Friday, March 16, 2018

Abu Sayyaf suffers 2 more deaths in clash

From the Sun Star-Zamboanga (Mar 16): Abu Sayyaf suffers 2 more deaths in clash
THE Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) has suffered another two fatalities in a clash as government forces continue to pursue the bandits in the hinterlands of Sulu, the military said Friday.

Brigadier General Cirilito Sobejana, Joint Task Force Sulu commander, said the clash happened Wednesday afternoon in the village of Latih, Patikul town.

Sobejana said this came about as the blocking force from the Army’s 5th Special Forces Company chanced upon a group of fleeing Abu Sayyaf bandits.

The Abu Sayyaf bandits belong to the group of bandits who figured in a firefight with the Scout Rangers on Tuesday in Panglahayan, also in Patikul.

Tuesday’s clash resulted to the death of five Abu Sayyaf bandits and six soldiers injured. Sobejana said he immediately sent two Special Forces teams and Cafgu Active Auxiliary (CAA) members to reinforce the troops at the clash site.

He said the soldiers recovered the remains of a slain Abu Sayyaf in a clearing operation after the bandits fled to different directions.

 He said the slain bandit was later identified by the barangay officials as Roger Samlahon, an Urban Terrorist Group member, who was involved in kidnapping incidents in Jolo, Sulu.

 He said the troops have also recovered from the clash site an R4A3 assault rifle, one grenade launcher, two cellular phones, and backpack with personal belongings.

“We will give him a decent burial, we are just waiting for the officials of the Barangay to claim the remains,” Sobejana said.

  “We also learned that another Abu Sayyaf died from the firefight, but we are still on the process of knowing where he was buried,” he added.

Helicopter gunships provided aerial support as the ground forces continue to scour the hinterlands of Patikul in pursuit of the fleeing Abu Sayyaf bandits.

 The Abu Sayyaf bandits are still hodling captives 10 hostages consisting of three Indonesians, one Dutch, one Vietenamese, and five Filipinos.

Extortion by NPA remains a problem

From the Sun Star-Davao (Mar 16): Extortion by NPA remains a problem

EXTORTION and other problems arising from the communist insurgency were the focus of the discussion during the 1st quarter Regional Peace and Order Council meeting on Thursday, March 15, in Tagum City.

Douglas Cagas, Davao del Sur governor, appealed to businessmen not to give in to the extortion demands of the rebel group.

"Maraming napapatay na mga local government officials," he said adding that the businessmen can make the local officials' jobs easier by not funding the NPA saying that while government funds peace and order councils, the NPA is enjoying funding as well from many groups who concede to their demands.

Vic Lao, Mindanao Business Council chair and at the same time an owner of an agricultural business, shared his sentiments why businessmen have been cowed to hand over funds to the rebels.

"Businessmen would rather opt for cheaper option," he said.

Burning of equipment and facilities by the NPAs is just one of the many expensive collateral damage that the rebels are wont to do if a businessman refuses to give in to extortion.

He suggested the need of some kind of insurance that businessmen can get.

Lao explained that with the insurance, businessmen would not mind if the rebels burn all their equipment because they can buy new replacements for these from the insurance they would get.

He also said that it's all a matter of perception.

When businessmen perceive that the government is not doing anything on equipment burning by the rebels even after they have reported the incident to the authorities, then the best option for them is to give in to the rebels' demands.

"What would the people tell di ba? Ay wala pala kayong nagagawa, the Armed Forces is not doing anything," he said in answering why most of the businessmen opt for the cheaper option, adding that it's a psychological war or a perception game.

"The AFP must do something about it," he added.

Eastern Mindanao commander Lt. Gen. Benjie Madrigal for his part asked the businessmen to report any atrocities by the rebels not only to them but all the government agencies concerned.

He said that by doing this, the government agencies concerned can also look for ways for the supporters of the rebels to withdraw their support to them.

"Kasi usually ang nanununog ng mga equipment, ang ground combatants ng NPAs are the supporters, sila ang may hawak ng gasolina, sila ang may hawak ng IED and food cache," he said adding that the regular NPA members are only there telling orders.

He also said that's why they are strengthening their community support program as part of their strategy so that supporters of the NPAs in the community will back out from supporting the rebels.

With this, Mindanao IPs Conference for Peace and Development (MIPCPD) chairman Datu Lipatuan Joel A. Unad said that he knew supporters of the NPA referred to by the Eastmincom commander are mostly indegenous peoples as the areas infested by the rebels are mostly their ancestral domain.

With this, the motion filed by Samal Mayor Al David Uy to increase the recruitment of IPs was approved having 35 votes over 38.

