Monday, September 2, 2019

Iloilo village reaps benefits of Army’s CSP deployment

From the Philippine News Agency (Sep 3, 2019): Iloilo village reaps benefits of Army’s CSP deployment

REACHING OUT. Children of Supanga Village, Calinog town, Iloilo receive educational materials from Lt. Col. Joel Benedict Batara, commander of the Philippine Army's 61IB on Friday (Aug. 30, 2019). 1Lt. Hazel Joy Durotan said people in far-flung villages were grateful for the help facilitated by the Army's Community Support Program (CSP) teams. (Photo courtesy of 61IB)

ILOILO CITY -- Supanga village in Calinog town, Iloilo has started to benefit from the Philippine Army’s Community Support Program (CSP) deployment as the village was visited by the government’s all-in-one mission last Friday.

In an interview Monday, 1Lt. Hazel Joy Durotan, information officer of the Army’s 61st Infantry Battalion (61IB), said the CSP team had facilitated the entry of medical and dental civic action program (MEDCAP), "Pulong-Pulong," feeding and gift-giving activity in Supanga village.

Supanga is among the five villages in Calinog town where CSP teams were deployed in July this year.

Lt. Col. Joel Benedict Batara, commander of the 61IB, has identified Supanga as an “influence” village of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA). He described Calinog town as the “mobility corridor” which rebels use as a passageway from time to time.

“They influence the people and sometimes they recruit their men from the villages,” he said.

Durotan, meanwhile, said that around 500 residents of Supanga and its adjacent villages had benefited from the mission.

The residents availed of free health services, free haircuts for women, and free circumcision and feeding for kids.

Each resident also received packs which contain a kilo of rice, noodles, sardines, vegetable seeds, and clothes.

Supanga Elementary School, on the other hand, was given free coloring books, crayons, and vitamins for its pupils.

Bringing of government’s services to the grassroots is part of the whole-of-nation approach to end local communist armed conflict, she noted.

“The people can see that the program is not only undertaken by the Philippine Army and the Philippine National Police alone. We also have representatives from the Department of Agriculture, Department of Education, Department of Environment and Natural Resources, among others, that also showed the residents that they are also ready to hear their concerns,” Durotan said.

Durotan said the services provided by the government in Supanga will be brought to other villages with CSP deployment.

These are the villages of Guinbonyugan, Binolosan Grande, Binolosan Pequeño and Manaripay, also in Calinog town.

In a statement on Sept. 1, Batara expressed his gratitude to stakeholders who helped in serving far-flung villages.

"To end local communists armed conflict, we must be aware that they are targeting the far-flung barangays, and we need to be partners for peace, work together -- for future generations, let us secure our youngsters," he said.

Bakwit school opens in UP, defies suspension order

From the often pro-Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) online publication the Davao Today (Sep 2, 2019): Bakwit school opens in UP, defies suspension order

Lumad students, along with volunteer teachers and Lumad elders on Monday, September 2, launch this year’s Bakwit School in UP Diliman. (Photo from Save Our Schools Network’s Facebook page)

DAVAO CITY, Philippines — They don’t need to wait for a permit to continue teaching the Lumad students.

This is what the Lumad Bakwit School, which began Monday in UP Diliman, is telling the Department of Education, which has yet to respond to the appeal of the Salugpongan schools that was submitted over a month ago.

Some 50 Lumad students, accompanied by volunteer teachers and Lumad elders as guardians, are welcomed by the UP Diliman community which hosts their Bakwit School for another school year.

UP has been supporting Lumad schools by providing spaces in their campuses where Lumad students and teachers could hold their formal classes in the past two years. Other universities in Manila, such as University of Santo Tomas and De La Salle University, has followed suit.

In Davao City, the UCCP Haran continues to host 155 Lumad students for the past five years.

Salugpongan school officials said their decision to continue with the schooling came after seeing no result from the DepEd to decide on their suspension.

The suspension order on 55 Salugpongan campuses in Davao Region came out last July based on allegations that the school was “recruitment ground” for the New People’s Army.

“We have already categorically denied the charges that our schools do not teach in accordance with the guidelines set forth by the DepEd, that we are using children to join rallies, and that we teach the pupils with ideologies that advocate against the government,” Meggie Nolasco, executive director of Salugpongan Ta ‘Tanu Igkanogon Community Learning Center, Inc. (STTICLCI) said. “These statements are malicious and have no factual basis.”

Nolasco said they are surprised that a dialogue was held by DepEd Region XI last Tuesday, August 27. But at the same time, one of its official sat on the Senate hearing in Manila regarding the case, and affirmed the allegations.

Nolasco said this is a lack of due process that continues the attack on school personnel and students of Salugpongan.

“Their negligence in following due process caused intense harassment and intimidation to the teachers and students. DepEd became the mouthpiece of the Armed Forces of the Philippines instead of adhering to its mission in providing education,” she added.

“DepEd is not interested in promoting the right to education of the Lumad and is actively playing a part in a malevolent scheme to evict us from our communities, that much is clear,” Nolasco said.

The Save Our Schools Network also criticized DepEd for failing to protect the Lumad children’s right to education and protection from military attacks.

The group bared that there are about 671 cases of attacks on schools; 584 of which were documented after Mindanao was placed under Martial Law in 2017.

SOS spokesperson Rius Valle believed that the suspension of Salugpongan schools is due to economic interests which the government is supporting.

“The closure of the Salugpongan schools and the non-issuance of the permit to operate of other Lumad schools are likely related to 3 new mining explorations being proposed in Talaingod, Davao del Norte,” said Valle referring to the exploration proposals from different mining companies including the Metalores Inc., One Compostela Valley Minerals, and Philippine Meng Di Mining and Development Corporations.

Valle calls on the public to throw their support to help the schooling of the Lumad children.

“Against all odds, threats, and harassment, we will continue to stand firm with our commitment to uphold and protect the Lumad’s right to education,” said Valle.

Personnel, veterans to receive chunk of DND’s P258-B budget

From the Business Mirror (Sep 2, 2019): Personnel, veterans to receive chunk of DND’s P258-B budget

A bigger slice of the regular fund under the P258.35 billion that the Department of National Defense (DND) proposed as its budget for next year will go to the payment of salaries of personnel, and pensions of war veterans and retired soldiers, a copy of the proposed allocation that was submitted to Congress revealed.

Based on the budget proposal, about P188.65 billion of the total budget will form part of the regular fund of the DND, which includes the Armed Forces of the Philippines and attached agencies. The latter include the Philippine Veterans Affairs Office, the Government Arsenal, Office of Civil Defense and the Veterans Memorial Medical Center.

Of the P188.65 billion, P119.12 billion or about 46 percent of the total fund was earmarked for personnel services, while P40.70 billion or about 16 percent will go to the maintenance and other operating expenses (MOOE). On the other hand, P28.83 billion or 11 percent will fund the agency’s various projects or serves as capital outlay money.

The capitalization for the personnel services and MOOE increased at the amount of P3.24 billion and P1.45 billion, respectively, while the capital outlay decreased for about P2.26 billion when compared to the current budget of the DND, which is lower by P2.43 billion or 1.3 percent.

The increase in personnel services fund was justified by Defense Secretary Delfin N. Lorenzana during the hearing of the House Committee on Appropriations last week. Lorenzana said that the amount will be used to fund the salaries and retirement benefits of soldiers.

The DND chief added that the P119.12 billion will cover the pay of 148,668 uniformed personnel, 69,938 Cafgu members and 12,400 civilian employees, which has increased in number. It will also fund the “terminal” leave and retirement gratuity benefits of soldiers.

The budget proposal showed that the total allocation for war veterans and military pensioners is at P69.70 billion or about 27 percent of the total budget, with the amount allotted for the pension of AFP retirees alone having increased by 29 percent or an equivalent of P11.93 billion.

The increase was borne by the implementation of the Joint Resolution 1 or the increase in pension of military retirees.

The allocation for veterans also went up by 6 percent or an equivalent of P740 million due to the implementation of Republic Act 11164 or the law mandating for the increase in old age of pension of World War II veterans from P5,000 to P20,000.

On the other hand, the increase of P1.45 billion in the MOOE was mainly due to the inflationary effects on “inflation-indexed items,” sustainment of military units and other expenses related to the ongoing capability upgrade program.

The proposed budget for the capital outlay decreased by about P2.26 billion after “non-recurring projects were factored out.”

