Thursday, October 4, 2018

20 NPA rebels, 97 supporters surrender in Bukidnon

From Update Philippines (Oct 5): 20 NPA rebels, 97 supporters surrender in Bukidnon

20 NPA rebels, 97 supporters surrender in Bukidnon

Capt. Norman Tagros, the Army’s 403rd Infantry Brigade’s civil-military operations officer, said 20 of the surrenderers were members of the NPA’s Militia ng Bayan (MB) who also brought along with them 18 assorted firearms.

Tagros said the 97 others were members of the Sangay ng Partido sa Lokalidad (SPL), the NPA’s underground mass organization.

Gen. Eric C. Vinoya, commander of the 403rd Infantry Brigade, assured the former members and supporters of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and NPA of the government’s assistance through the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP).

Vinoya, co-chairman of the Bukidnon E-CLIP Committee, lauded the decision of the surrenderers to “reject violence and terrorism” of the NPA and its political wing, the CPP.

He said NPA regulars and Militia ng Bayan members will receive cash and livelihood assistance, firearms remuneration, and housing, health, and employment assistance.

Lt. Col. Ronald M. Illana, commanding officer of the Army’s 8th Infantry Battalion, called on the surrenderers to sustain their allegiance to the government and support the poverty alleviation program of President Rodrigo Duterte.

Cabanglasan Mayor Renante V. Inocando hailed the rebels’ surrender as a “symbolic day not only for our municipality but also for the country.”

Inocando praised the former rebels for supporting the government and for answering the people’s call for “peace and freedom from all threats of violence and terrorism.”
The mayor assured that the local government will continue to deliver basic services and consult with the former rebels to ensure their successful transition from the communist movement to mainstream society.

Hundreds flee in NorthCot village as armed Lumads avenge kin’s death

From MindaNews (Oct 4): Hundreds flee in NorthCot village as armed Lumads avenge kin’s death

Hundreds of residents from both settlers and Lumads left their homes in a remote area in the hinterland of Arakan town in North Cotabato after a group of armed indigenous people on Monday entered their village to avenge the death of a kin, reports said.

Arakan, North Cotabato.

The Lumads, according to Arakan municipal information officer Leo Reovoca, were members of the Matigsalog tribe from neighboring Barangay Tawas in Kitaotao, Bukidnon.

He said that the armed Matigsalogs wanted to avenge the death of one of their tribesmen who got killed after he attended a public dance in a nearby barangay on September 30.
The Lumads, said Reovoca, call this as “pangayaw” or “revenge.”

He added that the relatives of the slain Matigsalog believed the killer resides in Barangay Sumalili in Arakan, so they went to the area the next day and hacked to death a certain Dolfo Handumon, an Ilonggo.

Reovoca stressed that Handumon had nothing to do with the September 30 killing of a Matigsalog.

Handumon, according to Reovoca, was tending his farm when a group of armed Matigsalogs killed him on the spot on that day.

“When the residents of Barangay Sumalili knew what happened to Handumon, they left the place for fear of also being killed by the natives,” said the municipal information officer.

Reovoca said that on October 2, in the hope of settling the disputes between the Matigsalogs and residents of Barangay Sumalili, Arakan Mayor Rene Rubino went to the area and started to dialogue with the concerned families.

During the talks attended by tribal elders, both parties agreed to pay the Matigsalog family a certain amount as “blood money,” Reovoca said.

“Mayor Rubino, on his part, bought a carabao worth P15,000 and gave the farm animal to the bereaved family of the slain Matigsalog. There was peaceful settlement of the issue after that,” he said.

On Wednesday, however, residents of Barangay Sumalili again panicked after they saw a group of armed men entering their village, said Chief Insp. Jose Mari Molina of the Arakan police.

“Instead of returning to their homes on October 3, they chose to stay at the barangay center for fear another killing might take place,” said Reovoca.

He could not yet ascertain if the area is now safe for their constituents.

“The mayor has ordered the PNP to closely monitor the village and already sought help from the Army to ensure nothing … will happen again in our place,” Reovoca said.

4 more alleged terror group members nabbed in South Cotabato

From the Philippine News Agency (Oct 4): 4 more alleged terror group members nabbed in South Cotabato

Police arrested four more alleged members of an Islamic State-inspired local terror group in an operation on Wednesday afternoon in a remote village in Polomolok town in South Cotabato.

Chief Supt. Eliseo Tam Rasco, regional director of the Police Regional Office-12, said Thursday the suspects were nabbed at around 3 p.m. in a raid in Purok 7 of Sitio Komotan, Barangay Sumbakil in Polomolok.

Rasco identified the suspects as Mohamed Lompong, 28; Dats Kalangke, 27; Monib Sagadan, 40; and Adin Dala, 25, all residents of the area.

Elements of the Regional Mobile Force Battalion-12 and the Tupi and Polomolok municipal police stations conducted the raid due to the reported presence of murder suspects Arafat and Mommamad Bulacon in the area, the police official said.

The Bulacons, who were tagged as members of the terror group Ansar Al-Khilafa Philippines, had been charged for the killing of a police officer in Tupi town last month.

Upon the arrival of the operating team, Rasco said the two targets and their cohorts sensed their presence and immediately fled.

A brief chase ensued that resulted in the arrest of the four suspects, who were reportedly close associates of the Bulacons, he said.

Recovered from the possession of the suspects were two fragmentation grenades, a Smith and Wesson .22-caliber revolver with serial number S.4702Q4 loaded with seven live bullets, four live bullets of .45-caliber pistol, three camouflage uniforms, and three mobile phones.

“The two targets (Bulacons) unfortunately escaped but pursuit operations against them are ongoing,” Rasco said.

Arafat and Mommamad Bulacon eluded arrest last Monday in a raid by joint police operatives at their safehouse in Purok 1, Barangay Palian in Tupi town.

But three of their alleged cohorts were arrested, yielding suspected explosive materials and two emblems with markings of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.

The Bulacons were tagged as primary suspects in the murder of PO1 Achilles Tablazon in Palian last Sept. 15. 

Tablazon was a member of the security staff of Chief Supt. Ulysses Caton, the deputy regional director for administration of the PRO-12, and previously assigned at the intelligence branch of the South Cotabato Police Provincial Office based in Koronadal City.

