Monday, April 22, 2019

Philippine Army: Senior Militant, Escort Killed

From BenarNews (Apr 22, 2019): Philippine Army: Senior Militant, Escort Killed

Philippine soldiers patrol a road in a farming town in North Cotabato province, June 21, 2017.

Philippine soldiers patrol a road in a farming town in North Cotabato province, June 21, 2017.

Philippine troops over the weekend killed a senior leader and another member of an Islamic State-linked group blamed for several bomb attacks in the south, a military official said Monday.

Mando Mamalompong, a spokesman for the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF), was killed Saturday morning during a gun battle with police and army soldiers who were out to serve an arrest warrant at his base near Midsayap town in North Cotabato province, regional army chief Maj. Gen. Cirilito Sobejana said.

Sobejana said a 30-minute gun battle resulted in the death of Mamalompong and his escort, Nur Hamid Sabdulla. A soldier was injured slightly.

“We are doing our best to defeat the enemy with your full cooperation and support. The entire community is hoping that this menace of society will come to an end and that peace and development will push unhampered,” Sobejana said.

Military sources said the arrest warrant was based on Mamalompong’s alleged possession of firearms and on murder charges in connection with the series of bombings in the region.

Earlier this month, a homemade bomb exploded at a packed restaurant in Isulan, a city in nearby province of Sultan Kudarat, about 1,441 km (900 miles) south of Manila, leaving one dead and 17 wounded.

It was the most recent attack since Jan. 27 when militants detonated two bombs at a Catholic church in Jolo, killing 23 people and wounding more than 100 others. The IS leadership claimed responsibility for the attack.

The BIFF, with hundreds of fighters, split from the 12,000-member Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) in 2008. The MILF gave up its rebellion and opted to establish an expanded autonomous region in the south, where its leaders have assumed leadership posts.

The BIFF pledged allegiance to IS, but did not send fighters to Marawi two years ago. About 1,200 people, mostly militants, were killed in a five-month battle ending in October 2017 that began when IS-linked fighters tried to seize the southern city.

PRO-6 wary of peace and order in 133 towns

From the Panay News (Apr 23, 2019): PRO-6 wary of peace and order in 133 towns

The peace and order situation in 133 Western Visayas municipalities is the Police Regional Office 6’s (PRO-6) top concern as the May 13 midterm elections draw near.
More policemen would be deployed to these areas, according to Police General John Bulalacao, regional police director, yesterday.

The 133 towns were further classified into four based on the degree of the security concerns as determined by the police – green (90), yellow (16), orange (23), and red (4).

The “green towns” are the least of the police’s concern but still require monitoring, according to Bulalacao.

The “yellow towns” have a history of, or current intense political rivalry among the contending election candidates. Such rivalry could motivate people to engage in violent acts, said Bulalacao.

In these towns, there may also be private armed groups abetted by loose firearms or and/or gun-for-fire gangs, and record of validated election-related incidents in the 2016 national and local elections.

Meanwhile, “orange towns” are considered “election areas of immediate concern”, said Bulalacao, for having a combination of factors cited in the yellow category, plus the presence and/or serious armed threat posed by the New People’s Army and other local terrorist groups.

Those in the “red” category, on the other hand, have a combination of concerns in the orange and yellow categories.

Bulalacao said the towns of Maasin, Calinog and Lemery in Iloilo province and the municipality of Moises Padilla in Negros Occidental fall under the “red towns” category.

Moises Padilla was placed under the red category, said Bulalacao, because of a recent violence – the killing of municipal councilor Jolomar Bañares Hilario who was running for a third term – and the presence of rebels in the town.

Hilario, 51, was sleeping when armed men barged into his house in Barangay Inolingan and sprayed him with bullets on March 30.

The armed men arrived on board a truck and identified themselves as members of the New People’s Army.

Hilario’s wife Michelle, the incumbent barangay captain, and their children were not harmed.

“Baka mabawasan o madagdagan ang data natin depende sa mga magyayari pa,” said Bulalacao.

Marine shot dead in Palawan

From the Philippine Star (Apr 23, 2019): Marine shot dead in Palawan

CAMP VICENTE LIM, Laguna, Philippines — A Marine was gunned down in Quezon, Palawan over the weekend.Alfredo John de Leon was standing in front of a cockpit in Barangay Tagusao, Quezon when two unidentified men arrived and opened fire, Lt. Col. Socrates Faltado, Mimaropa police spokesman, said.

Faltado said New People’s Army rebels could be behind the attack.

Bangsamoro region to get billions for development

Posted to The Gulf News (Apr 20, 2019): Bangsamoro region to get billions for development

Senator Juan Edgardo “Sonny” Angara.

Senator Juan Edgardo “Sonny” Angara.

The newly-established Bangsamoro government is now assured of crucial seed funding to bankroll development projects and rehabilitation of areas affected by conflict in the new autonomous region in Muslim Mindanao with the enactment into law of the P3.7tn national budget for 2019.

Sen. Juan Edgardo “Sonny” Angara said the 2019 General Appropriations Act recently signed by President Rodrigo Duterte includes a P30bn allocation for the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM), which replaced the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM). The amount was initially allocated for the ARMM, but would be transferred to the BARMM to serve as its operational funds for this year.

“This is in fulfillment of the promise to give the Bangsamoro government full fiscal autonomy to achieve economic self-sufficiency and genuine development,” according to Angara, who, as chairman of the Senate Committee on Local Government, co-sponsored Republic Act 11054 or the “Bangsamoro Organic Law” (BOL) creating the BARMM.

“With this spending package, we pin our hopes on the leaders of the new autonomous political entity to change the lives of our Mindanaoan brothers and sisters who equally deserve opportunities to be employed, educated and cared for by the government,” the senator said.

The BOL, a realisation of long peace negotiations between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), was overwhelmingly ratified by the Bangsamoro people during a two-part plebiscite held early this year.

In February, President Duterte formed the 80-member Bangsamoro Transition Authority to serve as the interim government in the BARMM during the transition period that will last until the first elections take place in 2022.

The BOL, Angara said, was “a lasting and valuable legal solution to the long-festering problem in Mindanao, so that ultimately peace and prosperity can flourish.”

In 2015, population in the region stood at 3.78mn, according to data from the Philippine Statistics Authority.

One in two persons in the region was poor, or about 53.7% of its population, the government statistics office said.

“The solution should ultimately rest on giving the Bangsamoro people to make their own choices, the political and fiscal autonomy to no longer consult with imperial Manila or the central government on matters that are essentially Bangsamoro matters,” Angara said.

Under the BOL, revenue sources for the Bangsamoro include taxes, fees, charges and annual block grant and revenue shares from exploration of natural resources, among others.

The law provides that 75% of national taxes and fees collected in the region will go the Bangsamoro government, while 25% will go to the national government.

The 75% share shall “accrue” to the Bangsamoro government for the first 10 years.

The BARMM government will be given a 5% annual block grant from the national government, which will be automatically appropriated in the national budget.

In the first year following the effectivity of the Bangsamoro law, the block grant should be 5% of the net national internal revenue tax collection and the net collection of the Bureau of Customs in the last three fiscal years.

12,000 Moro rebels demobilized this year

From the Philippine Daily Inquirer (Apr 22, 2019): 12,000 Moro rebels demobilized this year

COTABATO CITY — The Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) would demobilize some 12,000 of its combatants this year, according to Presidential Peace Adviser Carlito Galvez Jr.

40,000 fighters

MILF chair and now Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) Interim Chief Minister Murad Ebrahim earlier said that as many as 40,000 combatants would be decommissioned by phase once key milestones of the peace process are achieved.

The ceremonial decommissioning of 145 combatants was completed in 2015 under former President Benigno Aquino III.

Executive order finalized

Galvez urged the security sector, particularly the police, to establish good rapport with the members of the MILF to avoid jeopardizing the Bangsamoro peace process.

Galvez issued the statement in the wake of the crafting of the Executive Order (EO) on the Normalization Process, which would involve the decommissioning of MILF fighters and their firearms and the transformation of former MILF camps into progressive economic zones.

Cooperation urged

Galvez said it was very important for the police and other security forces to fully understand the intricacies of the Bangsamoro peace process.

He warned that a single miscalculation on the part of the security forces could have a major impact on the region’s peace and security situation.

For this initiative to succeed, the chief peace adviser stressed the importance of fostering stronger relationship with the MILF, especially among former fighters.

“We should start to communicate and establish confidence-building measures, build good relationship with them,” Galvez told members of the Philippine National Police assigned in the BARMM.