Explain Red-tagging, SC asks Palace

From the Manila Times (Sep 2, 2019): Explain Red-tagging, SC asks Palace

THE Supreme Court (SC) has ordered Malacañang to explain a plea of lawyers who had been linked to leftist organizations.

The issue reached the high tribunal after the Court of Appeals (CA) junked the plea for a protection order of the National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers (NUPL) in connection with a petition for writ of amparo and habeas data they filed after being “Red-tagged.”

The petition cited incidents where NUPL members were harassed by the military and “tagged, threatened, vilified or subjected to surveillance.”

The lawyers demanded that any information that had been gathered by the military be destroyed.

“It is evident from the facts and the circumstances of this case that petitioners, who are members of the Philippine Bar, are targets of an orchestrated plan to sow fear and intrigue among their ranks and membership,” they said.

The high court has ordered Malacañang and the Armed Forces of the Philippines to file their comment on the petition for review of the NUPL.

In denying the issuance of a temporary protection order (TPO), the CA argued that the petitioners had failed to submit a list of their members whom they wanted covered by the TPO and o identify an accredited person or private institution that could provide the protection sought.

It also denied the prayer of the NUPL lawyers to halt the military from issuing public statements against them, saying the rule on amparo “does not provide for the said relief.”

The Ecumenical Bishops Forum (EBF) has expressed concern over Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana’s statement during the Department of National Defense (DND) budget hearing at the House of Representatives, which it interpreted as a “public confession on the military’s role in the surge of Red-tagging incidents.”

During the DND budget hearing, Lorenzana dared congressmen from the Makabayan bloc to denounce the Communist Party of the Philippines and its armed wing, the New People’s Army, for the Red-tagging to stop.

“His statement, made during the hearing for the 2020 budget of the Department of National Defense, is a crystal-clear evidence that the State has been responsible for branding as leftist and communist the individuals and organizations critical of President Rodrigo Duterte’s government,” the EBF said in a statement.

“As Secretary Lorenzana perspicaciously acknowledged the military’s accountability for the various attacks on human rights defenders, peace advocates, political activists and church people, he corroborated the widespread belief that the State has used Red-tagging as a tool to repress the people’s legitimate claims for social, political and economic reforms. His pronouncement is an incontestable confession that the ‘attack orders’ have come from higher offices in the bureaucracy,” it added.

The bishops maintained that vilification activities against “well-meaning political dissenters, advocates and critics” had “stoked fear” to delegitimize people’s call for social justice and discredit legal struggles for democratic change by linking them to the communist movement.

“We call out the evil of reactionary politics that has employed brute force and stoked fear to delegitimize the people’s call for social justice. We decry in the strongest sense the Duterte government’s mischievous act of raising the Red specter across the land by fear-mongering and demonizing the people’s democratic and patriotic aspirations. This is morally and politically wrong,” the EBF said.

It added that Red-tagging of bishops, priests and pastors, and religious and church workers along with accusations that church organizations and programs serve as communist fronts were baseless and had caused “brutish assaults on those implicated.”

“These only aim to defame and discredit faith-based works for the marginalized and underprivileged. The lies hurled at churches are part of the government’s attempt to silence all the many voices speaking against the structural causes of injustice and inequality in the country,” the EBF said.

It called on the government to “refrain from its political vanity of Red-tagging and witch-hunting” and “to stop endangering people’s lives by wrongly calling them leftists and communists.”

The statement was signed by members of the EBF Executive Board, namely Bishop Deogracias Iñiguez Jr. of the Roman Catholic Church, Bishop Rex Reyes Jr. of the Episcopal Church in the Philippines, Bishop Joel Tendero of the United Church of Christ in the Philippines, Bishop Dindo Ranojo of the Iglesia Filipina Independiente and Bishop Ciriaco Francisco of the United Methodist Church.

US Air Force, Pacific Air Forces generals in Manila

From the Manila Times (Sep 2, 2019): US Air Force, Pacific Air Forces generals in Manila

Chief of Staff of the US Air Force, General David Goldfein, and Commander, Pacific Air Forces, General Charles Brown, visited Manila from August 15 to 18.

During their time in the Philippines, the generals met with key poelicymakers, including Undersecretary of National Defense Cardozo Luna, Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines Benjamin Madrigal, and the Commanding General of the Philippine Air Force Rozzano Briguez.

US Ambassador to the Philippines Sung Kim (leftmost) met with General
David Goldfein (center) and General Charles Brown at the US Embassy in

“This visit was an excellent opportunity not only to engage with our Philippine counterparts, but to strengthen the friendship, partnership, and alliance that exists between our nations,” said General Goldfein.

Prior to the meeting with General Briguez, the parties participated in an arrival honors ceremony to highlight the close military relationship between the US Air Force and the Philippine Air Force (PAF).

“Our relationship with the PAF remains strong and will continue to grow. As like-minded nations who believe in a free and open Indo-Pacific and respect for one another’s sovereignty and sovereign territory, our common interests draw us together,” said General Goldfein.

How are Malaysia’s police and politicians answering to terror?

Posted to East Asia Forum (Sep 3, 2019): How are Malaysia’s police and politicians answering to terror? (By Kevin Fernandez, Universiti Malaysia Kelantan, and Greg Lopez, Murdoch University)

Since the beginning of 2019, the Royal Malaysian Police (RMP) have arrested several individuals, both Malaysian citizens and foreigners, for suspected links to the so-called Islamic State (IS) and other terrorist organisations. Effective and efficient as they are, the RMP will continue to face significant challenges in their counter-terrorism efforts due to wide-ranging developments in domestic and international arenas.

In the face of increasing Islamic conservatism at home, the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government is struggling to navigate a complex political, social and security terrain.

The PH government’s response to these new challenges has been to promote an inclusive form of Islam through three pillars: rahmatan lil alamin (compassion for all), maqasid syariah (interests of the greater good) and manhaj malizi (a Malaysian approach of being appropriate to local context). Malaysia’s foreign policy under the PH administration remains consistent in its support for the Islamic ummah (community) narrative that became pronounced under the first Mahathir administration.

The current PH administration has already seen several tense encounters between conservatives and advocates of a more inclusive Islam. Conservative forces have so far gained the upper hand.

In June 2018, as part of the PH government’s reform process, the Group of 25 — an assembly of former high-ranking bureaucrats and scholars of Islam — recommended a review of the role of Jabatan Kemajuan Islam Malaysia (JAKIM). JAKIM, the federal agency responsible for Islamic affairs, is seen as the face of bureaucratic Islam. Not often is the agency viewed in a complimentary light by adherents of a more inclusive Islam. To date, the Group’s request has been ignored.

The PH government also suffered embarrassment when, in the face of conservative backlash, it reversed a decision to ratify two international treaties: the United Nations International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD) and the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.

In early February 2019, nine terror suspects were arrested — including Malaysians, Egyptians and Tunisians — in the Klang Valley of Peninsular Malaysia and the Serian district. The Tunisians were reportedly members of the radical Islamist group Ansar al-Shariah Tunisia and the Egyptians were members of the Muslim Brotherhood. The Malaysian suspects were charged with terror offences relating to facilitating the movement and transit of foreign fighters.

March 2019 saw the arrest of a Malaysian and 12 Filipinos believed to be members of the outlawed Abu Sayyaf Group, Maute Group and Royal Sulu Force (RSF) in Sabah. The four suspects from Maute Group were involved in the Marawi conflict in the southern Philippines in 2017 and the two RSF detainees were responsible for the attacks in Sabah’s Lahad Datu and Semporna in 2013.

In another incident, a 20-year-old Rohingya refugee residing in Peninsular Malaysia was arrested. He admitted to supporting the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army and to having had plans to attack the Myanmar embassy in Kuala Lumpur.

There have also been developments that suggest potential coordination, if not tactical convergence, between the Indonesian terrorist organisation Jemaah Ansharut Daulah (JAD) and Malaysian terrorist cells. Malaysia’s new Inspector General of Police (IGP) Abdul Hamid Bador commented that an Islamist ‘wolf pack’ was preparing to strike during the first week of Ramadan this year to avenge the death of Muslim fireman Muhammad Adib Mohd Kassim.

Adib was injured in an emergency response call from the Seafield Sri Mariamman Temple last November and later succumbed to his injuries. Hindu activists were resisting the closure of the temple by local authorities and violence ensued. Adib’s death became the subject of an inquest and has been used by conservative Islamic groups to propagate the narrative that Islam is under siege in Malaysia.

