Monday, January 22, 2018

Invitation to Let China Explore at Sea Risks Political Backlash in Philippines

From the Voice of America (Jan 22): Invitation to Let China Explore at Sea Risks Political Backlash in Philippines

Philippines' President Rodrigo Duterte gestures during a news conference on the sidelines of the Association of South East Asian Nations summit in Pasay, metro Manila, Philippines, Nov. 14, 2017

A decision by Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte to let China do research on the Philippines' Pacific Ocean continental shelf raises the risk of a new backlash at home among Filipinos who already distrust the more powerful Beijing.

Duterte is allowing a Chinese vessel to examine Benham Rise, a 13 million-hectare plateau rich in minerals and undersea natural gas, this month and next for scientific research, officials from both countries say.

The president broke ice with China shortly after taking office in mid-2016. That overture eased a separate maritime sovereignty dispute that had bitterly divided the two sides since 2012. China pledged $24 billion in 2016 to help develop the relatively impoverished, militarily weaker Philippines.

Duterte also let Chinese research vessels work above Benham Rise in late 2016. When people found out months later, he took heat from opponents in the legislature and influential Philippine news media.

He faces another backlash now, scholars say.

“People are concerned that China is doing research for its own interest, definitely, and then of course if there are economic resources there that can be exploited, they will know that,” said Maria Ela Atienza, a political science professor at University of the Philippines Diliman. “There’s big mistrust here about the Chinese.”

Sino-Philippine Cooperation

The Philippines is working together with China at Benham Rise on purely scientific research, Duterte’s spokesman Harry Roque said via the presidential website on January 18.

Philippine scientists must participate in the research, he said, and authorities in Manila must receive their findings.

Last year firms from Japan, a geopolitical rival of China and a big investor in the Philippines, as well as from South Korea, expressed interest in exploring Benham Rise. The feature is 35 meters below the ocean surface at its highest and believed rich in mineral and natural gas deposits. Other countries are welcome to join, the spokesman said.

“So science is science,” Roque said. “Science knows no nationalities. So, the quest for truth is all important. All countries that would want to conduct joint research with us in this extended continental shelf are welcome to do so.”

China’s foreign ministry said the two sides would work together.

“We welcome Philippine scientific research institutions' participation and would like to work with them to advance maritime practical cooperation in marine research and other fields so as to create a favorable environment for the sound, steady and sustainable development of bilateral ties,” ministry spokesman Lu Kang told a news conference in China Jan. 16.

Fear of going too far
The United Nations Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf approved a Philippine claim to Benham Rise in 2012. China’s foreign ministry has said the U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea lets it freely pass over the feature.

Manila also won a world arbitration court verdict in mid-2016 against Beijing’s expansion in the South China Sea. China, the Philippines and four other governments contest that waterway, which is prized for fisheries as well as fossil fuels.

China rejected the ruling but has soothed rival claimants in Southeast Asia with aid and investment.

That outcome worries Filipinos about China’s endgame at Benham Rise. Their traditional military ally the United States has taken a back seat in the Philippines as Duterte seeks tighter bonds with China.

But many Filipinos, including much of the armed forces, still favor their former colonizer Washington over a relatively unknown Beijing.

Duterte pledged last year, after taking heat over the earlier Benham Rise incident, to bulk up nine Philippine holdings in the Spratly Islands, part of the South China Sea that Beijing calls its own. He held onto ties with China while cooling tempers at home.

China as a neighbor
Joint exploration at Benham Rise gives China a chance to prove itself a reliable partner in looking for minerals, said Fabrizio Bozzato, a Taiwan Strategy Research Association fellow specializing in East Asia.

China is working in the same spirit with other Asian countries. China is leasing a seaport in Sri Lanka for 99 years, for example, and the state-run China National Offshore Oil Corporation has agreed with Vietnam's largest oil producer, Petrovietnam, to look together for energy reserves in the shared Gulf of Tonkin.

