Friday, November 9, 2018

DWDD: Soldiers, NPA in Mindoro clash; new Mindoro Army Commander assumes post

Katropa DWDD-CRS Virtual RTV (Nov 9): Soldiers, NPA in Mindoro clash; new Mindoro Army Commander assumes post

CAMP GEN. CAPINPIN, Tanay, Rizal –Troops of the 4th Infantry Battalion (4IB) clashed aga...inst the New People’s Army (NPA) Communist terrorists group in Sitio Kabangkalan, BrgyTanyag, Calintaan, Occidental Mindoro yesterday, November 7, 2018.

 Lieutenant Colonel Dennis C Gutierrez, Commanding Officer of the 4IB said that the soldiers were conducting combat operations in the area after an intelligence report and tips from civilians that a group of armed NPAs were extorting rice and money from the populace.

While searching the area around 0450 p.m., the troops chance upon more or less 20 NPA belonging to Platoon Roque and Falcon of the Sub- Regional Military Area (SRMA) 4D under BethroErardoZapra Jr. alias Bamboo.

The gunfight erupted and lasted for 30 minutes. No one was hurt on the government troops while it is believed that there was undetermined number of casualties on the NPA due to the heavy blood stain in their position. The enemies brought along their wounded comrades when they scampered away according to the troops.At this time, reports reaching this headquarters from intelligence units in the ground said that there were two NPAs being carried in hammocks by their comrades (unconfirmed either wounded or dead).

Soldiers were able to recover one (1) M16 rifle, two (2) long magazine, 58 rounds ammunitions, one black cap, one water gallon and other NPA terrorists personal belongings.

Major General Rhoderick M. Parayno AFP, Commander of the Philippine Army’s 2nd Infantry Division (2ID) lauded the efforts of 4IB.

He said that the successive encounters of the troops against the NPA and the snowballing of surrenderees in Mindoro caused major setbacks and demoralization among their ranks.This was yesterday’s revelations of the two (2) NPA surrenderees who once again pointed another arm cache.“NPAs in Mindoro will be on verge of collapse in matter of months like the NPA remnants in Batangas”, MGen Parayno added.

At present, troops are conducting hot pursuit operations and checkpoints with the local police against the NPA terrorists.

Meanwhile still in Mindoro, Colonel Marceliano V Teofilo assumed as the new Commander of the Philippine Army’s 203rd Infantry (BANTAY KAPAYAPAAN) Brigade during the assumption of command ceremony yesterday, November 7, 2018 at the headquarters in Barangay Pag-asa, Bansud, Oriental Mindoro.

Col Teofilo, previously Chief of Staff of the 2nd Infantry Division in Tanay, Rizal, succeeded Brigadier General Antonio G Parlade Jr. AFP, whose tour of duty in Mindoro lasted for more than two years and he is now performing new assignment in General Headquarters, Camp Aguinaldo.

Major General Rhoderick M Parayno AFP, Commander of the Philippine Army’s 2nd Infantry (JUNGLE FIGHTER) Division led the ceremony as the Presiding General Officer.

In his message, MGen Parayno expressed his deepest appreciation to the accomplishments contributed by Col Teofilo to the mission of 2ID. Healso conveyed his profound and heartfelt thanks to the officers and men of 203rd Brigade for supporting BGen Parlade, who is now in Monterey, USA attending the Executive Program in Defence Decision Making.

“Bok “Kit”, we are now entrusting to you the Bantay Kapayapaan troopers. We are confident that you will continue or even exceed with flying colors the legacy of the previous commanders of 203rd Brigade. You performed well and gained vast experiences from various positions you held as Battalion Commander of 68 and 59IB, Commandant of 2DTS, and as the former Chief of Staff of the Division. These positions groomed your leadership and managerial skills and earned the trust and confidence of our superiors, peers and subordinates kung kaya naman hindi nag- dalawang isip ang Chief of Staff, AFP and even the Secretary of National Defense na irecommend sa ating mahal na Pangulo na ikaw ang siyang mamuno dito sa 203rd Bde”, MGen Parayno said.