The IGP raised serious concerns about two members of the ‘wolf pack’, Muhammad Syazani and Muhammad Nurul Amin, who undertook bomb-making training in Yogyakarta under JAD instruction in 2018. According to intelligence sources, Syazani and Nurul Amin managed to produce in their homes the same type of explosives as used in the 2018 Surabaya bombings. Reports claim that the ‘wolf pack’ appeared to be targeting non-Muslim houses of worship, entertainment spots and four high-profile personalities during Ramadan.

The Malaysian terrorist cells also seem sympathetic to the doctrine of ‘near enemy’ (Muslim regimes that they regard as ‘apostates’). But the number of ‘far enemy’ attacks in recent years has paled in comparison to the number of ‘near enemy’ attacks, which include those directed at the Indonesian state and its agencies.

The RMP has been effective in managing terrorist threats in Malaysia. Since February 2013, it has arrested 488 militants and the RMP counter-terrorism unit has thwarted 25 terror plots. But unfavourable domestic and international developments will continue to challenge the RMP. Domestically, the authorities must steer cautiously under conditions where a large portion of Malaysian society adhere to the growing narrative of an Islam under siege.

Kevin Fernandez is a Senior Lecturer at the Universiti Malaysia Kelantan.

Greg Lopez is a Research Fellow at Murdoch University.

A version of this post originally appeared here on RSIS.

Kalinaw News: Bukidnon youths write open letters asking Reds to yield

Posted to Kalinaw News (Sep 3, 2019): Bukidnon youths write open letters asking Reds to yield

MALAYBALAY CITY — Thousands of students have written “open letters” to members of the communist New People’s Army (NPA) during the National Training Service Program Symposium for freshmen students at the Bukidnon State University (BukSU) here on Sunday.

Capt. Ryan Layug, spokesperson of the Army’s 403rd Brigade, said most of the open letters encouraged the NPA combatants to surrender and grab another chance at life.

“I was not expecting them to submit letters convincing NPA to come home; I just told them if you were to write a letter to NPA what would you say,” Layug said.

He said the young people may still send their messages to the members of the communist rebel movement through their Facebook Page (403rd Infantry Peacemaker Brigade) “or on a piece of paper.”

“I was overwhelmed. I collected over a thousand papers with messages asking them to leave the movement and return home. Our FB Page was also flooded with messages,” he said.

One of the letters said that it’s not too late for any rebel for a fresh start.

“Dear NPA, it’s not too late for change. We will welcome you back here (in our communities),” one of the students’ messages read.

Brig. Gen. Edgardo de Leon, the Army’s 403rd Brigade commander, described the students’ letters appealing for NPAs to return to the fold of the law as “a reflection of their desire for peace in the communities they are in”.

“It is also a manifestation of the students’ rejection of the culture of hatred and violence,” De Leon added.

Sec. Jose Ruperto Martin Andanar
Presidential Communications Office (PCO)
Visayas Avenue Quezon City, Philippines

[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.
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Kalinaw News: Soldiers Provide Assistance to the Family of Dead NPA

Posted to Kalinaw News (Sep 3, 2019): Soldiers Provide Assistance to the Family of Dead NPA

MAGPET, Cotabato—The soldiers and local officials of Barangay Balite and Mahongcog, Magpet, Cotabato joined force to extend aid to the bereaved family of killed NPA member in Talian, Maragusan, Compostela Valley, Friday, August 30.

In can be recalled that the troops of 72nd Infantry Battalion headed by Lt. Col. Rey T Alvarado in coordination with the local officials provided appropriate assistance to retrieve the body of a certain Jefferson Villafuerte, 18 and transported it back to his home place.

Based on the report, the said personality was killed and abandoned by his comrade in an encounter with the troops of 66th Infantry Battalion in the said place last August 24. He was positively identified as a member of WGF18 and PBC 8, SRC 1, Southern Mindanao Regional Committee.

In the testimony of a relative who requested not to be identified, he said that Jefferson was lured by the NPA to join the armed movement at a young age of 14. His recruiter capitalized his youthfulness and being adventurous to victimize him to their twisted ideology. Accordingly, he spent his last four years with the terror group before facing his death for a lost cause.

Meanwhile, the Army troops, barangay officials and the local folks of his birthplace expressed their sympathy and respect to the late Jefferson Villafuerte @Eric.

In the statement of Col. Gabriel C Viray III, the Commander 901st Infantry Brigade, he said that, “It is our duty to help those who were victimized by the terrorist group to include the bereaved families of killed NPAs despite of their aggression against the government. It is also in our hearts that we respect a departed individual, as a human being dead NPA member also deservesa decent and peaceful burial.”

He added that the government is doing all the possiblemeans to resolve the decade long conflict. Through Executive Order No. 70 otherwiseknown as the institutionalizing the Whole Of Nation Approach in attaining inclusiveandsustainable Peace, a National Task Force to End The Local CommunistArmed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) was created to stop the NPAs terroristic act. This effort was also being reciprocated in the local setting North Cotabato so that there will be a dynamic partnership between local government units, government agencies and private entities in resolving the root causes of the problem.

He once again reminded the remaining members of the communist terrorist group to lay down their arms and be backed to the folds of the law. He stressed out that the government through the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (ECLIP) offers opportunity for them to be reintegrated in the mainstream of the society.

“More than the monetary remuneration and livelihood assistance, this program provides an avenue for the former rebels to experience renewed life and redemption of their lost time” he added.

Division Public Affairs Office 9th Infantry Division Philippine Army
Cpt Joash Pramis
Chief, Division Public Affairs Office, 9ID
Camp Elias Angeles, Pili, Camarines Sur, Philippines
Cell number: 09151434816

[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.
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Kalinaw News: 16IB and Davao City Peace 911 holds the Indigenous Political Structure Regular Meeting

Posted to Kalinaw News (Sep 3, 2019): 16IB and Davao City Peace 911 holds the Indigenous Political Structure Regular Meeting

Panabo City, Davao del Norte –16th Infantry Battalion, 2nd Infantry Division, Philippine Army in collaboration with the Davao City Peace 911hosted the meeting of the Indigenous Political Structures (IPS),participated by the Tribal Leaders and Indigenous Peoples Mandatory Representative (IPMR) of Paquibato District, Davao Cityheld at Headquarters 16IB, BrgyDalisay, Panabo City, Davao del Norte on August 31, 2019.

The IPS refers to organizational and cultural leadership systems, institutions, relationship, patterns and processesfor decision-making and participation, identified and accepted bythe IndigenousCultural Communities. The IPS shall be recognized as the highest governing body with the Indigenous Peoples Organizations (IPO) as its technical arm.

The meeting focused on strengthening the IPS and Indigenous Peoples (IPs) rights on ancestral domain and livelihood opportunities for IP communityin Paquibato District, Davao City. Anothersignificant issues raised during the meeting are the implementations of IPS inherent functions, responsibilities and policies pertaining to Certificate of Actual Land Occupancy for migration and Certificate of Ancestral Domain Land Allocations;Review of functions and responsibility of “Bahani” or the peace-keeping force of the Tribe that defend and protect lives, properties and territories.

The PEACE 911 encouraged eachmembers of IPS to realize its individual functionsembodied in the IPS to attain lasting peace and for the betterment of IP community in Paquibato District, Davao City.Further, Ms. Irene Santiago affirmed the support of the Local Government Unit of Davao City for the success of IPS.

LTC REY P PASCO INF (GSC) PA, Commanding Officer of the 16th Infantry (Maglilingkod) Battalion on his message ” I urged the Tribal Leaders and IPMRs to be more innovative and consistent in crafting the guidelines and policies forthe benefit ofIP communities, the unit and the Local Government of Davao City thru PEACE 911 will always support theimplementations of various programs and projects of the government that will contribute in the sustainment of peace and development inPaquibato District Davao City”

Division Public Affairs Office 2nd Infantry Division Philippine Army
Chief, DPAO, 2ID, PA
Camp General Mateo Capinpin, Tanay, Rizal

[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.
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Kalinaw News: Agusan del Norte IP Community Disown CPP-NPA

Posted to Kalinaw News (Sep 3, 2019): Agusan del Norte IP Community Disown CPP-NPA

BUENAVISTA, Agusan del Norte- A Higaonon Indigenous People’s Community in Agusan del Norte declared the Communist Party of the Philippines, New People’s Army, National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF), and their allied organizations and its supporters as “Persona non-Grata” on August 31, 2019.