Gov’t taps indigenous culture to bring peace to Mindanao

From the Philippine News Agency (Oct 4): Gov’t taps indigenous culture to bring peace to Mindanao

The government is “going back to the roots” to counter the growing threats of violent extremism and further foster peace in local communities in Mindanao.

In a press conference here on Thursday for the launching of Kalinaw Kultura Mindanao, Philippine Information Agency (PIA) Director General Harold Clavite said they are looking at the island’s rich indigenous culture and traditions as a potent tool to sustain the ongoing peace efforts on the island.

He noted that the proper understanding of local cultures can help change the mindset of vulnerable youths, especially among Moros, from getting lured into ideologies that promote violence and extremism.

Clavite acknowledged that a number of Mindanaoan youths had been easily recruited to join groups with terror leanings due to lack of education and wrong influences.

“But we can change that by making our young people understand who they are, where they came from, and how we, Mindanaoans, traditionally co-existed peacefully in the past,” he said.

Clavite said they are trying to achieve such goal by showcasing Mindanao’s indigenous culture and traditions through Kalinaw Kultura.

PIA, in partnership with the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA), Department of Tourism (DOT) and the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples, launched the initiative at the South Cotabato Gymnasium and Cultural Center here.

The event was the fourth stop in Mindanao after its earlier launching in the cities of Iligan, Butuan and Zamboanga.

At least five authentic cultural groups representing the Maguindanao, T'boli, B’laan and Manobo tribes showcased their cultures and traditions through rituals, songs and dances.

It was highlighted by a performance from Mindanaoan artist Bayang Barrios, who belongs to the Manobo tribe of Agusan del Sur province.

As part of the event, a delegation from the PIA and NCCA visited a cultural village of the T'boli tribe in Barangay Lemsnolon, T'boli town.

Through Kalinaw Kultura, Clavite said they are also hoping to help change the negative image of Mindanao as a “land of conflict.”

“This is an opportunity for us to show the other side of Mindanao, the peaceful and beautiful Mindanao,” he said.

Armin Hautea, regional director of DOT-12, said the event is a huge boost to their continuing efforts to promote Region 12 or Soccsksargen as a top cultural destination in the country.

He said it complements the agency’s initiatives to “show the real image of Mindanao” through tourism and culture.

John Axl Palisoc, NCCA culture and arts officer, said the event further empowers the Lumad or indigenous peoples of the area.

He said it also encourages the local tribal communities to exert more efforts in preserving their cultures and traditions.

“It gives them a sense of pride of who and what they are. That they are no longer marginalized but part of the mainstream society,” he added.

Army sees settlement of land dispute between Quiboloy, tribal group

From the Philippine News Agency (Oct 4): Army sees settlement of land dispute between Quiboloy, tribal group

The camp of Pastor Apollo Quiboloy and the tribal groups in the disputed lands here have agreed to resolve the alleged land grabbing issues involving the influential Christian sect.

Lt. Col Oscar Partuza, the commander of the Army's 3rd Infantry Battalion, on Wednesday said Quiboloy’s group and the Council of Elders of the Bagobo-Klata tribe will discuss next week the technical description of the disputed areas in Tamayong, Calinan District.

Quiboloy's Jesus Christ: The Name Above Every Name maintains two facilities on lands being claimed by the tribe.

Partuza said the first meeting between the two camps were held on August 27, wherein both sides agreed to settle the long-running land conflict peacefully. Quiboloy's camp, he added, was represented by Barangay Kagawad Benjie Villanueva.

During the first meeting, Partuza said both sides were able to settle several matters, such as the size of the area that Quiboloy has acquired from the tribe in Tamayong.

Partuza said Quiboloy himself has personally expressed hope to finally put an end to the land dispute issue, which in the past has resulted in allegations of harassment and violent acts perpetrated by the sect.

Quiboloy's name was even dragged in the killing of tribal leader Dominador Diarog and the wounding of his wife in a strafing incident on April 29, 2008 in Sitio Kahusayan, Manuel Guianga. The televangelist has repeatedly denied involvement in the incident.

Quiboloy has maintained that the issue was merely exploited by the New People’s Army (NPA) in the area to sow chaos divisions.

Partuza said the Army wants to resolve the issue so that the area can finally be developed, have access to government services, and its farm-to-market roads improved.

“Pastor Quiboloy wants true reconciliation,” Partuza said, adding that the dialogue is the best course of action.

He said the next meeting will be conducted in the presence of representatives of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), the Public Attorney’s Office, and the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP).

Earlier, NCIP Provincial Officer Cristito Ingay lauded the 3rd IB commander for facilitating the meeting between Quiboloy and the tribal leaders.

Korea’s largest arms maker teams up with PH’s top company

From the Philippine News Agency (Oct 4): Korea’s largest arms maker teams up with PH’s top company

The largest Korean arms maker has partnered with the Philippines’ top rifle manufacturer United Defense Manufacturing Corporation (UDMC) as part of the strengthened South Korea-Philippines defense cooperation.

S&T Motiv, a 45-year-old Korean major firearms manufacturer, and UDMC have recently signed a joint venture agreement signifying mutual partnership and cooperation between Korea and the Philippines.

UDMC chairman and CEO Gene Cariño said the objective of the deal is produce for the Philippine military and police force arms that are of
“high quality, accuracy and price-competitiveness with the vision of eventually expanding to other markets in the long-term”.

"The joint venture agreement demonstrates both our countries’ close mutual cooperation to support the government-level discussions on increasing the bilateral cooperation in the field of defense industry,” Cariño said in a press statement.

The Korean Ministry of National Defense and S&T Motiv have presented their line of defense technology products to President Rodrigo Duterte during his official visit to South Korea last June.

S&T Motiv is a 45-year-old Korean major firearms manufacturer recognized for its competitiveness in the global market by exporting various firearms to more than 30 countries including Europe, the Middle East and Southeast Asia.

“This is truly a beneficial partnership as S&T’s expertise integrated with UDMC’s significant research and development will substantiate the need for increased weapons capability of the Philippines,” Kijoon Yu, President and CEO of S&T Motiv Co., said.

Both UDMC and S&T Motiv have joined some 200 local and international ‘exhibitors’ in the “Asian Defense, Security & Crisis Management Exhibition and Conference 2018” (ADAS 2018) held on Sept. 26-28 at the World Trade Center in Pasay City.

