Sunday, February 17, 2019

EASTMINCOM: Statement of MGen. Felimon Santos Jr. on NPA Recruitment on the Student Sector

Posted to the Eastern Mindanao Command (EASTMINCOM) Website (Feb 18, 2019): Statement of MGen. Felimon Santos Jr. on NPA Recruitment on the Student Sector 

Once again a student was killed in a recent encounter in Laguna the past week and we are one with the thousands of parents who continuously work for a better future of their children in condemning this evil design of CPP-NPA communists.

They always do deceptive recruitment in the guise of organizing a legitimate student organization and our schools and students in Eastern Mindanao are not exempted. Unwittingly, these students are being agitated and, eventually, being required to undergo immersion in the armed group before their eventual integration in the NPA organization.

We have history in Davao Region that NPAs recruited students in their rank, like Alvin Luque who was a student of Ateneo De Davao when he joined the armed group, he is now leading an NPA group in Northeastern Mindanao; Ryan Edpan Cagula a UP Mindanao student, he joined the NPA and was killed in an encounter in Maasim, Sarangani on November 4, 2014, and Prince Wendel Olorfenes the NPA leader who is responsible for Mati Police harassment in Mati on February 14, 2015, was a student of University of Mindanao when he was recruited into the terrorist group.
To address this, it entails collaboration among stakeholders ( parents, students, Learning institutions, CHED, DepEd, DILG, and other government agencies) and this is what we are working for.

While doing so, We, therefore, appeal to the parents, and to the schools' officials to be mindful on the whereabouts, activities, and to the organizations that your students or children are joining as an initial and primary step to save our students and children from the deceptive NPA recruitment.

Source: Public Information Office, Eastern Mindanao Command, AFP

EASTMINCOM: 28 NPA mIlitia surrender: PDZ declares NPAs "persona non grata"

Posted to the Eastern Mindanao Command (EASTMINCOM) Website (Feb 17, 2019): 28 NPA mIlitia surrender: PDZ declares NPAs "persona non grata"

NSFA, Panacan, Davao City - Barangay Camam-onan, Gigaquit, Surigao del Norte one of the declared Peace and Development Zone (PDZ) in CARAGA Region declared NPAs as persona non grata after twenty-eight Militia ng Bayan (MB) surrender to the elements of 30th Infantry Battalion, 4ID, PA under Lieutenant Colonel Allen Raymund C. Tomas on February 15, 2019, in the said barangay bringing along seven assorted firearms.

During the formal declaration led by Inday Flor B. Bangga, Barangay Chairwoman of Camam-onan and the surrender ceremony presided by Gigaquit Mayor Elvira Egay, 267 members of Underground Mass Organization (UGMO) members also withdrawn their support and pledged their oath of allegiance to the government.

Barangay Camam-onan of Gigaquit is one among the barangays considered as Conflict Affected Areas (ConAAs) in the province of Surigao del Norte which was also among the barangays declared as Peace and Development Zone (PDZ) that was launched last August 28, 2018.

The Peace and Development Zone is a joint peace-building initiative of Regional Peace and Order Council and the Regional Development Council of CARAGA Region in ConAAs which promotes the establishment of durable peace by addressing the root causes of conflict through reconciliation, peace constituency building, social, political and economic transformation.

Meanwhile, MGen Felimon T. Santos Jr ., Commander Eastern Mindanao Command expressed his appreciation to the collaboration and cooperation of stakeholders in PDZ.

"Way to go, we can achieve the peace that we are longing and cut the cycle of insurgency if we put our acts together and resolve issues and concern being used by the NPAs as propaganda subject," MGen. Santos said.

Source: Public Information Office, Eastern Mindanao Command, AFP

WESTMINCOM: 2 biktima ng ambush naligtas ng tropa

Posted to the Western Mindanao Command (WESTMINCOM) Website (Feb 18, 2019): 2 biktima ng ambush naligtas ng tropa

Isang madugong araw ng mga puso ang sumalubong sa pamilya ni Nasrodin Mangilay Talib, 39 anyos, at sa kapatid nitong si Alabama Mangilay Talib, 49 anyos, mga residente ng Purok Singko, Barangay Tunganon, Carmen North Cotabato, alas-siete ng gabi, ika-14 ng Pebrero, 2019.

Habang pauwi ang dalawa, sakay ng motorsiklo, ay tinambangan at binaril sila ng humigit kumulang na limang armadong suspek. Nagtamo sila ng mga kritikal na sugat sa iba’t ibang bahagi ng katawan.

Matapos humupa ang putukan, agarang sinaklolohan ng Detachment Commander ng Barangay Tonganon ang mga biktima at binigyan ng paunang lunas.

Dumating naman ang isang squad mula sa 7th Infantry Battalion para alamin ang lagay ng sitwasyon. Kalaunan, personal na dinala ng tropa ang dalawang sugatang biktima sa Amas Provincial Hospital.

MILF: Bangsamoro leaders undergo Conflict Resolution Skills Training

Posted to the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) Website (Feb 17, 2019): Bangsamoro leaders undergo Conflict Resolution Skills Training

In Photo-Mahmod Ahmad, BLMI Executive Director (center) pose in a souvenir photo with the participants during the “Conflict Resolution Skills Training” at BLMi from February 10-13, 2019

Twenty-two Bangsamoro Leaders from the Moro Islamic Liberation Front Task Force Ittihad (MILF-TFI), 106th MILF Base Command, and Task Force Conflict Resolution and Management (TFCM) participated in the “Conflict Resolution Skills Training” conducted by the Bangsamoro Leadership and Management Institute (BLMI) at the BLMI Training Centre, Crossing Simuay, Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao on February 10-13, 2019.
Prof. Abhoud Syed Lingga, a member of the MILF Peace Implementing Panel encouraged the participants to study the methods used by the forefathers in dealing with conflict and reflect it with Islamic principles and perspectives.

“Misunderstanding among individuals could result to conflict ,and conflict is natural to every human being. So, let us bring back the traditional and cultural engagement of our forefathers in dealing conflict,” Prof. Lingga said.

