Thursday, August 8, 2019

Kalinaw News: Local government unit, 29th Infantry Battalion turn-over of new livelihood equipment in Agusan del Norte

Posted to Kalinaw News (Aug 8, 2019): Local government unit, 29th Infantry Battalion turn-over of new livelihood equipment in Agusan del Norte

CABADBARAN CITY, Agusan del Norte – The 29th Infantry “Matatag” Battalion in partnership with the Local Government Unit (LGU) and other stakeholders of Agusan del Norte facilitated the formal turn-over of Abaca equipment in Barangay San Isidro, Santiago, Agusan del Norte on July 31, 2019.

Hon. Dale B. Corvera, Governor of Agusan del Norte and Hon. Maria Angelica Rosedell Amante-Matba, 2nd District Representative led the turn-over for the Integrated Abaca Enhancement Enterprises for Agusan del Norte and Enterprise Development Subproject. The equipment included 2 hauling trucks, 10 push carts, 15 stripping machines, 10 stripping machines shed, 1 forklift (3 toner) and 2 units of moisture meter.

The said project is funded by the Department of Agriculture-Philippine Rural Development Project (DA-PRDP), Investment in the Rural Enterprises and Agriculture and Fisheries Productivity (I-REAP) and the provincial government of Agusan del Norte. The beneficiary of the said project is the San Isidro Upland Farmers Multi-Purpose Corporation (SIUFMULCO) which is headed by Chairman Pappias J. Bernados and Ms. Leonora A. Mila, General Manager.

Cong. Angel made a strong appeal to the people with her message, “Magtinabangay ta sa pagpalambo sa atong proyekto kay walay NPA kung naa nay saktong panginabuin ang mga tao. Ayaw mo’g hatag suporta sa NPA kay walay gyu’y kapaingnan ang usa ka lugar nga naa sa kagubot. Let us work together towards the success of this project, because there would be no NPA if the people have enough income from their livelihood. Do not provide support to the NPA because it will not bring any good to a conflict affected area.)”

Gov. Corvera also expressed his optimism regarding the success of the project, “Kita nga mga tao ang magsugod, pag makita nga maayo ang atong nasugdan daghan na dayong musulod ug mutabang nato. Sa hiniusang liderato, ang Agusan del Norte muasenso. We must be the one to start it because when others see the good result of this endeavor, they surely will join and support us. Through this united leadership, Agusan del Norte will surely succeed and improve.)”
Cong. Angel and Gov. Dale also pledged to give 1 million pesos every year until the end of their term for the sustainment of SIUFMULCO.

29th Infantry Battalion, 4th Infantry Division Philippine Army
Civil Military Operations Officer
Contact Number: ‎09173065872

[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.
Contact us:]

AFP-CRS: Army overruns CPP-NPA hideout

Posted to the Armed Forces of the Philippines-Civil Relations Service (AFP-CRS) Facebook Page (Aug 8, 2019): Army overruns CPP-NPA hideout

[The Civil Relations Service (CRS) is the unit of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) that engages the public through its public information and community relations programs “to create a favorable atmosphere between the community and the AFP. The CRS is the equivalent of the Psychological Operations and Civil Affairs units of the US Army.]

AFP-CRS: No terror attacks in Northern Luzon

Posted to the Armed Forces of the Philippines-Civil Relations Service (AFP-CRS) Facebook Page (Aug 8, 2019): No terror attacks in Northern Luzon

No photo description available.

[The Civil Relations Service (CRS) is the unit of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) that engages the public through its public information and community relations programs “to create a favorable atmosphere between the community and the AFP. The CRS is the equivalent of the Psychological Operations and Civil Affairs units of the US Army.]

AFP-CRS: PNP to boost operations in Northern Luzon to deter terror attacks

Posted to the Armed Forces of the Philippines-Civil Relations Service (AFP-CRS) Facebook Page (Aug 8, 2019): PNP to boost operations in Northern Luzon to deter terror attacks

Image may contain: text

[The Civil Relations Service (CRS) is the unit of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) that engages the public through its public information and community relations programs “to create a favorable atmosphere between the community and the AFP. The CRS is the equivalent of the Psychological Operations and Civil Affairs units of the US Army.]

AFP-CRS: Alert memo on terror attack genuine, info subject for validation

Posted to the Armed Forces of the Philippines-Civil Relations Service (AFP-CRS) Facebook Page (Aug 8, 2019): Alert memo on terror attack genuine, info subject for validation

Image may contain: text

[The Civil Relations Service (CRS) is the unit of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) that engages the public through its public information and community relations programs “to create a favorable atmosphere between the community and the AFP. The CRS is the equivalent of the Psychological Operations and Civil Affairs units of the US Army.]

AFP-CRS: Ex-mass supporters for peace denounce CPP-NPA

Posted to the Armed Forces of the Philippines-Civil Relations Service (AFP-CRS) Facebook Page (Aug 8, 2019): Ex-mass supporters for peace denounce CPP-NPA

Image may contain: one or more people and text

[The Civil Relations Service (CRS) is the unit of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) that engages the public through its public information and community relations programs “to create a favorable atmosphere between the community and the AFP. The CRS is the equivalent of the Psychological Operations and Civil Affairs units of the US Army.]

The Face of Resilience: the Story of Major Emeterio Armada

Posted to One Voice Magazine (Aug 8, 2019): The Face of Resilience: the Story of Major Emeterio Armada (By Mizpah Eunice Aguilar)

[One Voice Magazine is a Christian youth magazine that seeks to be a voice of Godly passion in this so-what generation asking What am I here for? Who am I? What is life, really? What is knowing God all about? Do I have what it takes. One Voice Magazine is full of real-life stories of individuals seeking God and God loving them; of poems and pictures that tell of heart cries; of articles on different ministries/outreaches/volunteer work that promote hope, unity, and transformation. It is media giving people a glimpse into a Christianity that has meaning in this present generation.]

The Marawi siege, also known as the Philippines’ longest modern-day battle lasting for five months, tested not only the strength of our military men, but more so challenged their resilience. This battle started on May 23, 2017, and changed the lives of the people of Marawi and those who fought to end this ordeal.

Known to be a city in Lanao del Sur and once a bustling center, Marawi now lies empty and abandoned. Its entire landscape of colorful buildings has now become the sight of rubble and ruin. In the midst of these are stories of men and women soldiers fighting for peace.

A builder among shambles. Called “builder”– this engineering equipment is often used in the construction of national development projects. However, during the Marawi siege, it was used to clear debris from the houses and buildings so that war assets could reach the frontlines.

One of the inspiring stories during the Marawi siege is that of Major Emeterio Armada. Raised in a military family, he dreamt of one day becoming a military man himself. “I have always wanted to be a military man. My father is a retired enlisted man. I grew up seeing him in uniform day in and day out, and I thought that his job was one I could emulate someday.”

Major Armada was designated as the Logistics Officer and Company Commander of Engineer Maintenance Company of the 500 Combat Engineer Battalion, Philippine Army. He and his men were deployed within the Main Battle Area at Brgy. Lilod Bliss, Marawi City. Given only one week to prepare, they were one of the first batches of troops deployed when the crisis broke.

Asked what it felt like to be called for deployment and to serve during that time, Major Armada said, “Upon receiving orders, I set my mind on the mission and started talking to our troops regarding individual and unit preparations that needed to be done.” On June 3, 2017, they arrived in Marawi City.