Duterte visited the defense trade show, where officials of UDMC and S&T Motiv showed to him their latest line of accurate and reliable firearms that could meet the demands of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) modernization program.

UDMC is dedicated to the development, manufacture and distribution of assault and precision rifles, and is known particularly for their 5.56 and 7.62 NATO standard rifles used by the military and law enforcers.

The Philippine-based company has provided locally-manufactured weapons to the Philippine National Police (PNP), Philippine Air Force (PAF) and the Presidential Security Guard (PSG), which is indicative of its highly-capable and reliable line of firearm products.

Visiting PH contingent tours Russian submarine in Vladivostok

From the Philippine News Agency (Oct 4): Visiting PH contingent tours Russian submarine in Vladivostok

Photo courtesy of Philippine Naval Task Force 87

Members of Naval Task Force (NTF) 87, who are now on a six-day port visit to Vladivostok, Russia, had a chance to see firsthand a Russian diesel-electric submarine, the Komsomolsk-on-Amur, on Wednesday.

NTF-87 head Capt. Florante Gagua, in a statement, said this was made possible through the invitation of the Russian Pacific Fleet based in the said locality.

He added that the submarine was positioned near the location where the BRP Tarlac (LD-601) is currently docked.

The PN port visit started on Oct. 1 and will end on Saturday, October 6.

Some PN personnel were able to witness how the Komsomolsk-on-Amur was able to maneuver and approach the Filipino strategic sealift vessel.

"Together with the selected and privileged members of the PN contingent are the media personnel from the Philippines who were also allowed to visit the submarine. The event started around 2 o’clock and ended at 4 o’clock in the afternoon (local time). A total of 24 personnel (16 military and eight civilian) benefited the said tour," Gagua said.

Lt. Cmdr. Aleksey Lanskikh, the submarine's commanding officer, conducted a briefing prior to the tour.

The PN contingent was toured in different places of the submarine and the last place that was visited was the officers’ dining area or the wardroom.

Refreshments were served and exchanges of mementoes between NTF-87 head and the commanding officer of the submarine took place during the end of the tour, Gagua said.

Navy fetes Ancajas for 6th successful title defense

From the Philippine News Agency (Oct 4): Navy fetes Ancajas for 6th successful title defense

The Philippine Navy (PN) on Thursday accorded boxing champion and naval reservist Jerwin Ancajas a hero’s welcome after successfully defending his International Boxing Federation (IBF) junior featherweight belt in Oakland, California last September 30.

PN spokesperson Commander Jonathan Zata said Ancajas was honored at the Acero Hall of the Bonifacio Naval Station, Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City.

The Filipino boxer, a chief petty officer in the PN reserve force, was donned a medallion before riding a military jeep, also called the "white carabao", on his way to Acero Hall.

Leading the crowd to welcome the boxing champion was Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana and PN flag-officer-in-command Vice Admiral Robert Empedrad.

"This welcome honors manifest the Navy’s recognition of its outstanding personnel who embodies the core values of the organization, and brings honor and pride to the flag, and the Filipino people," Zata said.

The Panabo, Davao del Norte native defended his belt for the sixth time against Mexican Alejandro Santiago in 12 rounds.

AFP doesn't tag schools involved in CPP recruitment

From the Philippine News Agency (Oct 4): AFP doesn't tag schools involved in CPP recruitment

As it released the names of Metro Manila schools where the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) is allegedly holding its recruitment activities, the military on Thursday assured the public that its intention is not to brand these educational institutions as "communists".

"We wish to assuage the fear of our people about this recent development. In doing this, the AFP wants to create awareness among our people especially parents who were complaining and asking for our help," AFP spokesperson Brig. Gen. Edgard Arevalo said in a media statement.

He clarified that some of the schools on the list are still subject to validation.

"Having said that, we are firm in our position that some of the schools on that list have been, and widely known to have been used, as fora for communist recruitment. Some of the other schools on the list are being targeted. The students are agitated initially towards activism; mobilize them as militants, and finally recruit them as regular NPA (New People's Army) cadres and leaders to fill up the dwindling number of political cadres," Arevalo said.

As of Oct. 3, the total number of NPA regulars and sympathizers neutralized by the military is 10,049.

This included some 939 NPA regulars who surrendered and 104 who died in armed engagements with the AFP, Arevalo added.

In a text message to the Philippine News Agency (PNA) Wednesday, AFP deputy chief-of-staff for operations, Brig. Gen Antonio Parlade Jr., identified the schools as University of the Philippines (UP)-Diliman, UP-Manila; Polytechnic University of the Philippines-Sta. Mesa; Ateneo De Manila University; De La Salle University; University of Santo Tomas; Adamson University; Far Eastern University; University of the East (UE)-Recto; UE-Caloocan; Emilio Aguinaldo College; Eulogio "Amang" Rodriguez Institute of Science and Technology (EARIST); San Beda College; Lyceum of the Philippines; University of Makati; Caloocan City College (now the University of Caloocan City); University of Manila, and the Philippine Normal University.

"We have reports of concerned parents communicating to us their worries about the 'brainwashing' activities that their children were subjected to like films showing; video teleconferencing with a terrorist leader like Jose Ma. Sison; and Martial law reenactments during break time of high school students, etc," Arevalo said.

He said they are joining the multitude of parents wary of these creeping indoctrination of their children that tend to draw them into activism and radicalism.

"Beware of the wolves in sheep’s clothing. This we caution schools administration and parents about some members of the NPA infiltrating the schools," he added.

Arevalo said the AFP is reaching out to the Department of Education (DepEd), the Commission on Higher Education (CHEd), and the administrators of some of the schools to prevent the "arouse-organize-mobilize" scheme of the CPP-NPA.

"Lest we forget, the AFP as an institution is the protector of constitutionally guaranteed rights of our people. We do not censure, but as a matter of fact guard and support freedom of speech, of assembly, and of redress of grievances. But such should be done in a manner peaceful and orderly, and with due respect to other people’s rights. Because the moment there is resort to violence, the AFP will be there to prevent lawlessness," Arevalo added.

PNP to talk to 18 schools named in CPP recruitment

From the Philippine News Agency (Oct 4): PNP to talk to 18 schools named in CPP recruitment

The Philippine National Police (PNP) on Thursday said it will talk to the heads of the 18 universities and colleges in Metro Manila tagged by the Armed Forces of Philippines (AFP) where the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) is allegedly recruiting members to overthrow the government.