The four-day training was facilitated by Edwin S. Antipuesto of Catholic Relief Services who shared his knowledge on Conflict Resolution to the participants. He discussed how to create a positive climate in communities and workplaces by appreciation of diversity, effective communication, expressing emotions, friendship and cooperation, and resolving conflict.

The participants have undergone several workshop including a role playing on the mediation process to help them understand the different factors to help resolve conflict.

Antipuesto also discussed the different sources and types of conflict and the different approaches to conflict.

BLMI Communication Officer Wahab Guialal discussed the status of the Bangsamoro Struggle. He reviewed the gains of the peace processes of the MNLF and the MILF with the Government of the Philippines.

He also discussed the 3 tracks of the Peace Implementation which includes the Security-related measures, the Normalization Process, and the Passage of the Bangsamoro Organic Law.

The Bangsamoro Organic Law was deemed ratified by the Commission on Election on January 25, 2019 after the positive result of the plebiscite in the ARMM during the January 21, 2019 plebiscite. Cotabato City and 63 barangays in North Cotabato have also voted for inclusion in the new Bangsamoro Autonomous Region.

Mahmod S. Ahmad, BLMI Executive Director reminded the participants that they were invited to participate in the training in order to learn and acquire knowledge and skills on conflict resolution which they could apply in addressing conflict in their communities.

At the end of the workshop, the participants were required to develop a re-entry action plan to ensure that the learnings that they have acquired during the training will be applied to their respective communities.

MILF: Editorial - Humility is virtue

Posted to the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) Website (Feb 17, 2019): Editorial - Humility is virtue

Arrogance is the opposite of humility, which is as a virtue in Islam, as well as in other religions.
In English, the word "humility" comes from the Latin root word which means "ground." Humility, or being humble, means that one is modest, submissive and respectful, not proud and arrogant. You lower yourself to the ground, not elevate yourself above others. In prayer, Muslims prostrate themselves to the ground, acknowledging human beings' lowliness and humility before the Lord of the Worlds.

Even in politics, one can practice humility (which is extremely rare) by respecting or accepting the results of elections or plebiscite, especially when the people have clearly spoken in favor, say of the yes votes for the ratification of the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL).

But humility can only be the quality of believers of the great UNSEEN. It is also essential in every other true spirituality. People whose hearts are afflicted with disease of arrogance will never be humble. They preserved their personal honor above all else and would humble themselves to no one. They were proud of their absolute independence and their human power. They had limitless self-confidence and refused to bow down to any authority. A man was lord of himself. Humility and submissiveness were considered weak -- not a quality of a noble man.

But there is always tragedy that awaits in any man or woman with this character. Before one realizes that he or she is already falling is when he or she is already in the pit, helpless, scorned, and abandoned. Remember Pharaoh, Hitler, Saddam Hussein, and Marcos! They all died like anybody else.

We appeal to Mayor Frances Cynthia Sayadi-Guiani to put to rest the issue of the defeat of the no votes in Cotabato City. This will be good for our people, to her, and to everyone else. Before the plebiscite on January 21, people said she will win the mayoralty hands-down against any candidate. But with her continuing stiff objection against the BOL, which is extremely popular especially among Muslims, is not giving her additional supporters. Instead, she is losing more and more votes, which will definitely go to whosever is running against her in the May elections.

She said she is filing a petition against the win votes of the BOL in Cotabato City before the Supreme Court. If this materializes, she is only prolonging the agony in our midst.

CPP/NPA-Panay: The New People’s Army is NOT ‘for hire’

NPA-Panay propaganda statement posted  to the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) Website (Feb 16, 2019): The New People’s Army is NOT ‘for hire’

Julio Montana
NPA-Panay (Coronacion Chiva “Waling-Waling” Command)
New People's Army
February 16, 2019

True to the mode of liars and fabricators, PNP regional director John Bulalacao, PNP provincial director Marlon Tayaba and the 61st IB command thru its information officer 1st Lieut. Hazel Joy Durotan have prattled that they have facts concerning politicians who hire the NPA during election and that they have long known this. When asked by media who these politicians or candidates are, they were evasive in naming names since they still have to be ‘verified’.

The sole reason of these fascist Duterte toadies is to liken the NPA to mercenaries and private armies like them. They want to threaten the public and candidates this coming election that the NPA resort to extortion and protection racket for entry to areas under the control of revolutionary power.

The NPA has never ever been paid goons by any politician or candidate. The NPA has never stood as ‘gun for hire’ by any individual personality, group or political party.

The NPA is a stark contrast to the mercenary and lapdog troops of the AFP and PNP who blindly follow the cruel and brutal orders of their murderous and blood-thirsty president. The NPA is the people’s army, servants of the masses, defending and serving the people exploited and oppressed by the ruling class and reactionary regime.

The NPA was borne out of the revolutionary tradition and struggle of the Pilipino people contrary to the AFP and PNP which were molded from the mercenary and puppet tradition and orientation imposed by US imperialism on the puppet regimes from the collaborator and puppet president Manuel Roxas to the present traitor, murderer and puppet president Rodrigo Duterte.

The NPA are defenders of the lives, livelihood and rights of the people in territories covered by the people’s democratic government. The democratic government acknowledges and respects the people’s right to participate in the reactionary election in spite of this being a race for power by the ruling class.

The NPA enforces the laws and regulations of the people’s democratic power and these include policies related to the reactionary election. The revolutionary government has enforced regulations to all politicians who desire to campaign in its territory. No activity or movement of any candidate or his/her followers will be allowed unless they consent to the following policies.

First of all is to acknowledge and respect the policies of the people’s democratic government.
Second is the prohibition of any candidate to enter the territory of the democratic government to carry firearms or escorted by armed forces such as the AFP, PNP, CAFGU or goons, private army, security guards.
Third is the prohibition of bringing cash for the purpose of buying the people’s votes.
Fourth, the use of threats or intimidation upon voters is strictly prohibited.
Fifth, it is prohibited to enter the territory for the purpose of surveillance, sway the people to spy on the NPA, to join the CAFGU, to be an informer or intel asset against the NPA.
Sixth, it is prohibited to threaten or persuade the people to surrender to the reactionary government, AFP or PNP as surrenderers, supporters or sympathizers of the NPA.
Seventh, we do not allow the entry of politicians who are rabid counter-revolutionaries or have blood debts to the people and the revolutionary movement.

