Friday, July 28, 2017

2 New intel aircraft assigned to PAF Intelligence, Security Group in Zamboanga

From Update Philippines (Jul 29): 2 New intel aircraft assigned to PAF Intelligence, Security Group in Zamboanga

Philippine Air Force’s (PAF) 300th Air Intelligence and Security Group (300AISG) will be operating the 2 new Cessna-208B Grand Caravan Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR) aircraft donated by the United States.

These aircraft were turned over on July 27. 300 AISG is based at Edwin Andrews Air Base in Zamboanga.

300 AISG is the lead unit of PAF for air intelligence, counterintelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance operations of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).

“The Cessna 208B aircraft will enhance the PAF’s counterterrorism capabilities, and help protect AFP members actively engaged in counterterrorism operations in the southern Philippines, to include Marawi,” the US Embassy in Manila said.


Equipped with advanced sensors, cameras and communications equipment, these aircraft will significantly enhance the ability of the AFP to locate terrorist groups operating in Mindanao and the Sulu Archipelago,” it added.

“The equipment transfers, training, and continued bilateral exercises demonstrate the commitment of the United States to work with the Philippines in building capabilities towards eradicating global terror networks,” the Embassy added.

Marawi kids who idolize ISIS undergoing debriefing – AFP

From Rappler (Jul 28): Marawi kids who idolize ISIS undergoing debriefing – AFP

The military says it is working with NGOs to help children from Marawi better understand the conflict

ISIS SCOURGE. Soldiers walk past Islamic State (ISIS) group graffiti in Marawi on on May 31, 2017. Photo by Ted Aljibe/Agence France-Presse

ISIS SCOURGE. Soldiers walk past Islamic State (ISIS) group graffiti in Marawi on on May 31, 2017. Photo by Ted Aljibe/Agence France-Presse
That some children from Marawi look up to Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) members as heroes shows how little they know about the group and its harmful intentions to Muslim communities, said the Armed Forces of the Philippines.

Its spokesman, Brigadier General Restituto Padilla, underscored the need for these children to undergo debriefing by the right organizations to help them understand the Marawi conflict.

"Because they don't understand what is happening around them so it is only right for organizations to explain to them to enlighten their young minds," said Padilla in Filipino on Friday, July 28, during a Palace news briefing.

In the first two or 3 weeks of the conflict which began on May 23, the military had observed that some Marawi youth aspire to join Muslim extremists groups.

It was reported to them by civil society organizations who had visited evacuation centers with Marawi children.

"And it was found out through their sessions that indeed yes, there are some, not all, members of the youth who idolize and say they want to be part of the enemy groups," said Padilla.

To guide the youth, he said the AFP has partnered with non-governmental organizations and other groups to conduct "psychological debriefing, stress debriefing and alternative activities."

Some activities being done for the children in evacuation centers are sports and games.

In fact, it was during the holding of such games when Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) staff heard Marawi children say they want to be ISIS members when they grow up.

PSC chairman William Ramirez spoke of this in a Thursday press briefing.

"It was written by our coaches when we had our children’s games for peace that some, if not many of these Marawi bakwit children, considered ISIS as their heroes," he had said.

Some of the children, after participating in the 5-day sports activities, confessed they initially thought they could not trust Christians, said Ramirez.

He said poverty and neglect by government are major factors why some people in Mindanao choose to join terror groups.

PH Air Force gets weapons from U.S

From Rappler (Jul 29): PH Air Force gets weapons from U.S

'The munitions and weapons will enhance the AFP’s counterterrorism capabilities, and directly support AFP members actively engaged in counterterrorism operations in the southern Philippines, including Marawi,' the US embassy says

US SUPPORT. Members the US and Philippine armies unload and inspect a delivery of  rockets from the US to the Armed Forces of the Philippines at Clark Air Base, Pampanga. Photo from the US Embassy

US SUPPORT. Members the US and Philippine armies unload and inspect a delivery of rockets from the US to the Armed Forces of the Philippines at Clark Air Base, Pampanga. Photo from the US Embassy

The Philippine Air Force (PAF) has received weapons and munitions from the United States, “part of a series of upcoming transfers” from the US military that would help government forces in their war on terror, the US embassy in Manila said on Saturday, July 29.

The US embassy said in a statement that officials from the Joint United States Military Assistance Group (JUSMAG) recently delivered 1,040 2.75-inch rocket motors and 992 2.75-inch rockets to the PAF through the Mutual Logistics Support Agreement (MLSA).
“These timely transfers greatly enhance the Armed Forces of the Philippines’ (AFP) counterterrorism efforts. They are part of a series of upcoming transfers from the US military to multiple branches of the AFP through both MLSA and the security assistance program,” the embassy said.

"Through the MLSA, the AFP is able to receive select munitions and equipment from US military stock in an accelerated process reserved for allies and close partners of the United States," it added.

The announcement is made two days after the PAF officially received two Cessna C-208B Grand Caravan aircraft from the US as part of a grant to the Philippines. (READ: PH Air Force gets new surveillance planes from U.S.)

The US embassy also said the Philippine Army is set to receive 250 rocket-propelled grenade launchers and 1,000 M203 grenade launchers, also through the security assistance program.
"The munitions and weapons deliveries will enhance the AFP’s counterterrorism capabilities, and directly support AFP members actively engaged in counterterrorism operations in the southern Philippines, including Marawi," it said.

US military assistance to the Philippines comes as government troops continued to battle local terrorists linked to the Islamic State (ISIS) in Marawi City. US special forces have been providing "technical support" to government troops in Marawi. (READ: TIMELINE: Marawi clashes prompt martial law in Mindanao)

When he assumed office, President Rodrigo Duterte embarked on an "independent foreign policy" that sought to wean the Philippines from its traditional allies like the US, and bring the country closer to others like China and Russia.

Amid the Philippines' pivot to China, the US reiterated its strong ties with its treaty ally.

"The United States is a proud and steadfast ally of the Philippines and will continue to provide support to the AFP’s long-term modernization goals and counterterrorism needs," the embassy said.

The Philippines and the US are bound by a Mutual Defense Treaty inked in 1951 and a more recent Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) signed in 2014.

WATCH: The battle for Marawi's bridges

Rappler (Jul 28): WATCH: The battle for Marawi's bridges

In a major triumph in the battlefield, the Marines gain ground in one of 3 bridges that separate the safe zone from the battle area

In this city, 3 bridges separate the safe zone from the battle zone where troops are fighting local terror groups supporting the Islamic State (ISIS). It is said that the side that's able to cross these bridges wins the war.

Carmela Fonbuena filed this report to explain the treacherous terrain in Marawi.

Most of the videos were shot when Rappler joined the Marines at the rear of the battle area last week, on July 22. The snipers have since moved out of these positions to move to buildings even closer to the battle area.

Shots of the mortar position also followed restrictions imposed by the military.

Southern Tagalog rebels grade Duterte ‘below 50%’ after a year

From InterAksyon (Jul 25): Southern Tagalog rebels grade Duterte ‘below 50%’ after a year

Jaime 'Ka Diego' Padilla, spokesman of the NPA's Melito Glor Command. (InterAksyon file by Bernard Testa)

Communist rebels in the Southern Tagalog region gave President Rodrigo Duterte a dismal “below 50 percent” grade in his first year in office, saying “puro dakdak ang ginawa, walang material na natupad (all he did was blabber with no material achievement).”

Most schools in the country consider 75 percent the minimum passing grade.

“Walang pagbabago. Walang nagawa sa mga unang pangako (No change. No fulfillment of his promises),” Jaime “Ka Diego” Padilla, spokesman of the New People’s Army’s Melito Glor Command, said in a phone interview Tuesday, a day after Duterte’s second state of the nation address.

Padilla pointed to the administration’s war on drugs, which has claimed the lives of thousands of overwhelmingly poor people but hardly any drug lord.

The Melito Glor spokesman, who was first introduced to the public last November, was also among the first rebel personalities to openly criticize Duterte, who used to cast himself as a self-styled “leftist” and even “socialist”.

