Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Abu Sayyaf bandit killed, 7 others hurt in Sulu clashes

From ABS-CBN (May 30, 2019): Abu Sayyaf bandit killed, 7 others hurt in Sulu clashes

A member of the terrorist group Abu Sayyaf was killed while 7 others were wounded in several encounters with government troops in Patikul town, Sulu, the military said.

Authorities pursued the terrorists reportedly behind the killing of 2 children and wounding of several civilians in Barangay Igasan.

The first encounter between the Abu Sayyaf and the 5th Scout Ranger Battalion took place in Barangay Kaunayan on Monday, May 27. It was followed by another encounter led by the 14th Special Forces Company in the same village.

The third encounter occurred in Barangay Sandah on Wednesday, May 29, when the 41st Infantry Battalion located the terrorists.

Recovered from the clashes were a firearm, assorted ammunitions, and personal belongings of Abu Sayyaf members.

Brig. Gen. Divino Rey Pabayo Jr., commander of Joint Task Force Sulu, said the operation against the terrorists would continue.

"We have to bring to justice these ASG bandits who have harassed, killed, and wounded innocent villagers," he said in a statement.

BRP Tarlac to undergo dry-dock, repairs

From the Philippine News Agency (May 30, 2019): BRP Tarlac to undergo dry-dock, repairs

One of the two strategic sealift vessels of the Philippine Navy (PN), the BRP Tarlac (LD-601), will undergo dry-docking and other related repairs.

This was bared in a bid bulletin posted at the Philippine Government Electronic Procurement System website by the PN Bids and Awards Committee Secretariat.

Dry-docking refers to repairs when a vessel is brought to a service yard so that the submerged portions of its hull can be cleaned or inspected.

The budget for the project is placed at PHP145.43 million.

Winning bidders must be able to complete the dry-docking and other related repairs by 120 days.

The issuance of the bidding document is from May 16 to June 6, said Bids and Awards Committee Secretariat head, Lt Raymond A. Roldan, in the bulletin.

BRP Tarlac has an overall length of 120 meters, breadth of 21 meters, draft of five meters and carry a payload of 2,800 tons.

She has a cruising speed of 13 knots and a maximum speed of 16 knots and a minimum operating range of 7,500 nautical miles.

The ship has a complement of 121 officers and enlisted personnel. BRP Tarlac was commissioned on PN service June 1, 2016.

She can carry 500 troops, two rigid-hull inflatable boats, two landing craft units and three helicopters.

Yung ibang nanalo maka-NPA! Army monitors Capiz, Iloilo politikos for ties with rebels

From Politiko (May 30, 2019): Yung ibang nanalo maka-NPA! Army monitors Capiz, Iloilo politikos for ties with rebels

The Philippine Army in Western Visayas is keeping watch over at least 15 winners of the May 13 midterm elections who support the communist New People’s Army.

In Western Visayas, the Army’s 61st Infantry Battalion said it is monitoring at least 15 such officials in Iloilo and Capiz.

Lt. Col. Joel Benedict Batara, commander of the 61st IB, said they initially started monitoring 37 politicians backing the rebel groups.

Of the 37 politicians, 15 won as mayors and Sangguniang Bayan members in Iloilo and Capiz.

Batara said these officials may allow the rebel groups to take advantage in the remote areas.

He warned officials supporting the rebel groups can face charges for violation of Republic Act No. 10168 or the Terrorism Financing Prevention and Suppression Act of 2012.

Soldiers, rebels clash in Davao del Sur; 400 villagers flee

From the Philippine Daily Inquirer (May 30, 2019): Soldiers, rebels clash in Davao del Sur; 400 villagers flee

MAGSAYSAY, Davao del Sur, Philippines — Sixty-three families from a remote village in Davao del Sur fled their homes as the military launched air and ground strikes against communist rebels in the province’s borders with North Cotabato province on Wednesday.