BARMM replaced the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao following two plebiscites in January and February this year that ratified the Bangsamoro Organic Law, a law anchored on the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB), the final peace deal between the government and the MILF in 2014 that ended four decades of conflict that left at least 120,000 individuals dead, including civilians.

Delicate transition
The normalization process is one of the annexes of the CAB.

The EO on the Normalization Process is a comprehensive plan of the national government designed to help former MILF fighters as they undergo the delicate transition to becoming noncombatants, Galvez said.

Galvez said the BARMM regional police would play a critical role in maintaining the peace and order in the region, especially in communities where combatants would be decommissioned.

Under the EO, the PNP will be part of several transitional bodies and will need at least 1,600 police personnel.

Duterte heaps praises on Nur Misuari

From the Manila Bulletin (Apr 21, 2019): Duterte heaps praises on Nur Misuari

Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) chair Nur Misuari is a brave patriot and warrior who has an open heart for others, President Duterte said recently.

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte delivers his speech during the Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) campaign rally at the Cagayan Sports Coliseum in Tuguegarao City on April 16, 2019. (KARL NORMAN ALONZO/PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO)

The President was all praises for Misuari amid government plans to forge a deal with his group to help attain a peaceful Mindanao.

“Iyong si Nur, happily. I supposed that I have always respected him ever since we met 30 years ago. I love the guy,” Duterte said during his recent visit to Cagayan province.

“He is quite patriotic. He is a warrior. He is brave but always he has an open heart for his fellow human being,” he added.

After the new Bangsamoro autonomous region was created after a peace deal with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), Duterte reaffirmed his commitment to talk with Misuari on a proposed territorial structure that will settle any conflict.

“Hopefully I could also craft another structure or a setup or a satisfaction so that maybe the revolutionary government which are — or which is anchored on territoriality, mawala na ‘yan. As long as we are ready to share with the others,” Duterte said.

“Kung sakali, by the grace of God, papayag si Nur with the same setup sa kanyang lugar, baka in the goodness of God’s time, we may be able to have a sort of peaceful Mindanao [If ever by the grace of God, Nur will agree with the same set-up in his place. In the goodness of God’s ties, we may be able to have a sort of peaceful Mindanao],” he added.

The President recently announced that Misuari threatened to go to war if the shift to federalism was not pursued.

Last month, Duterte met with Misuari in Malacañang where the former ARMM governor pressed for the federalism initiative.

The two leaders eventually agreed to create their respective five-member panels to discuss the proposed federalism to avoid a potential conflict in the south.

Duterte however reminded Misuari that the push for federalism must go through the legislative process, and must be done in accordance with the Constitution.

NPA in Mindoro frees captive after 17 days

From the Philippine Daily Inquirer (Apr 22, 2019): NPA in Mindoro frees captive after 17 days

CITY OF CALAPAN — An alleged member of the Citizens Armed Forces Geographical Unit (CAFGU) under the 203rd Brigade of the Philippine Army was released Monday in Oriental Mindoro, the New People’s Army (NPA) said.

In a press release, Ka Madaay Gasic, spokesperson of the NPA’s Lucio De Guzman Command based in Mindoro, said Raymando Malupa, after 17 days of being a prisoner of war of one of their units, was released.

Gasic, however, did not provide other details of the release.

He was arrested in the evening of April 5 with Peter Delos Santos, chief of Malo village, and head barangay tanod (village watchman) Rocky Bueta, in Bansud town in Oriental Mindoro province.

Delos Santos and Bueta were released on April 6 after undergoing the Reds’ “judicial investigation.”

Gasic said Malupa, during his investigation by the Demokratikong Gubyernong Bayan (DGB-Democratic People’s Government), admitted his involvement in operations against civilians alleged to be connected with Communist Party of the Philippines, the NPA and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (CPP-NPA-NDFP) and undergoing surveillance operations against the revolutionary movement and members.

Gasic said they respected his rights as a POW and was released because of the promise to reform and to indemnify his victims. 

PHL Navy's BRP Tarlac arrives in Qingdao to participate in Chinese Navy celebration

From GMA News Online (Apr 22, 2019): PHL Navy's BRP Tarlac arrives in Qingdao to participate in Chinese Navy celebration

BRP Tarlac, the Philippines' largest warfare ship, and Malaysian frigate Lekiu arrived in Qingdao, a coastal city in east China's Shandong Province, on Sunday to partake in the activities marking the 70th founding anniversary of the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) Navy, including a naval parade on April 23.

The two countries' naval officers and sailors manned the rail and rendered salutes to their Chinese peers as a gesture of friendship and respect while anchoring off.

With a displacement of 11,000 tons, the Philippine transport dock can sail at a maximum speed of 16 knots per hour, and carry 500 sailors, 40 vehicles and five medium-sized helicopters.

Navy Captain Francisco Tagamolila, who heads the Philippine naval delegation, said that he is looking forward to enhancing the exchanges between the two navies.

"I would like to say that, on behalf of the Philippine government, the Armed Forces of the Philippines, and the Philippine Navy, through our Flag Officer-in-Command, Admiral Robert Empedrad, we extend our gratitude for the invitation on your celebration of the 70th anniversary of the People's Liberation Army Navy. Our arrival here signifies the fortitude of the Philippine Navy to foster stronger ties between our two navies, and strengthen our camaraderie and working relationship with all other navies," he said.

READ: PHL Navy sends off contingent to join International Fleet Review in China

Malaysian frigate Lekiu, the most modern surface combatant of the Royal Malaysian Navy, has a full load displacement of 2,300 tons, with a 57mm bofors gun which is able to launch short-and-medium-range missiles.

Qingdao is receiving navy delegations from more than 60 countries and vessels from more than 10 countries invited to participate in the celebrations of the Chinese navy's 70th founding anniversary on April 23.

Multinational commemorative events, to be held in Qingdao and nearby sea areas and airspace from April 22 to 25, will feature various activities including high-level seminars and cultural and sports exchanges.

The Port of Qingdao is home to the PLA North Sea Fleet.

Gabriela links brutal killing of alleged NPA leader to Duterte's remark vs. female rebels

From GMA News Online (Apr 22, 2019): Gabriela links brutal killing of alleged NPA leader to Duterte's remark vs. female rebels

Gariela Women's Party has condemned the alleged brutal killing and torture of alleged communist leader Cindy Tirado in Davao del Norte, linking it to President Rodrigo Duterte's "shoot-in-the-vagina" against female rebels.

In a statement on Saturday, Gabriela said Tirado, who was reportedly killed in a military operation on April 15 in Tagum City, was a victim of the Armed Forces of the Philippines' (AFP) "inhumane display of macho-fascism."

"Tirado's case constitutes a war crime and violation of international humanitarian laws which cover the conduct of war and treatment of combatants," Gabriela said.

News reports said Tirado was shot in her genitals, and that her arms were fractured, indicating torture.

"President Duterte’s 'shoot-in-the-vagina' remark is now a brutal policy of engagement by the AFP versus female rebels, as highlighted by Tirado’s case," Gabriela said.

Sought for comment, AFP spokesperson Brigadier General Edgard Arevalo dismissed Gabriela's allegation as "propaganda."

"This is another propaganda of the NPA's who are reeling from their own human rights abuses and attack on civilians," Arevalo told GMA News Online.

In February last year, President Rodrigo Duterte drew flak for saying in Cebuano that women rebels should be "shot in the vagina."

Gabriela, meanwhile, called for an independent investigation by the Commission on Human Rights on Tirado's brutal killing "with focus on probing the accountability of the AFP over the excessive use of force and possible sexual violence."

"Tirado’s death exposes the duplicity of President Duterte when he casually called for an 'immediate ceasefire' last week, and casts a long shadow on the government’s pronouncements of an all-military peace panel."

WESTMINCOM: Peace covenant signing held in Maguindanao

Posted to the Western Mindanao Command (WESTMINCOM) Website (Apr 22, 2019): Peace covenant signing held in Maguindanao

The 601st Infantry (Unifier) Brigade through the 40th Infantry Battalion in partnership with the Philippine National Police, Commission on Election (COMELEC), and the Local Government Units of Mamasapano and Sultan sa Barongis all of Maguindanao, initiated the signing of Peace Covenant of all political candidates on April 17, 2019.

The events held in Mamasapano Gymnasium and Sultan sa Barongis Gymnasium respectively, aimed at achieving a clean, honest and peaceful 2019 midterm election.

Said activities were also attended and witnessed by Colonel Joel Y. Abregana, Deputy Brigade Commander of 601st Brigade; Lieutenant Colonel Rogelio S. Gabi, Commanding Officer, 40IB; 1st Lieutenant Paul Jerome G. Pagaran, CMO Officer; 1st Lieutenant Kirk Manehero, Commanding Officer Bravo Company, 40IB; Attorney Ernie F. Palanan, Provincial Election Supervisor-Maguindanao; and Ms. Bai Maceda L. Abo, Election Officer, Mamasapano.

