Thursday, October 25, 2018

Security forces hold capability demo for Boracay reopening

From the Philippine News Agency (Oct 25): Security forces hold capability demo for Boracay reopening

SIMULATION EXERCISE. Soldiers and other security forces take part in a simulation exercise of drowning incident, kidnapping scenario, bomb attack, hostage-taking, fire, and search and rescue operation held at the White Beach of this world-famed island on Thursday (October 25,2018). (Photo by Karen Bermejo)

BORACAY ISLAND, Aklan -- A simulation exercise of drowning incident, kidnapping scenario, bomb attack, hostage-taking, fire, and search and rescue operation was held at the White Beach of this world-famed island on Thursday, a day before its reopening.

The capability demonstration exercise is part of ensuring that security forces in Boracay uphold the highest standard, said Director General Oscar Albayalde, chief of the Philippine National Police (PNP).

“Along with the rebirth of Boracay, we are proud to showcase a completely overhauled security system and peace and order program that will address the perennial issues and concerns that we have experienced during the previous tourism operations prior to Boracay closure,” Albayalde said during a media interview before the demonstration began.

With the anticipated heavy influx of tourists during its reopening on Friday, Albayalde said the restructuring of the Malay Police Station (MPS), wherein its main based was transferred to Boracay, will strengthen the island’s security.

With the restructuring, five police substations were also established to ensure the safety of island residents and tourists.

From 200 regular police personnel, Albayalde said more than 400 policemen will be stationed in Boracay. Two brand-new vehicles will also be turned over to the Boracay police.

The more than one-hour capability demonstration exercise was joined by members of the Metro Boracay Task Force (MBTF) including the Philippine National Police, Philippine Army, Philippine Coast Guard, Philippine Navy, Bureau of Fire Protection, Malay Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office as well as other rescue and volunteer groups on the island.

Chief Supt. John Bulalacao, director of Police Regional Office-Western Visayas, said they aim for zero major incidents during the island’s reopening after six months of closure.

“With the reopening of the island, we will be expecting more human activities. Therefore, the increase of crime incidence is expected,” he said.

As a tourist area, the task force is also preparing for possible incidents involving terrorism in Boracay.

Albayalde said the PNP, which will also help enforce environmental laws on the island, will work closely with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources in strictly implementing environmental laws as well as local ordinances including the anti-littering law.

The PNP has also tapped the community to help ensure safety and environment protection.

The activity dubbed as "KaligKasan", coined from Kaligtasan (security) and Kalikasan (environment) will train community volunteers as eco-warriors. It will be launched during the island’s reopening.

Army turns over hanging bridge to southern Negros villagers

From the Philippine News Agency (Oct 25): Army turns over hanging bridge to southern Negros villagers

STEEL HANGING BRIDGE. Himamaylan City Mayor Agustin Ernesto Bascon (left) checks out the newly-constructed steel hanging bridge at Sitio Cabagal, Barangay Buenavista after the inauguration and blessing on Wednesday (October 24, 2018). (Photo courtesy of 3rd Civil Military Operations Battalion)

Residents of the far-flung barangay of Buenavista in Himamaylan City will now have easier access from and to their village following the completion of a steel hanging bridge in their community.

The PHP2.3-million bridge project, built by the 542nd Engineer Construction Battalion (542nd ECB) with funding from the local government unit, was turned over to barangay officials by the Philippine Army’s 303rd Infantry Brigade headed by Col. Alberto Desoyo and the city government, led by Mayor Agustin Ernesto Bascon, on Wednesday.

Bascon and his mother, Vice Mayor Carminia Bascon, who both attended the inauguration and blessing of the bridge project, expressed their appreciation to the 542nd ECB for their significant contribution to Himamaylan City.

“We are thankful to the 542nd ECB. This is the fourth time they have built a steel hanging bridge in Himamaylan City,” the officials said.

The 80-meter bridge, mainly located in Sitio Cabagal, connects four other sitios in the village, including Malo, Palay, Vito and Universal, whose residents mainly rely on farming for livelihood.

The bridge was constructed since residents, including schoolchildren, would often get stranded during rainy days when the water level rises, preventing them from crossing the river.

Most of the residents of Barangay Buenavista, located about 10 kilometers from the city proper, earn a living from planting sugarcane, corn, rice and vegetables.

The project, which started in July, is expected to be completed in November yet, but the turn-over was held ahead of schedule.

Officials of Barangy Buenavista, headed by village chairman Harry Niggins, received the project after the blessing rites officiated by Rev. Fr. Jose Gerson Te-ad.

The turn-over rites was also witnessed by Lt. Col. Meliton Reyes, commanding officer of 542nd ECB; Lt. Col. Egberto Dacoscos, commanding officer of 62nd Infantry Battalion; and Major Udgie Villan, acting commanding officer of the 3rd Civil Military Operations Battalion.

Defense chief lauds 6ID for recovered loose guns

From the Philippine News Agency (Oct 25): Defense chief lauds 6ID for recovered loose guns

DESTROYED. Soldiers use electric saws to destroy machineguns and long-barreled guns surrendered and recovered in the area of responsibility of the Army’s 6th Infantry Division. (Photo courtesy of 6ID)

CAMP SIONGCO, Maguindanao – Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana on Wednesday lauded the Army’s 6th Infantry (ID) and local officials in three Mindanao provinces for their coordinated effort to recover loose guns in their respective areas.

Lorenzana, the keynote speaker of the 6th ID’s 31st founding anniversary, witnessed the destruction of more than 1,500 assorted firearms surrendered by residents in the provinces of Maguindanao, Lanao del Sur, North Cotabato, and Sultan Kudarat.

“Keep it up, keep it going, more unlicensed guns are still out there,” Lorenzana told Army and local government officials. The guns were voluntarily surrendered by owners with the help of local officials as part of the Army’s disarmament campaign.

Others were recovered during military law enforcement operations in the past several months.

The destruction of the armaments--a highlight of the 6th ID's foundation anniversary activities--was witnessed by Major Gen. Cirilito Sobejana, 6th ID commander; Lt. Gen. Arnel Dela Vega, Western Mindanao Command chief; Maguindanao Governor Esmael Mangudadatu, and Sultan Kudarat Governor Pax Mangudadatu.

A road roller was used to destroy the war materiel inside the 6th ID camp, which included home-made machine guns, launchers for 60- and 81-millimeter mortars, and B-40 anti-tank rockets.

Other weapons were cut into pieces by soldiers through electric saws.

Dela Vega also lauded the support extended by local officials in collecting unlicensed firearms, in compliance with President Rodrigo Duterte’s disarmament directive.

Maguindanao had the highest number of surrendered firearms with about 1,000 assorted rifles.

Sobejana said the campaign would continue, especially in Maguindanao, because the Army believes that a lot of unlicensed firearms are still in the hands of unauthorized individuals and clans.