Padilla told media then that he saw parallels between Duterte and the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos.

“Ang aking pagkilala kay Duterte ay nasa pagitan ng progressive element lamang ito, sa kaibuturan ng kanyang katangian ay reaksyornaryo ito (I see him as only moderately progressive. Deep inside, he’s a reactionary),” he said at the time.

He also dismissed Duterte’s professed desire to sever ties with the “imperialist” United States as bluster.

“Salita pa lamang siya lagi. Wala pa siyang materyal na hakbangin kung papaano niya ipapakita sa sambayanang Pilipino ang anti-impeng standpoint (It’s all talk and little else, so far; he still has to flesh out his anti-imperialist stance).”

Asked to react to Duterte’s tirade against the US during the SONA, when he demanded the return of the Balangiga Bells, Padilla said: “Ang pagmumura ay hindi patunay ng pagiging anti-US niya (Cursing is not proof that he is anti-US).”

He pointed out that Duterte has not moved to abrogate what the Left considers onerous defense treaties with the Americans such as the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement and the Visiting Forces Agreement as well as the “neo-liberal economic policies” he said the administration’s economic managers continued to pursue.

Duterte’s inner circle, he added, “remains strongly pro-US and anti-people.”

Padilla also fended criticism that the revolutionary movement had been too “soft” on Duterte as the rebels and government tried to keep peace talks on track even as the drug war deaths were piling up and skirmishes as well as human rights violations continued to take place in the countryside.

“Hindi sa malambot (It was not because we were soft),” he said, “subali’t may pagtingin din sa halos tatlong dekada niyang pagiging mayor (of Davao City) na nagkaroon siya ng malapit na ugnayan (but there was also recognition of his almost three decades as mayor when he forged close ties)” with the movement, which sparked hopes of building an “alyansa para sa interes ng bayan (an alliance for the people’s interests).”

But Padilla acknowledged that it was evident in Duterte’s first hundred days that “hindi siya sumunod sa mga sinasabi niya (he was not fulfilling what he promised).”

And “habang tumatagal, lumalabas unti-unti ang tunay na kulay niya na kontra-mamamayan at pro-US niya … laluna ngayon sa ilalim ng (as time passes, his true anti-people and pro-US colors are becoming more evident … especially now under)” martial law, he added.

Padilla also scoffed at Duterte’s vow to recruit up to 35,000 soldiers and policemen and wage war against the communists after deciding to no longer negotiate with them.

“Magiging malaking pagkakamali niya ‘yan (That will be a great mistake for him),” said Padilla, who started out as a young activist and went underground when Marcos declared martial law in 1972.

Back then, he pointed out, “we were weak but grew stronger.”

After almost half a century of armed struggle, he said, “suntok sa buwan na madudurog niya (Duterte) tayo (it’s wishful thinking that he can crush us).”

Padilla was also skeptical that martial law would remain confined to Mindanao, saying Duterte was “testing the waters in Mindanao,” with Marawi as his “laboratory,” and that, unless people registered strong opposition, he is likely to expand military rule, possible over the whole country.

“Taumbayan ang susi sa pagbigo nito (The people are key to thwarting this),” he said.

Despite the swift deterioration of the prospects for peace, Padilla said, “ang kilusan ay lagging bukas (to negotiations) sapagka’t ang pakay lang naman natin ay laging sa panig ng mamamayan (the movement remains open because our intentions are only for the good of the people).”

Thus, he said, Duterte should return to the peace talks without preconditions or demanding a prior ceasefire, which the rebel spokesman would be tantamount to “surrender and disarming” them and, thus, “pagtanggal sa lahat ng dahilan (take away all the reason)” to resolve the root causes of armed rebellion.

It would be useless, he added, for Duterte to threaten or bully them.

“Kami’y mananatiling matatag anuman ang mangyari (We will remain firm come what may),” he said.

Cop killed, another wounded in clash with NPA in Pangasinan

From InterAksyon (Jul 29): Cop killed, another wounded in clash with NPA in Pangasinan

A policeman was killed and another wounded in a clash against New Peole’s Army guerrillas in San Nicolas town, Pangasinan Friday.

Police reports said the Public Safety Battalion of the Region 1 police was conducting a combat operation when it engaged the rebels in a two-hour along the boundary of Barangays Sta. Maria and Malico, near the border with Nueva Vizcaya province around 9:20 a.m.

The fatality was identified as Police Officer 2 Aries Tamondong. Wounded was PO2 Joneilon Marius Bagcal.

Police and Army reinforcements pursued the rebels and are still tracking them as of this posting.

Authorities said the rebels may also have suffered casualties as indicated by bloodstains on their withdrawal route.

WATCH | Lumads insist their schools are legit, not tools of communists

From InterAksyon (Jul  (Jul 27): WATCH | Lumads insist their schools are legit, not tools of communists

Save Our Schools lumad schools legit

Save Our Schools Network insists lumad school are legit.

A lumad group of indigenous persons on Friday stood their ground in the face of recent threats by President Rodrigo Duterte that he would order the bombing of lumad schools on the grounds that these schools are being used to spread communism and revolutionary thought.

They denied that they are under the control or being manipulated by the communist rebel movement.

“You are operating illegally and you are teaching the children to rebel against government,” President Duterte had claimed.

Some lumad families have already vacated their homes in villages around Surigao del Sur in the face of tension arising from the presence of military elements.

At least two lumad communities in the Caraga Region have already evacuated for fear of the possible consequences if the bombardment threat is carried out.

During a visit to Guinhulngan City, Duterte repeated the threat, saying the children are growing up hating the government.

But the Save Our Schools Network clarifies that the lumad schools are duly recognized by government instrumentalities, such as the Department of Education and the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Already, at least 28 lumad schools out of an estimated more than 200, have shut down since hostilities broke out in Marawi City that prompted President Duterte to declared martial law covering the entire Mindanao.

PMA exam on Aug. 20

From the Mindanao Times (Jul 27): PMA exam on Aug. 20

THE PHILIPPINE Military Academy (PMA) is calling on those interested to become officers of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) to apply for the entrance examination on Aug. 20, 2017 in 40 examination centers throughout the country.

Lt. Col. Rey Balido, spokesperson of Philippine Military Academy, told TIMES yesterday that the PMA entrance exam is the first stage in the selection process for cadetship. PMA Cadets enjoy a full government scholarship.

“It means, they do not have to pay any single centavo during the entire years of training in the academy where they will earn a Bachelor of Science degree,”Balido said.

They are also commissioned as 2LTs and Ensigns in the Armed Forces of the Philippines upon graduation.

This year marks the initial batch of Grade 12 students under the K to 12 Basic Education Program who will be graduating by 2018.

They will be allowed to take the PMAEE provided that they will graduate before April 1, 2018. PMAEE applicants will also come from college-level students and fourth-year high school graduates of the old curriculum.

“PMA is at the forefront of the AFP modernization program since its graduates are the ones to lead the Armed Forces in the years to come,” he said adding that Cadets are at the receiving end to the state-of-the-art training facilities and equipment in PMA.

Qualifications for admission in the Philippine Military Academy are the following:

Natural-born Filipino citizen,

Minimum 5 feet for both male and female,

Physically fit and of good moral character,

Single and has never been married,

High school graduate. Senior High School Students (Grade 12) may apply provided that they will graduate before 01 April 2018

No administrative/criminal case, must pass the PMAEE, and should have been born from April 01, 1996 to April 01, 2001.

Successful applicants will compose the PMA Class 2022 who will be officially received in the Academy in an Oath-Taking Ceremony and Reception Rites on April 01, 2018.

To all applicants, please be reminded of the things to bring during the examination:

Examination Permit (sent by Office of Cadet Admission)

Valid Identification (School ID, Voter’s ID, Driver’s License, etc)

2 pcs 2×2 picture with white background

2pcs mongol 2 pencil

For those interested to take the exam but did not apply, you can take the exam as a walk-in applicant. Just to the examination center of your preference with the following:

Birth Certificate

High School Report Card/Form 137 or 138 or College Transcript of Records

Valid Identification (School ID, Voter’s ID, Driver’s License, etc)

2 pcs 2×2 picture with white background

2pcs mongol 2 pencil

For those who applied online or by mail but did not receive their exam permit, you will be treated as walk-in applicants.

