Sunday, March 25, 2018

No threat for Holy Week- AFP

From the Manila Bulletin (Mar 25): No threat for Holy Week- AFP

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) said it has not monitored any specific threat for the Holy Week but assured that it will not put its guard down in ensuring that the commemoration of Christ Passion on the Cross will be shielded from violence.

Armed Forces of the Philippines soldiers (REUTERS/Ryan Bacalso/MANILA BULLETIN)
In a statement, the AFP said it will continue to conduct appropriate security measures where it’s needed to safeguard vulnerable communities from criminals and possibly from terrorists.

“There will be appropriate deployment when and where the need arises. In every security measure, there will always be a gap that criminals and terrorists will pursue and take advantage of,” the AFP said.

“Again, we recognize the importance of the help of our citizens and the community against the enemies of peace.”

“We call on our people to be part of the security net to detect, deter and frustrate any move by criminals and terrorists,” it added.

The AFP Joint Task Force-National Capital Region (JTF-NCR) earlier said it will be deploying at least 700 soldiers in various areas in Metro Manila to augment the police forces in securing public places and other areas in the metropolis during the Lenten break next week.

MNLF-IIO: Online Banner: Welcome to Sulu President Rodrigo Roa Duterte

Posted to the Moro National Liberation Front (Misuari) International Information Office (MNLF-IIO) (Mar 26): Online Banner: Welcome to Sulu President Rodrigo Roa Duterte

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Welcome to Sulu President Rodrigo Roa Duterte
Monday, March 26, 2018

MNLF-IIO: Photos -- MNLF High Level Command Meeting

Posted to the Moro National Liberation Front (Misuari) International Information Office (MNLF-IIO) (Mar 25): Photos: MNLF High Level Command Meeting

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MILF: MILF Facilitates Settlement of Clan Feud in Datu Blah Sinsuat Town

Posted to the Moro Islamic Liberation Front Website (Mar 24): MILF Facilitates Settlement of Clan Feud in Datu Blah Sinsuat Town

IN PHOTO- RRUC Executive Director Bobby Benito at the podium. MILF Chair Al Haj Murad Ebrahim sitting at the presidential table (center in black shirt), former DBS Mayor Datu Marshal Sinsuat, and his wife (in red dress)

The Dacula & Dabpil Families who are cousins along with their family members finally settled their feud on March 22, 2018 at Camp Darapanan, Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao in the presence of leaders of Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), and some government officials.

Their feud started in 2010 due to a land dispute in Barangay Meti, Datu Blah Sinsuat, Maguindanao resulting to the death of 8 family members.

Former Datu Blah Sinsuat Mayor Marshal Sinsuat expressed his gratitude to the MILF leadership led by Al Haj Murad Ebrahim, Chair of the MILF for responding to his request to facilitate the settlement of the clan’s feud.

He also expressed his thanks to Regional Reconciliation and Unification Council-ARMM, Maguindanao Provincial Conflict and Management headed by Abdulbasit Benito, RRUC Executive Director. and Gordon Saifullah, Head of Conflict Management of MILF.

The facilitators urged the two warring families to respect the resolution of their conflict.

Chairman Alhaj Murad "almost 80% of our efforts (milf leadership) is focused on conflict settlement among Bangsamoro people". He ask parties for IKHLAS and to comply for the resolution.


MILF: BDA-CenMin holds 36th MBD; HII Pupils show their talents

Posted to the Moro Islamic Liberation Front Website (Mar 24): BDA-CenMin holds 36th MBD; HII Pupils show their talents

IN PHOTO- Blood Donors take a brief rest during the 36th Muslim Blood Donation at City Mall, Cotabato City on March 18, 2018

Once again, the Bangsamoro Development Agency-Central Mindanao (BDA-CenMin) conducted its 36th Muslim Blood Donation at the City Mall in Cotabato City on March 18, 2018.
As part of strong commitment of Hikmatul Ijtmaaey Institute (HII) based in Sitio Balas, Barangay Muti, Guindulungan, Maguindanao to support the MBD, 28 selected pupils from pre-school to higher grades showed their acquired talents to donors, shoppers, and onlookers at the City Mall Stage the whole day of the bloodletting proper.

The pupils were escorted by their teachers, and were led by the School Management Team who came all the way from Guindulungan to support the MBD.

Their teachers, while doing extra care for their pupils, also donated blood along with the entire HII management team.

In an interview, Engr. Rasul Piang, HII Chairman said, “It is the policy of HII to respond to any development intervention.”

“The HII responded appropriately to the request of BDA to support the MBD because, we believe that we become healthy when we donate blood, one becomes healthy at the same time, save the life of patients that need blood.” Piang explained.

As an academic institution to mold children, exposing them to an activity like this is one way to prepare them in becoming pious, and true public servants,” added Piang.

For his part, Prof. Saiden D. Antok, MPAIM, HII President, said in his message, “When we received the letter from the BDA requesting us to support the 36th MBD, I immediately called for a meeting of HII management to discuss and plan on how the school can support, and how it will be done.”