The above policies are intended to defend and protect the rights, freedom and harmony enjoyed by the people. It also aims to bring about the conditions for candidates to freely present their program and platform which would help improve the conditions of the peasant masses who continue to suffer in poverty worsened by the cruel and vicious policies of the traitorous and murderous US-Duterte regime.

The clear policies of the people’s democratic government show that the NPA is an army that genuinely serves the exploited and oppressed masses. This is in sharp contrast and disparity from the murderous, thieving, robbing and extortionist Duterte mercenary lapdogs in Panay such as the 61st IB, PNP-6, PDEA-6, RDEU-6, CIDG-6, DDS and other para-militaries.

The NPA is held in high prestige as the true army of the people while the paid hacks of the tyrant Duterte in Panay are full of controversies involved in corruption, killings and robbery in carbon-copy fashion after their mad commander in chief.

CPP/NDF-EV: Condemn the de facto martial law in Samar and the worsening political repression in the country – NDF-EV

NDF-Eastern Visayas propaganda statement posted  to the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) Website (Feb 18, 2019): Condemn the de facto martial law in Samar and the worsening political repression in the country – NDF-EV

Fr. Santiago “Ka Sanny” Salas
National Democratic Front of the Philippines
February 18, 2019

The National Democratic Front-Eastern Visayas (NDF-EV) today called on the Filipino people to condemn the martial law conditions in peasant communities across the province of Samar , as the dictatorial US-Duterte regime intensifies political repression. “Duterte’s all-out war under Oplan Kapayapaan is gearing for total war and the possible imposition of martial law. The sufferings of miltarized civilian communities in Samar are only the latest in recent attacks including the assassination of an NDFP peace consultant, assaults on press freedom with online attacks against alternative media as well the arrest of Rappler executive editor Maria Ressa, and threats against the Catholic Church,” said Fr. Santiago “Ka Sanny” Salas. Fr. Salas expressed grave concern for the safety of hundreds of innocent civilians in San Jose de Buan town in Samar who now fear for their lives as Duterte’s minions in the AFP subject them to hamletting, and psychological warfare.

Around 200 troops from the 87th Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army have been camping in several barrios including Brgy. Can-ponte, Sitio San Pedro, Sitio Fernandez, Brgy. Cataydungan, Brgy. Hagbay, Brgy. San Nicolas, Brgy. Gusa, and Brgy. Aguingayan in the said town this month, according to Katungod-Sinirangan Bisayas. “The residents were forcibly interrogated, photographed, and made to sign blank sheets of paper. The soldiers are also planning to build a camp less than 10 meters away from a local school and evacuation center, to use
them as human shields which is in clear violation of international
humanitarian law,” Fr. Salas added.

He noted that the military occupation of San Jose de Buan come as
elements of the 63rd IB have yet to leave Barangay Bay-ang in San
Jorge, Samar, after residents were forced out of their community by the troops’ strafing, helicopter overflights and aerial bombardment. “The intensified militarization has prevented the children from attending school and the residents from living peaceful lives. Even the children suffer as Duterte desperately intensifies his attacks against all political opposition in vain hope of establishing an outright fascist dictatorship surpassing even his avowed idol Marcos.”

Fr. Salas called on all peace-loving people to expose the human rights violations in the countryside and support the struggle of peasants against militarization and Oplan Kapayapaan. “We demand the Duterte regime observe the GRP-NDFP Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL) and to pull out its troops from civilian communities. The people in the cities, such as church people, media, human rights advocates, must unite to expose, isolate and oust Duterte’s tyrannical and corrupt regime.
Fascist troops in the barrios of Samar, out now!” he called.

CPP: On fascist cyberattacks and assault on media to silence the people

Propaganda statement posted  to the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) Website (Feb 17, 2019): On fascist cyberattacks and assault on media to silence the people

The CPP denounces the heightened fascist cyberattacks and assault against the media by the agents of the US-Duterte regime.

Over the past few weeks, websites of progressive outfits and alternative media organizations have been subjected to relentless large-scale DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) attacks which have resulted in the websites being repeatedly taken down.

Also since December 26 last year, the CPP’s website, the Philippine Revolution Web Central (PRWC) [] has been subjected to similar DDoS attacks in the futile attempt to deny the revolutionary forces an online channel to broadcast its views and calls.

These DDos attacks are likely the handiwork of the AFP’s newly-formed cyber group and its social media cell, assisted and funded by the US embassy and the US Army’s Cyber Command which has been widely reported to have launched similar DDoS attacks against US adversaries in the past.

These websites are targets of AFP cyberattacks for actively publishing content which exposes widespread abuses being committed by military and police forces and the lies that accompany the Duterte regime’s brutal counterinsurgency campaign.

For quite a while now, the AFP cyber group has been actively monitoring and targeting the social media activity of activists and revolutionaries, deploying trolls and bots that spit out invectives and insults against Facebook accounts and pages which serve to expose and denounce the Duterte regime’s fascism, tyranny, corruption, sell-out to China and subservience to the US.
Alongside these cyberattacks, the Duterte fascist regime has intensified its assault on the media with the recent arrest and detention of Rappler executive Maria Ressa, a staunch Duterte critic, who has been charged with a highly questionable cyberlibel case. The Ressa arrest clearly aims to intimidate journalists and demonstrate Duterte’s limitless penchant to punish those who criticize his reign of terror.

Even before Ressa’s arrest, journalists have been targets of a Red-tagging campaign. Since late last year, malicious reports have been simultaneously published in Manila tabloids tagging the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) as a “CPP front.” Such Red-tagging of the NUJP clearly aim to intimidate media practitioners and set them up as targets of the fascist zealots and mercenary killers of the Duterte regime.

The continuing assault by state security agents against the media forms a crucial component of Duterte’s tyranny and scheme to establish a fascist dictatorship. Duterte’s de facto martial law regime aims to “control the information environment” in order to direct the headlines and set the national discourse in line with the narratives set by Duterte and the AFP.