To those Davao applicants, they will take their PMA entrance examination in University of Mindanao at Bolton street.

(NB. Application Forms can be downloaded from Applicants can also apply on-line in the said website. For more information, call (074) 447-2825, (074) 447-2632 local 6751, 6752, Smart – 0928-432-5578, Globe – 0906-546-6989, or write the Office of Cadet Admission, Philippine Military Academy, Fort General Gregorio H del Pilar, 2602, Baguio City.)

ARMY EXEC: Abandon talks with NPA until they show sincerity

From the Mindanao Times (Jul 27): ARMY EXEC: Abandon talks with NPA until they show sincerity

THE EASTERN Mindanao Command (EastaMinCom) said it’s time for the national government to walk away from the negotiating table up until the communist rebels can show their sincerity.

Speaking on Wednesdays AFP-PNP press conference held at Royal Mandaya hotel, Brig. Gen. Gilbert Gapay, spokesperson of Martial Law in EastMinCom, said even during the unilateral ceasefire ordered by President Duterte to show goodwill, the New People’s Army continue to attacks government forces.
During his second state of the nation address, President Duterte ordered the government peace panel to go home after the recent attacks on police officers and soldiers.

“I think is the best option we have to really stop the peace talks with the NPAs because it only shows that they are not really sincere,” Gapay said. “The Central committee has also no control on the NPAs.”

For now, they are conducting 16 major operations against different NPA guerrilla fronts in Eastern Mindanao. “This will continue until the NPAs will abandoned their armed struggle and join the mainstream society,” he further said.

Chief Supt. Manuel Gaerlan, director of Police Regional Office XI, said President Duterte showed his obvious frustration against the CPP-NDF-NPA.

“I saw his frustration with them as he offered so much to the Communist Party of the Philippines,” he said. “He released some of their leaders and political prisoners despite their violation of the law. They were given the chance but still their atrocities continue.”

He said the CPP-NDF is clearly using the peace talks to consolidate and strengthen their forces. The regional police director already directed the commanders and units on the ground to be in full alert and monitor possible enemy movement.

Meanwhile, Gapay said they will focus more on their intelligence operations against the underground mass organizations to cut off support for the communist guerrillas.

“Most of the IED attacks and ambushes were done by their supporters in area,” he said.

He also said that they will intensify their information awareness campaign, especially in far-flung communities to persuade residents into cutting off support for the New People’s Army. “The presence of soldiers in remote areas will be sustained not just to combat NPAs but to also help in addressing socio-economic issues,” he said.
Capt. Rhyan Batchar, spokesperson of 10th Infantry Division, said underground masses of the NPAs are mostly farmers and civilians who are being deceived by the rebels.
This is the reason why they need to sustain their peace and development outreach programs, which have been proven to sway perception and support away from the NPA.

“Their strength has reduced and their influence reduced in barangays where soldiers are deployed,” he said.

61 MNLF recruits heading to Lanao Sur stopped in Zamboanga

From the Mindanao Examiner (Jul 26): 61 MNLF recruits heading to Lanao Sur stopped in Zamboanga

Philippines authorities intercepted dozens of Muslims, including four teenagers, recruited by the former rebel group Moro National Liberation Front and heading to Lanao del Sur to train and become soldiers, police said Wednesday.

At least 27 people, who were recruited from the restive province of Basilan, were held by the police in the village of Guiwan in Zamboanga City late Tuesday after residents tipped off authorities on their presence. They were supposed to travel to the town of Madamba in Lanao del Sur and train at MNLF’s Camp Jabari Nur. They arrived in Zamboanga on a private boat.

Police said 34 other recruits were also intercepted by soldiers and policemen at a checkpoint in Ipil town in the neighboring province of Zamboanga Sibugay. They were also heading to the MNLF camp. Most of them were recruited in Basilan, Sulu and Zamboanga City to become members of the Philippine Army after their MNLF training in Lanao del Sur where security forces are battling local ISIS militants.

But the government has no integration program for MNLF members, although some 7,500 former rebels were admitted in the military and police in 1995 after Nur Misuari, the MNLF chairman, signed a peace deal with Manila.

Misuari is also wanted by authorities on rebellion charges after MNLF forces attacked Jolo in 2001 and Zamboanga City twice – one in 2001 and in 2013 – and some fighters also joined the Abu Sayyaf in pillaging Ipil town in 1995.

It was unknown whether the recruits paid money to become members of the MNLF or whether it was a scam perpetrated by unscrupulous people pretending to be leaders of the former rebel group. The MNLF did not issue any statement in connection to the recruitment of Muslims in Mindanao.

U.S. Military Presents Two ISR Aircraft to Philippine Air Force

From the Philippine Information Agency (Jul 28): U.S. Military Presents Two ISR Aircraft to Philippine Air Force

U.S. Ambassador to the Philippines Sung Y. Kim, joined by Deputy Commander, Pacific Command, Lt. Gen. Bryan Fenton, presented Secretary of National Defense Delfin N. Lorenzana with two new Cessna 208B aircraft during a transfer ceremony at Villamor Air Base, Pasay City on July 27.  Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Gen. Eduardo Año and Commanding General of the Philippine Air Force (PAF) Lt. Gen. Edgar Fallorina also participated in the ceremony, along with representatives from the U.S. Embassy.

The two new aircraft, valued at Php 1.67 billion, were delivered to Lt. Gen. Fallorina, through the U.S. National Defense Authorization Act Building Partnership Capacity Program.  This delivery is the latest donation from the United States government, which over the last five years has allocated more than Php15 billion of grant funding to provide the AFP with up-to-date equipment and training.  The equipment transfers, training, and continued bilateral exercises demonstrate the commitment of the United States to work with the Philippines in building capabilities towards eradicating global terror networks.

Since 2007, representatives from the Joint United States Military Assistance Group (JUSMAG) in the Philippines have delivered and programmed more than Php7.4 billion worth of military equipment to the AFP to enhance counterterrorism capabilities.  In addition, the AFP has procured small-arms weapons, maritime assault boats, vehicles, unmanned aerial systems, and personal protective equipment as part of the U.S. government’s security assistance programs.

The PAF’s 300th Air Intelligence and Security Group (300 AISG), based out of Edwin Andrews Air Base in Zamboanga will operate the two new C-208B aircraft.  300 AISG is the leading unit for air intelligence surveillance and reconnaissance operations for the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).

The Cessna 208B aircraft will enhance the PAF’s counterterrorism capabilities, and help protect AFP members actively engaged in counterterrorism operations in the southern Philippines, to include Marawi.  Equipped with advanced sensors, cameras and communications equipment, these aircraft will significantly enhance the ability of the AFP to locate terrorist groups operating in Mindanao and the Sulu Archipelago.

The United States, as a steadfast ally of the Philippines, continues to provide support to the AFP through both grant assistance and expedited sales of arms and munitions to support both long-term AFP modernization goals and urgent counterterrorism requirements.

Army to public: cooperate with security forces

From the Philippine Information Agency (Jul 28): Army to public: cooperate with security forces

The army official in Surigao del Sur urged the people of Surigao del Sur to cooperate with the security forces by providing timely and accurate information about the presence of the New People’s Army (NPA) in their area to prevent any terroristic activities.

"The timely information about the presence of the NPA can prevent terroristic activities against business establishments and communities. We cannot let the NPA terrorists roam around and continue to sow fear and conduct economic sabotage in the province," said 402nd Brigade Commander Col. Franco Nemesio Gacal, in a press statement.

It can be recalled that on July 18, 2017, the NPA chopped down the ready to harvest banana plants owned by DOLE Stanfilco and burned six contract vehicles (five Isuzu Elf and one Bonggo truck) in Barangay Anahao Daan, Tago town.

