Saturday, November 11, 2017

200 families in Cotabato flee homes amid military air strikes

From GMA News Online (Nov 11): 200 families in Cotabato flee homes amid military air strikes

At least 200 families from two villages in Carmen, Cotabato have sought refuge in nearby Aleosan town, after the Army launched an intense air-to-ground military offensives against alleged ISIS-inspired Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) since Wednesday, a military official said Saturday.

Captain Napoleon Alcarioto, head of the Civil Military Operations (CMO) of the Army’s 602nd Brigade, said the evacuees have sought temporary shelter in Barangay Lawili in Aleosan.
He said that internally displaced persons (IDPs) have been given initial assistance, such as food relief packs by the local government units of Carmen and Aleosan.

The Army official said they used MG520 attack helicopters as they launched air strikes, since Wednesday. The air assault is now on its fourth day this Saturday, Alcarioto said.

“On the ground, our men recovered a number of personal belongings of these BIFF members, which led us to believe that some of them could have been hit during the military air strikes.”

Military offensives took place after some 30 fully-armed ISIS-inspired BIFF were sighted in Barangay Tonganon and nearby village in Bentangan, also in Carmen, last Tuesday.

The presence of the armed group, allegedly led by a certain Esmael Abdulmalik or Commander Abu Torayfe, caused panic among residents and immediately sought refuge in nearby areas to prevent from being caught in crossfires.

DepEd urged to review accreditation of ‘Red’ schools

From the Manila Bulletin (Nov 10): DepEd urged to review accreditation of ‘Red’ schools

Cotabato Governor Lala Mendoza has urged the Department of Education (DepEd) to review its accreditation of three schools allegedly being managed by left-leaning non-government organizations (NGOs).

Mendoza issued the order after Army Col. Harold Argamosa of the 39th Infantry Battalion showed her photos of children allegedly being indoctrinated with the teachings of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP).

As chair of the provincial peace and order council (PPOC), Mendoza presided over its regular meeting Thursday at the provincial capitol complex here.

The schools, named and purportedly operated by Mindanao Interfaith Services Inc. (MISFI), are located in Barangay Kisante in Makilala town, and another between the boundary of Arakan and a Bukidnon town.

These schools are located in the second district of North Cotabato where the NPA has a strong presence.

One of the schools was built and managed by the late Father Fausto ‘Pops’ Tentorio of the Pontifical Institute for Foreign Mission (PIME).

Argamosa alleged that there are also left-leaning lumad schools located in Sarangani province and Compostela Valley.

Argamosa said the picture he presented at the PPOC meeting was taken along the boundary of Makilala in North Cotabato and in Bansalan, Davao del Sur.

“These are students of MISFI. Just recently, the DepEd has accredited MISFI,” he said.

Argamosa urged the provincial government and Cotabato DepEd to look into the matter, since the alleged victims were children.

After hearing Argamosa’s disclosure, the PPOC passed two resolutions: first, asking DepEd to review its accreditation on MISFI; and another addressed to the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), urging it to look into the welfare of the young students.

Abu ‘bomber’ nabbed

From The Standard (Nov 11): Abu ‘bomber’ nabbed

Security beefed up at Naia as Asean leaders start arriving

GOVERNMENT agents arrested a suspected Abu Sayyaf bomber and two of his companions at a Muslim enclave in Quezon City Friday night.

Initial reports identified the suspected terrorist bomber as Abu Bakar Jikiri, an active member of the Abu Sayyaf, which has pledged allegiance to the Islamic State terrorist group.

In Vietnam, President Rodrigo Duterte said security forces remain on guard against possible retaliatory attacks by jihadist IS forces, as the country hosts the 31st Association of Southeast Asian Nations Summit next week.

Speaking to reporters here on Thursday night, Duterte refused to divulge any information on the government’s security preparations, saying only that “the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police are ready to meet the challenge.”

Jikiri was arrested in his hideout in Salam Compound in Barangay Culiat, Quezon City at 5:15 p.m. Agents seized two firearms, including an M203 grenade rifle.

Two of Jakiri’s contacts, known only as Hussein and Sabtain, were also arrested, and all three were being interrogated.

On Thursday, Lisa Sidney Jones, director of the Institute of Policy Analysis and Conflict warned that pro-IS terrorists may bomb several cities, including Manila, in the aftermath of their defeat in Marawi City.

Jones also urged the government to extract information from suspected financiers of the Marawi seige who were arrested.

“I think it’s possible the various components of the IS alliance actually dispersed back to their home territories... I also think there is a chance we’ll see retaliatory bombings in some of the urban centers in the Philippines, maybe including Manila,” she said in a television interview.

Security forces will be placed on the highest security alert at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport during the arrival and departure of world leaders participating in the Asean summit this coming week.

At least seven heads of states, including US President Donald Trump, are expected to arrive at the Naia on board their official aircrafts on Sunday to attend the country’s hosting of 31st ASEAN meeting. Airport officials are also expecting leaders and other government officials from China, India, Brunei, Japan and Singapore.

Manila International Airport Authority manager Eddie Monreal said security personnel at checkpoints leading to the airport would be beefed up, and more bomb-sniffing dogs will be deployed.

He added that heads of security, terminal managers and specially trained policemen would be situated in different strategic areas of the airport to ensure the safety of the arriving dignitaries and the people working at and using the airport.

The MIAA chief said security personnel will strictly inspect the luggage while passengers will undergo rigid body frisking to make sure no firearms or explosives are brought inside the airport undetected.

He appealed to travelers to report any unattended baggage or suspicious persons roaming inside and outside the airport.

National Capital Region Police Office director Oscar Albayalde said 33,000 policemen, including the augmentation force from different regional offices in the country, will also be deployed to provide and maintain security and safety of the delegates, routes, venue and billet during the summit.

“In almost a year of security preparations for the 31st Asean Summit, I believe we have prepared everything, however one thing that we must not forget to include in our preparedness and readiness is prayer and divine intervention,” said Albayalde.