Jessie Pandian, 56, said he had to drag his wife and their three children (aged 6 months, 5 years and 7 years) as they ran for 3 kilometers to seek safety at a gym in the village of Upper Bala. They joined about 400 people, including children, who left the village.

Elizar Laoc, Upper Bala village chief, said the residents heard the sound of cannon fire early Wednesday.


Rosemarie Sal, 34, said she was awakened by an explosion and thought she was just dreaming. But when another blast followed, she took her 2-month-old child and fled to the barangay center.

Lt. Col. Rhojun Rosales, 39th Infantry Battalion (IB) commander, told the Inquirer that the military launched the air assault in Sitio Bagong Silang here after troops patrolling the area clashed with at least 50 members of the New People’s Army (NPA) at 3 a.m. Wednesday.No casualty was reported on the government side.

Rosales said some residents in Bagong Silang had reported the presence of armed men, prompting soldiers to patrol the community. He said members of the scout platoon eventually encountered armed men who he believed belonged to Committee Front 72 of the NPA led by Eusenio Cranzo, alias Commander Brix.

Police Capt. Jeffmar Tercero, Magsaysay town police chief, said the municipal social welfare and development office had attended to the needs of evacuees.

Frigates from South Korea buy-one take-one

From the Philippine Star (May 29, 2019): 
Frigates from South Korea buy-one take-one

The defense official, whose office is also involved in the ongoing Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) modernization program, said the current world price for the type of warship that the Department of National Defense (DND) has procured from Hyundai Heavy Industries is P20 billion each.

The Philippine Navy (PN) has acquired two of the most advanced frigates in the world today from South Korea for the price of one, a senior defense official said.

The defense official, whose office is also involved in the ongoing Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) modernization program, said the current world price for the type of warship that the Department of National Defense (DND) has procured from Hyundai Heavy Industries is P20 billion each.

“We’ve got this deal because South Korea sees in us an ally and a friend,” the official said.

He added the Philippines will always have a soft spot in the hearts of Koreans because of the huge contribution of Filipino soldiers during the Korean War.

Under an P18-billion contract, South Korea’s Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI) launched Tuesday the BRP Jose Rizal in Ulsan while building the second one, BRP Antonio Luna.

Aside from being heavily indebted to the Philippines, the fast-growing South Korean defense industry also wanted the two PN frigates as models for its products on the global stage.

“We have built the PN warship using the latest technology for the world to see that frigate is at par if not better than those being operated by other modern navies,” an HHI official said.

He explained HHI has been continuously building warships and other key defense equipment for South Korea, which he said is technically still at war with North Korea.

Because of this continuing defense and military buildup, there’s now more than enough modern defense and military equipment available in the inventory of the South Korean armed forces.

“This is the reason why we started to look outside to market some of our products and the two warships that the Philippines have acquired from us are all highly capable frigates,” the HHI official said,

The official said the BRP Jose Rizal is now undergoing sea trials following its recent launching. The vessel has missiles and powerful radars and is armed with high-rate firing Oto-Melara guns.

“It (the gun) is capable of intercepting air targets to include missile using special munitions,” Navy spokesman Capt. Jonathan Zata said.

The main gun can fire 120 rounds per minute, faster than the 80 rounds currently being used by PN patrol vessels.

Kalinaw News: Rebels-turned-soldiers visit jailed former NPA commander

From Kalinaw News (May 29, 2019): Rebels-turned-soldiers visit jailed former NPA commander

BISLIG CITY, Surigao del Sur- Camp Jaime N Ferrer Sr, Brgy Maharlika, Bislig City (Stn) – Three new soldiers of the Philippine Army who used to be members of the communist-terrorist CPP-NPA visited their former commander at the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) detention facility in Brgy. Pobalcion, Bislig, Surigao Del Sur on May 28, 2019.

The three soldiers identified by their surnames as Blanco, Alvarez, and Tumaquin were among the 275 new privates who recently graduated from the grueling six-month Candidate Soldier Course and Jungle Warfare and Mountain Operations Course at the Army’s 4th ID Division Training School in Malaybalay, Bukidnon last May 23.