After a week, two separate harassment incidents happen, the CAA Patrol Base in Matho, Cortes town and Pandanon Patrol Base in Barangay Pandanon this city were fired by the NPA.

Based on the report received from the 36 Infantry Battalion, one unarmed in a civilian attire trooper was killed in action after the NPA harassed the Pandanon Patrol Base. Accordingly, the trooper was there to conduct community support activities as part of the national government’s development effort.

Col. Gacal and 36th Infantry Battalion commander Lt. Col. Randolph Rojas both condemned the incidents.

OPAPP warns public on recruitment

From the Philippine Information Agency (Jul 29): OPAPP warns public on recruitment

It has come to the attention of the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process' (OPAPP) following two separate interceptions of about 60 persons in Zamboanga Sibugay and in Basilan a few days ago, that unscrupulous individuals are recruiting male civilians in Mindanao to be "integrated" into AFP using the name of the MNLF and other groups. The office has received similar reports from other area of Mindanao.

There is no ongoing "integration" arrangement at all between the government and any group or faction under the Peace Process.

This could be a scam or a handiwork of terrorists recruiting fighters to fight the government.

Cessna ISR planes to play multiple roles in PH military

From the Philippine News Agency (Jul 28): Cessna ISR planes to play multiple roles in PH military

The two US donated Cessna 208B "Caravan" intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) aircraft will make the Philippine military more capable and flexible in dealing with various threats.

"Looking at the aircraft – and I’m sure that pretty soon these will be filled with sensors. I am overwhelmed at what can they do to support the Armed Forces’ operations on the ground, air and naval operations, as well as in humanitarian assistance and disaster response (HADR)," Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said when formally accepting the airplanes from the US late Thursday.

He also added that the planes can also survey Philippine maritime areas and support air operations by aiding in the direction and control of close-air support mission particularly on high mobile targets.

"Furthermore, it can also be utilized for identification of targets for air interdiction and battle damage assessment. In support to ground and naval operations, the Cessna 208B can act as forward observer for artillery and naval gun fire adjustments and tracking terrestrial and littoral movements of threat groups, especially in the southern tri-boundaries of Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines at the same time," Lorenzana pointed out.

Aside from combat and security operations, he also foresees the Cessna 208Bs playing a valuable role in the various government departments involved in agriculture, fisheries, mining and forestry.

"I can almost see that in the future, these aircraft will be working for the different departments of the government. It will be useful for the agriculture department, the fisheries department, the DENR, to survey the mining areas and the forests, for the Bureau of Fish and Aquatic Resources," Lorenzana pointed out.

The Cessna 208B has a cruising speed of around 170 knots and has a range of over 1,000 nautical miles and capable of transporting eight to nine persons, including the pilot.

Minus the ISR equipment and avionics, the aircraft is worth an estimated USD2 million each.

Guv urges Muslim constituents to help sustain anti-terrorism efforts in Sarangani

From the Philippine News Agency (Jul 28): Guv urges Muslim constituents to help sustain anti-terrorism efforts in Sarangani

As the military continuously engages in fierce battle against the Maute terror group in Marawi City, Governor Steve Chiongbian Solon of Sarangani province urged his Muslim constituents to help sustain the anti-terrorism efforts the provincial government has initiated last year.

This is to shield the province from the influence and atrocities by any local terrorist organizations.

Solon made the call in his Eidul Fitr message distributed to 256 mosques in the six coastal towns of Sarangani read by respective Imams after the morning Eidul Fitr congregational prayers in Muslim communities on June 25.

“Let us all act together such that the atrocity brought by those groups that espouse terror to push their twisted ideology will not reach our province,” the governor said.

“We share the same goal and that is to live peacefully, happily and with ease in Sarangani, thus we ask your continuous engagement in our undertakings that will strengthen peace in our communities,” he added.

The initiative of the provincial government against terrorism started in September last year through the "Training of Trainers on Anti-Radicalism and Anti-Illegal Drugs Advocacy" participated in by Imams, Asatidz (Madrasa teachers), Muslim force multipliers, Muslim women and youth leaders.

The activity was spearheaded by the Sulong Kapayapaan Project under the governor’s flagship program - Sulong Sarangani.

With the help of invited Ulama (Islamic scholars), the trained participants re-echoed the anti-radicalism and anti-illegal drugs advocacy through municipal peace symposiums, Islamic forums, organizational meetings, sermons in mosques, and mobile da’wah (preaching).

The Asatidz also oriented the Madaris (Islamic schools) pupils and their parents on the harmful effects of prohibited substance and to be vigilant on radical groups.

For almost two decades now, the provincial government of Sarangani has been supporting the operation of 49 Madrasa centers by providing monthly honorarium for 125 Asatidz.

The support also includes provision or teaching materials and annual teaching enhancement training for the Asatidz.

Madaris offer Arabic literacy and Islamic values education for young Muslim learners on Saturday and Sunday classes.

AFP: No more case vs 'Juana Change'

From the Philippine News Agency (Jul 28): AFP: No more case vs 'Juana Change'

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) on Friday said it will no longer file charges against "Juana Change" (Mae Paner in real life) for her inappropriate use of a military uniform during one of the protest actions during President Rodrigo Duterte's second State-of-the-Nation-Address (SONA) last July 24.

"Last night (Thursday), the Chief of Staff, AFP, Gen. Eduardo Año, ordered a thorough review of the case of Ms. Paner following information that Ms Paner did not actually ridicule soldiers but even praised the sacrifices of our men in uniform," AFP spokesperson Brig. Gen. Restituto Padilla said.

Reports indicated that Paner did those things in the interest of the arts as she is a recognized comedian.

"Based on these information and other findings, the AFP will no longer pursue the case and calls upon Ms. Paner and other unauthorized individuals to henceforth desist from the inappropriate use of our uniforms," Padilla stressed.

However, despite the AFP's decision to not file charges against the comedian, he said Paner must understand that the particular uniform she wore is the AFP's "Battle Dress Attire" and the uniform worn by many soldiers killed while battling for the country.

"It is the same uniform our soldiers wear whenever we go to battle and the same uniform many of our heroes die wearing in defense of the motherland and our people. This is the very reason we hold this particular uniform sacred," he added.

Padilla earlier said that Paner's unauthorized wearing of a military uniform is in violation of Article 179 of the Revised Penal Code (Unauthorized Use of Uniforms) and Republic Act 493 (Prohibition of Use of Insignias, Decorations, Badges and patches prescribed for the AFP).

Article 179 states that the penalty of "arresto mayor" shall be imposed upon any person who shall publicly and improperly make use of insignia, uniforms or dress pertaining to an office not held by such person or to a class of persons.

Republic Act 493 stressed that "it is unlawful for any person or association or persons not in the service of the AFP and the Philippine Constabulary, the forerunner of the PNP, to use, or confer upon himself or another any military or naval grade or title which is, or may hereafter be, prescribed by laws and regulations for the use of the Armed Forces or Constabulary."

Section 2 of the above-mentioned law also states that "the use or wearing of any military or naval insignia, badge or emblem of rank while engaged in representing a military or naval character as hereinabove described, shall be subject to supervision and regulation by the Secretary of National Defense."

"If it is her desire to extol the sacrifice, gallantry and dedication to duty of all our soldiers and help recruit more patriotic Filipinos to the Armed Forces, the AFP is open to have Ms. Paner among the ranks of our patriotic reservists who without hesitation continue to be among our most ardent partners for change," Padilla emphasized.

Lumad schools told to comply with gov’t regulation

From the Philippine News Agency (Jul 28): Lumad schools told to comply with gov’t regulation

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) on Friday clarified that President Rodrigo Duterte’s statement on lumad schools sends a strong message for illegal education centers to comply with government regulation.

AFP spokesperson Brig. Gen. Restituto Padilla, Jr., in a regular Mindanao Hour briefing in Malacañan, said that President Duterte has no intention of wreaking havoc to lumad schools.

“It was just a matter of strongly communicating a strong position on behalf of government to warn the illegal educational centers which are not complying with government regulation,” he said.