He also thanked the presence and support of the different members of the Local Government Units (LGUs), local police chiefs and other stakeholders of Mindoro province. “I am confident that with all of you, solidly supporting the 2ID in its programs and undertakings, we will able to finally win the peace we all deserve”, MGen Parayno added.

Ramos not a threat to us: Army

From the Visayan Daily Star (Nov 9): Ramos not a threat to us: Army
The Philippine Army yesterday brushed aside accusations of the New People’s Army and militant organizations that they were behind the death of human rights lawyer Benjamin Ramos in Kabankalan City, Negros Occidental, stressing that they had nothing to gain from it.

Col. Benedict Arevalo, 303rd Infantry Brigade commander, yesterday said that Ramos was not a threat to them, and not a single case filed against them had prospered.

“Don’t look at us. He was not a threat to us,” Arevalo stressed.

The Leonardo Panaligan Command of the New People’s Army in Negros, human rights group Karapatan, and its allied organizations pointed to the alleged “death squad” of the Armed Forces of the Philippines as behind the killing of Ramos, secretary-general of the National Union of People’s Lawyers-Negros Occidental, on Tuesday.

Chief Supt. John Bulalacao, regional police director of Western Visayas, yesterday said, “as of this time, we already have persons of interest being considered”.

While he did not elaborate further, Bulalacao said that one of the angles they are exploring is his professional practice as a lawyer.

Based on information they have gathered, Bulalacao said that Ramos provided legal assistance and counsel to farmers involved in forced land occupation as well as land-grabbing, allegedly receiving share.

This infuriated the landlords and legitimate beneficiaries, he added.

Another angle that is being investigated is his involvement in gambling as he was deeply engaged in such vice, Bulalacao added, in a statement issued by the Police Regional Office 6.

While he regrets that he cannot divulge material information in the meantime, to avoid jeopardizing the ongoing investigation, Bulalacao assured that the PNP is diligently doing its mandate to ensure that the perpetrators will be arrested in the soonest possible time.

Senior Supt. Rodolfo Castil, provincial police director of Negros Occidental, yesterday said that the killing of Ramos has no connection to the Sagay 9 incident, as of this time, although such angle is being considered.

Ramos was reportedly among the members of a fact-finding team, composed of militant organizations, who investigated the Sagay 9 incident.

Governor Alfredo MaraƱon Jr., who also expressed his sympathy to the Ramos family, said that a culture of violence appears to be prevailing not only in Negros and in other areas of the country, but in the whole world.

Arevalo also said that Ramos was involved in the finances of their organization, particularly in their international solidarity work and financial collection, from their members.

With his position in the organization, huge amount of funds were at his disposal, he said, adding also the need to look into internal squabbles as other members are interested in his position, as well as in the cases he handled, including those on drugs, and land grabbing issues.

Arevalo also said the possible involvement of the New People’s Army should be looked into, as they were also behind the death of nine civilians in Sagay City last month, who made them sacrificial lambs, to attain their objective of blaming it on the authorities.

Ka JB Regalado of the LPC slammed the Philippine Army for linking the revolutionary movement to the death of Ramos, dismissing it as an irresponsible and malicious statement.
Ramos also served as a counsel of six suspected New People’s Army rebels captured in an encounter last March in Mabinay, Negros Oriental, that also led to the confiscation of six high powered firearms and explosives.

Arevalo called the NPA and its allied organizations “liars”, and challenged the Army detractors to face him personally and tell him that they were behind it, and not through the media.
Regalado also said the creation of a Special Investigation Task Group on incidents of massacre and strafing, among others, was useless, as they remain unsolved as of this time, and not a single perpetrator had been arrested.

Magdalo Rep. Gary Alejano, a Negrense, also condemned the cold-blooded murder of Ramos, noting that the slain lawyer championed the cause of the poor and the marginalized in Negros Occidental.