PNP Chief Director General Oscar Albayalde said he ordered National Capital Region Police (NCRPO) Regional Director, Chief Supt. Guillermo Eleazar, to coordinate with the school heads since they are located in Metro Manila.

“We will talk with the heads of these universities para makita at malaman natin kung ano talaga ang pwede natin maitulong (to see and know what we can help them),” Albayalde told reporters.

“Siguro (may be) it's high time that we have a direct, meron tayong gawing (that we do an) intervention kung talagang kinakailangan (if it is really needed),” he added.

AFP deputy chief-of-staff for operations, Brig. Gen Antonio Parlade Jr. on Wednesday identified the schools as University of the Philippines (UP)-Diliman, UP-Manila; Polytechnic University of the Philippines-Sta. Mesa; Ateneo de Manila University; De La Salle University; University of Santo Tomas; Adamson University; Far Eastern University; University of the East (UE)-Recto; UE-Caloocan; Emilio Aguinaldo College; Eulogio "Amang" Rodriguez Institute of Science and Technology (EARIST); San Beda College; Lyceum of the Philippines; University of Makati; Caloocan City College (now the University of Caloocan); University of Manila; and the Philippine Normal University.

He said the students in state universities and colleges (SUCs), as government scholars, should be wary of such communist indoctrination.

“These youths are given free education by no less than the government. In state universities, you are given free education by the government and yet hindi ka pa nag-gragraduate (you have not graduated), you are already going against the same government that gives you free education,” Albayalde said.

He added that faculty members and school personnel of SUCs should also be cautious of being enticed to join such indoctrication activities since they are public servants.

"So if we are being paid for by the taxpayers, kailangan ang serbisyo natin (so our service) is for the Filipino people also,” Albayalde added.

He also warned teachers who might be instigating their students to join the communist movement and even plot to overthrow the government, saying they could be charged with contempt for spreading false information.

“You could just imagine, you are inputting false information or knowledge to our students and we are trying to save generations dito (here) and yet ganun ang ituturo natin sa ating mga estudyante (that's what they are teaching to students)," Albayalde added.

Army: Insurgency problem to end in 2019

From the Sun Star-Davao (Oct 4): Army: Insurgency problem to end in 2019

WITH the continued accomplishments gained by the armed forces in its anti-insurgency campaign, the Philippine Army’s 10th Infantry Division (ID) is upbeat that the insurgency problem will end in 2019.

Division Public Affairs Office (DPAO) Chief of 10th ID Captain Jerry Lamosao said in an interview yesterday that they are fully supporting the pronouncement of the President in putting an end to decades-old communist rebellion in the country.

“We will support the statement of the President to put an end to the insurgency problem by the second quarter in 2019. We have basis because of the number of surrenderees that we have experience which is overwhelming in the area of 10th ID alone,” he said.

In their area of responsibility, they recorded 7,327 surrenderees and of this number, 437 are regular members of the New People’s Army (NPA), Militia ng Bayan (560), Sangay ng Partido sa Lokalidad (216), supporters (6,097) and left-leaning organization (17). This is an indicator that the strength of the reds is going down.

“We will beat the timeline,” he added.

Lamosao said troops continue to gain the support from the people in the community with reports they received on the ground should there are movement of the left in recruiting members. With these reports, they were able to take action to preempt any attempt.

He said the largest number of communist group is found in Compostela Valley.

Troops seize IEDs from NPA hideout

From the Manila Times (Oct 4): Troops seize IEDs from NPA hideout

Security forces raided a communist rebel hideout and seized improvised explosive devices (IEDs) in southern Philippines where insurgents also stormed a trader’s house and confiscated his automatic pistol.

Security officials said members of the 1st Marine Brigade and the National Intelligence Coordinating Agency recovered three improvised explosives during an operation on Tuesday in the village of Kiponget in Sultan Kudarat’s Palimbang town.

But soldiers failed to capture any member of the New People’s Army (NPA) in the hideout, which is being used by rebel leaders Bobo Fernandez and Ofelia Buanhog, of Guerrilla Front 73.
Troops managed to locate the camp after civilians tipped off the military about the place that had been frequented by armed men.

Soldiers also seized anti-government propaganda.

“The operation was the result of the sustained focused military operation against the local threat group,” according to Maj. Gen. Cirilito Sobejana, commander of the 6th Infantry Division.

But other communist rebels also struck on Tuesday on the other side of the region and raided a house belonging to Bobby Calo, who owns a hardware store and coconut farm in the town of Nasipit in Agusan del Norte province.

 Calo is being accused by the NPA of maltreating his employees.

Omar Ibarra, a rebel spokesman, said they confiscated Calo’s automatic pistol and warned him to treat his employees fairly.

“His workers had been complaining against his brutal and abusive conduct, such as beating his workers while at the field. Yet, he perpetuated such act. Hence, the Red fighters of NPA-WANAS made this decisive action,” Ibarra added.

The Red fighters seized a Glock-40 from Calo.

His long rifle was not confiscated as he kept it in another place, Ibarra said.

The NPA has been fighting for many decades now for the establishment of a separate state.

President Rodrigo Duterte has ordered troops to destroy the rebel group after government peace talks with the insurgents collapsed.

Philippines, U.S. Marines Launch Anti-Terror Drills

From BenarNews (Oct 3): Philippines, U.S. Marines Launch Anti-Terror Drills


Philippine and U.S. Marines participate in an amphibious landing exercise, May 9, 2018. AP

Amid reports of a resurgent Islamic State (IS) presence in Southern Philippines, more than 1,300 U.S. and Filipino Marines began joint large-scale anti-terrorism training, officials said Wednesday,

The exercises, dubbed “Cooperation of Warriors at Sea,” scheduled to run until Oct. 10, focuses as well on humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations, military spokesman Col. Noel Detoyato said.

The training falls under the annual Balikatan, or “shoulder-to-shoulder,” exercises between the defense allies.

Detoyato said about 100 Japanese Marines were invited to join as observers in the trainings to be carried out in different parts of Luzon island.

“The Philippines and U.S. agreed on 281 security cooperation activities for 2019, an increase over 2018,” Detoyato said.

The allies look forward to “ongoing close cooperation in areas central to our national and security interests, including counter-terrorism,” Detoyato said.

