Thursday, December 5, 2019

Top NPA leader Lazarte killed in Antipolo raid

From the Manila Standard (Dec 5, 2019): Top NPA leader Lazarte killed in Antipolo raid (By Roy Tomandao)

Camp Capinpin, Tanay, Rizal—The secretary of the communist Southern Tagalog Regional Party Committee’s Sub-Regional Military Area 4A was killed after a firefight with the combined military and police forces early Thursday morning.

Uniforms of the New People’s Army, long firearms, ammunition, and subversive documents are laid out after authorities recovered those from an encounter with NPA commander Armando Lazarte and two others in Antipolo City. Roy Tomandao

The authorities were attempting to serve warrants of arrest for murder and frustrated murder to Armando Lazarte alias Pat Romano, in Antipolo City at around 2 a.m.

Lazarte, an Executive Committee member of STRPC, was with two other terrorists inside a safehouse in Barangay Cupang’s Sierra Vista Subdivision when the combined Armed Forces and Philippine National Police teams arrived.

Lazarte was the second high-ranking leader from the New People’s Army’s Southern Tagalog branch to be neutralized in nine days following the arrest of Jaime Padilla, a central committee member, at Cardinal Santos Hospital in San Juan last Nov 26.

Lt. Col. Christopher Diaz, Commander of the 80th Infantry Battalion which operates in Rizal Province, said the terrorists opened fire at the arresting officers and triggered the shootout.

“Alias Pat Romano is a notorious NPA Commander who has led the burning of equipment at the Kaliwa Dam project in Infanta, Quezon early this year and the series of ambush utilizing land mines against the PNP in Baras and Antipolo City last 2018,” Diaz said.

Col. Alex Rillera, Commander of the 202nd Brigade which has operational jurisdiction over the area, said that after the initial exchange of fire, security forces applied first aid to the wounded terrorists, who were then brought to Amang Rodriguez Hospital, where they were declared dead on arrival by the attending physician.

Government troops recovered one M16 rifle, one 9mm pistol, one cal .45 pistol, two hand grenades, laptops, cellphones and enemy documents, which are now being processed by Rizal Provincial Police Office’s Scene of the Crime Operatives.

According to Maj. Gen. Arnulfo Marcelo Burgos Jr, commander of the Philippine Army’s 2nd Infantry (Jungle Fighter) Division, “The series of neutralization of hardcore cadres in Southern Tagalog is a manifestation of the lingering demoralization among the enemy’s ranks as well as the reality that the NPAs no longer enjoy support from what used to be a solid mass base in the region.”

Uniforms of the New People’s Army, long firearms, ammunition, and subversive documents are laid out after authorities recovered those from an encounter with NPA commander Armando Lazarte and two others in Antipolo City. Roy Tomandao

He said the security forces were notified by informants from within the terrorist group regarding the whereabouts of alias Pat Romano, an information that was confirmed by some of the locals in the area.

The death of Lazarte “is a decisive blow to the communist terrorists for it will result to leadership vacuum, thus, further pushing them on the brink of collapse thereby fast-tracking our efforts to defeat insurgency and liberate our people from the clutches of terrorism in this part of the country,” Burgos said.

According to the military, they were able to dismantle the NPA unit operating in Batangas and Cavite after the 2018 campaign and are now on track to defeat the “NPA terrorists operating in Rizal, Laguna and Quezon provinces.”

Lt. Gen. Gilbert Gapay, Commander of the Southern Luzon Command and incoming AFP Chief of Staff, lauded the government troops for “being steadfast in defeating the NPA terrorists in Southern Tagalog which will pave the way for peace, prosperity and development in the immediate south of the national government’s seat of power.”

“Although we do not rejoice in the death of a fellow Filipino, this incident should serve as a warning to the enemies of the state that we are firm in our resolve to put an end to this insurgency which has been hampering our country’s growth and potentials,” he said.

Gapay reiterated his call to the few remaining terrorists to put down their arms, return to the folds of law and avail reintegration grants while they can “because government forces are slowly but surely closing in to take them down and bring them before the courts of law and make them answer for the terroristic actions that they have been committing against our country and people.”

Perjury raps filed vs. Reds-linked group exec

From the Philippine News Agency (Dec 6, 2019): Perjury raps filed vs. Reds-linked group exec (By Benjamin Pulta)

The Quezon City Prosecutor's Office has filed perjury charges against a key official of a group which the military alleged solicited foreign funding from international organizations to fund indoctrination recruitment schools run by the terrorist Communist Party of the Philippines - New People's Army (CPP-NPA).

In an information dated November 8, Senior Assistant City Prosecutor Nilo Peñaflor ordered the filing of the charges against Sr. Elenita Belardo, the national coordinator of the Rural Missionaries of the Philippines (RMP).

The perjury complaint had been filed by National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr. who claimed RMP officials along with others perjured themselves in the petition of amparo and habeas corpus filed against the government including Esperon before the Court of Appeals (CA).