The declaration was passed through a Barangay Resolution initiated bythe Barangay Council, Tribal Leaders and the residents of Brgy Lawa-lawan, Las Nieves, Agusan del Norte.

The weary IP community who were fed-up by the deception and manipulation of the CPP-NPA Terrorists condemns and renounces their affiliation to any CPP-NPA organizations for killing of many Tribal Leaders and recruiting IP youths to be members of armed group.

Meanwhile, Punong Brgy Hon More H Migduyan states that: “Let us not give the CPP- NPA a chance to once again deceive, manipulate and use our tribe especially the newgeneration. Let us renounce the CPP-NPAs and protect our tribe. As what you can see, our Brgy is on its developing process and it is far different from what it looks like before. Let us cut any ties and support to them until they will no longer exist in our area. -Migduyan added.

Moreover, Lieutenant Colonel Francisco L. Molina Jr, Commanding Officer, 23rd Infantry Battalion expressed his gratitude to the Barangay Council and Tribal Leaders of Lawan-lawan for withdrawing their support from the CNTs and says, “I am glad that without second thought you showed support the government on its campaign of putting an end to the Local Communist Armed Conflict in your area. Indeed, you made the right decision. Let us continue to work hand-in-hand in solving insurgency. -LTC Molina added.

23rd Infantry Battalion Philippine Army
CMO Officer, 23IB, 4ID, PA
Mobile Nr. 09171440972
Facebook Page: 23rd Infantry Battalion @ TeamMasigasig23

[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.
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Kalinaw News: Ibat-ibang klase ng mga Libro Ipinamahagi ng mga Sundalo

Posted to Kalinaw News (Sep 2, 2019): Ibat-ibang klase ng mga Libro Ipinamahagi ng mga Sundalo

BULALACAO, Oriental Mindoro – Humigit walong daan (800) na ibat-ibang klase ng mga libro ipinamahagi ng ating mga kasundaluhan sa ginanap na ugnayan sa paaralan sa dalawang paaralan ng mga katutubo sa bayan ng Bongabong, Oriental Mindoro kasabay nito sa pag-gunita ng buwan ng Wika na may temang “Wikang Katutubo Tungo sa Bansang Pilipino” noong nakaraang araw ng Biyernes ika-30 ng buwan ng Agusto 2019.

Ang Lisap Mangyan High School na pinamumunuan ni Mr Junjun Fabic, Principal I at Morente National High School na pinamumunuan ni Mr Edwin R De Guzman, Principal I, ang mga mapalad na binigyan ng mga nasabing mga libro. Kasunod nito ang pagtalakay ni 1st Lieutenant Silvestre O Tabios, pinuno ng Charlie Company ng 4IB, tungkol sa panghihikayat ng mga teroristang NPA sa hanay ng kabataan at nagbigay ng mga babasahin tungkol sa masamang gawain ng mga nasabing terorista. Tinalakay din ni Lieutenant Tabios kung paano pumasok sa hanay ng Sandatahang Lakas ng Pilipinas sa mga kabataan nais magsilbi at maglingkod sa bayan. Samantala, ang ating kapulisan ay tinalakay rin ang masamang epikto ng ipinagbabawal na druga at Anti-Bullying Act sa mga mag-aaral ng dalawang paaralan.

Ang mga nasabing mga Libro ay taos pusong ipinagkaloob ng Juniors Chamber International (JCI) San Juan Dambana sa tulong ng kasundaluhan ng 4th Infantry (Scorpion) Battalion sa pangunguna ni LTC ALEXANDER M ARBOLADO katuwang ang Unilever Philippines, Tactical Operation Group (TOG) 4, Philippine National Police (PNP) Lokal na Pamahalaan ng Bongabong at ng Sangguniang Panlalawigan ng Oriental Mindoro.

Lubos naman ang pasasalamat ng pamunuan ng dalawang nasabing paaralan sa mga kumatawan ng JCI at sa mga ahensya ng pamahalaan na nagtulungan upang maibahagi ang mga ito sa mga kabataan na nangangailangan ng mga libro para lalong umangat ang antas ng edukasyon sa ating bansa lalo na sa mga katutubong mag-aaral. 

Pinapaabot ni Lieutenant Colonel Arbolado pinuno ng 4IB sa pamunuan ng JCI San Juan Dambana at Unilever Philippines ang pasasalamat sa pagtugon ng mga ito sa kahilingan ng mamamyan. Ayon pa kay sa kanya, ang lahat ng ahensya ng pamahalaan ay hindi nagpapabaya sa kanilang tungkulin na mag serbisyo sa mamamayan para makamit ang kaunlaran at pangmatagalang kapayapaan.

Ayon naman kay Colonel Antonio R Lastimado bagong pinuno ng 203rd Infantry Brigade ang Bgry ng Lisap ay isa sa mga Convergence area kung saan pinagtutuunan ng pansin ng ating lokal na pamahalaan ng Bongabong at ng Sangguniang Panlalawigan ng Oriental Mindoro sa pangunguna ng butihing Gobernador na si Hon Humerlito “Bonz” Dolor. Dagdag pa nito, na ang mga ganitong gawain ay napailalim sa diriktiba ng ating Pangulong Rodrigo R Duterte sa pagpapatupad ng Executive Order Nr 70 na kung saan pinapalakas nito ang Whole-of Government approach upang makamtan ang pangmatagalang kapayapaan at kaunlaran ng sa ganun matuldukan na ang problema sa insurhensiya dulot ng mga teroristang CPP-NPA-NDF sa ating bansa.

Division Public Affairs Office 4th Infantry Division Philippine Army
Cpt Regie H Go

[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.
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Kalinaw News: Army, PNP assists the 100 Former Rebels for E-CLIP Enrolment in Surigao Sur

Posted to Kalinaw News (Sep 2, 2019): Army, PNP assists the 100 Former Rebels for E-CLIP Enrolment in Surigao Sur

BISLIG CITY, Surigao del Sur-Camp Jaime N Ferrer Sr, BrgyMaharlika, Bislig City (Station) – The 75th Infantry “Marauder” Battalion, the Joint AFP-PNP Intelligence Committee (JAPIC) of Surigao del Sur and the Provincial Social Welfare and Development, SDS assists more than one (100) hundred Former Rebels (FRs) for the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP) Enrolment held at this Headquarters, 75IB on August 29, 2019, Thursday.

The FRs came from Bunawan and Rosario in Agusan del Sur. Others were from Bislig City, Tagbina and Barobo, SDS. The 75IB spearheaded by Lieutenant Colonel Jaime R Datuin, JAPIC team and PSWD assisted the profiling and validation of the rebel returnees for them to be enrolled and avail the said program. Rebel returnees can avail cash and livelihood assistance from the government once validated along with the processing.

According to aka LOT, former CO of the Weakened Guerilla Front 3, South Mindanao Regional Committee (WGF3, SMRC), “Nagapasalamat ako sa gobyerno sa paghatag ug higayon nga maka pagbag-o ug kinabuhi. Sa akong mga kaubanan nga nagpabilin pa sa kalihukan nga musurender na sa gobyerno, kay ang atong tinuod nga gobyerno mutabang sa atohang pag bag-ong kinabuhi.” Alias LOT ended.

The E-CLIP is a program intended for the FRs who surrendered with their firearms to the government. They can avail the program from the government to support their living and this also aims to facilitate the mainstreaming of the FRs as productive citizens, as well as to enhance the capacities of the LGUs to help them reconstruct their identities as part of the community.

Moreover, Lieutenant Colonel Jaime R Datuin, the Commanding Officer of 75IB said to one of the FRs, “The government will help you along the way, as well as the Philippine Army. Thank you for the cooperation and your contribution to the peace and development of our community. And that, you have given yourself a chance to live peacefully and those everyone around you.” Datuin ended.

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.
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NDF/Sison: Riposte to Duterte and the palace lizard Panelo

Jose Maria Sison propaganda statement posted to the National Democratic Front Philippines (NDFP or NDF) Website (Sep 2, 2019): Riposte to Duterte and the palace lizard Panelo

By Jose Maria Sison
NDFP Chief Political Consultant
September 2, 2019

Duterte and Panelo belong to my same senior age bracket and are not any much younger than I am. It is politically and intellectually bankrupt for Panelo to refer to my aging. The ad hominem remarks against me are stupid, impertinent and devoid of reason. It is an attempt to distract attention from the issues that I raise.