“That is how we understood the President and that is how we see and appreciate his comments regarding this. Not intended to really destroy the community but to extend a message, a very strong message, to the people behind the organization of these illegal learning institutions to comply with government regulation,” he added.

Presidential Communications Office (PCO) Assistant Secretary Marie Banaag said there were three main groups of left-oriented indigenous people schools, according to the Department of Education (DepEd).

These are the Alternative Learning Center for Agriculture and Livelihood Development, Inc. or the Alcadev; the Center for Lumad Advocacy and Services, Inc. or the Clans; and the Salugpungan Community Learning Center.

The Alcadev of Surigao has no permit to operate and refuses to get a permit from the Department of Education. The Clans, on the other hand, has been given 3 months to comply with DepEd requirements.

“It is clear from the President’s remarks that he is not referring to all lumad schools, but to those which don't have permits from the Department of Education or the DepEd, and refuse to comply with DepEd requirements on curriculum,” Banaag said.

“It is likewise clear that the President does not intend to bomb lumad children. On the contrary, he said that they should get out of the schools as he was referring to structures and not to children,” she added.

In the same briefing, meanwhile, Padilla thanked the business sector for providing PHP1.25 million each to the families of the fallen soldiers of the Marawi conflict.

“We’d like to pass on our sincerest appreciation to the Chief of Staff, the Secretary of National Defense, and the entire Defense establishment, along with every soldier, every sailor, every marine, every airman and every civilian employee of the Armed Forces,” Padilla said.

“We put out our hearts in thanks to all those who have extended their support and continue to extend their support up to this very moment,” he said.

Meanwhile, Office of Civil Defense (OCD) Deputy Administrator for Administration Kristoffer James Purisima said that Task Force Bangon Marawi has added sub-committees for the rehabilitation and recovery of the affected areas.

These include a sub-committee on finance and resource mobilization support to be co-headed by DBM and NEDA; a sub-committee on information management and strategic communication support to be headed by PCO; and a sub-committee on legal support secretariat headed by the DND.

“We also have a secretariat which is headed by the OCD and an executive director appointed by the chairperson of Task Force Bangon Marawi in the person of Undersecretary Cesar Yano of the Department of National Defense. The Office of the Presidential Adviser on [the] Peace Process shall also be represented in all TFBM sub-committees, particularly on reconstruction,” he added.

Task Force Bangon Marawi is composed originally of five sub-committees spearheaded by an NDRRMC member-agency, namely: DPWH for reconstruction; DSWD and DOH for health and social welfare; OCS for housing; DTI for business and livelihood; and DILG for peace and order.

According to Purisima, transitional shelters are proposed to be established in an 11-hectare area in Barangay Sagonsongan near Marawi City while a 13-hectare area was identified for vegetable production and identification of farmer IDPs.

He said that the ASEAN Coordinating Centre for Humanitarian Assistance on Disaster Management or the AHA Centre has given about PHP17 million in relief items and assistance, including 600 family tents, 600 family kits, 600 kitchen sets, 4 water filtration units, and at least 3,000 personal hygiene kits.

“By way of a whole of nation and whole of society approach in realizing the rehabilitation and recovery efforts for affected communities, we assure our people that we will build back Marawi better,” Purisima said.

AFP: Intensified coordination effect arrest of 59 suspicious persons in Mindanao

From the Philippine News Agency (Jul 28): AFP: Intensified coordination effect arrest of 59 suspicious persons in Mindanao

The arrest of 59 suspicious persons, reportedly allied with Maute Group remnants, reflect the high degree of coordination and cooperation between government agencies and allied organizations.

The suspects were nabbed last July 25 in Ipil, Zamboanga Del Sur and Guiwan, Zamboanga City.

Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) public affairs office chief Col. Edgard Arevalo, in a statement Friday, said 32 persons were accosted in Ipil, Zamboanga Del Sur and another 27 in Barangay Guiwan in Zamboanga City.

When questioned, the suspects claimed they are members of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) headed to Camp Jabalnur in Lanao Del Sur for training.

Arevalo said the group bagged in Barangay Guiwan claimed they are connected to the individuals intercepted in Ipil.

However, their claim were denied by the MNLF who said they have no knowledge of their fighters undergoing such training.

Confiscated from the possession of these individuals were military and police uniforms.

Arevalo said the 59 individuals were flown by military aircraft from Edwin Andrews Airbase in Zamboanga City to Villamor Air Base, Pasay City Friday afternoon for further questioning and custody in an appropriate facility while charges are being prepared for violation of the Revised Penal Code relating to the crime of rebellion.

"These two instances of arrest, and of the other group who knowingly misrepresented themselves to be soldiers and policemen on their way to Marawi City, should allay the fears of our people of the likelihood of the rebellion in Marawi spilling over to their places because the military and the police are doing their level bests to contain it," Arevalo said.

He added that with Martial Law in force in entire Mindanao, the military can validly restrict and effect arrests of suspicious persons and unscrupulous groups whose actions bear with the rebellion.

As this develops, AFP chief-of-staff Gen. Eduardo Año said the military will do everything it can to forestall any rebellion attempts especially in Marawi City and other parts of the country.

"Your AFP-- bestowed with the abiding support and cooperation by our people and local government -- will crush any unscrupulous attempts that would tend to support rebellion by the Maute-ISIS Group," he added.

59 suspected Maute recruits facing rebellion raps

From the Philippine News Agency (Jul 28): 59 suspected Maute recruits facing rebellion raps

Fifty-nine suspected recruits of the Maute terrorist group are now facing rebellion charges before the Department of Justice (DOJ) after their arrest in Zamboanga City.

The 59 suspects were presented before the panel of prosecutors chaired by Senior Assistant State Prosecutor Peter Ong after being flown to Manila from Zamboanga del Sur on Friday via a C-130 plane of the military.

Ong, assisted by Quezon City Assistant City Prosecutor Ramoncito Bienvenido Ocampo Jr. and DOJ Assistant State Prosecutor Aristotle Reyes formed the three-man prosecution panel.

Of the 59, the 32 men were arrested at a checkpoint in Ipil, Zamboanga Sibugay while the remaining 27, four of them minors, were arrested along Daisy Road in Guiwan, Zamboanga City. They were all arrested last July 25.

Authorities seized from the suspects military uniforms, boots and Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) identification cards.

Among those arrested is MNLF member Nur Supian who was pointed by the arrested suspects as their recruiter.

During the proceedings, the suspects signed their waiver of detention and decided that the panel of prosecutors proceed with the conduct of a preliminary investigation.

Ong asked the arresting officers to present photographs of the plate numbers of the two vans that carried the 32 respondents. They were also asked to present the certificate from the MNLF saying that the MNLF identification cards found in the possession of the respondents were fake.

The hearing, which was supposed to have started at 1:00 p.m. was moved to 3:45 p.m. since they waited for the arrival of the 59 suspects who arrived at Villamor Airbase Friday afternoon from Zamboanga.

From Villamor Airbase, the suspects were transported on board an Army bus to the DOJ.

The arrested suspects would be detained at Camp Bagong Diwa, Taguig City.

Ong scheduled the start of preliminary investigation on August 14 at 2:00 p.m. where the suspects are set to submit their respective counter-affidavits on the accusations against them.

End of peace talks 'to affect poor'

From the Philippine News Agency (Jul 27): End of peace talks 'to affect poor'

The impending cancellation of the peace talks between the government and the Communist rebels will have an impact on the poor, especially landless peasants.

During his State of the Nation Address (Sona) on Monday, President Rodrigo Duterte had announced he no longer wants the peace talks with the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) to continue, citing the ambush of his security escorts in Arakan, North Cotabato, recently.

But for Satur Ocampo, this would mean the agreements achieved between the two parties would be nullified, particularly on the provision on agrarian reforms.

Ocampo is serving as an “independent cooperator” and has been invited to observe the peace negotiation between the Moro separatists (MILF and MNLF) and the government in the past. He is a participant on the discussions on political and Constitutional reforms in the present peace talks.