Troops seize NPA armory along N. Cotabato–Davao border

From the Philippine News Agency (Oct 25): Troops seize NPA armory along N. Cotabato–Davao border

CAMP SIONGCO, Maguindanao – Military authorities in Makilala, North Cotabato, on Wednesday have recovered a cache of firearms and explosives with the help of a former New People’s Army (NPA) rebel leader.
Lt Col. Rojon Rosales, commander of the Army’s 39th Infantry Battalion, said the war materiel was immediately presented to Brig. Gen. Robert Ancan, chief of the Army’s 1002nd Brigade based in Makilala.

Rosales said the recovery of the firearms and explosives in the borders of Makilala in North Cotabato and in the Davao del Sur town of Bansalan was made possible through the help of a
former NPA leader, identified only as “Amahan,” the former deputy secretary of the NPA Guerilla Front 51.

The firearms included an M653 Elisco rifle, four M16 rifles, one AK-47 rifle, two Garand rifles, several hand grenades, medical kit, and an NPA flag. “Some of the guns were recovered in Barangay Coronon, Sta. Cruz, Davao del Sur,” Rosales said.

He said that when “Amahan” surrendered to the Army, he vowed to help the soldiers locate the firearms hidden by his former comrades in Barangay Batasan, Makilala and in Sta. Cruz.

Rosales said Amahan decided to surrender due to the NPA’s failure to attend to his health needs.

Amahan claimed the leadership of the NPA Guerilla Front 51 wanted him to take the post of Jacob Rodinas, the deputy leader of the group who died in a clash with Army troopers last year.

Rosales said the Army maintains its door open for rebels who would like to come down from the hills and rejoin the mainstream society.

Gov't forces forge common protocol in fight vs. terrorism, crimes

From the Philippine News Agency (Oct 25): Gov't forces forge common protocol in fight vs. terrorism, crimes

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) in Eastern Mindanao have signed an agreement to enhance efforts in the government’s fight against terrorism, anti-criminality, insurgency, and anti-illegal drugs.

The Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) between the AFP and the PNP was signed on the sidelines of the joint command conference of the AFP’s Eastern Mindanao Command (EMC) and the Directorate for Integrated Police Operation, Eastern Mindanao (DIPO-EM) of the PNP at Grand Men Seng Hotel on Thursday.

Lt. Gen. Benjamin Madrigal Jr., Eastmincom commander, said the agreement on joint efforts is better than coming up with respective campaign plans and command guidance.

Madrigal said the AFP and the PNP decided to have one common campaign plan so that the strength of guidance of Eastern Mindanao AFP units will be in sync with PNP units.

“Hindi yung katulad dati na (It will not be the same) coordination, but rather what I will say will also be said by the police. That is why we can integrate our actions plus eventually, aside from the directive just like the joint command conference now, we will have joint assessment, joint command guidance, and eventually joint campaign planning,” he added.

Madrigal, however, assured that there will be no overlapping of functions but it will be supplementing gaps for better operation against terrorism, criminality, illegal drugs and anti-insurgency.

On the boundary problem, Madrigal said, the police directors, the division and brigade commanders will work together on the shifting of forces in case of pursuing criminals and armed groups.

Chief Supt. Daniel Macatlang, the director of DIPO-Eastern Mindanao, said the MOA is evidence of the PNP and AFP's unified effort against criminality and terrorism.

"If we want the AFP to do something we can give instruction to the AFP. So it is applicable in both parties,” Macatlang said.

“The filing of cases, gathering of evidence, service of warrants is the main function of the PNP but we need the support of the AFP in the gathering of statements and facts. For example, NPA members captured by the AFP,” he added.

Suspected military informer gunned down in Masbate

From the Philippine News Agency (Oct 26): Suspected military informer gunned down in Masbate

Armed men gunned down on Thursday noon a worker of an electric cooperative, who was suspected of being a military informer in Barangay Progreso, San Fernando town in Masbate, a police report said.

Eddie Masdo. 50, married an employee of the Ticao Island Electric Cooperative (TISELCO) and a resident of Batuan town was shot dead by a group of armed men around noon Thursday, according to Chief Insp. Maria Luisa Calubaquib, Philippine National Police (PNP) in Bicol spokesperson.

The victim, with a co-worker, came from a project inspection in Barangay Lahong, San Fernando town. Upon arriving at the shorelines of Barangay Talisay of the same town, armed men accosted and ordered the victim to drop to the ground, hogtied, and dragged him to a place where he was later shot and killed.

The victim's body was left along the national highway of Barangay Progreso while the victim's companion was left unharmed, Calubaquib said.

Police investigators are still looking for leads on the possible identities and motive of the gunmen.

A Year After Marawi, What’s Left of ISIS in the Philippines?

From The Diplomat (Oct 25): A Year After Marawi, What’s Left of ISIS in the Philippines?

Philippines military photos show children among ISIS foreign fighters killed in Marawi

From The Defense Post (Oct 25): Philippines military photos show children among ISIS foreign fighters killed in Marawi

Child soldiers were among 32 foreign militants who were killed during the battle of Marawi last year, images released to a Filipino terrorism expert appear to show.

More than 1,200 people, mostly militants, were killed during the five-month battle between the Armed Forces of the Philippines and militant groups linked to Islamic State in the southern Philippine city of Marawi that ended in October 2017.

The Maute group and Abu Sayyaf effectively held Marawi hostage in their aim to create an Islamic state in Southeast Asia. The battle resulted in the utter destruction of the once-vibrant Islamic City of Marawi, the only one so designated in the Philippines.

During and after the battle, reports emerged about child soldiers fighting alongside the militants.

Early in the fighting, unsuspecting Philippine troops were taken by surprise by attacks from children they initially thought were innocent.

The militants in Marawi were helped by foreign fighters, mainly from Indonesia and Malaysia, although some reportedly came from Yemen, Saudi Arabia and Chechnya.
Partial list of ISIS foreign fighters revealed

It is unclear how many foreign fighters were involved in the Marawi battle, but a Filipino terrorism expert has revealed a “semi-official” and partially complete list of foreign militants, including apparent children, killed in Marawi.

Citing information on a slide provided to him by the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), Chairman of the Board of the Philippine Institute for Peace, Violence and Terrorism Research Rommel Banlaoi told The Defense Post that 32 foreign fighters had been neutralized in Marawi.

An image released by the Armed Forces of the Philippines with information on 16 of 32 foreign militants who were killed during the battle of Marawi in 2017. Two of those pictured appear to be children. The Defense Post blurred the faces of those apparent children and two people who were obviously dead.

Banlaoi presented that information at a security symposium in Kuala Lumpur last month. Despite the wide media reporting of the event, there has been no coverage of Banlaoi’s presentation.

While mentioning the 32 foreign militants killed, the slide lists only 16 of them, and it does not include their ages, nationalities or other information such as how and when they were killed.
Malaysian minors in the Philippines

Two of those listed – Jamil and Akmad Bin Amin Baco – appear to be minors. The latter has been confirmed to be a teenager from the Malaysian Borneo state of Sabah.