Maj Armada, a captain then, led his team in securing the perimeter where major engineering equipment cleared the wreckage in this known Marawi street.

Faced with the daunting task of leading his team into battle – a team mostly composed of men who had never seen action for most of their service—Major Armada showed exemplary leadership quality. “Our unit was newly organized then, and majority of our personnel had not been deployed out of Metro Manila, more so out of Luzon. Mental preparation for these troops was a test, but one that had to be swiftly overcome. As an officer, I had to support my subordinates to get past that hurdle as well.”

Combat Engineers perform timber cutting operations to provide a line of sight for armored vehicle assets that supported forwarding troops.

Major Armada and his men provided combat support to the troops within the battle area. They were tasked to clear the rubble in the major roads of the city. While the infantry troops were tackling the extremists one building at a time, Maj Armada’s unit conducted engineer operations to unblock Mapandi Bridge from burnt vehicles and other wreckage so that armored assets could pass through. On top of that, he and his men freed up the street leading to the Bato Mosque from heavy debris, thus re-establishing the main supply route.

A major arterial road in Marawi City is cleared of rubble using engineering equipment to restore the main supply route.

These operations helped in the success of the government’s aim to bring back peace to the city of Marawi.

Major Armada had to do everything he could to support the troops in battle. During operations, he employed tactics and techniques as a Scout Ranger, utilizing the elite force training he had acquired in 2009 to keep his men protected from extremist snipers. He had to adapt to the situation and be resilient. He applied critical thinking in the midst of the battle and allowed for the abilities of his men to operate at full potential.

This breached wall allowed troops to maneuver and continuously get close to the enemy. Breaching operations was one type of support provided by combat engineers so that the assaulting troops could move in successfully.

Major Armada also had to find ingenious ways to bring supplies to his entire unit, which included food, fuel, ammunition, personnel protective equipment, and even personal individual requirements. His training in Resource Management aided him to exhaust all means to get the supplies to where they were needed. Intensive coordination with those in the rear of the battlefield, securing supplies during transit, and ensuring the safety of those bringing these logistical requirements – these alone were already feats that Major Armada and his men accomplished during the crisis that was Marawi. It was extra challenging for his team because most of them had none to very little experience in this kind of battle.

The lack of easily available equipment and the unstable situation of the city posed a great threat. Major Armada gave combat support to the cavalry troops, while also giving equipment and clearing operations for the infantry and artillery troops. For Major Armada, the trust and confidence given to him to lead his team meant expending all possible resources to help in the battle.

Planked APCs. Wooden planks were installed by combat engineers to armored personnel carriers. These can resist anti-tank armored weapons of the enemy.

Supply and how it was managed during the siege meant everything. “You win and lose a battle with the amount of supply you have,” reflected Major Armada.

Remaining resilient in battle and being true to the task, Major Armada said this: “The lack of equipment, especially personal protective items due to operating troops, was one we could not do without. It just showed how much the organization needed to improve in terms of readiness. Also, since our unit was performing combat support within the main battle area, the requirements of the supported units were overwhelming, but we could not give up.”

Optimus Prime and his Ranger ally, Maj. Armada, poses with a ‘bespoke’ armored bulldozer, tagged “Optimus Prime” during one of the road clearing operations.

He then continued and said, “Overall, my experience in Marawi was both challenging and humbling—if there is such a thing. The brotherhood and camaraderie among those deployed in Marawi was one of the best experiences I had, and one I could look back on. I was able to meet old comrades whom I shared training and previous deployments with. Finding a familiar face amidst the chaos in a war was a rare and rewarding moment.”

The Ranger-Engineer in the Marawi ruins. After a long day’s work, then Cpt. Armada took this photo before sending it to his mother back in their hometown.

Today, Major Armada is assigned as an Administrative and Budget Officer at the Training Support and Services Center of the Training and Doctrine Command, Philippine Army. His unit facilitates the logistical requirements of schools that train the majority of Army personnel. For Major Armada, the Philippines is worth fighting for because of the countless lives that have been lost defending and fighting for the country. It is like paying tribute to those who have gone before us. In his words: “Their sacrifices and that of their families should not go in vain. Also, the richness of our culture, its wonders, the vastness of our resources and most of all, the smile of our people, are more than enough reasons to fight for our country.”

The challenge to stay resilient in war and the battle of our lives may go beyond the Marawi siege. Major Armada proves to be a true hero in his own right – a true face of resilience.

“A hero is one who is able to overcome his weaknesses and obstacles, and still make a difference in the environment he is in.” – Major Emeterio Armada

[Mizpah Eunice Aguilar is a Bicolana native who loves everything Jesus, anything coffee, and basketball. She is also a firm believer that writing is God's gift to His people, which can be used for His glory! She is currently based in Naga City and is a College Faculty member at the Ateneo de Naga University. She also serves as the Cohort Advisor for SUM Bible College and Theological Seminary.]

OPAPP: Bulacan steps up efforts to counter Reds’ recruitment efforts

From the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) Website (Aug 8, 2019): Bulacan steps up efforts to counter Reds’ recruitment efforts

MALOLOS CITY, BULACAN (08 August 2019)— In support of the nation’s continuing fight against the communist insurgency, police and local government officials in Bulacan are adopting a multi-stakeholder approach that targets vulnerable sectors of the community.

Having identified state colleges and universities as hotbeds for communist recruitment, the Bulacan Police Provincial Office and the Provincial Government of Bulacan gathered students, youth leaders, policemen and local government employees in a forum here to educate them on the methods used by the Communist Party of the Philippines- New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) to bring new members to its fold.

“Ilagay ninyo sa inyong pag-iisip ang mga pangarap n’yo, na maayos ang inyong buhay, dahil iyon lang ang magiging ugat din ng pag-unlad ng buhay n’yo— yung malayo kayo sa temptation na inaakit kayo ng kabila,” Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Spokesperson Wilben Mayor told the student-participants during the event.

(Always think of your dreams, that your life will be better, because that will be the root of your progress— to be spared of the temptation that the leftists are dangling in front of you.)

According to Mayor, students are among the Reds’ primary targets of recruitment, especially the brilliant ones.

“You will be encouraged to join seemingly legitimate endeavors, but sooner or later, you will realize that those endeavors are supported by the CPP-NPA,” he said.

Meanwhile, PCol. Chito G. Bersaluna, Provincial Director of the Bulacan Police Provincial Office, called on partner agencies to step up their respective efforts to help address the decades-long communist insurgency.

“We need to create communities that are conflict-resilient, and we need the constant cooperation of local and national government agencies to attain peace,” Bersaluna said.

“Ang ‘Whole-of Nation Approach’ ay ipinatupad sa bisa ng Executive Order No. 70. Para sa mabisang pagpapatupad ng Whole-of-Nation Approach, itinalaga ang mga kalihim ng gabinete bilang mga Cabinet Officers for Regional Development and Security, o CORDS,” Mayor added, speaking on behalf of Presidential Peace Adviser Carlito G. Galvez, Jr.

(The ‘Whole-of-Nation Approach’ was implemented by virtue of Executive Order No. 70. For the effective implementation of the ‘Whole-of-Nation Approach,’ cabinet officers were appointed as Cabinet Officers for Regional Development and Security, or CORDS.)

Secretary Galvez was appointed by President Rodrigo Roa Duterte as the CORDS for Region 3. Among his major responsibilities is to facilitate the immediate resolution of issues that trigger armed conflict in communities.