Ocampo is also a leader of the “Makabayan Bloc,” a coalition of progressive parties in the country such as Bayan Muna, Anakpawis, Gabriela, among others.

After being shelved during the previous administration, Duterte has revived the negotiations as part of his agenda to pursue lasting peace especially in Mindanao.

The scrapping of the negotiations, Ocampo said, would have an impact on the peasants’ struggle in that the agrarian reform is one of the agreements reached by both sides during the recent talks.

In the third round of meetings between the two parties in Rome, Italy, the panelists had agreed in principle to distribute land, under the agrarian reform, free of charge to the peasants, he noted.

He said the President was amenable to this agreement as the government has prepared to pay the land owners. That agreement in principle was affirmed during the fourth round of the talks.

Ocampo said the peasants are still waiting for the realization of this agreement to put into effect the distribution of land as a component of the peace talks.

According to the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR), an estimated 7.8 million hectares of land is covered by the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (Carp).

As of Dec. 31, 2013, the government has acquired and distributed 6.9 million hectares to the Carp beneficiaries, equivalent to 88 percent of the total land subject to Carp. Thousands more were purchased and awarded to peasants in the succeeding years.

“What will the peasants say if the peace talks are to be officially terminated? It would invalidate the commitment of the government to implement the genuine agrarian reform that will benefit the peasants,” he said in a phone interview with Wednesday evening.

Ocampo said the previous administrations have failed to fully carry out the land reform and if Duterte can implement it, it will be his “crowning achievement.”

But if the President fails, he said, the farmers will accuse him of being pro-landlord. “They would say [to Duterte], ‘you are fake, we thought you are a friend of the landless farmers,’” he added.

Ocampo is presently in Iligan City as part of the team conducting the second National Interfaith Humanitarian Mission (NIHM), held July 27-29, where he will talk to the evacuees from Marawi City in hopes of bringing their voice to the Makabayan Bloc and to Congress.

Men in fatigue trying to sneak into Marawi nabbed

From the Philippine News Agency (Jul 27): Men in fatigue trying to sneak into Marawi nabbed

Police authorities arrested in Marawi City seven persons who disguised as members of the military and police trying to enter the besieged Islamic city Wednesday.

Chief Supt. Reuben Teodore Sindac, police regional director for the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (Armm), said the suspects were in police and military uniform when they tried to enter the city from Iligan City, an act that made authorities suspicious of their motive.

Sindac identified the suspects as Ariel Bejaan, 45 of Cagayan de Oro City; Pacito Villanueva, 45 of Bukidnon; Junifer Adlawan Alestre, 52 of Valencia, Bukidnon; Bienvenido Sepe, 62 of Kabacan, North Cotabato; Florante Alejandrino, 38 of Cagayan de Oro City; Rufina Guyatao, 53 of Valencia, Bukidnon; Elsie Lantong, 48, of Sumilao, Bukidnon.

Sindac said the suspects were on board a white Toyota Fortuner driven, by Leo Eliseo, 52 of Bukidnon, heading to Marawi City when flagged down by members of the Lanao del Sur PNP, led by Chief Inspector John Acasio of provincial public safety battalion, for inspection.

When checked, the suspects presented various identification cards of Moro National Liberation Front and IDs showing they were military generals. They were also in military fatigue uniform.

”They claimed they were on a scheduled meeting in Marawi City with a member of the United Nations, named Capt. James Gothrie,” Sindac said in a statement.

Seized from them were fatigue uniforms, patches, mobile phones, and other paraphernalia. They were unarmed.

They were charged for unauthorized use of military and police uniforms, Sindac said.

NPA guerilla fighter surrenders in Palawan

From the Philippine News Agency (Jul 28): NPA guerilla fighter surrenders in Palawan

A New People’s Army (NPA) guerrilla fighter voluntarily surrendered late Thursday afternoon here amidst continuing clashes between his former comrades and military forces in the borderlines of two towns in southern Palawan.

Rico Libutan, 30, who goes by the aliases “Ka Lovely, Ka Cedric, and Ka Rocky,” voluntarily surrendered to the management of DWAR 103.9 FM in Puerto Princesa.

In a radio interview, which was live-streamed in social media, the former NPA insurgent said he surrendered because he wanted to clean his name after discovering it is in the military’s “order of battle.”

“I had already left the revolutionary movement for quite some time now. I surrendered as I want to clear my name because I was told it’s in the military’s order of battle. Without surrendering, I still feel I am not free to roam around; I constantly worry about my safety,” Libutan said.

He said his surrender is not a secret to the rebel movement Bienvenido Vallever Command (BVC) in Palawan. In fact, he asked for his comrades’ permission, and all they allegedly told him was to be careful of his security, and not to sell them out to the military.

“They told me not to betray them when I surrender, and to be careful of my security if I want to clear my name,” he stated.

The “order of battle” in military refers to the tiered organization, command structure, strength, disposition of members, and equipment of units and formations of the enemies.

Libutan narrated to the radio station’s Public Agenda program that he was assigned to the medical unit of the BVC after training in northern Palawan on acupuncture, basic life support, and other first aid cares.

His account claimed that the NPAs in their hidden campgrounds have complete emergency medical contrivances, including dextrose supplies, and scalpels used to operate on comrades who are wounded.

“I am part of the medical… the group that dispenses first aid at combat sites,” he said.

Libutan said he became a member of the NPA’s BVC on October 8, 2013 without the knowledge of his family at Sitio Imulnod, Barangay Pulot Shore, Sofronio Española.

According to Paglumotan, Libutan called their radio station and expressed intention to surrender. They then immediately facilitated this by personally fetching him in Sofronio Española.

The former NPA member’s voluntary surrender was coordinated with the WESCOM through Captain Cherryl Tindog, its spokesperson.

Tindog assured Libutan that as soon as he is in their care, the local government’s rebel returnee integration program will be put to work to help him.

“We will ensure his safety here at the WESCOM, and the local integration program will be activated as soon as possible to help him,” Tindog stated.

Related to this, the WESCOM came out with a statement in its social media account Thursday morning that set straight claims of the NPA’s Bienvenido Vallever Command that military forces are violating human rights in Bataraza.

The statement reads: “In every combat operation, the Western Command and the whole of the AFP observes (sic) the primacy of human rights. The allegations of the communist terrorists on bombing of the houses of the indigenous people while focused military operations are on going (sic) in Bataraza, Palawan are obviously desperate lies and are meant to discredit the government forces who are relentlessly pursuing them out of their hideouts.”

It further said: “The Western Command, however, believes that our people are wise enough to see from the propaganda they issued that they are really the ones who are detrimental to peace and progress. Meanwhile, the focused military operations of Team Western Command shall continue.”

Libutan’s arrest came after a suspected NPA couple was arrested early in the week in Araceli, northern Palawan by the municipal police.

Husband and wife Carlito and Elizabeth Labajo were arrested after residents of Barangay Tinintinan reported that they, and two others, were seen spying on the municipal police station in Araceli and the house of Mayor Noel Beronio.

Duterte pays tribute to cops killed in Guihulngan ambush

From the Philippine News Agency (Jul 28): Duterte pays tribute to cops killed in Guihulngan ambush

President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday evening personally handed over posthumous awards to the families of the six policemen who were killed in an ambush last July 21 in Barangay Magsaysay, Guihulngan City in Negros Oriental by alleged Communist terrorists.

President Duterte arrived at the Guihulngan City Hall shortly after 6 p.m. Thursday where four of the six caskets bearing the slain cops were brought for his viewing.

As he paid tribute to the fallen policemen, he handed the Medalya ng Kadakilaan (PNP Heroism Medal) posthumous awards of the Philippine National Police to the family members in attendance.

Of the six killed, there were four whose remains were brought to the City Hall, namely, those of SPO2 Necasio Pasculado Tabilon, PO3 Teovic Gador Agosto, PO2 Alvin Paul Alquizola Bulandres and PO2 Alfredo Lastimoso Dunque.