“The Western Mindanao Command through its Joint Task Forces continuously supports all government-initiated activities in preparation for the upcoming 2019 midterm election,” said Lieutenant General Arnel B. Dela Vega.

WESTMINCOM: Kin of Dawlah Islamiya fighter surrenders in Lanao

Posted to the Western Mindanao Command (WESTMINCOM) Website (Apr 22, 2019): Kin of Dawlah Islamiya fighter surrenders in Lanao

Alias Pacong, the brother of a deceased Dawlah Islamiya fighter who died during the Marawi siege, surrendered to the 55th Infantry Battalion in Madalum, Lanao del Sur at 4pm on April 17.

Pacong said he was saddened by the death of his brother, who was deceived and recruited by the Maute brothers in Butig.

He also yielded an M653 rifle, magazines, and ammunition.

Pacong underwent a custodial debriefing that was facilitated by military troops.

At 11am on Wednesday, three high-powered firearms were also surrendered to the 49th Infantry Battalion through the efforts of Mayor Nasser Pangandaman and other barangay officials of Masiu, Lanao del Sur.

The mayor formally turned over two RPG launchers, a Colt M203, and ammunition, said Lieutenant Colonel Edgar Allan Villanueva, 49IB Commander.

The firearms were brought to the 49IB headquarters for proper safekeeping/disposition.

“With the confirmed death of Abu Dar, we expect more Dawlah Islamiya members and supporters to surrender,” said Colonel Romeo Brawner, 103rd Infantry Brigade Commander.

“We encourage them to surrender or cooperate with the local government units if they are afraid or are intimidated by our forces, or if they do not want to suffer the fate of their comrades,” added Brawner.

Brigadier General Roberto Ancan, Joint Task Force ZamPeLan Commander, commended the efforts of the troops and the local government for the successful surrender of the Dawlah Islamiya supporter and the turnover of the loose firearms.

“Your JTF ZamPeLan, in collaboration with the local government units and other stakeholders, remains steadfast in its commitment to attain just and lasting peace in our area of operation through our campaign against the Dawlah Islamiya-Lanao group and against loose firearms in Mindanao,” said Ancan.

“Likewise, we thank them for their continued trust and support for our troops in contributing peace and development in the whole province of Lanao del Sur,” Ancan added.

Lieutenant General Arnel Dela Vega, Western Mindanao Command chief, said: “Pacong made a prudent decision in renouncing his support for the Dawlah Islamiya. We are elated to welcome and assist Pacong and the rest of the returnees who are working hand in hand with our troops and the people of Mindanao.”

“I also ascribe this feat to the commitment and the convergence of our ground forces and our partners in the operational area. Their diligence and conviction really paid off as evinced by the progress that we are making in our internal security campaign that brought down terrorist groups, including the Dawlah Islamiya-Maute, in Mindanao,” he added.

“We assure you that our offensives against spoilers of peace are being sustained in Mindanao,” said Dela Vega.

WESTMINCOM: BIFF commander slain; high-powered firearms recovered in recent clash

Posted to the Western Mindanao Command (WESTMINCOM) Website (Apr 22, 2019): BIFF commander slain; high-powered firearms recovered in recent clash

A Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) commander and one of his followers were slain in a clash with the government forces in Sitio Macantal, Barangay Olandang, Midsayap, North Cotabato on Saturday (April 20, 2019).

While serving warrant of arrest, combined elements of the 34th Infantry Battalion and the Midsayap Municipal Police Station were fired upon by heavily armed men under BIFF 2nd Division Commander Mando Mamalompong a.k.a DM.

A heavy firefight ensued that resulted to the deaths of Mamalompong and one of his followers identified as Nur Hamid Sabdulla a.k.a Tong while one soldier was slightly wounded.

Mamalompong was the concurrent spokesperson of the Karialan Faction.

Seized from the encounter site were an M16 rifle, one M14 rifle and assorted magazines and ammunitions.

“The successful operation is attributed to the information shared by the local residents who do not want terrorists’ presence in their community,” said 602nd Brigade commander, Brigadier General Alfredo V. Rosario.

Joint Task Force Central commander, Major General Cirilito Sobejana said that the 6thInfantry Division is doing its best to defeat the enemy with the community’s full cooperation and support.

“The entire community is hoping that this menace of society will come to an end and that peace and development will push unhampered,” he added.

Wounded soldier was immediately evacuated to the nearest hospital for medical attention.

WestMinCom Chief Lieutenant General Arnel Dela Vega said, “We will take all means to protect the people, secure vulnerable villages, and push our offensives until the terror threats are completely eliminated in our area of operation.”

“I once again enjoin everyone to help and support Team WestMinCom in this fight against terrorism here in the region,” LtGen Dela Vega added.

WESTMINCOM: Government troops apprehend drug personality in Maguindanao

Posted to the Western Mindanao Command (WESTMINCOM) Website (Apr 22, 2019): Government troops apprehend drug personality in Maguindanao

Amid the conduct of checkpoint operation, combined elements from the 90th Infantry Battalion and Talitay Municipal Police Station apprehended a drug personality in Sitio Tamlang, Barangay Kiladap, Talitay, Maguindanao on April 19, 2019.

Seized from Mastura Esmail Hassan (of legal age and a resident of Barangay Adaon, Datu Angal Midtimbang, Maguindanao) were one sachet of 5-7 grams “Shabu” with street value of Php1, 700.00; one piece lighter; one totter; Php 180.00 cash, one Nokia cellular phone; one box of Marlboro cigarettes; and one Honda wave motorcycle.

The apprehended personality and the confiscated illegal drugs and other paraphernalia were brought to Talitay MPS for filing of appropriate cases and proper disposition.

“Congratulations to the troops of the Joint Task Force Central led by Major General Cirilito Sobejana for their outstanding accomplishments this year,” LtGen Arnel Dela Vega said.

“Western Mindanao Command through all of its Joint Task Forces, continuously perform its mandate of conducting prompt and sustained military and support operations for peace and prosperity in Western and Central Mindanao,” LtGen Dela Vega added.

WESTMINCOM: Military, org launch outreach program for indigenous people in Cotabato

Posted to the Western Mindanao Command (WESTMINCOM) Website (Apr 22, 2019): Military, org launch outreach program for indigenous people in Cotabato

Soldiers from 602nd Brigade and Team Jesus launched a medical and dental mission that benefitted 700 indigenous brothers and sisters in Cotabato City on April 17.

Military troops provided medical and dental services; performed circumcision procedures; and distributed school supplies, biscuits, hygiene kits, slippers, and arrozcaldo to indigenous people in Barangay Bentangan, Carmen, Cotabato last Wednesday.

The activity was a success and, with grateful hearts, the people of Bentangan sent the team away with their warmest smiles.

On April 18, the 602Bde and Team Jesus travelled to Midsayap, Cotabato to serve the residents of Barangay Arizona.

The team was privileged to serve 460 people with their medical, dental, circumcision, and haircut services. The team also distributed slippers, received hygiene kits, and school supplies.

Despite the extreme heat, the event was a success. Residents of Barangay Arizona came home fulfilled and satisfied.

“Your soldiers continue to support any initiatives that put primacy on the well-being of the people, especially the underprivileged. We continue to work alongside our partners to help the people of Mindanao, not only in terms of security but also in terms of socio-economic advancement,” said Lieutenant General Arnel Dela Vega, Western Mindanao Command chief.

EASTMINCOM: E-CLIP Leaflet made paranoid NPAs to surrender on Holy Week

Posted to the Eastern Mindanao Command (EASTMINCOM) Website (Apr 22, 2019): E-CLIP Leaflet made paranoid NPAs to surrender on Holy Week

Photo courtesy of 39IB

NSFA, Panacan, Davao City - Enhance Comprehensive Local Integration Program leaflet guided six members of the CPP-NPA Terrorist Group (CNTG) in two batches to the government during the holy week at Colon Sabak and Dongan Pekong all of Matanao, Davao Del Sur respectively.

In the morning of Easter Sunday, April 21, 2019, Davao del Sur Provincial Office and 39th Infantry Battalion, in a joint effort, facilitated the surrender of four CNTG members at Dongan Pekong, Matanao, Davao Del Sur after the community sought their help on the said intention of the CNTG members.