“Right after the meeting, I issued memorandum to Prof. Muslimin Abdul, HII Principal, enjoining him to call for a meeting of teachers to discuss, and plan for what they can do to support the 36th MBD,” Antok added.

“Our school is situated in the far-flung area of Maguindanao which takes hours for our pupils to go to Cotabato City,” said Prof. Muslimin Abdul, HII Principal, during a casual conversation with one of the active volunteers of MBD.

“But despite that, the teachers agreed that the best way to help the MBD is to select from among the most potential pupils of HII who will show various exhibitions during the activity,” Abdul said.

“As a sign of gratitude to the HII, and to the parents for allowing their children to travel far for this purpose, we also gave simple token to each of the 28 pupils,” said Nazneen Biruar-Piang, MBD Coordinator.

Finally, Shiekh Abdulrasheed Ambil, Regional Manager of BDA-Central Mindanao, expressed his wholehearted thanks and gratitude to the entire leadership of HII and to the parents of the pupils.

NDF/NDF-NEC: NDFP Renders Honor to Fr. Dave Albano, Founding Member of the Christians for National Liberation

NDF National Executive Committee propaganda statement posted to the National Democratic Front Website (Mar 25): NDFP Renders Honor to Fr. Dave Albano, Founding Member of the Christians for National Liberation  

25 March 2018

Ka Dave Albano was among the founding members of the Christians for National Liberation (CNL). The founding members decided to launch the CNL on the 100th anniversary of the martyrdom of Fathers Gomez, Burgos and Zamora on February 17, 1972. Among the founding members were Fr. Dave Albano, Deacon Carlos Tayag and Purificacion Pedro.

It was a time of the intensifying mass movement all over the country, following the 1970 First Quarter Storm. The Christian sector was also increasingly being politicalized, with rank and file clergy, pastors, deacons and women Church people getting involved in taking up the fundamental issues of the oppressed and exploited masses.

Fr. Dave Albano was a Benedictine priest and Ka Carlos “Caloy” Tayag was a Benedictine deacon. Both did a lot of work in politicalizing Church people. Ka Puri Pedro was a highly respected Church worker who helped with the exposure and visits of foreign Church people to the peasant and workser masses in varous parts of the country.

A few years after the declaration of martial law, Ka Dave Albano and Ka Caloy Tayag, agreed to be assigned to the countryside.

Ka Caloy Tayag was prevented by Marcos’ killers. He was involuntarily “disappeared” on August 17, 1976. Ka Purificacion Pedro was tortured and extrajudically killed by notorious killer and torturer, Col. Miguel Aure, in January 1975.

Ka Dave Albano integrated with the peasants and Red fighters in the Cordillera region. He immersed himself with the peasants and was deeply loved by them. During the years he spent there, he wrote poems and articles about the fighting masses. This was published in the book, “Clearings” under his revolutionary name, Jason Montana.

After his years of revolutionary work in the Cordillera, Ka Dave Albano decided to continue his work as a priest. He tirelessly served the interests and welfare of the farmers in Isabela and Cagayan Valley. He supported their struggles for land and called for a stop to militarization. He continued to politicalize the peasants for the national democratic cause.

The National Democratic Front of the Philippines renders honors to Ka Dave Albano as one of the founders of the Christians for National Liberation, as a revolutionary who served the masses in the Cordillera region, and finally as a priest who tirelessly served the peasants in Isabela and Cagayan Valley.

We offer our heartfelt condolences to his family and relatives, his colleagues, and the peasant masses he served.

Long live the revolutionary legacy of Ka Dave Albano!
Long live the Filipino people!

Luis G. Jalandoni
Member, National Executive Committee
National Democratic Front of the Philippines

2 NPA leaders, one fighter surrender in Agusan del Sur

From the Mindanao Times (Mar 26): 2 NPA leaders, one fighter surrender in Agusan del Sur
TWO HIGH-RANKING officials of the New Peoples’ Army and a guerrilla surrendered with their five high-powered rifles and ammunition to the 26th Infantry Battalion in Talacogon, Agusan del Sur on March 22.

Lt. Col. Rommel Pagayon of 26th Infantry Battalion (26IB) identified them as alias Bars, vice commander of Regional Sentro de Grabidad (RSDG) COMPAQ; alias IC, platoon medic of the Sandatahang Yunit Pampropaganda (SYP) of Guerrilla Front Committee (GFC) 88, North Central Mindanao Regional Committee (NCMRC); and alias Tan, member of SYP 2, GFC 34 of Southern Mindanao Regional Committee (SMRC).

According to Colonel Andres Centino, commander of 401st Infantry Brigade, the former rebels surrendered because they can no longer tolerate the widespread corruption inside the movement.

“The recent surrenderees heard a radio announcement on the different programs of the government and was convinced of the sincerity of the Duterte’s administration to help the former rebels especially when they found out about their former comrades were invited to Malacañang Palace to dine with our President, ” Centino said.

