Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Pinabacdao: First to create MTF-ELCAC, first to sum up RCSP in Samar

From the Philippine Information Agency (Oct 16, 2019): Pinabacdao: First to create MTF-ELCAC, first to sum up RCSP in Samar

PINABACDAO, Samar -- The Pinabacdao Municipal Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (MTF ELCAC) held the first ever Community Support Program (CSP) summing up meeting in Samar.

According to Lt. Col. Rhomel Langcauon, commanding officer of the 46th Infantry Battalion, the summing up activity aims to brief the team on the initially gathered information of this unit regarding the issues and concerns exploited by the CTGs and leftist groups to the five Priority Barangays of the town.

Langcauon said, the meeting was successfully conducted under the leadership of Hon. Teodoro Mabag, municipal mayor of Pinabacdao, Samar who is at the same time the chairman of MTF-ELCAC, and actively participated in by the members held at SB Session Hall of the town.

In the meeting, the briefing of Primary and Secondary Issues identified in the barangays resulted to the transcript of their ideas about the dimensions of the issue and what can be done to solve the problems and preserve the strengths that provides the basis for subsequent planning that will yield to a positive result in order to transform these affected areas to a conflict-resilient and develop community.

This 1st summing-up activity, Langcauon added, will be the preparation for the conduct of barangay immersions scheduled on the following dates: Brgy. Pelaon – Oct. 15, 2019; Brgy. Layo – Oct. 17-18, 2019; Brgy. Manaing – Oct. 22, 2019; Brgy. Canlobo – Oct. 29-30, 2019; Brgy. Magdawat – Nov. 6, 2019; and Serbisyo Caravan - TBDL.

A regular RCSP immersion shall be conducted after these activities, he added.

The activity was attended by 801st Brigade personnel, 46IB Officers, 8CMO Battalion Officers, MLGOO-Pinabacdao, MPDO, MSWDO, MAO, MENRO, DAR, SB members, Barangay Captains and other LGU members. (PA/PIA8)


PAF allots P32-M for repair of attack aircraft

From the Philippine News Agency (Oct 16, 2019): PAF allots P32-M for repair of attack aircraft

The Philippine Air Force (PAF), through its Bids and Awards Committee, is allocating PHP32.98 million for the acquisition of spare parts needed for the repair and maintenance of the electrical instrument systems of one of its Rockwell OV-10 "Bronco" attack aircraft.

The submission and opening of bids will be on October 28, 9:15 a.m. at the PAF Procurement Center Conference Room, Villamor Air Base, Pasay City, the bid bulletin posted at the Philippine Government Electronic Procurement System said Tuesday.

"The Philippine Air Force reserves the right to reject any and all bids, declare a failure of bidding, or not award the contract at any time prior to contract award in accordance with Section 41 of RA 9184 and its IRR, without thereby incurring any liability to the affected bidder or bidders," said PAF Bids and Awards Committee chairperson Brig. Gen. Carlo Bueno N. Buena in the bid bulletin.

The PAF is known to operate between six to eight OV-10 units for patrol missions.

Like its other air attack assets, the "Bronco" is assigned to the 15th Strike Wing based in Sangley Point, Cavite.


PH Army beefing up cyber-defense capabilities

From the Philippine News Agency (Oct 16, 2019): PH Army beefing up cyber-defense capabilities

STRENGTHENING CYBER-DEFENSE. Major Gen. Tyne T. Bañas, PA Chief of Installation and Management Command, stresses the need for continuous enhancement of cyber-defense capabilities of the Army during the 2nd Gat Andres Bonifacio Colloquium on Monday (Oct 14, 2019). The forum aims to broaden the PA’s knowledge and strategies in addressing the challenges of hybrid threats. (Photo courtesy of the Army Chief Public Affairs)

The Philippine Army (PA) continues to beef up its cyber-defense capabilities.

This was emphasized during the conduct of the 2nd Gat Andres Bonifacio Colloquium on Monday, with the theme, “Building Resilience in the Age of Disruption: Strengthening the Army’s Cyber Defense Capabilities”.

Army spokesperson Lt. Col. Ramon Zagala, in a statement Tuesday, said the activity aims to broaden the PA’s knowledge and strategies in addressing the challenges of hybrid threats.

“The problem is more on the [human] attacker side because the malware is just a tool. You cannot invest in technology alone, you need people. Security is a process and not a product,” said subject matter expert speaker and Army reservist. Lt. Col. Roland J. Ong, who is a territory manager and solutions consultant in a cybersecurity firm that responds to cyber breaches worldwide.

Zagala said the forum provided Army leaders and other participating units of the Armed Forces of the Philippines an in-depth discussion on the latest developments and threats in cybersecurity.

Other key speakers also discussed the significant approaches that will fortify the Army’s cyber capabilities through the utilization of the country’s cyber competencies.

Meanwhile, guest-of-honor and speaker, PA Chief of Installation and Management Command, Major Gen. Tyne T. Bañas, emphasized that “the continuous enhancement of our [Army’s] cyber-related capabilities is now an integral part of developing a responsive defense posture that can effectively address fast-evolving threats.”

He also highlighted the importance of such operations in countering the spread of violent extremism narratives in the cyber domain.

The event is the second of the three-part series colloquium that provides extensive discourse anchored on the topics of the 12th Senior Leaders Conference.

The first leg was launched last July that tackled the Army’s strategic communication of effective messaging in the era of disinformation and fake news. The last part of the colloquium is set to take place before the year ends.

“We must build up our ability to address and undermine cyber-related threats. May the insights of today fortify our capacity to operate and prevail in cyberspace, as part of our mandate to serve the people and secure the land,” Bañas concluded. (


Soldiers clash with ASG in Basilan

From the Manila Bulletin (Oct 15, 2019): Soldiers clash with ASG in Basilan

Government troops encountered around 15 armed members of the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) in Maluso, Basilan province before dawn Tuesday.

Philippine Army (MANILA BULLETIN)

Elements of the Philippine Army’s 68th Infantry (Kaagapay) Battalion (68IB) were conducting security operations at the vicinity of Brgy. Calang Canas around 1:50 a.m. when they chanced upon the armed group.

Major Arvin Encinas, spokesperson of the Western Mindanao Command, said no casualty was recorded on the side of the government troops while there were an undetermined number on the enemy’s side as evidenced by trickles of blood at the encounter site.

“Actually, chance encounter lang ‘yun. The troops were conducting security patrol in the area after nating makareceive ng information from concerned citizens na this group will conduct IED [improvised explosive device] attacks,” Encinas said.

He bared that the group they encountered are under the command of Basilan-based commander Furuji Indama who has plans to bomb military camps and urbanized areas within the month.

The firefight lasted for 20 minutes.

“After noon, wala na, hindi na nasundan,” he said.

He said the patrol operations were being done regularly at any time of the day as preventive measures against possible terror attacks in the area.

Clearing operations resulted to the recovery of at least six IEDs at the encounter site.

Pursuit operations were on-going to locate the group which immediately fled after the gun battle after being overpowered by the military, Encinas said.

Troops foil Abu bomb plot in Basilan

From the Philippine Star (Oct 16, 2019): Troops foil Abu bomb plot in Basilan

Maj. Arvin Encinas, Western Mindanao Command spokesman, said six improvised explosive devices (IEDs) were recovered from around 20 bandits that soldiers of the 68th Infantry Battalion encountered in Barangay Calang Canas, Maluso at around 2 a.m. yesterday.   File

Government security forces have foiled an attempt of Abu Sayyaf bandits to bomb several areas in Basilan.