“If left unresolved, these concerns are easily exploited by the CPP-NPA-NDF, and used as ammunition in blaming the government for its supposed inaction,” Mayor said.

Also present during the event were: PCol. Rhoderick Armamento, Deputy Regional Director for Operations, PNP Region 3; Lt. Col. Felix Emeterio Valdez, Commanding Officer of the 48th Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army; General Abraham Casis (Ret.), OPAPP Consultant; Atty. Cris Roque, representative of Bulacan Governor Hon. Daniel Fernando, and; PCol. Dominic Bedia, Chief, Plans and Program Division and Col. Jerich Royales, Chief, Information Operations Research Center from the PNP Directorate for Police Community Relations.


The Regional Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (RTF-ELCAC) III recently declared the CPP-NPA as ‘Persona Non Grata’ in Central Luzon.

“Ang Persona Non Grata ay ginagawa po natin para ipaabot sa kanilang grupo (CPP-NPA) na ang kanilang mga ginagawa ay hindi katanggap-tanggap sa lahat ng tao sa rehiyon,” Galvez said during the meeting of RTF-ELCAC III last July in Pampanga.

(Declaring the CPP-NPA as Persona Non Grata is meant to inform them that their actions are unacceptable to all persons living in the region.)

Bulacan is a strategic area for the CPP-NPA because it is a transit point to Metro Manila, Mayor said.###

NDF/Sison: On Duterte’s claim that NDFP insists on peace negotiations and Agcaoili and Jalandoni want to talk in Manila

Jose Maria Sison propaganda statement posted to the National Democratic Front Philippines (NDFP or NDF) Website (Aug 8, 2019): On Duterte’s claim that NDFP insists on peace negotiations and Agcaoili and Jalandoni want to talk in Manila

By Jose Maria Sison
NDFP Chief Political Consultant
August 8, 2019

Duterte is completely wrong in presuming and implying that the NDFP will negotiate with his regime under his unilateral terms and that Chairperson of the NDFP Negotiating Panel Fidel Agcaoili and Senior Adviser Luis Jalandoni want to talk in Manila despite Duterte’s Proclamation 360 terminating the peace negotiations, Proclamation 374 designating the CPP and NPA as “terrorist” organizations, Executive Order No. 70 and so many other despotic issuances and actions that are obstacles to GRP-NDFP peace negotiations.

It is Duterte who is clearly culpable for the termination of the peace negotiations in contempt of the people’s desire for these. He has terminated these negotiations in order to scapegoat the CPP, NPA and NDFP and gain the pretext to pursue his Marcos-style scheme of fascist dictatorship. There is yet no sign whatsoever that he is abandoning his scheme of fascist dictatorship, which is quite overreaching, especially because of his deteriorating health and the rapidly approaching end of his rule either by ouster or end of his legal term in less than three years.

GRP-NDFP peace negotiations and the Manila visit of Agcaoili and Jalandoni are impossible so long as Duterte is in power and does not remove the aforesaid obstacles that he himself is responsible for. The NDFP stands firmly against any scheme to undermine and destroy the revolutionary cause of the Filipino people. Duterte underestimates the revolutionary integrity, long experience and intelligence of the NDFP by presuming that Agcaoili and Jalandoni will walk into his trap and slaughterhouse in Manila.

Indeed, peace negotiations are a mode of talking to the enemy, addressing the roots of the armed conflict and possibly ending the long-running civil war in the Philippines. Thus, the NDFP is ever willing to negotiate peace with its enemy in order to serve and advance the national and democratic rights of the Filipino people.

GRP-NDFP peace negotiations are possible with the Duterte regime if it does away with the obstacles that it has made and mends its ways, and The Hague Joint Declaration and further agreements are reaffirmed. Otherwise the NDFP cannot do anything else but to further strengthen the Filipino people and the broad united front in their resolve and movement to oust the tyrannical. traitorous, brutal, corrupt and mendacious Duterte regime.

NDF/Sison: Masses of students and teachers will oppose police and military control of campuses

Jose Maria Sison propaganda statement posted to the National Democratic Front Philippines (NDFP or NDF) Website (Aug 8, 2019): Masses of students and teachers will oppose police and military control of campuses 

By Jose Maria Sison
NDFP Chief Political Consultant
August 8, 2019

Increased police presence and patrols on campuses to intimidate the book-carrying teachers and students will further reduce the number of police from their previous haunts, promote criminality off the campuses and give more space to the revolutionary forces in the battlefield.

The masses of students and teachers will militantly opposite the police state on campuses and the joint military-police scheme to use the ROTC and spy recruits to surveil and intimidate the masses of students and teachers and scare them from joining patriotic and progressive organizations and movements.

Everywhere the Duterte terror regime is using the anti-national and anti-democratic “whole nation approach” of Executive Order 70 to spread red-tagging and the communist scare, put under surveillance and militarize all civilian sectors of society and impose fascist dictatorship on the people.

The Duterte regime of terror and greed is sharpening the crisis of the bankrupt semicolonial and semifeudal ruling system and generating the conditions for the rise of people’s power and the advance of the people’s war in the countryside along the general line of the new democratic revolution.

WESTMINCOM: 6 rebels yield as Zambo del Sur condemns CNT

Posted to the Western Mindanao Command (WESTMINCOM) Website (Aug 8, 2019): 6 rebels yield as Zambo del Sur condemns CNT

Six more communist rebels surrendered on August 2 to the military in Zamboanga del Sur, weeks after the province declared the Communist NPA Terrorist Group as persona non grata.

“They were led by
Ka Diego, who operated in the hinterlands of Barangay Lison Valley and has been with the communist group for three years. The rest have been members of the group for at least three months,” said Lt. Col. Marlowe Patria, 53rd Infantry Battalion Commander.

The rebels also yielded four handguns and ammunition.

They also pledged their sincerity before Zamboanga del Sur Governor Victor Yu, Congresswoman 1st District Divina Grace Yu, Congressman 2nd District Leonardo Babasa, and Board Member John Regala.

“Insurgency is one factor that deters the development of the province. We need peace, and that is why I am happy to see them (former rebels). Later, they will realize that our government is looking after their welfare, especially that President Duterte wants to eradicate insurgency,” said Yu.

Brig. Gen. Bagnus Gaerlan, Jr., 102nd Infantry Brigade Commander, said, “We are gaining grounds, and our relentless military operation in the province pressured rebels to surrender.”

On July 18, local leaders in Zamboanga del Sur issued Resolution No. 035-2019, declaring the CNT as persona non-grata. The provincial government further vowed to support security forces in their campaign “to deter any acts of terrorism and insurgency in the province.”

“More rebels are now contemplating to lay down their arms in light of the government’s commitment and the community’s active involvement in peaceful mechanisms to end local communist armed conflict in the area,” said Lt. Gen. Cirilito Sobejana, commander of Western Mindanao Command.

“Hitherto, we work hand in hand with our partners and sustain our focused military operations against communist rebels in Mindanao,” he added.

WESTMINCOM: Local terrorists, CNT supporters surrender in Lanao

Posted to the Western Mindanao Command (WESTMINCOM) Website (Aug 8, 2019): Local terrorists, CNT supporters surrender in Lanao

Four local terrorists and 21 supporters of the Communist NPA Terrorist Group surrendered to the 103rd Infantry Battalion in Barangay Sabala Bantayao, Lumba Bayabao, Lanao del Sur on August 2.