While the media is being targeted, Duterte’s military and police continue to go on a rampage of abuses against a broad range of forces. The recent killing of NDFP peace consultant Randy Felix Malayao, himself a former journalist, aims to send a death note to those who are actively resisting Duterte’s fascism.

The regime’s attacks have been most vicious against peasants and national minorities in the rural areas and workers in the cities. In addition to journalists, students, teachers, government employees, lawyers, church people and others have also been particular targets of surveillance, intimidation and threats.

The Filipino people must firmly unite and resist these attacks against the media and defend their democratic rights. Journalists must continue to boldly seek the truth from facts to expose the regime’s lies, shed light on the real conditions of the people and echo their demand for justice and an end to Duterte’s reign of tyranny and terrorism.

Duterte expected to name BTA members

From the Manila Bulletin (Feb 17, 2019): Duterte expected to name BTA members

DAVAO CITY – Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) In­formation Committee chief Mohagher Iqbal relayed to Manila Bulletin that President Ro­drigo Duterte is expected to name the 80-member Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA) in Malacañang on Wednesday.

The BTA, which will be likely headed by MILF Chair Al Hajj Murad Ebrahim as Chief Minister, will govern the newly formed Bangsamoro Autonomous Re­gion in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) during a three-year transition.

Aside from top MILF officials, Iqbal disclosed that the front’s 41 nominees would include five lawyers, four women, a Christian, a representative from the indigenous people community, two Filipi­no-Chinese businessmen, two traditional leader, and some religious leaders.
He said that the MILF submitted to the President the list of nominees early December.

The Office of the Presidential Ad­viser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) has also submitted 39 nominees to the Office of the President.

Aside from the 80 BTA members who will be appointed by Duterte, the new body will also be composed of elected government officials of the Au­tonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), as provided under Article 16, Section 2 of the Republic Act 11054 or the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL).
However, incumbent ARMM Gover­nor Mujiv Hataman has announced in November last year that he will not take part in the transition body, saying that he will instead focus on his candidacy as for the lone congressional seat in his home province of Basilan.

The MILF also clarified that a list of its nominees, which mostly contain the group’s ranking officials, that spread through social media was was unofficial.

Iqbal had earlier admitted that run­ning a government is different from run­ning a revolutionary organization.

He added that BTA task will never be easy as it is expected to ensure a smooth transition from ARMM to BARMM.

“Governance is different from run­ning a revolutionary struggle,” Iqbal said in earlier interviews with Manila Bulletin. “Mas mahirap ang governance especially when you look at transition period. Three years, isusulat mo yung mga codes. Uubos yan ng oras.”

Under the Section 4 of Article XVI of the (BOL), the BTA is tasked to “enact priority legislations such as the Bangsamoro Administrative Code, Bangsamoro Revenue Code, Bangsam­oro Electoral Code, Bangsamoro Local Government Code, and Bangsamoro Education Code.”

NPA slain in Surigao

From the Malaya Business Insight (Feb 18, 2019): NPA slain in Surigao

A NEW People’s Army rebel died yesterday in a clash with government troops in Masbate while 28 NPA supporters have surrendered to authorities in separate incidents in Surigao del Norte.

The communist rebel was slain during a security operation in Barangay San Antonio in Milagros, said Capt. Joash Pramis, spokesman of the Army’s 9th Infantry Division.

He said troops from the Army’s 2nd Infantry Battalion and the Milagros police were on security operation in the area at around 6:30 a.m. yesterday when they encountered about 10 NPA rebels.

After a brief firefight, the rebels withdrew, leaving behind the body of one of their comrades. Also recovered at the scene were an M14 rifle, an M653 rifle, two improvised bombs and rebel documents.

AFP Southern Luzon Command chief Maj. Gen. Gilbert Gapay urged the fleeing rebels to surrender.

“The ideology is gone. It’s all extortion and criminal activities now. Lay down your firearms and let the government help you build better lives,” he said.

In Surigao del Norte, 28 armed NPA supporters surrendered to Army officials in Gigaquit town on Friday, said Lt. Col. Ezra Balagtey, spokesman of the military’s Eastern Mindanao Command.

Balagtey said the 28 surrendered to the Army’s 30th Infantry Battalion, under the command of Lt. Col. Allen Raymund Tomas, in Barangay Caman-onan, bringing along with them assorted firearms.

They were welcomed to government during rites presided by Guigaquit Mayor Elvira Egay. Over 200 other rebels and supporters who earlier surrendered also took their oath of allegiance during their ceremony.

MILF base commander shot to death in Mlang, Cotabato

From GMA News (Feb 18, 2019): MILF base commander shot to death in Mlang, Cotabato

A base commander of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front was shot to death by at least four unidentified suspects on Sunday afternoon.

The victim was identified as Jun Panangulon, a resident of Barangay Gaunan in Mlang, according to Superintendent Giovani Ladeo, Mlang chief of police.

Ladeo said Panangulon was the brigade commander of the 108th Base Command of the MILF.

Panangulon's companion Toto Magulayan was also injured and is in critical condition at a hospital in Barangay Poblacion.

Ladeo said Panangulon and Magulayan were on their way to a banana plantation in Purok 3 in Barangay Gaunan when at least four suspects confronted them.

Panangulon and the suspects had a heated conversation which led to the shooting incident.

Responding policemen and soldiers recovered at the crime scene several empty shells of M14 and M1 Carbine rifles.

Ladeo said the four suspects are local members of the Moro National Liberation Front based in Barangay Gaunan.

Combined forces of the Philippine National Police and the Armed Forces of the Philippines cornered the suspects in their respective houses. The suspects then surrendered to authorities.

"They also surrendered their firearms that include M14, M16 and a Carbine," Ladeo said in a phone interview.

Ladeo did not identify the suspects as they are still gathering information about their identities.

The suspects are now detained at the Mlang PNP lock-up cell.

Ladeo said personal grudge and a conflict concerning land are the motives behind the killing of Panangulon.