Maj. Arvin Encinas, Western Mindanao Command spokesman, said
six improvised explosive devices (IEDs) were recovered from around 20 bandits that soldiers of the 68th Infantry Battalion encountered in Barangay Calang Canas, Maluso at around 2 a.m. yesterday.

There was no reported casualty on the side of the government.

“The troops clashed with the bandits while conducting security patrol amid reports that the group of Furuji Indama would launch bomb attacks,” Encinas said.

Indama is an associate of Islamic State for Southeast Asia emir Isnilon Hapilon, who was killed along with the Maute brothers at the height of the fighting in Marawi in 2017.

Military informants said the bandits intended to detonate the IEDs in populated areas.

“Our soldiers conducted security patrols in line with our continuing efforts in tandem with local leaders to derail any terror plot by the bandits,” Encinas said.


Police mobile forces in Caraga to undergo performance audit

From the Philippine News Agency (Oct 15, 2019): Police mobile forces in Caraga to undergo performance audit

REVIEW ON READINESS. Officers and staff members of the Directorate for Integrated Police Operations in Eastern Mindanao of the Philippine National Police are conducting an operational review and performance audit of the mobile forces of the Police Regional Office 13 (Caraga). The review and audit began on Monday (Oct. 14, 2019) and will end on Friday (Oct. 18, 2019). (Photo courtesy of PRO-Caraga Information Office)

Officers and staff members of the Directorate for Integrated Police Operations in Eastern Mindanao (DIPO-EM) have begun the operational review and performance audit of the mobile forces of the Police Regional Office (PRO) 13 (Caraga).

The review and audit started on Monday and will end on Friday, PRO-13’s Information Office said in a statement to the media on Tuesday.

The operational review and performance audit is headed by Brig. Gen. Ronaldo F. de Jesus, executive officer of DIPO-EM and audit team leader.

Subject to the review and audit are the Regional Mobile Force Battalion (RMFB) of PRO-13 and the provincial mobile forces.

“The activity aims to assess the operational readiness of our mobile forces, as well as their efficiency in cross-border operations and interoperability with other PNP (Philippine National Police) and AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines) units,” said Brig. Gen. Joselito T. Esquivel Jr., PRO-13 director.

Esquivel said the internal security operations of PRO-13 are gaining headway with the surrender of members of the Communist Party of the Philippines - New People’s Army and the increasing support of the people for government programs.

The exit briefing is set on Friday at the PRO-13 headquarters where the findings and recommendations of the audit team will be presented.


At least 600 Moro families flee as clan war erupts in Maguindanao

From the Philippine Daily Inquirer (Oct 15, 2019): At least 600 Moro families flee as clan war erupts in Maguindanao

Datu Montawal government workers distribute relief goods to some 600 families displaced by armed hostilities triggered by territorial dispute between two MILF leaders. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

At least 600 families fled from their homes in Maguindanao town after warring clans started trading bullets on Monday, police and military authorities said.

Classes were suspended at the Balogo Elementary School in Barangay Dungguan, Datu Montawal town in Maguindanao after two warring armed groups started shooting at each other over a territorial dispute.

Balogo Elementary School principal Eskak Esmael said classes remained suspended today, Tuesday, while tension remained high in the village.

Almost 600 families fled to safer grounds, most of them taking refuge at the Datu Montawal town center.

Classes were also suspended in Matalam Farm Resettlement Elementary School in Datu Montawal and Mamalimping Elementary School in the adjacent town of Pagalungan, also in Maguindanao.

Brig. Gen. Alfredo Rosario Jr., 602nd Infantry Brigade commander, said an amicable settlement had been reached between the warring families facilitated by the government and Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) ceasefire committee on Sunday.

However, both sides violated the agreement and started shooting at each other again the next day.
The protagonists were both MILF members.

The military launched artillery fires on Monday afternoon to separate the warring groups.

Rosario said it was a “rido” (clan war) involving MILF members.

MILF leaders have been trying to reach out to warring parties for them to disengage and allow the evacuees to return home.

Kalinaw News: Agsur town eyes creation of task for to end insurgency

Posted to Kalinaw News (Oct 15, 2019): Agsur town eyes creation of task for to end insurgency

Bayugan City, Agusan del Sur – Prosperidad Municipal Peace and Order Council (MPOC) and the Municipal Development Council (MDC) convened with the agenda to discuss Executive Order No. 70 and the formulation and creation of Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (ELCAC) through a joint resolution today in Prosperidad Municipal Hall, Prosperidad, Agusan del Sur.

Major Adrian Q. Muaňa, Commanding Officer of 8th Special Forces “Dragoons” Company (8SFC) of the 3rd Special Forces Battalion (3SFB) discussed the provisions of the Executive Order No. 70 and its 12 Clusters Line of Efforts to address the root causes of insurgency while Atty. Daniel P. Longaquit, MPA, Municipal Local Government Operations Officr (MLGOO) and Prosperidad MPOC secretary reinforced the recommendation and the need to create the ELCAC Task force of LGU Prosperidad to attain inclusive growth and sustainable peace which will boost the tourism and developmental potentials of the municipality. Longaquit also discussed the duties and functions of local task forces from provincial to barangay level.

Mayor Frederick Mark P. Mellana, who presided the meeting, enjoined both councils to speed up the creation and finalization of the resolution for the task force to operationalize immediately.

“Upon the creation of the Local Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict in Prosperidad, I urge and require all 32 barangays of this municipality to do the same and adopt the resolution to create your respective Barangay Task Forces,” he said.

Bayugan City was the first to create a local task force to end insurgency in the province of Agusan del Sur and Prosperidad would be the third LGU once the resolution is finalized and adopted by the MPOC and MDC. Both Bayugan and Prosperidad are areas covered by the 8SFC, 3SFBn. On the other hand, the Municipality of Esperanza under operational jurisdiction of the 26th Infantry Battalion also created their Local Task Force ELCAC.

[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: contact@kalinawnews.com]

Albayalde relinquishes post: Gamboa takes over as OIC PNP chief

From Panay News (Oct 15, 2019): Albayalde relinquishes post: Gamboa takes over as OIC PNP chief

“After careful thought and deliberation, I have come to the decision to relinquish my post and go on a non-duty status,” Philippine National Police chief General Oscar Albayalde. Albayalde announces during a flag-raising ceremony at Camp Crame on Monday. PNP VIA AP

Philippine National Police (PNP) chief General Oscar Albayalde stepped down from his post on Monday – earlier than previously announced – as he battled allegations he protected his men accused of selling seized narcotics.

“After careful thought and deliberation, I have come to the decision to relinquish my post as Chief PNP effective (on Monday) and go on a non-duty status,” Albayalde said during a flag-raising ceremony at Camp Crame.

The embattled police chief said he already submitted his resignation letter to Interior secretary Eduardo Año, who endorsed it to President Rodrigo Duterte.

“Since I am retiring compulsory on Nov. 8, 2019, this will pave the way for the appointment of my replacement should the President so desires,” Albayalde said.

His classmate, Lieutenant General Archie Gamboa, deputy chief for administration of the PNP was named as officer-in-charge (OIC).

Gamboa said that, as the PNP OIC, he will continue the program that was started by Albayalde until President Duterte chooses who will become the next PNP chief.

“Ipagpapatuloy ko ang programang nasimulan ni General Albayalde,” Gamboa said. “I’d like to address to entire PNP that this is a temporary sequence of events, this is a transition, let’s do our job on a daily basis and let’s not other controversies affect us.”

Meanwhile, Sen. Richard Gordon said he feels sorry that Albayalde had to resign over the ninja cops issue but added this action should allow the police organization to reexamine itself.

“A little bit sorry na nangyari sa kanya ‘yan (Albayalde’s resignation) pero kailangan talagang imbestigahan dahil napakalaking kaso nito,” Gordon said in an interview with DZBB.