The surrenderees were identified as alias TONTON, alias CARDO, alias BUDDY and alias JOANA all elements and members of the CNTG in the above-mentioned area. They brought along with them three High Powered Fire Arms (HPFA) one Bushmaster rifle, an M203 Grenade Launcher and one baby armalite rifle.
Earlier, in the morning of Good Friday, April 19, 2019, three CNTG identified as alias Dante, a Vice Team Leader; alias Jek and Alias Garry, both elements, surrendered also with the help of the community to the same combined group of Police and Military units bringing along with them three fire arms (M16, M14 and Garand rifles) at Barangay Colonsabak, Matanao, Davao Del Sur.

The surrenderees, who were members of the CNTG being monitored in the quad boundary of Davao Del Sur, North Cotabato, South Cotabato and Sultan Kudarat, are part of the group that was encountered by the 39IB in Barangay Colonsabak on April 1, 2019. In their revelation they scampered to different directions and parted different ways after the intense firefight.

Accordingly, the surrenderees were in same state paranoid and were always on the run until they took hold of an E-CLIP leaflet which was dropped on April 18, 2019. This was further reinforced by an explanation by members of the community through an E-CLIP tarpaulin posted in the Barangay which made them decide to surrender in batches.

Lt. Gen. Felimon T. Santos Jr., Commander of Eastern Mindanao Command expressed appreciation to the consolidated effort of the community and the security sector.

"The community acted as our ambassadors when they took effort to explain the E-CLIP to our lost brothers and sisters, a message that the NPAs should read and understand that they are not welcome in their communities" Lt. Gen. Santos said.

"Let us continue to equip our community and allow them to be our partner in building peace and resolving issues of conflict in their areas." Lt. Gen Santos added.

Source: Public Information Office, Eastern Mindanao Command

3 rebels killed, 5 injured in battle

From the Visayan Daily Star (Apr 22, 2019): 3 rebels killed, 5 injured in battle

The Army’s 303rd Infantry Brigade reported yesterday that a couple was among the three suspected New People’s Army rebels killed in an encounter Wednesday with the 79th Infantry Battalions soldiers in Sitio Banwa Minatay, Brgy. Marcelo, Calatrava, Negros Occidental.

Brig. Gen. Benedict Arevalo, 303rd Infantry Brigade commander, identified them as Peter “Mark” Dayanan, with aliases of Yusin and Kent, squad 1 leader of Platoon Mars/Robinson of Northern Negros Front, his wife, Mae, and Sulpicio Hernan Jr., both also members of the same NPA unit in northern Negros.
Army soldiers recovered M16 and AK 47 assault rifles, five magazines of M16 ammunition, seven AK 47 magazines also with ammunition, three rifle grenades, four M4 magazines with bullets, two hand held radios and 12 back packs containing personal belongings.

Arevalo also reported that four of the 12 communist rebels were also reported by residents to have been injured, three of them seriously, as they were seen being carried away by their fleeing comrades.

On the government side, a certain SSgt. Edwin Gardose was also injured. He is now in a stable condition, Lt. Col. Emelito Thaddeus Logan, 79th Infantry Battalion commander, said.

Logan said the encounter with about 12 communist rebels ensued when his troops responded to complaints of the populace about rebel extortion activities in the area.

He added that the gunbattle lasted for about 30 minutes and the rebels scampered in various directions leaving behind their three slain comrades and firearms, among other war materials, at the encounter site.

On April 15, Army soldiers also overran a rebel camp in Bindoy, Negros Oriental, that also resulted in the recovery of two M16 and M4 automatic rifles, and other war materials.*

Lumad, peasant groups unite to defend Pantaron Range

From the often pro-Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) online publication the Davao Toady (Apr 22, 2019): Lumad, peasant groups unite to defend Pantaron Range

Lumad groups and environmental advocates expressed opposition to the looming plunder of mining and logging interests in the mineral-rich Pantaron Range in Mindanao, as well as the attacks against environmental defenders, as they staged a protest action in Davao City during the Earth Day commemoration on Monday, April 22.

The Pantaron range, which straddles across the provinces of Davao del Norte, Davao del Sur, Bukidnon, Misamis Oriental, Agusan del Norte, and Agusan del Sur, is home to endemic flora and fauna. It is also the main source of three major watersheds in the region: the Davao River, Talomo River, and Liboganon River.

The PASAKA Confederation of Lumad Organizations bared at least three mining tenements that were approved by the government, which papers are currently on the process in the province of Davao del Norte, to extract minerals such as gold, silver, copper, and other minerals that will cover around 17,000 hectares.

These companies include the Penson Mining Corp., Lianju Mining Corp., and the Philippine Meng Di Mining & Development Corp.

PASAKA added that two more companies are eager to operate in the area but their papers are currently on appeal when denied by authorities. These mining firms include the Metalores Consolidated, Inc., and the One Compostela Valley Minerals Inc.

Jong Monzon, PASAKA secretary-general also lamented the intensified military operations in lumad areas that greatly affected their communities and the residents who are defending their ancestral domains.

“Relentless militarization pesters our communities, along with the series of aerial bombardments, forced closure of our schools and killings of the defenders of Pantaron,” Monzon said.

The killing of 43 environmental advocates is among the gruesome aftermath of the continued military operations and crackdowns in Southern Mindanao Region, Monzon added, all have taken place under the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte.

Monzon cited the case of the death of Manobo leader Datu Kaylo Bontulan of Salugpungan Ta Tanu Igkanogon.

Intensified aerial bombardments killed Datu Kaylo last April 7 in Kitaotao, Bukidnon while attending to the needs of Manobos displaced by militarization in the area.

Aside from displacements, other forms of human rights violations were also committed during the conduct of military activities that victimize most the lumad communities and residents in the region.

Monzon blamed the continuing imposition of martial law in Mindanao that worsened the cases of human rights violations, viewed as the state’s means to silence its critics and the lumad and peasant communities that continue to oppose the destruction of the environment.

“The state is now desperate to have these big corporations realize their interests into our ancestral lands and communities,” Monzon pointed out.


Meanwhile, Monzon said that justice remains elusive to the families and support groups of the victims of killings and attacks against environmental defenders, even under the present administration of Duterte.

While efforts were exerted to lobby these cases into different government agencies such as the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Commission of Human Rights (CHR), but Monzon lamented that the process was “too slow and complicated.”

“Apparently, the government is slow in resolving these cases but quick in filing trumped-up charges against human rights and environmental defenders and in arresting them,” Monzon said.

Six rebels surrender in Davao Sur on Holy Week

From the Mindanao Times (Apr 23, 2019): Six rebels surrender in Davao Sur on Holy Week

Six members of the New People’s Army surrendered in two batches to soldiers in Colonsabak and Dongan Pekong, in Matanao, Davao del Sur during the Holy Week.

Col. Ezra Balagtey, the Eastern Mindanao Command (EastMinCom) spokesperson, said the community in Dongan Pekong facilitated the surrender of four alleged rebels. They were identified as alias Cardo, Tonton, Buddy, and Joana.

He said they brought with them one Bushmaster rifle, an M203 grenade launcher, and one Baby Armalite.

On Good Friday, alias Dante, vice team leader, alias Jek, and alias Gary, surrendered to police and military units in Barangay Colonsabak. They brought with them an M16, M14, and Garand rifles.

“The surrenderees, who were members of the NPAs being monitored in the quad boundary of Davao Del Sur, North Cotabato, South Cotabato, and Sultan Kudarat, are part of the group that was encountered by the 39th IB in Barangay Colonsabak on April 1,” he said.

Accordingly, the rebels were separated from their group after the firefight.

They were on the run since then until their surrender after reportedly reading the leaflet for the Enhanced-Comprehensive Localized Integration Program on April 18.

Lt. Gen. Felimon T. Santos Jr., commander of EastMinCom, thanked the communities for their help in facilitating the surrenders.

“The community acted as our ambassadors when they took effort to explain the E-CLIP to our lost brothers and sisters, a message that the NPAs should read and understand that they are not welcome in their communities,” Santos said.

BTA sessions resume nearly a month after inauguration

From MindaNews (Apr 22, 2019): BTA sessions resume nearly a month after inauguration

The Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA) resumes sessions on April 22, 23 and 24 in Cotabato City, nearly a month after its March 29 inauguration.

Interim Chief Minister Ahod “Al Haj Murad” Ebrahim told MindaNews Sunday that the agenda of the three-day sessions will be “the adoption of internal rules, organization of committees and initial report of those assigned on the different Codes and selected other matters to e presented.”

The BTA is the governing body of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) during the three-year transition period until June 30, 2022, when the first set of elected officials shall have taken over.