Año: Gov’t coordinating with other countries in drive vs. international terrorists

From the Business World (Feb 17, 2019): Año: Gov’t coordinating with other countries in drive vs. international terrorists


THE Department of Interior and Local Government said the government is coordinating with different agencies and other countries in preventing the entry of foreign terrorists.

“[There is] a close cooperation with Indonesia, Malaysia….and then we have already alerted all agencies involving counter terrorism particularly BI [Bureau of Immigration, NBI [National Bureau of Investigation], Philippine National Police, and Bureau of Customs. So (our) inter-agency collaboration (is good),” Interior Secretary Eduardo M. Año told reporters at the Philippine Military Academy homecoming in Baguio City on Saturday, Feb. 16.

He also said the government is coordinating with counter terrorism agencies from the US, Australia, and Singapore.

“Yes, Malaysian counterpart, Indonesian, Singapore, US, Australia. Almost in a daily basis meron kaming mga (we get) text, calls, and consultations especially with Australia and US,” Mr. Año said.

He added: “Heightened alert tayo sa (We’re heightened alert in) Midnanao particularly…Sulu, Basilan, Cotabato, and Zamboanga, kasi meron pa tayong foreign terrorists na hinahanap (because we’re still looking for foreign terrorists), trained suicide bombers.”

“Hangga’t di natin na-neu-neutralize itong mga ito, di natin masasabing safe talaga completely yung ating key cities in Mindanao.” (As long as we have not yet neutralized them, we cannot declare that the our key cities in Mindanao are completely safe.)

On the Jan. 27 Jolo Cathedral bombing, Mr. Año said the suicide bomber’s nationality is being verified.

Faceless but lethal

From the Business Mirror (Feb 17, 2019): Faceless but lethal
Jolo blasts, May polls prompt law enforcers to tighten security around crowded spots across the country
Director General Oscar Albayalde, chief of the Philippine National Police, points to the diagram during a news conference on February 4, 2019, at Camp Crame in Quezon City, to announce that five suspected Abu Sayyaf militants wanted for alleged involvement in the bombing of a church in southern Philippines have surrendered to authorities. Albayalde said the five will be charged with murder for their role in the January 27 bombing of a Roman Catholic cathedral in Sulu province’s Jolo town that killed 23 people and wounded about 100. The police say the suspects escorted the two suicide bombers around Jolo and to a meeting with the Abu Sayyaf commander accused of funding the attack. The police have said the two suicide bombers were Indonesians.

POLICE and military officials are urging Filipinos to extend their patience and maintain their equanimity, as law-enforcement agencies implement stricter security measures around the country, particularly among so-called places of convergence, or in areas where people tend to gather in large volumes.

The tighter security, law enforcers say, was prompted by the election season and the threat of terrorism, exemplified by the recent twin bombings in Sulu late last month that killed 23 people and wounded 95 others.

A soldier is seen inside a Roman Catholic cathedral in Jolo after two bombs exploded on January 27, 2019.

The incident at the Metro Rail Transit 3’s (MRT 3) Mandaluyong Station last week, where a lady Chinese fashion student splashed soya drink on a policeman who barred her from boarding the train because of the liquid she was carrying, characterized the level of security in the capital—and the kind of anxiety that it has spawned among people.

But National Capital Region Police Office chief Director Guillermo Eleazar, who had earlier put police forces in Metro Manila under red alert in the aftermath of the bombings, said proactive measures are needed to deal with any security threat.

“I am asking for the cooperation and understanding of the public on the [security] measures that we are implementing and for the enforcers that implement them, be they policemen or other law-enforcement agencies,” said Eleazar.

“The point here is we are taking this for the whole good of Filipinos,” he added.

The tightened security at the MRT 3 and the rest of the Metro’s commuter railway facilities, and even in other areas of public convergence, had been prompted by a bomb threat, which, although common even in other areas as noted by National Police (PNP) chief Director General Oscar Albayalde, cannot be ignored.

“Well, bomb threats are all over, but this bomb threat is not being taken for granted. All bomb threats, whether they are jokes or prank calls, we will respond to them,” he said.

Officials said if bombers were able to sneak in the improvised explosive device that blasted a place of worship like the Jolo Cathedral, then there is a greater chance it can be done on a softer target unless measures are taken.

Eleazar said the election campaign period and the threat of terrorism prompted them to double security in Metro Manila, a measure that has also been taken by security forces around the country.

“The National Capital Region Police Office has more than 14,000 personnel deployed in Metro Manila. As the campaign starts…the next three months are going to be critical, top candidates will be active in all areas of Metro Manila as they start wooing the voters,” he said.

“The start of the campaign period also triggers strict additional rules and regulations set by the Comelec [Commission on Elections],” he added, referring to the conduct of checkpoints and implementation of gun ban in the areas of peace and order and security.

The regulations also include the campaign against threat groups and private armed groups who threaten to undermine the elections.

Albayalde said that the PNP may even adjust its projected deployment of personnel for the election duties, given that at least 701 areas around the country have been categorized as election hot spots or about 42.9 percent of the 1,634 cities and municipalities across the country.

In Mindanao, security forces are continuously operating against terrorist groups, especially in Sulu and Maguindanao, where they are running after groups aligned with the Islamic State.

Military spokesman Brig. Gen. Edgard Arevalo said that security measures undertaken in Metro Manila, like the banning of liquid at the MRT 3, are seen by the military as good precautionary or proactive measures against terrorism.

He noted that such measure had also been a standard operating procedure, especially at the airports.

“I hope that they [the Filipinos] understand these kinds of effort,” Arevalo said.

“These are all preemptive, proactive measures. I hope [they] understand why we have to do this,” he added.

NPAs not welcome in Surigao del Norte

From the Sun Star-Davao (Feb 17, 2019): NPAs not welcome in Surigao del Norte

THE New People’s Army (NPA), the armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), has been declared "persona non grata" which means NPA rebels are unwelcome, unacceptable people in Barangay Camam-onan, Gigaquit, Surigao del Norte.

Major General Felimon Santos Jr., commander of Eastern Mindanao Command, expressed his appreciation on the collaboration and cooperation of the people in Peace and Development Zone (PDZ) and for their effort towards winning peace in the area. "Way to go, we can achieve peace that we are longing and cut the cycle of insurgency if we put our acts together and resolve issues and concern being used by the NPAs as propaganda subject,” Santos said.