According to Gordon, not even Albayalde’s resignation can save him from the cases to be slapped against him.

“I think ang resignation niya ay to re-examine itself, para tignan kung sino ang mga mabubuting tao na ilagay talaga diyan at ‘wag na nilang patulan ang ginagawang ninja cops o hulidap na pinapaikot ang illegal na droga,” he added.

Gordon also said that his Blue Ribbon Committee will come out with its recommendation of cases to be filed against Albayalde and other “ninja cops” later this week.

“Ilalabas ko na ang committee report ko either Wednesday or Thursday,” Gordon said. “Haharapin pa rin niya (Albayalde) ang kasong paparating kahit na nagresign na siya as PNP chief.”

During his resignation speech in the flag-raising ceremony at Camp Crame on Monday morning, Albayalde has reiterated his denial on the involvement in the alleged recycling of illegal drugs seized in operations.

“On the matter of the Senate investigation in regard which I have been implicated, I want to reiterate that I am not involved in the irregularities in the said police operation,” Albayalde said.

Albayalde allegedly intervened to stop the dismissal of Police Lieutenant Colonel Rodney Raymundo Baloyo and 12 other policemen from Pampanga who were found guilty of grave misconduct in connection with a drug operation in the province in 2013, retired general Benjamin Magalong said during the Senate hearing.

Another retired general in Rudy Lacadin, for his part, bared in a Senate hearing that Albayalde had called him and said that he only got a small portion on the controversial buy bust operation conducted by police officers in Pampanga in November 2013.

Albayalde was the chief of Pampanga police when the 13 police officers allegedly let suspected drug lord Johnson Lee flee in exchange for P50 million while most of the 200 kilos of shabu confiscated during the operation were not declared and presumed to have been sold back to the drug market.

Albayalde denied allegations that he was involved in any way with the operation and that he intervened in the implementation of a dismissal order on the 13 police officers involved.

Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo said that Albayalde “could have enough” of the allegations against him forcing him to tender his resignation ahead of his mandatory retirement.

“I can only speculate that he has had enough of the innuendos, the accusations, according to him which are false and unfair, the faily is suffering from it so he decided to have an earlier turnover,” Panelo said in an interview with CNN Philippines.


Philippines, U.S., Japan hold military drills near West PH Sea

From Rappler (Oct 15, 2019): Philippines, U.S., Japan hold military drills near West PH Sea

Japan joins the yearly exercise for the first time as regional allies build 'interoperability' in responding to security threats and natural disasters

REGIONAL ALLIES. The Philippines, United States, and Japan hold joint military exercises near the West Philippine Sea to build 'interoperability' in responding to security threats and natural disasters. AFP FILE PHOTO/NOEL CELIS

The navies of the Philippines, the US, and Japan began on Monday, October 14, a weeklong series of joint exercises based off Palawan, the Philippine province nearest the contentious West Philippine Sea.

In a ceremony in Puerto Princesa City, Palawan, the Philippine Navy, the US Navy, and the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) formally opened the third iteration of the Maritime Training Activity (MTA) Sama-Sama (altogether), which used to be called Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT).

This is Japan’s first time to join its strategic allies, the Philippines and the US, in the yearly drills.

Sailors from the 3 countries will work together on both shore-based and at-sea activities “designed to allow participating navies to undertake complex maritime training utilizing diverse naval platforms and operating areas,” the US Pacific Fleet said in a statement.

Shore based activities include maritime domain awareness, force protection, medical care, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, explosive ordnance disposal, dive-and-salvage operations, engineering, aviation, as well as visit, board, search, and seizure (VBSS) operations.

At sea, the 3 navies will do VBSS drills, division tactics, a search and rescue exercise, helicopter deck landing qualifications, anti-air and surface warfare tracking, and vessel-of-interest tracking.

“The MTA Sama-Sama is one of the very important training exercises as it provides an avenue for the participants to develop and enhance joint interoperability to respond to regional crises,” said Major General Dante Hidalgo, Vice Commander of the Philippine Navy.

"We are strongest when we sail together…. We train together, so that together we can face threats to maritime security,” said US Navy Rear Admiral Joey Tynch, who oversees security cooperation for the U.S. Navy in Southeast Asia.

"Any time we can execute realistic, combined scenarios with our partners, it goes a long [way] to make us better and more effective together," said Captain Ann McCann, deputy commodore of Destroyer Squadron 7.

The US Navy is deploying the littoral combat ship USS Montgomery, the dock landing ship USS Germantown, the expeditionary fast transport USNS Millinocket, the salvage ship USNS Salvor, the US Coast Guard cutter USCG Stratton, and a P-8A Poseidon aircraft.

The USS Germantown earlier featured in the Kaagapay ng Mandirigma ng Dagat (KAMANDAG) amphibious landing exercise on October 12 in Ternate, Cavite, with Filipino, American, and Japanese marines.

The USS Montgomery, meanwhile, is on a rotational deployment to the Indo-Pacific region. It visited Davao City in July 2019.

The Philippine contingent will reportedly include the offshore patrol vessel BRP Andres Bonifacio.

Mutual defense

The Philippines and the US regularly hold joint military exercises based on agreements anchored to their 1951 Mutual Defense Treaty. (READ: US reaffirms pact to defend PH in case of West Philippine Sea attack)

Other regional allies like Japan have either observed or participated in the exercises.

The Philippines faces a security threat from China, which claims a large portion of the West Philippine Sea as its sovereign territory despite an arbitral ruling based on the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea that debunks that claim and affirms the Philippines’ sovereign rights to the strategic and resource-rich waters.

The US Navy has been patrolling the area more frequently to assert the freedom of navigation and overflight afforded by international law, while the US government has become increasingly vocal in criticizing China’s actions that “destabilize” the region’s security.

Despite opposition from several Southeast Asian countries laying overlapping claims over parts of the broader South China Sea, China has militarized its installations built on reclaimed reefs, some within the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone.

In the absence of a credible military deterrent from the Philippines, joint naval patrols with international allies “help assert the Philippines’ arbitral victory in the West Philippine Sea,” according to Supreme Court Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio, who had helped build the Philippines’ landmark maritime case.


7 PMA cadets tagged in Dormitorio’s death to be court martialed

From Rappler (Oct 15, 2019): 7 PMA cadets tagged in Dormitorio’s death to be court martialed

Court martial proceedings will run parallel to criminal cases filed against the cadets accused of hazing, torturing, and murdering the 20-year-old plebe

ORDERS. File photo of PMA Commandant Brigadier General Romeo Brawner Jr. Photo by Nappy Manegdeg/Rappler

The 7 cadets of the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) implicated in the hazing, torture, and death of Cadet 4th Class Darwin Dormitorio will be tried by a court martial of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), said PMA Commandant of Cadets Brigadier General Romeo Brawner Jr.

The AFP General Headquarters will convene a general court martial to try the administrative cases filed against the 7 PMA cadets, Brawner told CNN Philippines in an interview on Tuesday, October 15.

“As I learned from our judge advocate, they will be charged with Article of War 97,” Brawner said.

Article 97 of the Commonwealth-era law establishing a system of military justice for persons subject to military law states: “General Article - Though not mentioned in these articles, all disorders and neglects to the prejudice of good order and military discipline, and all conduct of a nature to bring discredit upon the military service, shall be taken cognizance of by a general or special court-martial according to the nature and degree of the offense, and punished at the discretion of the court.”

The PMA cadets accused of hazing, torturing, and murdering Dormitorio are

Cadet Third Class Shalimar Imperial
Felix M. Lumbag Jr
John Vincent Manalo
Julius Carlo Tadena
Rey David John Volante
Cadet Second Class Christian Zacarias
Cadet First Class Axl Ret Sanopao

They are currently detained at the PMA stockade in Baguio City.

