Monday, January 21, 2019

AFP top brass visits troops to ensure readiness

From the Manila Bulletin (Jan 20, 2019): AFP top brass visits troops to ensure readiness

CAMP RANAO, Marawi City – Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief of Staff General Benjamin Madrigal Jr., visited the troops of the Army’s 103rd Brigade and 2nd Mechanized Infantry Battalion in Camp Ranao, Marawi City and Brgy. Maria Cristina, Iligan City, respectively on Saturday, January 19. The visit is part of the AFP’s security preparations for the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) Plebiscite on Monday, January 21.

File photo of AFP Chief of staff and former Eastern Mindanao Command chief Lt. Gen Benjamin Madrigal. (Keith Bacongco / FILE / MANILA BULLETIN)
Madrigal checked the readiness of the troops for the BOL Plebiscite as Marawi City and towns in Lanao del Norte are also going to participate in the plebiscite to ratify the BOL.

His visit also aims to make sure that the welfare of the troops is taken care of.

He also went to visit the Main Battle Area (MBA) now called as the Most Affected Area of the Marawi siege to check the situation and on-going security operations to facilitate the rehabilitation and reconstruction of Marawi City led by the Task Force Bangon Marawi.

Members of media were also allowed to join in the tour which included pit stops at St. Mary’s Cathedral which was looted and destroyed by ISIS inspired Maute Group militants when they invaded Marawi.

He also visited the Landbank building where war hero Captain Rommel Bigyan Sandoval was killed on September 10, 2017, the 111th day of the battle, as he attempted to rescue one of his men wounded in a firefight with the jihadist militants.

Sandoval was the highest-ranking soldier to have died in the Battle of Marawi.

“The two units are tasked to secure the whole city in support to the Task Force Bangon Marawi and to clear the few remaining areas of unexploded ordnance.” Madrigal said during an interview.

The AFP chief, at the same time, said that troops are continuously on the look-out for remaining members of the Maute-ISIS who may attempt to launch attacks.

Madrigal said although they are only a handful and has been reduced in numbers, they are not taking any chances. He added that intelligence operatives are also continuously tracking militant leader Abu Dar who has gone into hiding following the siege.

Also during his visit, a command conference with the leadership of the 103rd Bde led by its Commander, Colonel Romeo Brawner and 2nd Mechanized Inf Bde, Brig. Gen. Tom Sedano was conducted, assuring the AFP leadership and the community that every soldier is ready and everything is all set within the Area of Responsibility of 103rd Bde and 2nd Mechanized Brigade.

Madrigal also inspected and toured around the camps, he then talked to the men of the two brigades to boost the morale of the troops on the ground.

“We extend our full support to every soldier currently deployed to conduct vital security services in the City of Marawi and the Province of Lanao del Norte and the adjoining towns,” Madrigal said.

“The AFP is thankful for your service in this historic city at this critical time when peace through BOL ratification and rehabilitation through task force Bangon Marawi is at its most important phase,” he concluded.

The plebiscite is scheduled on January 21, 2019 in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), Cotabato City, and Isabela City for the ratification of the BOL.

For Lanao del Norte, North Cotabato, including the barangays that filed their petitions to join the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) granted by the Commission on Elections, the plebiscite will be on February 6, 2019.

The BOL, which reflects all the signed peace agreements between the government and the Moro fronts, envisions to create a more powerful autonomous government with adequate financial resources that would be at par with other regions in the country.

Army repels NPA attack, denies 12 soldiers killed

From the Visayan Daily Star (Jan 21, 2019): Army repels NPA attack, denies 12 soldiers killed
Army soldiers repelled an attack by the New People’s Army in remote Brgy. Tacpao, Guihulngan City, Negros Oriental, after several minutes of gunbattle, Brig. Gen. Ignacio Madriaga, 302nd Infantry Brigade commander, said yesterday.
Madriaga said about ten NPA rebels opened fire on Army positions, using automatic rifles and rifle grenades, and also hit several houses of civilians in the area. 

 But the 94th IB troopers, who were on heightened alert, managed to stage counter-attacks against the rebels in three positions, in a gunbattle that lasted more than 15 minutes, Madriaga said.

The fleeing rebels abandoned their positions and left behind a .45 caliber pistol with ammunition, 13 magazines of an AK-47 and M-16 assault rifles with 218 rounds of ammunition, nine ammunition of an M-14 rifle, a Baofeng commercial radio and three NPA ball caps, he added.

Ka JB Regalado, spokesman of the Leonardo Panaligan Command, claimed in a statement yesterday that the simultaneous raids against Peace and Development Teams of the Philippine Army killed 12 soldiers, through command detonated explosives.

Regalado further claimed that the attack against the soldiers allegedly staying at a day care center and barangay hall in Tacpao, Guihulngan, lasted for about 28 minutes, with NPA rebels using explosives.

A simultaneous attack was also staged in Brgy. Binubuhan, Guihulngan City, with a firefight that lasted for 15 minutes, he further claimed.


But Madriaga said the army did not suffer any casualties, he also dismissed as fake news claims that there was a harassment of a military outpost in Brgy. Binubuhan, Guihulngan City.

Madriaga said bloodstains and gauze pads were discovered at the rebel abandoned positions and in their withdrawal routes, which indicated that some of them had been hit during their foiled attack in Brgy Tacpao, Guihulngan.

He slammed the NPA for disregarding human lives, saying they do not spare innocent civilians in their terroristic activities.

A day earlier, armed skirmishes also ensued between Army soldiers and suspected New People’s Army rebels in Sitio Pacama, Brgy. Magballo, Kabankalan City, Negros Occidental.

The running gunbattle lasted for about 15 minutes, and the 10 suspected communist rebels withdrew in separate directions, Col. Benedict Arevalo, 303rd Infantry Brigade commander, said.

Arevalo said the 15th Infantry Battalion soldiers stationed at the Dacongcogon detachment, who were still in pursuit of the fleeing rebels as of presstime, recovered a jungle knife, jungle bolo, assorted personal belongings and AK-47 assault rifle shells.

No casualty was reported among Army soldiers in the Kabankalan encounter.

Arevalo said the Philippine Army will continue to be on an offensive mode to prevent the NPA from conducting further terroristic and extortion activities.

Foreign observers say Bangsamoro plebiscite peaceful, organized

From Rappler (Jan 21, 2019): Foreign observers say Bangsamoro plebiscite peaceful, organized

But Cotabato City is singled out for the tense dynamics between groups taking opposite sides in the plebiscite

WAITING. A large crowd waits in front of Cotabato City Central Pilot School for its polling precinct to open. Photo by Bobby Lagsa

WAITING. A large crowd waits in front of Cotabato City Central Pilot School for its polling precinct to open. Photo by Bobby Lagsa

COTABATO CITY, Philippines – Two foreign observers described the Bangsamoro plebiscite as generally "peaceful" and organized, with one lauding the Commission on Elections (Comelec) for doing an "excellent job."

Rappler spoke with two foreign observers on the night of the plebiscite on Monday, January 21, on their initial assessments of the poll.

They requested not to be identified for this story.

Foreign observers are typically members of international groups or foreign countries invited by the Comelec and local watchdogs to visit polling precincts and see for themselves how the poll is conducted.

They often craft internal reports but don't release details to media.

Amid this overall favorable initial assessment, a foreign observer said tensions in Cotabato City made it stand out like a sore thumb.