I have stood for the sovereign rights of the Philippines and the Filipino people over the exclusive economic zone in the West Philippine Sea and have exposed and condemned the traitorous sell-out of such sovereign rights to China by Duterte. This position of mine is supported by the broad masses of the people, the revolutionary movement and by the most responsible leaders, organizations and institutions motivated by patriotism.

Palace hits ‘aging armchair passé rebel’ Sison over remarks vs Duterte

WESTMINCOM: Speedboat funded by ARMM for WestMinCom’s ops

Posted to the Western Mindanao Command (WESTMINCOM) Website (Sep 2, 2019): Speedboat funded by ARMM for WestMinCom’s ops

Basilan Congressman Mujiv Hataman yesterday turned over a speedboat funded by the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao for Western Mindanao Command’s operations in the area.

WestMinCom Commander Lt. Gen. Cirilito Sobejana received from former ARMM Governor Hataman the keys and manuals of the speedboat.

The ARMM will turn over four more speedboats, as additional naval capability, to the Joint Task Forces Basilan, Sulu, Tawi-Tawi, and Central.

“The ARMM allotted Php30 million to procure five speedboats for the Joint Task Forces of the WestMinCom. It’s a small deed to repay the AFP for all its hard work and perseverance to secure Mindanao,” said Congressman Hataman.

The speedboats will be utilized by the Joint Task Forces in their maritime interdiction, border patrol, and transport and strategic insertion of troops in their operational environment.

“We are very much grateful to the ARMM, represented by Congressman Hataman. With him (Hataman) sitting in Congress, I know more help will be extended to the armed forces in as far as capability buildup and other matters within the grasp of the WestMinCom are concerned,” said Lt. Gen. Sobejana.

Military officials witnessed the blessing of said speedboat by WestMinCom’s Command Chaplain Colonel Sanuan Akkuh and Post Command Chaplain Lt. Col. Reynaldo Narisma,

The turnover was held at the WestMinCom Grandstand in Camp Navarro at 7am yesterday, September 1.

Escalante evacuees rise to 747

From the Visayan Daily Star (Sep 3, 2019): Escalante evacuees rise to 747

The number of individuals who sought refuge in the lowlands, following armed skirmishes between government forces and suspected New People’s Army rebels on Saturday in Sitio Morino, Brgy.Paitan, Escalante City, Negros Occidental, rose to 747, yesterday.

Of the 747 displaced persons, 349 are now staying at the evacuation center in Brgy. Paitan, and 398 others in Brgy. Libertad, all in Escalante City, 1Lt. Revekka Roperos, 303rd Infantry Brigade Civil Military Operations officer, said yesterday.

The recent encounter between soldiers of the 79th Infantry Battalion and an estimated 30 NPA rebels who detonated an anti-personnel mine, led to the injuries of three Army soldiers.

Roperos also reported that pursuing Army soldiers saw five casualties of the fleeing rebels being dragged by their comrades. This was also bolstered by civilians in the area, who reported the presence of armed men in their community to the authorities.

Heavy traces of bloodstains were also seen along the rebels withdrawal routes. Pursuing government troopers also recovered anti-personnel mine detonating wire, a utility rope, 2 G-Shock wrist watches, subversive documents and pamphlets, a hammock an, NPA cap and assorted personal belongings.

Roperos said the pursuit operations are still ongoing, but with no significant result as of this time.

Capt. Lowell Dairocas, 79IB Civil Military Operations Officer, said that the NPA rebels they had encountered were trying to recover the area, by recruiting again residents, who had severed their affiliation with the terrorist organization.

Zeaphard Gerhart Caelian, Disaster Management Program Division chief, said the Provincial Health Office distributed 150 folding beds and 210 hygiene kits to the displaced persons.

The local government unit of Escalante City, meanwhile also distributed family food packs, on top of relief goods from the Provincial Social Welfare and Development Office, Caelian added.*

LOOK: South Korean warships on friendly visit to Manila

From Rappler (Sepn2, 2019): LOOK: South Korean warships on friendly visit to Manila

The Philippines is set to acquire several new warships from South Korea

PORT CALL. The Republic of Korea Navy destroyer Munmu The Great (DDH-976) docks at the Manila South Harbor on September 2, 2019 for a 3-day friendly visit. Photo by Lito Borras/Rappler

MANILA, Philippines – Two South Korean warships docked in Manila on Monday, September 2, for a friendly visit, marking 70 years of diplomatic ties with the Philippines.

The Republic of Korea Navy (ROKN) destroyer Munmu The Great (DDH-976), fast combat support ship Hwacheon (AOE-59) pulled into Pier 15 of the Manila South Harbor on Monday morning. The ships belong to the ROKN Cruise Training Task Group, with more than 600 sailors and around 100 cadets headed by commander Rear Admiral Yang Min Soo.

“The presence of these two Korea Navy vessels and its contingent underscores the continuing efforts of the Philippines and Korea to strengthen the relationship between our governments and navies,” said Littoral Combat Force of the Philippine Fleet (PF) commander Commodore Rey dela Cruz during a welcome ceremony onboard Munmu The Great.

VISIT. Navy destroyer Munmu The Great pulls into Pier 15 of the Manila South Harbor on September 2, 2019. Photo by Lito Borras/Rappler

Yang acknowledged the Philippine Expeditionary Forces to Korea (PEFTOK) as the first ground troops to assist South Korea in the Korean War, saying the ROKN “will forever remember the noble sacrifice of PH forces." He added that the visit will commemorate war veterans and enhance cooperation exchange with the Philippine Navy (PN).

On August 20, the Philippines welcomed the BRP Conrado Yap, a refurbished Pohang-class corvette donated by South Korea. Named after a Philippine Army captain killed in action during the Korean War in 1951, the Conrado Yap is the PN’s most powerful vessel do date.

FRIENDSHIP. The Republic of Korea Navy's warships Munmu The Great and Hwacheon are part of a Cruise Training Task Group with 600 sailors and 100 cadets. Photo by Lito Borras/Rappler

Talks are underway between the two countries for the possible donation of two more Pohang-class corvettes, as the Philippine government considers acquiring two brand new corvettes from the South Korean shipbuilder Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI).

HHI is constructing two frigates for the PN expected to be delivered in 2020.

During their 3-day visit, the South Korean crew will have several engagements with their counterparts in the PN, including tours of the ships, receptions, sports events, and joint performances at the Luneta.

70 YEARS. The visit of the Republic of Korea Navy's warships mark 70 years of diplomatic ties with the Philippines, which helped South Korea fight the communist North during the Korean War. Photo by Lito Borras/Rappler

Yang will pay a courtesy call on Navy chief Vice Admiral Robert Empedradand PF Commander Rear Admiral Giovanni Carlo Bacordo.

The Philippines was the fifth country to recognize the Republic of Korea in 1949, when official ties were established between the two countries.

Roxas Night Market blast victims demand a final decision on case

From the Davao Today (Sep 2, 2019): Roxas Night Market blast victims demand a final decision on case

Three years after the bloody Roxas Night Market bombing incident, victims asked the court to speed up the trial.

On Sunday, one of the victims who asked to be unnamed for her security said that they have been waiting three years for the Court’s decision. They have been expecting a court decision favorable for the victims as many lives were lost and many families suffered because of the incident.

“What we want is immediate justice for us victims, for our colleagues, and their families. This all we want,” she said.

In an interview with Taguig City Prosecutor Vincent Villena, who was in attendance of the holy mass in Roxas Night Market memorial park for the third commemoration, he said “the court might come up” with a decision on the case this year.

Villena is confident that the evidence they presented to the court against the seven accused can sustain a verdict of conviction saying their “evidence can prove it beyond reasonable doubt”.

“We have witnesses who saw and found the perpetrators,” said Villena.

The star witness identified the seven accused people as members of the Maute group who did the attack as part of their “initiation”. Aside from the star witness, authorities and victims of the blast have already filed their statement to the prosecution.

However, Villena said the court hearing will also tackle the motion for bail filed by the accused claiming that the evidence is weak. Currently, all seven accused are detained in Camp Bagong Diwa in Taguig, after a transfer from Davao City Jail for security reasons.

“It’s also their right to file a motion but we are confident that the court will deny it,” he added.

Another victim also reacted to hear about the motion for bail filed by the accused.