The exploits of the Malaysian boy Akmad, whose real name was Ahmad Malqasi, were detailed by this writer last year in a report for Free Malaysia Today.

Akmad Bin Amin Baco (Akmad, son of Amin Baco) was 11 or 12 years old when he left his home in the Sabah district of Tawau and traveled to the southern part of the neighboring Philippines as early as 2015, despite heavy security.

According to Lordvin Acopio, a former hostage held by militant groups in Marawi, Akmad and his father Amin Baco often fought together against Philippine troops on the front line.

Malaysian Inspector-General of Police Fuzi Harun confirmed to this writer that Amin Baco, a former member of the outlawed group Darul Islam Sabah who had been hiding in the southern Philippines for years, returned home to Tawau to fetch Ahmad Malqasi before taking him to Mindanao in 2015 or 2016.

Jamil’s age and nationality are not known but the image strongly suggests he was a boy.

The apparent adult foreign fighters listed in the slide are Dr. Mahmud Ahmad, Muhammad Joraimee Awang Raimee, Jabir, Abu Ayas, Ali Al Amin (also known as Paalam or Abu Faisal), Abu Muslim, Al Ikhwan Yushel, Abu Jais, Yoki Patrama Windyarto (Mohajir), Abu Ezza/Aisa, Salem, Khalid and Wahed.

Banlaoi hinted that he might have a complete list of the 32 foreign fighters, possibly containing more children. When asked for details on the remaining 16, he said: “That’s the only slide I’m authorized to use in the public domain.”

A Malaysian security source told The Defense Post no lists of foreign fighters killed in Marawi had been made available before.

“It could be the first such a total list issued by the Philippine armed forces and made publicly available though in a roundabout manner,” said the source, who asked not to be named.

The Defense Post asked the Malaysian police for comment but has yet to receive a response. But police repeatedly said last year that they themselves had not yet received official confirmation from the Philippines on many issues, including the deaths of Malaysian militants.

In January, the Manila Times reported that thousands of children, including stateless minors from Sabah, crossed the maritime border and joined militant groups in the southern Philippines. Ramli Din, then the chief of police in Sabah, later dismissed the report.

Munira Mustafa, a Malaysian terrorism researcher at American University in Washington D.C., is skeptical about the report of stateless Sabah children, who often have Filipino ties, fighting in Marawi.

“[Philippine media] have the tendency of assuming every undocumented person [in the southern region of Mindanao] to be from Sabah. The other possibility is that they could just be that – assumptions and/or exaggerations,” she told The Defense Post.
Cubs of the Caliphate

Munira said one of the reasons child fighters are recruited is to encourage supporters or affiliates, both local and overseas, to send their children to be conditioned.

“Perhaps they are trying to copy the Syria/Iraq IS cub model, or even the [Indonesian] Jemaah Islamiyah model,” she said. “I think the IS cub model is the stronger likelihood, considering their network, ideology and affiliations.”

Meanwhile, the militant groups employed various methods of recruiting local children, such as by bribing parents or kidnapping the youngsters from their homes.

Terrorism analyst Pawel Wojcik said children are important for every Islamic State affiliate because of the potential to turn them into hardcore and jihad-dedicated warriors.

“This is similar to the ‘Cubs of the Khilafah’ model we witnessed in the Middle East in the last few years. In southern Philippines, most of them are relatives of the actual jihadists, but when it comes to Maguindanao province, the ISEA [Islamic State-East Asia] emir there, Abu Dar, has been recruiting children to fight among IS cadres, paying their parents monthly salaries,” Wojcik said.

“So, the most expanded youth strategy seems to have been getting implemented across the Abu Dar and Abu Turayfie’s [leader of the IS affiliate Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters] region of influence, namely Lanao del Sur/Norte, Cotabato and General Santos.”

An image shared by Islamic State supporters showing a child holding a gun in Marawi, the Philippines. Image: Pawel Wojcik

Wojcik supplied The Defense Post with images of apparent child fighters obtained from Philippine IS online communication channels.

He said two of the images appear to show show children in Sulu and Basilan, site of a suicide bombing at a military checkpoint on July 31, while the rest show children in the Marawi battle.

One of the images shows militants praying in a jungle area, and was circulated after the Basilan bombing. Experts and analysts have speculated that a boy and a man in the photo seem to have Middle East physical appearances, although that does not necessarily mean they are Middle Eastern.

An image shared by Islamic State showing at least one child among a group of people praying in the jungle in the Philippines. Image: Pawel Wojcik

Soon after the bombing, ISIS claimed through their Amaq news agency that a Moroccan militant, Abu Khatir Al-Maghribi, carried out the suicide operation on the Philippine army post, and released a photo.

The AFP initially denied that a foreigner was involved in the Basilan bombing but defense secretary Delfin Lorenzana later conceded that a Moroccan allied with the Abu Sayyaf group was most likely behind the attack.

Photo released by Islamic State showing the Moroccan man responsible for a suicide vehicle bomb attack in Basilan, the Philippines, on July 31, 2018.

The Defense Post has contacted the AFP for information on the 16 named in the slide and on the other 16 militants whose details are missing, but has not received a response.

Two of those listed – Dr. Mahmud Ahmad and Muhammad Joraimee – were Malaysians, but the nationalities of the others have not been established.

“Most of these names are aliases or only first names,” said Banlaoi, who is also President of the Center for Intelligence and National Security Studies.
Philippine suppression of information on jihadis

American University’s Munira said the Philippine military’s apparent lack of transparency could be due to the possibility that they are trying to protect their sources or themselves.

“Or they are trying to avoid any domestic or international security mishaps that might risk making them looking weak or ineffective,” she said.

“I won’t dispute these possibilities, considering IS/ISEA have been working on the narrative of turning southern Philippines [into a hub] and drumming up operations. The AFP might not want this to be out in the open for several security factors.”

“They have been suppressing news on the ISEA jihadi movement before this until the Marawi siege blew up. I’m aware that there are people/critics who hold the assumptions that AFP are being in denial or covering up their failures. Be mindful that we should also account for possible intelligence/domestic security reasons that’s not being explicitly said.”

Munira also said there could be some on-the-ground issues, including tensions between the smaller clans and ethnic groups and the suspicion they have towards the central Manila government.

“From what I could recall, the AFP have been working at trying to foster better community relations, and there are a lot of challenges with regards to this. I mean, there are local warlords that could jeopardise their efforts,” she said.

“So maybe the AFP is probably being over-cautious with information flow, hence the extreme compartmentalization.”

Troops step up monitoring vs. NPA extortion in Sarangani

From the Philippine News Agency (Oct 25): Troops step up monitoring vs. NPA extortion in Sarangani

Government troops have stepped up their monitoring against possible extortion activities by New People's Army (NPA) units operating in Sarangani Province in the run-up to the 2019 local and national elections.