Tumaquin spent nine years with Guerilla Front 14 of the North-Eastern Mindanao Regional Committee (NEMRC), while Blanco and Alvarez stayed for eight and four years respectively. The dreaded terror group is now considered a weakened guerilla front following the arrest and detention of its leader, Robert Tejero Calipay alias “Satur/Arpak”.

The three were joined by CAFGU Active Auxiliaries (CAA) who were also former members of the CPP-NPA. They were among hundreds of former CPP-NPA terrorists who surrendered to government forces and local government units after suffering hardships and realizing the futility of their struggle.

A traditional boodlefight was prepared by the new soldiers and their new colleagues from the 75th Infantry Battalion during the visit. The three said it was their way of thanking God, the government and their families for the new leash in life that was granted to them. They also pledged to give their best in serving the country especially their fellow Mindanaoans.

Tumaquin lamented how grateful he was for being given another chance in life. “Ako karon labing nalipay tungod hingpit nang nahimong sundalo. Lahi gyud ug walay kamatuoran ang mga bakak sa sulod sa NPA. Karon duna nakoy maayong trabaho, kauban na nako ang akong pamilya ug labaw sa tanan mahatag nako kanila ang ilang panginahanglan lakip ang hapsay nga kinabuhi nga wala namo maangkon sa sulod sa Hukbo.” (Masayang masaya ako na naging sundalo ako. Ibang iba ngayon kaysa sa sinasabi nila dati nung nasa loob pa ako ng NPA. Ngayon, nakakapagtrabaho ako ng maayos, nakakasama ko ang pamilya ko at higit sa lahat nabibigay ko sa kanila ang maayos na buhay na hindi naibigay ng Hukbo dati), he said.

Calipay, 29, was considered one of the most notorious NPA leaders in the province and was involved in various crimes and atrocities until his arrest by government forces on April 14, 2019. He was elated seeing his former comrades who are now full-pledged soldiers of the Philippine Army.
”Nagpasalamat jud ko sa akung mga kaubanan ug labi na jud sa mga kasundaluhan nag ilakung ge besita karun. Lisod kayo ang kinabuhi denhi sa sulod sa silda, matulog ka nga nakapungko tungod sa sobra ka daghan namu sa usa ka kwarto. Init ug deli jud ka mahimutang. Segi ko ug huna huna, nga unta nakig uyon nalang ko sa mga kasundaluhan siguro na maayo pud akung kahimtang karun, gawasnon ug kapariha usab sa akung mga kaubanan nga nahimong sundalo usab.” (Nagpapasalamat ako sa aking mga kasamahan dati pati narin sa mga kasundaluhan na dumalaw sa akin ngayon. Mahirap ang buhay dito sa loob ng selda, natutulog ka ng nakaupo dahil sa sobrang dami nyo sa isang kwarto. Mainit at hindi ka komportable. Lagi ko naiisip, sana nakipagtulungan nalang ako sa mga sundalo. Siguro ngayon, maayos na ang buhay ko. Katulad ng mga kasamahan ko, nakapagsundalo narin siguro ako.) Calipay said.

One of the soldiers who arrested Calipay observed that he (Calipay) is in a better shape now compared to his condition when he was arrested.

“Mas maayos na ang itsura nya ngayon kumpara nung araw na nahuli natin s’ya. Pagpasok palang namin ng BJMP at nung makita n’ya kami, nakangiti sya at nakipag-kamay. Nakipagwentuhan din s’ya samin hindi tulad noong una namin s’yang madakip na parang wala sa sarili at hindi alam ang sasabihin”, the soldier said.

Calipay who hails from Lianga, Surigao del Sur has pending cases for arson, frustrated murder, attempted homicide, and multiple attempted murder. He is now under the custody of the BJMP- Bislig while awaiting trial.