Said returnees yielded one rocket-propelled grenade, one M1 Carbine rifle, one 1911A1 cal.45 pistol, two cal.38 revolvers, and ammunition.

The local government of Lumba Bayabao, headed by Mayor Mahar Dagalangit, and the police facilitated the said surrender.

Said returnees also pledged their allegiance to the Constitution.

On July 28, the 103rd Bde troops engaged communist terrorists who attempted to establish a foothold in the town of Lumba Bayabao and to elude military operations in Bukidnon.

“The relentless offensive of the troops compelled the enemy forces to flee, prompting their supporters to surrender. The latter revealed that they supported the communist terrorists out of fear that they will be hurt or killed,” said Brawner.

Among the CNT supporters is a minor who surrendered to Lt. Col. Edgar Allan Villanueva, 49th Infantry Battalion Commander.

The local government of Lumba Bayabao also declared the CTG as persona non grata. The declaration made their municipality in the province of Lanao del Sur the first to assert such act.

“We will assist the returnees to avail of the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program. Likewise, there will be a separate integration program for local terrorists in Lanao,” said Brig. Gen. Romeo Brawner, Jr., 103rd Bde Commander

Lt. Gen. Cirilito Sobejana, commander of Western Mindanao Command, said, “This is a commendable feat ascribed to the concerted efforts of our Tabak troops and the people of Lanao.”

“The successive capitulations prove that, with unity of efforts, much can be achieved. We commit to sustain the same efforts in our bid to end local communist armed conflicts through a dynamic approach.”

Meanwhile, the military assisted the settlement of dispute among the Bantak, Dimaporo, and Linga families.

As a token of their commitment, the families yielded an improvised cal.50 rifle (Improvised Barrett).

“The military further supports the settlement of feuds between warring families in order to end armed struggles that breed violence in the operational area,” added Sobejana.

WESTMINCOM: Sobejana to troops: ‘Develop competency, win peace’

Posted to the Western Mindanao Command (WESTMINCOM) Website (Aug 8, 2019): Sobejana to troops: ‘Develop competency, win peace’

“Let us continue to develop the competencies required on us, not only in war fighting, but also in operations other than war for the sake of peace in Mindanao,” said Lt. Gen. Cirilito Sobejana, commander of Western Mindanao Command, during his visit to military troops in Tawi-Tawi on August 6.

Sobejana urged Joint Task Force Tawi-Tawi troops to maintain their resolve by strengthening interagency and multi-sector cooperation to bridge peace in the operational area.

“We do not win wars because we do not want one. We should win the peace, and, in winning the peace, we don’t need weapons,” he added.

The WestMinCom chief encouraged ground commanders to look after the welfare of their personnel while they work to accomplish their mission.

“I had several gunshot wounds, and I turned those wounds into wisdom rather than anger. So, for those who were wounded, I would like you to embrace that idea,” he said, relating his experience in Basilan.

He also vowed to address issues on maritime domain security through a diplomatic approach.

Brig. Gen. Camilo Balutan, JTF Tawi-Tawi Commander, welcomed Lt. Gen. Sobejana and his staff in Sanga-Sanga, Bongao on Tuesday.

The WestMinCom commander also received security updates from the ground forces at the Maritime Coordinating Center.

Source: PIO Western Mindanao Command

WESTMINCOM: Two local terrorists yield in Lanao del Sur

Posted to the Western Mindanao Command (WESTMINCOM) Website (Aug 8, 2019): Two local terrorists yield in Lanao del Sur

Two Local Terrorist Group (LTG) members surrendered to the troops of the 49th Infantry Battalion in Poblacion, Bayabao, Butig, Lanao del Sur on August 6, 2019.

Hadji Omar Olama, a.k.a Omar/Ivan, a former sub-leader of the Maute Group, and his follower, Ibrahim Abbas Olama, a.k.a. Abbas
, brought along with them 1 Caliber .30 US Carbine Rifle with magazine and 10 rounds of ammunition and 1 Caliber .45 Pistol with magazine and 7 rounds of ammunition.

“With the neutralization of their potential leaders, the capability of local terrorist groups in Lanao area is now dwindling,” said Lieutenant General Cirilito Sobejana, WestMinCom Commander.

“While we continuously conduct our focused military operations, we encourage all the remaining bandits to submit themselves to the government forces and take advantage of the livelihood programs and other services offered by the national government and its stakeholders,” Sobejana added.

Subject surrenderors are still undergoing custodial debriefing at the 49IB headquarters.

COLMENARES SAYS//NegOr killings ‘state sponsored’

From the Visayan Daily Star (Aug 8, 2019): COLMENARES SAYS//NegOr killings ‘state sponsored’

Former Bayan Muna representative Neri Colmenares insisted that the series of killings in Negros Oriental was “state-sponsored.”

Colmenares was in Negros Island yesterday for the prayer caravans initiated by the Catholic Church, Iglesia Filipina Independiente and the United Church of Christ in the Philippines at La Carlota City and San Carlos City in Negros Occidental, and Guihulngan City and Canlaon City in Negros Oriental. This is to call for an end to killings and for justice for the families.

The former lawmaker, who attended the prayer rallies in La Carlota and Canlaon, said he has the impression that families of the victims fear for their lives. “I can’t blame them because there’s no assurance from the government. That’s why there’s never-ending fear,” he said.

He said he hopes the killings will eventually stop and that justice will finally be attained by the families.

He also reiterated that the killings were state-sponsored, based on the pattern of evidence established by human rights lawyers.

“President Rodrigo Duterte and his government publicly vilified the victims or their organization before they were killed, showing motive and threat,” he said.

He also pointed out the brazenness in many of the crimes that were committed in broad daylight, in public places, and even near police stations. “This shows that the perpetrators were never afraid at all of being accosted by the police,” he added.

There is also lack of interest to seriously investigate or prosecute from the police, he said. “While trigger happy in prosecuting the opposition and activists, the government has not raised the same level of interest against the killers of activists and drug suspects,” he said.

At least 21 people including policemen, a lawyer, councillor, a barangay captain, former mayor and a 1-year-old boy were killed in Negros Oriental in 10 days, from July 18 to 28.

PA official denies red tagging

From the Visayan Daily Star (Aug 8, 2019): PA official denies red tagging

“I have never issued statements linking one of the shooting victims to the New People’s Army,” 302nd Infantry Brigade commander, Brig Gen Ignacio Madriaga, said, referring to lawyer Anthony Trinidad, who was killed by unknown assailants while on his way home from a court hearing in La Libertad, Negros Oriental on July 23.

Madriaga said it would be unfair for the Army to be accused of red-tagging or to refer to Trinidad as lawyer for the Reds.

He also said that it was
Communist Party of the Philippines -New People's Army-National Democratic Front founder, Jose Ma. Sison, who tagged several organizations as their associates, like Bayan and the League of Filipino Students, among others, during interviews while in exile abroad.

Earlier, churches of different denominations, civil society organizations, including agencies in government have expressed fears for their lives when they go to the mountains due to misbranding.

They explained that due to the nature of their job and work, they have to visit hinterland barangays as part of their ministry.

Madriaga said that if these organizations want to help, they have all the time to coordinate with the local government unit or the Army, especially in areas where there is conflict between the rebels and government troops.

Madriaga made it clear, the Army is not branding them as leftists, but when they go to these communities, their actions say a lot, they give a few kilos of rice and speak against the Army or the government, he added.