The remains of the late Guihulngan police chief, Supt. Arnel Arpon, were earlier brought to Hinobaan, Negros Occidental while those of SPO1 Jesael Pequero Ancheta were in Jimalalud, Negros Oriental although their families were present during the President’s visit.

The President had a private talk with the families later, after which he disclosed in a brief interview with local and national media that each of the families would receive a total of Php500,000.00 and other cash incentives, free education for their children, livelihood package and enrollment to the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program or 4Ps, among others.

Last July 21, about 15 police officers responded to a call for assistance after Guihulngan City Councilor Edison Dela Rita told the city administrator he and his two companions were allegedly ambushed by suspected Communist terrorists at Sitio Mandii, Barangay Magsaysay in that northern city.

Investigation showed that about 60 to 80 alleged communist terrorists had carried out the ambush, which resulted in the death of the six policemen and a civilian, Michael Jambalos, the aide of Councilor Dela Rita.

Speaking to reporters briefly in Guihulngan, President Duterte lambasted the New People’s Army terrorists reiterating that he is no longer interested in holding peace talks with them and that government is ready to fight them for another 50 years.

But he stressed he is not angry with them. “Pag pikon ka, talo ka” (if you’re touchy, you lose)”.

President Duterte later flew to Dumaguete City to meet with the three other police personnel who were wounded in the same ambush and are confined at the Silliman University Medical Center.

The wounded police personnel, namely, SPO4 Jerome Delara, PO2 Jorie Maribao and PO3 Jordan Balderas, each received the Sugatang Medalya (PNP Wounded Personnel medal) and some financial assistance.

For his part, Guihulngan City Mayor Guido Reyes extended his gratitude, on behalf of his constituents, to President Duterte for coming over to pay tribute to the fallen policemen.

That speaks of the President’s compassion and it means a lot to the people, Reyes, who had just arrived earlier that day from an official trip abroad, told reporters in an interview later.

Reyes lauded the President’s pronouncement of hoping that there was a way out to solve the insurgency problem in Guihulngan without having to kill these “terrorists”.

The mayor said the local government unit is also setting aside financial assistance to the slain and wounded police officers.

Special task group to investigate Guihulngan ambush

From the Philippine News Agency (Jul 28): Special task group to investigate Guihulngan ambush

The Philippine National Police (PNP) in the Negros Island Region is digging deeper into the details and other circumstances surrounding the July 21 ambush in Guihulngan City, Negros Oriental that left six police personnel and a civilian dead.

Sr. Supt. Petronelli Baldebrin, deputy regional director for operations of Police Regional Office (PRO-18), disclosed that Negros Oriental acting provincial director Sr. Supt. Henry Biñas has requested PRO-18 to issue orders for the activation of the Special Investigation Task Group (SITG) to investigate the ambush.

Biñas will be the SITG commander while Baldebrin will be the SITG supervisor.

The SITG was convened Friday to discuss initially how it will start the investigation into the ambush and go deeper in getting as much information to help the police determine the circumstances behind the incident, said Baldebrin.

According to Baldebrin, initial police investigation showed that around 60 suspected Communist terrorists of the New People’s Army had carried out the ambush in Sitio Mandii, Barangay Magsaysay in Guihulngan, around 10:00 a.m. last July 21.

But information gathered from different sources also disclosed that there were more Communist terrorists positioned at strategic locations close to the ambush site as back-up, which made the police believe that in all, there were more or less 100 of them, Baldebrin added.

Also, it was confirmed that at least one female fighter was with the armed group, he said.

Quoting one of the three wounded policemen who are currently recuperating at a Dumaguete hospital, Baldebrin said this policeman was “spared” by the woman, after pleading for his life because he had a family to support.

The woman acquiesced and told him in the dialect to go get medical treatment, said Baldebrin.

Other suspects at close range finished off the other policemen.

During the daytime ambush in Sitio Mandii, the six policemen killed in police operation were city police chief, Supt. Arnel Arpon; and five of his men -- SPO2 Necasio Pasculado Tabilon, SPO1 Jesael Pequero Ancheta, PO3 Teovic Gador Agosto, PO2 Alvin Paul Alquizola Bulandres and PO2 Alfredo Lastimoso Dunque.

The three wounded police personnel were SPO4 Jerome Delara, PO2 Jorie Maribao and PO3 Jordan Balderas.

Also killed in that ambush was Michael Jambalos, the driver-aide of Guihulngan City Councilor Edison Dela Rita.

Dela Rita and another companion managed to cheat death when they were the first to be ambushed by the suspected Communist terrorists around 8:00 a.m. that day.

The councilor called for help, prompting the police to respond but ambushed.

The SITG hopes to delve deeper into the ambush as there are many questions that need answers, said Baldebrin.

Police investigation showed the perpetrators used high-powered firearms like M203, M-60 machine guns, M-4 rifles, AK-47 rifles and M-16 rifles, as well as caliber .45 pistols.

The responding policemen were prepared but “because of the deceit employed by the enemy, that is why they were outsmarted”, said Baldebrin.

The high-powered firearms and short arms of the police were carted away by the suspected terrorists.

Security has been tightened in Guihulngan, with the deployment of additional police, Army soldiers and the Regional Public Safety Battalion (RPSB) of the PNP and other maneuver forces.

Meanwhile, the PRO-18 has come up with a contingency plan following a meeting with the different police units in the Negros Island Region to prepare for any eventuality after an encounter between the Army soldiers and the Communist terrorists several weeks ago, said Baldebrin.

This came after it was learned following that encounter that the NPA was planning to attack police stations.

Army inks pact with Laguna PNP on civil relations partnership

From the Philippine News Agency (Jul 28): Army inks pact with Laguna PNP on civil relations partnership

The 80th Infantry Battalion (IB) of the Philippine Army (PA) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) in Laguna forged a memorandum of agreement (MOA) on civil relations committee partnership on Friday at the police headquarters here.

Signatories to the joint partnership agreement were 80th IB PA battalion commander, Lieutenant Colonel Randolf Cabangbang; and Laguna Police Provincial Director, Senior Superintendent Cecilio Ison Jr.

Witnessing the signing were Supt. Meliton Salvadora, deputy provincial director for administration/operation; Intelligence Branch chief, Supt. Vicente Cabatingan; PCR chief Pastor P. Castillo; and AFP Capt. Arnel P. Palermo.

Cabangbang thanked the Laguna police for the partnership recognizing that “we can do this through joint endeavors and teamwork.”

“For the past weeks, I would also like to thank the areas that we are handling in Laguna because it had been effectively secured by the PNP giving us the way to secure the most dangerous part of the boundary even if I am handling a large part of the area of responsibility (AOR) now covering three provinces,” Cabangbang said.

He said his troops and the police have been closely coordinating and in their peace and order efforts “because the PNP joined us in every operation and this (MOA) will strengthen everything.”

The army battalion commander described that their joint civil military operations (CMOs) and the police community relations (PCRs) would be enhanced given their respective responsibilities and mandates.

“We have been doing this joint activity all along but we are short of community engagement. In my 20 years in Mindanao, the people in Mindanao are feeling safe if they see AFP and PNP working together,” Cabangbang disclosed.

He shared that a bishop from Mindanao has recently told him that "they feel secured when they see PNP and AFP working together" and thanked the Laguna police that they are doing this all along.

For his part, Ison also thanked Cabangbang “who did not leave us in our area here in Laguna now that there are sightings where you can find the enemy.”

Ison said the partnership agreement has boosted collaborative efforts “to let the community see that both the AFP and PNP have community relations or civil relations efforts and a government they can trust.”

Ison said the former insurgency initiated by the CPP-NPA is no longer the idealist rebel cause "because now we call them Organized Crime Group (OCG) due to their criminality by destroying the equipment of government projects that benefit the public and the community."

“They (CPP-NPA) attempt to strengthen their extortion activity or what we call robbery - a robbery-extortion by obtaining something through force which comes as their criminal act now but it’s not the ideology issue,” Ison said.

