Sunday, November 3, 2019

Down with the Flu

I'm down with flu. Postings to this site will be limited for the next couple of days.

Best regards,
Retired Analyst

2 NPA amazons fall in Negros

From Tempo (Nov 3, 2019): 2 NPA amazons fall in Negros

The Army and police continue their aggressive campaign against insurgency in Negros Occidental with the arrest of two suspected female New People’s Army members in Escalante City last Nov. 1.

Capt. Cenon Pancito III, chief of Army 3rd Infantry Division Public Affairs Office,
identified the suspects as Maria Lindy Balaobao Perucho, deputy secretary for finance of Komiteng Rehiyon-Negros, Cebu, Bohol, and Siquijor, and Imelda Pasinabo Sultan, deputy secretary for finance of the KR-NCBS. Perucho and Sultan were arrested in Barangays Jonob-Jonob and Balintawak, respectively.

Authorities applied search warrants at the houses of the two women and another alleged NPA member in Barangay Hacienda Fe but the subject was not there and there was no recovery.

Authorities recovered from Perucho a .45 caliber pistol with ammunition, .38 caliber, and three 40MM grenade launcher ammunition. Seized from Sultan were three .45 caliber pistols with 17 live ammunition, seven grenade launcher ammunition, two claymore type mines, and subversive documents.

Pancito said that the arrest of the suspects can be considered a major setback to the ground work of the communist terrorists.

Police Col. Romeo Baleros, Negros Occidental police director, said that State forces were able to prevent and weaken the mass base of the NPA and military building efforts in the province.

Last Oct. 31, 57 persons, 14 of which were minors were also arrested and rescued by the state forces in four simultaneous raids at the offices of some progressive groups here.

2 terror suspects nabbed in Quezon, Laguna raids

From the Manila Standard (Nov 3, 2019): 2 terror suspects nabbed in Quezon, Laguna raids

Calabarzon police have arrested two suspected terrorists in two separate anti-terror operations in Tayabas, Quezon and in Calamba, Laguna in southern Luzon, three weeks before the start of the 30th Southeast Asian Games.

Quoting authorities, GMA News TV’s Balitanghali Weekend, beamed nationwide,
identified the suspect nabbed in Tayabas as Saidie Saro, a variety store owner from whom were seized a hand grenade, live ammunition, and an improvised explosive device.

But Saro denied allegations he was a member of an international terrorist group and claimed the items purportedly seized did not belong to him.

In Calamba, police nabbed Bobby Gabunatan Sarip, who police said yielded an IED and a cellular phone. Sarip has declined to give any comment.

According to the police, both suspects were found in possession of an ISIS flag.

Security forces are still determining which ISIS subgroups the two belong to.

The 2019 Southeast Asian Games, officially known as the 30th Southeast Asian Games or 2019 SEA Games and commonly known as Philippines 2019, will be the 30th edition of the Southeast Asian Games, a biennial regional multi-sport event which will be hosted by the Philippines from Nov. 30 to Dec. 11, 2019.

This edition will be marked by the first major decentralization in the history of the Games, with competition venues spread in 23 cities across the country, divided into four clusters, all in Luzon, the fourth cluster consisting of stand alone venues.

This will be the fourth time that the Philippines will host the games and its first time since 2005.

Previously, it had also hosted the 1981 and 1991 editions of the games.

READ: Red code up vs terrorist acts

READ: PSC as government’s peace advocate

CHED, NTF-ELCAC orient SUCs from CagVal, CAR their role on 'Whole-of-Nation' approach

From the Philippine Information Agency (Nov 3, 2019): CHED, NTF-ELCAC orient SUCs from CagVal, CAR their role on 'Whole-of-Nation' approach

CHED Commissioner Lilian A. de las Llagas (Photo courtesy from Office of the
University President University Information Office of the Cagayan State University.)