Earlier this month, 123 former rebels were invited by President Duterte for a three-day tour in Manila and a dinner at Malacañang Palace.

“There is a life far more progressive and peaceful than the life being experienced by the NPA terrorists in the mountains. Our president is extending his hands to help them and to find extraordinary ways to encourage them to lay down their arms and return to the mainstream society.” Maj. Gen. Ronald Villanueva, commander of 4th Infantry Division, said.

Aside from the dinner invitation, the female surrenderees are in the process of getting passports for a future trip abroad as a gift by the President.

Army denies abducting leader of farmers’ group

From the Mindanao Times (Mar 26): Army denies abducting leader of farmers’ group

THE 25TH Infantry battalion denied the accusation of the Karapatan-Southern Mindanao Region (Karapatan-SMR) about firing their guns and arresting a member of Montevista Farmers Association (Montefarma) in Purok 3, Barangay Camansi, Montevista, Compostela Valley on Saturday, March 24.

In a report posted by Karapatan-SMR, Adelaida ‘Nanay Ede’ Macusang, 59, an active member of Montefarma was reportedly taken by soldiers from the 25th Infantry Battalion around 8 a.m. on March 24.

According to her family members, a certain Maj. Durano of 25th IB ordered his men to fire their rifles in front of Macusang and also plant a bomb inside her house. She was brought to the headquarters in Monkayo, Compostela Valley

In the latest update by Montefarma to Karapatan-SMR, Nanay Ede was already brought to the Montevista PNP station and was charged with illegal possession of firearms, which the group called a “fabricated case.”

In a separate interview, Lt. Col. Oscar Balignasay, the commander of 25th IB, said the accusations are not true.

“Nobody fired their gun. The soldiers did not encounter the enemy (NPA) in her house and the immediate vicinity. They were already gone,” he said.

Balignasay said that when Macusang saw the soldiers, she reportedly ran toward the house. They followed her and they reportedly saw inside one set of improvised explosive device, 12 bottles of butane, three pairs of boots, a camera stand, and subversive documents.

“We all know their style of countering our legal actions,” he said. “We will not do anything that will harm the organization.”

The 25th IB’s own version of events revealed that at around 8 a.m. of March 24, soldiers apprehended Macusang, whom they tagged as a collector of the Guerrilla Front 33. She was turned over to the police around 10 p.m. of the same day.

Captured ‘rebels’ test negative for gunpowder

From the Visayan Daily Star (Mar 24): Captured ‘rebels’ test negative for gunpowder

The Army’s 3rd Infantry Division is unfazed by the negative results of the paraffin tests of six suspected New People’s Army rebels, who were captured by soldiers of the 62nd Infantry Battalion, after an encounter in Mabinay, Negros Oriental, early this month.

Capt. Eduardo Precioso, 3rd Infantry Division spokesman, yesterday said that the 3ID strongly believes that the results of the paraffin tests conducted on the six captured rebels will not alter the criminal charges against them.

Of the six captured rebels, two are minors and one a woman. They are facing charges for illegal possession of firearms and explosives.

Being tested negative of gunpowder nitrates, Precioso said, does not mean that they will be freed from multiple charges.

The arrest of the six suspected rebels, according to the military, yielded six high-powered firearms and explosives, including M-16 and M-4 assault rifles.

The New People’s Army in Negros has repeatedly denied that the six have links to the NPA.

During the encounter, Precioso said the six captured rebels, were among the 20 CPP-NPA members, mostly teenagers, who engaged the government troops in a firefight.

He added that the captured rebels were abandoned by their fleeing comrades.

I f they were found negative for gun powder burns, it does not follow that they are not NPAs, Precioso stressed, noting that Frank Fernandez, spokesman of the National Democratic Front-Negros and the Leonardo Panaligan Command, are consistently defending them.

Their defense only shows that they are, indeed, members of the terrorist organization, he added.

One of the six high-powered firearms, an M-4 Bushmaster, seized by 62IB soldiers turned out to be owned by a businessman in Sipalay City, Negros Occidental.

The high-powered firearm was taken from the businessman’s residence in 2007, Precioso added.

NPA kills ‘military informant’

From the Visayan Daily Star (Mar 24): NPA kills ‘military informant’

The Leonardo Panaligan Command of the New People’s Army yesterday issued a statement claiming responsibility for the killing of another person they accused as a military informant in Brgy. Basak, Guihulngan City, Negros Oriental.

Ka JB Regalado, LPC spokesperson, reported that a certain Rene Torres was meted the death penalty on March 21, based on the decision of the revolutionary court.

Regalado alleged that Torres had served as an intelligence asset of the 11th Infantry Battalion since the 1990s, and also reported to the Guihulngan City Police Station.

The NPA earlier claimed responsibility for the killing also of two alleged military informants and a civilian in Guihulngan City, Negros Oriental, and Himamaylan City, Negros Occidental, respectively.

Regalado called on other suspects who were linked to killings in Guihulngan City, to surrender to the nearest NPA unit in their areas, to clear their names.