Interim Chief Minister Ahod Balawag Ebrahim of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao delivers his inaugural address Friday morning, 29 March 2019 at the Shariff Kabunsuan Cultural Complex inside the BARMM Compound in Cotabato City. MIndaNews photo by CAROLYN O. ARGUILLAS

April 22 is exactly two months since the BTA members took their oath of office before President Rodrigo Duterte in Malacanang, 24 days since the inaugural session on March 29 and 55 days since the turnover from the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) to the BARMM on February 26 at the Shariff Kabunsuan Cultural Complex in the BARMM compound in Cotabato City.

Ebrahim said they are reckoning the 60-day deadline for submission of the transition plan not from February 26 but from March 29.

Republic Act 11054 or the Organic Law creating the BARMM mandates the interim Chief Minister under Section 6 of Article 16, to submit to the BTA “within the first 60 days of the transition period,” a transition plan that shall contain the “proposed organizational plan, as well as, the schedule for implementation therefor.”

The law also provides that the BTA, by a majority vote of all its members, shall “approve or otherwise act on the proposed transition plan within ten days upon submission;” that if the transition plan is not acted upon within 60 days, it shall be deemed approved and implemented within 15 days.

If reckoned from March 29, as Murad said it would be, the 60-day deadline for submission of the transition plan would be on May 28.

Within this period, Ramadan, the month-long fasting among Muslims, is expected to begin on May 6. But Murad told MindaNews, “Kahit Ramadan, pwede naman mag-session” (We can still have sessions during Ramadan).

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte delivers his speech during the inauguration of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) at the Shariff Kabunsuan Cultural Complex in Cotabato City on March 29, 2019. ROBINSON NIÑAL JR./PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO

Priority legislations

The BTA is also tasked to enact, during the transition period, ”priority legislations” such as the Bangsamoro Administrative Code, Bangsamoro Revenue Code, Bangsamoro Electoral Code, Bangsamoro Local Government Code, and Bangsamoro Education Code consistent with powers and prerogatives vested in the Bangsamoro Government .

The BTA is also mandated to enact a Bangsamoro Civil Service Code as well as a law to recognize, protect, promote, and preserve the rights of the Indigenous Peoples in the BARMM, their rights “promoted, protected, and enforced by the Ministry of Indigenous People’s Affairs.”

The law also provides that “other offices on youth, women, settler communities, disaster risk reduction and management, and planning and development, among others, may be created by the BTA.

The BTA is supposed to be composed of 80 members during the three-year transition period but President Duterte has appointed only 76, one of whom died on March 13 – Ghazali Jaafar, the 1st Vice Chair of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).

The Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB), the peace agreement signed by government and the MILF in March 2014, provides that the BTA will be MILF-led. The MILF nominated 41 members to the BTA while government nominated 40, including representatives from the Moro National Liberation Front.

The MILF has nominated Jaafar’s eldest son to take over his seat. President Duterte has yet to appoint him and four more nominees from government.

As of April 21, the BTA is composed of 98 members — 75 appointees who will serve until June 30, 2022, and 23 elected officials of the ARMM who will serve until June 30, 2019, when their three-year terms of office shall have expired.

The ARMM had 26 elected officials: Governor, Vice Governor and 24 district representatives. One of the representatives died in office, leaving only 25. But the last governor, Mujiv Hataman, opted to resign from the BTA to focus on Basilan where he is running for the lone congressional seat, while Assemblyman Khadafeh Mangudadatu was appointed member of the BTA, leaving only 23 in the BTA.

Tribal leaders seek closure of Salugpongan school in Davao

From the Mindanao Examiner (Apr 22, 2019): Tribal leaders seek closure of Salugpongan school in Davao

Tribal leaders at Sitio Kahusayan, Calinan, Davao City faced government representatives Tuesday to ask for the closure of a left-leaning local school.

The school is operated by non-government organization Salugpungan Ta’tanu Igkanugon Community Learning Center, Inc. supposedly to enhance the life skills and knowledge of lumad or indigenous people (IP) children.

However, the parents have ruled out sending their children to the Salugpungan Community Learning Center on suspicion that the school was teaching children to rebel against the government.

The IP leaders rather appealed for the construction of a Department of Education school that would cater to the learning needs of tribal children.

Tribal leader Datu George Mandahay expressed deep concern for the children who are now unsure if they can still enroll in the coming school year.

“Tungod kay dugay pa man ang proseso nga ginasunod sa DepEd una masirado ang Salugpungan, mismong mga lumad na ang nagkandado niini kay dili panggobyerno ang ginatudlo didto. Gani ang “a” nga ginatudlo sa mga bata kay armas ug ang “b” kay bala” (Since it took so long for the DepEd before it can call for the closure of the school, the IP leaders themselves did the closure. We have observed that Salugpungan schools are not teaching our children what the government has set. Instead, they teach the kids words like guns and bullets), Mandahay narrated.

The IPs have requested the DepEd to revoke the recognition of the Salugpungan and build a public school instead. This way, they are assured that their children are not taught with subversive ideas.

“Naguul mi kay wala mi kabalo kung asa na namo paeskwelahon ang mga bata kung wala na ang Salugpungan. Mao nga nanghangyo mi sa gobyerno nga unta matukuran sa DepEd ug eskwelahan diri sa among lugar” (We are worried for our kids where to enroll them now that the Salugpungan learning center is no longer operational. We are requesting the government to build a DepEd public school here in our area), Mandahay added.

Meanwhile, the DepEd in Region 11 (DepEd-11) clarified that it is now strictly checking the compliance of these Salugpungan schools before issuing a permit to operate for the next school year. Once it sees non-compliance with requirements including absence of enrollees, DepEd is bound to shut these schools.

The DepEd is mandated by law to issue permit to operate or full recognition to private institutions serving IP learners with guidelines stipulated in its Department Order #21 series 2014.

The department can grant to an applicant full recognition if it has fulfilled all conditions necessary for a basic education program. So far, there are only three schools in Davao region that have acquired full recognition. These are the Salugpungan Ta’ Tanu Igkanogon Community Learning Center Inc. in Talaingod, Davao del Norte; and SILDAP in Baganga, Davao Oriental and Monkayo, Compostela Valley Province.

All other Salugpungan schools have been operating only with a permit to operate which means these schools are still in the process of completing the requirements for full recognition. They renew this permit every year.

The DepEd-11 clarified that these private learning institutions are given until September 30, 2019 to submit renewal applications. DepEd division offices will then conduct monitoring and evaluation as basis if renewal shall be issued or not.

The DepEd, however, assured the IPs that even if many Salugpungan schools may possibly be closed due to non-compliance of requirements and absence of enrollees, the DepEd has ensured a budget to build 66 new public schools all over Davao Region this year.

Meanwhile, Armed Forces of the Philippines Deputy Chief of Staff for Civil-Military Operations Major Gen. Antonio Parlade Jr. stressed that these ongoing efforts to thresh out problems in solving insurgency were lateral to the National Plan recently approved by President Rodrigo Roa Duterte.

The President rallied all instrumentalities of government to work together in a Whole-of-Nation Movement to address violent conflicts. The said National Plan harmonizes various efforts of the government and all sectors to deliver goods and services as well as peace and security in conflict-affected communities.

PPOC says local peace negotiations continue amid stalled peace talks

From the Philippine Information Agency (Apr 22, 2019): PPOC says local peace negotiations continue amid stalled peace talks

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TAGBILARAN CITY, Bohol — As the Philippine government has stopped the peace talks following unabated extortion and human rights violations perpetrated by guerilla fronts of the Communist Party of the Philippines National Democratic Front (CPP-NDF) armed wing: the New People’s Army (NPA), local peace negotiations continue.

Thus asserts the Bohol Provincial Peace and Order Council in its recent meeting at the new Executive Session Hall of the new Provincial Capitol here in Tagbilaran.

CAPITALIZING ON FEAR. 47IB Commanding Officer LtCol. Eufracio Malig Jr., has leaked that the NPAs are now shaking off the political ideology for the business prospect of extorting their way to a good lifestyle. (PIA/Bohol)

In April of 2018, President Rodrigo Duterte signed Executive Order No. 10 centralizing all government efforts for the re-integration of former rebels and creating a task force for this.

The order has integrated the older Comprehensive Local Integration Program (CLIP) under the Department of Interior and Local Government and the Payapa at Masaganang Pamayanan(PAMANA) under the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace process.

CLIP seeks to achieve permanent and peaceful closure of all armed conflicts with non-government armed groups while PAMANA goes into community based projects for insurgency affected conflict areas.

With the order, the President has integrated all of these efforts through Balik Loob Program in now what would be called the Enhanced CLIP or eCLIP.

