundo Pangilinan.  However, of the three recommendations given by Col. Del Rosario, only the dispatches of infantry support and mechanized support were approved by MGEN Pangilinan.  The request for indirect artillery fire was put on hold since, according to Pangilinan, they still lacked details as mandated by their protocol.

Based on the records, MGEN Pangilinan took it upon himself to withhold artillery fire support in consideration of the peace process and artillery fire protocols.  However, pursuant to AAR, PA SOP No. 4, that decision could have been made by a Brigade Commander like Col. del Rosario. 

The primary objective of Oplan Exodus to get the HVTs was not fully completed.  Two of its targets, Jihad and Usman, were able to escape and remain at-large.
Three hundred ninety-two (392) SAF Commandos were mobilized for Oplan Exodus.  Forty-four (44) SAF members lost their lives in carrying out this mission.  

In discovering the facts that lead to such deaths, this Report stresses the importance of command responsibility: "A commander is responsible for what his unit does or fails to do."


1. Chain of Command

The Chain of Command in the PNP was violated. The President, the suspended CPNP Purisima and the former Director SAF Napeñas kept the information to themselves and deliberately failed to inform the OIC PNP and the SILG. The Chain of Command should be observed in running mission operations. 

For instance, the Manual for PNP Fundamental Doctrine , requires the Commander to discharge his responsibilities through a Chain of Command.  Such Manual provides that it is "only in urgent situations when intermediate commanders may be bypassed.  In such instances, intermediate commanders should be notified of the context of the order as soon as possible by both the commander issuing the order and the commander receiving it." 

With respect to Oplan Exodus, the Chain of Command in the PNP should have been: OIC, CPNP PDDG Espina (as senior commander) to Napeñas (as intermediate commander).  PDG Purisima could not legally form part of the Chain of Command by reason of his suspension.

2. Command Responsibility

The principle of Command Responsibility demands that a commander is responsible for all that his unit does or fails to do.  Command Responsibility cannot be delegated or passed-on to other officers.  Under the Manual for PNP Fundamental Doctrine, Command Responsibility "can never be delegated otherwise it would constitute an abdication of his role as a commander.  He alone answers for the success or failure of his command in all circumstances."

Based on the records, Napeñas admitted that he had command responsibility with respect to Oplan Exodus.

3. Coordination

The TOT coordination concept, which limits the disclosure of information to only a few personnel, is applicable only to ordinary police operations. This concept however does not conform to the established and acceptable operational concepts and protocols of the PNP.  Even AFP commanders asserted that the TOT concept is alien to the Armed Forces and runs counter to their established SOPs. Without coordination, following the AFP definition, support to operating units such as artillery or close air support is not possible since these entails preparations.

4. Operation Plan

Oplan Exodus was not approved by the OIC-PNP.  Napeñas dominated the mission planning, disregarding inputs from his subordinate commanders on how the operation will be conducted.  The concept of the way-in/way-out, by foot, and night-only infiltration and exfiltration in an enemy controlled community with unrealistic assumptions was a high-risk type of operation.

5. Execution

Oplan Exodus can never be executed effectively because it was defective from the very beginning. Troop movement was mismanaged, troops failed to occupy their positions, there was lack of effective communication among the operating troops, command and control was ineffective and foremost, there was no coordination with the AFP forces and peace mechanism entities (CCCH and AHJAG).

6. Command and Control

Command and control is critical to a coordinated and collaborative response to the Mamasapano Incident.  In Oplan Exodus, the SAF’s TCP and ACP were plagued by failures of command and control from the very start especially in the aspect of communication.  As Oplan Exodus unfolded, mobile communication devices was used as a primary mode of communication.  However, these devices fell short of what were needed to relay real-time information and coordination of activities to and from the chain of command.

Radio Operators were assigned at the TCP one each for 84th Seaborne and 55th SAC.  However, 55th SAC and 84th Seaborne lost contact during the crucial moments of executing Oplan Exodus.  They had to rely on distinctive gunfire to approximate each other’s location.  Radio net diagram was provided but failed when radio equipment bogged down.

7. Logistics

Some of the ordnance for M203 were defective.  Although there were sufficient rounds of ammunition for each operating troop, the overwhelming strength of the enemy caused the troops to run out of ammunition.  The common Motorola handheld radios failed when submerged in water because these were not designed for military-type of operations.  The battery life was short because of wear and tear.