It was an attack on human rights and shows the policy of killings under the Duterte administration, Alejano added.

3 NPAs, 1 soldier killed in Talaingod encounter

From the Mindanao Times (Nov 8): 3 NPAs, 1 soldier killed in Talaingod encounter

Soldiers of the 56th Infantry Battalion clashed with members of the New People's Army when they overran an encampment while conducting combat operations in Sitio Palisan, Barangay Palma Gil, Talaingod, Davao del Norte on Nov. 4.

Three NPAs and one soldier were killed while two other soldiers were wounded during the clash.

Cpl. Arvin F. Saguiped was declared killed in action at about 10:50 a.m. of the same day. Meanwhile, Pfc. Romeo D. Rilles II hurt his eye when he bumped his right eye on his K3 SAW. Cpl. Ruel V. Palmiano was wounded on his right arm by a sharp object.

Capt. John Louie Dema-ala, the civil-military operations officer of the 56th IB, said the encampment belonged to the Guerrilla Front 55, which can hold as many as 60 rebels.

Dema-ala said troops were still combing the area but they initially IED, M16 magazines and live ammunition, M203 empty shells, AK-47 live ammunition, and seven poncho tents.

"Observation disclosed that the enemies have withdrawn," he said.

According to latest report, he said allegedly three NPAs were killed and two were wounded during the said firefight.

Lt. Col. Edwin M. Paredes, commanding officer of 56th Infantry Battalion, ordered to conduct massive pursuit operations against the fleeing rebels.

He said Datu Guibang Apuga sought the assistance and intervention of local government agencies and the Armed Forces of the Philippines to stop the abuses of the New Peoples Army.

Maj. Gen. Felimon T. Santos, commander of the 7th Infantry Division, also urged the soldiers to continue the pressure against the NPA.

During the pursuit operation, SSG. Ariel P. Gracia dislocated his left arm when he slipped and fell down a cliff.

11 NPAs surrender

From the Mindanao Times (Nov 8): 11 NPAs surrender

Two High-ranking NPA leaders and nine others surrendered to the 25th Infantry Battalion in Monkayo, Compostela Valley on Oct. 31.
Capt. Jerry Lamosao, the spokesperson of 10th Infantry Division, identified on as alias Lodi, a commanding officer of the Guerrilla Front 33, surrendered one M1 Carbine, one M16 rifle and an improvised bomb.
Alias Pedro, meanwhile, was a vice commanding officer of the Guerrilla Front 2, who brought with him 1 KG9 9mm Luger. The remaining nine rebel returnees were a mix of leaders and members of the different guerrilla units operating in Compostela Valley and Agusan del Sur.
They surrendered four .45 caliber pistols, live ammunition, and communist propaganda materials.
"It is also upon their revelations that what they expected inside the armed group organization was a big deviance from what they have experienced," Lamosao said. "They suffered hunger instead of abundance of food, fear in place of serenity, and absence of financial support from the organization.”
In a statement, Lt. Col. Oscar Balignasay, the battalion commander of the 25th IB, acknowledged the efforts of the local government units of Nabunturan, Montevista, Monkayo of Compostela Valley Province and Trento of Agusan Del Sur in leading the campaign against insurgency.
"We encourage those who are still struggling under the CPP-NPA-NDF terror group to not waste time clinging to them and surrender now," Balignasay said.
He said surrenderees will be enrolled in the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-Clip).
Meanwhile, Maj Gen. Noel S Clement, commander of the 10th ID, said, "with people's support and troops' commitment to duty, the region and the whole of 10ID area of responsibility experienced continuous relatively peaceful environment."