Lt. Col. Jaime Datuin, 75th IB Commander said they will help ensure that Calipay will be treated well and that his rights will be respected. He also encouraged the few remaining terrorists to peacefully surrender to the government and reunite with their families.

75th Infantry Battalion 4th Infantry Division Philippine Army
Cpt Edwin Leo Francisco
CMO Officer, 75IB, 4ID, PA
Bislig City, Surgao del Sur

[Kalinaw News is the official online source of information on the pursuit for peace by the Philippine Army. It provides information on the activities of Army Units nationwide in the performance of their duty of Serving the People and Securing the Land. This website is a property of the Civil-Military Operations Regiment, Philippine Army located at Lawton Avenue, Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City.]

WESTMINCOM: Information, security agencies team up for information and education

Posted to the Western Mindanao Command (WESTMINCOM) Website (May 29, 2019): Information, security agencies team up for information and education

Representatives from the different information and security agencies convened to team up for communication and education held at the Alavar Seafood Restaurant, Tetuan, Zamboanga City at 11am today.

The conference was held for the following purposes: sharing on good practices in communication during the Marawi conflict; discussions on the Strategic Communication Efforts for the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC); and exploratory discussions for collaborated civil-military public information efforts.

The activity spearheaded by the Philippine Information Agency led by Undersecretary Harold Clavite, Director General of the Philippine Information Agency, was attended by Director Virginia R. Arcilla-Agtay of the News and Information Bureau; Colonel Gerry M. Besana, the Assistant Chief of Unified Command Staff for Civil Military Operations of the Western Mindanao Command; Colonel Clarence Abellera, the Assistant Chief of Unified Command Staff for Plans of the Western Mindanao Command; Colonel Patricio Amata and Major Filemon Tan from the office of G7, Philippine Army; representatives from the different local media outfits, Philippine National Police Regional Office 9, 4th Civil Relations Group of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, and the United States Military Information Support Team; and other invited guests.

In his message, Colonel Gerry Besana said, “We should come up with a team that will advocate safety, patriotism and nationalism, which I believe are our common goal.”

WESTMINCOM: Sayyafs debilitated by relentless ops in Sulu

Posted to the Western Mindanao Command (WESTMINCOM) Website (May 29, 2019): Sayyafs debilitated by relentless ops in Sulu

Abu Sayyaf fighters are left worn out by the relentless offensives being launched by military forces in Sulu since Saturday, May 25.

Brigadier General Divino Rey Pabayo, Jr., Joint Task Force Sulu Commander, said the spate of operations being launched since last week caused massive casualties on evading terrorists.

At 5:35pm on May 25, four Abu Sayyaf militants died and six more incurred wounds in the 30-minute deliberate operation of soldiers from 13th Special Forces Company targeting the group of Mundi Sawadjaan in Barangay Igasan, Patikul.

Two more terrorists died and one more incurred wound in the successive operation of the 13SFC troops in Barangay Igasan at 5:55pm on the same day.

Operating forces saw how Abu Sayyaf militants carried their casualties while they extricated the area of engagement.

Soldiers from 5th Scout Ranger Battalion also engaged Sawadjaan’s group in a separate offensive in Barangay Sandah, Patikul at 3:30pm on May 27.

A militant died and four incurred wounds in the 30-minute gunfight Monday afternoon.

Meanwhile, government troops recovered back packs of the enemies and pursued Abu Sayyaf fighters.

Yesterday, at 3:35pm, 5SRB troops ferociously fought 15 Abu Sayyaf members under Sawadjaan in Barangay Buhanginan.

At 4pm yesterday, forces under 14th Scout Ranger Company clashed anew with 40 enemies in said barangay.

Soldiers saw blood stains in the engagement site, indicating casualties suffered by the enemies during the encounter.

Military troops further blocked possible withdrawal routes and airlifted one soldier with slight wounds to Camp Navarro General Hospital in Zamboanga City at 9:32pm yesterday, March 28.