"Some (Cotabato polling precincts) were still well-organized but you could sense things were a little bit more tense," they said.

The observer cited larger crowds on the street, and how soldiers and police had to shut gates of voting centers to "channel the people" and calm down tense situations.

They compared this to areas in Parang and Sultan Kudarat in adjacent Maguindanao where the precincts were "open" and families, children, and the aged could hang about.

While they saw the same level of security in Cotabato precincts as with precincts in other areas (one or two policemen or soldiers standing guard), there was heightened security in the city's streets.

They also observed more "trouble" between the two opposing groups – those calling for Cotabato City's inclusion in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) and those against it.

What of harassment reports?
Meanwhile, the observer said they did not see any harassment or intimidation.

The Comelec had earlier announced reports that teachers serving as Board of Election Inspectors were "intimidated" into not showing up at their polling precincts.

"Threatening" text messages had supposedly been sent to them the previous night, said ARMM Comelec chief Rey Sumalipao.

The other foreign observer said they had also received reports about delayed opening of precincts and threats made to teachers but they found it "difficult to understand what happened."

There had also been some confrontations in some polling precincts but they had been contained.

Good voter turn-out
Despite the polarization in Cotabato City, one foreign observer said they think the results of the plebiscite can be considered credible.

Contributing to this conclusion was the observation that the plebiscite was also "well-attended."

"In most places we saw, they had, by about lunch time, anywhere between 50 to 70% of the people who were on their list, they had already come in and voted," they said.

School principals and teachers running the precincts had also told the observers that they felt they had all the support and equipment they needed for their task.

"Well-organized. Good cooperation between the local committees, Comelec, and from the security forces," said the observer.

However, 6th Infantry Division Commander Major General Cirilito Sobejana did flag the lack of coordination between the Moro Islamic Liberation Front's armed wing, Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Forces (BIAF), and the military and police.

Some 6,000 BIAF members had apparently been inside the city on Monday, causing government forces to worry that voters will get intimidated and decide not to vote.

But the BIAF members were unarmed, did not wear their uniforms, and carried identification cards, which minimized the chances of tensions. (WATCH: Without guns, Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Forces prepare to help protect BOL vote)

6,000 Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Forces keep watch of plebiscite in Cotabato

From Rappler (Jan 21, 2019): 6,000 Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Forces keep watch of plebiscite in Cotabato

AFP 6th Infantry Division commander Major General Cirilito Sobejana says the presence of MILF soldiers was not a threat to the Bangsamoro vote

MILF SOLDIERS. Troops from the MILF's armed wing, the Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Forces, are briefed at Camp Darapanan on January 20, 2019, the day before the Bangsamoro plebiscite. Photo by Jeff Digma/Rappler

MILF SOLDIERS. Troops from the MILF's armed wing, the Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Forces, are briefed at Camp Darapanan on January 20, 2019, the day before the Bangsamoro plebiscite. Photo by Jeff Digma/Rappler

About 6,000 troops from the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) were present in Cotabato City to support and keep watch of the Bangsamoro plebiscite on Monday, January 21.

Armed Forces of the Philippines 6th Infantry Division commander Major General Cirilito Sobejana said some 5,000 members of the Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Forces (BIAF), the armed unit of the MILF, made their way into the city as early as Sunday, the day before voting.

There was no prior coordination with security forces for the arrival of the BIAF troops, Sobejana said, and he was only alerted by ground forces about it.

Sobejana said BIAF chief of staff Sammy Gambar Al-Mansoor made efforts to make some of the BIAF troops withdraw from the area, but only 2,000 of them did on Sunday, January 20. By Monday, though, their number increased to 6,000.

Despite this, Sobejana said the BIAF presence in Cotabato City was not taken as a threat.

“We treated their arrival here as ordinary citizens, for as long as they were not in uniform and were not bearing arms,” Sobejana told reporters in a press briefing Monday evening.

The debate over the ratification of the Bangsamoro Law has fuelled tensions in Cotabato City.

It’s popular mayor, Cynthia Guiani-Sayadi, is openly against the inclusion of Cotabato City in the proposed Bangsaoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.

As she cast her vote at the Cotabato City Institute, she claimed the presence of MILF members in the city had intimidated voters.

But Sobejana said no violent incidents took place and that the MILF members were not hostile. The most they were involved in, he said, were verbal clashes with voters who did not support the Bangsamoro Organic Law.

“They were not wearing uniform, they were unarmed, and some were wearing identification cards so they were not hostile. They were identifying themselves. Hindi po sila nananakot (They were not intimidating anyone),” Sobejana said.

Sobejana added the military sought to allay the concerns of voters by beefing up security forces in the city.

“We were able to protect the democratic space and we were able to let democracy work,” he said.

Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) elections chief Rey Sumalipao said no election-related violence were reported in Cotabato City and the rest of the participating areas.

“We have relayed to everyone that we have a peaceful elections in the entire ARMM, Isabela City, and, except for some skirmishes in Cotabato City, it was generally still peaceful and we had a successful conduct of the plebiscite,” he said.

Rifles, landmines recovered at Aliwagwag encounter site

From the Mindanao Times (Jan 20, 2019): Rifles, landmines recovered at Aliwagwag encounter site

Five high-powered firearms and four landmines were recovered by the soldiers of the 67th Infantry Battalion in Sitio Bitangon, Barangay Aliwagwag, Cateel, Davao Oriental around 3 a.m. of Jan. 20, 2019.

1Lt. Jei-em Tagufa, the civil- military operations officer of 67th IB, said composite troops of Alpha Company and intel operatives of the 67th IB encountered members of Guerrilla Front 25 in Sitio Bitangon.

The troops under 1Lt. Al Bryan Villanueva encountered more or less 20 New People's Army rebels. The firefight lasted about 40 minutes before the rebels escaped.

The troops were able to recover at the encounter site three AK47 assault rifles, two M16 rifles, four landmines with wire, two cellphones, medical paraphernalia, back packs, and subversive documents.

Lt. Col. Jacob Thaddeus Obligado, commander of the 67th Infantry Battalion, commended the troops for a job well done. “We will continue with our focused military operations to ensure the safety of the populace,” he said.

Col. Manuel Sequitin, the 701st Infantry Brigade commander, encouraged the communities to continue supporting the troops and helping in the campaign against the NPA.

Meanwhile, Maj. Gen. Jose Faustino Jr., commander of the 10th ID, also lauded troops’ accomplishments.

“With the people’s support and the troops’ commitment to duty, the region and the whole of 10th ID's area of responsibility experienced continuous and relatively peaceful environment," Faustino said.

From armed to parliamentary struggle: Citizen Murad votes “yes” to Bangsamoro

From MindaNews (Jan 21, 2019): From armed to parliamentary struggle: Citizen Murad votes “yes” to Bangsamoro

Moro Islamic Liberation Front Chairman Al Haj Murad Ebrahim, using his real name Ahod “Murad” Balawag Ebrahim, votes for the first time in his life on January 21, 2019 during the plebiscite on the Bangsamoro Law at the Simuay Junction Central Elementary School in Simuay, Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao. MindaNews photo by MANMAN DEJETO
SIMUAY, Sultan Kudarat (MindaNews / 21 January) — “Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar,” the crowd cheered as Al Haj Murad Ebrahim, chair of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) entered Room 15 of the Simuay Central Elementary School for voters of precincts 0140A and 0140B at 10:17 a.m. on Monday, January 21 and was led to a sofa apparently especially prepared for him by school officials. “This is my first time to vote,” the 71-year old revolutionary leader told reporters who had gathered around him to document the historic moment.