Brawner said the court martial proceedings will run parallel to the criminal cases filed by the Dormitorio family against the 7 cadets.

It is unclear whether the PMA officers also tagged in the case will go through the same trial.

Dormitorio was found dying in his dormitory at the PMA campus, Fort General Gregorio del Pilar in Baguio City, before dawn on September 18. He died barely two hours later.

Initial investigations by the police and the PMA revealed that Dormitorio died of injuries he sustained from hazing and torture by upperclass cadets.

The PMA superintendent, commandant of cadets, and class baron all resigned in the aftermath of the incident. Other officers indirectly involved in Dormitorio’s case have been relieved of duty.


Mayor Sara not giving up on bid to lift Martial Law in DC

From the Mindanao Times (Oct 16, 2019): Mayor Sara not giving up on bid to lift Martial Law in DC

Mayor Sara Duterte answers questions fielded by reporters during a presscon after her State of the City Address at the Sangguniang Panlungsod held Monday. Bing Gonzales

Mayor Sara Duterte reiterated the call for President Rodrigo Duterte to exempt Davao City from Martial Law.

“We already sent a letter on Aug. 17 to the Office of the President where we also attached supporting documents pertaining our request to have the city be exempted from Martial Law,”
Duterte said.

“Yesterday, we also discussed it and then I said that it would be better if we also send these documents to the House of Representatives, Senate and the Department of National Defense,” she added.

Earlier, Lt. Gen. Cirilito Sobejana, AFP Western Mindanao Command chief, said the cities of Davao and Cagayan de Oro were not included in their recommendation of areas to remain under martial rule.

“We really support the support of the Armed Forces of the Philippines to have the city be exempted from Martial Law,” Duterte said.

In August this year, the Davao City Council passed a resolution asking the President to lift Martial Law here.

The Police Regional Office XI also expressed its support on the lifting of Martial Law, citing the decrease in the city’s crime volume and crime rate. The police also ensured that the city is “fully secured and safe from any form of terrorism.”

President Duterte declared the military rule in the entire Island of Mindanao on May 23, 2017 following the siege of Marawi City by Islamic State-inspired terrorist groups.

31 NPA leaders, rebels neutralized since Jan. 1

From the Mindanao Times (Oct 16, 2019): 31 NPA leaders, rebels neutralized since Jan. 1

Thirty-one members of the New People’s Army (NPA), including high-ranking leader, were neutralized in Eastern Mindanao area since Jan. 1 this year.

Lt. Col. Ezra Balagtey, the spokesperson of Eastern Mindanao Command, said the figures were presented during the Eastern Mindanao Command-Directorate for Integrated Police Operations Eastern Mindanao Inter-Agency Peace and Security Campaign Progress Review and Assessment on Oct. 14, 2019.

The activity was held at the Bayanihan Center, and attended by top military commanders and police officers in Eastern Mindanao.

Of the total, three were killed, 15 surrendered, and 13 were captured during clashes. Two of them held a position in the Mindanao committee level, seven in the regional committee level, six in the sub-regional level, 10 held a position in the front committee level, and six were platoon leaders.

Four of them were arrested in different areas in Eastern Mindanao on Oct. 10, 2019. Melissa Comiso, a finance officer of the Mindanao Committee and Nore Torregosa, alias Johnny, an intelligence officer of the NPA in Northern Mindanao were arrested during law enforcement operations in Limaha, Butuan City, Agusan Del Norte.

Virgilio Lincuna, head of the regional urban committee of the NPA in Northern Mindanao, was arrested in Tiniwasan, Butuan City, Agusan Norte, while Nicanor Pason alias Costan, a front secretary of the NPA in Far South Mindanao was arrested in Kalaong, Maitum, Sarangani Province.

Meanwhile, a total of 152 NPA regular members were neutralized during the third quarter of 2019. Thirteen of them were killed while 129 surrendered and 10 were arrested.

Additionally, 1,441 members of the Underground Mass Organizations or UGMOs in various areas of Eastern Mindanao dissociated themselves from the NPA during the same period.

Lt. Gen. Felimon T. Santos Jr., commander of Eastern Mindanao Command, directed his commanders to continue the gains they’ve accomplished in recent months.

“With our consolidated efforts, we are now eliminating the armed threat as manifested by the cascade of surrenders by the (NPA members and leaders,” he said.

29 of 70 unexploded bombs in Marawi’s Ground Zero detonated; 30th on Wednesday

From MindaNews (Oct 15, 2019): 29 of 70 unexploded bombs in Marawi’s Ground Zero detonated; 30th on Wednesday

A total of 29 of 70 general purpose bombs that were dropped but did not explode in Marawi’s Ground Zero during the five-month war in 2017 between government forces and the Islamic State-inspired Maute Group have been detonated, with the 30th—a 260-pounder bomb—on Wednesday, October 16.

Detonation of unexploded ordnance in Marawi City’s Ground Zero last August. MindaNews file photo by RICHEL V. UMEL
Lt. Col. Elmer Oamil, deputy commander of Task Group Builders and commander of the 553rd Engineer Battalion of the Philippine Army, told MindaNews that as of Monday, out of 70 general purpose (GP) bombs, “29 have been detonated and one 260-pound UXO will be detonated on October 16, 2019 at around 10:00 o’clock in the morning at Sector 8 of Barangay Marinaut near a mosque [located] around 10 meters beneath the ground.”

Also on Wednesday, 62 assorted surface bombs will be included in the detonation of the 260-pounder bomb, he said.

By October 16, Oamil said a total of 30 general purpose bombs and 5,392 surface bombs shall have been detonated.

“There are 40 more GP bombs pinpointed by EDDMARI Trading and Construction apparatus,” Oamil said. EDDMARI won the contract for UXO and debris clearing in Ground Zero.

Oamil added that if the GP bomb is more than 15 meters beneath the ground, “it will no longer be detonated for it is considered safe enough.”


Grenade explodes near Catholic church in Maguindanao

From MindaNews (Oct 15, 2019): Grenade explodes near Catholic church in Maguindanao

A grenade explosion rocked the vicinity of a Catholic church at poblacion Datu Piang, Maguindanao Monday evening, military and church officials said.

Municipality of Datu Piang, Maguindanao. Map courtesy of Google

No one was hurt in the 8:15 p.m. explosion.
Lt. Col. Dante Gania, acting chief of the Public Affairs Office of the Army’s 6th Infantry Division, said a still unidentified suspect inspired by the Islamic State lobbed the improvised hand grenade just 20 meters away from the Sta. Teresita parish church in Datu Piang.
Gania said they suspected the Islamic State-inspired Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) to be behind the grenade attack.

Many BIFF members have been getting back to the fold of the law and hardcore members could be behind this attack to show that they are still a force to reckon with, the official said.

“Those behind the attack wanted to sow fear,” he said on the phone, noting that “it was not meant to hurt parishioners given the timing of the attack.”

Soldiers were on a security patrol near the church, and they could be the target of the grenade attack, he added.

Fr. Clifford Baira, director of the Social Action Center of the Archdiocese of Cotabato, condemned the grenade attack.

The priest said they still have no idea as to the motive of the grenade attack.

In June 2008, unknown men burned the Sta. Teresita parish church that was then built mostly from light materials, using a gallon of gasoline placed under the edifice constructed like a stilt house.

It was reconstructed through donations.

About a thousand people from all walks of life, both Muslims and Christians, witnessed the blessing of the new church on October 3, 2010, during its 56th patronal fiesta.

Uniquely embedded inside the church are more than a dozen empty 105mm mortar shells adorning the posts and ceilings either as chandeliers and lampshades, or at the pulpit, as candle holders.