He added that Barangay Camam-onan, Gigaquit, Surigao del Norte is one of the declared PDZ in Caraga Region and has declared NPAs as personae non grata after 28 Militia ng Bayan (MB) surrendered to the 30th Infantry Battalion, 4 Infantry Division (ID) under Lieutenant Colonel Allen Raymund Tomas on February 15 bringing along seven assorted firearms.

This barangay was also considered as Conflict Affected Areas (ConAAs) in the province of Surigao del Norte but was declared PDZ on August 28, 2018.

The formal declaration was led by Inday Flor Bangga, barangay chairwoman of Camam-onan, while the surrender ceremony was presided by Gigaquit Mayor Elvira Egay.

Aside from the MBs, there were also other 267 members of Underground Mass Organization (UGMO) who surrendered to the government.

“The PDZ is a joint peace-building initiative of the Regional Peace and Order Council and the Regional Development Council of Caraga Region in ConAAs which promotes the establishment of durable peace by addressing the root causes of conflict through reconciliation, peace constituency building, social, political and economic transformation,” Santos said.

It can be recalled that the local government unit of Sibagat, Agusan del Sur has earlier declared the CPP-NPA as persona non grata through a Municipal Resolution Number 137-18 dated December 21, 2018 following the abduction of two soldiers and 12 militiamen on December 19, 2018.

Terrorist act simulation exercise held

Sun Star-Davao (Feb 17, 2019): Terrorist act simulation exercise held

(Photo by CIDG RFU-Davao DCCFU.)

DIFFERENT security forces in Davao City participated in a simulation exercise at Marco Polo Hotel Davao Sunday dawn to evaluate their capacity in responding to bomb explosion and terrorist attack.

The activity, which was held around 3 a.m. on February 17 ended around 5:30 a.m. Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) Regional Field Unit (RFU)-Davao City, City Field Unit (DCCFU) chief Police Chief Inspector Milgrace Driz said that their office was one of those who joined in the exercise.

The activity was under the supervision of Davao City Public Safety and Security Command Center (PSSCC).

Driz said the activity aims to also assess the readiness of the establishment during bomb explosions and terroristic acts as well as the creation of the Critical Incident Management Task Group and Critical Incident Management Committee during major incidents in Davao City.

The activity was conducted at dawn to not disturb other guests.

PSSCC deputy head Angel Sumagaysay, meanwhile, said that the exercise was satisfactory considering that the movement undertaken was in accordance to the protocol set by their security plan. However, he said that there are still gaps and areas for improvement.

"Besides nakita pod nato ang galaw ng in house responders ng Marco Polo. Need pa seguro mga improvements sa mga galaw nila," Sumagaysay said.

"Sa side ng responders yung external at least everybody responded on time at na set up agad ang incident commamd post," he added.

It was also participated by the Police Regional Office (PRO)-Davao Red Team, Task Force Davao, Davao City Police Office, Central 911, Red Cross, Bureau of Fire Protection, explosive ordnance disposal (EOD)/K9, Scene of the Crime Operatives and other concerned law enforcement agency.

7th Infantry Division has new commander

From the Manila Bulletin (Feb 15, 2019): 7th Infantry Division has new commander

The Army’s Seventh Infantry (Kaugnay) Division (7th ID) has a new commander in Brig. Gen. Lenard T. Agustin who formally assumed the post in a Change of Command Ceremony held at the 7th ID Grandstand in Fort Magsaysay, Nueva Ecija, on Thursday, February 14.

(Seventh Infantry (Kaugnay) Division (7th ID) / MANILA BULLETIN)

Agustin was the former Assistant Division Commander (ADC) of the Division during the stint of now Armed Forces of the Philippines-Eastern Mindanao Command (AFP-EastMinCom) Commander Lt. Gen. Felimon Santos Jr.

Agustin, who is now the 28th Kaugnay Commander, is a product of the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) “Sinagtala” Class of 1986. He has more than proven his mettle by successfully holding various positions of the different units of the AFP.

One of the positions that he held were Chief of Staff of the Second Infantry (Jungle Fighter) Division (2nd ID) in Tanay, Rizal before becoming the Brigade Commander of the 201st Brigade, 2nd ID, Philippine Army. After his stint at the 2nd ID, he was finally assigned at the Kaugnay Division, on August 2017 where he was initially designated as the ADC.

During his speech, Agustin emphasized that all of the sectors of society should play their roles to counter the insurgency problem of the country.

Agustin also said that he will do his best effort to continue the good leadership Santos have shown as well as the accomplishments that the 7th ID have achieved during his time.
Agustin conveyed that while the mission should be the primary concern, the welfare of the troops should not be jeopardized.

Santos, meanwhile, extended his gratitude to all men and women of the 7th ID. He also specifically mentioned all the stakeholders who have been very supportive to the Kaugnay Division.

The turnover ceremony was highlighted with the distribution of red roses to all ladies who are present during the ceremony as a simple celebration of Valentine’s Day.

E-CLIP reaps influx of NPA surrenderees in NorMin

From the Philippine Information Agency (Feb 17, 2019): E-CLIP reaps influx of NPA surrenderees in NorMin

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Brigadier General Franco Nemesio M Gacal AFP, 4th Infantry Division commander, cites military solution is not enough. Hence, there is a need for the government to address the reasons for their being and the cycle of recruitment of NPA that is beyond the military's scope. All government agencies are needed to address this, he stressed. (Rodolfo D. Mendoza/PIA10)

CAMP EVANGELISTA, Cagayan de Oro City -- The Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP) Committee in Region 10 awarded cash benefits to 31 former rebels (FRs) in a ceremony held in Cagayan de Oro City on February 13.

Checks amounting to P65,000 as livelihood and immediate cash assistance were formally handed over to the FRs.

In just about two months, from January 2019 to date, a total of 223 FRs have surrendered to the units under the 4th Infantry Division. These FRs are currently undergoing the E-CLIP process for their benefits.