But the project at Benham Rise could also become a “Trojan horse” with Beijing declining to share resources and leaving Manila no way out, Bozzato said.

“The Filipinos have valid reasons to be angry about Duterte’s decision and deeply concerned about the consequences of such a decision,” he said.

Duterte’s public satisfaction rating stood at 79 percent in the fourth quarter of 2017, according to Metro Manila-based research institution Social Weather Stations. Much of his popularity stems from perceptions that he has reduced crime, resisted terrorism and created a viable five-year plan to build $167 billion in new infrastructure.

Problems at Benham Rise could erode that, Atienza said.

China alternates between “velvet” and “mailed” fists in Southeast Asian maritime policy, said Alan Chong, associate professor at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies in Singapore. But China’s 19th National Congress of the Communist Party in October made party head and Chinese President Xi Jinping feel “emboldened,” he said.

“China has all to gain by being nice occasionally and it I think shows that the Philippines has no good choices except to play along with this kind of Chinese attitude,” he said.

DWDD: SEND OFF CEREMONY | PN Vessels to conduct Maritime Patrol

From DWDD AFP Civil Relations Service Radio Website (Jan 22): SEND OFF CEREMONY  |  PN Vessels to conduct Maritime Patrol  

NAVAL BASE HERACLEO ALANO, Sangley Point, Cavite City (DWDD) – “Purpose is the reason you journey. Passion is the fire that lights the way.” – Anonymous.

This was quoted by Rear Admiral Gaudencio C Collado Jr AFP, Commander, Philippine Fleet in his message during the Send Off Ceremony of BRP Federico Martir (PC385) and BRP Ismael Lomibao (PC383) to Naval Operating Forces for the conduct of maritime patrol operations on January 17, 2018 at Capt Moya Boat Landing, NBHA, Sangley Point, Cavite City. PHL Fleet / MCAG

DWDD: BAYANIHAN | AFP Gift Giving Activity in Tarlac

From DWDD AFP Civil Relations Service Radio Website (Jan 22): BAYANIHAN | AFP Gift Giving Activity in Tarlac
CAMP SERVILLANO AQUINO, Tarlac City (DWDD) – A Joint Gift-giving Program was conducted by the Northern Luzon Command (NOLCOM) and Philippine Army (PA) in cooperation with the Tarlac National Heritage Foundation and 3RD Mechanized Infantry Battalion (MIB), PA at Barangay Balloc, Elementary School and Barangay Papaac Elementary School both of Camiling, Tarlac on 19 January 2018.


The said activity was spearheaded by Dra Isabel Cojuangco Suntay, Founder of Tarlac National Heritage Foundation; together with Lieutenant General Emmanuel B Salamat AFP, Commander Northern Luzon Command; Lieutenant General Rolando Joselito D Bautista AFP, Commanding General, Philippine Army; Major General Felimon T Santos AFP, Commander 7th Infantry Division, Philippine Army; and Major General Gilbert I Gapay AFP, Commander Mechanized Infantry Division, PA.

 The Gift giving program highlights the Bayanihan efforts of this Command and other stakeholders to further reach out to the populace within the NOLCOM area of responsibility (AOR).

NOLCOM will pursue its non-traditional role of providing support to national development, together with all stakeholders, in order to uplift the lives of the Filipino people. It will also continue to do its mandate of protecting the people and securing the national territory within its area of operation. NOLCOM PIO / MCAG

DWDD: CONTINUED DOWNFALL | Another 5 NPA rebels surrender to the 6ID in Maguindanao

From DWDD AFP Civil Relations Service Radio Website (Jan 22): CONTINUED DOWNFALL  |  Another 5 NPA rebels surrender to the 6ID in Maguindanao

CAMP SIONGCO, Awang, Datu Odin Sinsuat, Maguindanao (DWDD) – With the relentlessness focused military operation and information dissemination of the 1st Mechanized Infantry Battalion, another five members of the New People’s Army laid down their arms and surrendered on January 16, 2018 to Ltc Lauro G Oliveros in Brgy Kamasi, Ampatuan, Maguindanao.


The former rebels voluntarily surrendered to Ltc Oliveros, Commanding Officer, 1st Mechanized Infantry Battalion branding that joining the group causes only violence against our people, aside from hunger and hardship.

The returnees who belonged to the platoon Samsung and My Phone of GF 73 were identified as Dany L Daligdig, 32 years old, Emiliano M Tarusan, 47 years old, Mike T Kadingilan, 21 years old, Marcelo M Dampo, 49 years old all from a Teduray community in Brgy Pamantingan and Wen M Bilagen, 31 years old from a T’boli tribe in Brgy Salumping, all of Esperanza, Sultan Kudarat.

The surrenderees turned over one homemade Springfield, one caliber 357, two homemade M79, and one Ingram.

On January 9 and 10, 2018 a total of 28 guerillas have surrendered to 1st Mech Battalion and 33IB with firearms respectively.

“We are glad that these NPA rebels have decided to surrender and return to the fold of law and be given the opportunity to avail of the Comprehensive Local Integration Program where they can start a new life for a better future with their families. The development on the series of surrenderees from among the NPA’s is a serious blow to the ranks of communist terrorist in Central Mindanao,’’ 6ID Commander Major General Arnel Dela Vega said. 6DPAO/MCAG

DWDD: ENCOUNTER | 4 NPAs Killed in Davao Oriental Skirmish

From DWDD AFP Civil Relations Service Radio Website (Jan 22): ENCOUNTER  |  4 NPAs Killed in Davao Oriental Skirmish

MATI CITY, Davao Oriental (DWDD) Troops of 28th Infantry Battalion based in Mati City, Davao Oriental encountered an undetermined number of armed men belonging to the New People’s Army (NPA) at Sitio Palo Palo, Barangay Marayag, Lupon, Davao Oriental on January 16, 2018 at around 1:25 o’clock in the afternoon.

Based on the report of 28th IB, the residents from Brgy Marayag reported that the NPAs demanded money from the community. Acting on said report, the troops moved to secure the said Brgy but were fired upon by around 20 NPAs. A firefight ensued for almost 10 minutes and after which the NPAs fled to a forested area leaving four bodies of their comrades. Recovered were four (4) low powered firearms and 1 (one) Improvised Explosive Device. No soldier was harmed while bloodstains scattered at the scene an indication of casualties among the NPAs.

t can be recalled that the NPA is a signatory to the Comprehensive Agreement on the Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIL) which prohibits the employment of landmines and other IEDs which might endanger the lives of the civilians in the community.

Last month, an encounter also erupted at the neighboring Municipality of Tarragona, Davao Oriental, where residents evacuated as a result of the armed conflict, while the 59 mass supporters of NPAs in the area surrendered and took allegiance to the government.

The troops are constantly visiting the local communities thru Community Support Program (CSP) to facilitate the livelihood projects being implemented by the Local Government Units and Line Government Agencies in partnership with the 701st Infantry Brigade in Davao Oriental Province.

Brigadier General Reuben S Basiao AFP, Commander 701st Brigade in his statement said “the NPA is desperate in implementing their recruitment efforts by forcing the residents to attend their meetings and extort the communities for their survival. The community is tired in believing their false promises realizing that the people did not benefit from the terrorists and would rather prefer to have the government on their side.” 28IB / MCAG

DWDD: NO WIN SITUATION | 2 Top NPA Leaders Surrender in South Cotabato

From DWDD AFP Civil Relations Service Radio Website (Jan 22): NO WIN SITUATION  |  2 Top NPA Leaders Surrender in South Cotabato

CAMP BGEN AGAAB, Malungon, Sarangani (DWDD) – Deputy Secretary of Far South Mindanao Region (FSMR) of CPP NPA, Noel Minioto Legazpi @Efren together with his wife Jeanalyn Defensor Bendalian @Wendy the medical staff of FSMR surrender to the troops of 27IB on Monday afternoon January 15, 2018.