He said he believes that agrarian reform is the energy that drives the insurgency problem in the island and once resolved permanently, there will be no reason for the NPA’s existence.

Soldiers deployed at Silliman

From the Visayan Daily Star (Aug 8, 2019): Soldiers deployed at Silliman

The Armed Forces of the Philippines deployed an Army contingent at Silliman University in Dumaguete City for its 118th Founders Day celebration on August 28.

Starting yesterday, eight soldiers from the 11th Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army, headed by Lt. Col. Ramir Redosendo, were posted at all the gates of Silliman University in full battle gear.

The 302nd Infantry Brigade commander, Brig. Gen. Ignacio Madriaga, said the soldiers will complement the police in helping the university secure its premises due to the expected influx of dignitaries, alumni, and visitors for the duration of the celebration.

He downplayed social media reports that the Army deployment in a private university, like Silliman, is a prelude to Martial Law. “To persons spreading lies and unfounded beliefs, especially on social media, you should feel secured because we’re here to protect the community,” he said.

Madriaga told peace-loving Negrenses and Dumaguetenos alike that “it would be very difficult and fearsome when the armed group of the New People’s Army will be the ones patrolling our communities.”

Madriaga is seeking the understanding of everybody not to give malice to their presence. Besides, the school is requesting for them, side by side with the Philippine National Police, not to mention the fact that two weeks ago, a certain Nelson Tan posted in the Facebook page of the university the possible dates where a bomb is supposed to explode. Authorities called this a hoax when no bombs were found.

Madriaga, meanwhile, enjoins the parents to check on the activities of their children, find out the names of the organizations they are in, and determine if they’re not left-leaning because of massive recruitment activities being conducted by the NPA, especially among the youth.

“The enemy has no regard for to the future of our children as long as they are able to recruit and provide them with firearms to become combatants,” he added.

U.S. aircraft carrier visits Manila amid heightened rhetoric vs China

From Rappler (Aug 8, 2019): U.S. aircraft carrier visits Manila amid heightened rhetoric vs China

The US Navy's presence in the West Philippine Sea affirms a treaty alliance that provides a layer of deterrence against an increasingly aggressive China

MILITARY MIGHT. The USS Ronald Reagan aircraft carrier is seen anchored in Manila Bay on August 7, 2019. Photo by Lito Borras/Rappler

Its unmistakable silhouette stood out from among the ships dotting the Manila Bay horizon, a dark grey hulk against the rainy monsoon sky.

It was the USS Ronald Reagan's second port call in Manila in just over a year, and on Wednesday, August 7, it carried the same message of constancy and assurance as earlier warship visits to its traditional military ally, the Philippines, but against a more blustery geopolitical climate.

Just last Sunday, August 4, United States Defense Secretary Mark Esper reportedly criticized China's "aggressive, destabilizing behavior" of swarming and militarizing the South China Sea, including the Philippines' exclusive economic zone (EEZ) that Filipinos call the West Philippine Sea.

Officially, the Ronald Reagan Carrier Strike Group or naval flotilla is in town for "liberty," a break from patrol duty during which the ships' more than 5,000 crew get some rest and relaxation in and around Manila, as well as engagements with the Philippine Navy and social events to highlight bilateral ties.

The port call, however, coincides with Manila trying to deal with Beijing's ships – grey or otherwise – crisscrossing its territorial waters. Philippine attempts at exacting accountability are met with empty rhetoric from the Chinese, as defense chief Delfin Lorenzana pointed out.

Unable to dodge journalists' questions on geopolitical tensions in the region, the strike group's commander Rear Admiral Karl Thomas asserted that part of Washington's response is its naval presence.

"The beauty of this aircraft carrier is that it provides a lot of security and stability to this region. It allows us to go out there and set an environment where these kinds of disputes can be solved in a peaceful manner," Thomas told reporters in a briefing onboard the warship.

"Our goal is to allow folks to be able to sail and operate wherever international law allows and I think we do that fairly effectively," he added.

Vested interest

The regional scenario is fraught with unwanted Chinese presence in waters beyond Beijing's entitlements based on international maritime law: Vietnamhas been demanding China to pull out a survey vessel. Reports of Chinese warships traversing Philippine waters incognito have trickled in over the past weeks.

A Chinese trawler suspected to be maritime militia rammed a Philippine fishing boat in June, causing it to founder and leaving the 22 Filipino crew adrift in the waters of Recto Bank near Palawan.

Chinese vessels have also been spotted foraying closer to US territories in Oceana.

Although Washington has held fast to its neutrality on sovereignty disputes, it has consistently asserted freedom of navigation or international ships' unencumbered access to the vast waters of the South China Sea, including the West Philippine Sea, beyond the 12-nautical-mile territorial waters of coastal countries.

China has laid a supposedly historical claim to practically the entire South China Sea. It has reclaimed and put military installations on 7 reefs in the West Philippine Sea despite an international arbitral ruling that invalidated its sweeping claim.

Esper on Sunday accused China of "weaponizing the global commons," referring to its virtual occupation of the busy sea lane where roughly $3.4 trillion in international trade passes each year.

"So we have a vested interest, a national interest in ensuring that those maritime commons are free and open," Thomas said.

DEEP TIES. Filipino-US sailors are seen inside the USS Ronald Reagan aircraft carrier anchored in Manila Bay on August 7, 2019. Photo by Lito Borras/Rappler

Tougher tone

The Philippine government has also recently used a tougher tone on China. The military called the clandestine passage of Chinese warships a "deception." Lorenzana characterized China's actions in the West Philippine Sea as "bullying." President Rodrigo Duterte said he would raise the arbitral ruling when he visits China later this month.

Manila has openly admitted incapability to drive out Beijing's vessels from its territorial waters and EEZ, and it benefits incidentally from Washington's push for freedom of navigation in the South China Sea.

Aside from its overt naval vessels, China wields its presence in the West Philippine Sea through its coast guard that has recently been attached to its navy, and through fishing trawlers that function as maritime militias.

"We certainly operate in a professional manner and that's what we expect of the other navies of this part of the world," Thomas said in the briefing.

Three US Navy aircraft carriers, , including the USS Ronald Reagan, made port calls in Manila in the first half of 2018.

The US is expected to maintain a rotational presence in the Philippines under an Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement that gives US troops access to a number of Philippine military bases.

Both the US and Philippine militaries hold yearly "Balikatan" or "shoulder-to-shoulder" joint exercises under a Visiting Forces Agreement.

Manila recently got its long-sought affirmation from Washington that their Mutual Defense Treaty covers the West Philippine Sea, where an armed attack on Filipino troops or civilians would trigger a military response from Washington.

Lorenzana earlier proposed to update the treaty after questioning its relevance, but it remains unclear whether that will push through.

Another Chinese survey vessel found operating in PH waters

From Rappler (Aug 8, 2019): Another Chinese survey vessel found operating in PH waters

Map images show Chinese survey ship 'Dong Fang Hong 3' operating in Philippine waters a day after Chinese ship 'Zhanjian' was seen operating off the country's east coast

VESSEL'S PATH. Map images show Chinese oceanographic survey ship 'Dong Fang Hong 3' operating inside the Philippines exclusive economic zone. Photo from Ryan Martinson

After a Chinese oceanographic survey ship was found operating off the east coast of the Philippines, another Chinese survey vessel was seen in the Philippines' exclusive economic zone, map images tracking the vessel's movement showed.