“This undertaking is not just for the police, this is for our nation. This is our chance to show to the world that we are capable to secure the 22 world leaders and their colleagues. Let us do our share,” Albayalde said.

Both the Philippine Airlines and Cebu Pacific Air advised their clients to allot sufficient time going to airport to avoid flight delays in anticipation of heavy traffic due to road closures in connection with the summit.

The Metro Manila Development Authority announced earlier that some major streets in the metropolis will experience traffic congestion during the summit.

The MMDA, in its advisory, stated that there will be lockdown on SMX Convention Center in Pasay City from 11 p.m. of Nov. 11 to 12; Cultural Center of the Philippines Complex on Nov. 12 and Roxas Boulevard from Gil Puyat Avenue to P. Burgos on Nov. 13 from 12:01 a.m. until noon.

Heavy traffic is expected in these areas and motorists are advised to take alternate routes.

Asean convoys will be given priority through a stop-and-go traffic scheme that will create delays for other motorists, who will be told to stop for five minutes to let a convoy pass.

On Friday, the wife of the slain leader of Ansar Khalifa Philippines as the Justice Department to dismiss the criminal charges of rebellion and inciting to rebellion filed against her by the National Bureau of Investigation.

Karen Aizha Hamidon, wife of slain AKP leader Mohammad Jaafar Maguid, asked the DOJ to drop the 296 counts of inciting to rebellion charges for lack of evidence.

Hamidon made the plea as Senior Assistant State Prosecutor Peter Ong concluded on Friday the preliminary investigation on the criminal complaint filed by the NBI. Ong said the case is now submitted for resolution.

512 communist rebels surrendered to gov’t since February this year

From the Manila Bulletin (Nov 11): 512 communist rebels surrendered to gov’t since February this year

More than 500 communist rebels have surrendered to the government since the peace talks between the government and the New People’s Army (NPA) were terminated in February this year, the military said Saturday.


Marine Col. Edgard Arevalo, chief military information officer, said those who surrendered totaled 512 since February 4 this year and also turned over the firearms issued to them when they joined the NPA.

For this month alone, Arevalo said a total of 18 communist rebels have decided to surrender, including a 16-year-old boy in T’boli town of South Cotabato.

“The continuous surrender of NPA members is indicative of the organization’s dwindling strength. This is also a clear manifestation of our successful intensified combat, intelligence and civil-military operations, particularly in Northeastern Mindanao which is the NPA’s area of concentration,” said Arevalo.

The official also disclosed that since February this year, the military has killed 121 other communist rebels and 94 were arrested in various parts of the country.

A total of 578 high-powered and low-powered firearms were taken from the NPAs.

The communist rebels have been waging almost five decades of armed struggle against the government, despite several attempts over the years to ink a peace agreement.

The military estimated that there are some 4,000 communist rebels across the country, most of them concentrated in eastern part of Mindanao. The figure however has long been a military estimate.

The NPA has reportedly collecting multimillion-peso revolutionary taxes from various persons and businessmen.

President Duterte earlier vowed to crush the NPA after a series of attacks on the government which led to the cancellation of the peace talks.

Over the weekend, an NPA ambush in Bukidnon killed a four-month-old baby and a policeman.

‘High-ranking NPA leader’ arrested in Santander

From the Sun Star-Cebu (Nov 10): ‘High-ranking NPA leader’ arrested in Santander

AN alleged high-ranking leader of the New People’s Army (NPA) was caught in Barangay Pasil, Santander last Thursday night.
The suspect was identified as Rustico “Paking” Tan, who is facing multiple murder, frustrated and attempted murder cases, said Provincial Intelligence Branch (PIB) Chief Joie Yape Jr.
Tan is the alleged vice commanding officer of NPA’s Western Visayas operations command, which operates in Negros Island.
The police and military personnel served the 14 warrants of arrest for multiple murder, three for frustrated murder and attempted murder.
These arrest warrants were issued by Bohol Regional Trial Court Branch 47 in Tagbilaran City, Bohol.
Before the arrest, PIB received information about Tan’s presence from Military Intelligence Group (MIG) 7.
Police and military personnel went to Oslob, but Tan had escaped to Santander after authorities were deceived by the suspect’s alleged underlings Lopito Paguegbao and Eddie Cumahig Cullamat.
Cullamat and Paguegbao later divulged Tan’s hideout, which is the house of Tan’s late brother in Pasil.
The operatives went to the house and caught the suspect.
A laptop, five cell phones and “subversive” documents were seized from Tan. Paguegbao and Cullamat, who hail from Surigao del Sur, were taken to MIG 7 office.

5 NPA members believed killed or hurt in encounter in Kalinga —AFP

From GMA News Online (Nov 10): 5 NPA members believed killed or hurt in encounter in Kalinga —AFP

Five alleged members of the New People’s Army are believed to have been killed or wounded in an encounter with government troops Wednesday afternoon in Kalinga, a belated military report said Friday.

Lieutenant Colonel Martin Daiz Jr, 50th Infantry Battalion commander, said he dispatched his troops to verify information given by civilians about the presence of armed groups at Barangay Mabaca, Balbalan, Kalinga around 3 p.m., November 8.
A two-hour encounter ensued resulting in the recovery of three M16 rifles; one M653 rifle; and one M14 rifle left by the communist rebels.

Daiz said his men found bloodstains on the ground where the communist rebels were positioned but no cadaver was recovered.

Hot pursuit operations were already launched to track the rebels.

Major General Paul Talay Atal, 5th Infantry Division commander, lauded the troops of the 50th IB for their successful security operations in the area.

“I commend the whole 50IB for their recent accomplishment. This effort once again proved your superiority against the enemy. While the NPA are intensifying their terroristic acts against the peace-loving people of Kalinga and the Cordillera, we will always be ready to protect them, and we will not fail them,” he said.

DWDD: INFANT KILLERS | NPA Murders 4-month Old Baby in Bukidnon

From DWDD AFP Civil Relations Service Radio Website (Nov 11): INFANT KILLERS  |  NPA Murders 4-month Old Baby in Bukidnon

CAMP OSITO D. BAHIAN, Malaybalay City, Bukidnon – A four-month old baby including a policeman were murdered by suspected members of the NPA terror group around 5:30 pm on November 9, 2017, in Brgy. Tikalaan, Talakag, Bukidnon.