Insurgency-laden Matuguinao organizes MTF ELCAC

From the Philippine Information Agency (Oct 15, 2019): Insurgency-laden Matuguinao organizes MTF ELCAC

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The Municipality of Matuguinao, Samar responded to the call of the President to converge and end the local communist armed conflict with the creation of its Municipal Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (MTF-ELCAC) in a joint MPOC-MDC meeting conducted October 14, 2019 at the SB Session Hall here.

In the joint council meeting chaired by Municipal Mayor Aran D. Boller, the council members were provided with orientation about Executive Order Number 70 (Whole-of-Nation Approach), Call to Action, and CTG Infiltration of the Bureaucracy by the members of the Situation Awareness and Knowledge Management (SAKM) Cluster of RTF8-ELCAC headed by the National Intelligence and Coordinating Agency 8.

The MLGOO, Mr. Ivo Allan Ty, also provided the body an overview about the Retooled Community Support Program (RCSP) methods and concepts and the role of the LGU in the implementation of the Executive Order.

After the series of presentation and discussions, the body unanimously agreed to create and launch the Municipal Task Force ELCAC.

It was further agreed that, in order to finally end the 50-year insurgency problem, the primary and secondary issues experienced in the conflict-affected communities must be addressed.

Other attendees to the meeting were: Col. Camilo Z. Ligayo, commander, 801st Brigade; PCol. Andre P. Dizon, Samar PNP provincial director; Lt Col. Rizaldo Laureana, commanding officer of the 63rd IB; Lt. Col. Reynaldo B. Balido Jr., commanding officer of the 87th IB; and Ms. Emy Bonifacio, OPAPRU regional coordinator.

Mayor Boller envisions a peaceful, progressive, economically-sufficient and insurgency-free Matuguinao.

Thus, in his message, he urged all the council members especially the Punong Barangays to actively support the implementation of EO 70 and take part in addressing the root causes of insurgency to finally achieve his vision for this long-time insurgency-stricken municipality. (PIA-8/PA)


Visayas Island ELCAC Summit set in Cebu

From the Philippine Information Agency (Oct 15, 2019): Visayas Island ELCAC Summit set in Cebu

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A one-day summit among the Regional Task Forces to End Local Communist Armed Conflict in the Visayas Island, is scheduled for October 16, 2019 in Cebu City.

The Visayas leg composed of Regions 6, 7 and 8 will be participated by the respective regional CORDS, RTF Vice Chairpersons, Heads of the RTF Technical Working Groups, RTF Secretariats, CORDS Advisers and Regional Cluster Heads.

During the island summit, the National Task Force-ELCAC Secretariat is expected to provide updates on the NTF-ELCAC undertakings and issued guidelines.

The Regional Task Forces, on the other hand, through their Cabinet Officer for Regional Development and Security (CORDS) will present the updates, accomplishments and issues and concerns in line with the implementation of the National Plan-ELCAC, Regional Plans and their respective cluster implementation plans.

To recall, President Duterte in December of 2018, signed Executive Order No. 70 which institutionalizes the whole-of-nation approach in attaining inclusive and sustainable peace.

The executive order also created a National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict to ensure efficient and effective implementation of the whole-of-nation approach.

It also directed the adoption of a National Peace Framework which defines and clusters interventions into 12 government lines of efforts.

Since its implementation, numerous Task Force-ELCAC have been organized in various levels, regional, provincial, city, municipal and barangay, all over the country. (PIA-8)


Gains, challenges in Luzon peace and dev't up in Manila Summit

From the Philippine Information Agency (Oct 15, 2019): Gains, challenges in Luzon peace and dev't up in Manila Summit

Cabinet Officers for Regional Development and Security or CORDS and their representatives, pose for a photo with local chief executives, national government officials, and top regional heads of host region Metro Manila during the Luzon-wide Summit for Peace and Development held in Manila on Monday, Oct. 14. (Photo by Gelaine Gutierrez/PIA-NCR)

Cabinet secretaries, top regional government officials and local chief executives of Luzon, and key stakeholders converged in Manila on Monday to sustain the gains of inclusive and sustainable peace, and address the gaps in the fight against the Philippines’ 50-year old insurgency problem.

In his speech, to open the Summit National Security Adviser and Director General of the National Security Council Hermogenes Esperon Jr related why President Rodrigo Roa Duterte terminated the peace talks with the Communist Party of the Philippines - New Peoples's Army - National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF) and how the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict was created.

"Let me just give you a background why in November 2017 the President terminated the peace talks with NDF. There were attempts to revive the peace talks. But the President found out that they were proposing for a coalition government, meaning the National Democratic Front and the CPP-NPA will play a role in running government. Because of that, the President said, I cannot give you the mandate given to me by the people in the elections, and therefore, definitely, there will be no more talks if that is your wishes,”Esperon said.

“Some events that led to the formation or creation of the National Task Force [to End Local Communist Armed Conflict]... We all know that at the onset of the administration, President Rodrigo Roa Duterte went for a national peace talks with the National Democratic Front, Communist Party of the Philippines, and New People’s Army. He even showed his sincerity by appointing several members of the National Democratic Front to his Cabinet,” Esperon added.

"Instead, they went on their usual activities of attacking communities, attacking construction companies, and exacting illegally from businesses and from small people," he said.


National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr. (PIA-NCR photo)

“Unfortunately, the peace talks could not move on because of, for one, they on their side would not agree to a cessation of hostilities or ceasefire, unilateral or bilateral,” he clarified.

"And so, because of their insincerity, the President declared in Nov. 2017 a termination of the national peace talks," he said.

President Duterte, by virtue of Proclamation No. 360 signed on Nov. 23, 2017, declared the termination of peace negotiations with the CPP-NPA-NDF.

Government then focused on establishing mechanisms for local peace engagements, negotiations, or interventions, and the National Task Force to End Local Government Armed Conflict was born through Executive Order 70 in December 2018.

"It went on, we designated the CORDS, (Cabinet Officers for Regional Development and Security) the Regional Task Forces were formed, and we went to the provinces, and regions, and today we have all the regions organized," Esperon said, adding that, "Aside from the regions, many have come up with the provincial task forces, and many have gone down to the municipal, towns, as well as barangays."

“What we are having actually is the Luzon Summit meaning this is the meeting that gathers all the regional task forces in Luzon, eight of them, as we assess we are now,” he added.

Esperon said their current engagements went as far as sending a delegation of indigenous peoples to Europe and the United States in order to belie the twisted narratives that government has been committing atrocious acts against their sector and interact with the Filipino community and foreign government officials there.

Meanwhile, among the highlights of the Summit include the presentation of accomplishments and challenges of the eight Luzon Regional Task Forces to End Local Communist Armed Conflict. The results were then synthesized by Regional Development Council-NCR and Metropolitan Manila Development Authority Chairperson Danilo Delapuz Lim.

Among these are the conduct of: thorough assessment of existing security threats, anti-insurgency awareness campaigns, speaker and messenger trainings, job fairs in NPA-affected communities, skills and employment training for stakeholders including former rebels, and the construction of road networks to far flung areas of Luzon and key areas to boost economic activities, among others.

“Today, we have witnessed the hard work of the Regional Task Forces ELCAC,” Lim said.

For the National Capital Region, Lim reported that the region has strengthened its community support program, and capacitated urban communities for peace and development, while at the same time, enhancing its inter-agency coordination.

“In line with the ASEAN Foreign Ministers Joint Communiqué on Aug. 5, 2017, which reaffirms the importance and effectiveness of the whole-of-nation approach as opposed to a purely military strategy,” Lim stressed.

