Thursday, August 9, 2018

DoJ downplays SC ruling on CPP-NPA

From the Manila Standard (Aug 9): DoJ downplays SC ruling on CPP-NPA

The Department of Justice on Thursday downplayed the decision rendered by a Manila City regional trial court declaring four alleged leaders of the Communist Party of the Philippines and its armed wing, the New People’s Army, as non-parties to its petition seeking the CPP-NPA as terrorist organizations.

Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra explained that the government’s petition before Manila City RTC, Branch 19, seeking to declare the CPP-NPA as terrorist groups and linking more than 600 individuals to the communist group remains on track.

This came after the lower court declared former Bayan Muna Rep. Satur Ocampo and National Democratic Front of the Philippines peace consultant Rafael Baylosis, Victoria Lucia Tauli-Corpus and Jose Melencio Molintas as non-parties to the case.

Guevarra said that the development was not a setback to the government's proscription case against the communist rebels.

“In the first place, the only real respondents in the proscription case are the CPP and the NPA. It is these entities, not the named individuals, who are the party-respondents in the petition to declare them as terrorist organizations,” the Justice Secretary said.

Acting Prosecutor General Richard Anthony Fadullon, head of the DoJ’s prosecutorial arm, also belittled the ruling. “The declaration by the court of some personalities as non-parties will not have any bearing on the outcome of the case,” he said.

According to Guevarra, they only submitted to the court the list of individuals, including Ocampo, Baylosis, Corpuz, and Molintas, with alleged links to the CPP-NPA solely for the purpose of service of summons to the two organizations.

“The respondents are the CPP and the NPA, whom the government wants to be declared as terrorist organizations. But where are their principal places of ‘business?’ Who are their responsible officers on whom summons may be served?" he said.

“So the DoJ mentioned the names of certain persons identified by our intelligence agencies as having links with the CPP and the NPA, in the hope that these people will answer the petition on behalf of the respondent organizations,” the DoJ chief added.

Fadullon admitted that the DoJ “will just have to resort to causing the service of summons by publication” as directed in the RTC ruling.

In its resolution dated July 27, 2018, Judge Mario Madoza-Malagar held that Ocampo and Baylosis are non-parties since “the prayed-for declaration from this court is an organization, association or group of persons.”

“Technically therefore, neither Ocampo nor Baylosis can be considered a party-respondent in this Petition since the remedy sought does not specifically pertain to them, as individuals. Rather, it is the CPP and the NPA which are the respondents because it is against them that the declaration is sought,” the resolution said.

As for Molintas and Corpuz, the court ruled that both also denied being members of the alleged terrorist organizations.

“Their names appear in the Petition as members of the alleged terrorist groups but technically, they cannot be considered as party-respondents,” the lower court said.

With this finding, the court directed the DoJ “to cause service of summons to organizations CPP and NPA by publication in a newspaper of general circulation.”

 “Considering the petitioner’s obvious lack of knowledge of the official address of the CPP-NPA, recourse may be made to service summons by publication, this time specifically directed to the respondent-organizations,” the ruling said.

Last March, the DoJ filed before the Manila City RTC a petition seeking to declare communist leaders and their armed members as terrorists.

The DOJ submitted to the court a list of over 600 personalities, including Ocampo, Baylosis, Corpus, Molintas, and CPP founding chair Jose Maria Sison, tagging them as terrorists.

Also in the list are alleged CPP leaders Benito and Wilma Tiamzon, former peace panel chief Luis Jalandoni, human rights lawyer and former Baguio City councilor Jose Molintas and Cordillerans Joanna Carino, Windel Farag-ey Bolinget, Sherwin de Vera, Beverly Sakongan Longid and Jeannette Ribaya Cawiding.

The petition was filed following the termination of the peace talks between the government and the CPP in November last year.

In its petition, the DoJ cited Republic Act 9372 or The Human Security Act of 2007 in seeking the declaration of the CPP and NPA officials and members as terrorists.

The petition, signed by Senior Associate State Prosecutor Peter Ong, accused the CPP-NPA of having an “evil plan of imposing a totalitarian regime.”

NPA rebels overrun Samar police station

From UNTV News & Rescue (Aug 10): NPA rebels overrun Samar police station

Lapinig Municipal Police Station in Google Map

Around 100 members of the New People’s Army raided the Lapinig Municipal Police Station in Northern Samar on Friday (Aug. 10) at 1:44 a.m.

According to a spot report received by Camp Crame, the terrorist group was armed with high-powered firearms such as UZI, K3 submachine guns, M16, M14 and M203.

The exchange of fire lasted for 15 minutes before the police station was overrun by the rebels.