The incident transpired after more or less 30 suspected NPA bandits ambushed the personnel of the Bumbaran Municipal Police Station onboard their patrol vehicle, and indiscriminately fired upon a Toyota Fortuner who happened to be tailing said PNP patrol car along Kilometer 28 of the Cagayan de Oro-Dominorog-Kalilangan road.

The incident resulted to the death of a policeman and wounding of three police personnel who were onboard their patrol vehicle, and the death of Walysha Machorao, a four – month old baby, after being hit by a bullet in her head, and the wounding of two other female companions who both suffered gunshot wounds in their right arm and left breast, respectively.

The three civilian victims were onboard the Toyota Fortuner with five other companions as they were heading back to their residence in Brgy. Kili-kili, Wao, Lanao del Sur after attending to some personal errands in Cagayan de Oro City, while the policemen were on their way back to the Bumbaran Municipal Police Station.

Meanwhile, responding troops from the 1st Special Forces Battalion recovered an Improvised Explosive Device (IED/Landmine), 200 meters wire, detonating cords, empty shells of AK-47 rifle ammunitions, and subversive documents at the area where the incident transpired.

These acts committed by the NPA bandits are clear violations of the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law or CARHRIHL between the government and the CPP-NPA-NDF as this agreement prohibits attacks against civilians and non-combatants and bans the use of landmine.

Brigadier General Eric C Vinoya AFP, Commander of the 403rd Infantry Brigade, vehemently condemned this yet another barbaric act of the bandit group. He also lambasted the perpetrators for their lack of regard to human life, most especially the civilians, as evident by their indiscriminate use of firearms.

“We condemn in the strongest possible terms this barbaric act committed by the perpetrators of this incident which resulted to the tragic death of a four-month old baby girl and one of our police personnel.” said Brigadier General Vinoya.

“These perpetrators can be compared to savages, infant killers, and murderers of innocent civilians, who thrive on abusing the weak by using coercion and intimidation, without giving any regard to human life and established laws. They do not belong in this civilized society. They will be punished.” he added. 403IBde/MCAG

DWDD: RESCUED | 4 Vietnamese hostages recovered by troops in Tawi-Tawi

From DWDD AFP Civil Relations Service Radio Website (Nov 11): RESCUED  |  4 Vietnamese hostages recovered by troops in Tawi-Tawi

CAMP NAVARRO, Calarian, Zamboanga City (DWDD) – Four Vietnamese hostages were rescued in a military operation launched in Tawi-Tawi yesterday morning. Buy Xuan Vien, Bui Trung Duc, Nguten Quang Huy, and Nguyin Huu Trong were rescued from the hands of the Abu Sayyaf Group in a special operation launched near Kang Tipayan Island in Languyan, Tawi-Tawi at around 7:45am (November 10).

However, Huu Trong was found dead when he was recovered by troops of the Naval Forces Western Mindanao and the Joint Task Force Tawi-Tawi. Due to a lingering illness, Huu Trong succumbed to death during his captivity.

“The Vietnamese hostages were transported by navy personnel to Zamboanga City for proper disposition and medical treatment,” said Rear Admiral Rene Medina, the NFWM Commander.

“Through the operations conducted by our marines and navy, we successfully recovered the Vietnamese hostages off Tawi-Tawi waters, and we mean to intensify our offensives to pressure the bandits to yield,” said Brigadier General Custodio Parcon, Jr., commander of the Joint Task Force Sulu.

Said hostages, all crew members of Marine Vessel Giang Hai 5, were abducted by the Abu Sayyaf bandits off the waters of Pearl Bank, Pangutaran, Sulu on February 25, 2017.

Of the 17 crew members boarding the said vessel, two were killed while attempting to escape from the Abu Sayyaf. Ten were rescued by the troops, while the group of Xuan Vien was forcibly taken and transported by the bandits to mainland Sulu. As of this date, there are seven foreigners and nine Filipinos who are still held by the Abu Sayyaf in the hinterlands of Sulu.

“Operations by our ground units continue to yield positive results as we relentlessly pursue the bandits to thwart their kidnapping ploys and rescue their victims,” said Lieutenant General Carlito G. Galvez, Jr., commander of the Western Mindanao Command.

“Through the resolve of our Joint Task Forces, we continue to reach our objectives with the end state of defeating the Abu Sayyaf,” he added.

“My commendations to Joint Task Force Tawi-tawi and the Naval Forces Western Mindanao troops.” WESTMICOM/MCAG

DWDD: SAFE AND CLEAR | 100% of Roads Cleared in Marawi Main Battle Area

From DWDD AFP Civil Relations Service Radio Website (Nov 11): SAFE AND CLEAR | 100% of Roads Cleared in Marawi Main Battle Area


CAMP AGUINALDO, Quezon City – The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) has already cleared 100% of roads in the main battle area of Marawi as recovery, reconstruction and rehabilitation efforts continue.

According to Marine Colonel Edgard Arevalo, AFP Public Affairs Chief, “our Construction Engineers from the Army, Air Force, and Navy have been working day in and day out to ensure that 100% of the primary roads and bridges in the main battle area (MBA) of Marawi are passable and cleared of unexploded ordnance and improvised explosive devices (IEDs)”.

More than 500 military engineers are currently deployed in Marawi City as part of the Joint Engineer Task Group (JETG) led by Brigadier General Arnold Fernandez. The task group is supporting the recovery, reconstruction and rehabilitation operations being led by Task Force Bangon Marawi.

As of this report, the JETG has already completed the ground preparation of portions of temporary resettlement area in Sagon-songan while clearing operations continue in the MBA.


“Aside from engineer manpower, we have utilized our construction vehicles and equipment to clear-off rubbles and debris as well as in the demolition of buildings in the city’s MBA. We are yet to identify possible dump sites locations for the unexploded ordnance and IEDs,” Colonel Arevalo added.