Soon after, the poll chair called out Voter Number 88 and the MILF chair stood up when his real name was announced: “Ebrahim, Ahod ‘Murad’ Balawag.”

Murad voted in the school where he learned how to read and write. The school is located some 200 meters from the main entrance to the MILF’s Camp Darapanan

Clad in a black jacket worn over a green shirt of the UBJP (United Bangsamoro Justice Party), he received his ballot and went back to the sofa, wrote down “Yes” (in English, he later said), dropped his ballot into the box and by 10:23 a.m., Citizen Murad had, for the first time in his life, exercised his right to suffrage.

His first democratic exercise: the plebiscite on January 21 and February for the ratification of RA 11054 or the Organic Law for the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao .

Murad voted in the school where he learned to read and write. The school is located some 200 meters from the main entrance to the MILF’s Camp Darapanan.

“This is the first time to exercise my right for suffrage and this signifies that now from a revolutionary, we are transforming into the democratic process so we see that this is very historic because we have been struggling for almost 50 years and it is only now that we see some light at the end of the tunnel,” Murad told a press conference at the covered court of the school, after voting.

“We are hoping that with this development, finally we can achieve the aspiration of our people for peace … and good life in this part of the country and in the entire country,” he said.

Asked if all the mujahideens voted, Murad told MindaNews, “I think 95% nagboto” (voted) as those out on assignment could not vote, he said.

At the press conference, he expressed hope that the Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA) “will be immediately established and we will start to organize our governance structures”

RA 11054 provides for the basic structure of government “in recognition of the justness and legitimacy of the cause of the Bangsamoro people and the aspirations of Muslim Filipinos and all indigenous cultural communities in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao to secure their identity and posterity, allowing for meaningful self-governance within the framework of the Constitution and the national sovereignty as well as territorial integrity of the Republic of the Philippines.”

Once ratified, the law will pave the way for the creation of the Bangsamoro, the new autonomous political entity that would replace the 28-year old Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) and hasten, among others, the normalization process, including the decommissioning of 30% of the MILF’s weapons and forces, in accordance with the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB), the peace agreement that the MILF signed with the government on March 27, 2014.

RA 11054 provides for a three-year transition period where the 80-member MILF-led BTA will govern the BARMM until the first set of officials is elected in May 2022.

From BIAF Chief of Staff to Bangsamoro Chief Minister
Murad joined the armed struggle 50 years ago in 1969, first as a member of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) and later the MILF.

He was one semester short of completing his civil engineering degree at the Notre Dame University in this city when he joined the MNLF’s “Batch 300” in 1969.

MILF Chair Al Haj Ebrahim Murad talks to reporters after casting his vote. MindaNews photo by MANMAN DEJETO

He served as Vice Chair for Military Affairs of the MILF and Chief of Staff of the Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Forces during the “all-out war” in 2000 under the Estrada administration, and the Buliok war under the Arroyo administration in 2003.

In a concurrent capacity, he served as MILF peace panel chair from early 2001 — when Vice President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, who took over from ousted President Joseph Estrada, waged an “all-out peace” — until he assumed the post of MILF chair in late July 2003, after MILF chair Salamat passed away due to an illness.

Murad, the MILF’s nominee for the top post of Chief Minister, told MindaNews last Friday that they had already submitted the names of the 41 nominees of the MILF to the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process for 41 BTA seats. The President appoints the BTA members.

Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Carlito Galvez, Jr., told MindaNews Sunday night that his office “will set a very rigid criteria according to the President’s guidance to get only honest, sincere and competent people to ensure that good governance will be in place.”

“We are respectfully requesting both the MILF and the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) that they should put their best people – who could effectively, efficiently and conscientiously run the Bangsamoro Government,” He said.

Galvez added that they are recommending the “composition of a BTA Selection Committee with equitable representations from concerned parties and government agencies.”

“Our desire and intent is to recommend the (President’s) appointment of only those true public servants who will place common good, public interest and people’s welfare above all things,” he said.

While the BTA is being constituted, the law provides that the 25 incumbent elected officials of the ARMM and the 20-member Bangsamoro Transition Commission that drafted the Bangsamoro basic law, “shall act as caretakers of the administration of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region until the Bangsamoro Transition Authority is constituted.”

The “caretaker” provision is not part of the peace agreement but was added by Congress “to foreclose any political interregnum in the governance of the region.”

A total of 2,165,316 registered voters in the ARMM’s Maguindanao, Lanao del Sur, Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-tawi and the cities of Marawi and Lamitan; as well as the cities of Cotabato and Isabela trooped to the polls on January 21, while at least 600,000 voters in Lanao del Norte and North Cotabato will vote on February 6. The results of the plebiscite will finally determine the territorial jurisdiction of the BARMM.

19 ex-rebels in CAR, Cagayan Valley get land titles, cash aid

From the Philippine News Agency (Jan 21, 2019): 19 ex-rebels in CAR, Cagayan Valley get land titles, cash aid

AID TO FORMER REBELS. Army officials and government leaders award land titles and financial assistance to one of 19 former rebels in Cagayan and Ifugao provinces under the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program. (Photo courtesy of Army's 5th Infantry Division, Gamu, Isabela)   

CAMP MELCHOR DELA CRUZ, Gamu, Isabela -- The Army's 5th Infantry Division (5ID) and the local governments of Cagayan and Ifugao gave financial assistance to 19 former New People’s Army (NPA) rebels under the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (ECLIP) of the government, a military official said on Monday.

Maj. Jefferson Somera, 5ID spokesperson, told the Philippine News Agency on Monday that last Jan. 16, three former rebels received a hectare each of land in Santo Niño, Cagayan from the 17th Infantry Battalion and the provincial government of Cagayan in Tuguegarao City, while two former communist guerrillas and 14 former Militia ng Bayan members were given financial assistance on January 19 in Antipolo, Asipulo, Ifugao.

Somera said the two former guerrillas, identified as Ka Iyong and Ka Cindy (not their real names) received PHP65,000 each as immediate cash and livelihood assistance while the 14 former Militia members received PHP15,000 each as immediate cash assistance.

Maj. Gen. Perfecto Rimando Jr., 5ID commander, was elated with the distribution of land and financial assistance to the former guerrillas.

"Our government is sincere with its advocacy to help the returning rebels through the ECLIP to rebuild their lives," he said.

“I also enjoin all the local elected officials, members of the academe and church leaders and our fellow Filipinos in the area of the 5th Infantry Division to support the localized peace talks by calling for the surrender of the remaining NPA members in Cagayan Valley and Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR),” he added.

Rimando said ending five decades of insurgency by the Communist Party of the Philippines–New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) and its allied National Democratic Front of the Philippines is "everybody’s responsibility".

New Eastmincom chief vows to end insurgency

From the Philippine News Agency (Jan 21, 2019): New Eastmincom chief vows to end insurgency

Gen. Benjamin Madrigal, Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief of staff, is accompanied by Eastern Mindanao Command Acting Commander Maj. Gen. Ronald Villanueva and newly-installed Easternmincom commander Maj. Gen. Felimon Santos on his arrival at the Naval Station Felix Apolinario in Panacan, Davao City on Monday.
DAVAO CITY -- The newly-installed commander of the Eastern Mindanao Command (Eastmincom) on Monday vowed to fight "battles on all fronts" to end the decades-long communist insurgency.