“Our Chief Executive has called all of us into action. A convergence of the government at all levels, civil society, and the private sector,” Lim said.

It can be recalled that the CPP-NPA have for decades posed and positioned themselves as a revolutionary organization that will liberate the masses from a thoughtless and abusive government which they portray in their one-sided reports and fabricated facts and propaganda.

In response, Executive Order 70 issued by President Duterte, also known as the whole-of-nation approach in attaining inclusive and sustainable peace, is aimed to end local communist armed conflict through the creation of a national task force and regional task forces that will take the lead in institutionalizing a national peace framework and promote inclusive governance.

In Oct. 10, six RTF–ELCAC in Mindanao gathered in Cagayan De Oro City to address gaps and ensure the sustainability of efforts in solving the insurgency problem in Mindanao.

The RTF-ELCAC summit will be conducted in Visayas this month and the results of the summits will be presented to President Rodrigo Roa Duterte during the National Summit.


CORDS for NCR, Public Works Secretary Mark Villar (PIA-NCR photo)

For his part, DPWH Secretary Mark Villar, the host CORDS said, “right now, we are on track to put an end on this rebellious outbreak of insurgencies by institutionalizing a whole-of-nation approach through our inclusive ways of non-armed approach and governance with the communist terrorists.”

“Our program such as improving the flow of basic needs and services, elevating the human and social aspects, and faster pace of communication, develops a synchronized and smarter community to conflict-affected areas, which spurs the growth of our institutions,” Villar added.

“So I strongly believe that communication and social inclusion is a key factor in attaining of peace in Luzon and the rest of the country,” he said.

Those who attended the Luzon-wide Summit for Peace and Development with the CORDS or Cabinet Officers for Regional Development and Security held at the Philippine International Convention Center were Public Works Secretary Mark Villar (Host CORDS-National Capital Region), National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr. (CORDS-Region 1), Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello II (CORDS-Region 2), Department of Agriculture Undersecretary Francisco Villano Jr who represented Secretary William Dar (CORDS-CAR), Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process, Reconciliation and Unity Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. (CORDS-Region 3), Interior and Local Government Secretary Eduardo Año (CORDS-CALABARZON), Department of Energy Undersecretary Alexander Lopez who stood in for Secretary Alfonso Cusi (CORDS-MIMAROPA), and Presidential Adviser for Bicol Affairs Marvel Clavecilla for Information and Communication Technology Secretary Gregorio Honasan II (CORDS-Region 5).

Present also during the event were NTF ELCAC executive director and National Commission on Indigenous Peoples Chair Secretary Allen Capuyan, who brought with him members of the indigenous peoples, who all have stories to tell about how each suffered by the hands of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People's Army.

Local Chief Executives also participated in the Summit, among them are Cagayan Governor Manuel Mamba, La Union Governor Francisco Ortega III, Zambales Governor Hermogenes Ebdane Jr., Marinduque Governor Presbitero Velasco Jr., Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magalong.

The CORDS have been delegated by President Rodrigo Roa Duterte to oversee in their regions the peace and development efforts and assist in the prompt and orderly resolution of problems in government operations. (PIA-NCR)

Govt pushes for local peace engagements

From the Philippine Information Agency (Oct 15, 2019): Govt pushes for local peace engagements

Presidential Peace Adviser Carlito Galvez (Photo by Gelaine Gutierrez/PIA-NCR)

Peace talks remain contrary to what others perceived that it has ended, National Security Adviser Hermogenes C. Esperon, Jr stated Monday, October 14 in a press conference during the Luzon Summit for Peace and Development with the CORDS held at the at the Philippine International Convention Center in Pasay City.

“Actually the peace talks remain, we have now transferred the venue of the peace talks on local government’s side,”
Esperon clarified.

Esperon said that in sustaining the gains of inclusive peace, the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP), Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), and other agencies have come up with guidelines for localized peace engagements.

The guidelines provide peace stakeholders with principles, policy framework, operating structures among others in the conduct of nationwide local peace engagements in conflict affected and conflict vulnerable communities.

Presidential Peace Adviser Carlito Galvez stressed that the merit of the National Task Force to End the Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) created by virtue of Executive Order (EO) No. 70 signed by President Rodrigo Duterte on December 4, 2018, is whole-of-nation and of good governance approach that once these are implemented the issues will be gone.

“There will be a whole nation consultation, people will see that the government is sincere to solve the problem,” Galvez said.

According to Galvez more than 13,000 former rebels have so far surrendered.

“Makikita natin na yung mga ipinangako ng gobyerno ay ipinatutupad,” he added.

He said that even the normalization and healing process that will take up to five years is taken into consideration.

DILG Secretary Eduardo M. Año (Photo by Gelaine Gutierrez/PIA-NCR)

NTF-ELCAC establishes the mechanism for local peace engagements and interventions locally implemented in harmonizing the efforts for the vulnerable communities. It provides efficient structure that prioritizes the delivery of basic services and social development packages in conflict-affected areas and vulnerable communities.

“The national peace talks will not be terminated but will pursue localized peace engagements in the regional level, down to the barangay level,” Galvez stressed .

The Local Peace Engagements (LPE) initiatives of the government are grounded on the issues raised and target priority areas, the local development plans as well the Philippine Development Plan 2017-2022.

Socio-economic packages offered by the government will help address the gaps in the fight against insurgency problem in the Philippines.

DILG Secretary Eduardo Año said to be able to attain permanent peace, cooperation between the government, the people and all sectors of society is of paramount importance.

EO 70 states the need to establish WNA in addressing the root causes of local armed conflict by prioritizing the delivery of basic government services, social development packages, and construction of needed infrastructures with the end-in-view of ushering inclusive development in the pursuit of the country's peace agenda. (PIA-NCR)

151 youth leaders join summit in Surigao Sur town

From the Philippine News Agency (Oct 15, 2019): 151 youth leaders join summit in Surigao Sur town

FUTURE LEADERS. A total of 151 youth leaders from different barangays in Carrascal, Surigao del Sur participate in the 1st Carrascal Youth Leadership Summit 2019 held on October 11-13, 2019. The summit aims to hone the young leaders to become advocates of peace in their respective communities. (Photo courtesy of the Army's 36IB)

A total of 151 youth leaders from various barangays in Carrascal town, Surigao del Sur province joined the recently-concluded 1st Carrascal Youth Leadership Summit (YSL) 2019.

The gathering, held at the Carrascal National High School from October 11 to 13, carried the theme “Kabataan: Mapagmahal sa Bayan, Pag-asa ng Kinabukasan”.

The 151 participants consisted mostly of out-of-school youths (OSYs) and students
from barangays Pantukan, Panikian, Bacolod, Adlay, Babuyan, and Dahican in Carrascal, which are considered by the military as "conflict-affected areas" and "geographically isolated and disadvantaged areas."

In a statement to the media on Tuesday, the Civil-Military Operations Office of the Army's 36th Infantry Battalion (36IB) said the three-day event aims
“to empower the youth to become part of community-building in their own community and inculcate positive values and attitudes to enhance their leadership potentials.”

The opening ceremony of the summit was graced by Lt. Col. Jezreel Diagmel, acting commanding officer of 36IB, together with Merill Espinodo, municipal local government operations officer of Carrascal; Azel Luga of the municipal social welfare and development office; Roberto A. Laurente Jr. of the Propelling our Inherited Nation Thru our Youth, Inc. (POINTY), as well as barangay officials, and government line agencies.

During the summit, the youth participants were updated by various line agencies on the government’s plans, programs, and projects.

Team-building activities that aim to showcase and develop potential leadership and abilities among the participants were also facilitated by POINTY, LGU Carrascal, and the 36IB.