Lieutenant General Arnel Dela Vega, Western Mindanao Command chief, said, “JTF Sulu troops intensify their campaign of hunting and running down Abu Sayyaf terrorists through sustained operations, intelligence build-up, and cooperation with the Suluanons on the ground.”

“These actions will be furthered to defeat terrorism by eliminating the Abu Sayyaf in Sulu.”

‘Return of 11th ID to Negros done deal’

From the Visayan Daily Star (May 29, 2019): ‘Return of 11th ID to Negros done deal’

The return of the 11th Infantry Battalion to Negros Oriental is already a done deal, Brig. Gen. Ignacio Madriada, 302nd Infantry Brigade commander, said yesterday.

Madriaga said the 11IB troops are now ready to leave Zamboanga, but are still waiting for the availability and schedule of a Navy ship to ferry them to Negros Oriental.

The 11IB was dispatched to Zamboanga two years ago to help in the fight against the Abu Sayyaf terrorist group.

Madriaga welcomed the return of 11IB to Negros Oriental, saying it will help fast-track their objective of clearing Negros Oriental of armed insurgents sooner than they had anticipated.

At present, there is only one Army battalion deployed in Negros Oriental, with three others stationed in Negros Occidental.

The 82nd Infantry Battalion, that is also under the supervision of 3rd Infantry Division, is presently assigned in Marawi.

Army: NPA terrorists recruit minors as red fighters

From the Philippine Information Agency (May 29, 2019): Army: NPA terrorists recruit minors as red fighters

TAGO, Surigao del Sur – The 36th Infantry Battalion (36th IB), Philippine Army, said the Communist Party of the Philippines –New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) terrorists (CNTs) are recruiting minors as fighters following a recent clash at Barangay Cancavan, Carmen, Surigao del Sur last May 19, 2019.

Lt. Jonal Romorosa, 36th IB Civil Military Operations (CMO) officer, said four CPP-NPAs were killed during the encounter.

One of them was identified as Dylan Ghem P. Jimenez alias “Gareb,” 18, a resident of Barangay Adlay, Carrascal town, Surigao del Sur province who was wounded and rushed by government troops to the hospital but was pronounced dead on arrival.

According to the mother of Jimenez, her son left home when he was 17 years old and was recruited by the NPA as a regular fighter.

"The communist terrorist are held liable for violation of RA No. 9851, an act defining and penalizing crimes against international humanitarian law, genocide and other crimes against humanity, organizing jurisdiction, designating special courts, and for related purposes, it prohibits the recruitment and participation of children in arm conflict. In which the state values the dignity of every human person and guarantees full respect for human rights, including the rights of indigenous cultural communities and other vulnerable groups, such as women and children," Romorosa said.

The recruitment of minors are in violation of the “Special Protection of Children in Situations of Armed Conflict Act” or Republic Act. No.11188.

Under the law, children are declared as “Zones of Peace” which must extend beyond territorial or geographical boundaries.

The law recognized that children are entitled to dignity and respect as human beings in need of protection from degradation and to prevent the recruitment, re-recruitment, use, displacement of, or grave child rights violations against children involved in armed conflict.

In his statement, Lt. Col. Xerxes A. Trinidad, commanding officer of the 36th IB, said that “it is a clear manifestation that the CNTs are recruiting minors to participate in an armed conflict in pursuit of their disillusioned cause. Evidently, the CNTs violated the rights of children to live peacefully and should not be allowed to take part in the hostilities. The CNTs leadership must be held accountable and liable for this act of crimes against minors. We will facilitate the filing of appropriate charges to this action of the CNTs.”

“We call on the peace loving people of Surigao del Sur to condemn this. Let us protect our children at all cost. To the remaining CNT, stop recruiting and exploiting minor. Surrender now and return to the fold of the law and avail of the government’s Enhance Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP)," Trinidad added. (36IB CMO/PIA-Surigao del Sur)

Pa killed, son injured in NoCot shooting

From the Philippine News Agency (May 29, 2019): Pa killed, son injured in NoCot shooting

A laborer was shot dead by still unidentified gunmen while his one-year-old son was injured during a midday shooting in Pikit, North Cotabato on Tuesday, police said.