US Naval War College's Ryan Martinson tweeted images of the vessel operating in waters near Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte, on Wednesday night, August 7. Martinson is an assistant professor at the China Maritime Studies Institute at the Naval War College.


Ryan Martinson@rdmartinson88
Add the Dong Fang Hong 3 to the list of Chinese survey ships operating in the Philippines exclusive economic zone today. Would require Manila’s permission to conduct research there. (file photo)

The presence of "Dong Fang Hong 3" comes after Chinese oceanographic survey ship "Zhanjian" was spotted operating some 80 nautical miles off the east coast of the Philippines on Tuesday night, August 6. Map images also showed Zhanjian has been operating in Philippine waters since Saturday, August 3. (LOOK: Chinese survey ship found operating in PH waters)

Like Zhanjian, it is unclear if Dong Fang Hong 3 was operating with permission from the Philippine government.

Responding to a reporter's question, Martinson said the Chinese survey vessels' activities were not "unique" considering China's "voracious appetite" for marine data.

Greg Poling, one of the world's leading experts on the South China Sea, earlier pointed out it is crucial to know what kind of surveys Chinese vessels are doing and whether or not they have the Philippine government's permission.

If the vessel is undertaking a scientific survey, it must request permission from Manila following the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), to which both the Philippines and China are signatories.

Rappler sought a response from Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana on the Dong Fang Hong 3's presence in Philippine waters but he declined to comment due to "insufficiency of facts."

Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr earlier said he would only rely on military information and recommendations before confirming if foreign survey vessels were operating in Philippine waters. 

BTA targets Bangsamoro gov't codes by end of 2019

From Rappler (Aug 8, 2019): BTA targets Bangsamoro gov't codes by end of 2019

The Bangsamoro Interim Cabinet will draft the codes and submit them to the Parliament for deliberation in early October

TRANSITION DUTIES. Minister of Local Government Naguib Sinarimbo, also BTA spokesman, explains decisions made by the Interim Cabinet. Rappler Screenshot

The Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA) aims to finalize 8 government codes by the end of 2019 so that they can be implemented starting 2020, when the Bangsamoro region gets its first block grant.

Minister for Local Government Naguib Sinarimbo, who is also BTA spokesman, said December 2019 is the deadline for the BTA, sitting as Parliament, to finish deliberating on draft codes that will come from the Interim Cabinet.

"The directive form the Chief Minister (Interim Chief Minister Murad Ebrahim) is to complete it (codes) by end of September so that he can file it before the Parliament in early October," said Sinarimbo on Thursday, August 8, during a Rappler Talk interview.

"They (Parliament) have until December of this year to deliberate and then approve. The implementation should happen in 2020, in time for the new budget, new structure of the new government," he added.

Specific Cabinet members or groups of Cabinet members are assigned to make specific codes. 

(READ: Who's who in the Bangsamoro Transition Authority)

There are 8 codes which the Bangsamoro Organic Law requires the BTA to craft during its 3-year existence.

These are:
Bangsamoro Administrative Code
Bangsamoro Revenue Code
Bangsamoro Electoral Code
Bangsamoro Local Government Code
Bangsamoro Education Code
Bangsamoro Civil Service Code
Law protecting rights and welfare of indigenous peoples
Law organizing the bureaucracy of the Bangsamoro government

Sinarimbo explained why Murad decided that the Cabinet instead of the BTA, sitting as Parliament, would draft the codes from scratch.

Previously, ad hoc committees had been formed in Parliament for each code but this was eventually dissolved.

Sinarimbo gave assurances that the finalization of the codes would still "involve the whole of Parliament."

"But the initiatory process of doing the public consultation, doing the policy studies, drafting it will orginate from the Cabinet and then, from the Cabinet, it will be tabled as a Cabinet proposal by the Chief Minister in the Parliament, in which case it will have certainty of being passed because it is backed by the majority of members of the Parliament," he said.

Sinarimbo, as interior minister, is in charge of crafting the Local Government Code.

For this, he has funding from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), where had once served as senior advisor for political transition.

In crafting the code, Sinarimbo said he and other lawyers looked at provisions in the national government's Local Government Code and that of the defunct Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.

"We are looking for areas of improvement like discipline authority over local government units and how it works, integration of different levels of plans fro the lowest levels of the LGU (local government unit) to the highest," he said.

The Interim Cabinet meets every Monday while the Parliament meets on Mondays to Wednesdays every 3rd and 4th week of the month. –

Soldier found dead inside Army camp in Oro; police probe on-going

From the often pro-CPP online publication the Davao Today (Aug 8, 2019): Soldier found dead inside Army camp in Oro; police probe on-going

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY, Philippines — Authorities on Wednesday are still investigating the death of a soldier as they are still probing deeper if it was suicide, accidental firing or was there foul play involved.

According to a police report, Technical Sergeant Rogelio Asuncion, 43, married, was found lifeless inside his room at Camp Edilberto Evangelista, the Philippine Army’s 4th Infantry Division (4ID) headquarters, in Barangay Patag, at 5:20 a.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 7. Asuncion was the finance officer of the 58th Infantry Battalion, a unit of the 4ID based at Claveria, Misamis Oriental, taking charge of the financial matters, said Captain Leoden Bajado, the battalion’s civil-military officer, in a separate interview.

The same report alleged Asuncion committed suicide, but city police spokesperson Major Evan Viñas said investigators are still determining the cause of Asuncion’s death. He said Asuncion was hit in the left side of his chest and that the bullet pierced through his heart.
“We are looking at all angles,” Viñas said.

He said there were speculations that he was cleaning his .45 caliber pistol and that he accidentally shot himself in the process. Only a paraffin test can determine if Asuncion got hold of his gun or somebody else pulled the trigger that resulted to his death, he added.

“If there were no traces of gunpowder burn on his hand, then we can say that there was foul play,” he added.

Bajado said Asuncion was in his usual self when they talked over the phone on Sunday. Prior to his death, Asuncion had been based at Camp Evangelista. “I called him (Asuncion) to follow up our subsistence allowance, and there was nothing in the tone of his voice that would tell he was feeling depressed,” he added.

To his knowledge, Bajado said Asuncion had not been involved in any illegal or suspicious activity. “Even his wife told me he had no personal problem,” he added.

Bajado said they will leave it up to the police to finish its investigation and will just wait for the result of their findings on the cause or manner of Asuncion’s death. He said Asuncion’s family living in Negros Occidental has already been notified and is expected to arrive in Cagayan de Oro anytime soon.

Cimatu: 'Political will' needed to stop insurgency

From the Philippine Information Agency (Aug 8, 2019): Cimatu: 'Political will' needed to stop insurgency

Featured Image

ILOILO CITY, Aug. 8 (PIA) -- Secretary Roy Cimatu of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, who is also the designated cabinet officer for regional development and security (CORDS) for Western Visayas, called on local chief executives to stop local communist armed conflict in the region.

In a forum held recently in Iloilo City, Cimatu echoed President Rodrigo Duterte’s call to stop insurgency through political will, adding that the government will continue to give sincere support in the governance of their local governments to solve the problem. 

“The military will be there to assist you, the government, and the government institutions will be there,” said Cimatu.

Cimatu shared his experience with regard to utilizing political will to end insurgency in order for an area to flourish.