But Maj. Gen. Felimon Santos recognized that the military would face difficulty against the New People's Army (NPA) if it did not have the support of the "all government agencies and stakeholders."

In his speech after assuming Eastmincom post, Santos said the troops will engage community stakeholders to address poverty -- "the root of the insurgency."

He said the fight against NPA -- the armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) --requires a “whole of nation approach” and "good governance."

As the new chief of the Eastmincom, Santos vowed to sustain the gains of the command and further improve community engagement.

Santos said brigade commanders have been instructed to deal with different government agencies focusing on poverty alleviation.

“We have to identify the problem and we give the solution. We have to complement (government) programs,” he said.

Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief of staff, Gen. Benjamin Madrigal expects Santos to implement the "National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict", which is seen to help the government in its ongoing anti-insurgency campaign.

Madrigal, in an interview at the sidelines of the turnover of command here, expressed optimism on Santos' leadership.

Madrigal, who was the Eastmincom commander before he assumed as AFP chief, noted that Santos was able to practice the "whole of nation approach" in confronting the communist insurgency when the latter headed the Army's 7th Infantry Division.

“With the kind of proactive and unified cooperation, definitely madaling magagawa nito (he can do it easily),” Madrigal said.

The "National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict" -- embodied under Executive Order (EO) 70 -- mandates all government agencies to come together to totally eradicate the root causes of conflict and violence.

"We have made significant progress and have headways in our campaign to end the insurgency. But to reach what we can call a complete victory, we need to create communities that are conflict-resilient, and we need local and national government agencies to attain this," Madrigal said.

Santos once headed the 11th Intelligence Service Unit based in Davao City and subsequently became the group commander of the Army's Intelligence Service Group.

He also served the 39th Infantry Battalion, a unit deployed to various provinces in Mindanao; the 703rd Infantry Brigade in Central Luzon; battalion commander of the 63rd Infantry Battalion in Samar province; and as assistant division commander of 6th Infantry Division based in Maguindanao.

PNP, AFP offer help to find missing UST coed

From the Philippine News Agency (Jan 21, 2019): PNP, AFP offer help to find missing UST coed

Rizza Camingawan (Photo from The Varsitarian/sourced from Ronald Camingawan's Facebook page)

Authorities have expressed desire to help the parents of a University of Santo Tomas (UST) student who went missing after a supposed immersion with farmers last December.

Philippine National Police (PNP) Director Gen. Oscar Albayalde advised the family to coordinate with police personnel in searching for 18-year-old Rizza Divine Camingawan.

“We want to help the relatives of this student so talk to us and we will help you search for your daughter,” Albayalde said in a press conference Saturday.

Armed Forces of the Philippines public affairs office chief, Col. Noel Detoyato, in a text message to the Philippine News Agency, added that they will extend help to find the missing legal management student.

“Help will be given if the parents demand that we step in. Right now, it is a police matter and the concern of the school,” Detoyato said in a message on Monday.

Albayalde, for his part, said this incident only validates their belief that some students are being recruited by communist rebels to join them in toppling the government.

“This is what we have been saying before that we have recovered IDs of students during encounters with communist rebels. Some of them are 22, 23 years old who were supposed to be in school but became casualties of this on-going war against rebellion,” Albayalde said.

The PNP chief also advised parents of other students who have the same experience to surface and talk to the police.

Rizza Divine’s father, Roland, initially went out to look for her and asked for help from the public but retreated his call saying his daughter is already home and later asked The Varsitarian, the official student publication of UST, to take down the story.

On Jan. 19, Luisa, the mother, refuted Roland’s statement clarifying that their daughter is not yet back with them.

Last Wednesday, Luisa shared that she would sometimes exchange messages with Rizza Divine but is not sure whether it is really her daughter she is talking to.

"Boses n’ya yung kausap ko, kaya lang may tumatawa (sa background). Tatlong babae naririnig ko. Kapag may itatanong ako sa kanya, may sumasagot ng isasagot niya (I recognize her voice but I can hear other people in the background laughing. There were three girls. Every time I ask her something, someone else teaches her what to tell me)," the mother explained.

The League of Filipino Students (LFS) earlier confirmed Rizza Divine's participation in the immersion.

Immersions or integration programs, the LFS said in a statement, were part of the student organization’s orientation.

UST Simbahayan Director Mark Anthony Abenir said his office did not approve nor receive an application for any off-campus community development project in relation to Rizza Divine’s immersion.

“Every off-campus community development or community immersion activity undergoes through proper protocol…anything contrary to this is not supported, not promoted, not approved. [If there] is no faculty supervision, [the activity will] not be allowed to push through,” Abenir said, as quoted in The Varsitarian report.

Joma wants BOL to fail to save his ideology: DND chief

From the Philippine News Agency (Jan 21, 2019): Joma wants BOL to fail to save his ideology: DND chief

Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) founder Jose Maria "Joma" Sison wants the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) to fail so that he has a rallying point for his discredited and bankrupt ideology.

This was the reply of Department of National Defense (DND) Secretary Delfin Lorenzana when asked why Sison seems to be afraid of the BOL and other peace initiatives of the government.

"Sison doesn’t want the government to succeed in this peace efforts with the Muslims. He is trying to picture a chaotic BOL autonomous government. I think he is even praying that it fails. Kasi takot siya na baka yung mga NPA (New People's Army) makipag-usap din sa gobyerno (He's afraid that the NPA will eventually talk to the government). He wants trouble to continue para meron siyang (so he has) rallying point for his discredited and bankrupt ideology," he said in a message to the Philippine News Agency Monday.

And when asked on what can happen to the NPA once the BOL proves a success, Lorenzana said it is very clear that the Muslim population will not allow communist rebels in their areas.

"If the BOL succeeds, we can be sure that the Muslim population would not want the Red’s incursion into their area. The Reds, especially the cadres and fighters, would be encouraged to lay down their firearms, surrender and avail of the government’s benefits," the DND chief added.

The NPA, the CPP's armed wing, is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States and European Union.

Meanwhile, Col. Noel Detoyato ,Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) public affairs office chief, said Sison is taking potshots at the BOL as he is feeling inadequate with the peaceful solution formulated by the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).

"Nag-serve na ng sample ang sincerity ng government and MILF to come up with a peaceful solution. Sison cannot equal that, that is why Sison feels inadequate in the face of the peace accord of the government and MILF," he said in a message Monday.

On Nov. 23, 2017, President Rodrigo Duterte signed Proclamation 360, ordering the termination of all peace negotiations and meetings with the CPP-NPA.

The termination was an offshoot of the rebel atrocities and other acts of violence against civilians and security forces.

Earlier, Sison claimed that President Duterte is "setting the stage for a bigger armed conflict in the Bangsamoro and adjoining areas" in his insistence to push for the ratification of the BOL.

The CPP founder also alleged that there were several forces that opposed the BOL and that the President failed to offer “satisfactory terms and secure the agreement” of those strongly opposed to it.

The BOL, previously known as the Bangsamoro Basic Law, seeks to establish a new Bangsamoro political entity to replace the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao. Duterte signed the BOL on July 26 last year.

BOL plebiscite successful: Comelec

From the Philippine News Agency (Jan 21, 2019): BOL plebiscite successful: Comelec

The Commission on Elections (Comelec) called the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) plebiscite as "successful" despite recording cases where some precincts did not open on time after some teachers did not report to their assigned areas.