TUGUEGARAO CITY, Cagayan - The Commission on Higher Education (CHED) and the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) oriented different state university and colleges (SUCs) administrative officials from the Cagayan Valley Region and the Cordillera Administrative Region on the role of the higher education sector in supporting the whole-of-nation approach in attaining sustainable peace.

Held at the Claude Andrews Convention Center at Cagayan State University - Andrews Campus on Oct. 30, participants attended the priming session for the implementation of Executive Order No. 70 entitled, “Institutionalizing the Whole-of-Nation Approach in Attaining Inclusive and Sustainable Peace, Creating a National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict, and Directing the Adaptation of a National Peace Framework”.

CHED Commissioner Lilian A. de las Llagas challenged the SUC administrators present to keep an open mind and to cultivate a culture of peace within each of the SUCs’ campuses. This, according to her is by supporting national development by assisting in the implementation of the National Peace Framework.

CSU President Urdujah A. Tejada, in her message, promoted the niches in the sateliite campuses of CSU as they work towards peace and development.

Lt. Col. Joel R. Jonson, head of the Operations Center of the NTF-ELCAC. (Photo courtesy from Office of the University President University Information Office of the Cagayan State University.)

For his part, Lt. Col. Joel R. Jonson, head of the Operations Center of the NTF-ELCAC, encouraged the administrators to be pre-emptive and proactive in countering the rebel groups by discussing the birth of the task force and its objectives, challenges, and programs to achieve sustainable and inclusive peace. (MDCT, with reports from Office of the University President CSU FB page/PIA-2)

Gov't troops arrest 55 rebels; confiscate firearms, explosives

From the Philippine Information Agency (Nov 3, 2019): Gov't troops arrest 55 rebels; confiscate firearms, explosives (By 3ID DPAO-Philippine Army)

CAMP MONTELIBANO, Bacolod City – The Regional Task Force Ending Local Communist Armed Conflict 6 (RTF-ELCAC 6) through the Joint Elements of Armed Forces of the Philippines and Philippine National Police conducted law enforcement operation simultaneously implemented Search Warrants for Violation of the Comprehensive Firearms and Ammunition Regulation Law (RA 10591 ) issued by Honorable Cecilyn Burgos Villavert, Executive Judge of RTC Branch 89 in Quezon City at Brgys. 33, Bata, and Taculing, all of Bacolod City at about 5:45PM on October 31, 2019.

A total of 32 assorted firearms, three fragmentation grenade, two ammunitions of 40MM Grenade Launcher and assorted live ammunition were confiscated inside the searched premises during the conduct of search and seizure operation.

Incidental to the valid search resulted to the arrest of 40 identified members of Komiteng Rehiyon-Negros, Cebu, Bohol and Siquijor (KR-NCBS) and 15 newly recruited individuals, 14 of whom are minors, coming from different areas of Negros Occidental who are undergoing combat related training and indoctrination were turned over to CSWDO Bacolod City.

The arrested CNTs which are considered HVIs include John Milton Lozande, Noli Lazera Rosales, Proceso Quiatchon, Albert Delacerna, Mary Anne Krueger y Villasica / Mary Anne DeLa Concepcion, Romulo Bito-on, Amaylin Chin-chin Bito-on, Danilo Tabura y Nacario, and Roberto Lachica y Dorio.

All the arrested members of CNTs were brought at the CIDG NOC Provincial Field Unit (PFU) for proper disposition and filing of appropriate charges.

The arrest of the suspects can be considered as a major setback to the ground work of the CNTs.

The state forces were able to prevent/weaken their mass base and military-building efforts in Negros Occidental.