PH, Russia finalize military cooperation activities for 2019

From Rappler (Nov 10): PH, Russia finalize military cooperation activities for 2019
The 2019 activities include cooperation and security consultations between Philippine and Russian defense officials, and reciprocal visits of delegations and observers for military training activities
PORT CALL. Russian guided missile cruiser Varyag makes a port call in Manila on April 20, 2017. Photo by Carmela Fonbuena/Rappler
PORT CALL. Russian guided missile cruiser Varyag makes a port call in Manila on April 20, 2017. Photo by Carmela Fonbuena/Rappler

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines and Russia have finalized their military cooperation activities for 2019 which include security consultations and training exchanges, the Philippines’ Department of National Defense (DND) said on Saturday, November 10.

The DND said in a press statement that the Plan of Military Cooperation Activities between the two countries was finalized during the two countries' second Joint Working Group (JWG) meeting in Moscow, Russia, on November 7.
“The plan consists of activities/engagements, which both sides agreed to conduct in 2019 to include high level exchanges, port visits of navy vessels, attendance in conferences/fora, general staff consultations, cooperation and security consultations, reciprocal visits of delegations and observers for military training activities, and education and training exchanges,” the DND said.

There have been port visits of navy vessels by both countries this year. In June, a Russian navy contingent docked on the South Harbor in Manila for a 5-day goodwill visit to the Philippines; on October 1, the Philippine Navy vessel BRP Tarlac made a historic port call to Vladivostok, Russia.

The DND also said that the Terms of Reference of the JWG on Defense Cooperation was also signed during the meeting, but did not give details.
Defense Assistant Secretary Teodoro Cirilo T. Torralba III led the Philippine contingent in the meeting, while Colonel Maxim Vladimirovich Penkin, Head of the 5th Department of the Main Directorate of the International Military Cooperation, led the Russian side.

The JWG is a platform for Philippine and Russian officials to discuss military-to-military engagements or activities for both countries, the DND said.

The second JWG meeting was convened in accordance with the Philippines-Russia Agreement on Defense Cooperation signed in 2017.

Soldiers, LGUs strengthen security force in coastal municipalities

From the Philippine Information Agency (Nov 9): Soldiers, LGUs strengthen security force in coastal municipalities

GUIPOS, Zamboanga del Sur - - To address kidnapping, piracy and insurgency in the province, the 53rd Infantry (Matapat) Battalion, Philippine Army and the coastal municipal mayors recently inked two (2) Memoranda of Understanding (MOUs).

The first MOU entered into by the 53rd IB and coastal municipal mayors defined their respective roles for the enhancement of security forces in the coastal municipalities by providing logistical support to the troops and CAFGUs, and the second  provides financial assistance to former rebels (FRs) and their immediate families while waiting for the support package from the Comprehensive Local Integration Program (CLIP) of the government.

LtCol. Marlowe Patria, 53rd IB commanding officer was deeply grateful for the strong support given by the local chief executives in the peace initiatives implemented by the unit adding that it cannot be realized without their   cooperation.

“We have to maintain zero kidnapping and other related atrocities incidents in our area,” Patria urged.
Mayor Angelito Martinez of San Miguel, vice president of  the League of Municipalities of the Philippines (LMP), Zamboanga del Sur Chapter said the coastal municipal mayors strongly support the campaign saying that the unit and the LCEs are partners in peace-bulding initiatives.

“We strongly support the campaign because it is our constituents that would benefit. We need to work hand-in hand with the military to maintain  peace and order in our province,” Martinez proudly said.

Meanwhile, LtCol. Bagnus Gaerlan, Jr., 102nd brigade commander  lauded the unit for proactively implementing the anti-kidnapping initiatives.

“We do not want that kidnapping, piracy and extortion will happen in our province,” Gaerlan explained.

“I am optimistic that with the anti-kidnapping campaign jointly organized by the unit and LCEs, lawless elements will be afraid to do kidnap-for-ransom activities. The presence of ‘Task Force Baganian’ in the coastal waters is a deterrent in the commission of crimes,” he added.