In an interview, she told Davao Today that granting temporary freedom to the accused will only “add salt to their wounds” as victims of the blast.

“You see, all of us here wanted them to rot in jail. They took a lot of lives including mine. Granting them even a temporary freedom would only add wounds to our heart. I hope the court will deny it,” she said.

Back in 2016, the victim who also asked to hide her identity, was a massage therapist in Roxas Night Market. After the blast, she lost he left leg that prompted her to lose her work.

Her current condition limits her ability to earn a living and help her family.

On September 02, 2016, 15 persons were killed and another 70 were wounded in a bomb explosion on a busy Friday night at the Roxas Night Market.

Fiscal: Witnesses identify Roxas perpetrators

From the Mindanao Times (Sep 2, 2019): Fiscal: Witnesses identify Roxas perpetrators

Three years after the tragic Roxas Night Market bombing incident, the prosecutor handling the case said they have presented strong evidence against the accused.

The star witness, Taguig City Prosecutor Vincent Villena told reporters in an interview during the third year commemoration of the bombing incident at the Memorial Marker in Roxas Avenue yesterday, is one of the accused “who actually witnessed almost everything.”

“I am very confident that the evidence that we presented will sustain a verdict of conviction. With the evidence, we will really prove it beyond reasonable doubt,” said Villena.

He said they have already filed a motion to discharge the star witness as one of the seven accused.

The accused are currently detained at the Camp Bagong Diwa, specifically in a detention facility with detainees whose cases were transferred from provinces.

The case was transferred from Davao City to Taguig City in Metro Manila for security reasons.

The perpetrators are allegedly part of the Maute group as testified by the state witness. Villena added that the bombing is part of an initiation as mentioned by the star witness.

The accused are currently asking the court if they could post bail, claiming weak evidence.

“They tried to attack the credibility of the state witness but of course, you can hardly destroy truth,” Villena said. “(We) are very confident that (the bail) will be denied.”

Aside from the star witness, other witnesses already presented by the prosecution include some blast victims and police officers who investigated the case.

With the testimony of the star witness, the police officers, and victims who actually identified the perpetrators, Villena said “I am very much confident that it (petition to bail) will be denied.”

They are awaiting for the decision of the judge on the bail petition.

A victim who had her leg amputated from the bombing said they will never allow to have the accused be bailed out.

“They took many lives. I no longer have the same life after the bombing incident because my leg was amputated. I even feel like I am also dead in my current condition because I can hardly move now. I also lost my livelihood after the incident and rely now to my parents,” Eldie Ampaso, 29, a sweet corn vendor at the Roxas Night Market when the incident happened.

On Sept. 2, 2016, the bomb exploded in a busy Friday night, killing 15 persons and wounded 70 others. A holy mass was offered yesterday in commemoration of the tragic incident.

Villena said they are hoping the decision of the case will be out by the end of the year.

“As we noted, the court is really dedicated to finish the proceedings. There is even an instruction as a matter of policy to the handling prosecutor to not entertain any delay in the proceedings,” he added.

Yesterday’s commemoration was attended by City Administrator lawyer Zuleika Lopez, some survivors and families and friends of the ill-fated victims.

NPA is persona non grata in six Davao Norte villages

From the Mindanao Times (Sep 3, 2019): NPA is persona non grata in six Davao Norte villages

Six more Barangays in Davao Del Norte declared the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army persona non grata on August 30.

Col. Nolasco Mempin, the commander of 1003rd Infantry Brigade, said identified them as barangays Magwawa, San Jose, Balagunan, Tulalian, Bobongon, and New Visayas, all of Santo Tomas town in Davao del Norte.

The ceremony in Barangay Jose covered court was witnessed by Santo Tomas Mayor Ernesto T. Evangelista; Mempin; and Lt. Col. Silas Trasmontero, the 89th Infantry Battalion commander.

Mempin said these barangays are already cleared from armed groups or NPA but they are adjacent to Davao City and Talaingod. They serve as escape or supply routes of the communist guerrillas..

“They decided to make barangay resolutions to support the call of Interior Secretary Eduardo Año for local executives and vulnerable groups like Lumads to make a stand against the CPP-NPA-NDF (National Democratic Front),” he said.

“This is also in connection to EO 70 or Task Force to End Local Armed Conflict,” he added.

50 journalists, Navy personnel trained on scuba diving basics

From the Mindanao Times (Sep 3, 2019): 50 journalists, Navy personnel trained on scuba diving basics

Fifty media practitioners and Navy personnel were trained by the Naval Forces Eastern Mindanao (NFEM) on the basics of scuba diving in Vanishing Island, Island Garden City of Samal on Sunday.

In an interview at the island on Sunday, Commodore Antonio Palces, the NFEM commander, said the activity is part of their 28th anniversary celebration on Sept. 13. They also want to build a closer partnership with the local journalists.

“Because we believe that the media is very important partner of the Naval Forces Eastern Mindanao. Without the media, the people will not know what Naval Forces here is doing and how we will be able to help them,” Palces said.

For the past two years, the NFEM always conducted a shooting competition with the media practitioners. This year, they decided to come up with scuba diving lessons as another way to build camaraderie.

“We have lots of seasoned divers here,” he said. “We have Navy Seals. I’m very confident that everybody would be safe because of them.”

One team of Navy Seals or the Naval Special Operations Unit (NAVSOU) 7 was deployed to assist the participants during the scuba diving. The team was composed of divers, seal operators, and special boat crew.

Before reaching the island, the participants rode a multi-purpose attack craft.

Meanwhile, he said he will be calling the local chief executives in the region to discuss maritime concerns. On Tuesday afternoon, they will call on Governor Edwin Jubahib of Davao del Norte.

“I want to get the cooperation of local government because this is what we did during my previous assignments and we found out that partnership with them is very important, especially in maritime activities,” he said.

“In the same manner, we will be able to capacitate the members of the local government, especially in performing maritime securities wherein we will be engaging the owners of the resort and we’ll be using them as an our eyes and ears by training and incapacitating them,” he added.

More rebels lay down arms in Philippines

From the Arab News (Sep 2, 2019): More rebels lay down arms in Philippines

In this file photo, Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) rebels gather inside their camp in Mindanao. (AFP)

  • Murad told Arab News that leaders of other armed groups in the region are now considering dropping their weapons to live normal lives
COTABATO CITY: Barely six months since its inception, the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM), led by Chief Minister Al Hajj Murad Ebrahim, continues to show positive signs of bringing genuine peace to the Philippines’ restive south.

With the decommissioning process for the 40,000 combatants of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and the Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Forces (BIAF) underway this week, Murad told Arab News that leaders of other armed groups in the region are now considering dropping their weapons to live normal lives, too.

BIAF is the military wing of the MILF, once the largest Muslim insurgent group in the Philippines, which Murad also heads.

Interviewed at his BARMM office, Murad said that “some factions” of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) and the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) are considering returning to the folds of the law.

In 2014, both the BIFF, a splinter group of the MILF, and the ASG, the most violent militant organization in Mindanao, pledged allegiance to Daesh. Neither the BIFF nor the ASG is led by one leader, as they have also splintered into several factions.

“For our part, we continue to reach out to these groups, trying to convince them to give the BARMM a chance and join us in developing our homeland,” he said. “Initially, they have signified that they might be interested ... and that’s a good development,” Murad continued.

“From the BIFF, there are two groups that are responsive, and a faction from the Abu Sayyaf, both their leaders and members,” Murad said. “We are hoping they would really heed our call.”

Murad said that there has been a reduction of violence in the region based on their own monitoring. The last major violent incident was the bombing of an army command post in Sulu in June this year, which killed eight people and injured 22 others.

Earlier, Presidential Peace Adviser Carlito Galvez said that if the other armed groups saw the fruits of this process (of decommissioning), he believed it would encourage them to lay down their arms.

Aside from the various Moro fronts whose members still bear weapons, there are other armed groups operating in Mindanao such as private armies, communist insurgents, and extremist organizations.

According to Galvez, the main goal of the government is for non-state armed groups to become irrelevant in the country. Based on his informal conversations with representatives of these armed groups, some of them have already “expressed their desire to be a part of the decommissioning process.”

“The willingness to give up their firearms is already a sign that they want to change their lives,” he said.

The decommissioning of the former BIAF members is part of the normalization track of the MILF-Government of the Philippines peace agreement. The combatants, their families and communities are to receive a comprehensive socioeconomic package that includes social protection package, sustainable livelihood programs, capacity-building training, health benefits and educational assistance.