In an assessment released recently, the U.S. State Department listed the Philippines along with Afghanistan, India, Iraq and Pakistan, as among five countries with the most terrorist attacks.

Terrorism funds

Nikki de la Rosa, leader of the think-tank International Alert Philippines which tracks conflicts, said that while the Marawi crisis is over, militant groups appear to have funding to fuel their terroristic activists as they continue to evade capture.

The five-month war in Marawi caused the number of violent conflicts in the province of Lanao del Sur to increase to 942 incidents in 2017 from 514 in 2016. Deaths resulting from these conflicts, rose to 1,358 compared to 310 the previous year.

The entire southern Mindanao region remains under military rule and President Rodrigo Duterte has said dozens of militant leaders escaped from Marawi.

The survival of extremist groups in Lanao areas and in a sprawling marshland in central Mindanao “reinforce the belief that they had access to funds from many sources including shadow economies,” de la Rosa said Tuesday.

Additionally, remnants of the militant groups blamed for the Marawi siege “used kinship networks to expand their resources and evade capture,” she said.

Apart from IS-affiliated fighters who had escaped from Marawi, other groups, such as the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters and the Abu Sayyaf were also fighting the military.

Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque said government is ready to thwart any additional IS threat in the country.

“We assure the public that we are in a better position to deal with terrorists. Let them try to sow terror, we are ready to implement the laws of the Philippines,” Roque told reporters.

117 Reds surrender in Bukidnon

From the Sun Star-Cagayan de Oro (Oct 4): 117 Reds surrender in Bukidnon           

GOVERNMENT security forces have facilitated on Tuesday, October 2, the mass surrender of suspected members of the New People’s Army (NPA) and its underground organizations in Cabanglasan, Bukidnon.

In a statement, the military claimed that said some 117 communist insurgents and NPA supporters returned to the folds of the law as they turned themselves in to the local authorities.

The military said among those who surrendered were 20 members of the NPA's Militia ng Bayan (MB) who yielded three high-powered and 15 low-powered firearms, and some 97 members of the Sanga sa Partido sa Lokalidad (SPL) and underground mass organizations.

They laid down their arms in front of Cabanglasan town Mayor Renante Inocando, 403IB commander Brigadier General Eric Vinoya, Bukidnon provincial police director Senior Superintendent Benedicto Pintor, and 8th Infantry Battalion commanding officer Lieutenant Colonel Ronald Illana.

During the mass surrender ceremony said individuals pledge their oath of allegiance to the government and burned the flag of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF) as a “testament to their intent to reject and deny violence and terrorism by the said organization.”

Illana urged those who surrender and the community to sustain their allegiance to the government.

“We would like to encourage all of you to always be supportive of the government and its peace and development thrusts. Do not fear the CPP-NPA because your Philippine Army and your Philippines National Police, in collaboration with the local government unit, are here to assist you,” Illana said.

Vinoya has also assured that the former NPA fighters and supporters will avail the government's assistance through the enhanced comprehensive local integration program (E-Clip).

“You have made a good decision by rejecting violence and terrorism posed by the CPP-NPA. Now that you have embraced peace, rest assured that the government will assist you through the E-Clip,” Vinoya said.

“NPA regulars and MB members will receive cash and livelihood assistance, firearms remuneration and housing, health and employment assistance. This is to prove the sincerity of the government to end violence, promote peace, and help our former rebel brothers and sisters,” he added.

Mayor Inocando also led the delivery of basic services and consultation dialogues among the affected residents together with the local government agencies.

President Duterte orders AFP to neutralize communist rebels

From the Philippine Information Agency (Oct 3): President Duterte orders AFP to neutralize communist rebels

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte salutes one of the awardees during his visit to Camp Juan Ponce Sumuroy in Catarman, Northern Samar on October 2, 2018. ROBINSON NIÑAL JR./PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte on Tuesday, October 2, instructed the Armed Forces of the Philippines to intensify its intelligence gathering thrust to effectively neutralize communist insurgents, particularly in Northern Samar and nearby areas.

“The best way is intelligence. Magbuhos kayo ng intelligence. Then, pag nakuha niyo, it’s neutralization,” the President said during his remarks at Camp John Ponce Sumuroy, 803rd Infantry Brigade.

The Chief Executive reiterated that individuals who are joining the New People’s Army, bearing firearms, are automatically committing rebellion. “There is no crime prevention because the crime is being perpetrated 24 hours a day. So hindi mo kailangan magtanong pa kung may warrant-warrant diyan,” he said.

The President also lauded the brigade in their relentless efforts in maintaining law and order, as well as protecting the life and welfare of the Filipinos in the region.

“From January to September of this year, the 803rd Brigade conducted internal security operations, resulting in the apprehension and surrender of NPA members. Also noteworthy is their prompt and efficient disaster response in times of calamities,” the President noted.

To augment the operation of the 803rd Infantry Brigade, President Duterte promised to the troops that he would provide them additional transport vehicles and fund support for the enhancement of the roads inside the camp, the administration building, and the 8th ID Liaison Office building.

“I have your back. Just continue performing your duties well, and you can be assured that [as] we honor your courage and dedication, this administration will take care of you and your families by providing you with the necessary [social] and financial assistance.”

Army endorses Pangasinan to be declared as insurgency-free

From the Philippine Information Agency (Oct 4): Army endorses Pangasinan to be declared as insurgency-free

A field unit of the Philippine Army has endorsed the province of Pangasinan as insurgency-free in the national level after a recent successful validation conference in Lingayen, Pangasinan, according to Lieutenant Colonel Eugenio Julio Osias IV, the spokesperson of the army’s 7th Infantry Division (7ID)

Osias said on Friday that on June 13, 2018, a joint recommendation between the army’s 702nd Infantry Brigade, an operation unit of 7ID and the Pangasinan police provincial office was signed, endorsing Pangasinan to be declared as insurgency-free.

A requirement prior to the declaration of Pangasinan as insurgency-free is a pronouncement of the Area Clearing Evaluation Board (ACEB) that the province is cleared of local terrorist groups (LTGs) and the Communist NPA terrorists (CNTs).

“The main agenda of our recent ACEB meeting in Lingayen, Pangasinan is to evaluate the area clearing conducted by the Area Clearing Evaluation Team (ACET) based on given parameters that qualifies an area to be an insurgency-free,” Osias said.