1Lt. Daryl Cansancio, spokesperson of the Army's 73rd Infantry Battalion, said Thursday they have been closely coordinating with local government officials and political aspirants in the area to thwart the rebels' election-related money-making scheme.

Cansancio cited the so-called "permit-to-campaign" and "permit-to-win" fees previously demanded by the NPA from local politicians.

The "permit-to-campaign" supposedly gives access to politicians to campaign in areas controlled or influenced by the rebels, the Army official said. The "permit-to-win" is for votes from NPA allies and sympathizers in areas covered by its operations, he said.

Citing documents recovered during previous encounters, Cansancio said the rebels were able to extort around PHP57 million from candidates in Sarangani alone in previous elections.

He said demanded fees ranged from PHP3 to PHP5 million for candidates in the municipal level and reportedly even higher for those vying for provincial elective posts.

"Their strategy is shotgun approach, so candidates should expect these extortion demands. There were politicians who actually gave in before and we want to stop that," he said in a radio interview.

In the previous elections, he said rebels sent extortion letters to almost all candidates in the province.

He said there were no extortions letters that circulated in the barangay elections last May but noted demands could have been sent through cellphone text messages.

To counter these moves, Cansancio said they have been building up their presence in areas operated by NPA rebels, specifically those under Front 71 that include the upland villages of Alabel and Malapatan towns.

Cansancio urged politicians to immediately report to proper authorities any extortion demand from the rebels.

"They should not entertain and give in to these demands because they will not stop. Once they win, they will be obliged to give more to the rebels and that will create a bigger problem for them," he added.

Wanted NPA member nabbed

From Sun Star-Bacolod (Oct 25): Wanted NPA member nabbed

A SUSPECTED member of the New People’s Army (NPA) was arrested at his residence in Barangay Camindangan, Sipalay City, Negros Occidental Tuesday, October 23.

Chief Inspector Anthony Grande, city police chief,
identified the suspect as Ronald Lahay-Lahay, 32, an alleged member of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP)-New People’s Army (NPA)-National Democratic Front (NDF)-Samahang Partido ng Pilipinas (SPP), South West Front (SWF).

The suspect’s arrest warrant for multiple frustrated murder was issued by Judge Fernando Elumba of Regional Trial Court Branch 61 in Kabankalan City on October 9, 2012.

The court has set a bail of P200, 000 for his provisional liberty.

Grande said Lahay-Lahay is still an active member of the NPA based on the statement of the Philippine Army, who led the apprehension of the suspect.

Grande said the suspect is a companion of Joebert Herrera, who was previously arrested at his residence in Barangay Camindangan on October 4.

Lahay-Lahay is detained at Sipalay City Police Station.

Authorities promote assistance to ex-NPAs

From the Business Mirror (Oct 26): Authorities promote assistance to ex-NPAs

In Photo: Alleged guerrillas of the communist New People’s Army (NPA) stand at an undisclosed location in this undated photo. Authorities said former NPA rebels received government assistance after surrendering.
Authorities announced here on Friday that some 3,009 former New People’s Army (NPA) rebels received various forms of assistance from several agencies through government’s Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program, or E-Clip.
In a presentation at a forum for local chief executives, Philippine Army Maj. Aristotle Antonio said the E-Clip provides a convergence of government assistance to the former rebels, such as in security and safety, housing, skills and education, social and community, health, legal, livelihood and employment.

Quoting data from the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), which administers the program, Antonio said a total of 655 former rebels have been provided with financial assistance, with Regions 11, 13 and 12 having the most number of rebels as recipients with 180, 150 and 144 rebel-recipients; followed by Region 10 with 64; and Region 5 with 57. The Calabarzon region has 11 recipients, while Mimaropa and the National Capital Region have three rebel recipients each.

Antonio added that the National Housing Authority (NHA) has released Certificate of Entitlement to 685 former rebels in Region 9 while 958 have undergone Technical Education and Skills Development Authority skills training nationwide. He said about 241 former NPA members have been given business starter kits in Davao Oriental through the Department of Labor and Employment Integrated Livelihood program.

Antonio said the Department of Social Welfare and Development has provided transportation assistance to 33 former rebels, family food packs for 385 and psychosocial processing (stress debriefing) for five former NPA guerillas.

Antonio told participants that each former NPA rebel received P1 million worth of assistance from the government.
“So the 241 rebels who surrendered to the government in Davao means P241 million has been allocated for them,” he noted.

Antonio said a halfway house has been built and successfully operated in Davao Oriental for former rebels because of the support of the community. He added that the rebels who surrendered get staggered assistance from the government.

Antonio said the government has made available this year about 100 housing units for the former NPA guerillas. Each unit is worth P450,000. He added that the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (Opapp) has P8 billion funds for various community projects.

Under the program, the Department of National Defense administers E-Clip, while the DILG oversees the financial assistance. The Opapp is in charge of the implementation of Pamana projects in communities, while the NHA is responsible for the provision of housing.

Under the old CLIP of the government, former rebels received access to reintegration assistance of P21,000, immediate assistance of P15,000 and livelihood assistance of P50,000. Under the E-Clip, former rebels are beneficiaries of government services, medical and legal assistance, housing, modified cash transfer, and loans and market access, among others.

E-Clip was formulated after President Duterte issued on September 2017 a directive to craft a concrete program for former NPA rebels. It was in July when the awarding of benefits under E-Clip followed.

Philippine Military Chief Links Slaying of 9 Farmers to Communist Infighting

From BenarNews (Oct 24): Philippine Military Chief Links Slaying of 9 Farmers to Communist Infighting

Nine sugarcane farmers who were slain by gunmen at a plantation in the central Philippines over the weekend belonged to a communist front and they may have been victims of factional infighting, the country’s military chief said Wednesday.

But authorities also were not discounting two other angles – that the violence allegedly carried out by about 40 unidentified men in Sagay city, Negros Occidental province, may have been perpetrated by a local landowner’s “private army” or by members of another group of land claimants.

The victims were all recent recruits of the National Federation of Sugarcane Workers (NSFW), armed forces chief Gen. Carlito Galvez said. He alleged it was a “front organization” for the underground Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and its armed wing, the New People’s Army (NPA).

“According to the families, residents, and local authorities in the area, the victims are not workers in the farm or claimants to the land. The Department of Agrarian Reform has also claimed that the victims are not entitled beneficiaries,” Galvez said in a statement.

“They were brought there by their recruiters from the NFSW who left just before the shooting happened,” he said, adding “I am convinced that when the conclusive findings of the investigation have been released, the CPP-NPA and its puppet organization NFSW will have blood on their hands.”

At least three people survived Saturday’s attack at the Hacienda Nene – also known as the Hacienda Barbara – including a man whose 17-year-old son was killed by the gunmen.

Bobstil Sumicad, 52, said he escaped from the shooting alive because he had stepped away from the workers’ camp to relieve himself in a sugarcane field when there was a commotion followed by shots.