8. AFP Response

Artillery fire support was factored in as one of the mitigating actions of the SAF.  However, such support was not delivered when needed.  In consideration of the peace process, AFP did not deliver the artillery fire support under the consideration of the peace process, and on the absence of compliance with the required protocol.  AFP demanded prior coordination to enable them to react and deliver the requested support.  Nonetheless, the AFP sent infantry and mechanized units to reinforce the SAF.  White phosphorus artillery rounds were fired late in the afternoon.  However, by then, all of the 55th SAC lay dead except for one who was able to escape.

Local PNP units were not fully utilized to reinforce the SAF. The reinforcement from the local and Regional PNP units were not seriously factored-in during the mission planning process.

9. Peace Process Mechanisms

Officials of the CCCH and AHJAG, when tapped by AFP, did their best to reinstate the ceasefire between the SAF and MILF combatants.  The participation of other armed groups such as the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF), private armed groups (PAGs), and other armed civilians in the firefight delayed the ceasefire.

10. United States (US) Involvement

The US was involved in the intelligence operations and medical evacuations. No US personnel/troops were involved in the actual combat operation. The US supported the operation by providing technical support to enhance monitoring of the troops on the ground.

They were also involved in the identification of Marwan through DNA analysis.  

11. Post-Mission Actions

The report submitted by the PNP Crime Laboratory shows that around four (4) SAF commandos with fatal gunshot wounds (GSWs) to the head and at the mid-portion of the trunk were deathblows delivered by shooting at close-range.  In other words, not all the forty-four (44) fatalities died during the actual firefight, but were literally executed at close-range by the enemy.

A total of 16 SAF firearms and one (1) cellphone were returned by the MILF.  It was observed that some parts of the returned firearms had been replaced.


Based on the foregoing, the following conclusions were drawn:

1. The President gave the go-signal and allowed the execution of Oplan Exodus after the concept of operations (CONOPS) was presented to him by Director of Special Action Force (SAF) Police Director Getulio Napeñas.

2. The President allowed the participation of the suspended Chief Philippine National Police (CPNP) Police Director General Alan Purisima in the planning and execution of the Oplan Exodus despite the suspension order of the Ombudsman.

3. The President exercised his prerogative to deal directly with Napeñas instead of Officer-in-Charge of the PNP (OIC-PNP) Police Deputy Director General Leonardo Espina. While the President has the prerogative to deal directly with any of his subordinates, the act of dealing with Napeñas instead of OIC-PNP Espina bypassed the established PNP Chain of Command.  Under the Manual for PNP Fundamental Doctrine , the Chain of Command runs upward and downward.  Such Manual requires the commander to discharge his responsibilities through a Chain of Command.

4. The suspended CPNP Purisima violated the preventive suspension order issued by the Ombudsman when he participated in the planning and execution of Oplan Exodus.  He also violated the Special Order No. 9851 dated December 16, 2014 issued by OIC-PNP Espina, directing him and other suspended PNP officers to "cease and desist from performing the duties and functions of their respective offices during the pendency of the case until its termination."

5. In the same meeting where the President instructed Napeñas and suspended CPNP Purisima to coordinate with the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) , PDG Purisima thereafter said to Napeñas: "Ako na ang bahala kay Catapang." The PNP Ethical Doctrine Manual cites, "Word of Honor – PNP members’ word is their bond. They stand by and commit to it." The statement of Purisima may be construed as an assurance of providing the coordination instructed by the President.

6. Suspended CPNP Purisima provided inaccurate information to the President about the actual situation on the ground when he sent text messages to the President stating that SAF Commandos were pulling out , and that they were supported by mechanized and artillery support.  

7. Despite his knowledge of the suspension order issued by the Ombudsman, Napeñas followed the instructions of suspended CPNP Purisima not to inform OIC-PNP and the Secretary of the Interior and Local Government (SILG) Mar Roxas about Oplan Exodus.  This violated the PNP Chain of Command.

8. Napeñas failed to effectively supervise, control and direct personnel, which resulted in heavy casualties of the SAF Commandos. Under the Manual on Fundamental Doctrines, Command Responsibility means that a commander is responsible for effectively supervising, controlling, and directing his personnel.  Under the same doctrine, a commander is responsible for what his unit does or fails to do.

9. Napeñas followed his Time-on-Target (TOT) coordination concept despite the directive of the President to coordinate with the AFP prior to the operation.

10. The TOT coordination concept adopted by the SAF does not conform with the established and acceptable operational concepts and protocols of the PNP.

11. The protocols of the established peace process mechanisms, through the Coordinating Committee on the Cessation of Hostilities (CCCH) and  Ad Hoc Joint Action Group (AHJAG), were not observed during the planning and execution of Oplan Exodus.