“In the local level, we already certified Pangasinan as insurgency-free province,” he added.

Leading the Philippine Army’s group during the meeting was Brigadier General Lenard T. Agustin, the assistant division commander of the army’s 7ID based in Fort Magsaysay, Nueva Ecija and the current ACEB chair, while representing the province of Pangasinan was Governor Amado I. Espino III.

“Upon the endorsement by the army’s 7ID on Pangasinan as insurgency-free, the Northern Luzon Command (NOLCOM) of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) will revalidate for the national level declaration,” said Osias.

“I’m optimistic that before year ends, Pangasinan will finally be declared as insurgency-free in the national level,” he added.

Once Pangasinan is declared as insurgency-free in the national level, he said this will boost economic investments and opportunities in the province.

Meanwhile, Major General Felimon T. Santos, Jr., the commanding general of the army’s 7ID, assured to the people of Pangasinan that the 7ID will still give its support to the development programs of the province and will always lend a hand whenever help is needed despite of it being declared as insurgency-free.

Jovito Palparan, the once powerful general, is now in Bilibid

From Rappler (Oct 3): Jovito Palparan, the once powerful general, is now in Bilibid

'The mothers as well as the other victims and their relatives can sleep at peace for now,' says the National Union of People's Lawyers
'THE BUTCHER' IN BILIBID. Retired Major General Jovito Palparan stays in a crowded quarantine jail facility inside the New Bilibid Prison in Muntinlupa City. Photo by Adrian Portugal/Rappler
'THE BUTCHER' IN BILIBID. Retired Major General Jovito Palparan stays in a crowded quarantine jail facility inside the New Bilibid Prison in Muntinlupa City. Photo by Adrian Portugal/Rappler

Retired army major general Jovito Palparan will spend the first night of his up to 40-year sentence at the national penitentiary, far from the comforts of the military detention he has enjoyed the past four years.
Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra confirmed to reporters that Palparan was moved to the New Bilibid Prison (NBP) 7:45 pm on Wednesday, October 3.
Palparan was found guilty of kidnapping and serious illegal detention in the 2006 disappearance of University of the Philippines (UP) students Karen Empeño and Sherlyn Cadapan. He will serve a sentence of up to 40 years at the NBP.
As for the mothers and relatives of Empeño and Cadapan, “they can sleep at peace for now,” said Edre Olalia, president of the National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers (NUPL).

The NUPL, which represents the families of Empeño and Cadapan, has been pressing the military for the transfer for weeks.

Tonight the NUPL learned along with the media that the transfer was finally done, with Olalia calling it “surreptitious and far from the klieg lights he revelled in during his arrogant heydays.”

The NUPL accused the military of coddling Palparan and acting in contempt of court for delaying the transfer.

Malolos Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 15 convicted Palparan on September 17.

Judge Alexander Tamayo was clear on the day of the conviction that Palparan was to be immediately moved to Bilibid. Tamayo issued a commitment order to Bilibid on the same day.

It took the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) 17 days to execute the transfer.

Palparan stayed in Fort Bonifacio for the 4 years he was on trial.

Also transferred were Palparan’s fellow convicts Lieutenant Colonel Felipe Anotado and Staff Sargeant Edgardo Osorio.
The transfer happened because Tamayo denied the appeal of the Philippine Army for Palparan to continue staying at the military camp in Fort Bonifacio because of a pending case at another branch of the Malolos court.

Olalia said that the Army filed its appeal on September 24, “which means that the Army decided on its own to keep Palparan in its custody, contrary and in violation of a clear court order.”

“We will make those who coddled him accountable for later,” said Olalia.

U.S. And Philippine Militaries Will Increase Security Cooperation in 2019

Posted to the US Naval Institute (USNI) (Oct 3): U.S. And Philippine Militaries Will Increase Security Cooperation in 2019

Admiral Philip Davidson, Commander of the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command (Indo-PACOM), and General Carlito Galvez, Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines signed agreements on security cooperation activities for 2019 at this year’s Mutual Defense Board and Security Engagement Board. U.S. embassy photo.

U.S. and Philippine military leaders pledged increased cooperation and collaboration in 2019 despite past anti-American rhetoric from the Pacific nation’s president and his stated desire to foster closer ties with China.

When the 2018 Mutual Defense Board and Security Engagement Board (MDB-SEB) was signed late last week by U.S. Indo-Pacific Command commander Adm. Phil Davidson and Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines Gen. Carlito Galvez, the ceremony celebrated continuing cooperation dating back to the end of World War II.

The event also sent an unsubtle hint to China that the U.S.-Philippine military alliance still exists, Greg Poling, the director of the Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative at the Center for International and Strategic Studies, told USNI News.

“It does send the message everything is on an even keel, the alliance remains strong,” Poling said. “The big concern has been what does the election of Rodrigo Duterte as president of the Philippines mean to the alliance. He’s unabashedly anti-American, unabashedly pro-Chinese.”

After his 2016 election, Duterte’s first trip was to China. He also threatened to prohibit the Philippine military from taking part in large-scale military exercises with the U.S., Poling said. But since then, Philippine military and civilian officials appear to have impressed the importance of military exercises, exchanges, and cooperation with the U.S. to combat terrorism and provide disaster relief, Poling said.

As part of the MDB-SEB, the U.S. and the Philippines agreed to conduct 281 security cooperation activities in 2019, according to a statement from INDO-PACOM. That figure is about 20 more than what will be held this year. It’s hard to say what this increase means, Poling said, since these activities include everything from major large-scale exercises to small training opportunities and meetings between mid-level government officials.

The MDB started in 1958, and the SEB in 2006. Both boards are used to coordinate defense and security cooperation between the militaries of both nations, according to the INDO-PACOM release.

However, the scope of the U.S./Philippine partnership has expanded beyond basic security cooperation. The recent Balikatan exercise focused on disaster relief. And earlier this year the Philippine military was able to retake control of Marawi with assistance from U.S. special forces, Poling said. Marawi, a city in the southern Philippines, had for nearly half a year been under siege by fighters aligned with the Islamic State.

Admiral Philip Davidson, Commander of the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command (Indo-PACOM), and Gen. Carlito Galvez, Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines receive honors at Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City, Philippines. US Embassy photo.

At the same time, even as Duterte has publicly stated his preference to align with China, Poling said many in the Philippines and the region remained wary of China’s threatening and bullying actions to assert control over shipping lanes and fishing rights in the South China Sea.

The military alliance between the U.S. and Philippines was never really in danger, Poling said. But the public ceremony renewing the annual military agreements does let everyone know cooperation between the two nations continues.

“To Beijing, it’s sending the message: however close you might be to the current populist president of the Philippines, you haven’t really undercut the foundation of the alliance, which was there before Duterte and will be there after Duterte,” Poling said.

AFP official: CPP recruits in Manila schools through martial law film screenings

From CNN Philippines (Oct 3): AFP official: CPP recruits in Manila schools through martial law film screenings

BGen. Antonio Parlade Jr. says school boards may not be aware that the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) are actively recruiting members from Manila schools.

A military official claimed that the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) is recruiting members in more than 10 universities in Manila through screenings of martial law films.

BGen. Antonio Parlade Jr., Assistant Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), said the films incite students to rebel against the government.

Parlade named that the schools "notorious for school activism" are projecting President Rodrigo Duterte as an authoritarian like former President Ferdinand Marcos.

He cited the following names: Adamson University, Ateneo de Manila, Caloocan City College, Earist-Eulogio Amang Rodriguez, Emilio Aguinaldo College, De La Salle University, Far Eastern University, Lyceum College, Philippine Normal University, Polytechnic University of the Philippines, San Beda College, University of the East (Recto and Caloocan), University of Makati, University of Manila, University of the Philippines (Manila and Diliman), and the University of Santo Tomas (UST).

He said school boards may not be aware that the CPP is actively recruiting members from these schools.

"What the students don't know is that if the CPP wins in this campaign they will implement what's in the CPP constitution," Parlade said, referring to the CPP's establishment of a "proletarian dictatorship."

One of the schools tagged by Parlade denied the claim.

In a statement released on Twitter, UST Central Student Council President Francis Santos said the AFP report was a "huge allegation," adding it was "outrageous, inappropriate and questionable."

"I believe that as an institution, the AFP must do their due diligence to verify and to ensure the veracity of their intelligence information because it has now put the security of the students and of the university at risk," Santos said.

.@UST_CSC President Francis Santos' statement on the intel report of the Armed Forces of the Philippines:— The Varsitarian (@varsitarianust) October 3, 2018

Meanwhile, STAND UP, which describes itself as an alliance of organizations, fraternities and sororities in UP Diliman also released a statement denouncing the AFP's claim.

In the statement, UP Student Regent Ivy Taroma said, "Instead of responding to the students' clamor for genuine educational reform and a nationalist, scientific, and mass-oriented educational system, the Duterte administration responds to those calls with unrestrained state fascism. He has redtagged institutions, youth groups, and individuals and has exposed them to grave peril."

In the same statement, Anakbayan UP Diliman Chairperson Nickolo Domingo also said, "If Duterte wants a Red October, we will make it happen. We will paint the month red with fighting Duterte's tyrannical rule! The broad masses will not hesitate to oust a dictator. We will launch bigger protest actions in the coming days!"

The AFP official previously said at least 10 schools in Manila are gearing up for a "Red October" plot to oust Duterte.

"Ang bago ngayon, ini-incite nila 'yung mga estudyante na umalsa dahil dito sa mga issues na EJK (extrajudicial killings), kaya nagpi-film showing sila," he said.

[Translation: What's new is that they (CPP) are inciting students to rebel because of the issues on extrajudicial killings, that's why they have film showings.]

The CPP, in a earlier statement, denounced the crackdown on opposition protests.

"To tag people's protests as part of a so-called plot is a threat against legitimate people's organizations mounting these democratic mass actions. To misrepresent the broad coalition against tyranny as a mere conspiracy is to make its members open to suppression through state terrorism," it said.

Reinforcing the Philippines-US Alliance in an Age of Uncertainty

From The Diplomat (Oct 3): Reinforcing the Philippines-US Alliance in an Age of Uncertainty (By Christian Vicedo)

Tensions are rising in the South China Sea, and a US ally there has already drawn 'red lines' with China

Posted to CTPost (Oct 3): Tensions are rising in the South China Sea, and a US ally there has already drawn 'red lines' with China (By Christopher Woody, Business Insider)

 china coast guard scarborough
 AP Photo/Renato Etac                        
  • Tensions between between Washington and Beijing in the South China Sea appear to have spiked in recent days.
  • The situation there is already fraught, as many countries have challenged China over its expansive claims and its construction on contested territory.
  • The US, China, and the Philippines have already had a showdown over one of those territories, and things there could quickly escalate again.
Amid a simmering trade war, the US and Chinese militaries have exchanged tit-for-tat measures with each other in recent days in and above the South China Sea.

Over the weekend, a US Navy destroyer sailed close to Chinese-occupied territory in the area, a freedom-of-navigation exercise meant in part to contest Beijing's expansive claims.

During that exercise, a Chinese destroyer approached the US ship — reportedly as close as 45 feet — in what Navy officials called an "unsafe and unprofessional maneuver."

"The tension is escalating, and that could prove to be dangerous to both sides," a senior US official told Reuters on Sunday, after China canceled a meeting between its officials and Defense Secretary Jim Mattis — the second senior-level meeting called off in a week.

South China Sea Scarborough Shoal map

The encounter between the US and Chinese ships took place near the Spratly Islands, at the southern end of the South China Sea. Farther north, at Scarborough Shoal, the US, the Philippines, and China have already butted heads, and their long-standing dispute there could quickly escalate.

The Philippines took over Scarborough after its independence in 1946. But in 2012, after a stand-off with the Philippines, China took de facto control of the shoal, blocking Filipino fishermen from entering.

Chinese control of Scarborough — about 130 miles west of the Philippine island of Luzon and about 400 miles from China's Hainan Island — is an ongoing concern for the Philippines and the US.

Given the shoal's proximity to the Luzon, if "China puts air-defense missiles and surface-to-surface missiles there, like they have at other South China Sea islands, they could reach the Philippines," Bryan Clark, a senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, said in late August.

That would be "the most direct sort of pushback on the Philippines' attempt to assert control over Scarborough Shoal," said Clark, a former US Navy officer.