Through these interventions, it is envisioned that the ex-fighters will be able to return to mainstream society, and the six government-acknowledged MILF camps and communities will be transformed into peaceful, productive and resilient communities.

The package for the ex-MILF fighters who undergo decommissioning and the prospect of starting a new life appears to appeal to some leaders and members of the other armed groups.

But a senior government official, who asked not to be named, has clarified that the Philippine government does not and will not negotiate with criminals and terrorists.

“There are no negotiations with these groups, especially the ASG and the BIFF. If they want to denounce violence, they can turn in their firearms but they must answer for the crimes they have committed,” the official said.

“They can go back to society but they won’t receive the same package as the former MILF combatants. However, the government will give them a chance. If they can prove their innocence, then they can avail themselves of government assistance.”

Esscom plays down Indonesian warning on Abu Sayyaf activity

Posted to Free Malaysia Today (Sep 2, 2019): Esscom plays down Indonesian warning on Abu Sayyaf activity

(Bernama pic)

KOTA KINABALU: The Eastern Sabah Security Command (Esscom) today played down a warning by the Indonesian consulate-general here advising its citizens to be wary of possible attacks by Abu Sayyaf cells off Sabah’s east coast, saying no such movement has been detected.

The letter, signed by consul Muhammad Muhsinin Dollsada, claimed three cells had been headed towards Malaysian waters as of Aug 30.

It also alleged that the groups were intent on carrying out kidnappings and targeting oil tankers, merchant ships, fishing trawlers and boats.

Esscom commander Hazani Ghazali said the information was inaccurate but that he had nonetheless instructed for an increase in security measures.

“We are always alert and ready for any criminal threat, especially concerning Abu Sayyaf, in the state’s waters.

“But so far there have been no movements (as claimed in the letter),” he said when contacted.

Esscom commander Hazani Ghazali.

Hazani added that Esscom has been in contact with its counterpart in the Philippines regarding any such moves by the terrorist cells.

According to the letter, which has been making the rounds on social media, the cells are operating in waters near the Sandakan district as well as the islands of Bakungan and Berhala, Tambisan Island off Lahad Datu and Taganak Island in the Philippines, among others.

It is believed to be directed at Indonesian citizens working as fishermen and seamen in Sabah waters.

ESSCom is wary and ready for any threat from Abu Sayyaf: Hazani

Posted to the Sun Daily (Sep 2, 2019): ESSCom is wary and ready for any threat from Abu Sayyaf: Hazani

LAHAD DATU: The Eastern Sabah Security Command (ESSCom) is always wary and ready to tackle any form of threats from the Abu Sayyaf in the waters of Eastern Sabah Security Command (ESSZone).

ESSCom Commander Datuk Hazani Ghazali (pix) said that
so far no movement from the Abu Sayyaf criminal group had been detected and that ESSCom would continue to be ready and wary of the group.

“ESSCom will always be wary on any criminal threat from the Abu Sayyaf terrorist group especially from the waters in the East Coast of Sabah,” he told Bernama today.

He was asked to comment on the notification issued by the Consulate General of the Republic of Indonesia (KJRI) which became viral since this morning saying that three groups of the Abu Sayyaf movement were reported to have made movements in the Eastern Sabah waters on Aug 30.

The group aimed to carry out kidnappings and was targeting several ships namely Kapal Batubara, Kapal Tanker, Nelayan Kapal Lengkong and Kapal Tarik Udang.

The KJRI notification letter is believed to be sent to Indonesian nationals working as fishermen and crew members of ships so that they would be wary when sailing or passing through the waters targeted by the Abu Sayyaf terrorists.

The letter stated several places or regions targeted by the terrorists namely Bakongan, Berhala, Sandakan, Mamiang, Tambisan and Taganak.

Hazani said ESSCom was also aware of the letter which was viralled and had contacted the Philippine security forces to track down the movement of the group. — Bernama

Soldiers hone shooting skills, maintain ‘combat readiness’ in Bukidnon

From the Philippine Information Agency (Sep 2, 2019): Soldiers hone shooting skills, maintain ‘combat readiness’ in Bukidnon

Featured Image

IMPASUGONG, Bukidnon — The troops of the 8th Infantry “Dependable” Battalion, 4th Infantry Division, Philippine Army maintain their shooting skills as they fired their issued firearms in their Unit Firing Range at Barangay Poblacion, Impasugong, Bukidnon.

In the scheduled ‘Annual Marksmanship’ of the unit, the “Dependable” troopers fired different kinds of issued weapons as they try to hit their target with limited time. They were tested with their capability to hit targets while in different positions to include kneeling, sitting, standing, and prone positions varying with different distances. Their endurance in bad weather were also tested if they can still aim and hit targets in any given weather condition.

Private First Class Leopoldo Legarde said in his statement after firing his R4A3 Carbine rifle, “My shooting skill keeps on improving as I keep on focusing in my practice, I can hit the target in any position and I know the adjustment I will do in varying distance.”

When asked by his team leader if he is ready to destroy the enemy of the state, he said in no hesitation, “I am always ready and available to serve and protect our community against the CPP-NPA terrorists.”

Lieutenant Colonel Ronald Illana, the commanding officer of the 8th Infantry Battalion said “we can’t deploy unprepared troops in the battleground, as their commander, I always ensure their preparations before going into battle.”

He also emphasized the importance of practice.

“There is no other preparation to win a battle but to keep on practicing,” Illana said.

The 8th Infantry Battalion is serious in ending the insurgency in the municipalities of Malitbog, Manolo Fortich, Sumilao, Impasugong, Cabanglasan and Malaybalay City, all in the province of Bukidnon.

“I am urging our citizenry to participate in our quest for peace and to continue reporting to our security forces any presence of threat groups in the area. (Kenneth T. Cabbigat, CMO Officer 8IB, 4ID PA/RLRB, PIA Bukidnon)

Ex-rebel shares experience in recruitment of students in CDO

From the Philippine Information Agency (Sep 2, 2019): Ex-rebel shares experience in recruitment of students in CDO 

Featured Image

A former rebel confessed that students are being recruited from various schools in Northern Mindanao to join the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA).

During the Talakayan on PIA, Lalaine (not her real name), 33, revealed
that legal front organizations such as the League of the Filipino Students, College Editors Guild of the Philippines, Student Christian Movement of the Philippines (SCMP), and Kabataan Partylist are being used in NPA recruitment.

Thirty-three-year old Lalaine (not her real name), a former rebel, admits that she was once a youth sector organizer of the NPA in Cagayan de Oro. Lalaine shares her experience as youth organizer during the Talakayan sa PIA" held on August 30 in Cagayan de Oro City. (RDM/PIA Cagayan de Oro)

Lalaine narrated that she was recruited when she was studying in Cagayan de Oro College (COC) through the Anak ng Bayan party list.

She said she became a team leader of Anak ng Bayan in her school and was given a lecture on "Maikling Kurso sa Lipunan at Rebolusyong Pilipino" (MKLRP). She and other nine students were later brought to a beach for “panunumpa” and oriented on Kabataang Makabayan.

“Doon sa orientation, sinabi na ang Kabataang Makabayan, NDF, at NPA ay may koneksyon sa isa’t-isa,” Lalaine confessed.

Lalaine said she also underwent a three-day education on Araling Aktibista (ARAK) and one-week urban poor immersion where she used issues on wage increase and benefits to agitate workers.

She further revealed that in 2005 she went to Agusan del Sur for a three-month exposure saying that it is mandatory for the Kabataang Makabayan to integrate into the countryside.

After her integration, Lalaine disclosed that she was tasked as a youth sector organizer in Agusan. However, her personality was compromised in 2007 prompting her to move to Cagayan de Oro where she recruited students from COC, Capitol University, Liceo University, Don Mariano University, and Xavier University under the organization SCMP.

According to her, they borrowed PE uniforms and used fake identification cards to get inside the universities.

Lalaine voluntarily surrendered to the government in January, this year.

Brigadier General Edgardo de Leon, commander of the Army's 403rd Infantry Brigade and co-chairperson of the Peace, Law Enforcement, and Development Support (PLEDS) task group, says he referred the case of Lalaine to the PIA to intensify the information drive on NPA propaganda. (RDM/PIA Cagayan de Oro)

The Talakayan sa PIA was conducted upon the request of the Peace, Law Enforcement, and Development Support (PLEDS) task group of the Regional Task Force on Ending Local Communist Armed Conflict (RTF-ELCAC) in Northern Mindanao.