He added that the NPA will surely run after those convicted by the revolutionary court.

Regalado, however, vehemently debunked insinuations that the NPA may have been behind in the robbery hold-up incident, where a family was robbed, by unidentified suspects, who were armed with M-16 and M-14 rifles in Brgy. Ma-ao, Bago City.

He said they are not operating in the area of Brgy. Ma-ao in Bago City, except the RPA-ABB ( Revolutionary Proletarian Army-Alex Boncayao Brigade).

Regalado also challenged Senior Supt. Rodolfo Castil, provincial police director of Negros Occidental, to solve the series of crime incidents in Negros Occidental, and to investigate the killing of Bolbet Leyte in Calatrava, last month.

He claimed that the call of Castil for the NPA to surrender, was a diversionary tactic, and part of a black propaganda campaign against the CPP-NPA.

PH not keen to buy more frigates, opts for smaller vessels

From Rappler (Mar 26): PH not keen to buy more frigates, opts for smaller vessels

'I think the two frigates from Hyundai will be the last in the near future,' says Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana

SECURITY BRIEFING. Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana speaks at a forum hosted by the Foundation for Economic Freedom. Rappler photo

SECURITY BRIEFING. Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana speaks at a forum hosted by the Foundation for Economic Freedom. Rappler photo
The Philippines is not interested in buying more frigates after the delivery of two 107-meter-long vessels from South Korea. The small archipelagic country will instead acquire smaller vessels, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana.

"I think the two frigates from Hyundai will be the last in the near future. We are not keen on ordering more capital ships or the big ones," Lorenzana told an audience of economists last week, March 21, during a forum hosted by the Foundation for Economic Freedom.

"We are going to have to buy more small vessels, the fast boats," he said.

Lorenzana responded to a question from former National Economic and Development Authority director general Romulo Neri who asked if it's smart to buy expensive ships that, he said, enemies can sink with a single shot.

Neri, who served during the Arroyo administration, said it might be wiser to buy smaller vessels manufactured locally.

Is it a good idea? Lorenzana agreed with Neri, citing how "one torpedo can sink an P8-billion frigate."

But this position is expected to raise questions from camps that want the Philippine Navy to acquire more ships to patrol the country's Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).

Smaller vessels are generally suitable only for coastal patrols and don't have the endurance for long deployments, according to a retired Navy officer.

The country needs a minimum of 6 frigates or long-range patrol vessels, based on pronouncements made during the previous administration, to be able to monitor the country's waters. The Navy ideally should also have about a dozen corvettes or smaller warships, based on discussions in the Navy.

The Aquino administration had embarked on modest modernization as it identified China's aggressiveness in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea) as the biggest security threat.

The Philippine Navy, which until recently had a World War II relic for a warship, acquired 3 weather high- endurance cutters from the US Coast Guard.

It also funded the acquisition of two frigates which are expected to arrive under the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte.

The frigates became controversial after ousted Navy chief Vice Admiral Ronald Mercado and the Department of National Defense had a disagreement over how shipbuilder Heavy Hyundai Industries planned to equip the warships. Mercado was removed for insubordination.

President Rodrigo Duterte has warmed ties with China and his administration is counting on Beijing's promise that it will not occupy or build more features in the West Philippine Sea.

Tapping local manufacturers: Lorenzana said the government is already talking to local manufacturers of fast boats.

"If we’re buying something, we first should go to local manufacturers," he said.

Lorenzana said he's talking to members of Congress about amending the procurement law, which he said, is biased against local manufacturers.

"Local manufacturers are slapped 12% VAT whereas the foreign suppliers are not. That is one of the complaints of the local manufacturers. I’m talking to some senators," he said. –

(Editor's note: Rappler was invited to the forum hosted by the Foundation for Economic Freedom, a club whose members include some of the country's top economists.)

DWDD: COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT | NAVFOR-WestMin conducts Out Reach Program at Sangbay Island

From DWDD AFP Civil Relations Service Radio Website (Mar 26): COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT  |  NAVFOR-WestMin conducts Out Reach Program at Sangbay Island

SANGBAY ISLAND, Basilan (DWDD) – The Naval Forces Western Mindanao, together with the Civil Military Operations Unit-Western Mindanao, Marine Battalion Landing Team 11, Camp Navarro General Hospital, Naval Special Operations Unit, Crystal Clear Vision Eye Center, Venus Salon, conducted an Outreach Program, composed of Operation Tuli, Eye Check-Up with Free Eyeglasses, Free Haircut, Feeding Activity and Turn-over of Paints and Boxes of Sardines to the teachers and community of Sangbay Island, Junior High School, Hadji Muhtamad, Basilan Province last March 20, 2018. NFWM / MCAG

DWDD: BOOT CAMP | Philippine Navy Strategic Sail Plan 2020

From DWDD AFP Civil Relations Service Radio Website (Mar 26): BOOT CAMP  |  Philippine Navy Strategic Sail Plan 2020


Meet the Sail Plan Boot Camp Speakers

Jonathan Juan Moreno is currently the Chief Strategy and Governance Officer of Metro Retail Stores Group, Inc (MRSGI). He has a diverse range of management experience ranging from consulting to direct responsibility over functional and operational transformation programs in various industries. Mr. Moreno also has a vast international experience having worked on projects in the United Kingdom, Mongolia, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Singapore, India, Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam and Myanmar.