The petition for amparo was subsequently dismissed by the appellate court.

The prosecutor said in the petition filed before the CA by known front groups of the terrorist CPP-NPA, Belardo "knowingly made untruthful statements under oath" when she said the RMP is a "duly registered non-stock, non-profit organization."

"(I)n fact the accused very well knew that said allegations were false and untruthful as the certificate of registration of RMP was already revoked effective September 29,2003," the prosecutor said.

"At best, the aforesaid defense of good faith is purely evidentiary which may be threshed out in a full-blown trial,” he added.

He said he decided not to charge other members of other groups responsible since "although embodied in one petition (filed before the CA), (the other) respondents' overt acts of verifying the same are separate and distinct from one another and could certainly refer only to factual circumstances pertaining to… the organization which said (other) respondents were representing."

Aside from RMP, charged were Joan May E. Salvador and Gertrudes Libang as representatives of Gabriela and Reylan Vergara, Cristina Palabay, Ronco Clamor, Edita Burgos, Gabriela Krista Dalena, Jose Marie Callueng and Wilfredo Ruazol of Karapatan.

During the proceedings before the prosecutor, the respondents claimed they were unaware of defects in the official papers of RMP and that they were unduly harassed by the government.

Esperon alleged the RMP collected donations from international organizations to run 55 Salugpungan Ta’tanu Igkanugon Community Learning Center Inc. (Salugpungan) whose operations were earlier ordered suspended by the Department of Education.

Citing reports of the military and police on the ground and the testimonies of the Mindanao Indigenous People's Counsel elders and leaders, Esperon said there was an unmistakable pattern of training anti-government armed rebels by these schools.

As an example, Esperon said these schools have a different "national" anthem which they teach to students.

Students are also taught assembly and disassembly of firearms and learn the alphabets with different anti-government slogans starting with "A for armas (weapon)".

Esperon said the schools do not issue credentials to students which would allow their wards to take further studies in government recognized schools.

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

Abra towns declare NPA as persona non grata

From the Philippine News Agency (Dec 6, 2019): Abra towns declare NPA as persona non grata (By Liza Agoot)

All 27 municipalities in Abra province have declared the New People's Army (NPA) as unwelcome in the villages, a military official said on Friday.

Col. Jearie Boy Faminial, 24th Infantry Battalion commander, said the resolutions were passed by the municipal councils on different dates.

First to declare was the town of Luba on Mar. 18, 2019, through Resolution 19-06 -2019 followed by capital Bangued and Tayum both on Mar. 25, 2019 while the other towns followed.

The most recent declarations came from Boliney on October 11.

Villages then started to follow the same declaration starting from Langangilang town with five of its villages-- Balais, Poblacion, Nagipulan, Taping and Dalaguisan, declaring the NPAs as persona non grata.

Faminial said Abra youth are becoming aware of the need to know the deception of the terrorist group that victimizes their sector, making them combatants leaving their families and their studies for a lost cause.

He said several youth leadership summits were conducted by the sector to hone their leadership skills and prevent them from being recruited by NPA members. Various government agencies also briefed participants of programs that they can avail of.

The youth leadership summits started in 2016 with the most recent held on November 15 in Malibcong that was attended by over 60 young participants.

Earlier, Abra Gov. Jocelyn Bernos said the leaders in the province are starting to realize the importance of having a peaceful town.

“The declarations are a start. At least now they are starting to choose not to have the NPA in their midst," Bernos said.

The government security forces have identified 15 villages in Abra either as insurgency affected or threatened.

Bernos said the 15 villages are in Tubo, Lacub and Malibcong towns which are upland municipalities in Abra. The villages in the towns can only be reached by hours of walking.

President Rodrigo Duterte issued Executive Order 70 mandating a whole-of-nation approach to end the local armed conflict. It also directs government agencies to collaborate and coordinate with each other in implementing development programs and projects in NPA-infested areas.

During the recent briefing of the Regional Task Force (RTF) ELCAC, there were 49 villages in the Cordillera Administrative Region identified as either NPA-affected or threatened.

Cabinet Officer for Regional Development and Security (CORDS) Secretary for Cordillera and Agriculture Secretary William Dar has called on the governors, mayors, and congressmen to prioritize funneling government programs to the 49 villages.

1 killed as troops raid NPA hideout

From the Sun Star-Zamboanga (Dec 5, 2019): 1 killed as troops raid NPA hideout

ZAMBOANGA. Troops captured on Wednesday, December 4, a New People's Army hideout in the village of Durian, Las Nieves, Agusan del Norte and recovered high-powered firearms, computers, a generator set, backpacks, food supplies, medicines, subversive documents, and other personal belongings. (Contributed photo)

A COMMUNIST rebel was killed as government troops raided an New People's Army (NPA) hideout in the hinterlands of Agusan del Norte, military officials said.