The application of search warrants was an offshoot of validated information reports from concerned citizens of Bacolod City on the presence of suspicious armed personalities visiting the said searched premises. It was also reported that the said premises are being used for training and indoctrination of minors for illegal activities. (JBG/Capt. Cenon C. Pancito III/3ID-DPAO)

Source: 3rd Infantry Division, Philippine Army

Mom decries NPA recruitment of 12-year-old daughter

From the Philippine News Agency (Nov 3, 2019): Mom decries NPA recruitment of 12-year-old daughter

SAFE IN MOTHER'S ARMS. Nilda Villamonte of La Carlota City, Negros Occidental tightly embraces her 12-year-old daughter after they were reunited in Bacolod City on Saturday. The girl, whom she thought was just attending a dance practice for a cultural show, was among the 14 minors arrested by the authorities during a raid in the compound of progressive groups in Barangay Bata on Thursday afternoon. (PNA photo by Nanette L. Guadalquiver)

Nilda Villamonte, a laundrywoman from La Carlota City, Negros Occidental, thought that her 12-year-old daughter was just attending a dance practice for a cultural show in this city after not being home for some time.

On Saturday afternoon, the 54-year-old single mother found herself at the Bacolod police headquarters, where her youngest child was being held. She was among the 14 minors rounded up by authorities during a search operation at the compound of Bagong Alyansang Makabayan, Kilusang Mayo Uno, Gabriela and allied groups in Barangay Bata late Thursday afternoon.

During the raid, police and military operatives seized firearms, ammunition and explosives, and arrested 40 persons with alleged links to the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA), who have been holding meetings together with the minors for the past several days.

“Wala ko ga expect nga amo na ila ginahimo ya. Abi ko gani may contest sila saut sa Bacolod ‘ya (I did not expect that she was with people doing those things. I thought she was in Bacolod for a dance contest),” the sobbing mother said.

Villamonte said the authorities were able to locate her on Saturday, and brought her to Bacolod to confirm if her daughter, a seventh-grader and the youngest among three siblings, was among the detained minors. Her daughter went to Bacolod around Oct. 16 or 17, she said.

“Bag-o ko lang ni siya gani nakita. Pila na kaadlaw wala kami kakit-aay. Kis-a gatawag ko sa cellphone niya (We saw each other only now. We haven’t seen each other for several days. I sometimes try to contact her on her cellphone),” she told reporters while inside the Women and Children Protection Desk office, tightly embracing her daughter.

Villamonte said last year, her daughter, who was then in sixth grade, started joining the activities of the progressive groups upon the invitation of a relative.

This made her miss her classes and got failing grades.

Villamonte said her daughter would tell her that they are practicing for a cultural contest in Bacolod. She would be away for some time, not telling her mother about her whereabouts.

“Kis-a isa ka semana, duha ka semana waay gapuli. Kung tawgan mo wala gasabat (Sometimes she’s away for a week, sometimes even two weeks. She doesn’t answer my calls),” Villamonte said, adding that whenever her daughter comes home, she looks really tired and hungry.

Her daughter also became defiant when she’s asked to help in the household chores.

“Daw naglain na gid siya ya. (It seems she has changed),” she added.

After reuniting with her daughter on Saturday, Villamonte said she is thankful that the people who were trying to influence and bring harm to her daughter were arrested and called on them to stop recruiting minors to join their cause.

She also urged to her fellow parents to protect their children from people trying to recruit them into the rebel movement.

“Halungan niyo inyo mga bata nga indi na madala sang mga recruiter nga wala sang mayo nga hinimu-an. Tap-ana niyo na bi ang recruiter kay wala na pulos (Protect your children from these recruiters who will not do you anything good. Stop them because what they do is nonsense),” Villamonte appealed.

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

Surigao Sur residents decry 50 years of CPP-NPA atrocities

From the Philippine News Agency (Nov 3, 2019): Surigao Sur residents decry 50 years of CPP-NPA atrocities

SENSELESS KILLINGS. Representatives from various sectors in Surigao del Sur join the 36th Infantry Battalion in a symbolic candle-lighting and condemnation of the 50 years of deceptions and killings committed by the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army. The ceremony was held in Tago, Surigao del Sur in time for the celebration of All Souls' Day on Saturday, Nov. 2, 2019. (Photo courtesy of CMO, 36IB, PA)

Various sectors from different towns of Surigao del Sur joined the Philippine Army in a symbolic gathering and condemnation of the 50 years of deceptions and killings perpetrated by the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and its armed wing, the New People’s Army (NPA).