In Bohol however, more and more communist rebels have signified their intent to join the mainstream of society, tired of restless evasion from continued military operations.

Most of those intending to come down from the hills are those disillusioned by the corroded ideology and their derision to the criminal activities to effectively recruit younger members, according to military sources.

“From an ideology, the armed struggle in the country, or at least in Bohol has veered into as business to survive.”

Thus says army commander of the only army unit taking charge of the province’s internal security against communist terrorists and violent extremists, during the recent PPOC here in Tagbilaran City.

Army Lieutenant Colonel Eufracio Malig Jr., took the opportunity to say what many believed is the current trend in the 50-year old armed struggle.

The ideology has become a business, bared Malig during the same day the CPP NPA NDF celebrated their 50th anniversary.

As the exiled leaders of the CPP-NDF engaged the government in peace talks in Norway, its armed guerillas in the hinterlands continued to defy their leaders calls to lay down their arms to give in to the negotiations.

In 2017, former military spokesperson Brig. Gen. Edgard Arevalo said While the ceasefire and peace negotiations are ongoing, terrorist NPA members continue to ambush soldiers, leading President Rodrigo Duterte to terminate the ceasefire.

Earlier, in April last year, President Duterte again reopened the government’s willingness to come to the peace negotiations, and demanded a ceasefire yet again.

During the ceasefire, he reiterated that collection of the revolutionary taxes, burning of government equipment and civilian properties should be stopped.

“No taxation, no atrocities, nothing! Just come here as a plain citizen. You [are] protected by our policy of rapprochement with open heart,” Duterte added, Sunstar reported.

In January this year, exiled communist leader Jose Maria Sison accepted Duterte’s offer again to come to the tables for peace.

Last February, during the Peace and Order Summit in Albay, President Duterte invited the New People’s Army, the fighting arm of the CPP NDF, but demands they stop extortion.

Apparently however, Sison and the communist top leaders could not control their armed guerilla groups and factions, who have changed from the communist ideology to that of the lucrative business of extortion and capitalizing on the terror they have sowed.

At the meeting, PPOC member Romeo Teruel asked the army officer his take on the stoppage of the peace talks and its impact to Bohol.

Malig, on his part support the President’s decision.

“We all know we have been engaging [them] for the past administrations, [but] it is always the same result.”

In fact, Malig explained during the peace negotiations, they use their free passes to further their cause.

Authorities accuse that ceasefire declarations have been used to strengthen their ranks, recruit and re-gain NPA mass base, noting the upsurge of front groups in white areas.

Over this, local negotiations continue, and that is why we continue with the ECLIP, Governor Edgar Chatto, PPOC Chairman said.

During the meeting, the army presented some of the eCLIP beneficiaries, those who have gotten the sense to abandon their failed ideologies, according to another army official, during the meeting.

“We know most of them are tired of fighting, and if not of the arrogance of those on top, this would have ended long ago, the official continued.

Cebuano News: Negosyo, dili ideolohiya ang nag-giya sa NPA karon-Col. Malig

From the Philippine Information Agency (Apr 22, 2019): Cebuano News: Negosyo, dili ideolohiya ang nag-giya sa NPA karon-Col. Malig

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TAGBILARAN CITY, Bohol — Wala na magsubay sa ideyolohiya sa gun-ob na nga komunista ang mga sakop sa armado nga front sa Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) nga New People’s Army (NPA).

Kini maoy gibutyag nga panahum ni 47th Infantry Battalion Commanding Officer Lieutenant Colonel Eufracio Malig Jr., didto sa labing bag-ong tigum sa Provincial Peace and Order Council (PPOC) sa adlaw mismo nga gisaulog sa ilang ika 50 ka tuig nga kasumaran ang NPAs.

Kini usab samtang gipangutana sa mga sakop sa PPOC nagdto kang Col. Malig kon unsa sa iyang tan-aw ang epekto sa pagpa-undang na sa hisgutay sa kalinaw tali sa kagamhanan ug sa CPP NPA National Democratic Front, segun sa mandu ni Presidente Rodrigo Duterte.

Sa personal nga panahum sa opisyal sa kasundalohan nga nia sa Bohol, dako siya nga uyon ug suporta sa desisyon sa Presidente.

“Sayud kita nga kanunay na nato nga gibugtaw ang hisgutay sa kalinaw sa pipila na kaadminsitrasyon nga minglabay, ug parehas ra gihapon ang resulta, matud ni Malig ngadto sa mga sakop sa PPOC.

Gani, ang pagtanyag sa hisgutay sa kalinaw, matud pa sa opisyal, maoy higayon nga gigamit sa mga rebelde nga makapalig-on pa sa ilang kawsa, pahinumdom sa opisyal.

Niini, matud niya, bisan ang Armado nga Kusog sa Nasud (AFP) misuporta na pagtangtang na sa hisgutay sa kalinaw, tali sa mga kadagku-an sa CPP-NPA-NDF ug sa kagamhanan sa Pilipinas.

Niini, kadtong mga tinugyanan sa CPP-NPA-NDF, mahimo na nga dakpon kon makit-an sila ug wala na silay immunity sa balaod nga mahimong nanalipod kanila kon may peace talks.

Hinuon, matud ni Col Malig, walay kwestyon ang padayon nga hisgutay sa kalinaw sa likal nga mga lugar nga may mga suliran sa rebelyon ug may nanggawas na nga buot nang manginabuhi nga malinawon kay gikapoy na sa pagtagotago sa bukid.

“Kasagaran kanato dinhi nasayud na nga daghan na sa kanila ang gipangkapoy na sa gubat, ug buot na nga magmalinawon, gawas lamang sa mga lider nila nga padayon pang nabulahan sa sakripisyo sa ilang mga mangugubat,” saysay ni Malig.

Ang sitwasyon sa ubos, matud pa sa opisyal, ang ideyolohiya, nahimo na nga negosyo: ang mga NPA maoy nag-agwanta sa pagpanulis samtang ang ilang mga opisyal, nagpahayahay.

Canlaon residents benefit from outreach prog for peace

From the Philippine Information Agency (Apr 22, 2019): Canlaon residents benefit from outreach prog for peace

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A total of 636 residents in Canlaon City benefited from the medical and dental outreach program and other government services jointly conducted by the Philippine Army’s 302nd Infantry Brigade and the Philippine National Police (PNP) April 13 at Brgy. Panubigan Gym, Canlaon City.

Brig. Gen. Ignacio Madriaga, commander of the 302nd IB, said as a continuing program, this activity intends to deliver free health services to the constituents of Canlaon especially those who need medical attention.

Bringing the government services and programs closer to the people counteracts the deception of the CPP-NPAs who promised to help the barangay residents, the army officer said.

PNP reported that during the medical outreach, some 227 individuals have availed of free medical consultation, 112 had their tooth extracted, 139 young boys were circumcised, minor surgery of 8 patients, 112 vaccinated with anti-cervical cancer, 220 received vitamins and medicines, 150 kids received dental hygiene kits, and 150 persons had their eyes checked and received eye glasses.

Over 600 residents from eight barangays in Canlaon City have availed free medical and health services in an outreach medical-dental mission conducted by PNP-AFP in Canlaon City. (PIA/Negros Oriental)

On top of the medical services, the team also offered free services of massage therapy for 40 individuals, 121 males had their free haircuts, 45 individuals had their nails manicured/pedicured, distributed 500 pair of slippers and 50 balls of basketball and volleyballs, and 340 children received candies, chocolates and stuff toys.

One of the highlights of the activity is the dialogue with the residents of Canlaon with the representatives of all government agencies involved to disseminate the current programs of Pres. Rodrigo Roa Duterte .

Mayor Jimmy Clerego of Canlaon City said that he is thankful to the Armed Forces of the Philippines and PNP for organizing the activity.

He also emphasized to his constituents that the basic services and all government programs aim to improve the lives of every Filipino.

In the same activity, Police Brig. Gen. Debold Sinas, Regional Director of Police Regional Office-7 said "It is very important that you are not only aware of the programs of the government but also you understand what is the truth or not, so that you will not be deceived and exploited by the communist organizations and join the New People's Army."

During the open forum, Agrarian Reform Officers discussed the process of land acquisition in which the audience realized that they were only deceived and misled for a long time by the communist organizations like KARAPATAN that tried to organize them and promised to help them.

Chief Agrarian Reform Program Officer Engr. Manuel Galon, Jr. of the Operation Division of the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) explained the actions by their office and status of the land areas to be subjected to land reform and distribution.

A report from PNP states that “it was found out during exchanges that lawyers of Karapatan and Gabriela organizations that offered their services had different opinions and legal advice that runs contrary on the procedures of DAR."