“A manhunt is underway against several persons of interest who used a motorbike to escape,” according to Lt. Colonel Bernard Tayong, North Cotabato police spokesperson.

Tayong, citing the report from Pikit municipal police office, identified the victim as Fortunato Nadela Jr. of Barangay Takepan, Pikit.

Nadela was resting in a hammock at his home around 12:30 p.m. when the gunmen barged inside and without provocation, shot him.

He sustained multiple gunshot wounds in various parts of the body and died on the spot.

“His son who was playing nearby was hit by a stray bullet in his shoulder but is now out of danger,” Tayong said.

The Pikit police office is still determining the motive and identities of the attackers.

Army nabs 3, seizes illegally cut logs in Maguindanao

From the Philippine News Agency (May 29, 2019): Army nabs 3, seizes illegally cut logs in Maguindanao

INTERCEPTED. The seized illegally-cut lumber in Barira, Maguindanao on Tuesday, May 28, 2019. Soldiers belonging to the Army’s 39th Infantry Battalion arrested three suspects and seized an illegal firearm in one of two cargo trucks carrying the forest products. (Photo courtesy of 37th IB)
Government soldiers intercepted Tuesday illegally cut forest products and arrested three persons in Barira, Maguindanao.

1Lt. Ric Pitallano, commanding officer of Bravo Company of the Army’s 37th Infantry Battalion (37IB), in a report said 1,832 board feet of lumber of various sizes in two cargo trucks were intercepted at Sitio Kalilangan, Barangay Lamin, Barira, Maguindanao.

Rudtha Fanares, Marju Elias and Bacve Morog, all hired laborers and residents of Barangay Lipawan, Barira, Maguindanao, were arrested.

“The drivers of two cargo trucks, a Mazda Titan owned by Noria Baruto Taguya and a Mazda Bongo owned by Saadudin Marangit Bauntong, managed to escape,” Pitallano said in his report to the Army’s 6th Infantry Division.

Pitallano added that an unlicensed .22-caliber rifle with ammunition was also found in one of the vehicles.

He said the 37IB-Bravo Company will continue to help the government preserve the environment and prevent further forest destruction in its area of assignment.

Maj. Gen. Cirilito Sobejana, 6ID commander, has lauded the 37IB for a job well done and urged the public to help protect the remaining forest cover in Maguindanao.

Army rejects NPA ambush claim in Bukidnon

From the Philippine News Agency (May 29, 2019): Army rejects NPA ambush claim in Bukidnon

The military has rejected the claim of communist rebels that an ambush took place in the Bukidnon town of Impasug-ong Tuesday, saying the incident had been an encounter that did not result in any casualty from the government side.

Captain Regie Go, chief of the 4th Division Public Affairs Office, said the 9 a.m. firefight erupted in Barangay Kalabugao after troops belonging to the 8th Infantry Battalion encountered three armed men believed to be members of the New People's Army (NPA).

Go said the encounter lasted five minutes, adding there was "no casualty from the government side".

"With that number (three armed men), usually they will only go somewhere or get something," Go said.

A text message from the NPA in Misamis Oriental sent to the local media Tuesday afternoon described the incident as an "ambush" where their combatants "safely withdrew".

The NPA, the armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines, is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, European Union, United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines.

Marawi's Army commander in Japan as 'resource speaker'

From the Philippine News Agency (May 29, 2019): Marawi's Army commander in Japan as 'resource speaker'

NOT A JUNKET. Col. Romeo Brawner, Jr., commander of the Army's 103rd Infantry Brigade based in Marawi City, says he has been tasked as a resource speaker for the security aspect surrounding the siege of Marawi as part of the official delegation of Pres. Rodrigo Duterte's four-day working visit in Japan. (File Photo)

ILIGAN CITY--A high-ranking Army official based in Marawi City said he has been tasked as a resource speaker for security concerns in his trip to Japan, as part of the official delegation of President Rodrigo Duterte.