In a separate statement, Lt. Col. Diagmel said the purpose of the YSL is to “empower the youth to become well-informed, productive, and responsible citizens of the community.”

The activity, Diagmel added, will help hone the young leaders of Carrascal town to become advocates of peace in their respective communities.

“The YSL seeks to transform the youth into peace-builders and catalyst for development,” he said.

He noted that the youths in "conflict-affected areas" and "geographically isolated and disadvantaged areas," are susceptible to the recruitment of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and its armed wing, the New People’s Army (NPA).

The CPP-NPA is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, the European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines.


Dawlah Islamiya member yields in Lanao

From the Philippine News Agency (Oct 15, 2019): Dawlah Islamiya member yields in Lanao

SURRENDER. Saifoden Macaraya Maute, 36, a member of the ISIS-inspired Dawlah Islamiya, surrenders to military authorities Monday (Oct. 14, 2019) in Butig, Lanao del Sur. Westmincom chief Lt. Gen. Cirilito Sobejana said the series of surrenders involving DI militants is the positive result of their campaigns in the area. (Photo courtesy of Westmincom PIO)

A member of the Islamic State for Iraq and Syria (ISIS)-inspired Dawlah Islamiya (DI) surrendered to government authorities in Lanao del Sur, officials said Tuesday.

Maj. Gen. Roberto Ancan, Army’s 1st Infantry Division commander,
identified the DI surrenderer as Saifoden Macaraya Maute, 36, of Barangay Tagoranao, Sultan Dumalondong, Lanao del Sur.

Ancan said Maute surrendered and turned over an M-79 grenade launcher and one 40-mm high explosive dual purpose around 10 a.m. Monday to the troops of the Army’s 49th Infantry Battalion in Barangay Poblacion Bayabao, Butig town.

He said Maute, who was recruited by DI sub-leader Mohammad Khayam Romato Maute, was involved in a firefight against the troops of the Army’s 103rd Infantry Brigade in 2016.

Mohammad Khayam was killed during the five-month Marawi siege in 2017.

Ancan said Maliksaif Masheda of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front Joint Ceasefire Monitoring Posts (MILF-JCMP) was instrumental in the surrender of Maute, who was placed under custodial debriefing.

Lt. Gen. Cirilito Sobejana, Western Mindanao Command (Westmincom) chief, said the series of surrenders involving DI militants was the "positive result of our campaigns."

"We are more motivated to intensify our operations by employing the whole-of-nation approach because we do not want to destroy the trust the people have bestowed upon us,” Sobejana said.


5 bodies, skeleton found in Tuba ravine

From the Philippine News Agency (Oct 15, 2019): 5 bodies, skeleton found in Tuba ravine

BAGUIO CITY-- Five cadavers and one human skeleton were retrieved from a 30-meter ravine in Tuba, Benguet, a police official said on Tuesday.

According to initial information from Police Maj. James Acod, Tuba, Benguet chief of police, a total of five bodies and a human skeleton were discovered in a ravine at Sitio Poyopoy, Taloy Sur, Marcos highway.

Acod said a resident reported to the police at around 10:30 a.m. about a foul smell in the area. The two police officers and the resident went and scoured the area and initially found two bodies.

After further searching the area, three more cadavers and the skeleton were found at the site.

As of 4:20 p.m. three bodies have been brought up to the highway by joint personnel from the municipal police, Bureau of Fire Protection and the private rescue group 911 on Call.

Acod said one of the cadavers is a female while the four others are on a late stage of decomposition.

Initial information also revealed that the bodies are at least two weeks old.

The residents in the area said the place has been known for years as a dumping area for victims of summary executions.


Sultan Kudarat town declares ‘Reds’ persona non grata

From the Philippine News Agency (Oct 15, 2019): Sultan Kudarat town declares ‘Reds’ persona non grata

PERSONA NON GRATA. Municipal Councilor Datu Zahir Mamalinta (extreme left) of Columbio, Sultan Kudarat set on fire the CPP-NDF-NPA flag (inset) in front of the town hall on Monday (Oct. 14, 2019) to affirm their stand against the communist movement. Members of the town council have passed a resolution declaring the communist rebels as persona non grata. (Photos courtesy of Columbio SB)

Officials of Columbio, Sultan Kudarat, declared on Monday the communist rebels operating in the peripheries of their town as persona non grata.

The rejection of the
Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), the National Democratic Front (NDF),) and its armed wing, New People’s Army (NPA), came about as Sangguniang Bayan (SB) members inked a resolution last week denouncing the communist movement in the area following a peace and order council meeting.

“A resolution denouncing the atrocities and ideologies of the communist terror group (CTG) or CPP/NDF/NPA and declaring the same as persona non grata as support to the campaign of the Duterte administration against the terrorist group,”
part of their declaration read.

On Monday, members of the SB, led by Councilor Datu Zahir Mamalinta, concurrent council committee chair on peace and security, burned the communist flag in front of the municipal hall grounds, signifying their stand against communism.

Mamalinta said because of the resolution, he and his family have lately been receiving threats from the communist group through calls and text messages.

"We are trying to deliver the services to our people as much as we can despite potential threats in our lives and our community,” he said over a local radio interview.

“We can do all these things because we have the Philippine National Police and the Armed Forces of the Philippines that are always ready to protect our community," he added.

Mamalinta noted that the people of Columbio are safer and comfortable having the presence of the law enforcers in their community.

The CPP-NDF-NPA is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, the European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines.


Cebu City police chief chides Joma Sison on FB post vs. drug war

From the Philippine News Agency (Oct 15, 2019): Cebu City police chief chides Joma Sison on FB post vs. drug war

DRUG CAMPAIGN. File photo shows Cebu City Police Office Director Col. Gemma Vinluan emphasizing a point in a previous talk with Cebu City Councilor Dave Tumulak at the Cebu City Sports Center. Vinluan on Tuesday (Oct. 15, 2019) lambasted Communist Party of the Philippines founder Jose Maria Sison for commenting that the government's campaign against illegal drugs is bogus. (File photo by PNA-Cebu)

CEBU CITY – The top police official here on Tuesday said Communist Party of the Philippines-New People's Army (CPP-NPA) founder Jose Maria Sison has no right to comment against the government’s fight against illegal drugs as he has not done anything good to help the Filipinos.

Col. Gemma Vinluan, chief of the Cebu City Police Office (CCPO), became emotional in defending the Philippine National Police (PNP) over Sison’s remarks in a social media post that President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs is bogus.

“Huwag nga siyang makialam sa anti-illegal drugs, hindi nga siya nag-ooperate eh. Paano niya nasabing bogus? (He should not meddle in the anti-illegal drugs as he is not joining operations. How could he say that it’s bogus?)” Vinluan said in a radio interview.

She asked Sison to name his source of reports regarding the Duterte administration's campaign against drugs and stressed that policemen are “sacrificing their lives and that they are maximizing the resources to combat illegal drugs”.

“Alam nyo, kayong mga taong walang ginagawang maganda para sa gobyerno… wala nga kayong hinagawa kun hindi maninira. Wala kayong effort na tumulong sa gobyerno, ang alam nyo lang sirain ang pamumuno ng ating president (You know, you people who have not done anything good to the government… you people who have not done anything except to malign. You don’t even have efforts to help the government, what you know about is to destroy the leadership of our president),” Vinluan pointed out.

The chief of the CCPO lambasted Sison’s continuing recruitment targeting the youth, some of whom were killed while fighting against government forces, all because of the misplaced teachings of the CPP-NPA.

Vinluan was reacting to Sison’s Facebook post in Filipino, which undermined President Duterte’s campaign against illegal drugs and questioned its objective.