“Overall, successful ang ating BOL. Tingnan natin kung ano ang magiging resulta (Let's see what the results will be),” said Comelec spokesperson James Jimenez, who is in Cotabato City, in a telephone interview with reporters.

Jimenez said as of 9:45 am, all precincts, except for the 24 precincts that started late in Cotabato City, have opened on time.

“Number one nagkaroon ng delay opening. Two, na-delay opening dahil may mga teacher na nag-back out at the last minute. Number three, dahil may mga teacher na nag back out at last minute napilitan pumalit ang Philippine National Police (There's been delay during the opening. Second, there's been delay because some teachers backed out at the last minute. Third, because of that, police personnel replaced them). So about 77 members of the PNP had perform Plebiscite Committee (PlebCom) functions,” he said in a telephone interview Monday.

“We expect the voting in almost every place to end at 3 p.m., we are waiting if the Commission en banc will order for an extension on the areas that started late,” poll body official added.

Jimenez said he was told that teachers did not report to their respective assignments after receiving threatening text messages.

“Yung exact nature ng messages hindi natin alam pero nagsabi na sila na ayaw na nila (We don't know the exact nature of those messages but they told us they won't come anymore),” he said.

On Monday, the Comelec conducted the plebiscite for the ratification of the BOL, which seeks to create the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.

The provinces included are Basilan, Lanao del Sur, Maguindanao, Sulu, and Tawi-Tawi; as well in Cotabato City; and Isabela City.

Another plebiscite will be held on February 6 in the province of Lanao del Norte, except Iligan City; the municipalities of Aleosan, Carmen, Kabacan, Midsayap, Pikit, and Pigkawayan in the province of North Cotabato; and the 28 barangays to be included in the region.

DWDD: PEACE ADVOCACY | Chieftains and members supports government instead CPP-NPA Terrorists

Posted to Katropa DWDD-CRS Virtual RTV Website (Jan 20): PEACE ADVOCACY | Chieftains and members supports government instead CPP-NPA Terrorists

SAGAY CITY, Negros Occidental (DWDD) – 120 Northern Negros Indigenous People (IP) chieftains and its members gathered in a 1 day Peace Advocacy Symposiumlast January 19, 2019 at Brgy Minapasuk Covered Court, Calatrava, Negros Occidental.

These are the Negritos Ata and Bukidnon Development Project IP from the barangays of Bagong Silang, Pinuwayan of Don Salvador Benedicto, Celestino Villasin of Cadiz City, Marcelo, Lalong, Minapasuk, Bago of Calatrava and Brgy Puey of Sagay City, headed by Mr. Richard Impil the provincial chieftain. They decided to end supporting the CPP-NPA Terrorists (CNTs) of its pessimistic consequence that could affect their livelihood, culture and their ancestral domain. They were tired from the extortions, lies and deceptions and recruitment of their members. Impil encourages his members “Dili na kitang mga IP musuporta sa CPP-NPA” which everyone of them agreed.

The initiated symposium activity of the 79th Infantry “Masaligan” Battalion, 3rd Infantry Division Philippine Army under the leadership of Lieutenant Colonel Emelito Thaddeus M Logan, facilitated resource speakers from the following; the National Commission of Indigenous People (NCIP), Municipal Social Welfare and Development Office (MSWDO), Municipal Agrarian Reform Office (MARO), Calatrava Municipality Police Station and a Former Rebel who shared awful experiences. With their gained knowledge from the speakers, they united together for their wise and firm decision to fully support the government and its programs.

Logan stressed that “any of your members who joined the CNTs and will surrender, be given the opportunity to avail the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP). The said government program will bring them to start a new life for a better future with their families”. He encourages the IP to continuously end their support to the CNTs. Further, urged the armed group to lay down their arms, join the mainstream society for armed struggle is not a solution to any problem then again it only adds up to the factors of hindrance to the development. “We are at all times ready to cater to those who are willing to return to the folds of law and avail the E-CLIP” he added. 3DPAO / MCAG

 Image may contain: one or more people and people standing

Image may contain: one or more people, people standing and outdoor

Image may contain: 2 people, people standing and outdoor

DWDD: ENCOUNTER | PA/PNP, Lawless Armed Group Clash in Sibuco

Posted to Katropa DWDD-CRS Virtual RTV Website (Jan 20): ENCOUNTER | PA/PNP, Lawless Armed Group Clash in Sibuco

CAMP SANG-AN, Labangan, Zamboangadel Sur (DWDD) – Joint AFP and PNP troops clashed with undetermined number of Lawless Armed group in Sibuco, Zamboanga del Norte, Saturday, January 19, 2019.

The 15-minute firefight resulted into one soldier declared dead on arrival by the attending physician in Camp Navarro Hospital, Zamboanga City after he was extracted from the encounter area.

The joint law enforcement operation was conducted to arrest BasiranAhilMudja who has two warrants of arrest for murder and attempted murder case.

Name of the dead soldier is withheld pending the notification of the families.

“Pursuit operation has been conducted to arrest and neutralize the armed group who also suffered casualties based on the bloodstains left in the encounter site,”said Col. BagnusGaerlan, the 102nd Infantry Brigade Commander based in Ipil, ZamboangaSibugay.

“We extend our deepest sympathies to the families and friends of our hero soldier. He died protecting the community in pursuit of peace and prosperity,” said Maj. Gen. RosellerMurillo, 1st Infantry Division and Joint Task Force Zampelan (Zamboanga Peninsula and Lanao Provinces) Commander. 1DPAO / MCAG
 Image may contain: 2 people, people smiling

DWDD: ATROCITIES | NPA Retaliates from Battle Defeat by Attacking Civilians and Destroying Civilian Properties

Posted to Katropa DWDD-CRS Virtual RTV Website (Jan 20): ATROCITIES | NPA Retaliates from Battle Defeat by Attacking Civilians and Destroying Civilian Properties

CAMP OSITO D BAHIAN. Bukidnon (DWDD) – After a series of debacles in recent encounters with the Army in Bukidnon, the NPAs in Bukidnon targeted civilians and destroyed civilian properties in Valencia City Bukidnon....

At around 3:00 AM today, January 18, 2019, more or less 20 NPA terrorists held a Martignani Spray Truck of Dole Plantation at Brgy Lilingayon ,Valencia, Bukidnon.

The driver and a civilian security escort were freed after being robbed of their cellular phones.

Troops of 1SFBn responded and reached the area an hour later and discovered that the Martigani Spray Truck was burned by the terrorists.

Police is now investigating and documenting the incident for filing of appropriate charges against the individuals who perpetrated the crime. The incident will be reported to Commision on Human Rights (CHR) and International Committee on Red Cross (ICRC) as proof of NPA violation of International Humanitarian Law.

Colonel Edgardo De Leon, Commander 403rd Infantry Brigade, condemned this act of terror by the CPP-NPA terrorists. "We strongly condemn the CPP-NPA terrorists for its blatant disregard of International Humanitarian Law (IHL) despite signing an agreement to respect IHL.

The NPA terrorists, with the guidance of their leaders, still continue to attack civilians and their properties. Part IV, Article IV, Item number 4 of the CARHRIHL provides that Civilian population and civilians shall be treated as such and shall be distinguished from combatants and, together with their property, shall not be the object of attack.