Former rebels, representatives from the youth sector, Indigenous Peoples (IPs), and the families and friends of those killed by the NPA converged with the elements of 36th Infantry Battalion (36IB) in a candle-lighting activity on Saturday (Nov. 2) in Tago, Surigao del Sur.

In a statement on Sunday (Nov. 3), Civil-Military Operations (CMO) chief, 1Lt. Jonald D. Romorosa of 36IB said the activity was facilitated to remember all the fallen heroes who perished in the 50 years of inept, futile and hopeless armed struggle of the CPP-NPA.

Romorosa added participants remembered civilians, IP leaders, CAFGU (Citizens Armed Forces Geographical Unit) members, political leaders, and even NPA members who died in years of fruitless war by the communist movement in Surigao del Sur.

The participants also condemned the continued atrocities and violence committed by the CPP-NPA in different areas of the province and the Caraga Region.

Bae Magdalena Gano was among those who joined the solemn activity on Friday and expressed resentment against the terror activities of the CPP-NPA in the area.

Gano, an IP leader and former NPA member, condemned the harassment done by the NPAs in IP communities in Surigao del Sur, as well as the killings of IP leaders.

“I hope that justice will prevail to those who were killed especially to my IP brother and sisters. As an ambassador of truth, I will stand and seek justice for those souls who are still crying for justice,” Gano said.

Among the killings condemned during the activity was that of the IP CAFGU member who was abducted and murdered by the communist rebels in Lanuza, Surigao del Sur.

Last May 30, seven civilians, including minors and mostly IP members from Barangay Mampi, Lanuza town were abducted by NPA members in Sitio Banahao, Maitom, Tandag City.

All the abducted IP civilians were released by the NPAs several days later except for IP CAFGU member and former rebel Ryard Badiang, 24, a resident of Ibuan, Barangay Mampi, Lanuza.

After days of search and rescue, elements of 36IB found Badiang’s decomposing body in Sitio Banahao, Barangay Maitum in Tandag City on June 14, 2019.

The killing of Badiang was condemned by various sectors in Surigao del Sur, including the local government units in the area.

“Fifty years of futile armed struggle have not solved any of our problems. It has caused more problems for our society and brought senseless deaths and miseries to hundreds of thousands of Filipinos and destroyed the future of the Filipino youth,” Lt. Col. Jezreel Diagmel, acting commander of 36IB, said in a statement on Saturday.

Diagmel also asked for prayers for the souls of those who offered their ultimate sacrifice for the country.

He said “killings will not solve our problems” which is why he is appealing to the remaining NPA rebels to lay down their arms and return to the comfort of their families and friends.

“Live peacefully and take care of your children as they grow and become productive members of the community,” Diagmel added.

Army saves wounded NPA combatant in Agusan Norte

From the Philippine News Agency (Nov 3, 2019): Army saves wounded NPA combatant in Agusan Norte

YOUNG REBEL. "Kent", a young NPA rebel, is provided with first aid by 29th IB soldiers at the encounter site in Santiago, Agusan del Norte after he was abandoned by his comrades following a clash with government troops. The armed encounter occurred in Barangay San Isidro, Santiago town in Agusan del Norte on Saturday (Nov. 2, 2019). (Photo courtesy of CMO, 29IB, PA)

Elements of 29th Infantry Battalion (29IB) saved a young New People’s Army (NPA) guerilla who was wounded in an armed confrontation that took place on Saturday in Barangay San Isidro, Santiago town in Agusan del Norte.

In a statement sent to the media on Sunday, 1Lt. Nonette B. Banggad, Civil-Military Officer (CMO) of 29IB, said
the rebel was abandoned by his comrades upon their withdrawal after the encounter with government troops.
In the same statement, Lt. Col. Isagani O. Criste, commander of 29IB, identified the young NPA member as alias "Kent". He was immediately given first aid by the operating troops after finding him helpless in the area where his comrades made position during the encounter and later on abandoned him.