He recalled his time in the military several years ago as lieutenant colonel, commanding a battalion of the third division, where he was based in Aklan with coverage of Capiz, and a portion of Antique and Iloilo.

“We cleared communist New People’s Army from the highways of Aklan. Thereby, opening the way for tourism in Boracay,” Cimatu said.

He attributed their success to the mayors of the towns of Malinao and Ibajay in the said province.

“If it weren’t for those two mayors, we may not have brought down insurgency in Northern Panay,” he said.

Moreover, aside from local chief executives, office heads and representatives of various national government agencies in Western Visayas were also present during the forum.

The activity forms part of the initiative under Executive Order No. 70 signed by President Duterte in December last year to end local communist armed conflict in the Philippines.

Among the government efforts mentioned by Cimatu are convergent delivery of basic services and bringing social development packages to vulnerable and conflict-affected communities.

Each region was assigned a cabinet secretary to be the CORDS, according to Cimatu. (ltp/CBA/PIA6)

NPA declared as 'persona non grata' in I. Norte, other NL, CL areas

From the Philippine Information Agency (Aug 8, 2019): NPA declared as 'persona non grata' in I. Norte, other NL, CL areas

PALAYAN CITY, Aug. 8 (PIA) -- The declaration of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front of the Philippines (CPP-NPA-NDFP) as "persona non grata” in Ilocos Norte and in other areas in Northern and Central Luzon was cited during the recent celebration of the 31st Founding Anniversary of the Army’s 7th Infantry Division (7ID) in Fort Ramon Magsaysay here.

For the first semester of 2019, Major General Lenard Agustin, the commander of the Army’s 7th Infantry (Kaugnay) Division, said in his message that his command achieved more victories in terms of rallying the support from the different local government units (LGUs) and the civil societies in combatting the ménace of the communist terrorist groups.

Major General Lenard Agustin, the commander of the Army's 7th Infantry Division (7ID) based in Fort Ramon Magsaysay, Palayan City, Nueva Ecija, speaks before the visitors, and officers and men of the Philippine Army during the 31st Founding Anniversary of the 7ID on August 1, 2019. (Photo by: Roland Naoe/PIA1)

“Team Kaugnay has rallied behind the mission of the command and presented a united front that bespeaks of discipline, dedication, and integrity, which lined with our anniversary theme, Sacrifice, Dedication, Courage: 31 Years of Kaugnay Service for the People and the Nation,” said Agustin.

Lt. General Macairog Alberto, the commanding general of the Philippine Army, hands-over a command plaque to CAFGU member Allen Tangangeo for being the outstanding CAFGU member of the Army's 7th Infantry Division for 2019. The awarding ceremony was held during the 31st Founding Anniversary of the 7th Infantry Division in Fort Ramon Magsaysay, Palayan City, Nueva Ecija on August 1, 2019. (Photo by Roland Naoe/PIA1)

He said the recent declaration of Ilocos Norte and the other six provinces in North-Central Luzon, and Regions 1 and 3 against the CPP-NPA-NDF as “persona non grata” was a sign that the residents want to achieve a lasting peace.

“In just a span of a few months, 57 barangays, 33 towns, seven provinces and the Regional Peace and Order Councils (RPOCs) of Region 1 and 3 have declared the members of the CPP-NPA-NDF as “Persona Non-Grata,” he said.

For Ilocos Norte, the declaration of communist rebels as persona non grata in the province was made official through the passing of a resolution during the recent Provincial Peace and Order Council (PPOC) at the Sangguniang Panlalawigan Session Hall, Provincial Capitol in Laoag City on June 19.

Similar resolutions declaring the CPP-NPA-NDF as persona non grata were passed during the joint meetings of the Regional Peace and Order Council (RPOC) Region 1 and Regional Development Council (RDC) Region 1.

The resolutions, the official added, were created in line with the Department of the Interior and the Local Government (DILG) Memorandum Circular No. 2018-211 which prohibits support to the leftist rebel group, and Executive Order (EO) No. 70, signed by President Duterte on December 4, 2018.

The EO 70 institutionalizes the “whole-of-nation” approach in attaining the inclusive and sustainable peace, creation of a national task force to end local communist armed conflict, and the adoption of a national peace framework. (AMB/FGL, PIA 1)

Army seizes CPP-NPA hideout in Bukidnon

From the Philippine Information Agency (Aug 8, 2019): Army seizes CPP-NPA hideout in Bukidnon  (By 8th Infantry Battalion, Philippine Army)

IMPASUGONG, BUKIDNON, Aug. 3 (PIA) -- Army troopers of the 8th Infantry “Dependable” Battalion, 4th Infantry Division, Philippine Army, while conducting military operation, figured in an encounter against more or less 100 NPA members of Sentro De Grabidad Dario, Peddler and Compaq, North Central Mindanao Regional Committee at an uninhabited place in Brgy. Bolonay, Impasugong, Bukidnon on August 1.

The security forces, upon receiving the information on the presence of the CPP-NPA from concerned citizens, immediately responded with a plan.

A 20-minute firefight occurred in the NPA’s hideout prompting them to scamper in different directions.

The troops were able to occupy the NPA lair (60mx200m) that can accommodate 150 makeshift bunkers (papag style), recovered four unexploded anti-personnel mines, 100-meter electrical wires, assorted medicines, and personal belongings. 

Likewise, the operating troops also reported that bloodstains were seen on the NPA's withdrawal routes.

In his statement, Lieutenant Colonel Ronald Illana, the Commanding Officer of the 8th Infantry Battalion said, “These NPAs merged their groups because they are now lacking in manpower. They are disintegrated and isolated. The people have spoken and always ready to give us any monitored enemy movement.”

“The populace is now cooperating by giving information reflecting their willingness to be freed from NPA terrorism."

Illana commended the soldiers, saying, “To the Dependable troopers, again another job well done! Be alert in confronting the terrorist groups especially in handling the anti-personnel mines."

The use of anti-personnel mine is a violation of the Ottawa Convention and NPAs continue disregarding this as a manifestation of its evolution into a terrorist organization. (8th IB, PA/PIA10)

Army recovers anti-personnel landmine in Sursur town

From the Philippine Information Agency (Aug 8, 2019): Army recovers anti-personnel landmine in Sursur town (By 36IB, Philippine Army)

TANDAG CITY, Surigao del Sur, Aug. 8 (PIA) –- The troops of 36th Infantry (Valor) Battalion (36IB), Philippine Army found on Wednesday an anti-personnel landmine while conducting a security patrol in the vicinity of Nabigtaw, Sitio Gacub, Hinapuyan, Carmen, this province.

1st Lt. Jonald D. Romorosa, 36IB Civil-Military Operations (CMO) officer, said that they acted on a tip given from a concerned lumad.

Romorosa said a team from Charlie Company immediately responded and discovered 70 meters wire and other gadgets used as trigger device wires in the said area.

In a statement, 36IB Commanding Officer Lt. Col. Xerxes Trinidad said the Communist Terrorist Groups (CTGs) use landmines on Army troops who are ensuring the peace, development, and delivery of government services to the people.

He said the CTGs’ intent is a clear violation of the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and the International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL).

“This only proves that they really are terrorists, wanting nothing but destruction and blockade of the government’s efforts in bringing peace and development especially to the Lumads who are clear victims of their malicious propaganda,” said Lt. Col. Trinidad.

He added that the Lumads are continuously being enlightened of the CTGs’ interests through the 36IB’s Community Support Programs (CSP).