Prior to his position at the MRSGI, Mr. Moreno served as Corporate Governance Advisor at the International Finance Corporation – World Bank Group; Principal of Southeast Asia and Practice Leader for Corporate Governance and Risk Management at Palladium Group, Inc.; President and CEO of the Institute of Corporate Directors; Executive Director for Governance Advisory Council under the Office of the President; and Head of Corporate Governance and Risk Management at the Philippine Stock Exchange.

Alvin Barcelona is a former front-act of the legendary Freddie Aguilar and is best known as a rocker-preacher. Aside from being an accomplished singer, songwriter, concert and recording artist and lead man of the Rock Word and Himaya band, he is also President and Founder of Barcelona Academy System Schools in Bulacan. Mr. Barcelona is a consultant to the World Bank for the Integrity Management Program under the Office of the President and Office of the Ombudsman.

“Leadership rises and falls on Character.” This is one of the most notable things that Mr. Barcelona shared during his talk on the topic Governance Values and Development Mindset.

Stay tuned for more updates regarding the Sail Plan Boot Camp. And to the Sail Plan Champions, may the Force be with you.

Jan Carlo Silan is a gifted preacher, serving as a Feast Builder for Feast Makati Salcedo and Feast Makati Amorsolo of the Light of Jesus Family. He is a known speaker for recollections and retreats. His previous work as an IT professional has facilitated his use of the most updated technology for his preaching, creating an appealing environment for the millennial generation.

Mr. Silan graced the 4th Philippine Navy Sail Plan Boot Camp with his lecture on Change Management. This has inspired the Philippine Navy Sail Plan Officers to prepare for change that is always present in the operating environment, and to embrace the changes presented to the organization, as they are geared toward its improvement.

Stay tuned for more updates regarding the Sail Plan Boot Camp. And to the Sail Plan Champions, may the Force be with you.

Former Undersecretary Mr. Leon Flores III, CESE, is considered as one of the country’s foremost youth development experts having been the Chairman and CEO of the National Youth Commission (NYC) from 2011 to 2014. Currently, he serves as a consultant to the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), transitioning from being the Program Manager for Go Lokal! to taking on the task of rebranding and rebooting the One Town One Product (OTOP) Philippines program.

Prior to his stint in government, he learned from 10 years of private sector experience in the fields of food and beverage and business process outsourcing. Mr. Flores is also a core member of the nomoreepal movement, ANGKOP, Freedom of Information coalition, and AndayaMo (Anti-Dynasty Movement).

Given his background on a wide array of management areas, Mr. Flores has been exposed to the topic of Risk Management. Yesterday, he shared some of the most salient points in Risk Management that the Navy can take into account in managing its

John Paul Lanot is a TV and events host; film, TV and voice actor; restaurateur; and a motivational speaker. After taking Management of Communications Technology as an Ateneo scholar, he was a Media Strategist at Starcom MediaVest. Mr. Lanot has also hosted TV shows and national events with Unilever, Universal Robina and DepEd. He owns and manages Pino Restaurant, Pipino Vegetarian, Pi Breakfast & Pies, The Burger Project, Hillside Cafe & Juice Bar, and Brgy. Bagnet in Quezon City and Ortigas. He is also a Leadership, Marketing and Communications Speaker for DTI, TrainStation and AIB Training, having spoken from Laoag to Jolo, and in Hong Kong, Myanmar, Laos, Bhutan and East Timor.

Mr. Lanot has been generous in sharing with the Navy men and women his wisdom on leadership and management, being a guest speaker since the first Sail Plan Boot Camp. This year, Mr. Lanot discussed the topic “Setting the Vision and Breakthrough Goals”, which was followed by a workshop where the participants were able to draft their own vision statements for their teams.


Army commander seen as next AFP chief of staff

From the Manila Times (Mar 24): Army commander seen as next AFP chief of staff

Lt. Gen. Rolando Joselito Bautista, the commanding general of the Philippine Army, is the top contender to succeed Gen. Rey Leonardo Guerrero as chief of staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana mentioned earlier this week that there were three candidates for the top military post, including Bautista, Lt. Gen. Benjamin Madrigal Jr. of the Eastern Mindanao Command (EastMinCom) and Lt. Gen. Carlito Galvez Jr. of the Western Mindanao Command (WestMinCom).

Bautista is said to be a shoo-in as he served as the Presidential Security Group (PSG) commander of President Rodrigo Duterte when he won the presidential elections in 2016.

After leading the PSG, where he got his first star rank, Bautista was assigned to command the Army’s 1st Infantry Division (ID) and was among the key officials who fought against the Islamic State (IS)-inspired Maute group in Marawi City.