Indonesia to deliver 2 PH air force aircraft this quarter

From Update Philippines (Jul 28): Indonesia to deliver 2 PH air force aircraft this quarter

The delivery of Philippine Air Force’s two NC-212i short takeoff and landing (STOL) medium transport aircraft ordered from Indonesia state-owned PT Dirgantara Indonesia-Indonesian Aerospace may take place this third quarter.

The Philippine government entered a contract with the said Indonesian firm for the supply of two NC-212 aircraft early 2014. Delivery was expected late 2015.

MaxDefense Philippines said delivery may take place next month. MaxDefense said “PTDI failed to deliver the aircraft on time due to issues between PTDI and the approved autopilot supplier, who was bought by another company and was said to have not honored its commitments to PTDI, which led to the delay and blacklisting of PTDI;

“Blacklisting from Philippine government procurement board [is] coming to an end in 3 days,” MaxDefense said.

However, according to a credible source of Update Philippines, delivery may take place in September.

CASA C-212 Aviocar is a turboprop-powered STOL medium transport aircraft designed and built by CASA in Spain. Construcciones Aeronáuticas SA (CASA) became a subsidiary of European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company (EADS) in 1999 as EADS CASA, and in 2009 EADS CASA was absorbed by Airbus Military.

At present, C-212s are also being produced under licence by Indonesian Aerospace under NC-212 family.

Duterte gives medals, support to cops in Guihulngan ambush

From the Visayan Daily Star (Jul 28): Duterte gives medals, support to cops in Guihulngan ambush

President Rodrigo Duterte yesterday conferred posthumous awards to six killed-in-police-operation officers, during his visit to their wake at the City Hall of Guihulngan in Negros Oriental.

Guihulngan police chief, Supt. Arnel Arpon, Senior Police Officer 2 Necasio Pasculado Tabilon, PO3 Teovic Gador Agosto, PO2 Alvin Paul Alquizola Bulandres, PO2 Alfredo Lastimoso Dunque, and SPO1 Jesael Ancheta, were responding to a call for police assistance, but were killed after being ambushed by an armed group of suspected rebels at Magsaysay Village in Guihulngan City on July 21.

Duterte, who arrived at the Dumaguete-Sibulan Airport at about 5:30 p.m. yesterday, immediately flew to Guihulngan via the presidential chopper, to condole with the bereaved families and loved ones of the six policemen.

He spent several minutes with the families of each of the fallen cops, including those of Arpon and Ancheta, whose remains lie in state at their residences in Hinoba-an, Negros Occidental, and Jimalalud, Negros Oriental, respectively.

Assisted by Philippine National Police chief, Director General Ronald Dela Rosa, Duterte placed a medal on each of the coffins of the fallen police officer, and in front of the framed pictures of Arpon and Ancheta, and saluted them for their heroism.

Duterte also extended financial and scholarship assistance to the grieving families.

He said the government will provide for the education of the children of the slain policemen and jobs for the widows, including P250,000 to start a business, another P250,000 personally from him, and an additional P20,000 assistance.

Duterte said the families will be enrolled in the 4Ps conditional cash transfer program and will receive P1,500 monthly plus rice.

They will also receive benefits froim the Philippine National Police.

From Guihulngan, Duterte travelled back to Dumaguete and arrived past 8 p.m. to meet with the three policemen who survived the ambush and are recovering at the Silliman University Medical Center Foundation Inc.

Duterte and his party were cheered by the crowd that patiently waited for him.

He gave P100,000 in cash assistance each to PO3 Jordan Balderas, PO2 Jorie Regino Maribao, and SPO4 Jerome Casipong Delara, as well as new Armscor handgun and smartphone. He also spent several minutes talking with the wounded and their families.

The three policemen were also conferred the PNP Wounded Personnel Medal, pursuant to provisions of Sections 2 and 7 of Napolcom Memorandum Circular 93-018, and by command of Chief Supt. Edmund Gonzales, the director of the Police Regional Office 18.

Duterte then joined a closed door command conference at the Sibulan airport before leaving for Manila.

Full honors given to slain Ranger

From the Visayan Daily Star (Jul 28): Full honors given to slain Ranger

Negrense PFC Ramonito Occeña, a member of the elite Scout Ranger unit, who died in a gunbattle with the Maute terrorist group in Marawi, was accorded full military honorsyesterday afternoon, upon the arrival of his remains at the Bacolod-Silay Airport in Negros Occidental.

The remains of Occeña, a member of the 3rd Scout Ranger Company, Special Operations Command, that was previously assigned in central Negros, was flown in by a Philippine Air Force Nomad aircraft from Laguindingan Airport in Misamis, Negros Occidental, Capt. Eduardo Precioso, 3rd Infantry Division spokesman, said.

Precioso said the body of Occeña was immediately transported to his home in Brgy. Manlocahoc, Sipalay City, Negros Occidental, escorted by members of the 62nd Infantry Battalion.

The 79th Infantry Battalion is expected to provide honor guards during the wake forOcceña.

The death toll among security forces, who have engaged the ISIS-inspired Maute terrorist group for more than two months now, has already reached 109, as of this week, military records show.

Before his death, Occena was reported to have been injured in an encounter with the Maute terrorist group on June 4. Just like other Scout Ranger troopers, who were also injured in the fight with the terrorist group, Occeñareturned to action, two weeks after recuperating from his gunshot injuries.

Occena joined the Scout Ranger Regiment in 2011.

He was the third Negrense to die in the fight against the Maute gang in Marawi. The two others were S/Sgt. Joseph Villanueva of La Castellana, Negros Occidental, and 2Lt. MacGlenAbuyabor of Bais City, Negros Oriental.

Come home and fight

From the Visayan Daily Star (Jul 28): Come home and fight

President Rodrigo Duterte yesterday told Communist Party of the Philippines founder Jose Maria Sison, “if you are truly a revolutionary leader, come home and fight here” instead of being a coward living the good life in a foreign country.

Duterte was in Negros Oriental yesterday to confer posthumous awards on six policemen killed in an ambush by the New People's Army in Guihulngan City, and wounded personnel medals on three injured cops confined at the Silliman University Medical Center in Dumaguete City.

“I came here to share in the sorrow of the families of the policemen and to criticize the Communist Party of the Philippines”, said Duterte, who also provided the bereaved financial assistance.

All these years, Sison has lived a good life in the Netherlands with the support of other governments and on the money extorted by the NPA, not only from the rich, but from the poor in the hinterlands, and he says he is pro-poor, Duterte said.

Meanwhile, members of the NPA fighting his cause in the Philippine have died without even seeing Sison, who directs his war from a foreign land, he added.

“If you are really brave, if you are really sincere, come home and fight, if you want a deliverance of this country and you think you know better,” the president told Sison.

“What is your contribution to nation building, nothing but death and destruction,” he told Sison.

“You ambush soldiers and policemen and you think you can earn the respect of the people,” he added.

Fighting and killing Filipinos is what the NPA really wants, the president said.

“What you leave behind are children without fathers, that is your joy…You feel you are god with the barrel of the gun pointed at defenseless people,” he said.


Duterte called on NPA members on the ground to surrender and he will take care of them.

“Your leader is a coward who is just lying around in Utrecht,” he told them.

The president called on the NPA members to just surrender to their barangay captains and they will accompany them to the police or the military.

Duterte said he will then give them jobs, which would include being a soldier after undergoing training, land, a house, and they can keep their guns as souvenirs.


Duterte directed the police and the Armed Forces not to use the word revolutionary tax in reference to the money collected by the NPA. Revolutionary tax is not the proper word, only the Philippine government can impose tax, what the rebels are committing are extortion, holdups and kidnapping, and I will charge them for violation of the Revised Penal Code, he said.

The president also said he will ask Congress to pass a National Security Code, and will increase the number of soldiers.

He said the call of the rebels for peace talks is bullshit, because in the same vein, they stage ambushes and kill soldiers and policemen.


Meanwhile, he said one should not enter the police force or go to war against the communist rebels out of hatred.

If you are “pikon (hot-headed)”, you lose because you become reckless when you want revenge, he said.

“Do not go to war with hatred, use your brain,” he said.