Suspected rebel caught with explosive device

From the Sun Star-Davao (Mar 16): Suspected rebel caught with explosive device

ELEMENTS of the 25th Infantry Battalion, based in Monkayo, foiled a planned attack of the New People’s Army, after they captured a suspected combatant with an improvised explosive device (IED) in his possession on Wednesday, March 14, in Compostela Valley.
Captain Jerry Lamosao, 10th Infantry Division (ID) Division Public Affairs Office (DPAO) chief, identified the apprehended individual as alias Tibay, 26, single and a resident of Barangay Banlag, Monkayo, Compostela Valley.
Troops were conducting a focused military operation and were traversing the road bound for Sitio Liwanag at around 3:30 p.m. when the 1st Platoon, Alpha Company of the unit noticed the suspect trying to hide behind the trees.
“Upon sensing the presence of the troops, the suspect immediately ran away and left a backpack with IED and its components. The troops subsequently chased down and captured the suspect,” Lamosao said.
Recovered from the suspect’s bag were IED, blasting Cap, 16 meters long electrical wire more or less, and trigger switch mechanism. The troops immediately scour the area.
The troops brought the suspect to Monkayo Philippine National Police (PNP) for the filing of case for violation of RA 9516 of Revised Penal Code or the Illegal Possession of Explosive.
Lieutenant Colonel Oscar B. Balignasay Jr., Commanding Officer of 25IB said the incident was a clear manifestation of the sincere campaign of the government in eliminating the terrorist group.
“Anybody who did not answer the call to surrender by the President will be arrested and charged in accordance with the pertinent laws. Those CPP-NPA Terrorists (CNTs) who didn’t surrender and just ignored the call, were apprehended and arrested,” he said.

Marines chief backs move to form new military branch

From the Philippine News Agency (Mar 17): Marines chief backs move to form new military branch

While it expressed support for the proposed law seeking to institutionalize its branch as an independent armed uniformed service of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), the Philippine Marine Corps (PMC) will remain a compact and hard-hitting force, its head, Major Gen. Alvin Parreño, has assured.

Parreño made the remark Friday when pressed on whether they are planning to increase the number of their personnel once the proposal to separate them from the Navy goes into fruition.

This, after House of Representatives Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez and Majority Leader Rodolfo Fariñas filed a bill seeking to institutionalize the PMC as a distinct and autonomous arm of the military.

"We do not intend to be a big unit like the Army, and we don't intend to compete for resources from any other branch of service," Parreño said.

The PMC is composed of about 8,000 officers and enlisted personnel spread around three maneuver brigades apart from combat support and headquarters units.

While strongly supportive of calls to make the Marines an independent military arm, Parreño said there will be a transition period.

"There will be transition and we are still preparing for it. The British Royal Marines remains at 8,000, even though they are a separate service," he added.

Instead of expanding their size, the PMC chief said they would rather fill up their battalions, which are not to full strength.

Suspected lumad rebel flees Haran, surrenders

From the Sun Star-Davao (Mar 14): Suspected lumad rebel flees Haran, surrenders

AN ALLEGED communist rebel who claimed to have escaped from UCCP Haran Center in Davao and has joined a nationwide march of indigenous peoples (IP) called “Manilakbayan” surrendered to authorities on Sunday.

Captain Jery Lamosao, public affairs chief of the 10th Infantry Division of the Philippine Army, said the surrenderee was identified as alias Kardo.

In a statement, Lamosao said, alias Kardo surfaced and confessed to them that he joined the Manilakbayan. Manilakbayan is coined from Filipino word “lakbay” which means walk with the lumads or the IPs.

The activity travels from Manila to Mindanao in a caravan. Early 2015, different lumad tribes evacuated their communities and stayed at the United Church of Christ in the Philippines compound (UCCP Haran) after complaining of the military’s presence in their areas.

Lamosao said alias Kardo surrendered on March 11 at 3 p.m. at the 71st IB Headquarters, at Purok 8, Barangay Nueva Visayas, Mawab, Compostela Valley Province.

He added that alias Kardo is a former team leader of Squad 3, Front Guerilla Unit/Sentro de Grabidad of the New People’s Army (NPA) in 2015.

He further claimed that he was 16 years old when he was recruited to join the NPA as a combatant.

Alias Kardo also told the military that he had been involved in different harassments and ambuscades against the troops of 71st IB and 46th IB, which resulted to the death of one officer and two enlisted personnel in Mabini and Pantukan, Compostela Valley Province last 2014 to 2016.

The statement also said that alias Kardo was designated as marshal of Manilakbayan and was tasked to guard the more than 100 IP evacuees from Talaingod, Davao del Norte and Agusan del Norte seeking temporary shelter at Haran. Among them were 40 IP children.

“According to a.k.a. Kardo, the people inside Haran are only victims of brainwash and propaganda activity of the political instructors (PI) of the NPA. They were forced to vacate their home and were promised by the (organizers of) Manilakbayan their food and needs if they will be staying in Haran. While in Haran, the promise of providing everything for them lasted only for two months,” Lamosao said.

 Lieutenant Colonel Esteveyn Ducusin, 71st IB commander, expressed his gratitude as mass surrender to his battalion continues.

 Ducusin said that the battalion will continue its coordination and partnership with local government units (LGUs) and local government agencies (LGAs) for legal actions against the personalities involved in illegal detention of 100 “bakwits” in UCCP Haran.

He also cited that the current programs of the government for rebel returnees encouraged Kardo and other former rebels to go back to the mainstream society and live peaceful lives.

“The continued mass surrender to our unit is an indication that the masses are now much aware of the different government’s program such as the President’s Build, Build, Build and Job, Job, Job Program which creates more infrastructure and job opportunities for the people, free access to PhilHealth and free education for all,” Ducusin said.

 Major General Noel S. Clement, 10th ID commander, lauded the unit’s accomplishment and said that with the revelation of Kardo on the activities inside UCCP Haran in Davao City, he is pinning his hope that the Lumads will be freed.

 He also warned people or groups supporting the communist insurgents of legal consequences they will be facing.

 “People found to be guilty of supporting the CPP-NPA terrorists and violating human rights shall be penalized under our existing laws. 10ID forces will suppress the enemy of the state who continues their atrocities against innocent people but we are always open to those who want to lay down their arms and be back to the mainstream of the government,” Clement added.

How Religious Marginalization Shapes Political Life in the Philippines

From the World Politics Review (Mar 14): How Religious Marginalization Shapes Political Life in the Philippines

Muslims from Marawi and other Filipinos march to protest the city’s siege and the martial law imposed by President Rodrigo Duterte in the southern Mindanao region, Manila, Aug. 31, 2017 (AP photo by Bullit Marquez).

Editor’s note: This article is part of an ongoing series about religious minorities in various countries around the world.
In late January, the Department of Tourism in the Philippines announced plans to make the country a significant “religious pilgrimage destination,” especially for Catholic communities in Asia, by restoring old churches and historical shrines. Yet efforts to capitalize on its status as the largest Catholic-majority country in Asia and draw in more tourists could create problems in the Philippines, which has sizeable non-Catholic Christian communities and a Muslim population that has long felt marginalized by a state heavily linked to the Catholic faith. In an email interview, David T. Buckley, an assistant professor of political science and Paul Weber Endowed Chair in Politics, Science and Religion at the University of Louisville, discusses the historical experiences of religious minorities in the Philippines, how they have informed the country’s politics, and the state of religious freedom today.

WPR: What is the historical experience of religious minorities in the Philippines? Do religious minorities hold grievances against the state?

David T. Buckley: Grievances on the part of religious minorities against the state are rooted in the Spanish colonial period, which stretched from the 16th to the 19th centuries. Under Spanish rule, friars from Roman Catholic religious orders enjoyed significant political authority. Beginning in the mid-1800s, nationalist propaganda attacked this “friarocracy” while calling for church-state separation. The arrival of American colonialism at the turn of the 20th century complicated this dynamic, as American authorities limited the power of friars, and Protestant missionary organizations enjoyed expanded opportunities to “Christianize” the Philippines. In the later U.S. colonial period, and after independence from American rule in 1946, various non-Roman Catholic Christian communities expressed frustration at alleged state privileging of Catholicism, in spite of the lack of a legally established religion. For example, aspects of the civil legal code pertaining to family matters, such as divorce, draw explicitly on Catholic canon law.

The Philippines’ Muslim minority has a unique historical experience and set of grievances, largely because of its concentration in portions of the southern islands of Mindanao and Sulu. This led to distinct patterns of colonialism under both Spanish and American rule. While American authorities promoted local and federal governance in partnership with Filipino elites in “civilized,” or Christian, provinces, military rule was the norm in Mindanao. In some ways, even after the U.S. recognized the Philippines’ independence in 1946, Muslims enjoyed unique legal autonomy, for instance over personal law, but this was always within a context of limited access to national-level politics and persistent regional poverty. This history of isolation and neglect fueled armed resistance to the central state from separatist groups like the Moro Islamic Liberation Front and the Moro National Liberation Front, which formed in the 1970s. A 2014 peace agreement that was meant to devolve centralized power to a newly recognized Bangsamoro Autonomous Region was hailed as a major step in resolving these grievances, but its implementation has stalled.

WPR: How do religious demographics and the experiences of religious minorities shape the country’s politics today?

Buckley: Demographically, commentators often observe that the Philippines is “Asia’s only Christian nation.” This actually says both too much, as East Timor has a higher share of Christians in the population, and too little, as there are significant minorities beyond the roughly 80 percent Catholic population. Christian minorities can be roughly divided among national non-Catholic Christian churches like the Iglesia ni Cristo, or Church of Christ, and the Philippine Independent Church; denominational Protestants that loosely correspond to American mainline Protestant churches like the United Church of Christ in the Philippines; and generally newer evangelical and Pentecostal Christian congregations. Of course, there is a significant Muslim minority that, while accounting for only 5 to 10 percent of the national population, is a majority on portions of the island of Mindanao. And many indigenous communities retain traditional beliefs and practices, at times alongside their own conversions to Abrahamic religions.

While Catholic elites are the most visible in the political space, many of these religious minorities play an active role in local and national politics, as well. Muslim leaders are obviously involved in efforts to bring lasting peace to troubled areas of Mindanao, but they also play a role in less dramatic policy areas like education reform. The Iglesia ni Cristo, in contrast, is noted for supposed “bloc voting” in elections, and thus is aggressively courted by politicians looking for an endorsement on the national stage. Denominational Protestants organized under the National Council of Churches in the Philippines are quite active in social justice advocacy, such as protecting indigenous communities and supporting environmental conservation. Evangelical leaders are internally diverse; several high-profile leaders supported controversial President Rodrigo Duterte on the campaign trail, but many have been vocal critics of the extrajudicial killings associated with Duterte’s “war on drugs.”

WPR: How does the Philippine state and society at large approach religious freedom and practice today? Are there opportunities to improve religious freedom and lessen interreligious conflict?

Buckley: The state generally respects religious freedom in formal legal institutions, including for religious minorities. Minorities even enjoy some unique accommodations intended to address historical exclusion—for instance, through the government-backed Sharia courts, which follow Islamic law. This is an important contrast with several of the Philippines’ neighbors in Southeast Asia that impose more restrictions on religious groups, such as Myanmar. In the Philippines, there is limited social violence on what I would consider “religious” grounds. It is true that the terrorists who took over the city of Marawi last year, from May to October 2017, made an effort to target Christians and churches. But reporting indicates that these acts of terrorism provoked several acts of Christian-Muslim solidarity in Marawi, with Muslims protecting Christian neighbors at risk to themselves. Terrorist networks could certainly succeed in future attacks on Christian festivals or houses of worship, but so far there is limited evidence that attacks like the one on Marawi are fanning broader interreligious violence.

While the Philippines experiences little formal legal discrimination and interreligious violence, there is a stubborn sense that, in spite of formal religious freedom guarantees, minorities, particularly Muslims, still face marginalization. In general, current and future governments could improve on this score by aiming for evenhandedness in engagement with religious groups, including symbolic matters like recognition of holidays and substantive areas like policy consultations on high-profile laws. Regarding the Muslim minority in particular, progress in peace negotiations leading to viable, devolved governance in Muslim-majority areas of the country remains both important and elusive.

Naval Exercises Carried Out in the Philippines Against Piracy

From the Maritime Herald (Mar 14): Naval Exercises Carried Out in the Philippines Against Piracy

The Navy of the Philippines and the Royal Australian Navy today held a round of maritime exercises against piracy and terrorism in the waters near Sabah.

According to Rene Medina, commander of the Naval Forces Western Mindanao, patrol boats, HMAS Broome and HMAS Launceston, from Australia arrived on Monday the Port of Zamboanga for training lasting 21 days refers the digital newspaper Phil Star.

He explained that the drills will be carried out in the waters of Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi, near the border with Sabah, an area where
security is critical due to piracy and kidnappings of the Abu Sayyaf group, a regional affiliate of the extremist organization Islamic State.

The first round of joint exercises was held last October and is part of the anti-piracy and anti-terrorism campaign promoted by the government of Rodrigo Duterte, which helps curb security threats affecting the Mindanao islands, Medina said.

In March 2016, the Philippines, Indonesia and Malaysia agreed to establish joint patrols in the Joló Sea, an area in which the Philippine jihadist group Abu Sayyaf has abducted several Indonesian and Malaysian sailors.

“I am very sure that our navies share common concerns to guarantee safe seas and commercial routes for our people and their respective communities,” said Medina.

Last year there were 22 incidents of this type in the Philippines, more than double the number of maritime attacks in 2016.

Suspected Abu Sayyaf member killed in Sulu

From GMA News (Mar 16): Suspected Abu Sayyaf member killed in Sulu

A suspected Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) member was killed in an armed encounter will the military in Patukul, Sulu on Thursday morning.

Members of the 2nd Special Forces Battalion engaged about 30 Abu Sayyaf members led by ASG sub leader Sukara Inggug in Barangay Latih, Patikul, Sulu.

The firefight lasted about 45 minutes and the bandits withdrew leaving behind the dead ASG member identified as Roger Samlahon.

Soldiers seized firearms after the encounter such as a shattered rifle believed to be an R4A3 with attached M203 Grenade Launcher, two magazines with ammunition, two cellphones and one backpack.

"We attribute the latest combat success against this notorious Abu Sayyaf Group to the LGU and local residents of Patikul who pinpointed their location to the CAFGU Active Auxiliaries and Special Forces Soldiers," said Brigadier General Cirilito E. Sobejana, JTF Sulu commander, in a statement.

"We are grateful not just to them but to all peace-loving Tausugs who are positively responding to our call to end terrorism in Sulu. We are optimistic that with your active support we will be able neutralize the remaining terrorists and ‘win the peace’ that is the key to development of this province," he added.

Bulatlat: 8 dead, 2 disappeared on Duterte’s terror list

From the pro-CPP/NDF online propaganda publication Bulatlat (Mar 14): 8 dead, 2 disappeared on Duterte’s terror list

“The scriptwriters of these lists could care less about whether these persons are already dead or reported missing, so long as they can cover a wide range of activists and rights defenders to implicate.”

Eight individuals who have long been dead and two activists who have been missing for years have been included in Duterte’s terror list.

In a petition recently filed in a Manila court, the Department of Justice seeks to proscribe the Communist Party of the Philippines and the New People’s Army as terrorist organizations and listed 600 individuals, including scores of John and Jane Does.

Human rights alliance Karapatan noted that among the list were six alleged NPA guerrillas who had been killed in separate incidents; one victim of extrajudicial killing; and, a former political prisoner who died in 2015.

The following were killed by government troops and declared as NPA fighters:

– Camille Manangan and Carl Labajata were killed in Batangas on Nov. 28, 2017.

– Andres Hubilla was killed in Sorsogon on July 28, 2017

– Francisco Vilan was killed in Zamboanga del Norte on July 12, 2017

– Alexander Doongan killed in Bukidnon on Dec. 6, 2014

– Arnel Estiller was killed in Sorsogon on July 4, 2013

Danilo Badayos, meanwhile, was a peace consultant of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP). He was detained during the administration of Benigno Aquino III and was eventually freed after charges against him were dismissed. He died in 2015.

On the other hand, Arturo Colao was a peasant leader who was slain by motorcycle-riding men in Balingasag, Misamis Oriental on Jan. 25, 2018.

Two victims of enforced disappearances have also been named in the DOJ petition.

Luisa Posa-Dominado, spokeswoman of Selda, an organization of political prisoners, was abducted on April 12, 2007 in Cabanbanan village, Oton, Iloilo.

Posa-Dominado became an activist at the age of 16 and fought the Marcos dictatorship. She was detained fives times. She escaped prison three times.

Like today’s political prisoners, Posa-Dominado had been charged with criminal offenses such as murder, double murder and illegal possession of firearms, but all were dismissed for lack of evidence.

READ: Aparición | Luisa Posa-Dominado and Leonilo Arado

Another desaparecido on the terror list is farmer Michael Celeste who has been missing for nearly seven years.

Celeste was abducted on July 19, 2011 inside his house Canlusong village, Enrique B. Magalona municipality, Negros Occidental by armed men wearing bonnets. Celeste was an active member of Negros-based National Federation of Sugar Workers (NFSW).

Karapatan secretary general Cristina Palabay said that “this is indicative of how ludicrous and dubious Duterte’s fake terror list is. “The level of callousness from the Duterte regime is unprecedented!” she said.

Karapatan called for the immediate junking “of this baseless, malicious and arbitrary petition.”

Human rights defenders, indigenous people’s advocates, peasant leaders, NDFP consultants are among those in the terror list.

Karapatan also condemned the DOJ and the Duterte regime for “such attempts to threaten, harass, and bully rights defenders into submission.” “This all falls into Duterte’s grand design to persecute opposition and cripple dissent and protest – a devious scheme that should be exposed as empty and malicious, and ultimately overturned,” Palabay said.

Not the first
Karapatan noted that the practice of lumping together names of activists is a long-standing maneuver of the police and military.

Palabay cited the complaints filed by the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) against leaders and members of people’s organizations on May 12, 2015 following the evacuation of some 800 Ata Manobo residents from Talaingod and Kapalong, Davao del Norte and San Fernando, Bukidnon. Cases of kidnapping and serious illegal detention, and anti-trafficking charges were lodged against leaders who assisted the evacuation of said residents to the United Church of Christ in the Philippines (UCCP)-Haran in Davao City in January 2015. The list, containing at least 70 names, included the late labor leader Crispin Beltran and environmentalist Francis Morales who were already dead at the time of the filing of charges.

“The scriptwriters of these lists could care less about whether these persons are already dead or reported missing, so long as they can cover a wide range of activists and rights defenders to implicate. From the very start, these lists have no integrity,” Palabay said.

Communist exec, companion killed in Bicol firefight

From the Philippine Daily Inquirer (Mar 16): Communist exec, companion killed in Bicol firefight

An alleged chief of the communist party in Bicol and his companion were killed in an alleged shoot-out with the police in a subdivision in this city Thursday night.

Joey Fajardo, said to be the alleged secretary of the Bicol Regional Party Committee of the Communist Party of the Philippines, was killed with a still unidentified woman in a firefight in a house in Barangay (village) Cararayan here at 9:25 p.m., Naga City police spokesperson Senior Police Officer 2 Tobias Bongon said.

Combined police personnel from the regional command and members of the Army’s 9th Infantry Division tried to serve the warrant of arrest against Fajardo, when the suspects drew their guns, prompting the officers to return fire and kill Fajardo and his female companion, Bongon said.

The warrant of arrest, dated Jan. 21, 2013 issued by Regional Trial Court Branch 24, pertains to a murder charge against Fajardo with criminal case number 2012-0020, Bongon said.

He said the police team recovered a .45 caliber pistol and carbine rifle from the house where Fajardo and companion were killed.

Bongon said the bodies of the suspected NPA members were brought to Cristo Funeral Parlor in Naga City for identification and retrieval of relatives.

DWDD: PARTNERSHIP | AFP, CIAP sign MOA for development projects

From DWDD AFP  Civil Relations Service Radio Website (Mar 16): PARTNERSHIP   |  AFP, CIAP sign MOA for development projects

From left: Engr. Rene Fajardo, Executive Director of the Construction Manpower Development Foundation, Ar. EnP. Ramon Abiera, Executive Director of the Construction Industry Authority of the Philippines, General Rey Leonardo Guerrero, Chief of Staff Armed Forces of the Philippines, Lt. Gen. Salvador Melchor Mison Jr., Vice Chief of Staff AFP, and Col. Rommel Hinlo, Deputy Chief of the AFP Corps of Engineers, sign the memorandum of agreement for AFPCOE and CIAP-CMDF partnership on Wednesday, March 14, 2018 at the AFP General Headquarters. (Photo by SSg Randulf Obinque/PAOAFP)

CAMP GEN EMILIO AGUINALDO, Quezon City (DWDD) — The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Construction Industry Authority of the Philippines (CIAP) signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) in a ceremony held 9AM Wednesday, March 14, 2018 at the Silid Lapu-Lapu, General Headquarters Building, Camp Gen Emilio Aguinaldo, Quezon City.

The MOA was signed by AFP Chief of Staff Gen. Rey Leonardo Guerrero and Eng. Ramon Abiera, Executive Director of CIAP; and witnessed by AFP officers as well as officials of Construction Manpower Development Foundation (CMDF) led by Eng. Rene Fajardo, Executive Director and Ofelia Usigan, Acting Division Chief of CMDF respectively.