Government soldiers also recovered firearms, ammunition and other belongings of the fleeing NPA rebels.

The Army is still making an inventory of the items recovered in the encounter site as of posting time.

After providing first aid, the soldiers rushed "Kent" to a nearby hospital for further treatment.

Criste said Kent was only 17 when he joined the communist movement and stayed with the group for more than two years.

“He was still very young when tricked by the terrorists NPAs to join their senseless armed struggle,” he said.

The 29IB commander also expressed sadness upon seeing the situation of the teenage rebel, saying he was too young to be engaging in such an act of waging armed struggle.

“He was deceived and fooled by the lies of the propaganda of the terrorist NPAs. This young man almost lost his precious life, like the fate of his comrades who were killed during the encounter,” Criste said.

The Army believed a number of NPA rebels were killed and wounded during the encounter on Saturday.

DND chief orders checkpoints put up in quake-affected areas

From the Philippine News Agency (Nov 3, 2019): DND chief orders checkpoints put up in quake-affected areas

National Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana. (File photo)

Department of National Defense (DND) Secretary Delfin Lorenzana has directed the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) to set up checkpoints in quake-affected areas in Mindanao to properly record the arrival of relief goods and workers.

This was his response when asked on what are his steps to stabilize the situation in the affected areas after he was named head of all government relief operations in Davao Del Sur and North Cotabato Saturday.

"I have also issued a directive for the putting up of checkpoints at all entry points to the disaster areas so that we can record all relief goods and relief workers going in," he said in a message to the Philippine News Agency.

The checkpoints, he said, will also ensure that only legitimate and authorized relief workers are granted access to evacuation centers and receive relief goods and supplies for distribution to the evacuees.

"The checkpoints will also screen those kibitzers or 'usiseros'," he added.

Lorenzana, has instructed relevant authorities on the proper management of evacuation centers so that there will be order.

He added that this instruction was in the wake of reports that some people are rushing the relief vehicles and getting anything they can.

"I have also directed the military to remove the people from the highways begging and blocking vehicles bringing relief goods and bring them to their communities so they can be properly attended to," Lorenzana added.

Relief organizations can leave their donations to troops for distribution to the affected families or if they want to do it themselves, military units can direct them to areas needing their assistance, he added.

The AFP, especially the Army, has already deployed a task force in Kidapawan, Cotabato coordinating the military’s operation with ongoing government relief operations.

"I have also directed an engineering contingent to proceed to the area to help in rescue & recovery (operations)," he said, adding that the entire National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council is already in Kidapawan and starting operations already.

"For the other needed supplies such as water containers some donors are currently procuring them here in Manila and will be transported to Davao together with other supplies in a couple of days. All our efforts are in coordination with the Acting Provincial Governor who has taken charge of the whole relief operation. There is sufficient relief goods available. It's just a matter of properly distributing them," Lorenzana said.

PRRD calls for conclusion of COC, peaceful resolution of sea row

From the Philippine News Agency (Nov 3, 2019): PRRD calls for conclusion of COC, peaceful resolution of sea row

ASEAN FAMILY PHOTO. President Rodrigo Roa Duterte (3rd from left) poses for a family photo with other Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) leaders during the opening ceremony of the 35th Asean Summit and Related Summits at the Impact Exhibition and Convention Center in Nonthaburi, Thailand on Sunday (Nov. 3, 2019). During the plenary of the 35th Asean Summit last Saturday, Duterte said the Philippines will do its ‘utmost part’ to conclude negotiations on the South China Sea Code of Conduct. (Presidential photo by Ace Morandante)

NONTHABURI, Thailand -- President Rodrigo R. Duterte raised the need for a peaceful resolution of the South China Sea issue and the immediate conclusion of a binding Code of Conduct (COC) for the benefit of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean).