Some 31 formers rebels in Northern Mindanao vow to support the government as they took their oath of allegiance to the government in a ceremony held in Cagayan de Oro, Feb. 13. (Rodolfo D. Mendoza/PIA10)

In his remarks, Colonel De Leon mentioned that the E-CLIP is not forever, it is a program of the government with a termination. He appeals to the FRs and the media present to further disseminate the program to reach the active NPA members in the region for them to avail of the program.

For his part, Atty. Pacana emphasized on prioritizing tourism because everything will follow, including development. “But how can we prioritize tourism if peace and order cannot be achieved?,” he asked.

Pacana further said, “We would like to welcome back our FRs to the folds of law, and to the FRs, he said, "we congratulate you for seeing the light and putting your trust back to the government.”

Meanwhile, BGen Gacal discussed on “Peaceful War,” the government Whole-of-the Nation Approach (WNA) in attaining inclusive and sustainable peace. It is an intervention through convergence of efforts in addressing problems of the society particularly in Geographically Isolated and Disadvantaged Areas (GIDAS).

“The cycle of CPP-NPA recruitment must be stopped, hopefully the assistance of the government to the FRs will pave way to change their lives for the better and them to become good examples for their former comrades to go back to mainstream society,” Gacal said.

The ceremony was participated by E-CLIP committee chair of Misamis Oriental Governor Yevgeny Vincente B. Emano represented by lawyer Pacana, Niel provincial legal officer; Brigadier General Franco Nemesio M Gacal AFP representing Undersecretary Reynaldo B. Mapagu, chairperson of the Task Force Balik-Loob together with Colonel Edgardo Y De Leon, 403rd Brigade commander and partner agencies from Task Force- Balik-Loob—Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), Land Bank of the Philippines (LBP), Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), and the Philippine National Police (PNP).(4ID)

NPA terrorists harass Army CSP troops in Bukidnon

From the Philippine Information Agency (Feb 17, 2019): NPA terrorists harass Army CSP  troops in Bukidnon

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CAMP EVANGELISTA, Cagayan de Oro City -- The terrorist New People’s Army (NPA), fearing for their lost support from the masses, harassed the troops of 1st Special Forces Battalion conducting Community Support Program (CSP) activities in Sitio Green Valley, Brgy Dalwangan, Malaybalay City, Bukidnon, February 14, 2019 at around 9:40 p.m.

The exchange of fires lasted for about 15 minutes while another five minutes encounter ensued with the government troops conducting pursuit operation not far away from Sitio Green Valley which forced the NPA terrorists to withdraw.

The clash resulted to the death of two soldiers and one wounded while four NPAs died as reported by civilians who saw the fleeing terrorists.

Follow-on army troops were able to recover two M16 rifles; two unexploded anti-personnel mines; 200 meter wires, ammunition, magazines for M16 rifle and personal belongings of NPA.

It was learned that the troops are conducting Community Support Activities and were requested by the villagers to set-up Patrol Base in the said community to assist and secure them due to the presence of the NPA terrorists that bothered their community and forced them to give money and goods from the poultry farm.

Meanwhile, Colonel Edgardo Y De Leon, 403rd Brigade commander commended the civilians for reporting the location of anti-personnel mines.

“Indeed, our troops’ timely recovery of the terrorists' anti-personnel mines saved the lives of the public.

"The continuing use of anti-personnel landmines just proved their act of terrorism which rightfully supports the declaration of EU and US for the declaration of CPP-NPA as among the list of terrorist groups," De Leon said.

Brigadier General Franco Nemesio M Gacal, 4th Infantry Division commander, meanwhile, said, “We extend our deepest sympathies to the bereaved families and friends of those killed soldiers. They made their ultimate sacrifice due to their dedication to protect the villagers in pursuit of peace and development.”

Gacal said the pursuit operations is on progress.

"We will not hesitate to use our force against NPA terrorists that disrupt the normalcy of peace and order," Gen Gacal declared. (4ID)

Local execs in Surigao town declare NPA ‘persona non grata’

From the Philippine News Agency (Feb 17, 2019): Local execs in Surigao town declare NPA ‘persona non grata’

The local leaders of Barangay Camam-onan and Gigaquit town of Surigao del Norte declared the New People’s Army (NPA) as persona non grata following the surrender of 28 members of the communist Militia ng Bayan on Friday.

The declaration of the NPA as persona non grata by Camam-onan Barangay Captain Inday Flor Bangga and Gigaquit Mayor Elvira Egay also prompted some 267 members of the Underground Mass Organization (UGMO) to withdrew their support to the NPA.

The surrenderers also handed over seven assorted firearms to the 30th Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army’s 4th Infantry Division under Lt. Col. Allen Raymund Tomas.

Barangay Camam-onan is one of the 32 villages in Surigao del Norte that have been declared as peace and development zone (PDZ) in the province.

It was in Gigaquit where the PDZ initiative of Caraga region was launched in August last year.

There are currently 116 villages targeted as peace zones – six in Butuan, 22 in Agusan del Sur, 32 in Surigao del Norte and 39 in Surigao del Sur.

With this development, Eastern Mindanao Command (Eastmincom) commander, Maj. Gen. Felimon Santos, lauded the collaboration and cooperation of stakeholders in the peace zones.

Santos expressed optimism that the government and communities will finally achieve peace and cut the cycle of insurgency.

"Way to go. We can achieve the peace that we are longing and cut the cycle of insurgency if we put our acts together and resolve issues and concern being used by the NPA as propaganda subject,” Santos said in a statement.

Col. Ezra Balagtey, Eastmincom spokesperson, said Camam-onan was used to be considered as a conflict-affected area.

Balagtey said the PDZ is a joint peace-building initiative of the Regional Peace and Order Council and the Regional Development Council of CARAGA region which seeks to address the root causes of conflict through reconciliation, peace constituency building, social, political and economic transformation.

The peace zone initiative was introduced by then 4thID commander and now Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief of Staff, Gen. Benjamin Madrigal, which sought to use a whole-of-nation-approach in pursuing all socioeconomic programs.

Madrigal said addressing the root causes of conflict needs the support of all government agencies, local government units and all stakeholders.