Gaerlan said since January this year, Zamboanga Peninsula region has recorded five (5) kidnapping incidents: three (3) in Sirawai, Zamboanga del Norte, one (1) in Malangas, and one (1) in  Kabasalan, Zamboanga Sibugay.

7 ex-rebels in Nueva Ecija receive P355K aid

From the Philippine News Agency (Nov 9): 7 ex-rebels in Nueva Ecija receive P355K aid

FORT MAGSAYSAY, Nueva Ecija -- Seven former rebels from Carranglan town, Nueva Ecija province on Friday received PHP355,000 in financial assistance as part of the government’s Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP).

The seven, who surrendered to the 7th Infantry (Kaugnay) Division of the Philippine Army (PA) last June, each received an amount ranging from PHP15,000 to PHP65,000.

“The financial assistance is one of many benefits and privileges for former rebels who will surrender and get back to the folds of the law,” Col. Rowen S. Tolentino, commander of the Army’s 703rd Infantry Brigade, said during a short program held at the Old Capitol in Cabanatuan City.

Other attendees included representatives of the Philippine National Police, Department of the Interior and Local Government, Department of Social Welfare and Development, and the local government units, headed by the Office of the Governor of Nueva Ecija.

Major Gen. Felimon T. Santos Jr., commander of the 7th Infantry Division (7ID), expressed his appreciation to the provincial government and other local government agencies for the immediate action in processing the benefits of the rebel returnees.

He also said the distribution of the financial aid is proof that the government is sincere in its program to counter insurgency.

Santos reiterated his call to rebels to surrender, highlighting that Christmas is fast approaching, and would be the best time to be with their families.

He assured that the 7ID will assist rebels who will lay down their arms.

Army settles bloody clan war between 2 families

From the Philippine News Agency (Nov 9): Army settles bloody clan war between 2 families

SETTLED. Members of the Pandapatan and Ayup families swear before the Quran on Thursday (Nov. 8, 2018) during a thanksgiving event held at the headquarters of the Army’s 33rd Infantry Battalion in President Quirino town of Sultan Kudarat province. (Photo by 33rd IB)

BULUAN, Maguindanao – While providing security to civilians and running after lawless elements, the Army’s 33rd Infantry “Makabayan” Battalion has been setting trends in this part of Mindanao -- settling bloody feuds among warring families.

Lt. Colonel Harold Cabunoc, the 33IB chief, On Thursday said their unit has so far settled five clan wars involving armed families in the Maguindanao and Sultan Kudarat provinces since last year.

“It shows our conflict management capability,” Cabunoc said.

The 33IB hosted a “Kanduli” (thanksgiving party) at its headquarters in Barangay Tual, President Quirino, Sultan Kudarat, where the families of Mamadsali Pandapatan, 50, and Jorge Ayup, 55, agreed to end the bloody hostilities.

“Mediating among families locked in bloody clan wars is now a trend among us,” Cabunoc said, adding that the initiative demonstrates the military's ability to address the root causes of armed conflict problem to find the most suitable solution.

The Pandapatans and Ayups who are related by blood have been fighting ownership of about ten hectares of rice farm in Barangay Lumabao, Gen. SK Pendatun, Maguindanao.

Cabunoc said clan elders failed to subdivide the property before their demise that led to misunderstanding among the relatives.

Cabunoc said Pandapatan told him that his grandparents originally owned the parcel of land. On the other hand, Ayup told the Army official that Pandapatan was given 2.5 hectares of land but wanted the whole ten hectares instead, which started the conflict.

In 2013, a settlement was reached but Pandapatan supposedly did not honor it, triggering sporadic skirmishes between the two families.

Ayup, an official of Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), is backed by armed men while Pandapatan had the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) as his armed unit.

Cabunoc said both sides have incurred casualties during the conflict that started in 2013.

Mangudadatu and Cabunoc witnessed the warring families swearing before the Qur’an that they will never engage in armed confrontation again and religiously abide by the Army-initiated settlement.

Maguindanao province receives 9 BIFF surrenderers

From the Philippine News Agency (Nov 9): Maguindanao province receives 9 BIFF surrenderers

SURRENDER RITE. Maguindanao Governor Esmael Mangudadatu (center) accepts a rifle surrendered by one of nine Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters operating in the province’s Gen. Salipada K. Pendatun town during a turnover ceremony held at the headquarters of the Army’s 33rd Infantry Battalion in nearby President Quirino, Sultan Kudarat province. (Photo by 6ID)

CAMP SIONGCO, Maguindanao--The provincial government of Maguindanao formally accepted from the military Thursday nine members of the Islamic State-linked Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) who have decided to return to mainstream society.

Maguindanao Governor Esmael Mangudadatu led the turnover ceremony held at the headquarters of the 33rd Infantry Battalion (IB) in Barangay Tual, President Quirino, Sultan Kudarat. He was joined by the Army’s 6th Infantry Division Assistant Commander for Reservist and Retirees Affairs Col. Antonio Sugarol, and General Salipada K. Pendatun (Maguindanao) Vice Mayor Salman Kali.

Major Arvin John Encinas, the Army’s 6th ID spokesperson, said the surrenderers yielded two .50-caliber sniper rifles, three rocket-propelled grenade launchers, one M653 assault rifle, M14 rifle, and two M79 grenade launchers.

Encinas said negotiations for the latest batch of BIFF surrenderers began on Oct. 26 and facilitated by local government officials, in coordination with the Army’s 33rd IB.

The BIFF surrenderers are set to receive a livelihood package from the Maguindanao provincial government.

Maguindanao 2nd District Rep. Sajid Mangudadatu also led the handover of PHP20,000 each to the former rebels as an additional incentive.

The governor has assured succeeding batches of BIFF surrenderers that they would be given equal opportunity for livelihood assistance once they return to the folds of the law.

ARMM boosts reintegration program to quell terrorism

From the Philippine News Agency (Nov 10): ARMM boosts reintegration program to quell terrorism

At least 52 former members of the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) on Friday began their skills training under the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), as part of their reintegration to the mainstream society in Basilan province.

The latest batch of TESDA trainees is among 272 rebel returnees from Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi, who are being given livelihood skills training under the Program Against Violent Extremism (PAVE).

John Louie Balagot, Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) cabinet secretary, said the initiative forms part of the region’s intensified peace-building efforts to combat terrorism.

PAVE is a reintegration program channeled through skills development training, which received a PHP20-million budget from ARMM Governor Mujiv Hataman for its implementation.

On Nov. 7, the latest batch of returnees took their oath during the training induction program facilitated by TESDA in Isabela, Basilan. The training courses include bread and pastry-making, welding, carpentry, and dressmaking.

“The trainees would also receive competency assessments, tool kits and food for the whole duration of the training,” Balagot, who is concurrent PAVE manager, said.

PAVE, being the first model program for the reintegration of former Moro rebels, would also cover assistance to returnees from the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters, he added.

“The program is primarily designed to provide opportunities to former rebels who surrendered and returned to the folds of the law to become productive members of society,”
Balagot said.

PAVE is also engaging with affected communities, especially the youth and women, as the regional government acknowledged their vital role in preventing terrorism.

Aside from the free skills training, he said the returnees would also receive housing and food assistance under the ARMM’s Bangsamoro Regional Inclusive Development with Growth and Equity Program; Alternative Learning System classes under the ARMM’s education department; farm seedlings under the ARMM’s agriculture department; techno-training on chili production under the Department of Science and Technology; and membership to cooperatives under the Cooperative Development Authority.

In the transition to the new Bangsamoro government, Balagot said the ARMM’s reintegration program is being recognized by the National Peace and Order Council, even as the regional government remains hopeful that it would be officially included in the national government’s Comprehensive Local Integration Program, which is aimed at achieving permanent and peaceful closure to all armed conflicts.