These attacks only fuel our utmost desire to protect our people from these thugs. And in order to fully protect and do our mandate, we need the full cooperation of the public in ensuring that these NPA atrocities will be pre-empted."

 4ID Commander Major General Ronald Villanueva assailed the NPA's wanton disrespect to IHL. He said: "the NDFP that signed CARHRIHL representing the NPA must be made to explain why the NPA attacked a civilian-owned farm equipment.

What is the "direct participation" of that farm equipment in the armed conflict between the AFP and the NPA? The NDF and the NPA must provide a clear answer." 403IBde / MCAG

No photo description available.

DWDD: COMMUNITY OUTREACH | Ampatuan town benefit in free health services from 2MIB

Posted to Katropa DWDD-CRS Virtual RTV Website (Jan 20): COMMUNITY OUTREACH | Ampatuan town benefit in free health services from 2MIB

 CAMP GONZALO SIONGCO, Awang, Datu Odin Sinsuat, Maguindanao (DWDD) - A joint outreach program was conducted by the 2nd Mechanized Infantry Battalion in collaboration with the Province of Maguindanao to deliver health services in Ampatuan town on January 17, 2019....

 Ltcol Alvin Iyog, Commanding Officer of 2nd Mechanized Infantry Battalion spearheaded the medical mission in partnership with the Peoples Medical Health Team of Maguindanao and the local government of Amaptuan held in Brgy Kauran Gymnasium, Ampatuan, Magauindanao.

 Around 1,500 less fortunate residents of Ampatuan town received the free medical check-up, tooth extractions, circumcisions and free hair-cut.

The security forces and the local government of Province of Maguindanao also distributed school bags, sleepers for children, malong for senior citizens, corn seeds for farmers and hygiene kit for pregnant women.

The delivery of health services to the grass roots aimed to build alliance between the different stakeholders of the government and the community in order to strengthen stakeholder’s relationship where trust and confidence are built among the populace and the military as partners for peace and development, said Major General Cirilito E. Sobejana, Commander 6th Infantry Division. 6DPAO /MCAG

 Image may contain: 11 people, people sitting

Image may contain: one or more people and people sitting

Image may contain: 5 people, crowd

DWDD: TACTICAL READINESS | 53IB, 902nd RMFB-9 conducts Joint Urban Warfare Training

Posted to Katropa DWDD-CRS Virtual RTV Website (Jan 20): TACTICAL READINESS | 53IB, 902nd RMFB-9 conducts Joint Urban Warfare Training

PAGADIAN CITY, Zamboanga Del Sur.(DWDD) - The 53rd Infantry “Matapat” Battalion together with the 902nd Company, Regional Mobile Force Battalion - 9 (RMFB-9) conducted the Joint AFP/ PNP Urban Warfare Training at Headquarters, 902nd Coy, RMFB9, Balitawak, Pagadian City, Zamboanga Del Sur.

Mr Valentin Costache, their foreign guest trainer, shared to the students his skills and knowledge in urban war fighting.

 The objectives of the training are a) to demonstrate safe weapons handling skills, nomenclature and manual of arms for the pistol b) to demonstrate knowledge of basic equipment and individual combat equipment load out and c) to demonstrate knowledge of tactical safety procedure. 53IB / MCAG

Image may contain: 2 people

Image may contain: one or more people

Image may contain: 4 people, people standing

Image may contain: 3 people, people smiling, people standing

Image may contain: 20 people, people smiling, people standing

DWDD: STRATEGIST COMMANDER | MGen Santos Jr to assume Eastmincom leadership

Posted to Katropa DWDD-CRS Virtual RTV Website (Jan 18): STRATEGIST COMMANDER | MGen Santos Jr to assume Eastmincom leadership

NAVAL STATION FELIX APOLINARIO, Panacan, Davao City (DWDD) - A "strategist" military General will assume as new Commander of the Eastern Mindanao Command (Eastmincom) in a Change of Command Ceremony to be presided by the Chief of Staff, Armed Force of the Philippines (AFP) Gen.... Benjamin Madrigal Jr. today, January 21, 2019.

Various peace stakeholders in Eastern Mindanao are expected to witness the assumption of Command of MGen. Felimon T. Santos Jr., former Commander of the 7th Infantry Division, Philippine Army based in Fort Ramon Magsaysay, Laur, Palayan, Nueva Ecija replacing MGen. Ronald Villanueva as Eastmincom's Acting Commander.

It can be recalled that Eastmincom was put under the stewardship of MGen Ronald Villanueva in an acting capacity after Gen. Madrigal Jr. assumed as Chief of Staff of the AFP on December 8, 2018.

MGen. Santos is not new in Mindanao's situation as he is adept in wide range peace and security programs not only in Mindanao but in the whole country, having been assigned with the strategic offices of the AFP dealing with Operations, Intelligence and Civil-Military Operations.

He once headed the 11th Intelligence Service Unit based in Davao City and subsequently became the Group Commander of Intelligence Service Group, Philippine Army. Furthermore, MGen. Santos after his graduation in the Philippine Military Academy in 1986 spent his junior years with the 39th Infantry Battalion, a unit deployed in various provinces in Mindanao.

The former Chief of Operations of the Central Command in the Visayas also once headed the 703rd Infantry Brigade in Central Luzon, Battalion Commander of 63rd Infantry Battalion in Samar Province, and Assistant Division Commander of 6th Infantry Division, Philippine Army based in DOS, Awang Maguindanao.

Aside from Operations and Intelligence, his experience in Civil-Military Operations, having been assigned with Civil Relations Service, AFP and leading the former Civil Military Operations Group, Philippine Army, is expected to boost the peace and security efforts in Eastern Mindanao more so in the advent of the implementation of Executive Order 70 which institutionalizes the "whole of nation approach" in fighting insurgency in the country.

 Aside from experience, MGen. Santos is also equipped with knowledge and skills gained from his schooling both local and abroad. EMC / MCAG


Posted to Katropa DWDD-CRS Virtual RTV Website (Jan 16): CHANGE OF COMMAND CEREMONY, 83RD CMO (Sandigan) Company

The Change of Command Ceremony was presided by LTC ANTONIO V BURTON INF (GSC) PA, the Commanding Off...icer of 8th Civil-Military Operations (DANGPANAN) Battalion, 8ID, PA. 1LT ANAFE G IPAS (MI) PA, as the outgoing Company Commander and CPT ERIC L ESTREVILLO (OS) PA as the newly installed Company Commander.

The Ceremony was attended by CPT RYANN R VELEZ (INF) PA, CMO Officer, 803rd Infantry (PEACEMAKER) Brigade and 2LT ALFONSO A ASIDRE (CE) PA, Company Executive Officer, Alpha Company, 63rd Infantry (INNOVATOR) Battalion on January 16, 2019 held at the headquarters of 83rd CMO (SANDIGAN) Company, Brgy. Tambangan, Palapag, Northern Samar.

The unit was recognized of her stint and invaluable services rendered as Commanding Officer of 83rd CMO Company from January 01, 2017 to January 17, 2019 that contributed to the attainment of the unit’ mission.

Image may contain: 4 people

Image may contain: 16 people, people smiling, outdoor

Karapatan slams AFP for parading human rights worker as NPA tax collector

From the Davao Today (Jan 18, 2019): Karapatan slams AFP for parading human rights worker as NPA tax collector

The human rights group Karapatan Southern Mindanao slams the Army’s 71st Infantry Battalion for parading an abducted human rights worker as a tax collector for the New People’s Army.