The lumad communities’ commitment to the Whole-of-Nation approach brought better coordination with the government thru Baranggay Hinapuyan’s declaration of CTGs as persona non grata, Lt. Col. Trinidad noted. (36IB CMO/PIA-Surigao del Sur)

Tagalog News: Mga bayan ng Agusan del Norte idineklarang persona non grata ang teroristang CPP-NPA-NDF

From the Philippine Information Agency (Aug 8, 2019): Tagalog News: Mga bayan ng Agusan del Norte idineklarang persona non grata ang teroristang CPP-NPA-NDF

BUTUAN CITY, Agosto 8 (PIA) – Sunod-sunod na ang pagdeklara bilang persona non-grata sa teroristang grupong CPP-NPA-NDF sa iba't-ibang lugar ng Agusan del Norte kasunod ng mga ginawang panggugulo ng grupo sa ilang mga komunidad.

Una ng nagdeklara ang bayan ng Nasipit dahil sa mga hindi makatao at teroristang gawain nito.

Sumunod dito ang bayan ng Buenavista na pinangunahan ni Mayor Norberto Pagaspas na layuning tuldukan ang kanilang mga masasamang gawain sa kanilang lugar para maihatid ang basic health and social services at livelihood sa mga lugar na apektado ng insurgencies kagaya ng mga barangay ng Sangay, Olave, Simbalan at Guinabsan.

Positibo si Mayor Pagaspas na magkakaroon ng mapayapa at masaganang bayan kung tuluyang mahinto ang mga gawaing terrosista at paglilinlang ng mga ito, at sa pagkakaroon ng magandang road networks ang kanilang bayan.

Ayon kay Lieutenant Colonel Francisco Molina Jr,, Commanding Officer ng 23rd Infantry Battalion, Philippine Army, na unti-unti ng bumababa ang bilang ng mga NPA sa lugar at wala na ring namonitor na recruitment activities sa lugar.

Mula Enero hanggang Hulyo sa kasalukuyang taon may 27 former rebels at myembro ng Militia ng Bayan ang kasalukuyang nasa Masigasig Happy Homes sa ilalim ng E-CLIP o Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program ng gobyerno.

Suportado naman ng mga indigenous peoples sa pangunguna ni Datu Manlig-unan Rolando Lanapan, ang Indigenous Peoples Mandatory representative at siya na ring author ng resolution upang edeklarang persona non grata ang CPP-NPA-DNF sa bayan ng Buenavista.

Samantala, inaanyayahan din ni Lt. Col. Molina ang mga rebelde na bumalik na sa gobyerno upang magkaroon ng mapayapa at tahimik na pamumuhay. (NCLM/PIA Agusan del Norte)

Unified approach best strategy to end insurgency: NegOr guv

From the Philippine News Agency (Aug 7, 2019): Unified approach best strategy to end insurgency: NegOr guv

PTF-ELCAC WORKSHOP. Ranking provincial government, Army and Philippine National Police officials attend the seminar-workshop of the Provincial Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict in Negros Oriental. The activity, held Wednesday (Aug. 6, 2019) at the Negros Oriental Convention Center in Dumaguete City, aims to identify the problems/issues and interventions to solve the province's insurgency problem. (Photo by Judy Flores Partlow)

Negros Oriental Governor Roel Degamo expressed confidence on Wednesday that a unified approach to end insurgency is the best strategy to address the 50-year rebellion of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF).

Of all the four provinces in Central Visayas, only Negros Oriental remains to be confronted with insurgency while Cebu, Bohol, and Siquijor are now “insurgency-free”, he said.

Degamo, chair of the Provincial Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (PTF-ELCAC), called on the various national government agencies that were formed into 12 clusters to collaborate and work closely, to achieve their individual and shared targets and accomplishments in line with President Rodrigo Duterte’s Executive Order No. 70.

The President’s EO aims to address the security threats through a Whole-of-Nation approach and the creation of the NTF-ELCAC is part of this strategy. At the local level, the PTF-ELCAC will carry out the scheme.

The PTF-ELCAC aims to eliminate armed conflict, harmonize the plans, programs, and actions of national government agencies, and foster community participation.

“I believe we are the first province to form the PTF-ELCAC and for the meantime, the funds for its organization are taken from the province’s Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (DRRMO),” Degamo said.

“But we are requesting the Sangguniang Panlalawigan for PHP5 million for the implementation of the different clusters’ activities,” he added.

The PTF-ELCAC convened for its first seminar-workshop at the Visionairre’s Lounge of the Negros Oriental Convention Center here on Wednesday to identify the problems/issues, interventions, and target audience for each cluster.

Spearheaded by the Department of Interior and Local Government Unit (DILG), with provincial DILG chief Dennis Quiñones in the lead, the seminar-workshop aims to come up with the clusters’ plans and programs of action before the official launch of the PTF-ELCAC on Aug. 15.

Priority areas under the PTF-ELCAC are 16 barangays in seven towns and cities in Negros Oriental that were initially identified by the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) based on certain parameters.

These are Barangays Bayog and Lumapao in Canlaon City; Trinidad, Binobohan, Sandayao, Tacpao, Imelda, Hinakpan, Humay-humay, and Planas in Guihulngan City; Dobdob in Valencia; San Pedro and Talalak in Sta. Catalina; Tayak in Siaton; Calango and Mayabon in Zamboanguita; and Ayungon town.

No barangay was identified yet in Ayungon because its inclusion came late but the PTF-ELCAC wanted it included because of the July 18 murders of four police intelligence officers in Sitio Yamot, Barangay Mabato of that town.

During the seminar-workshop, Mayor Peve Ligan of Sta. Catalina raised questions as to the non-inclusion of Barangay Talalak in the adjacent town of Sta. Catalina in the original list, noting that this remote hinterland village is well known for being affected by the insurgency.

Brig. Ignacio Madriaga, commander of the 3rd Infantry Brigade of the Philippine Army based in Tanjay, Negros Oriental, told the body that the list is not final because it can change anytime depending on the prevailing situations.

“So you can help us assess and validate kung ano yung pwedeng tanggalin at ano ang pwedeng isali (which barangays can be removed and which ones can be added)” in the list of conflict areas,” Madriaga told local government officials.

He said local officials are the ones who have first-hand knowledge of the prevailing situations in their communities, and he assured that even with their continuous assessment of the province, they would welcome their inputs.

While other areas in the country are still organizing their Task Force ELCACs at the regional level, Madriaga stressed their need to “fast-track its creation with the full support of the governor and other politicians so that we can launch it soon.”

He said the main issue of the NPA is related to agrarian reform, “because the CPP-NPA is agrarian (issues)-based.”

Meanwhile, on motion of the governor and approved by the body via a resolution, the Diocese of Dumaguete, headed by Bishop Julito Cortes, and the Negros Oriental Network of Non-government Organizations or NegorNet have been included as members of the PTF-ELCAC to represent the private sector.

Degamo also expressed confidence of support from the Provincial Board, with Vice Governor Edward Macias sitting as co-chair of the PTF-ELCAC and his brother, Board Member Erwin Macias, chairman of the Committee on Peace and Order, as a member.

The two provincial officials have different party affiliations and have not been seeing eye-to-eye on many issues but the governor said he and Macias agree to resolve the insurgency problem in Negros Oriental.

“I also think that the Sangguniang Panlalawigan members will be much willing to support us because this is everybody’s concern,” he said.