“Suddenly, I heard continuous bursts of gunfire that lasted for several minutes and, after a while, individual shots. I heard someone say, ‘You think you can escape?’ followed by a shot. I do not know if he was talking to my son,” the grieving father told BenarNews.

Sumicad said his first impulse was to rush to his son but realized that he may also be killed.

“So I hid among the cane and prayed my son would survive,” he recalled, his voice choking with emotion.

After the gunmen had left, he said he saw his son lying still, his hands over his face.

“He had been shot through the neck, abdomen and hand,” he said.

Before leaving the camp to go into the field, he said he told a companion “to be on the alert for anything untoward because there had been motorcycle-riding men seen nearby earlier in the day.”

Breakaway faction
The killings at the hacienda cast a spotlight on the Philippine government’s failure to implement a genuine and long-lasting agrarian reform program, which has been in place since the late 1980s but has repeatedly been countered by land owners.

The nine slain farmers were NSFW members who had taken over a portion of the hacienda that had been identified for land redistribution.

The gunmen who killed them may have been members of the Revolutionary Proletarian Army (RPA), a discredited faction that splintered from the CPP-NPA in the 1990s and whose members were known to work as guns-for-hire for hacienda owners, police had said earlier, citing an initial investigation.

Galvez, the military chief, accused the CPP-NPA of “manipulating, deceiving and exploiting” the farmers by pitting them against landowners and other land claimants in the area to cause a semblance of unrest.

But the New People’s Army, in a statement, denied that it had anything to do with the farmers, even while emphasizing that it supported their land claims. The hacienda was part of vast landholdings controlled by families who were politically entrenched in the area.

It said the families worked with the military and hired RPA members to drive farmer claimants from the area.

“They have used the RPA and SCAA to terrorize and murder defenseless farmers who stand against their despotic reign,” the NPA said, referring to a pro-government militia unit called the Special Civilian Active Auxiliary.

Attack not isolated
John Milton Lozande, a leader of the farmers’ union, blamed the government of President Rodrigo Duterte for the violence.

He said the local army commander had been saying since early this year that land cultivation areas they had been maintaining were under the control of communist insurgents.

Lozande denied this and argued the group had occupied unused areas in the farms to plant crops other than sugarcane.

“The goal of setting up land cultivation areas is to ward off the inevitable hunger brought by the dead season in the sugar industry on properties covered by agrarian reform,” he said.

Survivors of the attack denied the military’s claim and accused local police of planting evidence to suggest that the farmers were also armed.

Two of the survivors, Rene Manlangit and Rogelio Arquillo, said they had left workers’ camp to charge their mobile phones at a house near the highway when the shooting occurred.

Arquillo said he called a daughter who lived near the Sagay police station to seek help.

“We waited until the police arrived because we were not sure if the killers had left,” he said.

Saturday’s attack was not isolated, Lozande said. In December 2017, a female union member was stabbed to death by farm security men. Two months earlier, another member was shot in the head.

DND chief: Joma, not military, is serial killer

From GMA News (Oct 25): DND chief: Joma, not military, is serial killer

As far as the Defense Department is concerned, there is a killer out there, and it is Communist Party of the Philippines founding chairperson Jose Maria Sison.

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana issued the statement in response to Sison's recent comments on the killing of nine sugar workers in Sagay, Negros Occidental over the weekend.

In a post on Tuesday, Sison, citing the statement of the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) which tagged former members of the Revolutionary Proletarian Army (RPA) as suspects in the killing of the Sagay farmers, claimed that RPA is a paramilitary auxiliary group of the Armed Forces and the police.

“The so-called RPA has long been a paramilitary auxiliary of the AFP and PNP and is practically a private gang of the provincial governor and sugar landlords. However. The Duterte regime, the AFP and PNP cannot escape responsibility for the continuing existence and crimes of the RPA. The RPA always operates under the command and direction of the AFP and the PNP,” Sison said.

Lorenzana, however, shrugged off Sison’s claims.

“Yeah, right. Coming from the mastermind of the Plaza Miranda bombing, the killing of hundreds of New People’s Army cadres suspected of being agents of the government, as well as the killings of innocent civilians in the past 50 years,” Lorenzana said.

“Come on, Mr. Sison. Don’t be quick to point your finger as your other fingers are pointing back at you. You have been unmasked as the man behind these atrocities by no less than your former comrades,” the Defense chief added.

Lorenzana said Sison's psychological warfare no longer works and that the self-exiled communist leader does not command respect among the insurgents anymore.

“Nobody, even your so-called fighters, believes you anymore. You will be consigned to the dustbin of history as a pathetic revolutionary failure who has achieved nothing of note but who, instead, wrought bloodshed and suffering to the Filipino people,” he said.

Earlier, Philippine National Police chief Director General Oscar Albayalde said that “all indications suggest the participation of the CPP/NPA (New People’s Army” in the Sagay massacre supposedly for “CPP-NPA's pursuit of Oplan Bungkalan at Okupasyon.”

Albayalde claimed that ‘Oplan Bungkalan at Okupasyon’ is a “a grand design to occupy private and government property using their mass base and to create untoward incident only to blame it on the government.”

The Armed Forces of the Philippines, on the other hand, also claimed that the massacre of the workers in Sagay City was part of the Oust President Rodrigo Duterte plot being hatched by the communists.

The Department of Agrarian Reform has created a task force to look into the incident. The National Bureau of Investigation and the Commission o Human Rights are also undertaking their own investigation.

Duterte was scheduled to visit the kin of the fallen farmers on Tuesday, but it was postponed due to inclement weather.

Bulatlat: NPA on the Sagay massacre: RPA, AFP and landlords did it

From the pro-Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) online propaganda publication Bulatlat (Oct 24): NPA on the Sagay massacre: RPA, AFP and landlords did it (By Raymund Villanueva,
Kodao Productions)

The New People’s Army (NPA) in Negros Island said the culprits in the massacre of nine farmers in Sagay City Saturday evening are “mercenaries” calling themselves the Revolutionary Proletarian Army (RPA) under the command of the Armed Forces of the Philippines’ (AFP) Special Civilian Active Auxiliary (SCAA) unit stationed in Hacienda Mirasol, Brgy. Baterya, some 2 kilometers from the massacre site.

The Apolinario Gatmaitan Command of the NPA said the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the AFP should stop its “series of heinous lies” as they only exonerate the landlords and their goons who are behind the massacre.

The NPA said the RPA is a renegade band led by Stephen Paduano alias Lualhati Carapali and other “opportunist traitors” who broke away from the NPA during the 1990s.

“The RPA has since operated simultaneously as armed goons of Negros landlords and politicians and auxiliary force of the AFP,” the group, through its local spokesperson Juanito Magbanua, said.

Hacienda Nene (also known as Hacienda Barbara), the site of the massacre where nine farm workers, including two minors, were killed is part of the vast landholdings under the control of the family of incumbent Negros Occidental Governor Alfredo Marañon Jr, and his son, Alfredo Marañon III, incumbent mayor of Sagay City, the NPA said.