It added that these advisers insisted that these farmers will not follow the government office concerned directives and guidelines but to stick to their advices even though these were wrong and unlawful.

Sinas followed up the answers of DAR that the farmers were duped by Karapatan and misrepresented them and muddled the issues that caused the delay of the project implementation.

Other issues raised during the dialogue include the assurance of the PNP and AFP that there is no such list of targets of police and military operations but requested the participants to detach themselves from dubious organizations.

A representative from the Community Environment and Natural Resources Ooffice of Canlaon City explained the important of preserving the watershed of Negros Island and the reasons why tenants inside the reservations were advice to leave and vacate the area.

Some 400 residents including the barangay chairpersons participated in the dialogue or pulong-pulong from the eight barangays of Binalbagan, Pula, Lumapao, Bayog, Aquino, Linohangan, Masulog, and Panubigan all in Canlaon City.

Cop hurt in Maguindanao roadside bomb blast

From the Philippine News Agency (Apr 22, 2019): Cop hurt in Maguindanao roadside bomb blast

SHARIFF AGUAK, Maguindanao -- A manhunt has been launched against suspected members of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) tagged in the roadside bombing that injured a policeman late Sunday in Ampatuan town.

Police Brig. Gen. Graciano Mijares, director of the Police Regional Office in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (PRO-BARMM), said he had already ordered Maguindanao police to coordinate with the military in finding the suspects in the blast that injured Police Corporal Aratuc Balabagan.

Balabagan and his companions were returning to the police headquarters of Ampatuan town when the roadside bomb went off around 8 p.m. Sunday near a militia base in Barangay Kauran, Ampatuan.

Balabagan and his colleagues had just completed a field investigation involving an earlier attack on a militia detachment in Barangay Kauran at the time of the incident.

Mijares said he had ordered Police Col. Ronald Briones, Maguindanao police director, to implement measures to thwart any attack by rebels and other lawless groups.

BRP Andres Bonifacio to join ASEAN maritime exercises

From the Philippine News Agency (Apr 22, 2019): BRP Andres Bonifacio to join ASEAN maritime exercises 

The Philippine Navy (PN) will deploy the BRP Andres Bonifacio (PS-17), one of its most capable offshore patrol vessels, to the ASEAN Defense Ministers' Meeting-Plus Maritime Security Field Training Exercise 2019.

In a message to the Philippine News Agency Sunday, Navy spokesperson Captain Jonathan Zata said the ship and the 200-man contingent aboard her will depart from Pier 13, Manila South Harbor around 9 a.m. Tuesday. The ADMM-Plus MARSEC FTX 2019 will take place from April 29 to May 14, he added.

Zata said BRP Andres Bonifacio will sail to Busan, Republic of Korea and Changi, Singapore to participate in the naval maneuvers.

"ADMM-Plus MARSEC FTX 2019 represents an opportunity for invited navies to participate in multinational maritime activities in a manner which promotes greater levels of military cooperation and understanding amongst nations in a maritime security environment," Zata said.

The BRP Andres Bonifacio is among the three Del Pilar-class offshore patrol vessels being operated by the PN.

The ships in the class are the BRP Gregorio Del Pilar (PS-15), BRP Ramon Alcaraz (PS-16) and the BRP Andres Bonifacio (PS-17). They were former Hamilton-class cutters acquired from the United States during 2011, 2013 and 2016.

These vessels have a gross tonnage of 3,250 tons, a length of 378 feet, beam of 43 feet, and draft of 15 feet while its propulsion systems consist of two diesel engines and two gas turbine engines, giving it a top speed of 29 knots.

They have a cruising range of 14,000 miles and has a sea and loiter time of 45 days, and armed with a 76-mm Oto Melara automatic cannon, 25mm and 20mm light cannons and .50 caliber machineguns.

DND mourns passing of ex-Ambassador Severino

From the Philippine News Agency (Apr 22, 2019): DND mourns passing of ex-Ambassador Severino

The Department of National Defense (DND) joins the nation in mourning the passing of former Ambassador Rodolfo Severino Jr. on Good Friday.

He was eight days away from his 83rd birthday at the time of his death, having been born on April 27, 1936

"The Department of National Defense joins the nation in mourning the passing of former Ambassador, ASEAN Secretary-General, and Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Rodolfo Severino, Jr.," the DND said in a statement over the weekend.

Severino previously held the following positions:

Third, Second, and First Secretary, Philippine Embassy in Washington, D.C. (1967–1974);

Special Assistant to the Undersecretary of Foreign Affairs, Foreign Affairs (1974–1976);

Minister-Counsellor and Chargé d'Affaires, Philippine Embassy in Beijing (1976–1978);

Philippine Consul General, Houston, Texas (1979–1986);

Assistant Secretary for Asian and Pacific Affairs and ASEAN Senior Official of the Philippines (1986–1988);

Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to Malaysia (1989–1992);

Undersecretary of Foreign Affairs and ASEAN Senior Official of the Philippines (1992–1997);

Professor, Asian Institute of Management, Manila, the Philippines (2003–2004);

Visiting Research Fellow, ISEAS, Singapore, Singapore (2005–2008).

He also served as ASEAN Secretary General from 1998 to 2002.

"The Philippine defense establishment takes cognizance of and will always be grateful for his contributions and accomplishments in the promotion of the diplomatic interests of our country in the international community," the DND statement added.

PH, Japan defense chiefs meet in Tokyo

From the Philippine News Agency (Apr 22, 2019): PH, Japan defense chiefs meet in Tokyo

In line with the efforts to strengthen the country's defense relations, Department of National Defense (DND) Secretary Delfin Lorenzana and Japanese Defense Minister Takeshi Iwaya had a meeting in Tokyo last April 17.

In a statement over the weekend, DND spokesperson Arsenio Andolong said the latest Tokyo visit of the DND chief is a manifestation of the robust relations between the Philippines and Japan.

As Japan pioneers the Reiwa era (name of the era to start on May 1), Lorenzana reaffirmed the DND’s commitment to contribute in strengthening the strategic partnership between the two countries towards advancing shared principles of peace, security, and growth, through the implementation of the 2015 Memorandum on Defense Cooperation and Exchanges.

Both sides welcomed increasing cooperation at all levels across major services and agreed to deepen exchanges in the areas of humanitarian assistance and disaster response between ground forces, ship repair and maintenance between maritime forces, and professional airmanship between air forces.

They also agreed to bolster cooperation in terms of capacity building, as well as defense industry and logistics. Lorenzana also expressed appreciation for the turnover of five TC-90 aircraft and UH-1H spare parts and maintenance equipment to the Armed Forces of the Philippines from the Japan Self-Defense Force.

At the multilateral level, both defense chiefs attached great importance to the pursuit of practical cooperation through the ASEAN Defense Ministers’ Meeting (ADMM)-Plus framework, which is the highest defense consultative and cooperative mechanism between ASEAN and eight of its dialogue partners.

Lorenzana also welcomed the scheduled goodwill visit of JSDF’s largest destroyer, JS Izumo, in July, aside from looking forward to the DND’s hosting of the 6th Philippines-Japan Vice Ministers’ Defense Dialogue this year.

Destab plots vs. PRRD won't prosper: AFP

From the Philippine News Agency (Apr 22, 2019): Destab plots vs. PRRD won't prosper: AFP

(PNA photo by Priam Nepomuceno)

Destabilization plots against President Rodrigo Duterte will not prosper, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) said Monday.

"Every time we have a new president, there is always that possibility to have him/her removed. But for now, we do not see any specific threat. There are those coming up with information but there is no specific threat," AFP public affairs office chief, Col. Noel Detoyato, said in an interview with reporters.

Detoyato was reacting to reports claiming that some groups are planning to oust the Chief Executive.

He added that he does not see this threat materializing as the AFP and the Philippine National Police (PNP) are "very strong".

"We don't see those threats to materialize because we have a very strong AFP, we have a very strong PNP, and very strong ang support na nakikita namin (that we see) coming from the Filipinos sa ating (for this) administration. So there may be some individuals who are thinking of ousting the President but it will never materialize," he added.

Detoyato's remarks were echoed by AFP spokesperson, Marine Brig Gen. Edgard Arevalo.

No specific threats

"We see no specific threats to date that are likely to succeed to oust the President and Commander-in-Chief. But notwithstanding the AFP’s focus combat, intelligence, and civil military operations and various government development projects, there remains individuals and groups that are determined and are engaged in orchestrated efforts to oust the present administration," Arevalo said in a statement.

He added that these actions tend to vilify the President and discredit government through fake news, bogus information, made up data and reports intended to arouse, agitate, mobilize the people to take up arms against the government or support those who are already rebelling against it.