Karapatan gave this reaction after missing human rights worker Racquel Quintano surfaced in the camp of the 71st IB in Mawab, Compostela Valley and allegedly surrendered to battalion commander Lieutenant Colonel Esteveyn Ducusin.

The battalion in their statement to the media that Raquel, whom they identified as “Alyas Fiona”, admitted she is the tax collector for the NPA’s Sub-Regional Committee (SRC 2) and former secretary and council member of the farmers’ group Hugpong sa Mag-uuma sa Walog Compostela (HUMAWAC).

But Karapatan Southern Mindanao refutes the military’s statement, saying this is a ploy to discredit human rights workers by red-tagging.

“This is not the first time that the 71st IB has become the factory of fake news and script writing against the progressive groups by claiming they are NPA organizers or NPA agents, and so we strongly demand the release of Raquel,” Karapatan SMR Secretary General Jay Apiag said.

Apiag said Quintano is a spokesperson of Kalumonan, an organization of relatives of political prisoners in Southern Mindanao. Quintano’s husband is a detainee facing trumped-up charges, according to Karapatan.

Quintano has been active in facilitating cases and also led a case filing at the Commission on Human Rights on reported military abuses against detainees, Karapatan said.

Karapatan said Quintano was last seen on January 16 Wednesday waiting for a jeepney in Sunrise, Barangay Madaum, Tagum City when a black Toyota Vios stopped in front of her and he was dragged into the car. The next day, she was seen on the military’s statement and Facebook posts.

Apiag believed Quintano might have been psychologically tortured considering she was inside the military camp.

“The case of Racquel is a common picture where the military paints a human rights worker as an NPA member. But the reason why is that they are so desperate for the reward from the Duterte government. The AFP is corrupt in that it continues to present fake surrenderees and repress our rights,” said Apiag.

DWDD: BIG HURT | NPA Tax Collector, Organizer Surrenders to 71IB

Posted to Katropa DWDD-CRS Virtual RTV Website (Jan 16): BIG HURT | NPA Tax Collector, Organizer Surrenders to 71IB

MAWAB, Compostela Valley (DWDD) – A notorious collector of the New People’s Army’s extortion activities and mass organizer voluntarily surrendered to 71st Infantry “Kaibigan” Battalion on 16 January 2019.

A certain A.K.A Fiona, 42 years old, married and a resident of Brgy. Saranga, Maragusan surrendered to Lieutenant Colonel Esteveyn E Ducusin, Commander of 71st IB at Purok 8, Brgy. Nueva Visayas, Mawab, Compostela Valley Province.

During an interview, A.K.A Fiona revealed that she is the current collector of Sub-Regional Committee 2 (SRC 2) and former Sub-section Secretary and Council of Hugpong Mag-uuma sa Walog Compostela (HUMAWAC). Target of their extortion activities are businessmen, politicians, mining and logging sector and store owners wherein the collection will be remitted to their higher command in the region.

A.K.A Fiona also revealed that she was tasked to organize people to join in different mass demonstrations against the government which were organized by A.K.A Nante, A.K.A Leni and A.K.A Jing.

Some of the Rallies she participated are the Rally in Freedom Park, Davao City last 2014 with the theme “Ipanghatag ang Bugas sa Kabos”, Rally at Panacan, Davao City with the theme “Pahawaon ang mga sundalo sa kabukiran”, Mass Rally during the burial of A.K.A Parago, Rally at Ateneo De Davao University and Freedom Park, Davao City last 2015 with the theme “Itaas ang sweldo ng mga namumuo”, five (5) times joining the rally at Lapanday Food Corporation in Tagum City since 2016 and rally at Panacan Davao City in commemoration of Martial Law.

A.K.A Fiona said that because of fear she was forced to join in the useless armed struggle and stayed there for almost five (5) years. According to her, it is the reason why her husband is on jail. She realized that it ruins her family and with her stay in the Communist NPA Terrorist (CNT), nothing good happened to their lives.

Meanwhile, Lieutenant Colonel Esteveyn E Ducusin, Commanding Officer of the 71st IB expressed his gratitude for the continue surrender to his battalion. “We are committed and more than willing to accommodate CNT members who wants to go back to their normal lives and take part on peace building for progress and development”, said by Ducusin.

“The surrender of this NPA organizer and collector is a big hurt in the CNTs. It proves that they are now insignificant as they keep on losing their manpower and support. As our unit continues in gaining the trust and confidence of the people and Former Rebels, we will expect more surrenderees for the coming days”, Ducusin added.

The 71st IB remains focused to achieve the long-desired peace and development in its Area of Operation (AO). 10ID / MCAG

Image may contain: one or more people

DWDD: 10th Infantry Steady On Battalion

Posted to Katropa DWDD-CRS Virtual RTV Website (Jan 16): 10th Infantry Steady On Battalion

"It's All About Sustainability"

Camp Burgos, Oroquieta City- The Provincial E-CLIP Committee of Misamis Occidental composed of staff from the Provincial Governo...r's Office, 10th Infantry Battalion, Misamis Occidental Provincial Police Office, Provincial Social Welfare and Development Office, Provincial Planning and Development Office, DILG, PAGLAUM Multipurpose Coop and National Anti-Poverty Commission conducted a 3-day workshop for the 2019 Provincial E-CLIP Implementation Plan of Misamis Occidental. Team Tabak Task Force Balik-Loob HQs Wanoto Dpao Tabak

Image may contain: 1 person

Image may contain: one or more people and people sitting

Image may contain: 4 people, people sitting

Image may contain: 3 people, people sitting and table

DWDD: DEVELOPMENT SUPPORT | NOLCOM 2018: Defense and Security

Posted to Katropa DWDD-CRS Virtual RTV Website (Jan 16): DEVELOPMENT SUPPORT | NOLCOM 2018: Defense and Security

CAMP GEN SERVILLANO AQUINO, Tarlac City (DWDD) – Northern Luzon Command’s overall development support operations visibly increased in the year 2018 under the command of Lt Gen Emmanuel B Salamat, AFP with its mission to defeat New People’s Army Communist Terrorist Groups (CTGs), and contributes to the peace and development in its area of responsibility.

On its Internal Security Operations, a total of 130 firearms were recovered from January to December 2018.

Furthermore, a total of 314 rebel personalities surrendered to the NOLCOM troopers capped by their Focused Military Operations (FMO) complemented by the efforts of the 5th Infantry “Tala” Division (5ID) and the 7th Infantry “Kaugnay” Division (7ID).

NOLCOM’s Community Support Programs (CSPs) such as the “All-in-One Bayanihan” which was conducted on multiple areas in Northern and Central Luzon specifically in Pangasinan, Cagayan, Isabela, Ilocos and other activities that focuses on providing support efforts to the Geographically Isolated and Displaced Areas (GIDAS) in NOLCOM’s AOR have contributed greatly to the increased rate of rebel surrenderees. Such activity also intensified stakeholders’ engagement in connection to successful completion of these projects.

Another highlight on the year 2018 is a two-day Peace Summit for former rebels with the theme “Bukas-loob na pagtanggap para sa pagbabago” conducted at Headquarters NOLCOM, Camp Aquino, Tarlac City from October 15-16, 2018 and was personally witnessed by Secretary of National Defense (SND) Delfin Lorenzana and DILG Secretary Eduardo Año. The Peace Summit was conducted to ensure and facilitate that each rebel returnees have been and are able to receive the benefits from the Enhanced Comprehensive Localized Integration Program (E-CLIP).