Its landlords and leaseholders, the Tolentinos and Sumbincos, are related to the Marañons who control Sagay City for many decades, the Communist guerillas added.

“For many decades, Sagay has been Marañon territory. They have used the RPA and SCAA to terrorize and murder defenseless farmers who stand against their despotic reign,” Magbanua said in a statement, adding the Marañons’ offer of a P500,000-reward for the culprits’s identification is “an outrageously barefaced ploy to cover up their tracks.”

The NPA also scored Police Regional Office-6 Director Chief Supt. John Bulalacao, Negros Occidental Provincial Police Office (NOcPPO) director SSupt. Rodolfo Castil and AFP Spokesperson Edgar Arevalo for what they call obvious attempts to gloss over state culpability.

The massacre was immediately downplayed by Castil as a “selective shooting” incident, pointing to some planted evidence of empty shells from a .38 caliber revolver and live shotgun ammunition to insinuate that an exchange of fire between perpetrators and victims transpired.

In Manila, police director general Oscar Albayalde and newly-appointed presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo echoed the police and military line the NPAs killed the victims.

“This shameless victim-blaming echoes the lies that the military and police fed the public to absolve themselves of the 2004 massacre of farm workers in Hacienda Luisita, Tarlac, the biggest sugarcane estate in the country,” the NPA said.

‘Spreading disinformation’

The National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) in Negros Island also belied government accusations it was the NPA who attacked the farmers’ campout and pointed to the RPA as the culprits.

In a statement, NDFP Negros Island spokesperson Frank Fernandez said the people of Negros know very well that the Sagay Massacre was “perpetrated by hired guns, armed by local landlords and emboldened by the climate of impunity and Duterte’s own pronouncements to stifle dissent and kill.”

Fernandez said the public must not be misled into believing that the RPA and the NPA are one and the same.

“The pseudo-revolutionary RPA is now actively integrated as auxiliary force of the AFP since their supposed ‘surrender’ and ‘peace pact’ with the government. The RPA is nothing but a horde of bandits serving as private army to big landlords such as Eduardo ‘Danding’ Cojuangco Jr and the Marañon ruling dynasty who have lorded over Sagay City and the whole province of Negros Occidental for generations,” Fernandez said.

The former Catholic priest also condemned the police and the military for spreading disinformation, planting incriminating evidence against the victims and ridiculing their call for genuine land reform.

‘Pet parrot’

Meanwhile, NDFP Negotiating Panel chairperson Fidel Agcaoili accused Panelo of not only serving as the spokesman of President Rodrigo Duterte but as national security adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr.’s “pet parrot” as well.

Reacting to Panelo’s claims the nine victims were killed by the NPA to discredit the Duterte government, Agcaoili said Panelo, like Esperon, has no credibility to accuse the revolutionary movement.

“In 2006, Esperon attempted to put one over on UN Special Rapporteur Philip Alston by submitting ‘documentary evidence’ purportedly showing that the Left was responsible for the rampant extrajudicial killings of activists under the Arroyo regime,” Agcaoili recalled.

“Alston dismissed the theory as ‘strikingly unconvincing’ and bearing ‘hallmarks of a fabrication’ which ‘cannot be taken as evidence of anything other than disinformation’,” he added.

“At least Esperon presented some bogus documents to Professor Alston to pass off as proof of his preposterous lies. Parrot Panelo just manages to be preposterous,” Agcaoili said.

‘On the side of the oppressed’

The NPA said the people are aware they are mainly a peasant army waging agrarian revolution to address the fundamental problem of landlessness and various other forms of feudal and semi-feudal exploitation prevailing in the vast Philippine countryside.

“The NPA is the fighting force of the oppressed masses; it does not carry out senseless killings like state troops and its paramilitary forces,” Gatmaitan said.

The NPA added that the massacre of the victims justify the revolution they have been waging for nearly five decades.

Army engineers to build schools in Davao del Norte

From the Mindanao Times (Oct 24): Army engineers to build schools in Davao del Norte

Seven schools will soon be constructed in areas in Talaingod, Davao del Norte so they can be accessible to the students who badly needed an education.

Speaking in yesterday’s AFP-PNP press briefing, Capt. Jerry Lamosao, the spokesperson of 10th Infantry Division, said they have not identified any areas yet in Talaingod but the evaluation process is ongoing.

“The Eastern Mindanao Command announced that there will be additional schools to be constructed with the help of the Army engineers,” he said.

After the completion of the schools, they will be turned over to the Department of Education for management.

He said they are really targeting students of Salugpungan schools to transfer to the schools they are going to build.

“At least we can encourage teachers to teach because we have known an experience that in one week, there are only two classes that are being held,” he said, adding that teachers need to travel for two days or more before they can reach the school.

He said the seven schools were identified as win-win solution because both teachers and students can benefit. “It is not too far and also it is very welcoming for the new teachers,” he added.

“Hopefully we can alleviate the situation when there is a need of schools in that area.”

PH, Spain prepare MOU for defense equipment deal

From the Philippine News Agency (Oct 25): PH, Spain prepare MOU for defense equipment deal

(Photo courtesy: DND Public Affairs Office)

Ranking Department of National Defense (DND) officials and their counterparts from the Directorate General of Armaments and Materiel (DGAM) of Spain's Ministry of Defense have met to discuss a proposed Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) which could serve as legal framework for the acquisition of Spanish military equipment through government-to-government deals.

In a statement Thursday, DND spokesperson Arsenio Andolong said the Spanish delegation was headed by Maj. Gen. Felipe De La Plaza, Deputy National Director for International Relations.

He and other members of his team met with DND Assistant Secretary for Acquisition and Logistics Jesus Rey R. Avilla from Oct. 20 to 23 to discuss the proposed MOU on Logistics, Defense Materiel, Armaments and Defense Industry Cooperation between the two countries.

“The proposed MOU will serve as the legal framework for the DND to procure defense equipment from Spain through Government-to-Government deals pursuant to RA 9184. This is very timely due to the ongoing implementation of the 2nd Horizon of the Revised AFP Modernization Program,” Avilla said.

The Spanish delegation also manifested interest in collaborating with the local defense industry and even visited ARMSCOR, a local firearms manufacturing company.

Spanish defense industries have actively participated in various procurement projects of the AFP under the AFP Modernization Program.

Among the most recent acquisitions involving the European nation were the three units of medium-lift aircraft (C-295) for the Philippine Air Force (PAF) worth PHP5.29 billion, which were procured from Spanish aircraft manufacturer EADS CASA, now Airbus.

The aircraft is now being used for air transport and humanitarian assistance and disaster response.

Additionally, a Notice of Award has been issued last Oct. 16 in favor of Airbus for the procurement of one unit of command-and-control fixed-wing turboprop aircraft for the PAF with a contract price of PHP1.8 billion.