Beyond a challenge to Manila, a military presence on Scarborough could give China more leverage throughout the South China Sea.

philippines south china sea
Reuters/Erik de Castro

Scarborough would be one point in a triangle edged by the Spratlys and the Paracel Islands, both of which already house Chinese military outposts.

While China can use shore-based assets in the air-defense identification zone it declared over the East China Sea in 2013, the eastern fringe of the South China Sea is out of range for that, Clark said.

"So their thought is, the Chinese would really like to develop Scarborough Shoal and put a radar on it so they can start enforcing an ADIZ, and that would allow them to kind of complete their argument that they have control and oversight over the South China Sea," Clark said.

Given Scarborough's proximity to bases in the Philippines and the country's capital, Manila, as well as to Taiwan, a presence there would extend China's intelligence-gathering ability and maritime-domain awareness, said Greg Poling, director of the Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

"But above and beyond the military implications ... China has a political interest in establishing control over all the waters and airspace within the nine-dash line, in both peace and war," Poling said in an email, referring to the boundary of China's expansive claim in the South China Sea.

'What is our red line?'
xi jinping rodrigo duterte
Getty Images

After 2012, Manila took its case to the Permanent Court for Arbitration at The Hague, which ruled in favor of the Philippines in July 2016, rejecting China's claims and finding that Beijing had interfered with Philippine rights in its exclusive economic zone, including at Scarborough. (EEZs can extend 230 miles from a country's coast.)

Ahead of that ruling, the US detected signs China was getting ready to reclaim land at the shoal, and then-President Barack Obama reportedly warned Chinese President Xi Jinping of serious consequences for doing so, which was followed by China withdrawing its ships from the area.

That warning was followed by increased Pentagon activity in the region, including flying A-10 Thunderbolts, which are ground-attack aircraft, near Scarborough a month later.

Tensions between China and Philippines eased after the ruling was issued, however, as Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, who took office in July 2016, pursued rapprochement.

The Philippines said in February 2017 that it expected China to try to build on the reef, which Manila called "unacceptable." The following month, Chinese authorities removed comments by an official about building on Scarborough from state-backed media, raising questions about Beijing's plans.

South China Sea
REUTERS/Ritchie B. Tongo

More recently, the Philippines warned China of its limits at Scarborough.

"What is our red line? Our red line is that they cannot build on Scarborough [Shoal]," Philippine Foreign Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano said in May.

Cayetano said the other two red lines were Chinese action against Philippine troops stationed at Second Thomas Shoal in the Spratlys and the unilateral exploration of natural resources in the area. He said China had been made aware of the Philippine position and that Beijing had its own "red line" for the area.

In July, the acting chief justice of the Philippine supreme court, Antonio Carpio, said Manila should ask the US make Scarborough an "official red line," requesting its recognition as Philippine territory under the US-Philippine Mutual Defense Treaty, which obligates each to come to the aid of the other in case of attack.

"Duterte himself has reportedly said that Chinese construction of a permanent facility at Scarborough would be a red line for the Philippines," Poling said.

The Philippines' "one real option" to try to prevent Chinese construction on Scarborough would be to invoke that defense treaty, Poling said.

south china sea uss lassen
REUTERS/Senior Master Sgt. Adrian Cadiz/Department of Defense

It's not clear if the treaty applies to the shoal, Poling added, "but the treaty definitely does apply to an attack on Filipino armed forces or ships anywhere in the Pacific."

"So Manila would probably need to send Navy or Coast Guard ships to interfere with any work China attempted at Scarborough ... and then call for US intervention should China use force."

That could cause China to back off, as Obama's warning in 2016 did, Poling said.

While China has pulled back from previous attempts to build on the shoal, "they've got ships floating around the area just waiting for the chance," Clark said in late August. "So I wouldn't be surprised if China tries to restart that project in the next year to ... gauge what the US reaction is and see if they can get away with it."

That would almost certainly force the hand of the US and the Philippines.

"If China's able to start building an island there and put systems on it, and the Philippines doesn't resist ... all bets are off," Clark said. "China feels emboldened to say the South China Sea is essentially a Chinese area."
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3 local terror group members nabbed in South Cotabato

PTV News MD (Oct 2):  3 local terror group members nabbed in South Cotabato

Joint operatives arrested three alleged members of an Islamic State-inspired local terror group and recovered several explosives in an operation in Tupi town in South Cotabato early Monday.

Chief Supt. Eliseo Rasco, regional director of the Police Regional Office-12, said Akmad Bulacon and sons Muktar and Zandro were nabbed in a raid at a house in Purok 1, Barangay Palian in Tupi.

He tagged the three as members of notorious criminal and terror group
Ansar Al-Khilafah Philippines (AKP).

Armed with arrest warrants, Rasco said operatives from the Philippine National Police-Special Action Force, Anti-Kidnapping Group, National Intelligence Coordinating Agency and the Tupi and Polomolok municipal police stations stormed the house of the Bulacons at around 2 a.m.

He said the operation mainly targeted cousins Arafat and Mohammad Bulacon, who were charged for the killing of Police Officer (PO) 1 Achilles Tablazon in the area last Sept. 15.

But the official said the two targets managed to escape by fleeing towards the mountainous area of Barangay Lunen, Tupi.

He said Akmad, the father of Arafat, and sons Muktar and Zandro were cornered by operatives while trying to escape.

Recovered from the three were a backpack containing two black emblems with markings of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, two blasting caps, ammonium nitrate, bandolier with several ammunition of 5.56-M16 rifle, a fragmentation grenade and three rifle grenades, he said.

Rasco said the operating team also seized two motorcycles that were reportedly used in the killing of Tablazon in front of his house in Barangay Palian, Tupi.

The slain police officer was a member of the security staff of Chief Supt. Ulysses Caton, the deputy regional director for administration of the PRO-12, and previously assigned at the intelligence branch of the South Cotabato Police Provincial Office based in Koronadal City.

Rasco said the three suspects are currently detained at the Tupi municipal police station lockup pending the filing of appropriate charges.

“We have ongoing manhunt operations against the two subjects of the arrest warrants,” he said.

Police described the AKP as an Islamic State-inspired group operating in South Cotabato, Sarangani and General Santos or Socsargen area and part of the local network of the Maute Group.
The group, which originated in Sarangani Province, was tagged as behind a string of killings, armed robberies, illegal drug activities and terror attacks, including the Sept. 16 bomb explosion here that left eight people wounded.