Brigadier General Edgardo de Leon, commander of the Army's 403rd Infantry Brigade and co-chairperson of the PLEDS task group, said they referred the case of Lalaine to the PIA to intensify the information drive on NPA propaganda.“Kahit anong ganda ng programa ng gobyerno, sisiraan yan sa pamamagitan ng propaganda. Dito sa Talakayan, maipapaliwanag natin yung mga totoong nangyayari sa lipunan,” he said.

De Leon said Lalaine volunteered to share her personal experience to help in the information drive against NPA youth recruitment.

“Namumulat sila at nakita nila na malaki ang kanilang maitututlong sa public information kaya sila mismo ang humiling kung pwede ba silang lumitaw. Titingnan pa natin yung mga dating rebelde kung may gusto pang mag volunteer na susunod sa ginawa ni Lalaine,” he added. (APB/PIA-10)

NPA terrorist killed, 1 captured with war materials in AgSur town

From the Philippine Information Agency (Sep 2, 2019): NPA terrorist killed, 1 captured with war materials in AgSur town (By 402nd Brigade, CMO)

A New People’s Army (NPA) terrorist was killed and another one was captured while several war materials were recovered in a series of encounters between troops of 23rd Infantry Battalion and Communist Party of the Philippines – New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) terrorists on August 29, 2019, in Barangay Segunda, Esperanza, Agusan del Sur.

A platoon of 23IB encountered more or less five communist NPA terrorists (CNTs) believed to be members of weakened Guerilla Front 88 of the North Central Mindanao Regional Committee (NCMRC) in the mountainous area of said barangay after civilian residents reported the presence of fully armed men conducting teach-in and indoctrination.

According to Lt. Col. Francisco Molina Jr., 23IB commanding officer, “the CNTs did not expect that the residents in the area will disclose their whereabouts. After a five minute firefight, the troops found the body of the dead NPA and subsequently captured another one after troops surrounded the area.” He added that the troops recovered one .22 caliber rifle; one anti-personnel mine; and 20 meters electrical wire at the encounter site.

“Around 5:10 in the afternoon of same day, a pursuit operation was conducted in Brgy. Segunda, which resulted to a 25-minute firefight between troops of 23IB and more or less ten CNTs believed to be members of the same group encountered by said unit earlier that day. Reports revealed that there was no casualty on the side of the government while it was undetermined from the terrorist’s side. Moreover, one AK-47 rifle, one caliber 22 rifle and several war materials such as 18 magazines for AK-47 rifle; 2,000 rounds of Ctg 7.62mm ammunition for AK-47 rifle; 500 rounds Ctg. 5.56mm ammunition for M16 rifle; three bandoleers; 19 ponchos, two cellphones with SIM cards; one medicine kit; one kilo ammonium nitrate; and various subversive documents with high intelligence value were recovered after troops cleared and searched the area,” Molina said.

In his statement, Col. Maurito Licudine, commander of 402nd Infantry Brigade said, “We have been monitoring the movement of said group in the area. We laud the courage of the residents of Brgy. Segunda that despite the threat, they still provided information on the presence of the CNTs. We shall not stop going offer the CNTs because they only bring hardship and misery to the people. They destroy families and hamper peace and development.”

Licudine reiterates his call to the remaining CNTs to surrender and live peacefully with their families. "There are many ways in solving our differences and armed revolution is certainly not one of them. With the support of the civilians on our side, we shall relentlessly pursue you. You either surrender or be killed,” Licudine added.

The cadaver of the dead NPA was appropriately turned over to the local government unit of Esperanza while the captured NPA was remanded to the Municipal Police Station of Esperanza for proper disposition. Upon confirmation of their identities, respective families will be notified.

Since July of this quarter, the 402nd Brigade intensified the campaign against the CNTs resulted to the surrender of 455 CNTs and members of underground movement organizations (UGMOs) and 18 encounters which resulted to the recovery of eight firearms and killing of several CNTs to include two recovered dead NPA in the encounter site. (402nd Brigade, PA/PIA-Agusan del Sur)

CHR releases initial findings on wave of NegOr killings

From the Philippine News Agency (Sep 2, 2019): CHR releases initial findings on wave of NegOr killings

The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) in Negros Oriental on Monday released its initial findings on the wave of killings that rocked the province last June to July that spurred a Senate committee inquiry.

The CHR-Negros Oriental said the New People’s Army (NPA), the armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), perpetrated only two and not all of the shooting incidents in the province reported in July.

Special investigator Dr. Jess Cañete, provincial CHR chief, said he is inclined to believe that there is a vigilante group behind some of the killings, and is looking into the purported “hit list” being circulated around.

According to him, one of the names in the said “hit list” has been already killed.

In the Senate inquiry, the supposed existence of a vigilante group had also surfaced, prompting an investigation as ordered by the Philippine National Police (PNP) chief, Gen. Oscar Albayalde.

In fact, Cañete said there are two “hit lists” and not just one, the first of which was circulated as early as last year, by a group purportedly known as Kawsa Guihulnganon Batok Komunista or KAGUBAK.

The results that Cañete released showed that of the 22 deaths being investigated by the CHR, only those involving the four police intelligence officers in the municipality of Ayungon and the two former rebels in Zamboanguita were allegedly possibly perpetrated by the NPA.

The four policemen who were killed last July 18 in Sitio Yamot in Barangay Mabato, Ayungon were Cpl. Relebert Beronio, Pat. Roel Cabellon, Pat. Marquino de Leon, and Pat. Raffy Callao, while the rebel returnees who were shot dead last July 24 in Poblacion Zamboanguita were Weny Alegre and Felimeno Januan.

The CHR-Negros Oriental preliminary investigations noted the killings of Canlaon City Councilor Ramon Jalandoni, Barangay Captain Ernesto Posadas of Barangay Panubigan, Canlaon City, former Ayungon Mayor Edcel Enardecido of Ayungon, and Barangay Captain Romeo Alipan of Barangay Buenavista, Guihulngan City have three things in common: first, the door marks on their doors are consistent to be those of a battering ram; second, the same description of the number of perpetrators of about 20 to 30; and, the same description of vehicles used, e.g., cars and vans.

Jalandoni, Posadas, and Enardecido were shot dead on the same date, July 27, while Alipan was killed on July 25.

The CHR initial observations also noted the time element of the Jalandoni, Posadas, and Enardecido murders, committed at 12:05 a.m., 12:20 a.m. and 2:40 a.m. on the same date.

Jalandoni and Posadas were both inside their houses in the same barangay in Panubigan, Canlaon City, same with Enardecido, whose house in Ayungon was about 86 kilometers from Canlaon City.

Other observations were also noted via video footage taken from closed circuit television (CCTV) in the Jalandoni compound.

On the deaths of lawyer Anthony Trinidad last July 23 and the Bayawa siblings, Arthur and Ardale last July 25 in Guihulngan City, the CHR findings showed that one thing in common: a land dispute between the Bayawas and the informal settlers, a case that the late siblings, represented by Trinidad, had won in court.

Alipan, meanwhile, was one of those mentioned in a letter of supposed targets for allegedly supporting the NPA, the CHR-Negros Oriental said.

On the killing of Marlon Ocampo and his one-year-old son Marjun, who were shot dead inside their house in Barangay San Jose, Sta. Catalina last July 25, the possible motive could be a land dispute, contrary to earlier reports it was perpetrated by the NPA.

As to the murder of Federico Sabejon last July 27 in Poblacion, Siaton, CHR investigation revealed that “he had a hand in organizing new claimants in a landholding in Siaton which had long been settled by the DAR (Department of Agrarian Reform).”

“It was the same landholding where individuals were allegedly shot to death by the alleged guards. The case is still pending in court,” the CHR here said.

The rest of the cases, according to Cañete, need to be further investigated and “also to be determined if these fall under common crimes.”

These include the deaths of Lito Itao in Barangay Buenavista, Guihulngan City last July 27; Barangay Capt. Sunny Caldera of Mabato, Ayungon on July 22; Raklin Asturias in Maloh, Siaton, last July 25; Reden Eleuterio in Tampocon, Ayungon, last July 27, and Ananciano Rosalita in Panubigan, Canlaon City, last July 28.

The deaths of the 22 people being investigated by the CHR were reported from June 27 to July 28.