Group assails CPP-NPA exploitation of indigenous people

From the Philippine News Agency (Oct 25): Group assails CPP-NPA exploitation of indigenous people

An indigenous people's organization on Friday will hold a condemnation rally against the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People's Army's (CPP-NPA) alleged exploitation of the indigenous people.

The Indigenous Alliance Against Terrorism, together with the Liga Independencia Pilipinas, disclosed that young indigenous people are often recruited as child warriors, easily "robbing their childhood and future."

"Nagtayo ng Padepa (Pambansang Demokrasyang Paaralan) ang kilusan na ang pangunahing layunin ay i-brainwash ang mga bata at dito rin sa mga paaralang ito nagaganap ang panggagahasa at panghahalay ng NPA sa mga kabataan (The Movement established Padepa, whose main function is to brainwash the children. These learning centers have also been the setting of NPA's rape and sexual abuse against them)," the group said in a statement.

The demonstration will start from Makati Central Fire station going toward Sultan Kudarat Monument Pathway in Makati City. The program is scheduled to start around 9 a.m.

The group said the victims themselves will attend the rally to personally narrate their experiences.

The group also joined big companies forced to shell out the so-called "revolutionary tax" to stand up against the practice.

"Ilalahad ng mga batang biktima ang mapait nilang karanasan sa mga taga-kalunsuran, partikular sa mga managers at may-ari ng mga malalaking kumpanya na nagbibigay ng revolutionary tax sa kilusan. Ang revolutionary tax na ito ay ginagamit sa digmaan ng kilusan na sumisira sa buhay ng mga katutubo (The victims will share their experiences in the city, particularly to the heads of big companies who are often subjected to revolutionary tax. These taxes are being used by the NPA to fund their cause which destroys the lives of the indigenous people," the group said.

DWDD: PORT VISIT | PH Navy welcomes visiting Indonesian training ship

From DWDD AFP Civil Relations Service Radio Website (Oct 23): PORT VISIT  |  PH Navy welcomes visiting Indonesian training ship

PIER 15, South Harbor, Manila (DWDD) – KRI BimaSuci (945) of the Indonesian Navy or TentaraNasioanal Indonesia AngkatanLaut (TNI-AL) berthed at Pier 15 yesterday, commencing a four-day goodwill visit to the Philippines.

KRI BimaSuci is a training sailing ship for the Indonesian Naval Academy. It is skippered by Commander (Cdr.) WidiyatmokoBarunoAji and carries about a hundred naval cadets and crew.

Philippine Navy (PN) delegation headed by the Assistant Chief of Fleet Staff for Reservist and Retiree Affairs, Cdr. Gary D. Tafalla, accorded the visiting navy a welcome ceremony upon arrival followed by a port briefing related to health and security aboard the Indonesian Navy vessel.


Cdr. WidiyatmokoBarunoAji is scheduled to pay a courtesy call to the Navy Chief, Vice Adm. Robert A. Empedrad. Also, series of confidence building engagements between PN and TNI-AL personnel are lined up such as goodwill games, shipboard tour, reciprocal receptions and educational tour of visiting naval cadets at Philippine Military Academy in Baguio City.

Built in Vigo, Spain, KRI BimaSuci was officially handed over from Spain to Indonesia on 12 September 2017.KRI BimaSuci replaced its legendary KRI Dewaruci ship that has been operating since 1953. She took its maiden voyage last December 2017 and took her tour to countries in East Asia such as China, South Korea, Russia, Japan, Philippines and Bitung, Indonesia prior returning to its base in Surabaya.


The visit will cap off with a send-off ceremony also at Pier 15 to be followed by customary passing exercise (PASSEX).

This goodwill visit reaffirms and further strengthens the already strong relationship between the two navies, which has been playing important role in maintaining maritime peace and security in the region. NPAO / MCAG

DWDD: MABULIGA KOY PROGRAM | 8IB, LGU reach out to conflict affected communities in Bukidnon

From DWDD AFP Civil Relations Service Radio Website (Oct 23): MABULIGA KOY PROGRAM  |  8IB, LGU reach out to conflict affected communities in Bukidnon

IMPASUG-ONG, Bukidnon (DWDD) – The 8th Infantry Battalion, together with the Local Government Unit of Impasugong delivered basic services to the citizens of Barangay Bontongon, Impasugong, Bukidnon on 22 October 2018.

The activity was carried out under the “MagbuligaKoy” Program of the local government unit, medical team from CESH 4ID, PAand the 8IB, which is a convergence program and initiative of the Municipality of Impasugong spearheaded by Hon. Anthony A. Uy, Municipal Mayor. Its aim is to extend the programs of the Local Government to the communities to continuously resolve issues that are being exploited by the CPP-NPA Terrorists in their recruitment efforts.

“The Armed Forces is doing all it can to protect the people from those who threaten their security. We are prepared to do what is necessary to ensure public safety.” said LTC Ronald M Illana, the Commanding Officer of the 8th Infantry Battalion.

“The local government is playing the main role to resolve issues and problems of the community which is essential in preventing more conflict and we are here your ARMY always ready to support you.”,LTC ILLANA added. 8IBDependable / MCAG

DWDD: GRADUATES | 50 former NPAs complete TESDA Course in Misamis Occidental

From DWDD AFP Civil Relations Service Radio Website (Oct 24): GRADUATES  |  50 former NPAs complete TESDA Course in Misamis Occidental

MISAMIS OCCIDENTAL (DWDD) – At least 50 rebel returnees have graduated after taking up a vocational couse offered by the Technical Education Skills and Development Authority in Misamis Occidental.

Lt. Col. Gerry Besana, spokesman of Western Mindanao Command (WESMINCOM), said 50 former members of the New People’s Army marched in black toga during the closing ceremony on Monday. They were given a certificate for completing electrical installation and maintenance National Certification II, a course provided by TESDA at the headquarters of the 10th Infantry Battalion in Plaridel town.

The military official said skills training is another way to help rebel returnees besides the financial program where NPA combatants and mass supporters initially receive monetary support in exchange for surrendering firearms.

On the other hand, Maj. Gen. Roseller Murillo, commander of the 1st Army Division and Joint Task Force Zampelan, commended the efforts of the 10IB and stakeholders to attain peace.

“This will encourage more rebels to surrender and take advantage of the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program of the government,” Murillo said. Photo courtesy of 10IB / MCAG

DWDD: COMMUNITY ASSISTANCE | JTF Ranao distributes relief good to IDPs of Marawi

From DWDD AFP Civil Relations Service Radio Website (Oct 24): COMMUNITY ASSISTANCE  |  JTF Ranao distributes relief good to IDPs of Marawi

CALOOCAN WEST, Marawi city (DWDD) – Troops of the Joint Task Force Ranao facilitated the distribution of relief and school kits with free haircut activity for the IDP families in partnership with the group of Ambassador Omar Fajardo, Ambassador of the Philippines to Iraq held at Calocan West Marawi City last October 23, 2018 which benefitted 500 IDP families.