He stressed these points during the Plenary of the 35th Asean Summit here Saturday night, citing that the sea row continues to create uncertainty and instability in the region.

“As Asean-China Country Coordinator, the Philippines will do its utmost part to conclude negotiations on a Code of Conduct as soon as possible,” Duterte said.

“Notwithstanding the lack of enthusiasm by some external partners, I believe that we in Asean are one in the view that an effective and substantive COC will be good for the region,” he said.

ASEAN SUMMIT PLENARY. President Rodrigo Roa Duterte joins other Asean leaders during the 35th Asean Summit Plenary at Impact Exhibition and Convention Center in Nonthaburi, Thailand Saturday (Nov. 2, 2019). (Presidential photo by Simeon Celi Jr.)]
The President explained that for a peaceful resolution of the issues to happen, Asean should have an environment that is conducive to negotiations and fair compromises.

“Asean must, therefore, remain united. We must lead the way in building trust and confidence among all stakeholders. And we must use all the influence that we have, individually and collectively, to persuade parties to exercise self-restraint and avoid actions that may further complicate the situation,” he said.

Presidential Spokesperson and Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador S. Panelo, in a statement, said the President pointed out that he considers the South China Sea issue as one that has strategic importance to the regional block, thus, the need to be peacefully resolved in line with international law such as the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

He said the President vowed to work closely with its Asean counterparts for the immediate materialization of the COC, noting also that it is a priority for the 10-country economic bloc to keep the freedom of navigation and overflight on the South China Sea.

Aside from territorial issues, the President also discussed the challenges that Asean faces and these include transnational crimes, advances in technology, protectionism and trade-related tension among Asean partners, environmental sustainability and geopolitical transformation.

China’s rise among the world’s biggest economies was also cited, Panelo said, noting that this has resulted to the change in the regional landscape.

With this, the Filipino leader called on his counterparts not to take sides vis-à-vis the world’s largest economy, the US, as what have been done by past Philippine leaders, which he dubbed as a “strategic mistake.”

“The Palace foresees the President to continue elaborating the position of our country in relation to important matters to Asean and discussing matters that are beneficial not just to the Filipino people but to the citizens of our neighbor countries in Asean for the remainder of this trip,” Panelo added.

The three-day 35th Asean Summit and Related Summits being held here and in Bangkok will last until November 4.

Asean member-countries include Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam.

PAF working overtime to help quake-affected communities

From the Philippine News Agency (Nov 3, 2019): PAF working overtime to help quake-affected communities

Philippine Air Force (PAF) aircraft and personnel are working round-the-clock to provide assistance and relief goods to communities severely affected by a series of earthquakes in Central and Eastern Mindanao.

"A total of 17,000 lbs of relief items such as medicines, food packs, tents, and other essential items donated by various government and non-government agencies Davao, Cotabato and General Santos City via PAF C-130 (cargo plane) on November 1, 2019," Air Force spokesperson, Maj. Aristides Galang said in a statement Saturday.

He said PAF aircraft also transported portable water filtration units and other relief items coming from the Office of Civil Defense to address the lack of drinking water in the affected communities.

"Due to the lack of drinking water, the Office of Civil Defense sent portable water filtration units and other relief items from Col. Jesus Villamor Air Base (in Pasay City) to Davao City via a PAF C295 on November 2, 2019," Galang added.

The PAF’s B-412 combat utility helicopters also conducted aerial reconnaissance on Saturday over Sitio Kapatagan, Barangay Luayon in Makilala, Cotabato where over 90 families are believed to be stranded due to inaccessible roads due to landslides.

"The PAF is on full alert to provide the necessary humanitarian assistance and disaster response needed and is always ready to utilize its aircraft in transporting donations and relief goods," Galang said.

Last Saturday, Malacañang announced the appointment of Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana to the government’s relief operations in areas hit by two powerful earthquakes last week.