Among the vehicles being used in the ground development operations are dozers, pay loaders, backhoe loaders, skid steers, road graders, and excavator.

The JETG is also tasked to support the restoration of essential services such as water and electricity to selected government centers, and places of worships. Among the establishments that need repair and rehabilitation are St. Mary’s Church, Grand Mosque, and Bato Mosque.

“The AFP lauds our Combat Engineers who, in the first weeks of the Marawi Crisis have been present in the main battle area to support our operating units. As we transition to the rehabilitation phase, their services will significantly be needed in order to successfully get Marawi back on its feet,” General Rey Leonardo Guerrero, AFP Chief of Staff said.

“Rest assured that our troops will remain steadfast in its support operations towards the recovery, reconstruction and rehabilitation of Marawi City,” General Guerrero said. PAO AFP/MCAG

DWDD: NEW LIFE | NPA Surrenderers received Livelihood Cash Assistance

From DWDD AFP Civil Relations Service Radio Website (Nov 11): NEW LIFE | NPA Surrenderers received Livelihood Cash Assistance

CAMP GEN VICENTE LUKBAN, Catbalogan City, Samar (DWDD) – Six (6) former rebels (FRs) from the province of Northern Samar received a total of P 807,000.00 from the Comprehensive Local Integration Program (CLIP) and Local Social Integration Program (LSIP) that help to provide livelihood assistance to the NPA surrenderers to start a new life.

The FRs were facilitated by the 803rd Infantry (Peacemaker) Brigade under the leadership of BGen Mario C Lacurom AFP with the strong participation from the Provincial Government of Northern Samar. The awarding of cash assistance was held at the Governor’s Conference Room, New Capitol Building, Catarman, Northern Samar on November 8, 2017, at 9 o’clock in the morning.

The activity was attended by Hon. Jose L. Ong Jr., Provincial Governor, NSamar represented by Hon. Gary M. Lavin, Vice-Governor NSamar ;Brig. Gen. Mario G Lacurom AFP, Commander, 803rd Infantry Brigade; Ms. Jenny O Darish, Acting PSWD Officer; Rev. Fr. Fred I Placa; and Ms. Maricel Bantilo-Balasolla from OPAPP

The activity was highlighted by a remark from the most ranking NPA surrenderer who appreciated the CLIP and LSIP programs that will enable them to start a new living. In addition, their voluntary surrender to the government is a great realization on their part that the armed struggle they were fighting for a long period of time is not only futile and deceptive but also an unnecessary waste of lives. Likewise, he assured that the livelihood assistance given them will be used prudently and they will never again return to the NPA movement.

MGen Raul M Farnacio AFP, Commander 8ID, represented by BGen Mario G Lacurom AFP, sends his grateful appreciation to the Province of Northern Samar and Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) as partners in giving remunerations to the FRs. Likewise, he encourages the NPA rebels in the whole Eastern Visayas to lay down their arms, voluntarily submit themselves to the government, and live a normal life with their families by availing the CLIP and LSIP programs. 8DPAO/MCAG

DWDD: STRIKE OPERATIONS | AFP – ASG Encounter in Basilan

From DWDD AFP Civil Relations Service Radio Website (Nov 10): STRIKE OPERATIONS  |  AFP – ASG Encounter in Basilan


SUMISIP, Basilan (DWDD) – Troops from the 18th infantry Battalion conducted “strike operations” against members of a terrorist group in Barangay Upper Cabengbeng Sumisip Basilan.

According to AFP Western Mindanao Command Spokesperson Captain Jo-ann Petinglay, target of the operation was the ASG group headed by Siar Alhamsirol and Parong Tedi.

The Philippine Air Force provided “close-air support” to ground troops who battled the terrorist for four (4) hours.

Military forces suffered six (6) Killed-in-Action (KIA) and four (4) Wounded-in-Action (WIA), while an undetermined number of terrorist were neutralized.

The remains of four of the soldiers were taken to the Headquarters, Joint Task Force Basilan in Zamboanga City while the other two remains were already turned-over to their family in Basilan.

The wounded are currently undergoing treatment at the Camp Navarro General Hospital. WESTMINCOM/MCAG

DWDD: ENCOUNTER | NOLCOM scores anew in Kalinga vs NPA

From DWDD AFP Civil Relations Service Radio Website (Nov 10): ENCOUNTER  |  NOLCOM scores anew in Kalinga vs NPA

CAMP GEN SERVILLANO, Tarlac City (DWDD) – Northern Luzon Command (NOLCOM) troopers from the 50th Infantry Battalion, 5th Infantry Division, Philippine Army encountered a group of New People’s Army (NPA) at Sitio Dapoog, Brgy Mabaca, Balbalan, Kalinga at about 3:35 PM yesterday, November 8, 2017.

The fierce firefight lasted for several minutes leading to the recovery of five (5) high powered firearms namely three (3) M16 rifle, one (1) M653 rifle, one (1) M14 rifle, assorted ammunition and magazine and subversive documents. No casualty was reported on the government side.

NOLCOM will ensure the peace and stability in its Area of Responsibility. Moreover, NOLCOM will further contribute to the overall effort of the government to neutralize the armed threat, as peace spoilers and enemy of the state, that hinders nation-building and development. NOLCOM PIO / MCAG

DWDD: ENCOUNTER | NPA Killed in firefight with 84IB Troopers

From DWDD AFP Civil Relations Service Radio Website (Nov 10): ENCOUNTER  |  NPA Killed in firefight with 84IB Troopers

Fort Ramon Magsaysay, Nueva Ecija (DWDD) – A firefight ensued between the troops of 84th Infantry “Victorious” Battalion, 7th Infantry “Kaugnay” Division, Philippine Army and the New People’s Army terrorist on 8:30 AM of November 9, 2017 in Brgy. Sanguit, Dupax Del Sur, Nueva Viscaya.

The incident transpired when the troops responded to the information provided by the residents of the community on a formation of an armed group. The troops was able to reach the given area and chanced on the NPA terrorist. The Communist Terrorist (CT) group were under the Venerando Villacilio Command operating in the boundary of Nueva Vizcaya and Quirino provinces.

An unidentified communist terrorist was killed with an M16 rifle, a hand grenade and subversive documents recovered from him in the encounter site while ten (10) Army troopers were wounded as a result of the confrontation. Troops are still scouring the area while the wounded personnel are being extricated from the area for evacuation to the nearest hospital.

NOLCOM will continue to conduct focused military operations to ensure the safety and security of the populace from any NPA threats and eventually bring the government services particularly in the depressed barangays considered as Geographically Isolated and Disadvantage Areas (GIDAS). NOLCOM, with the support of LGU’s and other stakeholders, also aims to bring lasting peace and sustainable development in the Central and Northern Luzon area. 7DPAO/MCAG

DWDD: ENCOUNTER | 18IB engages Lawless Elements in Basilan

From DWDD AFP Civil Relations Service Radio Website (Nov 10): ENCOUNTER  |  18IB engages Lawless Elements in Basilan


BASILAN (DWDD) – Personnel of the Armed Forces of the Philippines were engaged by lawless elements reinforcing Abu Sayyaf fighters, following a military strike launched against the beleaguered bandits yesterday. November 9, in Basilan.

Elements of the 18th Infantry Battalion conducted a strike operation targeting the Abu Sayyaf under Siar Alhamsirol and Parong Tedi in Barangay Upper Cabengbeng, Sumisip at 12:41 in the afternoon yesterday (November

The beleaguered bandits were, however, reinforced by lawless elements that engaged the troops near the Basilan Circumferential Road in Sumisip.

“As they edged towards the circumferential road, operating troops were met with heavy fire by lawless elements believed to be relatives and sympathizers of the Abu Sayyaf bandits,” said Colonel Juvymax Uy, Commander of the Joint Task Force Basilan.

Said offensives lasted for about four hours with an undetermined number of casualties on the Abu Sayyaf and on said lawless elements.

Close air support was provided by the Air Force troops at 2:11pm yesterday.

Meanwhile, troops of the 64th and 68th Infantry Battalions augmented the beleaguered troops in the engagement area.

Six soldiers were killed, while four were wounded in action as a result.

Their cadavers were subsequently transported by the Joint Task Force Basilan to Zamboanga City. Two remains were claimed by the next of kin.

The wounded were promptly evacuated by the troops to the headquarters of the 64th Infantry Battalion. They were subsequently brought to Camp Navarro General Hospital and a private hospital in this city for further medical attention.

“We are sad to report the death of six of your soldiers during the encounter yesterday in Basilan,” said Lieutenant General Carlito G. Galvez, Jr., commander of the Western Mindanao Command.

“As we mourn, combat operations against the bandits will be intensified with our intelligence operations and sustained campaign to defeat the remaining terrorists,” the WestMinCom Chief added. “Rest assured that this will not stop us from crushing the enemies of the state.” WESTMINCOM PIO / MCAG

CPP/NPA-NCM: NPA ambushed a patrol car of the PNP Bumbaran Police Station

NPA-North Central Mindanao propaganda statement posted to the Communist Party of the Philippines Website (Nov 10): NPA ambushed a patrol car of the PNP Bumbaran Police Station

Ka Malem Mabini, Spokesperson
NPA-North Central Mindanao

10 November 2017

Yesterday, November 9, 2017 at around 7 o’clock in the evening, a field unit of the New Peoples Army under the Mt. Kitanglad Sub-regional Command ambushed a patrol car of the PNP Bumbaran Police Station under the PNP-Lanao del Sur while plying the Ticalaan-Dominorog road in Talakag, Bukidnon. From the initial report received from the territorial command of the NPA-MK-SRC, the Chief of Police and four of his subordinates were wounded in action were stripped of their firearms afterwards. Local media reports also disclosed three civilians were injured from the said action. As of this writing, the NPA-NCMR awaits the comprehensive report from the field unit responsible for launching the said action.

LOOK | Lumad, Moro activists scuffle with cops near U.S. embassy in ‘Ban Trump’ protest

From InterAksyon (Nov 11): LOOK | Lumad, Moro activists scuffle with cops near U.S. embassy in ‘Ban Trump’ protest

Lumad and Moro activists push against a police phalanx in a vain attempt to reach the U.S. embassy.

Lumad and Moro activists protesting the visit of President Donald Trump scuffled briefly with police but failed to breach the law enforcers’ phalanx and reach their target, the U.S. embassy.

Trump is flying in for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations summit and is expected to hold talks with President Rodrigo Duterte.

Lumad and Moro activists marching to the U.S. embassy before being stopped by anti-riot police.

The protesters, numbering at least 200, were stopped by anti-riot police along T.M. Kalaw Avenue, a few hundred meters from the embassy.

They vainly tried to shove, punch and kick their way past the police shields but had to content themselves with holding a short program capped by the burning of a portrait of Trump, which they defaced with red paint before setting it alight.

Activists splash red paint on a portrait of U.S. President Donald Trump before setting it on fire.

Ryan Lariba of the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan-Mindanao condemned the continued presence of American forces in the south, including during the recent Marawi crisis, and blamed the U.S. for the continued bombings of communities in the countryside “using the Armed Forcces and the puppetry of the Duterte administration.”

When fighting between government forces and extremist gunmen broke out in Marawi on May 23, Duterte declared the whole of Mindanao under martial law. He has since extended this to the end of the year, refusing to lift it even after declaring Marawi liberated.

Activists raise clenched fists streaked with red paint and placards during a program near the U.S. embassy.

Lumad who joined the protest warned that agreements secured during the ASEAN summit could strengthen the continued destruction of the environment and their ancestral lands in Mindanao by mining corporations and agro-industrial plantations.

The lumad have long fought to keep out extractive industries from the resource-rich hinterlands where they live. Because of this, they have been openly accused of supporting communist rebels and have been targeted in counterinsurgency operations that often include the occupation of their communities and human rights violations.

Philippine Air Force war birds: Marawi game changer

From Update Philippines (Nov 9): Philippine Air Force war birds: Marawi game changer

The participation of Philippine Air Force’s (PAF) FA-50PH Fighter/Surface Attack/Lead-in Fighter Trainer (F/SA/LIFT) supersonic aircraft and AgustaWestland AW109 attack helicopters in the Marawi City battle against terrorists was dubbed as ‘game changer’.

The game changed when “the roar of the after burns” of FA-50PHs was heard over Marawi City, Philippine aviation information provider Pinoy Aviators said in its Facebook page.

Pinoy Aviators said PAF 5th Fighter Wing’s (5FW) 7th Tactical Fighter ‘Bulldogs’ Squadron “successfully delivered their surgical air strike, flying their brand new FA-50 supersonic fighter aircraft against [the] local Islamist terror group in Marawi City.”

PAF photo

It added that 15th Strike Wing’s (15SW) 18th Attack ‘Falcons’ Squadron pilots with their AW109 attack helicopters “gave everything in providing reconnaissance and tactical close air support to our Army and Marines in the frontline to liberate Marawi City from the local Islamic State Terrorist group.”

PAF photo

The Marawi City siege started May 23 and on May 25 the 15th Strike Wing unleashed their attack pilots from the 17th Attack ‘Jaguars’ Squadron (SF260TP Light Attack Aircraft), 18th Attack ‘Falcons’ Squadron (AW-109E), 20th Attack ‘Firebirds’ Squadron (MD520 MG Defender), and 16th Attack Eagles’ Squadron (OV-10 Bronco), Pinoy Aviators said.

PAF photo

PAF photo

PAF photo

On May 31 the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) gave the green light to PAF to let the Bulldogs (FA-50PH) join the attack pilots of 15th Strike Wing.

Aside from these war birds manned by their attack pilots, several PAF aircraft which included the C-130 Hercules and C-295 of PAF’s 220th Airlift Wing; and UH-IH and Bell-412 combat utility helicopters were heavily utilized in transport, reconnaissance, and medical evacuation missions in support of Marawi’s liberation from terrorists.

Philippines commits to establish lasting defense cooperation with Vietnam

From Update Philippines (Nov 10): Philippines commits to establish lasting defense cooperation with Vietnam

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte on Thursday, November 9, met with Viet Nam President Tran Dai Quang at the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Economic Leaders’ Meeting (AELM). President Duterte had a bilateral meeting with the Vietnamese leader, who congratulated President Duterte on his chairmanship of ASEAN 2017.

President Duterte, for his part, congratulated Tran for the successful holding of the APEC. The two leaders discussed cooperation in the areas of politics, defense, and economy, and campaign against illegal drugs, among others.

In terms of defense cooperation, the Philippines expressed the commitment to establish lasting defense cooperation.

Among the agreements that provide frameworks for defense cooperation are the Memorandum of Agreement on Defense Cooperation signed in 2010 and the Joint Statement on the Establishment of a Strategic Partnership between the Philippines and Viet Nam signed in 2015.

With regard to political cooperation, the President recalled his productive visit to Viet Nam in September last year and to express desire to concretize the agreements reached on further developing political, security and defense, economic, agriculture, and cultural cooperation.

With regard to economic cooperation, the President conveyed the desire to increase the two-way trade.

Viet Nam is the Philippines’ 12th major trading partner in 2016 at USD2.72 billion. Areas for trade promotion to Viet Nam include consumer products, food, and industrial manufactures.

In addition, Duterte reiterated his appreciation for the renewal of rice trade between the two countries. President Duterte expressed as well appreciation for the increasing tourist arrivals from Viet Nam, which increased by 7.33 percent to 33,895 in 2016.

Code of Conduct only viable solution to manage WPS dispute – DFA

From Update Philippines (Nov 10): Code of Conduct only viable solution to manage WPS dispute – DFA

While the adoption of a Code of Conduct (COC) on South China Sea is only expected to manage maritime disputes, not resolve it, Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) Acting Spokesperson Robespierre Bolivar said it is the “only viable solution” available for ASEAN and China to pursue.

“If you are going to express pessimism even before the start of negotiations, if I may return the question, what kind of alternatives (would you offer)?” he said.

In an interview with reporters before the 31st Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and Related Summits officially kick off, Bolivar said the hope is for ASEAN and China to formulate a “more binding” document than the 2002 Declaration of Conduct in the area.

“Ang tingin ko diyan, everything is on the table, it’s just a matter on how the negotiators of each countries will position themselves to make a document that everyone can get behind pero ang hirap kasi hindi pa nga nagsisimula pessimism ka na agad.”

At the Stratbase ADR Institute for Strategic and International Studies (ADRi) ASEAN Leadership Forum in Makati City, Gregory Poling, director of the Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative, said that there’s “nothing wrong” with the idea of pursuing the COC but if that’s the only move parties will have, his organization will express “disappointment.”

“ASEAN negotiated the non-binding DOC in 2002. It took 15 years to negotiate a one-page outline that just restated the exact same thing we’re going to do in the DOC,” he said.

“The idea that this is going to lead to a binding way to manage things like fisheries depletion, oil and gas development or coastguard cooperation is a fantasy,” Poling added.

Putin: Russia, PH now ready to develop military, technical cooperation

From Update Philippines (Nov 10): Putin: Russia, PH now ready to develop military, technical cooperation

Russia President Vladimir Putin said during the bilateral meeting with President Rodrigo Duterte at the sidelines of the APEC summit in Vietnam that Russia and Philippines are now ready to further develop ties not just through economy but also through military cooperation.

“I have to say, countering terrorism today is one of our common tasks, objectives and challenges. In this regard, we are ready, as we have agreed, to develop our relations, including the military and technical cooperation,” Putin told Duterte.

“Of course, we need to lay a special emphasis on economic ties. Unfortunately, they are at a fairly low level even though a certain growth in bilateral trade can be observed this year,” he added.

We are buying our arms from Russia this time – Duterte

From Update Philippines (Nov 10): We are buying our arms from Russia this time – Duterte

The Philippines is now poised to buy Russian military armaments, President Rodrigo Duterte told Russia President Putin during a bilateral meeting in Vietnam at the sidelines of APEC summit.

Duterte told Putin that it is his dream that before he finishes his presidency he wants to build a strong Armed Forces and strong police.

“It is very important for you to know that we are buying our arms from Russia this time,” he said.

“Because at the time we were short of arms for the police. And we wanted to buy it from America, but because of the almost equal power of the US Congress and the President it is only stymied by the legislators, so the 23,000 that I ordered were scrapped,” President Duterte said.

“In a way, you had us turn the tide and to shorten the [Marawi] war there because all of your assistance,” he noted.

EastMinCom: No movement of ISIS-linked group in Davao

From the Mindanao Times (Nov 10): EastMinCom: No movement of ISIS-linked group in Davao

THE MILITARY’S Eastern Mindanao Command (EastMinCom) said it doesn’t monitor in its area any movement of the group of Malaysian militant leader Amir Baco, tagged as the new emir of the ISIS-inspired extremists in Southeast Asia.

Still, the command is strengthening the border security in Davao Gulf to preempt any terrorist group from entering the region.

“(In our) monitoring, we don’t receive any reports that there is a movement of the group of Baco in our area,” Major Ezra Balagtey, the EastMinCon spokesperson told reporters in a press briefing held at Task Force Davao headquarters.

Saying that their mandate is to prevent spillover of terrorism in Davao area, Balagtey is encouraging the participation of the community to report any suspicious and unidentified individuals in the area.

Despite reports that Baco has been declared as the new emir of the ISIS-inspired group in Southeast Asia, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) said Tuesday that group remains “leaderless” following the death of Isnilon Hapilon who was killed by state troops in Marawi City.

Balagtey said Martial Law is still in effect in Mindanao to prevent any spillover.

Meanwhile, Lt. Col. Randolph Cabangbang, the newly appointed deputy commander of Task Force Davao, said they are continuously coordinating with other intelligence groups to gather further information and ensure that terror group could not enter the city.

“We continue to strengthen the checkpoints in the entry and exits in the city,” Cabangbang said. “Let’s just continue to support it and be patient (because) the delay is for our own good.”

The official also said the alertness and vigilance of the public is also needed.

“If everyone knows what to do then we are limiting the movement of terrorists,” he said adding that TF Davao commander Col. Nolasco Mempin has directed them to make further plans against threat groups.

For now, he said they have been conducting training of additional militiamen to strengthen the checkpoints in the city.

5 NPAs arrested in Lake Sebu operation

From MindaNews (Nov 9): 5 NPAs arrested in Lake Sebu operation

Joint police and Army operatives arrested five suspected New People’s Army (NPA) rebels in an operation on Monday afternoon at an outskirt village in Lake Sebu town in South Cotabato, belated reports said.

Sr. Supt Franklin Alvero, South Cotabato police director, said in a report Wednesday the suspects were nabbed around 4 p.m. by joint elements from the Lake Sebu municipal police station and the Army’s 27th Infantry Battalion at a checkpoint in Sitio Datal Ligaw in Barangay Tasiman.

He said the five alleged rebels were members of Platoon Samsung of the NPA’s Guerrilla Front 73 operating in parts of South Cotabato, Sarangani and Sultan Kudarat provinces.

Arrested were Encarnacion Comelio Sangco, 53, of Barangay Lambak, Senator Ninoy Aquino, Sultan Kudarat; Ronald Kulaman Joland alias Karding, 19, Joey Inson Salon alias Jack/Jordan, 24, and Hanna Blasan Adam, all residents of Sitio Datal Ligaw, Barangay Tasiman; and Bryan Dialoring Muca alias Brown, 21, of Barangay Kabasagan, Matanao, Davao del Sur.

Seized from the suspects were two grenades, a caliber .45 handgun loaded with five bullets, a 9mm pistol with five bullets and a caliber .357 pistol with three bullets.

Alvero said Sangco is reportedly the wife of Kumander Billy, the known leader of Platoon Samsung.

The official said Lake Sebu police station and the 27IB launched the “police visibility and prophylactic patrol” in the area after receiving reports regarding the presence of the NPA rebels.

He said the rebels were intercepted while passing a joint police and Army checkpoint along a major road in Barangay Tasiman.

“The team was able to surprise them so they were not able to put up any resistance,” he said in a radio interview.

Alvero said the suspects, who are currently detained at the Lake Sebu municipal police station, would be charged with violation of Republic Act (RA) 10591 for illegal possession of firearms and ammunition and RA 9516 for possession of explosives.

He said they sent additional personnel to the Lake Sebu police station to augment security at the facility.

The official sad he alerted all police stations and units within the province’s 10 towns and lone city for possible retaliatory attacks from the rebels as a result of the incident.

P1.1M given to former rebels in North Cotabato

From MindaNews (Nov 10): P1.1M given to former rebels in North Cotabato

The North Cotabato provincial government has released P1.1 million in livelihood assistance to 18 former New People’s Army (NPA) rebels who yielded to the Army’s 39th Infantry Battalion.

Governor Lala Mendoza and Interior and Local Government provincial officer Ali Abdullah handed the checks to the former guerrillas, many of them women, during the Provincial Peace and Order meeting at the provincial capitol complex on Thursday.

The surrenderees hailed from different towns of North Cotabato believed influenced by the NPA.

The livelihood assistance, Mendoza explained, was part of the Comprehensive Local Integration Program (CLIP), an anti-insurgency program led by the Department of Interior and Local Government.

She said the assistance is intended to help the former rebels start their lives anew.

“The assistance aims to aid the former rebels in their transition back to mainstream society,” said Lt. Col. Harold Argamosa, commander of the 39th IB.

Abdullah said CLIP is implemented in partnership with the local government units, Armed Forces, Philippine National Police, Department of Social Welfare and Development, and civil society organizations.

“It also demonstrates the government’s commitment to pursuing peace and development amid the stalled peace talks with the National Democratic Front of the Philippines,” he added.

PH, Australia hold joint maritime exercises

From the Philippine News Agency (Nov 10): PH, Australia hold joint maritime exercises

The Philippine Navy (PN) and Royal Australian Navy (RAN) are holding a 21-day joint maritime exercises as the two countries strengthened defense cooperation to address threats by global terrorism.

The PN-RAN Maritime Security Engagement kicked off on Friday and ends on December 1. It will be held along the area of responsibility (AOR) of the Naval Forces Western Mindanao (NFWM).

The kickoff ceremony was highlighted by the arrival of Australia’s HMAS Larrakia (ACPB-84) and HMAS Maitland (ACPB-88), both Armidale Class Patrol Boats of RAN, in this city.

Rear Adm. Rene Medina, NFWM commander, disclosed the joint maritime exercises will be held in high risk areas within the AOR of his command.

Medina said the high risk areas are the Pearl Bank in Tawi-Tawi; waters of Pangutaran, Sulu; the sea lane from Basilan up to the Moro Gulf; and the waters in Sibuco, Sirawai, Siocon and Baliguian in Zamboanga del Norte.

“This is likewise in support to the anti-terrorism and piracy campaign of the government,” Medina said.

Australian Ambassador Amanda Gorely said the joint maritime security operation is a part of the enhanced Philippines-Australia defense cooperation, which was recently agreed by Defense Sec. Delfin Lorenzana and Australian Defense Minister Marise Payne.

“Australia and the Philippines have a shared responsibility in combating the threats post by global terrorism,” Gorely said.

Medina said four vessels of the NFWM’s Naval Task Force 61 will join the maritime exercises. These are the following: BRP-Davao del Sur (LD-602); BRP-Dioscoro Papa (PC-381); BRP-General Mariano Alvarez (PS-28); and, BRP-Emilio Liwanag (PC-118).

HMAS Larrakia and HMAS Maitland, skippered by Commander Mitchell Edwards and Lieutenant Jonathon Little, respectively, are the vessels from RAN that will join the join exercises.

Medina said the 21-day activity is a follow-up to the successfully held Passing Exercises (PASSEX) and Communications and Electronics Exercise (COMMELEX) from September 22 to 25 in the Sulu Sea.

The BRP-Ramon Alcaraz, one of PN’s frigates, participated in the two events, with HMAS Parramatta as the counterpart from the RAN.

“This upholds the strong relationship of the PN and RAN when it comes to maritime patrol and security,” Medina said.

Baby killed, 3 cops missing in NPA ambush

From the Philippine News Agency (Nov 10): Baby killed, 3 cops missing in NPA ambush

Police are in pursuit of suspected New People’s Army (NPA) rebels who killed two people, including a four-month-old baby, and critically wounded a town police chief and two others in an ambush Thursday in Barangay Pigkalaan, Talakag, Bukidnon.

Sr. Insp. Jemar delos Santos, spokesperson for the Philippine National Police–Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (PNP-ARMM), identified the target of the ambush as Insp. Joven Acuesta, police chief of Amai Manabilang (formerly Bombaran), Lanao del Sur, who remains in critical condition at a hospital.

Delos Santos said Acuesta’s group was onboard a police car and on their way home from Marawi City when ambushed at around 5:30 p.m. along the highway in Talakag.

Amai Manablang, a third-class municipality situated at the boundary of Lanao del Sur and Bukidnon provinces, has a “high presence” of NPA rebels, according to military data.

Delos Santos said Acuesta was injured in the initial burst of gunfire, while a trailing civilian Fortuner vehicle also hit by the barrage of bullets.

“A baby died while two other female passengers of the civilian car were wounded,” he said.

Police probers are still trying to determine the identity of the slain non-uniformed personnel who served as driver of the police car and the whereabouts of three PNP personnel who were with Acuesta at the time of the incident.

Delos Santos identified the missing policemen as SPO3 Arniel Carillo, SPO1 Pacifico Gabudoy, and PO1 Nathaniel Ibal, all of the Amai Manabilang police station.

“We are still looking for our missing colleagues up to now,” he said.

NPA surrenderers get livelihood package

From the Philippine News Agency (Nov 10): NPA surrenderers get livelihood package

Eighteen former New People’s Army (NPA) guerillas received on Thursday a total of PHP1.1 million worth of cash assistance for livelihood projects in exchange for firearms turned over to the government.

North Cotabato Gov. Emmylou Mendoza said the amount was released to the beneficiaries during a Provincial Peace and Order Council meeting here.

The rebels decided to surrender after the communist movement failed to fulfill its promise of better life in the mountains.

Through the efforts of Army’s 39th Infantry Battalion, led by its commander Lt. Colonel Harold Argamoza, the rebels surrendered in batches the past three months.

The socio-economic intervention is part of the mainstreaming program of the Duterte administration aimed at helping former combatants reclaim their normal lives. Each rebel returnee with guns received Php20, 000 livelihood assistance.

Troops wounded in N. Vizcaya clash with NPAs now 11

From the Philippine News Agency (Nov 10): Troops wounded in N. Vizcaya clash with NPAs now 11

The number of soldiers hurt in the encounter with members of the New People's Army (NPA) in Dupax del Sur, Nueva Vizcaya on Thursday has risen to 11 as a hot pursuit operation continued as of press time, the military said.
First Lt. Catherine Hapin, information officer of the Philippine Army's 7th Infantry Division, said the wounded soldiers, who belong to the 84th Infantry Battalion, were brought to a hospital in Bayombong, Nueva Vizcaya.

No one was killed from the government troopers' side but the NPA lost one member, she said.

Soldiers recovered from the slain rebel one hand grenade, an M16 Armalite rifle, medical kits, and subversive documents, Hapin said.
The soldiers encountered an undetermined number of NPAs as they were responding to information given by "the people in the community", who reportedly complained about the presence and activities of the rebel group.

Troops wounded in N. Vizcaya clash with NPAs now 11.