TFBangon Marawi / MCAG

DWDD: MORALE AND WELFARE | PRRD visits soldiers confined at Army General Hospital

From DWDD AFP Civil Relations Service Radio Website (Oct 24): MORALE AND WELFARE  |  PRRD visits soldiers confined at Army General Hospital

FORT BONIFACIO, Metro Manila – President Rodrigo Roa Duterte, accompanied by the newly installed Commanding General, Philippine Army, Major General Macairog S. Alberto paid a visit to the sick and wounded soldiers at the Army General Hospital (AGH).

The President, as the Commander-in-Chief regularly visits military camps and often goes to see soldiers confined in military treatment facilities. Such act was a unique gesture that provides motivation to our soldiers and keeps them in high spirit. As an added morale booster, not long ago, he signed a presidential directive that gave additional five billion pesos budget on top of the 700 million pesos allocated for the AFP’s modernization, for the Army Health Service capability upgrade that kicked-off July this year.

In line with this, the new CGPA, Major General Alberto also highlighted in his command guidance his thrust to enhance the Forward Health Service Support and institutionalize the Combat Stress Management System to ensure that the welfare of the troops are well taken care of. Further, he stressed the need to improve the care that is being provided to the soldiers in order to reduce morbidity, mortality, and subsequently increase survivability of those serving in the frontlines.

“The Philippine Army have a great appreciation of the President’s support to our troops, not only those still fighting in field but also to those who suffered in battles. We will ensure that the Army Health Service Capability will be upgraded and will meet professional standards at all times,” said Maj. Gen. Alberto. OACPA / MCAG

DWDD: THRUST AND GUIDANCE | New CGPA meets with major unit commanders and HPA staff

From DWDD AFP Civil Relations Service Radio Website (Oct 24): THRUST AND GUIDANCE  |  New CGPA meets with major unit commanders and HPA staff

FORT ANDRES BONIFACIO, Taguig City (DWDD) – Immediately after the Change of Command Ceremony, the newly appointed Army Commanding General, Major General Macairog S. Alberto took the opportunity to gather the commanders of Army Major Units and his staff to communicate his thrust and guidance on Monday, October 15, 2018.

Major General Alberto was designated as the 60th Commanding General of the Philippine Army replacing Lieutenant General Rolando Joselito D. Bautista who just reached his mandatory age of retirement. The new CGPA who belongs to PMA Class of 1986 is known for his humility, diligence and well-roundedness. He is a bemedalled officer and possessed all the qualities of a leader that makes him fit to command the AFP’s premier land force.

As he addressed the Major Unit Commanders together with the HPA staff, he humbly expressed his gratitude for the warm reception. He conveyed that whatever his predecessor has established, he will just sustain it. He said that the current command thrusts will just be enhanced by putting premium on pursuing the Army’s Capability Upgrade Program in order to build an agile and responsive force, enhancing the Forward Health Service Support (FHSS), institutionalizing the Combat Stress Management System, and improvement of leadership training particularly for Senior Leaders.

Part of the PA Capability Upgrade is the enhancement of the current Army intelligence capabilities, continuous development of the Information Communication and Technology, enhancement of information operation, and the empowerment of the reserve force.

Through the enhancement of the FHSS, the Army aims to ensure that the scope and quality of health services offered to the troops meet professional standards at all times.

Moreover, with the institutionalization of the Combat Stress Management System, the troops shall be better afforded with psychological support to manage or to prevent possible Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, a common issue faced my military personnel all over the world. It also aims to institute and increase funding in support to the family welfare advancement programs to impress the troops that the Army is putting high-premium on their families’ welfare – a contributory factor that will boost the excellent performance of our soldiers.

Lastly, the Command aims to pursue leadership training for its senior leaders, especially those who will be occupying General rank position, to ensure that they have the expertise in their domains and in decision-making process.

“We will continue to provide much needed support to sustain the ground operations of our troops to attain peace and security in our country following the values of honor, patriotism, and duty while advancing our ultimate goal of becoming a world-class Army,” said Maj. Gen. Alberto. OACPA / MCAG

DWDD: PREPARING THE FUTURE | 53IB conducts YLS in Tigbao, Zamboanga Del Sur

From DWDD AFP Civil Relations Service Radio Website (Oct 24): PREPARING THE FUTURE  |  53IB conducts YLS in Tigbao, Zamboanga Del Sur

TIGBAO, Zamboanga Del Sur (DWDD) – “We cannot always build the future for our youth but we can build our youth for the future”



The 53rd Infantry “Matapat” Battalion together with the Youth Leadership Seminar Alumni conducted a Youth Leadership Seminar at Antonio National High School Brgy. Begong, Tigbao, Zamboanga del Sur to empower the youth to become advocates of peace and development last October 21-22, 2018. 53IB CMO / MCAG

DWDD: ARRIVAL CEREMONY | Port Visit of Indian Navy Ship (INS) RANA (D52)

From DWDD AFP Civil Relations Service Radio Website (Oct 24): ARRIVAL CEREMONY  |  Port Visit of Indian Navy Ship (INS) RANA (D52)

PIER 15, South HArbor, Manila (DWDD) – Arrival Ceremony were accorded the officers and crew of the Indian Naval Ship (INS) RANA(D52).

The Indian Navy (IN) vessel, INS RANA (D52), a Rajput class destroyer skippered by Capt. Atul Deswal berthed at Pier 15, South Harbor, Manila for a four-day goodwill visit.

Philippine Navy (PN) delegation headed by the Philippine Fleet Safety Officer, Capt. Rolando N. Fernandez Jr., accorded the visiting navy a welcome ceremony upon arrival followed by a port briefing related to health and security aboard the Indian Navy vessel.

Their four-day visit will include series of confidence-building engagements between PN and IN personnel such as courtesy call to the Flag Officer in Command, PN by Capt Deswal and party, shipboard tours, goodwill games and reciprocal receptions.

The visit will cap off with a send-off ceremony also at Pier 15 to be followed by customary passing exercise (PASSEX).

The goodwill visit aims to enhance and strengthen the mutual relationship between the two nations. It promotes closer cooperation and the commitment of both forces to maintain peace and stability in the maritime region. NPAO / MCAG

DWDD: NEW LIFE | JTF-NCR presents 4 rebel returnees

From DWDD AFP Civil Relations Service Radio Website (Oct 25): NEW LIFE  |  JTF-NCR presents 4 rebel returnees

 CAMP GEN EMILIO AGUINALDO, Quezon City (DWDD) – The Joint Task Force – National Capital Region (JTF NCR) facilitated the presentation of four (4) rebel returnees at the headquarters with Brigadier General Abraham Claro C Casis and Department of National Defense Undersecretary Reynaldo Mapagu for Civil Veterans and Retirees Affairs.

The surrenderees were also enrolled under the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP).

The former rebels were active members of the New People’s Army (NPA) who were operating in the Bicol Region. AES / Photos by Nick Echevarria / MCAG