Duterte arrived in Japan Tuesday evening for a four-day working visit.

In a Viber message Wednesday morning, Col. Romeo Brawner, Jr., commander of the Army's 103rd Infantry Brigade, said he was invited to travel with the President as a resource person on the aspect of security in Marawi City and Lanao del Sur.

He also rejected the notion that his trip was a mere junket, as alleged by the critics of the Duterte administration.

Brawner, whose unit has jurisdiction of the whole Lanao del Sur--including Marawi City--is at the forefront of the military's continuing campaign to run after the remnants, followers, and supporters of the Islamic State-allied extremists.

In May 2018, the governments of Japan and the Philippines formalized the 2-billion yen grant for the reconstruction and rehabilitation of Marawi.

"Thus, the security in the area is an utmost concern for them (Japanese government)," Brawner said.

Brawner was the spokesperson of the former Joint Task Force (JTF) Marawi that oversaw the government's messaging in both national and international media at the height of the Marawi siege.

When the JTF Marawi was deactivated, he took over as Regiment commander of the Civil Military Operations Group before he assumed as commander of the 103rd Brigade that oversees Marawi City and Lanao del Sur.

AFP, PNP foil NPA attack in Bukidnon

From the Philippine News Agency (May 29, 2019): AFP, PNP foil NPA attack in Bukidnon

Law enforcers and military forces foiled an attack, which was carried out by a group of armed individuals believed to be communist fighters, in a Bukidnon town Tuesday evening, police said Wednesday.

Col. Surki Sereñas, Police Regional Office-10 (PRO-10) spokesperson, said the Manolo Fortich municipal police station was tipped off by a concerned citizen that the New People’s Army (NPA) was about to stage an offensive in Sitio Aurora, Barangay Santo Niño.

“The information was received at around 11 o’clock in the evening and the joint PNP and Armed Forces of the Philippines troops immediately responded,” Sereñas said.

A few minutes later, a firefight ensued when the
NPA harassed local Citizen Armed Force Geographical Unit (Cafgu) detachment in the area, Sereñas said, quoting a report by Manolo Fortich municipal police chief Lt. Col. Duphar Chris Cuaresma.

No one was hurt in the
encounter involving a hundred NPA attackers who stormed the Cafgu detachment, Sereñas said.

He said the NPA managed to burn several vehicles, including an Isuzu Elf truck and a Toyota Hilux pickup before fleeing the scene.

“If the vehicles are owned by the farmers, it’s possible that they are also the target of the attack,” Sereñas said, adding the municipal police are still investigating and are tracing the registration records of the burned vehicles.

Sereñas said the heavily armed NPA members are planning to harass private farms and vulnerable government installations in the area in connection with their extortion activity.

“It’s a scare and extort tactic,” he said, adding that responding police officers and soldiers declared the area as cleared a few hours after the attack occurred.

4 die in separate Maguindanao ambushes

From the Philippine News Agency (May 29, 2019): 4 die in separate Maguindanao ambushes

PARANG, Maguindanao -- Police have launched manhunt operations against gunmen who killed four persons in separate ambuscades in Matanog and Sultan Kudarat towns of Maguindanao on Wednesday, police said.

Maj. Rajiv Alih, police chief of Parang, Maguindanao, said the Army’s 37th Infantry Battalion is helping the local police in hunting down the perpetrators.

Alih said two motorcycle-riding gunmen ambushed and killed two persons in Purok Kulimpang, Barangay Macasandag, Parang, Maguindanao at about 10 a.m.

Alih identified the victims as Omar Pandi, 30, and Esmael Mantar, 40, both of Sitio Palildan, Barangay Bayanga, Matanog. “Both victims died on the spot,” Alih said.