Through the MOA, the AFP Corps of Engineers (AFPCOE) in collaboration with CIAP-CMDF will administer the integration of a Military Construction Management Eligibility System that will provide Career Development Path for engineer officers, as well as senior non-commissioned officers in the AFPCOE

The AFPCOE undertakes Base Development Projects within military installation or bases in consonance with its mandated mission. It also undertakes National Development Projects in partnership with other government agencies and organizations such as the CIAP-CMDF regarding identification, planning, sourcing of requirements, monitoring, implementation and evaluation of development projects.

The partnership also aims to pursue academic cooperation and promotion of development projects of AFPCOE and CIAP-CMDF. Activities on industry orientation, resource-sharing of expertise and training facilities, collaborative research projects; and other forms of cooperation will be undertaken.

With the assistance of CIAP and CMDF, the AFP will be able to rationalize the required training in accordance with the competency and capability levels of the AFPCOE workforce.

The AFP is involved in infrastructure construction in different parts of the countryside as part of peace and development efforts. AFP PAO / MCAG

DWDD: ORGANIZATIONAL STRENGTHENING | AFP, Makati Med partners in improving military healthcare

From DWDD AFP  Civil Relations Service Radio Website (Mar 16): ORGANIZATIONAL STRENGTHENING  |  AFP, Makati Med partners in improving military healthcare

Makati Medical Center Foundation Chairman Manny Pangilinan and Armed Forces of the Philippines Chief of Staff General Rey Leonardo Guerrero sign the Memorandum of Agreement on the organizational strengthening of military hospitals and AFP medical treatment facilities on 14 March 2018 at Silid Lapu-Lapu, General Headquarters Building, Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City.

CAMP GEN EMILIO AGUINALDO, Quezon City (DWDD) — The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and Makati Medical Center Foundation (MMCF) inked an agreement to expand the organizational strengthening of military hospitals and AFP Medical Treatment Facilities (MTF), in a ceremony held 3PM Wednesday, March 14, 2018 at Silid Lapu-Lapu, GHQ Building.

The agreement is a Public-Private Partnership Program designed to strengthen the human resources of AFP hospitals and MTF through workshops, training, coaching, and mentoring sessions for military hospital management staff.

General Rey Leonardo Guerrero, the AFP Chief of Staff and Mr. Manny V Pangilinan, MMCF Chairman were the principal signatories of the memorandum of agreement (MOA). The program is a renewal and expansion of the signed by the AFP and MMCF on 19 June 2013 which was later renewed on 25 April 2017. It aims to strengthen the capabilities of 24 AFP hospitals and MTFs nationwide.

The MMCF will provide free training for officers, doctors and staff of AFP MTFs; share its technical resources and open its hospital facilities for the learning exchange sessions.

The MMCF will also help develop strategic operational plans for policy reforms, systems development and human resource development for the AFP MTFs.

A pool of trainers from the AFP Health Service Command and MTFs will echo the training, interventions and lessons learned to other hospital staff from the Philippine Army, Philippine Air Force and Philippine Navy.

Included in the program is the monitoring of results and evaluation of activities to further enhance the military’s health services.

The partnership between the AFP and MMCF serves as an efficient and effective tool to better deliver quality health care services to soldiers, civilian employees and their dependents.

The AFP extends its gratitude to its partners in the private sector, particularly the MMCF for continuously recognizing the sacrifices of our soldiers by providing assistance in the military’s medical services. AFP PAO / MCAG

DWDD: ABANDONED BY COMRADES | Communist Terrorist Cadaver found in Agusan Del Sur

From DWDD AFP  Civil Relations Service Radio Website (Mar 16): ABANDONED  BY COMRADES  |  Communist Terrorist Cadaver found in Agusan Del Sur

BUNAWAN, Agusan del Sur (DWDD) – The decayed body of a New Peoples’ Army (NPA) terrorist, an AK47 rifle, five (5) magazines and ammunitions were found and recovered by troops of 75th Infantry Battalion (75IB) in Road 1K, Brgy Bunawan Brooks, Bunawan, Agusan del Sur on March 14, 2018 at around 1:50PM.


Earlier that day, populace of the said sitio reported to the Community Support Team (CST) of 75IB on the existence of a cadaver in the area.

Lt Colonel Jaime Datuin, Commanding Officer of 75IB said that, “The information given by the populace, led to the recovery of the decayed body. Further, it can now be given decent burial after the NPA terrorists left him or her not looking after its members’ welfare.”

In 4th Infantry Division’s previous press release, two (2) Communist Party of the Philippines – New Peoples’ Army terrorists (CNTs) were left dead and recovered three (3) AK47 in an encounter with the combined troops of 401Bde at Road 1K, Brgy Bunawan Brooks, Bunawan, Agusan del Sur last February 18, 2018.


“The found body decayed with parts eaten by wild animals when the troops responded to the report of the populace in the area. In our assessment, the body is part of the NPA terrorist casualties during the encounter last February 18, 2018 at the same sitio of Brgy Bunawan Brooks.” Col Andres Centino, Commander of 401st Infantry Brigade (401Bde) stationed at Prosperidad, Agusan del Sur.

Series of encounters transpired in the hinterlands of Brgy, Bunawan Brooks last month on February 14, 16 and 17 resulted to the seizure of different war materials such as 1 improvised explosive device, 1 back pack with personal belongings, detonating cord, detonating switch and blasting cap, 50 meters wire, one magazine for AK47 rifle and 30 rounds of ammunition. One (1) CNT was also killed during the February 16 encounter.

“This is not the first time that the NPA terrorists left the dead body of their cohorts. As a matter of fact, a month ago, they already left 3 bodies of their cohorts after the series of encounters with our troops in 401st Brigade. NPA terrorists actually had time to recover the body and inform the family. But they did not do it! To the members of the NPA, think twice, if you still wanted to pursue your failed armed struggle or live a normal life away from fear and hunger. Government still has Comprehensive Local Integration Program (CLIP) that surrenderees can take advantage of. Go back to the folds of the law, the government is waiting.” Major General Ronald Villanueva, Commander of 4th Infantry Division said. 4DPAO / MCAG

DWDD: TIRED AND FRUSTRATED | Hiding NPA Leader in Surigao del Sur Surrendered to 36IB

From DWDD AFP  Civil Relations Service Radio Website (Mar 16): TIRED AND FRUSTRATED  |  Hiding NPA Leader in Surigao del Sur Surrendered to 36IB

TAGO, Surigao del Sur (DWDD) – A CPP-NPA Terrorist (CNT) leader from this municipality voluntarily surrendered to the 36th Infantry “Valor” Battalion bringing along nine (9) Anti-Personnel Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) at Headquarters 36IB, Sitio Upper Mambago, Barangay Dayoan, Tago, Surigao del Sur on March 11, 2018.


The Communist Terrorist leader was identified as Edwin Martinez Coquilla alias JEMAR, 21y/o, single, and a resident of Purok 1, Brgy Cabangahan, Tago, Surigao del Sur. A former Squad Leader of the Platoon 1, SRSDG 2130 (Westland) of the North Eastern Mindanao Regional Committee (NEMRC).

According to Edwin, “Na-accidental ko sako kauban sa taas og sugod ato nisamot og kalisod ako kahimtang busa napugos ko nga munaog og mitago na lamang. Apan midesisyon ko og sorender arun makadangop kog kagawasan og modili na sa magsoporta sa teroristang gropo sigon sa akong nakit-an pod nga masaligan diay ang mga sondalo og nabatian nako nga anaay programa sa mga rebeldi nga mubalik sa sabakan sa balaod, said in a vernacular.

The surrender of Edwin was due to the hardship he experienced which forced him to go into hiding in his barangay for a long time. He brought along the IEDs still in his possession and revealed that he was tired supporting the CPP-NPA Terrorist and have heard that there are programs of the government for the rebels that he could avail.

LTC Xerxes A Trinidad INF (GSC) PA, 36IB Commanding Officer, said that “the use of IEDs once again proves the terrorist tag of the CPP-NPA Terrorist as it continuously violates the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect to Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL). This substantiates that the terrorist group does not really honor an agreement with its blatant disregard to commitment in forging a long and lasting peace agreement with the government”.

“This is only the beginning of the more surrenders in our area of operation. The growing sentiments and trend of the people who are really tired in this vicious cycle of deceit, fear, and violence by the CPP-NPA Terrorist will bring this insurgency to an end. We encourage, once again, the remaining members of the terrorist group to take the path of peace and lay down their arms in order to live a joyful and peaceful life with their family”, LTC Trinidad added.


From DWDD AFP  Civil Relations Service Radio Website (Mar 16): RESILIENT AND DEPENDABLE  |  AFP Western Command turns 42

CAMP GEN ARTEMIO G RICARTE, Puerto Princesa City (DWDD) Western Command celebrates its 42 years of service in a simple ceremony with the Chief of Staff Armed Forces of the Philippines, General Rey Leonardo B Guerrero AFP as the Guest of Honor and Speaker held March 15, 2018.


With the theme “Kaagapay sa Katahimikan at Kaunlaran ng Palawan at ng buong Sambayanan”, Western Command headed by Lt Gen Rozzano D Briguez AFP reports the accomplishments and lays down the future plans and programs.

As part of the celebration, a series of pre-anniversary activities were organized and conducted in the city and the province. Some of which were the following: Mangrove Tree Planting on 14 February in Sitio Barimbing, Brgy. San Manuel; Medical and Dental Mission on 24 & 25 February in Rizal and Brooke’s Point, Palawan; 2018 Western Command Student Art Competition on 05 March; Bloodletting Activity on 08 March; 2nd Palawan Inter-school Debate Championship on 09-11 March; and, Gift Giving Activity on 14 March in Brooke’s Point, Palawan.


This year’s celebration is also an opportunity to value and give recognition to commendable WESCOM personnel and its stakeholders for their significant contributions in the over-all mission accomplishment of the Command, to wit:

•Captain Cherryl P Tindog PN(M) as Officer of the Year
•Technical Sergeant Gilmot M Laranjo PAF as Non-Commissioned Officer of the Year
•Ms Glory Ann P Laurel as Civilian Employee of the Year
•CAA Donito N Ribo PA as CAFGU Active Auxilliary of the Year
•Lieutenant Colonel Sonny E Gonzales PA as Distinguished Service Medal Awardee
•Lieutenant Jose Oliveros L Sepe (CHS) PN as Distinguished Service Medal Awardee
•Technical Sergeant Anthony A Corpuz PA as Silver Cross Medal Awardee
•1st Lieutenant Maria Cristina C De Vera PAF (RES) as Military Merit Medal Awardee
•Master Sergeant Manuel B Autencio Jr PA as Military Merit Medal Awardee
•Corporal Dexter A Espineli PAF as Kalayaan Island Group Campaign Medal and Ribbon (Bantay-Lahi) with Silver Fortress Awardee
•Corporal Romero D Coronado PN(M) as Kalayaan Island Group Campaign Medal and Ribbon (Bantay-Lahi) with Gold Fortress Awardee
•44th Marine Company, Marine Battalion Landing Team 4 as Combat Company of the Year
•Headquarters and Service Coy, Marine Battalion Landing Team 4 as Combat Service Support of the Year
•BRP Andres Bonifacio (FF17) as Ship of the Year
•N-22 NOMAD as Aircraft of the Year
•Rio Tuba Nickel Mining Corps and Church of Latter Day Saints as Kapayapaan Awardees


“As we chart the years ahead, rest assured that the Western Command will continue to be inspired and motivated by the support of our peace partners and the Filipino people. We will continue to be resilient and dependable as we are determined to keep the fire burning in our hearts to reaffirm our selfless devotion to duty and brave sacrifices for our great nation and its people,” said Lt Gen Briguez. WESCOM / MCAG

DWDD: SB 1734 | Bill restructuring AFP, DND

From DWDD AFP  Civil Relations Service Radio Website (Mar 16): SB 1734  |  Bill restructuring AFP, DND

MANILA (DWDD) – Sen. Panfilo Lacson has proposed the restructuring of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), streamlining of procurement of defense equipment and the imposition of two-year mandatory military service that seeks to improve the country’s capability to fight terrorism and other threats to national security.

According to Sen Lacson, chairperson of the Senate committee on public order and safety, Senate Bill 1734 seeks to update national defense policies, principles and concepts, to institutionalize needed improvements and to codify various laws on national defense, the AFP and civilian bureaus, with the end in view of streamlining and further professionalizing our country’s defense establishment.

Under the SB 1734, the sale of strategic defense real properties is prohibited, unless recommended by the defense secretary and approved by the President with the consent of Congress. Income from the lease or development of defense real estate shall be remitted only to the AFP Modernization Act Trust Fund.

It also exempts from the Government Procurement Law the acquisition by the AFP of special defense equipment, upon prior approval by the President; or when the defense secretary determines that the country’s interests shall be protected by negotiating directly with a local or foreign supplier, “provided that such procurement contract shall be covered by a performance security.”


It also exempts the DND from securing import and other licenses for the acquisition of defense materiel. It also allows it to accept donations, contributions and grants for its functions. But donations from foreign governments or persons shall be subject to existing laws.

The bill also includes the defense secretary in the chain of command. The President will exercise authority over the AFP through the defense secretary, but the President can still issue orders directly to the AFP.

The Women’s Auxiliary Corps and the Technical and Administrative Service will also be integrated into the AFP Component Services under the bill. It also includes the establishment of Warrant Officers in the AFP. These will include highly technical experts, combat leaders, trainers and advisors who specialize in a specific technical area, while on the other hand, the National Defense College of the Philippines will be transformed into the National Defense University of the Philippines. MCAG

DWDD: NOURISHING THE MIND | Team CMOG-PN gains Stakeholder from Academe Sector

From DWDD AFP  Civil Relations Service Radio Website (Mar 16): NOURISHING THE MIND  |  Team CMOG-PN gains Stakeholder from Academe Sector


BONIFACIO NAVAL STATION, Taguig City (DWDD) – Team CMOG-PN gained another stakeholder from Academe Sector by the person of Mr Jose Antonio Custodio, a graduate of History at UP Diliman, Graduate of MA History at UP Diliman, Curatorial Consultant at the AFP Museum and currently a non-resident fellow from Albert Del Rosario Institute and Former Consultant at the Office of the NSA.

Mr Custodio, was invited as Subject Matter Expert on the topic, PATRIOTISM in the time of Pro China, a CMO Perspective to the members of CMO Basic Course Cl 05-18 at the CMO School-PN. CMOGPN / MCAG

DWDD: STAKEHOLDER ENGAGEMENT | Team CMOG-PN welcomes the Junior Chamber International

From DWDD AFP  Civil Relations Service Radio Website (Mar 16): STAKEHOLDER ENGAGEMENT  |  Team CMOG-PN welcomes the Junior Chamber International


BONIFACIO NAVAL STATION, Taguig City (DWDD) – Commander, Civil-Military Operations Group-Philippine Navy, Colonel Nestor R Marcelino PN (M) (MNSA) warmly welcomed the Junior Chamber International Manila, headed by its President, Mr Gerry Hung, a Master Sergeant in the Philippine Army Reserve Force, when they visited Headquarters CMOG-PN.

The JCI is a non-profit international NGOs of young people ages 18 to 40 years old. It aims to encourages young people become an active citizen and to participate in effort towards social and economic development, and international co-operation, good-will and understanding.

The CMOG-PN & JCI-M had fruitful discussions pertaining its doable collaboration and partnership in conducting environmental preservation, ecological protection and economic development activities. CMOGPN / MCAG