After realizing that the armed struggle of NPA terrorist is not attainable and the CPP NPA NDF will not win against the government @Efren and @Wendy turned themselves to the folds of law through the help of Governor Daisy Avance Fuentes of South Cotabato, who facilitate their surrender to the troops of 27IB.

Noel Legazpi @Efren is embracing the communist ideology since 1992 when he became an LFS leader. After six years he became a full time member of NPA and rose in the hierarchy of FSMR and became a deputy secretary.

For almost 26 years he was deceived by the false ideology of the left and the movement (CPP-NPA-NDF) deprive him the freedom of democratic government.

“Bisan unsaon namon ka pakipag bato sa gobyerno paagi sa amon nga revolutionary struggle hindi gid namon madaog ang gobyerno, bagkus ang ila nga kampanya nga Development and Security Support Program “Kapayapaan” para sa katawhan sa bukid ay epektibo kag ang pag deliber sang mga social services sa mga baryo ay mabatyagan na sang mga pumoluyo.”

“We can’t over throw the government thru our armed struggle, specially nowadays that the DSSP “Kapayapaan” of the Armed Forces is effective and the delivery of social services of the government is felt by the community in far flung barangays” @Efren Said.

“Ka Efren’s surrender is a proof of the strong credibility being enjoyed by the government” Lieutenant Colonel Benjamin Leander 27IB battalion Commander said.
“With our intensive security operations and continuous collaboration to our stakeholders, we can align our efforts in attaining a peaceful and conflict resilient communities with in our area of operation” Colonel Roberto Ancan 1002 Brigade commander said.

Major General Noel Clement lauded the troops’ accomplishment. “Let us continue to win the peace in this part of the region and focus more on our mandate on serving the people.” Clement said.

“This very significant development only indicates that not only the regular members and the mass supporters of the NPAs are tired of the armed struggle, even their top leaders already realized its futility. This only shows the communism in the area slowly bogs down”. Clement added.

South Cotabato Governor Fuentes assured the duo of the provincial government’s support for them to be able to peacefully reintegrated into the mainstream of society.

The 10th Infantry Division reassured the populace of its commitment on securing the Peace and genuine service to the people. 10DPAO/MCAG

DWDD: CHANGE OF CHIEF OF OFFICE | PA installs new Chief of OG1 and OACPA

From DWDD AFP Civil Relations Service Radio Website (Jan 22): CHANGE OF CHIEF OF OFFICE  |  PA installs new Chief of OG1 and OACPA

FORT ANDRES BONIFACIO, Metro Manila (DWDD) – Army installs new Assistant Chief of Staff for Personnel and Army Chief Public Affairs in a Joint Change of Chiefs of Office Ceremony held Friday, January 19, 2018.

Col. Allan D. Hambala

Lt. Col. Louie D. Villanueva

Col. Allan D. Hambala is now the Assistant Chief of Staff for Personnel (OG1, PA). He replaced Col. Perfecto P. Pe├▒aredondo who was the Acting Chief of OG1, PA. Pe├▒aredondo remained at his post as the Deputy of OG1, PA. Hambala will also be the Acting Director of the Philippine Army Management Center (APMC.)

Meanwhile, Lt. Col. Louie D. Villanueva is now the Army Chief Public Affairs. He replaced Lt. Col. Ray C. Tiongson who is set to take up the Command and General Staff Course at the AFP Command and General Staff College, one of the requirements to be a Battalion Commander.

Brigadier General Danilo Chad D. Isleta, Army Chief of Staff, led the turnover of posts held at the Headquarters Philippine Army Conference Room. HPA-based officers and civilians employees witnessed the event.