The 1st ID was also formed as the Joint Task Force Marawi, the lead unit that operated in the besieged city of Marawi.

Bautista however is set to hang his military uniform on October 15 this year.

Guerrero, who formerly led the EastMinCom, replaced retired general Eduardo Año as AFP chief in October last year.

He was supposed to retire last December 17 but was extended by Duterte until April 24.

Duterte had announced in January that Guerrero would be appointed administrator of the Maritime Industry Authority once he retires.

Bautista, Galvez and Madrigal are all “mistahs” (classmates) at the Philippine Military Academy, under the “Sandiwa” Class of 1985.

Twin blasts hurt cop, 4 civilians in Maguindanao

From the Philippine News Agency (Mar 24): Twin blasts hurt cop, 4 civilians in Maguindanao

UPI, Maguindanao -- Joint police and Philippine Marine troops have launched a manhunt against two men blamed for the twin explosions here on Friday evening, injured a police officer and four civilians.

The first explosion, believed to be from a fragmentation grenade, occurred at past 7:45 p.m. beside a basketball court at the Borongotan Elementary School in the village of Borongotan, according to Maguindanao Police director, Senior Supt. Agustin Tello.

He said the first blast wounded a basketball player and three spectators.

“There was a misunderstanding during the game and suddenly a fragmentation grenade was lobbed from nowhere and exploded,” Tello said, quoting a report from the Upi Police.

The second explosion happened at about 8 p.m., a few meters away from the basketball court, and believed to have been intended for responding police officers.

The blast injured PO1 Police Officer 2 Marjune Lahaylahay of the local police force.

Mayor Ramon Piang condemned the grenade attack, saying “we are peace-loving people here.”

“I condemn this act against our peace-loving people,” Piang added.

He appealed to his constituents to remain vigilant against groups out to create chaos in his peaceful town.

Piang said the local police is following up a lead that could identify and possibly arrest the perpetrators.

In December last year, suspected Islamic State-linked Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters, attacked a police outpost in Barangay Poblacion here and set off a roadside bomb that injured seven Marine officers.

Navy evacuates American woman from Tubbataha Reefs

From the Philippine News Agency (Mar 24): Navy evacuates American woman from Tubbataha Reefs


MEDICAL EVACUATION. The men of BRP Nestor Reinoso (PC 380) carry 71-year old France Jean Lewis out of pleasure yacht, Atlantis Asorez, for a medical evacuation on Thursday (March 22, 2018). (Photo cpurtesy of Western Command)

The Philippine Navy patrol rescued a 71-year-old American woman who was on a pleasure cruise at the Tubbataha Reefs Natural Marine Park in Cagayancillo.

Lt. Commander Kenneth Lozanes, commander of BRP Nestor Reinoso (PC 380), said Friday night that they medically evacuated US national Frances Jean Lewis at the Tubbataha Ranger Station in the morning of March 22 after she fractured her knee.

“Apparently, Ms. Lewis accidentally slipped in the lavatory of pleasure yacht Atlantis Asorez. She can no longer move her lower extremity, and needed to be evacuated as soon as possible due to a fractured left knee,” Lozanes told the Philippine News Agency (PNA).

Lewis was brought to the Palawan Adventist Hospital.

The pleasure yacht, Atlantis Asorez, was carrying 20 foreign guests, who went to Tubbataha Reefs on a diving cruise.

“The Naval Forces West continues to perform its mandate of protecting the country’s western front. It has continuously deployed its naval assets and personnel to respond to any given emergency situation in the area,” said Capt. Cherryl Tindog, chief of the Public Affairs Office of the Western Command in Palawan.

Military remains on tight watch for Holy Week

From the Philippine News Agency (Mar 25): Military remains on tight watch for Holy Week

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) will continue implementing appropriate security measures to fully secure the country during the Holy Week despite the absence of major security threats against the annual religious observation.

"There is no specific threat monitored for the Holy Week but the AFP will not put its guard down. We will continue to conduct appropriate security measures where needed to safeguard vulnerable communities," AFP spokesperson Brig. Gen. Bienvenido Datuin said in a text message to the Philippine News Agency (PNA) on Friday.

He added that the military will make appropriate deployment when and where the need arises.

"In every security measure, there will always be a gap that criminals and terrorists will pursue and take advantage of," Datuin said.

And while the AFP does everything it can to protect the country and its people against all forms of threats, the military official said the help of the public in foiling lawless elements is always welcome.

"Again we recognize the importance of the help of our citizens and the community against the enemies of peace. We call on our people to be part of the security net to detect, deter and frustrate any move by criminals and terrorists," he added.

Meanwhile, Brig. Gen. Alan Arrojado, the Joint Task Force-National Capital Region commander, said his unit has organized Task Group "Lenten" to secure places of convergence for the coming Holy Week observance.

The task group will deploy about 500 regular troops and 100 reservists to secure the Quiapo Church in Manila, various bus terminals, and the South and North Harbors also in Manila; Airport Terminals 1, 2, and 3; all MRT stations; Bonifacio Global City in Taguig; SM Mega Mall in Mandaluyong and SM Mall of Asia in Pasay.

"Another force of 200 soldiers will be on standby at major service camps of the Army, Navy and the Philippine Air Force for contingencies. No threat has been detected so far but the command remains on alert," Arrojado added.

Fulbright educ program in Manila cements robust US-PH ties

From the Philippine News Agency (Mar 25): Fulbright educ program in Manila cements robust US-PH ties

Conchita Abad, the oldest Fulbright scholar among the original batch of the educational exchange, at the 70th anniversary celebration of the scholarship program in the Philippines. (Photo by Joyce Ann L. Rocamora)

With Manila having the oldest continuing Fulbright scholarship program, it is clear that the bilateral ties between the United States and the Philippines remain strong and robust, US Ambassador to the Philippines Sung Kim said Friday night.

The Philippine-American Educational Foundation (PAEF) celebrated the 70th anniversary of the Fulbright program in the Philippines with a gala event at The Peninsula Manila, hosting alumni from current and original batches.

In an interview on the sides of the gala night, Kim told reporters that despite disagreements the two countries had on certain issues, both are committed to educational initiatives such as the Fullbright.

"We don't always agree on everything, sometimes we have disagreements over certain issues but we do want to make sure that initiatives like educational exchanges and programs, like Fulbright scholarship, continue regardless of what is happening politically and regardless (of) when we may have some disagreements on some issues," he said.

Kim said the educational link between the two states is "very important" and "fundamental" to the health of Manila and Washington's relationship.

"I think it reflects the strength of the relationship between our two countries (and) the fact that we have a robust program like this go so strong for 70 years, I think really it's a good reflection of the depth of ties between our two countries," he said.

Since 1948, Washington has sent more than 3,200 Filipinos to the US and more than 1,000 Americans to the Philippines under the Fulbright scholarship program.

This year, Kim said they intend to broaden the program's reach and attract more Filipinos from Mindanao to apply.

PAEF is the world’s longest-continuing Fulbright Commission and the oldest international educational exchange program in the Philippines.

The governments of the US and the Philippines signed an executive agreement on March 23, 1948, establishing the Commission.

PAEF is a non-profit, bilateral organization responsible for the administration of the prestigious Fulbright Scholarship Programs, Hubert H. Humphrey Fellowships, Global Undergraduate Exchange Programs, and other educational exchange initiatives.

During the event, PAEF awarded 10 notable Filipino alumni as the first-ever Fulbright Philippines Hall of Fame awardees, among them National Scientist Dr. Angel Alcala, former ambassador Jose Cuisia, former senator Rene Saguisag, and Conchita Abad, the oldest Fulbright scholar, who was among the original batch of the educational exchange.

PAEF also awarded plaques of appreciation to former senator Edgardo Angara and Fulbright sponsor Washington SyCip, represented by the SyCip Foundation.


For 93-year old Abad, developer of the country's first curriculum for BS Occupational Therapy and the oldest alumnus present in the gala night, the Fulbright program served and will serve as a life-changing event for every Filipino scholar sent to America.

“I owe very much to Fulbright because it was my first experience to go abroad, my first," she told reporters.

"(I saw) for the first time the Liberty Bell and (had) several visits with the American group. Before I graduated from the Philadelphia School of Occupational Therapy of the University of Pennsylvania, I was invited by Fidel Ramos who was, at that time, not yet the president, he was a cadet back then," she narrated.

"Those are the most memorable moments I had because of the Fullbright," she said.

For Cuisia, who was a Fulbright fellow in 1968, the US program is indeed an effective tool to develop bilateral ties between Filipinos and Americans.

"As you have heard, over 3,200 Filipino Fullbright scholars have gone to the US. These Filipinos are all over the US, it's not just one state, so people in the US get to understand more about our country, about our culture and about our people," he said.

"It is such an effective program in strengthening ties between two people," he added.

Angara said Filipinos must fully harness this educational opportunity since in the long term, this will serve as a valuable investment for them.

"Aside from Fulbright, we must believe in the human capital because any state at any single moment of history is prosperous or poor because they take care of human capital. Fullbright represents human capital," he said.

Reds now in despair amid massive surrenders: Lorenzana

From the Philippine News Agency (Mar 25): Reds now in despair amid massive surrenders: Lorenzana

The Commmunist Party of the Philippines' (CPP) denial of the massive surrenders of their armed rebel fighters is a manifestation of their desperation and futile attempt to discredit government efforts to secure peace, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said Saturday.

"The latest statement of the CPP shows that they are now in a quandary as to how they can reverse their current predicament. Because of the government’s sincere call for peace, they have lost a lot of fighters lately, and their mass base has rapidly dwindled. Labelling everything that the government has achieved so far as a mere “hoax” manifests desperation and obviously a futile attempt to discredit our efforts in forging peace," he added.

Also, Lorenzana said that the public is well aware of the lies being perpetuated by the CPP and its armed wing, the New People's Army (NPA).

"How can the CPP claim that most of the surrenderees are not NPA fighters but “supporters” and even demand a public apology from the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) when in fact, these former rebels who responded to the government’s call for peace include their former regional secretary in Far South Mindanao, their former Regional SDG (sentro de grabidad or fighting unit) commanders in northern Mindanao, and in Surigao, a front secretary in Davao, and a number of their platoon and team leaders, along with their firearms? It is the communist terrorist CPP-NPA who should apologize to these people whom they have deceived, and who have sacrificed their lives and their families because of this deception," the defense chief added.

Earlier, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) reported that a total of 4,356 NPA regular members and their supporters have surrendered to government forces nationwide starting Jan 1 up to March 15 this year.

"The figure is composed of 626 NPA regulars and Sangay sa Partido Lokal (SPL) or local party members and 3,730 Militia ng Bayan (MB), Underground Mass Organization (UGMO) members and mass supporters. Majority of surrenders happened in eastern Mindanao particularly in the regions of Davao and CARAGA totaling 97 percent or 4,194," the AFP added.

In line with this, Lorenzana urged all remaining NPA rebels to surrender peacefully as they no longer have any ideology to fight for.

"What’s left is an organization that uses the plight of vulnerable sectors to promote their ultimate plan of amassing money through extortion and seizing power for their leaders’ selfish agenda," he added.

Navy activates 2nd TC-90 patrol aircraft

From the Philippine News Agency (Mar 25): Navy activates 2nd TC-90 patrol aircraft

The Philippine Navy (PN) has activated the second Beechcraft King Air TC-90 donated by the Japan Maritime Self Defense Force (JMSDF), a naval official disclosed Saturday.

Lt. Sahirul Taib, the Philippine Fleet spokesperson, said the second TC-90 was activated and placed under PN service last March 19. The ceremony was held at the Heracleo Alano Naval Base, the headquarters of the Naval Air Group in Sangley Point in Cavite City - with Philippine Fleet commander Rear Admiral Danilo R. Rodelas as the guest of honor.
Taib said the second TC-90, with tail number NV-392, was activated shortly after the installation of the needed navigational equipment and repainting.

He added that the aircraft will play a useful role in maritime air surveillance, which is vital in producing critical and sensitive information necessary for maritime situational awareness.

The first TC-90 aircraft was activated last Nov. 21, 2017 and made her maiden flight by conducting maritime air surveillance over Bajo De Masinloc on Jan. 31. It is under the operational control of the Northern Luzon Command.

Three other TC-90s are scheduled to arrive on Monday.

The aircraft has a range of over 1,000 nautical miles, and a cruising speed of 260 knots. It is capable of carrying eight passengers.

Prior to the commissioning of the TC-90, the Navy is operating around six Norman Britten "Islander" patrol aircraft, four GAF "Nomad" planes, five Agusta Westland combat utility helicopters and a Robinson R-22 training helicopter.

The TC-90, which is part of the Beechcraft King Air aircraft family, was offered by Japan shortly after the agreement on the transfer of defense equipment and technology was finalized on February 29, 2016.

269 guns, 174 IEDs recovered from Reds in 3 months

From the Philippine News Agency (Mar 25): 269 guns, 174 IEDs recovered from Reds in 3 months

As further proof of the demoralization among communists, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) announced that it has recovered a total of 269 assorted firearms and 174 improvised explosive devices (IEDs) from New People's Army (NPA) memebers from Jan. 1 to March 15 this year.

Lt. Col. Emmanuel Garcia, AFP public affairs office chief, said focused military operations have a lot to do with the recovery of these assorted weapons and IEDs.

In Eastern Mindanao alone, a total of 174 firearms and 140 IEDs were confiscated from the NPAs and their supporters during the said period.

Meanwhile, the 26th Infantry Battalion seized one 7.62 mm rifle and one AK-47 from a rebel killed in during an encounter in Kalinga last March 12.

While six "PVC" pipe guns, four shotguns, four pistols, IEDs, grenade, and other war materiel were surrendered by four former rebels and five Militia ng Bayan members to 29th Infantry Battalion in Butuan City, Agusan Del Norte last March 12.

Joint AFP-PNP troops seized four M-16 rifles, and two M-14 carbines from the six apprehended NPA members in Manjuyod, Negros Oriental last March 3.

In Malaybalay City, Bukidnon, two high-powered firearms were also surrendered on March 2.

Surrenderers, mostly from the eastern part of Mindanao, brought along their firearms and handed them to authorities.

Garcia said surrenderers receive immediate financial help and enrolled in the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program or E-CLIP for livelihood and other assistance.

Former rebels also receive remuneration for firearms they surrender.

He added that AFP will continue to conduct focused military operations to degrade the armed capability of the communists and further enhance Community Support Program to empower local government units in providing basic services to the people in their communities to encourage more rebels to surrender.