On NOLCOM’s Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Response Operations (HADRO), with several instances of typhoon onslaught such as typhoon “Josie” “Ompong” and “Rosita”, NOLCOM was able to successfully provide support in conducting 1,191 delivery of basic services to the affected areas. Moreover, 1,193 disaster prevention and mitigation activities were conducted as part of its disaster preparedness operations.

Another successful feat is the institutionalization of the Northern Luzon Heroes Foundation last August 27, 2018 at Camp Aquino Memorial Park which aims to provide additional support to the soldiers who were Killed in Action (KIA) in defense of various communities against local terrorists and other enemies of state and those who survived suffered loss of limbs or extremities making them incapable to function normally, thereby causing their discharge from the service.

Thus, NOLCOM will continue its streak in warding off threats of terroristic intentions towards its people and state and will continue to sustain peace-building initiatives and development efforts in its area of responsibility and will relentlessly strive for its mission of protecting the people and fighting for their rights, and against threats to peace, security and development. NOLCOM / MCAG

No photo description available.


Posted to Katropa DWDD-CRS Virtual RTV Website (Jan 16): MULTIPLE ACCOMPLISHMENTS | NOLCOM 2018: Tour De Force

CAMP GEN SERVILLANO AQUINO, Tarlac City (DWDD) – Northern Luzon Command (NOLCOM) achieved multiple significant accomplishments in the year 2018 under the command of LTGEN EMMANUEL B SALAMAT, AFP with its mission of advancing peace and development, fighting for the people’s rights and threats to peace, development, and security, and protecting s...overeign territory.

On its Territorial Defense Operations (TDO), NOLCOM covers the largest area of operations among all other Unified Commands of the Armed Forces of the Philippines. Efforts like the Fishermen’s Dialogue and Consultative Meeting for the fisherfolks of Zambales and Pangasinan last June 14, 2018, in Iba Zambales was executed to raise Maritime Domain Awareness for its people. Construction of Fishermen’s Shelter in Mavulis on May 08, 2018 was started in order to increase maritime presence and governance among those disputed areas.

One of the most momentous events that happened in 2018 is the Philippine Rise Commemoration which spanned from May 14-15, 2018 and was graced by the presence of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte, the celebration includes the Send-Off of All-Filipino Scientists for Maritime Scientific Research in Philippine Rise; the casting of buoy made by the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) as floating marker; laying of another marker at the shallowest point in Benham Plateau; and fly-by of aircrafts of different agencies conducting Maritime Air Patrol in the area. The effective utilization of the Area Task Force- North in the conduct of several multi-agency engagements led to the successful execution of its TDO.

Another notable event is the success of the conduct of Philippines- U.S. “Balikatan” Exercises which focused on both parties’ capabilities when it comes to humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, counterterrorism, and mutual defense operations in order to increase their response effectiveness which includes a joint combined live-fire exercise and an amphibious raid.

The above-stated events were just some of NOLCOM’s significant accomplishments. The guidance under the command of LTGEN SALAMAT contributed greatly to the success of the NOLCOM’s overall operations joint together with the efforts of the NOLCOM personnel, the government, concerned agencies, and stakeholders. All of which were critical in achieving their one shared patriotic objective and that is to selflessly serve the people with Honor, Duty, and Integrity. NOLCOM / MCAG

 No photo description available.

DWDD: FRUSTRATED | 10 NPA members surrender to NOLCOM Troopers in Abra

Posted to Katropa DWDD-CRS Virtual RTV Website (Jan 16): FRUSTRATED | 10 NPA members surrender to NOLCOM Troopers in Abra

CAMP GEN SERVILLANO AQUINO, Tarlac City (DWDD) – A total of nine (9) Milisyang Bayan (MB) and one (1) Communist New People’s Army Terrorist (CNT) voluntarily surrendered to Northern Luzon Command’s troopers from the 24th Infantry Battalion (24IB), 702nd Infantry Brigade of the 7th Infantry Division (7ID) at its Headquarters in Barangay Tagu...dtod, Lagangilang, Abra on January 15, 2019

The said NPA members also brought with them three (3) M16 rifles with one magazine and one (1) M14 rifle with one magazine.

The MB personalities claimed to have had enough of being used by Communist-Terrorist Groups (CTG) as a buffer against government forces. They also said that the endless extortion activities of CTGs in their barangays have only led to further suffering and poverty.

The CNT realized that they are fighting for a useless cause and are only being used as puppets by their power-hungry leaders. She has been looking for the perfect opportunity to surrender to the Army.

The surrender was made possible through the Community Support Program (CSP) of the NOLCOM troopers with the support of the locals in the area. All surrenderees will be assisted to avail the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (ECLIP), where they will be given financial aid and livelihood training in preparation to their re-integration to the mainstream society.

Commander NOLCOM, Lt Gen Emmanuel B Salamat AFP lauds the efforts of the 702nd 'Defender' troopers under JTF Kaugnay/7ID in the area and the cooperation of the people of Abra in performing their peace-keeping mission. He said, “I believe that the number of surrenderees will further increase due to the continuous support and positive feedback NOLCOM is getting from the civilian communities, in addition to our intensified collaboration with the LGUs and the PNP”

NOLCOM will continue to pursue the NPA remnants in the area to prevent them from further executing their hostile plans against the peace, security, and development in NOLCOM’s area of responsibility. NOLCOM / MCAG

No photo description available.

Image may contain: 3 people, outdoor

DWDD: OPERATIONS | Team WesCom discovers NPA Camp in North Palawan

Posted to Katropa DWDD-CRS Virtual RTV Website (Jan 16): OPERATIONS | Team WesCom discovers NPA Camp in North Palawan

PUERTO PRINSESA, Palawan (DWDD) - #TeamWESCOM's operatives from the Joint Task Group North, discovered a New People's Army Camp in Barangay Abaroan, Roxas Palawan following a focused military operation conducted on 09 January 2019.

The abandoned camp is more or less 300 meters divided into five layers that are approximately 8-10 meters wide. Every layer has different makeshifts such as tables, chairs, shelters, etc., and bunkers made of newly cut trees and laminated sacks with improvised wooden bed. There are a total of 19 makeshifts found inside the camp. On the southwest portion of the camp is the entrance with a trail leading towards Sitio Nagkakaisa in said barangay.

Several personal items were recovered from the camp. While there was no weapon or ammunition found in the area, operating troops continue to conduct pursuit and clearing operations. At present, the discovered camp is under government forces' control.

This latest discovery of NPA camp is a successful feat for the Armed Forces as we continue to gain more strategic and tactical values against the communist terrorists. This was made possible through the cooperation of the communities who are actively supporting us in our fight against communist terrorism and all forms of security threats, and are clearly rejecting the NPA as a whole.

"We urge the NPA members to surrender and return to the folds of the law. The government has good integration programs waiting for them to help them to start new lives. We also urge our local constituents to sustain the cooperation that have been established through information sharing," Commodore Dorvin Jose L Legaspi AFP, the Acting Commander WESCOM said. WESCOM / MCAG

Image may contain: outdoor and nature

Image may contain: food

Image may contain: one or more people and outdoor

Image may contain: plant, outdoor and nature