Two policemen identified as PO2 Jerry Quilecol and PO1 Edizon Aguere were wounded in action.

Another two are missing in action. They are PINSP Noli Montibon and PO2 Mark Mejedo.

Media tagged as 'Enemy of state'

From the Journal Online (Aug 8): Media tagged as 'Enemy of state'

SENATOR Grace Poe expressed concern over the military tagging media as the “enemy of the state” during the hearing of her Committee on Public Information and Mass Media regarding media protection.

Poe reacted after the National Union of Journalist in the Philippines (NUJP) told the hearing that the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) particularly the 101st Technical Support Group Battalion Reserved Command named them as enemy of the state. The NUJP also complained that in 2006, the AFP called the media the “enemy of the state” at the height of criticisms of the Arroyo administration.

The NUJP even accused the AFP of using a powerpoint presentation against them and some media organizations such as the Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility (CMFR), Arao Presentation and Bulatlat and going around schools using the said presentation.

The senator said that instead of vilifying the media, the military must protect the media which is one symbol of democracy in the country.

Presidential Task Force on Media Security head, Undersecretary Joel Egco, meanwhile said that they have “red flagged” already the 101st TSG Battalion and explained to their command officers the content of Administrative Order 1 that specifies the protection of media.

“If they have it that way, kapag sinasabi na ire-red flag dahil media is the enemy of the state, nakakabahala yun. Di na nila naisip ang repercussion nung ganung klaseng branding,” Poe said.

To give more protection to the media, Poe proposed the creation of an independent commission that will create and push for policies to preserve the sanctity and welfare of the media and its personnel.

She suggested that the Task Force should have its own budget but must have an active mediaman as a member of the board. Poe is also pushing for giving hazard pay to the members of the media assigned to cover dangerous assignments.

“Dapat merong hazard insurance ang mga miyembro ng media dahil delikado ang trabaho at tanggalin sa enemy of the state ang branding ng media orgs. Dahil di talaga dapat yan, it goes against the principle of democracy if you target media practitioners and label them as enemy of the state,” Poe explained.

The senator said that the media should be well protected after the Philippines placed second as the most dangerous country for media next to Iraq.

1 killed, 1 wounded in clashes between gov’t troops and NPA in Bukidnon

From the Philippine Daily Inquirer (Aug 9): 1 killed, 1 wounded in clashes between gov’t troops and NPA in Bukidnon

Hostilities between government forces and communist guerrillas in the province of Bukidnon intensified this week, leaving casualties on both sides.

A soldier was killed while another was hurt in a firefight in Impasug-ong town in Bukidnon on Wednesday noon, according to
Ka Malem Mabini, spokesperson of the New People’s Army (NPA)-North Central Mindanao Command.

The NPA’s Front 89 launched the “harassment” operations against government forces in the village of Bontongon in Impasug-ong town, Mabini said in a statement.

“It was confirmed that one was killed-in-action and one was wounded-in-action in the AFP. They were then rescued by their utility helicopter,” Mabini said.

But the military denied Mabini’s claim, saying it was the NPA who suffered a fatality.

The first gunbattle started at 9:35 a.m. between the NPA and policemen from the Bukidnon Provincial Mobile Force Company, where a rebel was killed, said 403rd Infantry Brigade civil military officer Capt. Norman Tagros.

“The second encounter was around 12 noon yesterday and this resulted to the wounding of one of our soldiers from the 1st Special Forces Battalion,” Tagros told the Inquirer.

Tagros said the injured soldier was immediately evacuated to a military hospital for medical treatment.

The officer said the operations in Bukidnon was part of the joint internal security campaign plan of the 4th Infantry Division and the Police Regional Office 10.

The government and the National Democratic Front earlier signed the Agreement on a Stand-Down for the Resumption of the Formal Peace Talks at the end of the backchannel negotiations in Utrecht, The Netherlands, on June 8. It was signed supposedly to provide a “positive atmosphere conducive to moving forward and completing the peace negotiations and the implementation of agreements.”

But President Duterte decided to put on hold the talks and asked for three months to review all signed agreements.

Philippine Navy successfully tests its first missile system

From Rappler (Aug 9): Philippine Navy successfully tests its first missile system
The Spike-Extended Range missile 'fired and accurately hit the designated target at approximately 6 kilometers away from the firing platform'

The Philippine Navy, successfully tested its first missile system which was aboard the Multi-Purpose Attack Craft (MPAC) Mk III as it conducted its Sea Acceptance Test (SAT) near Lamao Point in Bataan.

In a statement released on Thursday, August 9, by the Naval Public Affairs Office, they said the missile
"fired and accurately hit the designated target at approximately 6 kilometers away from the firing platform."

It added, "The target was hit dead center even if the sea state condition was moderately rough with waves of at least one meter high but within the normal firing conditions of the missile."
Members of the Philippine Navy, alongside teams from Rafael Advanced Defense Systems, Ltd., and the Technical Inspection and Acceptance Committee of the Department of National Defense oversaw the testing of the Mini Typhoon Machine Gun System and the Spike-Extended Range (Spike-ER) Missile Launching System.

The testing is done as part of the contract for final acceptance of the system.

Another actual live-fire demonstration of the Spike-ER missile will be scheduled with President Rodrigo Duterte attending.

The Philippine Navy entered into this contract with Rafael Advanced Defense Systems through SIBAT, a department of Israel's Ministry of Defense. The Secretary of National Defense approved the notice to proceed on April 15, 2017.

PEACETALK: Research points in expanding and understanding Prevention and Countering of Violent Extremism (PCVE)

Posted to the MindaViews section of MindaNews (Aug 8): PEACETALK: Research points in expanding and understanding Prevention and Countering of Violent Extremism (PCVE) (By Yusuf Morales)

[Summary of a presentation by Commissioner Yusuf Morales of the National Commission on Muslim Filipinos during the launch of the Japan-UNDP program on the Prevention of Violent Extremism on August 6, 2018 at the Ateneo de Davao University. The is an attempt to present a critique in presenting the gaps encountered in researches on prevention and countering violent extremism (PCVE) in the Philippines]


Before we present a critique or the gaps in PCVE research, allow us first to have a level understanding of what violent extremism is by key words and ending in a simple definition of the term.

The key words that we should use should be anti-state discourse, hate discourse directed at ideological enemies. In a nutshell, violent extremists reflect and present an anti-system discourse, and this is also manifested by their inability to accept differences of opinion, which means that they are highly opinionated, and practically driven towards an ideological good rather than a common good. If we sum this up, we can say that violent extremism primarily is the belief of individuals, groups and institutions in an ideology that in order to achieve their goals and objectives, they may utilize violence and terrorism in the realization or actualization of their goals (Morales, 2015)


But before we proceed further, allow me to give, in the millenials’ language, a shout out that it is important to understand where the blank spaces are in the conduct of researches in understanding what causes shifts in movement of mass movements, peoples organizations to gravitate towards violent extremism


In a way, it’s all about understanding echoes (messaging and narratives) and how these echoes affect each particular strata of the vulnerable spectrum.

Among the first things we may need to consider is, have we done an analysis of the cross-over narratives from genuine revolutionary organizations and the local threat groups? Have we understood the reasons and factors how the messaging is crafted to be able to win the hearts and minds of young people to cross over to revolutionary organizations? Or how the messages are used to have people from genuine revolutionary organizations cross over to local threat groups? Or to recruit young people to join local threat groups? Are we able to efectively read how the messaging is resonated and responses crafted?

The second concern is have we considered intergenerational narratives and responses towards PCVE on the ground? Understanding what is the nature of people, like those pre-Martial law (born before 1972), pre-millennials (Generations X,Y and Z), and millennials, how they appreciate and respond to the narratives of violent extremists and counter-narratives that are circulating both in cyberspace and other forms of media. Have we seen and managed to dissect them and analyze how each stratification managed to gain credence and access to people? It is important to understand that there are intergenerational differences to specific media access like radio, TV, internet and even social media, and this spells the difference as to how the capture process happens.

Thirdly what is the national echo on violent extremism? Does everybpdy agree even on the basic concept of what violent extremism is all about? How do people respond to the very concept of violent extremism? It appears that violent extremism has become a trend both among those who implement basically other programs as non-government organizations or institutions, as well as individuals who are fed up with socio-economic and politico concerns in the country. This has indeed become both a lucrative trend and a national security concern. How do people view the difference between violent extremism and rebellion? How do the Muslim converts and Filipino Muslims view social anger and their responding towards violent extremism?

Fourth is how are these programs on PCVE responded to on the ground? Have we seen how is the response when each conducts these activities in let’s say government agencies, civil society, the academe, youth or communities? How is the response of communities if government conducts it or if CSOs or academe conducts it? What was the response and reflection of perceptions when each program was done?

It is important also to conduct an audit of programs that directly or indirectly affect PCVE. The question now arises, have we done an accurate audit of VE programs? Have we evaluated government, civil society organizations, the academe, the non-government organizations on their impact and how they have influenced their constituencies? Was there an assessment of the cost-benefit analysis? meaning with the program implemented relative to the cost undertaken for the program. was the feedback taken by third party evaluators during assessment or was it taken by their own program implementor? How was the process done?

One important aspect that I believe we fail to address fully: how have we responded to the narratives of violent extremism? Have we done any attempt of actually engaging with violent extremists or communicators of VE? Have we done an assessment of who are the partners we have worked with like religious leaders and teachers, civil society partners, the academe and international organizations?

I hope this feedback would enable us to move forward in our continuing research and understanding of violent extremism.

Government, non-gov’t agencies hold peace caravan

From the Philippine Information Agency (Aug 8): Government, non-gov’t agencies hold peace caravan

ASIPULO, Ifugao - -Various government and non-government agencies and other health care providers conducted a one-day peace caravan in this municipality on August 4 serving about 500 folks of Nangkatengey, Namal and other nearby barangays.

Nangkatengey is about one-hour ride or three and one- half hours hike from the Poblacion of Asipulo town and development of farm-to-market road is underway through the local government unit.

The said event was spearheaded by the 54th Infantry Battalion, in partnership with the different government line agencies, LGUs of Ifugao and Mountain Province and civil-society organizations.

The 54th Infantry Battalion, in partnership with other government and non-government organizations, holds outreach activities at Nangkatengey, Namal, Asipulo serving about 500 residents of said place and nearby barangays. (MBL- PIA CAR, Ifugao)
Activities conducted include the mass surrender and oath taking of 14 alleged Militia ng Bayan members and six New People’s Army (NPA) supporters, medical and dental consultation with tooth extraction, circumcision/minor surgical operation, blood typing and distribution of free medicines.

Aside from the medical services, the 54th IB conducted a youth peace slogan campaign contest, video presentation and tree-growing activity. The attendees also availed free haircut, vegetable seeds, school supplies, books, toys, food pack items, hygiene kits and second hand clothes.

Lt. Col. Narciso Nabulneg, Jr. said the activity forms part of the Community Support Program (CSP) in the barangays advocated by Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) which aims to deliver basic services and bring the government closer to the people especially in far flung barangays or geographically isolated and distressed areas.

“The event is a good manifestation that the whole of government approach can be at hand through the intensified stakeholders’ engagement which further attains the AFP’s advocacy for a peaceful, developed and progressive community. I also encourage other NGOs who are advocating the same activity to converge with us and share our common goals to the community in order to have a one stop shop in future undertakings,” Nabulneg added.

Asipulo Mayor Armado Domilod said the municipal government, in partnership with other service providers, is doing its best to provide the necessary services to the community especially the construction of farm to market roads that would help them uplift their living condition.

Meanwhile, an information education campaign was conducted by government agencies like the Department of Education, Philippine National Police, Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Provincial Social Welfare and Development Office, Department of Health, LGU-Asipulo, Bureau of Fire Protection, Department of Interior and Local Government, Philippine Information Agency and Philippine Red Cross.

AFP launches ‘All in One Bayanihan’ in Ilocos Sur

From the Philippine Information Agency (Aug 9): AFP launches ‘All in One Bayanihan’ in Ilocos Sur

FREE EYE GLASSES. Military health staff distributes free eyeglasses to the old folks in Barangay Patac, Galimuyod, Ilocos Sur during the "All in One Bayanihan” program on August 4, 2018. The "All in One Bayanihan” is a civic action program initiated by the Northern Luzon Command (NOLCOM) of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) to outreach health services and livelihood training to residents. (FGL/PIA-1)
GALIMUYOD, Ilocos Sur - - The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) through the Northern Luzon Command (NOLCOM) launched its Civic Action Program dubbed "All in One Bayanihan" to bring social services to the residents on August 4.

At least 3,000 residents received the social services and training provided by 30 doctors, nurses, and other health practitioners from the local government units (LGUs), NOLCOM, and its partners.

The event held formally at the covered court in Barangay Patac, Galimuyod town with the presence of the residents and local government officials led by Galimuyod town Mayor Juanito B. Balingsat and the team of NOLCOM spearheaded by Lieutenant General Emmanuel Salamat.

Also, present during the program were the 702nd Brigade of Joint Task Force (JTF) "KAUGNAY" led by Brigadier General Henry A. Robinson Jr., the army’s 81st Infantry Battalion (81IB), the GO SHARE Foundation headed by Mr. Noel Gonzales, the local police, and other stakeholders.

Lt. Col. Isagani Nato, spokesperson of the NOLCOM, said that a classroom and two dental buses from NOLCOM and the provincial government of Ilocos Sur, which can cater two patients at a time per bus, were used for the dental services.

“The ‘barangay tanod’ and other municipal volunteers were trained on Humanitarian and Disaster Response (HADR) Training, Self-Defense, and first responders training," said Nato.

Aside from free haircut and free pictorials in a photo booth, he said that gift giving, distribution of school supplies, books for the three libraries, face painting, and food cart services were likewise held.

Simultaneous with the other activities, a peace and order consultative meeting was conducted to discuss related matters on safety and security of the communities against local threats.

“The municipal and barangay officials, together with the representatives from the security sector attended the meeting,” he said.

During the meeting, the AFP discussed the deception, exploitation and recruitment efforts of the Communist Terrorist Groups on the youth and Indigenous People (IP).

Meanwhile, a representative from the Department of Agriculture conducted an information dissemination on free livelihood programs on livestock, poultry, and aquaculture subsidized by the government.

The "All in One Bayanihan" was realized upon request by the residents and followed-up by the LGU to NOLCOM officials.

“Through this All in One Bayanihan," Nato said, "the people are given the chance to avail of the needed basic services because of collaboration and cooperation among the stakeholders."

Army spox: Nueva Vizcaya still a peaceful province

From the Philippine Information Agency (Aug 9): Army spox: Nueva Vizcaya still a peaceful province

BAYOMBONG, Nueva Vizcaya – This province is still a peaceful province despite the presence of left-wing rebels in its borders with Nueva Ecija, Aurora, Ifugao and Quirino, a Philippine Army official said in a recent Provincial Peace and Order Council (PPOC) and Provincial Anti-Drug Abuse Council (PADAC) meeting.

Army’s 69th Infantry Batallion spokesperson 1st Lt. Alvin Villar said several sightings of the New People’s Army (NPA) rebels have been reported during the second quarter of this year.

The sightings, he said were reported in the southern towns of the province such as in Kayapa, Aritao, Dupax del Sur, Dupax del Norte, Kasibu and Alfonso Castaneda.
1st Lt. Alvin Villar, spokesperson of the army’s 69th Infantry Batallion says they already conducted a series of combat operations in the reported areas where the communist rebels were reportedly present but it turned out to be negative. (Photo by PLGU NV facebook page)

“We have conducted a series of combat operations in the reported areas where the communist rebels were reportedly present but it turned out to be negative,” Villar said.

He added that officials and ordinary villagers of the province should be proud that the province still remains to be a peaceful area compared in other provinces in the country.

“Nueva Vizcaya’s remote villages are [reportedly] frequented by rebel groups as their encroachment areas near the province’s boundaries in an attempt to reorganize their supporters but are in difficulty because of government efforts to improve the lives of the villagers,” Villar said.

The Philippine Army’s 86th Infantry Batallion covering the northern towns of the province such as Diadi, Bagabag, Solano, uezon, Bambang and Bayombong in its report also regarded the NPAs as utilizing remote areas near the province’s boundary with Quirino province as their safe haven for the conduct of mass-based recruitment activities.
Its report also said the communist rebels might conduct harassments and raids on police and military checkpoints through ambushes, land mining, abduction and liquidation of key government officials.

This is fueled by the arrest of top ranking NPA members in Ilagan City, Isabela and the confiscation of IEDs in Quirino province, the report said.

Army eyes more rebels joining govt. amnesty program

From the Philippine Information Agency (Aug 9): Army eyes more rebels joining govt. amnesty program

BAYOMBONG, Nueva Vizcaya -- A Philippine Army official expressed optimism that more left-wing rebels will surrender under the government’s amnesty initiative known as the Enhanced-Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP).

Captain James Deanio, spokesperson of the army’s 84th Infantry Batallion of the 7th Infantry Division said they have already conducted various E-CLIP activities in their respective areas of coverage which resulted in the surrender of New People’s Army (NPA) rebels.

Captain James Deanio, spokesperson of the army’s 84th Infantry Batallion of the 7th Infantry Division says they are expecting more surrenderees in Nueva Vizcaya as they instensify their campaign. (Photo by PLGU NV facebook page)

“We expect more surrenderees in Nueva Vizcaya as we intensify our E-CLIP campaign in areas threatened by the rebels,” he said during the recent joint meeting of the Provincial Peace and Order Council (PPOC) and Provincial Anti-Drug Abuse Council (PADAC).

The E-CLIP benefits provide assistance for the integrees and their legitimate families. It is locally-driven, managed and implemented. The province or highly urbanized city is the focal point of authority and management of the integration program to provide more sustainability and consistency.

Deanio said major benefits for the E-CLIP integrees include P15,000.00 livelihood assistance fund and additional P50,000.00, medical and legal assistance , among many other services.

Surrendered firearms will also be compensated depending on their type and classification as high or low power.

He said E-CLIP is created by Administrative Order No. 10 signed by President Rodrigo Duterte in April 3 this year.

The program covers E-CLIP integrees since April 3, 2018 which includes CPP-NPA-NDF and Militia ng Bayan members.

Former rebels get tools, seeds for organic farming in Palawan

From the Philippine News Agency (Aug 9): Former rebels get tools, seeds for organic farming in Palawan

HELPING FORMER REBELS IN PALAWAN: (From left) Lt. Col. Darwin de Luna, commanding officer of Marine Battalion Landing Team 4; Renato Pantaleon, provincial director of TESDA in Palawan, Mayor Mary Jean Feliciano of Brooke’s Point; a former rebel dependent; and Abigail Ablaña, chief of the Palawan Provincial Social Welfare and Development Office (PSWDO), during the distribution of garden tools and starter seedlings on August 6 in Brooke’s Point town. (Photo contributed by Romeo Tan)
PUERTO PRINCESA CITY, Palawan -- Some 25 former rebels, their dependents, and a few indigenous peoples (IPs) in southern Palawan recently received garden tools and starter seeds after completing a 10-day training on organic vegetable production and farming in Brooke’s Point, southern Palawan.
The training, which leads to Organic Agriculture Production (OAP) NC II course, was held in May but the vegetable gardening tools and seedlings were only distributed on August 6, Abigail Ablaña, the chief of the Provincial Social Welfare and Development Office (PSWDO) in the province, on Thursday said.
Ablaña said these are part of the Local Social Integration Program (LSIP) of the provincial government of Palawan under the PSWDO.
“Actually, ang ibinigay sa kanila na garden or farm tools ay bahagi ng local amnesty program natin na LSIP for former rebels, yong mga dependents din nila at mga IPs para naman hindi sila ma-motivate to join the leftist movement kapag nire-recruit (Actually, the garden or farm tools are part of our local amnesty program, which is LSIP for former rebels, their dependents, and the IPs so they will not be motivated to join the leftist movement when they are being recruited),” she said.
The training is implemented by the provincial government with the military’s Western Command (Wescom), the municipal government of Brooke’s Point under Mayor Mary Jean Feliciano, and the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) to provide livelihood means to the returnees in the southern part of the province.
The short TESDA course trained participants in the production of organic farm products, including supplements such as fertilizers, applying safety in farm operations, producing organic vegetables, and other skills.
It is aside from the financial support and the assistance they were already awarded for shelter, education, food, counseling, and others.  
“We saw the need to do this for our former rebels and their dependents para meron silang livelihood ngayong bumalik na sila sa mainstream ng society (so they’ll have livelihood now that they are back in mainstream society),” she added.
Meanwhile, Myla Pamplona of the TESDA in Palawan, said the 25 trainees will be assessed soon for their certificates of competency on organic vegetable production (OVP), which can lead them to being NC II certified on OAP should they decide to pursue their training.
“Sila pa lang ang mga former rebels na nag-undergo ng competency training na ito. I-a-assess sila para makuha nila ang certificate of competency, wala pa lang available ngayon na mag-e-evaluate (They are the first group of former rebels to undergo their competency training. They will be assessed to get their certificates of competency, unfortunately, the evaluator is not available right now),” she said also Thursday.
The LSIP is implemented by the PSWDO after the approval of the Provincial Board of Palawan of local Ordinance 1540 in 2015, which establishes the implementing guidelines on the provision of assistance to rebel returnees.

2 Maute members, 5 supporters yield in Lanao del Sur

From the Philippine News Agency (Aug 9): 2 Maute members, 5 supporters yield in Lanao del Sur

The firearms and ammunition that the two members and five supporters of the ISIS-inspired Maute group have yielded to authorities when they surrendered on Monday in Masiu, Lanao del Sur. (Photo courtesy: Army’s 1st Infantry Division PIO)

Two alleged members and five suspected supporters of the Islamic State for Iraq and Syria (ISIS)-inspired Maute group surrendered in Lanao del Sur, a top military official said Thursday.

Maj. Gen. Roseller Murillo, Joint Task Force ZAMPELAN commander, identified the Maute member-surrenderers as
Panarigan Tama Baoraki alias Golden Boy and Hadji Rasul Amembering.

Murillo said the Maute supporters who surrendered were identified as
Omair Amembering, Amir Salik, Andy Salem Amembering, Zolaica Amatonding, and Norman Fatima Casan.

They surrendered at around 11 a.m. Monday to the Army’s 49th Infantry Battalion headed by Lt. Col. Edgar Allan Villanueva in Masiu, Lanao del Sur.
Baoraki and Amembering were targets of the military operation on July 26 but have managed to escape, the military official said.

He said the surrenderers yielded high-powered firearms and war materiel consisting of the following: one M-14 rifle; two M16A1 “Baby Armalite rifles; one steel magazine for M-14 rifle; two long stell magazines for M-16 rifle; 16 rounds M-14 ammunition; and nine rounds M-16 ammunition.
“I commend the collaborative efforts of all stakeholders in Lanao del Sur led by 49IB for the successful negotiations which resulted to the peaceful surrender of the Maute-ISIS terrorists supporters,” Murillo said, adding that the surrender was facilitated by local government officials, police and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).

“Our recent successes in combat operations have been yielding positive outcome pushing the remnants of the Maute-ISIS group members and supporters to surrender. More so, these successes clearly indicate their dwindling organizational leadership and capabilities,” he added.

He said the surrenderers have been placed under custodial debriefing at the headquarters of the Army 103rd Infantry Brigade, while the surrendered firearms were turned over to the 49th Infantry Battalion for safekeeping.

Former Marine battalion chief in Palawan wins Metrobank award

From the Philippine News Agency (Aug 9): Former Marine battalion chief in Palawan wins Metrobank award

METROBANK FOUNDATION'S 10 OUTSTANDING FILIPINO AWARDEE: File photo shows the awardee, Lt. Colonel Danilo Facundo (in blue polo shirt), shaking the hand of a soldier and being saluted before he left as commander of the Marine Battalion Landing Team-4 in southern Palawan early this year. (Photo courtesy of MBLT 4)
PUERTO PRINCESA CITY, Palawan -- The former commanding officer of a Philippine Marine Corps (PMC) battalion here has received one of the 10 Outstanding Filipinos awards from the Metrobank Foundation (MF).
Lieutenant Colonel Danilo Facundo, former commander of the Marine Battalion Landing Team 4 (MBLT 4), was chosen as one of the recipients of the MF’s career-service award for championing joint and inter-agency campaigns against terrorism and insurgency.
During his stint in Palawan, Facundo’s battalion leadership saw the employment of the inter-agency approach, which brought all government and non-government agencies in sharing the responsibility of resolving interdependent issues about radicalism and rebellion.
“Through joint and inter-agency approach, the outlook was to bring all agencies in Palawan with different interests and functions, but with commonalities, to identify and share one responsibility and get to the bottom of it,,” he said Thursday.
He added that violent extremism and insurgency can only be worked out in the province if all agencies – government and non-government– maximize their resources and common resolve against existing difficult issues and circumstances.
Part of the method, he explained, was establishing the concept of SMART, or Sustained Multi-agency Assistance in Resort and Tourist areas, to exchange valuable information against threats to communities.
“The approach foresees a crisis management scheme that facilitates inter-agency cooperation and minimizes competition and conflicts among all that want one end state, which is to keep Palawan safe,” Facundo said.
He said the inter-agency method, which is now being sustained by the third Marine Brigade (MBde) and the Western Command (Wescom), resulted “in zero incident of kidnapping and insurgency” in Palawan.
As part of his award, Facundo will be receiving PHP1 million from the Metrobank Foundation. 
After leaving Palawan early this year as commander of the MBLT 4, Facundo was assigned as the director of the Mobile Training and Exercise Unit of the PMC in Fort Bonifacio, Taguig.
He is one of only three members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) awarded this year. 
The others are Philippine Army Major Francis Señoron, an explosives engineer; and Philippine Air Force warfighter Lt. Colonel Thomas Ryan Seguin.
The seven other awardees in different categories are Mary Jane Ramos of Misami Oriental, who is a culture and environment heroine; literacy crusader Alma Jaganap, EdD; first female geophysical expert Carla Dimalanta, PhD; science education innovator Aimee Marie Gragasin; Camp Crame’s operations game changer Senior Supt. Pascual Muñoz; horse-mounted cop Senior Insp. Dennis Ebsolo, PhD.; and enforcer-educator Senior Police Officer 1 Aida Awitin.

DND earmarks P90-M for M-16 bullets

From the Philippine News Agency (Aug 9): DND earmarks P90-M for M-16 bullets

The Department of National Defense is allocating some PHP90.3 million for the acquisition of 21 million rounds of 5.56mm M855/SS109 bullets.

The funding for the acquisition program will be sourced from the General Appropriation Act FY 2018.

Winning bidders are required to deliver the bullets, which the military will use in M-16 rifles, within 180 calendar days from the receipt of the Contract and Notice to Proceed.

Bidders should have completed, within the last five years from the date of submission and receipt of bids, a contract similar to the project, the bid bulletin posted at the Philippine Government Electronic Procurement System said.

Pre-bid conference is on August 16, 10 a.m. at the DND-Bids and Awards Committee Conference Room, Basement, Right Wing, DND Building, Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City while the bid opening is on August 28, at the same time and venue.

"The HOPE (Head Of Procuring Entity) reserves the right to reject any and all bids, declare a failure of bidding, or not award the contract at any time prior to contract award in accordance with Section 41 of RA 9184 and its IRR, without thereby incurring any liability to the affected bidder or bidders.

"Further, the HOPE reserves the same right, if the funds/allotments for said program/project/activity have been withheld or reduced through no fault of its own," DND Bids and Awards Committee 1 chair Assistant Secretary Manuel Felino Ramos said in the bid bulletin.

PH Navy test-fires surface-to-surface missile in Bataan

From the Philippine News Agency (Aug 9): PH Navy test-fires surface-to-surface missile in Bataan

A Spike-ER (extended range) surface-to-surface missile test-fired by a Philippine Navy multi-purpose assault craft off Lamao Point in Limay, Bataan Thursday. (Photo courtesy of Philippine Navy)

MANILA --- The Philippine Navy (PN) formally entered the missile age after it test-fired its Rafael Advanced Defense Ltd. Spike-ER (extended range) surface-to-surface missile off Lamao Point, in Limay, Bataan Thursday morning.

The missile was fired from one of the Navy's multi-purpose assault craft (MPAC), Navy spokesperson Cmdr. Jonathan Zata said.

He added that the missile firing was part of the Sea Acceptance Test (SAT).

"The PN together with teams from Rafael Advanced Defense Systems Ltd. and the Technical Inspection and Acceptance Committee of the Department of National Defense (DND) oversaw the test-firing activity that included the SAT for the mini-Typhoon machine gun system and SAT for the Spike-Extended Range missile launching system.

"The activity is necessary to test, inspect and accept the weapons and its systems in accordance with the contract for the final acceptance of the system," Zata said.

Present during the missile firing were PN flag-officer-in-command Vice Admiral Robert Empedrad and other senior naval officers, along with the DND Defense Acquisition Office representatives who were aboard another Navy vessel to witness the event.

"A Spike-ER missile was fired and accurately hit the designated target at approximately six KM (kilometers) away from the firing platform. The target was hit dead center even if the sea state condition was moderately rough with wave of at least one meter high but within the normal firing conditions of the missile," Zata added.

The PN MPAC Acquisition Project entered into a contract with Rafael, through SIBAT of Israel Ministry of Defense, for the supply and integration of the weapons systems to MPAC Mark III platforms.

On April 15, 2017, DND Secretary Delfin Lorenzana approved the Notice to Proceed.

The MPACs were constructed by the Subic-based Propmech Corporation and activated on May 22, 2017.

"Another actual live firing demonstration of the Spike ER missile will be scheduled with the Commander-In-Chief, the President of the Philippines, President Rodrigo Roa Duterte in attendance," he added.

The Spike-ER system, which arrived in the country last April, is the PN's first missile weapon, capable of penetrating 1,000 mm (39 inches) of rolled homogeneous armor and having a range of eight kilometers.

Palace hopes accord on oil exploration ready prior Xi's PH trip

From the Philippine News Agency (Aug 9): Palace hopes accord on oil exploration ready prior Xi's PH trip

While there is no specific timeline set for a final draft bilateral agreement on the joint exploration in the disputed West Philippine Sea, Malacañang is hopeful the document will be ready before Chinese President Xi Jinping visits Manila.

"No time frame, but of course with the impending visit of President Xi, I would say that it is anytime between now and the visit of President Xi, but it was not expressly stated as such," Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said on Thursday.

The Palace official said Xi is slated to visit the country after attending the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) in November.

Roque said the administration is now "moving towards a bilateral agreement that would enable the joint exploration to happen."

Roque reiterated that President Rodrigo Duterte is keen on pursuing the cooperation with Beijing as the two nations find ways to settle overlapping territorial claims in the area.

“The President has repeatedly said that he’s open to joint exploration, number one because the Supreme Court says it is constitutional in La Bugal, and number two because it is pursuant to national interest,” he said.

Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano earlier said the chief executive already approved the establishment of a technical working group (TWG) for the Philippine-China joint exploration.

The TWG, composed of various government agencies, will also have a legal team focused on giving advice and assistance once negotiations start.

The legal team will focus on three components--the oil and gas, Constitutional law, and the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.