Bukidnon villagers denounce NPA

From the Philippine News Agency (Feb 17, 2019): Bukidnon villagers denounce NPA

Residents of Sitio Green Valley, Barangay Dalwangan here have declared members of the New People’s Army (NPA) as undesirables.
In a meeting on Saturday afternoon, the villagers also called on the NPA, the armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), to spare their community from armed conflict.
The assembly was held in the bullet-riddled village hall that was fired upon by the insurgents as they withdrew towards the hills after harassing an Army patrol base on the foot of Mt. Kitanglad last Thursday. 
The attack killed four members of the NPA and two members of the 1st Special Forces Battalion.
“Let our community unite and prevent their return. Our people must cut all connections to them. We must inform our soldiers once you spot the NPAs coming to our direction. Our soldiers will protect us!” a community elder said in the vernacular.
His statement drew applause from the people attending the community dialogue.
“Why did the NPA attack and kill the soldiers who are very nice to us?” a farmer who attended the dialogue asked.
“I was shaking. We ducked to cover our daughter. The NPA knocked on our door next. I thought at first, they were soldiers but they are NPA. They wanted to use our Bongo truck,” one of the community leaders said.  
The community also agreed to do a “pahina” or "bayanihan" (community work) and help in the completion of an Army Patrol Base project that was left unfinished. 
The military said earlier that an 11-man team under the 1st Special Forces Battalion (SFB) was constructing a Patrol Base when attacked by some 30 fully-armed NPA rebels at about 9 p.m. on February 14.
Despite the incident, Lt. Col. Sergio Macarandan Jr., commanding officer of 1st SFB, directed his unit to continue the task of "defeating the communist NPA terrorists through community support programs".
He said the troops were conducting support activities following requests from residents to set up a Patrol Base to secure them from NPA rebels, who were extorting money from poultry farm owners in the area.
Both the United States and European Union have declared the CPP-NPA as a terrorist group.

Eastmincom to talk with CHED on NPA recruitment of studes

From the Philippine News Agency (Feb 17, 2019): Eastmincom to talk with CHED on NPA recruitment of studes

The Eastern Mindanao Command (Eastmincom) will hold a dialogue with officials of the Commission on Higher Education (CHED), Department of Education (DepEd) and members of the academe over the recruitment of students by the communist New People’s Army (NPA).
Eastmincom spokesperson, Lt. Col. Ezra Balagtey said they don't have the exact number of students from Mindanao who ended as NPA members but there are records of those who were recruited to join the rebel group in Eastern Mindanao.
Balagtey said Eastmincom is appealing to parents and school officials to prevent students from joining the NPA.
"They always do deceptive recruitment in the guise of organizing a legitimate student organization," Balagtey said, referring to the communist group.
"Unwittingly, these students who were recruited are being agitated and, eventually, being required to undergo  immersion in the armed group before their eventual integration into the NPA like what happened to the UPLB (University of the Philippines-Los Baños)  student who was recently killed in an encounter," he said.
Capt. Jerry Lamosao, spokesperson of 10th Infantry Division, said, “The students of Salugpungan schools are direct recruits of the NPA.”
He said that in the urban centers, students who cut classes to join anti-government rallies are vulnerable to NPA recruitment.

ROTC infuses balance in PH military organization: professor

From the Philippine News Agency (Feb 17, 2019): ROTC infuses balance in PH military organization: professor

SOURCE OF MILITARY OFFICERS. University of Professor Antonio Esmero, an Army reservist lieutenant colonel and head of the 701st Cebu Ready Reserve Battalion, delivers his message as the graduates of the Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) and membes of the faculty in Lapu-Lapu City College listen. (Photo contributed by Lt. Col. Antonio Esmero)
Mandatory reserve officer training corps (ROTC) in senior high school will bring the country into safer hands with future military organization that has a mixture of officers from both the civilian schools and the military academy, a professor who is also a senior reservist officer, said on Saturday.
Professor Antonio Esmero said the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) picks its officers to supervise the 25,000-strong military organization from graduates of Philippine Military Academy (PMA) and other sources with civilian elements.
One of the civilian source of AFP officers, he said, is the ROTC whose products are not graduates of the PMA but are college students who choose not to pursue their respective professions because of their passion to serve the armed forces. Other source of military officers is the Officer Candidate School (OCS).
Esmero, a lieutenant colonel of the Army reserve and current commander of the 701st Cebu Ready Reserve Battalion, said ROTC helps ensure stability within the ranks of officers in the current military setup in the country and makes the nation safer in the hands of diversified personalities who wear the same uniform.
“Being a citizen soldier, he or she asserts that a democratic nation like ours is safer if some of its military officers are selected from a broad range of citizens, rather than from a professional elite trained only at military academies like the Philippine Military Academy,” Esmero told the graduates, professors, and students of the Lapu-Lapu City College during the graduation rites for the school’s ROTC cadets.
He said that training students to become future officers of the armed forces is “an acceptable mechanism for bringing such a diverse group of citizens (like us) into the military.”
The training provides an educational experience that is significantly different from what they get from the PMA, he said. “Sige sila og tuon sa siyensiya sa panggubatan, kita sa ROTC nagtuon kita og siyensiya sa katawhan. We humanize the combat life. And we go to combat with humanity in our mind,” he said.
The engineering professor said that young people who underwent ROTC have high sense of "patriotism and nationalism.”
If ever ROTC becomes mandatory, he said the country will produce “citizens who love his Republic and who thinks first the altruistic concern over other concerns.”
He stressed that graduates of ROTC in different schools are prove to be loyal citizens of the country, citing their heroism in previous wars.
He lamented the negative result of Republic Act 9163, the National Service Training Program (NSTP) Act of 2001, that makes ROTC as optional component, along with Civic Welfare Training Service (CWTS) and Literacy Training Service (LTS), as many colleges and universities “are not keen on making ROTC as its major NSTP program” in favor of CWTS.
A professor of the University of San Jose Recoletos, Esmero underwent military school such as the General Staff Course (GSC) at Camp Aguinaldo in Quezon City, along with another government officials such as former House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez and Budget and Management Secretary Banjamin Diokno.