The victims were on board an Isuzu Elf cargo truck loaded with sacks of corn and were heading to Parang town when waylaid.

Alih believed the ambush was triggered by personal grudge but probers are still digging deeper in the incident.

At about 12 noon, gunmen on board a Toyota Innova also opened fire on a white Toyota Wigo vehicle (ADP-3187) driven by Dayaba Kari, 67, of Pigcawayan, North Cotabato along the national highway in Barangay Rebuken, Sultan Kudarat.

Cpl. Dickson Masla, an investigator of the Sultan Kudarat municipal police office, said Kari and his unidentified companion died on the spot. Responding police recovered empty shells for .45 caliber pistol at the crime scene.

Witnesses said the victims’ vehicle was heading toward Pigcawayan when ambushed. Quoting witnesses, Masla said the suspects sped toward the direction of Parang, Maguindanao.

Police said the two incidents were not related.

Lorenzana keen on offshore patrol vessels deal with Aussie firm

From the Philippine News Agency (May 29, 2019): Lorenzana keen on offshore patrol vessels deal with Aussie firm

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana. (File photo)

Department of National Defense (DND) Secretary Delfin Lorenzana on Tuesday reiterated his interest to enter into an agreement with Australia-based global shipbuilder and defense contractor, Austal, regarding the proposed offshore patrol vessels (OPVs) of the Philippine Navy (PN).

He said he is keen to develop an agreement with the company, which has a local subsidiary, Austal Philippines, operating in Balamban, Cebu.

"As far as I'm concerned, I like it because it (could) be built in the Philippines using Filipino laborers," said the DND chief in an interview with GMA News Digital.

Also, Lorenzana said that the proposed deal will further develop the country's relationship with Australia.

"It's good to develop relationship with our neighbors. The Australians are willing to help us," he added.

Lorenzana earlier raised Austal's possible participation in the OPV project last year.

The DND chief also stressed that Austal Philippines has volunteered to build the proposed OPVs.

"They are volunteering to build our offshore patrol vessel. We’re looking into that," he added.

Austal is offering a larger version of its 80-meter Cape-class patrol vessels being used by the Royal Australian Navy and Australian Border Force.

The OPVs are part of Horizon Two of the Armed Forces of the Philippines Modernization Program.

Around six units are to be procured for the Philippine Navy.

Lorenzana is right, ouster plot not 'credible': Palace

From the Philippine News Agency (May 29, 2019): Lorenzana is right, ouster plot not 'credible': Palace

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenza is right in saying that the ouster plot against President Rodrigo Duterte is not credible, Malacañang said on Wednesday.

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador backed Lorenzana’s earlier statement dismissing any plot to oust Duterte since there is no evidence that it has the support from military and police.

“There is no inconsistency on what the DND Secretary said. He said for a plot to oust the President, plotter has to get support of military and police,” said Panelo in a statement.

“Since there is no showing in the military intelligence that there is evidence of recruitment then it is not a credible plot,” he added.

Panelo, however, emphasized that Lorenzana did not exactly deny the idea of an ouster plot but tagged it as incapable of succeeding.

“What he means is the plot is not capable of being successful, but that is not to say that there is no plot to oust him,” Panelo said.

Despite baring a series of matrices tagging the Liberal Party, Magdalo Group, and members of the media in a plot to discredit the President, Panelo said this did not mean that it had support from military and police.

“The President said there was a plot by the personalities and groups identified in the matrix, he did not say that there is support from the military and the police,” Panelo said.

“His exposing it to the public has pre-emptied the realization of the plot,” he added.

Earlier, Panelo defended the release of the matrices saying the public “deserved to know” about ouster plots against the leadership of their government.

He said the matrices were bared to simply show plotters that the Duterte administration is aware of their conspiracy.

“The matrix was disclosed to the public for the ring leaders and their co-plotters to know that we know, to put them on notice that pursuing their plan by committing overt acts punishable by law will open themselves to criminal prosecution,” Panelo said.