Hambala is a member of the Philippine Military Academy “Sambisig” Class of 1991. Prior to his post, he was the Director of the APMC in 2017. He was also the Chief of Staff of the 1st Infantry Division in 2017 and the former Battalion Commander of the 15th Infantry Battalion, 3rd Infantry Division in 2009. He had filled various personnel management posts such as Personnel Officer of the OG1 in 2004, and as Deputy of OG1 in 2000 at the 4th Infantry Division.

Meanwhile, Villanueva is a graduate of the Officer Candidate School “Tanikala” Class 11-94. He has a degree in Political Science and a master’s degree in Public Administration. Prior to his post, Villanueva was the Commanding Officer of the 70th Infantry Battalion, 7th Infantry Division of the Philippine Army. He also led and commanded the 84th Infantry Battalion and the 56th Infantry Battalion, both of the 7th Infantry Division.

Villanueva is not new in the field of Public Affairs of Civil-Military Operations as he has been assigned with the CMO School and held various positions with the Office of the Assistant Chief of Staff for CMO (OG7) at the Headquarters, Philippine Army.

“I urge our newly appointed chiefs Col. Hambala and Lt. Col. Villanueva to remain steadfast to the performance of their mandate. I challenge you to register more in the transformation initiative of our organization as well as in the fulfilment of the AFP Development Support and Security Plan “Kapayapaan,” said Brig. Gen. Isleta, Army Chief of Staff. OACPA / MCAG

DWDD: FOR A BETTER LIFE | 10 NPAs surrender to SOLCOM Troopers

From DWDD AFP Civil Relations Service Radio Website (Jan 22): FOR A BETTER LIFE  |  10 NPAs surrender to SOLCOM Troopers

CAMP GUILLERMO NAKAR, Lucena City (DWDD) – A total of (ten) 10 communist terrorists voluntarily surrendered to Brigadier General Alden Juan C Masagca AFP, Commander of the 901st Infantry (Fight ‘Em) Brigade, 9th Infantry (Spear) Division, PA which is under the operational control of SOLCOM. The surrender took place at their headquarters in Brgy. Villahermosa, Daraga, Albay at 5:00 PM on January 18, 2018.


The 10 NPAs brought with them three (3) M16A1 rifles; one (1) 12-gauge shotgun with live ammunition; one (1) M79 grenade launcher with ammunition; one (1) rifle grenade; one (1) improvised explosive device; several rounds of ammunition; medical kits and NPA documents of high intelligence value.

Meanwhile, the former rebels will be enrolled in the Comprehensive Local Integration Program (CLIP) for the mainstreaming and social integration process. Relatedly, they will receive cash rewards for the surrendered firearms, livelihood assistance and other social benefits.

“This voluntary surrender is an indication that our efforts to reach out and encourage the NPAs to abandon the armed struggle is paying off and we hope and expect that more rebels will return to the mainstream of society and be an active partner in the peace and development efforts of the government,” said Lt Gen Danilo G Pamonag AFP, Commander, Southern Luzon Command.

Furthermore, the 10 NPAs identified on their aliases for security reasons are all on the watch-list of the AFP and members of the Bicol Regional Party Committee namely: @Erick/Jack; @Jing/Cris; @Andoy/Mando; @Sherly/Yna; @Inoy/Tony; @ Ruzzle/Marie; @Lupen/Enchong; @Tamoy; @Lyka and @Nonoy.

According to the former rebels, they decided to leave the rebel group due to hardships experienced in the organization, they wanted to quit their senseless fight against the government and live a peaceful life with their families.

Lieutenant General Pamonag reiterated the call of the AFP to the members of the NPA who continue to engage in the armed struggle to surrender and return to the folds of the law and be a productive citizen of the society through the assistance of the AFP, Local Government Units (LGUs) and other agencies. SOLCOM PIO / MCAG

DWDD: GREATER HEIGHTS | TOC Re-Designates its Tactical Operations Wing

From DWDD AFP Civil Relations Service Radio Website (Jan 22): GREATER HEIGHTS  |  TOC Re-Designates its Tactical Operations Wing

EDWIN ANDREWS AIRBASE, Zamboanga City (DWDD) – The men and women of the Tactical Operations Command of the Philippine Air Force witnessed last January 18, at the Multi-Purpose Hall of Edwin Andrews Air Base in Zamboanga City the re-designation ceremony of the Tactical Operations Wing.

Presided by its TOC Commander, Major General Domingo B Palisoc Jr AFP re-designated the following TOWs to:

1st Tactical Operations Wing – Tactical Operations Wing Northern Luzon (TOWNOL)

2nd Tactical Operations Wing – Tactical Operations Wing Central (TOWCEN)

3rd Tactical Operations Wing – Tactical Operations Wing Western Mindanao (TOWWESMIN).


DWDD: ACCOMPLISHMENT | 220AW conducted 11,420 Flying Hours in 2017

From DWDD AFP Civil Relations Service Radio Website (Jan 22): ACCOMPLISHMENT  |  220AW conducted 11,420 Flying Hours in 2017

BGEN BENITO N EBUEN AIR BASE, Lapu-Lapu City (DWDD) – For Calendar Year 2017, the 220th Airlift Wing has flown a staggering 11,420 flying hours compared to the program of 6,000 flying hours or roughly 190% flying time accomplishment.

This substantial increase in the actual flight time was largely brought about by the heavy airlift operations of the Wing such as Troops deployment and reinforcements most particularly in the military campaign in Marawi; AFP and PAF Logistic flights; Humanitarian and Disaster relief missions in the aftermath of typhoon Vinta; support to Fighter Aircraft operations or Territorial Defense operations; Aero-medical evacuation sorties; Maritime Patrols in the West Philippine Sea and Benham Rise; Support to National Development efforts and socio-economic initiatives; Frequent International flight missions most particularly in Guam and Arizona; VVIP/VIP flights including Presidential sorties and the recent holiday sorties.

 This trend is expected to continue this 2018 and may increase rapidly depending on the various circumstances and military campaigns. Records revealed that the Wing has in fact reached even more than the annual flying time accomplishment in recent years. Thus, the Wing has crossed the 10,000 flying hours mark and accordingly the highest ever recorded than any other time.

One may say that these are just mere numbers. However, keep in mind that behind these numbers are our people – these accomplishments speak highly of the quality of our human resource and the systemic improvements we put in place. Our keen understanding of logistics and maintenance enabled us to push our aircraft to the limits without breaking down.

The Wing’s pilots fly 24/7 to ensure that missions are carried out. Our maintenance personnel work for prompt maintenance operations to keep all the aircraft flying.

Thus, in terms of maintenance activities, a total of 77, 600 man-hours were recorded to complete 3,160 scheduled and unscheduled maintenance inspections. Our logisticians continuously monitor aircraft spares and ensure these are up to date and accurate. Our personnel work on innovative maintenance equipment to enhance our maintenance capabilities. And lastly our diligent staff who labor for the extensive preparation of all administrative and logistical requirements. It’s no doubt that without our hardworking personnel, these sustained flight operations would not have been possible.


Through the years, your airlifters remain committed to its mandate. The faith of our stakeholders in us has made it so. Even the sheer knowledge of support and prayers, your airlifters will ever be stronger to confront the challenges ahead this 2018. 220AW / MCAG

DWDD: COMMITMENT TO THE NATION | 1ID holds its 1st Command Conference for the year 2018

From DWDD AFP Civil Relations Service Radio Website (Jan 23): COMMITMENT TO THE NATION  |  1ID holds its 1st Command Conference for the year 2018

KUTA MAJOR CESAR L SANG-AN, Pulacan Labangan, Zamboanga del Sur (DWDD) – The 1st Infantry (Tabak) Division, Philippine Army reaffirms its commitment for the nation’s pursuit for a secure, stable and peaceful country conducive to sustainable development for all Filipinos as it conducted the first Command Conference for the year 2018 at the Tabak Fatima Shrine on Monday, January 15, 2018.

The Command Conference, presided by Major General Roseller G Murillo AFP, Commander, 1ID, was attended by the Brigade Commanders, General/Personal/Special and Technical Staffs, other Commanding Officers of units under 1ID. In attendance also were the eight (8) newly assigned field grade Officers projected to command infantry battalions and occupy General/Special Staff vacancies of this Command.

Prior the said conference, Tabak Division rendered arrival honor to Maj Gen Murillo, Brig Gen Juvymax R Uy AFP, Commander, 104th Infantry Brigade and Brig Gen Divino Rey C Pabayo Jr AFP, Commander, 101st Infantry Brigade, for their well-deserved promotions.

During the conference, Maj Gen Murillo gave his Commander’s Guidance for CY 2018. “As Commander, it is my utmost intent to empower leadership, initiative and improvisation to my men. Our goal is to totally destroy all threat groups within Joint Task Force “ZAMPELAN” the soonest possible time”, was the first guidance given.

Maj Gen Murillo encouraged the unit commanders to continue engaging the communities to develop a culture of peace and ensure that army units are part of the community. Commanders were then reminded to seek the active intervention of all stakeholders in attaining peace in Western Mindanao and to facilitate community-initiated peace efforts in coordination with Local Government Units (LGUs) and Local Government Agencies (LGAs).

“To all Tabak Troopers, always remember that you are not alone. I will be with you in every endeavour you shall take. Hence, I am seeking for the full support of all the men and women of Tabak Division to be with me in this fight and together we will all succeed”, he added. 1ID / MCAG

DWDD: SECURITY OPERATIONS | 1ID Troops encounter lawless elements, recover war items

From DWDD AFP Civil Relations Service Radio Website (Jan 23): SECURITY OPERATIONS  |  1ID Troops encounter lawless elements, recover war items

KUTA MAJOR CESAR L SANG-AN, Pulacan Labangan, Zamboanga del Sur (DWDD) – Troops of Joint Task Force “ZAMPELAN” encountered members of “lawless elements” at Sitio Balas, Brgy Poblacion, Kalawit, Zamboanga del Norte, at 7:00 o’clock in the morning, January 19, 2017.

The operating troops under 42IB composed of five (5) enlisted personnel and twenty (20) CAFGU Active Auxiliary (CAA) led by Cpl Rowen A Soler (SC) PA were conducting combat patrol at the vicinity of the said area when they encountered the “Suminggal” lawless group.

Suminggal Group is allegedly headed by Monib Aquilan roaming around in the southern part of Zamboanga del Norte conducting extortions and land grabbing activities in the local populace.

The firefight which lasted for about thirty (30) minutes compelled the enemy to withdrew heading towards the direction of Brgy Palalian, Kalawit, ZDN.

After the firefight, the troops recovered one (1) handguard of M203 grenade launcher; one (1) bolt chamber of M16 rifle; one (1) hammock; 293 ammo of M16 rifle; 254 ammo of M14 rifle; one (1) pair of combat boots and an Arabic booklet.

The 42IB under the stewardship of Lt Col Danilo G Ambe is conducting pursuit operation to track down and eventually defeat the said lawless group that disturbs and brings horror to the normal life of the affected civilian community.

“Our soldiers stand ready to respond and address any attempt by the armed threat groups threatening the safety and well-being of the people”, said Maj Gen Roseller G Murillo AFP, Commander, 1ID, as he lauded the operating troops for the successful encounter.

“Our active support to Law Enforcement Operations has been vital and momentous for the government. Let us continue to actively support Law Enforcement Support Operations”, he added. 1ID / MCAG