"As it was found out by the team that went to Europe, a grim scenario of human rights abuse and extra-judicial killings were painted before the international community. Again, the objective is to discredit the present dispensation and obtain funding non-government organizations abroad to finance the continuing local communist armed conflict in the Philippines. While the CPP-NPA (Communist Party of the Philippines-New People's Army) cannot succeed doing that, they definitely can scare away investors and attempt to cripple the economy," he added.


Meanwhile, the PNP is looking into the possibility that the video circulating on social media linking President Rodrigo R. Duterte’s former aide and senatorial bet Christopher “Bong” Go and three members of the Duterte family are benefiting from the illegal drugs is part of a supposed destabilization plot against the Duterte administration.

“Well as of this time we don't have specific evidence on that. There is a possibility. It's because the tirades are very personal, it is directly aimed at the President and his administration so there is a possibility. We are not discounting the fact that there is a destabilization plot and these are all being investigated. We are determining who is behind these,” PNP chief, Gen. Oscar Albayalde told reporters when sought for comment during Monday’s press briefing.

Albayalde said those people behind the videos should present evidence before the courts if they want to prove that Go, former Davao City Vice Mayor and presidential son Paolo Duterte, Go, and Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte's husband, Mans Carpio, are involved in drug transactions.

In four sets of videos, a man, who identified himself as 'Bikoy,' tagged Paolo, President Duterte's partner Honeylet Avanceña, Carpio and Go as among those who take a multi-million drug payola.

“I'm sure it is not only Bikoy. There is somebody working behind him because what Bikoy says is all scripted. I am sure there is somebody financing this. I'm just not sure how big is the financial support,” said Albayalde.

Albayalde said the PNP will conduct an investigation to unmask those behind the four viral videos and expects the PNP's Anti-Cybercrime Group to lead the probe.

“Based on the latest feedback coming from the ACG, they are yet to establish Bikoy's identity because he is using a false account. As of this time, they are still determining who really is Bikoy and who is behind all these demolition job videos on YouTube,” he stressed.

The PNP chief, however, clarified that he did not receive any instructions from the President regarding the video, but said that they will investigate the videos and find the people behind it.

Albayalde said Bikoy and other persons behind the videos could be held liable for cyber libel.

“These are just accusations posted on the internet that could be the basis of a cybercrime charge. We have the anti-cybercrime law. You cannot just simply say some libelous [statements] to people,” the PNP chief said.

Albayalde said any person can make a video and upload it to social media, and make heavy accusations against anyone.

"Anybody can do anything or say anything in the social media but of course, we have to be responsible citizens especially for those who are throwing accusations," the PNP chief said. "Number two is the timing. This is election period so the timing is indeed highly questionable. For all you know this might be part of propaganda this coming mid-term election."

Palace bares ‘Oust-Duterte' matrix

From the Philippine News Agency (Apr 22, 2019): Palace bares ‘Oust-Duterte' matrix

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo shows the "Oust Duterte" matrix to the members of Malacañang Press Corps on April 22, 2019. (PNA photo by Azer Parrocha)

Malacañang on Monday bared a matrix, which shows the names of journalists and media organizations involved in an alleged plot to destroy the image of President Rodrigo R. Duterte.

This comes after the Manila Times published the same matrix, which the Palace was supposed to release for the first time on Monday.

In a speech in Tuguegarao on April 16, Duterte said intelligence reports have been fed to him from “foreign” sources about the supposed coordinated media plot to discredit him.

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo admitted that the President himself ordered him to release the matrix in a Malacañang press conference.

“The instruction of the President is just to touch on it,” Panelo said.

However, the spokesperson clarified that he had no knowledge as to how the Manila Times managed to get a copy of the matrix even before the Palace had released it.

Panelo also denied that the Office of the President (OP) gave the Manila Times a copy of the matrix.

“I’m supposed to expose it today e naunahan pa ako ng Manila Times (released it ahead of me),” Panelo said in a Palace briefing.

“The source of that is from the Office of the President, from the President himself. I don’t know how he got one but it’s coming from the President. I talked to him the other day,” he added.

Proper validation

Panelo defended the matrix, stressing that the President has basis to release it and that it underwent “proper validation.”

“You must remember that the President has so many sources so he got the matrix from one of his sources,” Panelo said.

“I’m just saying that this is intelligence information-sharing. That’s how they call it,” he added.

The Spokesperson emphasized the importance of releasing the matrix, saying it is the government’s “constitutional duty to inform the public of what’s happening”.

“If there is an ouster plan then people should know about it. People have the right to know what’s happening in this government and that includes people who want to destroy this government,” Panelo said.

Enemies of the state

Panelo floated the possibility that the journalists and media organizations listed in the matrix could be feeding their stories to “enemies of the state”.

“I suppose they are the enemies of the state. Sino pa ba ang gustong magpabagsak kundi yung mga kalaban ng estado (Who else would want to overthrow the government if not enemies of the state)?” Panelo said.

Among the names mentioned in the matrix are members of the National Union of People’s Lawyers, the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism (PCIJ), and Rappler.

According to Panelo, the matrix worked in such a way that a certain “Bikoy”, the source of these negative reports against the President, would provide stories to Vera Files President Ellen Tordesillas, who would later distribute the stories to the NUPL, PCIJ, and Rappler to write about.

Let them be

Panelo said the purpose of releasing the matrix is just to “expose” the ouster plot, but the Palace would refrain from filing any charges against the journalists and media organizations involved at the moment.

“Pinapabayaan lang natin (We just let them be). We just want them to know that we know. And we want the people to know that they are on this,” Panelo said.

He, however, said “overt acts to bring down the government” made by these journalists and media organizations might force the Palace to consider the filing of charges.

“But if the plot thickens and they perform acts which are already violation of the penal laws, that’s a different story,” he added.

He acknowledged that all threats against the Duterte administration are taken seriously but he expressed confidence that it would not succeed.

“Lahat naman ng plot (All the plots) against the administration will be serious but whether it would succeed or not is another thing,” Panelo said.

Panelo said releasing the matrix was already an act of telling the public not to trust the journalists and media organizations mentioned.

He noted that the President will just continue doing his job to give Filipinos a more comfortable life.

“The counter-propaganda is the achievements done by this administration and the result as you have seen is the very high satisfactory and trust rating of the President. Survey after survey,” Panelo said.

Panelo said the Palace is also ready to face whatever libel charges journalists and media organizations may file against them.

“Oh di sige (Go ahead). This is a democratic country nga eh, everyone has the right to sue. But whether or not that will prosper is another story. But we will not stop anybody from filing, that’s their right,” Panelo said.

Mangudadatu to push counter-terror law in Senate

From the Philippine News Agency (Apr 22, 2019): Mangudadatu to push counter-terror law in Senate

Maguindanao second district Rep. Dong Mangudadatu

Maguindanao second district Representative and senatorial candidate Dong Mangudadatu has vowed to push an anti-terror law anchored on the Human Security Act of 2007, as he cited the need to bring peace and development in the country.

If elected, Mangudadatu said, the anti-terror law would be on top of his agenda because it fits to his peace and development platform.

According to Mangudadatu, the Philippines is a preferred destination of terrorists because the Philippines is archipelagic which can be easily infiltrated by its enemies.

Mangudadatu said the country needs such law because there is massive recruitment of terrorist fighters globally.

With this law, Mangudadatu said, the government can also secure the country’s protected area, particularly the still untapped Liguasan Marsh in Maguindanao that can be a huge source of natural gas reserve.

The Human Security Act of 2007 is a primary anti-terrorism law that brings the Philippines in line with its Southeast Asian neighbors battling Islamist militants.

Its passage is aimed at tackling terrorists in the Southern Philippines.

Citing a study on the potential of Liguasan Marsh, Mangudadatu said, it can produce 583 billion barrels of natural gas that could raise one trillion in US dollars for the country.

If this happens, Mangudadatu said the government can deliver better social services for the people - free education, health, affordable food, among others. He added that the country can provide more jobs and Overseas Filipino Workers will return home to work here.

“We can preserve the Liguasan Marsh. Hintayin natin magkaroon tayo ng kapayapaan. By then investors will come in,” Mangudadatu said.

This is why, Mangudadatu said, the anti-terror law because this can also be used to strengthen security in the protected areas like Liguasan Marsh.

Mangudadatu banners his PEACE platform that stands for Prosperity, Education, Agriculture, Cultural Unity, and Education.

His PEACE agenda earned him the support of President Rodrigo Duterte and Hugpong ng Pagbabago founding chairperson Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte.