Saturday, August 25, 2018

3 farmer activists gunned down in Comval

From the  often pro-Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) online publication the Davao Today  (Aug 24): 3 farmer activists gunned down in Comval

Three farmer-activists who are members of Compostela Famers Association (CFA) were shot dead in Compostela Valley by an unidentified assailant last August 21, a local farmers group reported on Friday.

Noli Villanueva, chairperson of Compostela Valley Farmers Association, identified the victims as
Rolly Panebio and couple Gilbert and Jane Labial.

Rolly Panebio, 46, security staff of Salugpungan Learning Center Campus in Bango,Compostela Valley was shot dead by a motorcycle-riding gunmen at 10:30pm in Purok 24 in Bango, Compostela Valley while on his way home after his shift in the school last Saturday night.

Panebio was declared dead on arrival in the hospital.

After visiting Panebio’s wake at Alar Funeral Parlor the next day, Gilbert and Jane Labial were also shot dead by unidentified gunmen.

A barangay councilor who were with the victims at the time of the incident said that Gilbert Labial saw the assailant on their way home but were trapped and repeatedly shot by the assasins.

“The three farmers between February to March surrendered to the 66th IB detachment to ensure their safety as they were tagged as members of the NPA. They were active in the campaign against mining and militarization,” Villanueva said.

“Farmers and lumads were actively defending their lands against the entry of mining company Agusan Petroleum,” he said. “We do not have firearms. We are not NPA. Even without Martial Law, at least 10 members of the organization are in imprisoned in the provincial jail and 6 members were killed under the Duterte administration.”

Meanwhile, Karapatan Southern Mindanao Region said that there are now 87 victims of extrajudicial killings under the Duterte administration.

Wounded rebel surrenders to military in Misamis Occidental

From the Mindanao Examiner (Aug 24): Wounded rebel surrenders to military in Misamis Occidental

PAGADIAN CITY – A 17-year old communist rebel wounded in a recent firefight with government soldiers has surrendered Friday to the army in the town of Bonifacio in Misamis Occidental province in southern Philippines, officials said.

Maj. Ronald Suscano, a spokesman for the 1st Infantry Division, said the rebel is currently being treated in hospital for a gunshot wound he sustained during a clash with troops August 11 in Tangub City.

“He personally disclosed that he sustained one gunshot wound in his left knee during the clash and was abandoned by his comrades while fleeing. He is still a minor, 17 years old, and presently recuperating at the hospital,” Suscano said.

Suscano, quoting Lt. Col. Ryan Severo, commander of the 10th Infantry Battalion, said the young New People’s Army rebel will receive P15,000 cash assistance and another P50,000 as livelihood aid from the government as part of the amnesty program launched by President Rodrigo Duterte in an effort to convince insurgents to abandon their armed struggle and return to the fold of law.

He said aside from the monetary assistance, the rebel could also avail psychosocial debriefing from the Department of Social Welfare and Development, and livelihood skills training from the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority, including employment and capacity building from different government institutions and even security from the military and police as part of the amnesty program.

Just recently, 18 rebels also surrendered to the 10th Infantry Battalion in Oroquieta City.

Troops clash anew with Sayyafs in Sulu

From the Mindanao Examiner (Aug 24): Troops clash anew with Sayyafs in Sulu

Troops clashed Friday with pro-ISIS militant group Abu Sayyaf in Sulu province in southern Philippines, but security officials said no casualties were reported on the government side.

Lt. Col. Gerry Besana, a spokesman for the Western Mindanao Command, said the fighting erupted in two areas in Maligay village in Patikul town where soldiers clashed with about 30 militants under
Abu Sayyaf sub-leader Almujer Yadah.

It was unknown if there were Abu Sayyaf members killed in the fighting, Besana said.

Soldiers also clashed Thursday with militants led by sub-leaders Iddang Susukan and Ben Tattoo in Patikul’s Langhub village. Besana said 20 soldiers were wounded in the battle after militants fired M203 grenades on security forces.

He said security forces were still pursuing the Abu Sayyaf group in the town’s hinterlands. The Abu Sayyaf has been fighting for the establishment of a caliphate in the troubled region.

PN operates at par with modern 'RIMPAC' counterparts

From the Philippine News Agency (Aug 25): PN operates at par with modern 'RIMPAC' counterparts

Despite lacking modern ships and weapons, the Philippine Navy (PN) has proven itself capable of operating at par with more modern partners during the recently-concluded "Rim of the Pacific" (RIMPAC) exercises in Hawaii.

"It (the exercise) also validated the age-old principle that it's always the men behind the guns that will ultimately make the difference. That in spite of the current capabilities of the Navy, we were still able to perform very well and at par with our more modern partners," PN spokesperson Commander Jonathan Zata said Friday when asked what lessons the Navy has learned in such maneuvers.

Zata added that many lessons can still be gleaned once the after-mission report of the PN contingent is submitted and evaluated.

"Those are just some of the observations. Further details of the many lessons learned still have to be gleaned from the after-mission report to be submitted by the contingent," he said.

The PN deployed the strategic sealift vessel BRP Davao Del Sur (LD-602) and frigate BRP Andres Bonifacio (FF-17), an AgustaWestland naval helicopter, and 700 sailors and marines for the exercises, which began June 27 and ended on Aug. 2.

The assets participated in several RIMPAC exercises, such as helicopter cross-decking, live-fire exercises, a special operations training, ground-air integration, and replenishment-at-sea.

"The Philippine Navy’s participation to RIMPAC 2018 trumpets the Command’s commitment in promoting multilateral cooperation to strengthen relationship and cooperation among participating navies of the world," the PN spokesperson earlier said.

China's Xi Jinping to visit PH in Nov

From the Philippine News Agency (Aug 25): China's Xi Jinping to visit PH in Nov

Chinese President Xi Jinping is set to visit the Philippines in November as a follow-up to the recently held high-level economic meetings between Philippine and Chinese economic and infrastructure managers in Beijing, the Department of Budget of Management (DBM) said in a statement on Friday.

Chinese President Xi Jinping

Philippine government officials led by economic and infrastructure managers met Thursday with the Chinese Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM), led by Minister Zhong Shan, to discuss economic and trade ties between the Philippines and China.

The bilateral meeting stressed the need to deepen cooperation in commercial and infrastructure development, specifically under the Philippine government's "Build, Build, Build" program.

The Philippine delegation gave updates on the progress of China-financed infrastructure projects and projects pitched for feasibility study assistance by the Chinese government.

Both sides affirmed their commitment to strengthen economic ties and work together for the timely completion of the infrastructure projects.

Some of the projects discussed in the meeting were the Chico River Pump Irrigation Project, the Kaliwa Dam Project, the North-South Railway Project-South Line (Long Haul), the Subic-Clark Railway Project, and the Safe Philippines Project Phase 1.

"We came to China to coordinate with our counterparts and ensure that our priority projects will be rolled out and completed as planned," said Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno. "We appreciate all the help we can get with our ambitious Build Build Build program."

The MOFCOM meeting is part of the high-level meetings between the Philippines and China held in Beijing on August 22-24.

The Philippine delegation will also meet with the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, the China International Development Cooperation Agency, and the Export-Import Bank of China to explore additional avenues of cooperation, economic aid, and investments.

The Philippine delegation is headed by Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez, Diokno and Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia. The infrastructure managers included Public Works Secretary Mark Villar, Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade, and Bases Conversion Development Authority (BCDA) President and Chief Executive Officer Vince Dizon. Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Cayetano also accompanied the group in the series of meetings with the Chinese government.

5 Maguindanao towns surrender more loose firearms

From the Philippine News Agency (Aug 25): 5 Maguindanao towns surrender more loose firearms

MORE GUNS YIELDED. The Army’s 6th Infantry Division commander Brigadier General Cirilito Sobejana checks on one of 35 firearms surrendered by the civilians in five Maguindanao towns during a turnover ceremony held at the headquarters of the Army’s 40th Infantry Battalion in Rajah Buayan, Maguindanao. (Photo courtesy of 6ID)

CAMP SIONGCO, Maguindanao – Five Maguindanao towns on Friday turned over 35 additional loose firearms to military authorities.

Brigadier Gen. Cirilito Sobejana, the Army’s 6th Infantry Division chief, received the surrendered firearms in a simple turnover ceremony held at the headquarters of the Army’s 40th Infantry Battalion in Barangay Zapakan, Rajah Buayan town.

Sobejana said the firearms were surrendered by civilians from the municipalities of Rajah Buayan, Sultan sa Barongis, Shariff Aguak, Shariff Saydona Mustapha, and Mamasapano, as part of the military’s firearms reduction program of the government.

The surrendered firearms consisted of six Garand rifles, eight M14 rifles, one M16 rifle, one M79 rifle, one rocket-propelled grenade, one K3 rifle, one 60-mm. mortar projectile, eight shotguns, five Barrett sniper rifles, two KG9 machine pistols, and one Grease gun.

“To prevent terrorism in Maguindanao, we need to work together to address the security challenges in the region,” Sobejana said during the ceremony.

“It is really a challenge for us to fight terrorism as 70 percent is needed to be addressed by the local government units (LGUs) while 30 percent is addressed by the military if the people will resort to becoming armed,” he added.

To date, a total of 1,948 loose firearms had been surrendered to the 6ID by local governments in the provinces of Maguindanao and North Cotabato.

Gov't aid assured for 6 NPA surrenderers in Bukidnon

From the Philippine News Agency (Aug 25): Gov't aid assured for 6 NPA surrenderers in Bukidnon

MALAYBALAY CITY, Bukidnon – Six members of the New People’s Army (NPA) who surrendered separately this week will be provided the appropriate government economic assistance as they start their new life, an Army official said Friday.

Brigadier Gen. Eric C. Vinoya, commander of the Army's 403rd Infantry Brigade (IB), said the surrenderers will receive livelihood assistance and other aid packages under the government’s Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP).

“They will receive firearms remuneration, as well as cash, livelihood, employment, housing, and health assistance,” Vinoya said, as he called on the remaining rebels and their supporters "to embrace peace, go back to the folds of the law."

Capt. Norman M. Tagros, 403 IB civil-military operations officer, identified one of the surrenderers as a certain Alias Lito, vice commanding officer of the NPA’s Militia ng Bayan under NPA’s Section Committee 89, North Central Mindanao Regional Committee (NMRC).

Lito brought along with him a .45-caliber pistol when he surrendered to the elements of the 8th Infantry Battalion in Impasug-ong town, Bukidnon on Thursday, Tagros said. Impasug-ong, a first-class municipality, is located on the northern part of the province.

Tagros said that on Wednesday, five members of the NPA’s Guerilla Front 68 also surrendered to the elements of the Army's First Special Forces Battalion in Pangantucan town. He said Alias Gorio, Alias Bryan, Alias Roskie, Alias Benjie, and Alias Ryan surrendered at about 8 a.m.

The NPA's Guerrilla Front operates in the hinterland areas of Lantapan, Pangantucan, Baungon, Talakag, all located within the Kitanglad Mountain range.

During the custodial debriefing, Tagros said the surrenderers revealed the hardships they had experienced in their stay with the communist organization.

He said the surrenderers felt betrayed by the NPA's "false promises, particularly the assurance of support for their respective families that was never been given."

Lt. Col. Ronald M, Illana, the Army's 8th Infantry Battalion commanding officer, noted that the NPA usually dangles promises of support for potential recruits, but that these are nothing but "deception and lies."

Illana said the NPA -- the armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines -- "is losing its grasp on its members. Most of them already realized that they have all been deceived and are now looking for ways to make peace with the government."

Injured NPA rebel surrenders in Misamis Occidental

From the Philippine News Agency (Aug 25): Injured NPA rebel surrenders in Misamis Occidental

The government will extend cash and livelihood assistance to a wounded New People’s Army (NPA) rebel who surrendered in Misamis Occidental, military officials said Saturday.

The injured NPA rebel, Jemar Labito Salayon alias Ka Edward, surrendered at 9 a.m. Friday to the Army’s 10th Infantry Battalion (IB) in the town of Bonifacio, Misamis Occidental, said Lt. Col. Ryan Severo, 10th IB commanding officer.

Severo said Salayon will receive PHP15,000 in immediate cash assistance and PHP50,000 in livelihood assistance.

He said Salayon can also avail of the services of other government agencies, such as psycho-social debriefing from the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD); skills training by the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA); employment and capacity building from the different institutions of the government; and security as guaranteed by the Armed Forces of the Philippines and Philippine National Police.

Major Ronald Suscano, the Army’s 1st Infantry Division information officer, said Salayon was among the NPA rebels who figured in a clash with the 10th IB troops in Barangay Hoyohoy, Tangub City last August 11.

According to Suscano, Salayon said he was hit in the left knee during the clash and was abandoned by his comrades as they retreated.
He said Salayon, who is 17 years old, is recuperating at a hospital in Ozamis City.

Salayon's surrender came five days after 18 members of the NPA’s Sanga ng Partido sa Lokalidad (SPL) and Militia ng Bayan (MB) surrendered to the 10th IB in Oroquieta City, Misamis Occidental.

“The surrender of this rebel and many other supporters is a welcome development in our ongoing effort in supporting the peace and development agenda of the government. We would like to transform Misamis Occidental into a conflict-free area that would bring peace and prosperity for the local folks of the province,” said Col. Bagnus Gaerlan, commander of the 102nd Infantry Brigade.

Major Gen. Roseller Murillo, 1st Infantry Division commander, commended the troops who facilitated the surrender of the NPA rebels “for a job well-done.”

“Our efforts are relentless as we are tirelessly urging the remaining members of the New People’s Army and their supporters here in Western Mindanao to just lay down their arms, surrender and return to the folds of the law. We will help you start a new life,” Murillo said.

“As we expressed our support for the localized peace talk, we will likewise unrelentingly pursue the remaining enemies of the Filipino people – the NPA -- until they voluntarily surrender or the hands of justice will be served to them,” he added.