Meanwhile, Vinluan assured Cebuanos that the local police here remain adherent to PATROL PLAN 2030, which serves as their guide post in fulfilling their mission, regardless of who sits as the chief of the PNP.

Under this plan, members of the PNP have focus crimes and are mandated to launch major operations against illegal drugs, most wanted persons, unregistered firearms, and illegal gambling.

Vinluan said regardless of who is the chief of the PNP, police units operate based on the long-term plan.

The CCPO chief’s comment came after PNP chief, Gen. Oscar Albayalde, on Monday stepped down from his post amid a Senate inquiry delving into allegations on cops recycling seized drugs.


DND chief lauds support to mandatory ROTC

From the Philippine News Agency (Oct 15, 2019): DND chief lauds support to mandatory ROTC

SUPPORT TO ROTC. Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana (4th from left) and other DND officials meet with representatives of the UP Vanguard Inc., Pasig Chapter in Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City on Monday (Oct. 14, 2019). The group supports the bill seeking to reinstate mandatory ROTC for senior high school students (Photo courtesy of DND Public Affairs Service)

Department of National Defense (DND) Secretary Delfin Lorenzana on Monday expressed appreciation to the unequivocal support of the UP Vanguard, Inc., Pasig Chapter for the reinstatement of basic mandatory Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) program for senior high school students.

In a meeting with representatives of the group at the DND Building in Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City, Lorenzana highlighted the importance of instilling the love of country in the hearts and minds of the Filipino youth.

Also, members of the association expressed optimism for the implementation of the program when the law is passed and the implementing rules and regulations (IRR) are crafted.

They also presented to the DND chief their manifesto of support for the implementation of mandatory basic ROTC in Grades 11 and 12 particularly on the development of IRR, plan, and budget, and the training of human resources.

The UP Vanguard Inc. is the alumni association of graduates of the University of the Philippines ROTC.

“ROTC is a complete package. It has a specific method of instructions, not just the POI (Program of Instruction). We should take advantage of the program," said Mark N. Javier, a former UVPI National Commander.

The proposed POI of the mandatory basic ROTC program will precisely focus on promoting patriotism and good citizenship, with topics on Philippine society and culture, human rights and gender sensitivity, environmental advocacy, disaster risk reduction and management, community service, national security, discipline, and leadership.

It will also teach important life skills such as first aid, map reading, mountaineering, water training, and signal communication, individual military orientation, marksmanship, small unit tactics and drills and ceremonies among other related subjects.

Lorenzana stressed that ROTC "envisions to instill discipline and sense of purpose; respect for the laws and the authorities; and obedience to rules and regulations to students in a military training environment."


PRRD has final say on lifting of martial law in certain areas

From the Philippine News Agency (Oct 15, 2019): PRRD has final say on lifting of martial law in certain areas

Marine Brig. Gen. Edgard Arevalo, AFP spokesperson. (File photo)

While it supports calls made by Mayor Sara Duterte on the lifting of martial law in Davao City, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) said the final decision is still up to President Rodrigo Duterte.

Marine Brig. Gen. Edgard Arevalo, AFP spokesperson, made the remark in reaction to reports that the mayor forwarded a letter to the Department of National Defense and the House of Representatives where she recommended the lifting or exemption of her city from martial law which is still in effect in the whole of Mindanao.

"We have articulated our support to selective coverage of martial law as deemed warranted by the local chief executive and validated by our operational commanders on the ground,"
he said in a message to reporters Tuesday.

This was proven, Arevalo said, by the expression of support given by Eastern Mindanao Command head, Lt. Gen. Felimon Santos Jr., following the recommendation given by the lady mayor.

"The final decision, however, as to the recommendation to lift martial law in a particular locality is dependent upon the President who declared it," the AFP spokesperson stressed.

In a 235-28-1 vote, the House of Representatives, in a joint session on December 12, 2018, approved the third extension of martial law in Mindanao until December 31, 2019.

The AFP recommended another year-long extension of martial law in Mindanao in a bid to totally neutralize terror groups still operating in Mindanao. Martial law in Mindanao was declared on May 23, 2017 following attacks launched by the Maute Group in Marawi City which was retaken by government forces by late October of that year.

The House of Representatives, in a special joint session in July 2017, granted the first extension of martial law until December 31, 2017 at President Duterte's request.

The Senate and House of Representatives, convening in a joint session early December of that year, granted the Chief Executive's request for the second extension of martial law and the suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus for a period of one year from January 1 to December 31, 2018.


NBI nabs 3 Abu Sayyaf members

From the Philippine News Agency (Oct 15, 2019): NBI nabs 3 Abu Sayyaf members

Operatives of the National Bureau of Investigation-Counter Terrorism Division (NBI-CTD) have arrested three Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) members in a month-long operation in Taguig, Manila and Kawit City in Cavite.

NBI Director Dante Gierran, in a press briefing Tuesday,
identified the three as Ibnus Isa a.k.a. "Jade", Amerudin Parasan a.k.a. "Mudasier", and Abdel-Amin Bandahala a.k.a. "Abu Black".

The NBI said the group was involved in the abduction of Jehovah's Witnesses in Patikul, Sulu in 2002 and the Golden Harvest kidnapping case in Lantawan, Basilan on August 20, 2001.

NBI Assistant Director for Intelligence Service Eric Distor said the agency, citing follow up reports, found Amerudin Pasaran and Ibnus Isa hiding in a safe house in Metro Manila while Abdel-Amin Bandahala was employed as a security guard in Kawit, Cavite.

The operations were conducted by the NBI in coordination with the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police Manila Police District (PNP-MPD) and Southern Police District (PNP-NCRPO-SPD)

A total of 18 members of the terrorist group have been apprehended by the NBI since January.


Duterte to heed ground commanders' recommendation on martial law

From the Philippine News Agency (Oct 15, 2019): Duterte to heed ground commanders' recommendation on martial law

CHECKPOINT. Soldiers man a checkpoint in Maguindanao as martial law in the southern Philippines is set to expire on December 31, 2019. (File photo)

President Rodrigo Duterte's decision on the possible lifting or another extension of martial rule in Mindanao would depend on the recommendation of military ground commanders in the region, Malacañang said on Tuesday.

"Depende (It depends)," Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said in a Palace media briefing.

"'Di ba palagi niyang sinasabi, depende 'yun sa rekomendasyon ng mga ground forces (He always says it depends on the recommendation of ground forces, isn't it?)" he added.

Panelo could not confirm whether the Commander-in-Chief is once again bent on asking Congress to extend martial law in the southern Philippines.

This comes after presidential daughter and Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte sought the lifting of martial law in Davao City.

In a letter sent to the Office of the President on August 7, the mayor requested the city's exemption from the declaration of military rule.

Panelo believes that the younger Duterte is not seeking "special treatment," as she is only heeding the recommendation of the Davao police to lift the implementation of martial law in the city.

He likewise stressed that the President has the final say on his daughter's request.

"Meron silang mga (They have) reasons for so doing. It was even recommended by the regional PNP (Philippine National Police) there. Tingnan natin kung anong magiging position ni Presidente (Let's see what the President's position will be)," Panelo said.

The siege laid by the Islamic State-inspired Maute group on May 23, 2017, prompted the Chief Executive to place the whole of Mindanao under martial law.

Section 18, Article 7 of the 1987 Constitution states that a president can declare martial law and suspend the writ of habeas corpus for a period not exceeding 60 days, in case of invasion or rebellion.

It also provides that such proclamation of martial law or suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus can either be revoked or extended for a period determined by Congress through joint voting.

Congress extended the initial 60-day martial rule thrice upon the President’s recommendation to help state forces quell the insurgency in Mindanao.

The martial law in the southern part of the country is set to expire on December 31 this year.