12. The mission planning of Oplan Exodus was defective due to: (1) poor analysis of the area of operation; (2) unrealistic assumptions; (3) poor intelligence estimate; (4) absence of abort criteria; (5) lack of flexibility in its CONOPS; (6) inappropriate application of TOT; and (7) absence of prior coordination with the AFP and AHJAG.

13. The following factors affected the execution of CONOPS: (1) mismanaged movement plan from staging area to Vehicle-Drop-Off Point (VDOP); (2) failure to occupy the designated way points; (3) ineffective communication system among the operating troops; (4) unfamiliarity with the terrain in the area of operation; (5) non-adherence to operational/tactical Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs); (6) lack of situational awareness among commanders; and (6) breakdown in the command and control.

14. Artillery support from 6th Infantry Division of the Philippine Army (6ID-PA) was not delivered when needed most because Major General Edmundo Pangilinan, Division Commander of 6ID, considered the on-going peace process and protocols in the use of artillery.

15.    The lack of situational awareness, limited cover and concealment, ineffective communication, and sustained enemy fire prevented the 1st Special Action Battalion (1SAB) and 4SAB containment forces from reinforcing the beleaguered 55th Special Action Company (SAC) troops.

16. CCCH and AHJAG undertook all efforts to reinstate the ceasefire. "Pintakasi" and the loose command and control of the MILF leaders over their field forces contributed to the difficulty in reinstating the ceasefire.

17. Some of the radios of the SAF Commandos were unreliable because these were not designed for military-type tactical operations. The batteries had poor power-retention capability due to wear-and-tear. Furthermore, SAF radios were not compatible with AFP radios for interoperability.

18. There was a breakdown of command and control at all levels due to ineffective and unreliable communication among and between the operating units.

19. There are indications that 55th SAC was not able to secure its perimeter, conduct reconnaissance, occupy vantage positions and establish observation posts.

20. Several rounds of ammunition of M203 grenade launchers were ¬¬-defective.

21. The United States involvement was limited to intelligence sharing and medical evacuation. Only SAF Commandos were involved in the actual combat operation of Oplan Exodus.

22. Autopsy reports indicate that four (4) SAF Commandos were shot at close-range while they were still alive.  Records also indicate the possibility that some SAF Commandos were stripped-off their protective vests prior to being shot at close-range.


Based on this Report’s findings and conclusions, the Board of Inquiry (BOI) recommends the following:

1. Where the facts of this Report indicate possible violations of existing laws and regulations, appropriate government agencies should pursue the investigation of the Mamasapano Incident to determine the criminal and/or administrative liabilities of relevant government officials, the MILF and other individuals.

2. The AFP and the PNP, in coordination with OPAPP, should immediately review, clarify and strengthen the Joint AFP/PNP Operational Guidelines for Ad Hoc Joint Action Group especially in the area of coordination during Law Enforcement Operations (LEO) against HVTs.

3. The AFP and the PNP should jointly review related provisions of their respective written manuals and protocols to synchronize, reconcile and institutionalize inter-operability not only between these two agencies but also with other relevant government agencies. The National Crisis Management Core Manual (NCMC Manual) could be one of the essential references.

4. Crisis management simulation exercises (similar to fire and earthquake drills) should be regularly conducted among key players including local government units particularly in conflict prone areas.

5. The PNP should formally create and institutionalize a permanent office to orchestrate and synchronize institutional responses to various situations such as the peace process in Mindanao and other related situations. The understaffed and ad hoc arrangement provided by the existing PNP Focal Team on the Peace Process (FTPP) and the recent designation of a senior police official in AHJAG are examples of usual short-term solutions which do not appear to be sufficient.

6. The PNP should review its Police Operational Procedures to cover operations similar to Oplan Exodus and to clarify coordination issues.

7. The PNP should craft its own Mission Planning Manual and institutionalize its application in PNP law enforcement operations.

8. The capabilities of SAF and other PNP Maneuver Units for Move, Shoot, Protect, Communicate and Close Air Support (CAS) should be enhanced.

9. The PNP should review its supply management system to ensure operational readiness of munitions and ordnance. 

10. Cross-training between the PNP and the AFP pertaining to management and execution of military-type tactical operations should be institutionalized.

11. The PNP should immediately grant 1 rank promotion to all surviving members of the 84th Seaborne and PO2 Lalan for their heroism and gallantry in action, posthumous promotion to the fallen 44 SAF commandos, and should give appropriate recognition to all other participating elements.

To see the full report of the Board of Inquiry, click here.