Lieutenant Colonel Ezra Balagtey, Eastern Mindanao Command (Eastmincom) information officer, said members of the Army's 23rd Infantry Battalion raided the NPA hideout at 8:05 a.m. Wednesday, December 4, in Sitio San Jose in the village of Durian, Las Nieves, Agusan del Norte following receipt of information from residents in the area.

In September, the officials and residents of the village of Durian, Las Nieves declared the NPA rebels as persona non grata.

Balagtey said the platoon-sized NPA rebels abandoned their hideout and fled to different directions, leaving their slain comrade following a 15-minute firefight.

Balagtey said the troops turned over the remains of the slain NPA rebel to the officials of Durian village for identification and proper disposition.

He said troops recovered from the captured NPA hideout one AK-47 assault rifle, two M-16 Armalite rifles, four Laptop computers, one generator set, 21 backpacks, two sacks of rice, food supplies, medicines, subversive documents, and other personal belongings.

He said the same group of NPA rebels clashed with the Army's 23rd Infantry Battalion on November 30 in Sitio Salvacion in the village of Manila de Bugabos, Butuan City, Agusan del Norte. The incident resulted in the death of a 16-year-old boy.

The boy was reported missing by his family since February 2019.

The NPA rebels who figured in the two clashes -- on Wednesday and November 30 -- have been monitored to be operating in Agusan del Norte, particularly near the boundary of Misamis Oriental.

"You have been warned by no less than the communities who do not want your presence in their area. We will be relentless in our combat operations to run after those who continue to embrace the violent armed struggle and we will use all legal means to go after you," Lieutenant General Felimon Santos Jr., Eastmincom chief, warned the rebels.

Joma mum on alleged NPA liquidation plot vs gov’t officials

From the Philippine Daily Inquirer (Dec 6, 2019): Joma mum on alleged NPA liquidation plot vs gov’t officials (By: Delfin T. Mallari Jr.)

Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) founder Jose Maria “Joma” Sison has distanced himself from the reported plots of New People’s Army (NPA) rebels to assassinate government officials leading the government’s counter-insurgency program but called it a military “psywar.”

“I am not in any position to confirm or deny any reported operational matter involving the NPA,”
Sison said in a statement from Utrecht in the Netherlands Thursday afternoon.

Sison issued the statement in reaction to an allegation by Major General Antonio Parlade Jr., Deputy Chief of Staff for Civil-Military Operations of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, that the CPP has launched a plot to liquidate state officials behind government projects and programs to crush the communist insurgents before the end of President Duterte’s term.

Aside from the three officials, Parlade said he and five former communist leaders helping the Duterte administration in its campaign against the insurgency are also on the hit list.

He said the list is part of “Oplan Hades,” which, he explained, was an alleged CPP initiative against counter-revolutionaries.

Sison retorted: “As it is his usual practice, Parlade is engaged in psywar.”

“It is a matter of public knowledge that the NPA carries out arrest and other punitive actions against the enemies of the people,” Sison said.

However, he maintained that the NPA would not divulge details on how they would carry out punitive actions against their enemies.

“I do not think that the NPA will give operational details to their enemy like Parlade,” he said.

Last month, Sison disclosed, citing CPP and NPA publications, that communist insurgents were reviving armed city partisan units called “sparu” or “Sparrow,” while preparing commando teams based in the countryside that could be deployed to urban areas on missions.

The communist hit squads were notorious for assassinating abusive police, military, and government officials and “enemies of the revolution,” particularly those with “blood debts,” in the ’70s and ’80s.

The hit squad, particularly the Alex Boncayao Brigade, gained notoriety for its summary executions of suspected government agents and “enemies of the revolution”.

Military seized explosives to be used attack on Maguindanao

Posted to Philippine Lifestyle News (Dec 3, 2019): Military seized explosives to be used attack on Maguindanao (By Margret Fermin)

The military thwarted an attempt to attack Maguindanao and areas in Central Mindanao after confiscating 12 powerful types of homemade explosives.

The explosives were seized in the soldiers’ ongoing surgical operations against the
Dawla Islamic terrorist group.

The military seized explosives to be used in an attack on Maguindanao.

According to Major Gen. Diosdado Carreon, commander of the 6th Infantry Division and head of the Joint Task Force Central (JTFC), among the confiscated explosives are IEDs, high-powered firearms and bomb-making equipment.

The military recovered the weapons at various Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) camps in the town of Shariff Saydona Mustapha.

It is believed that the explosives will be used in the attacks on Maguindanao and neighboring provinces.

In Barangay Pamalian, Shariff Saydona, military forces recovered high powered Armalite rifles with ammunition, improvised hand grenade bombs, and mounted live 81 mm mortar and other components to build an IED.

According to the military intelligence report, the BIFF will use and deploy the bombs in the streets of Maguindanao and populated areas in Cotabato, Maguindanao and Sultan Kudarat.

Last month, around 2,700 Mamasapano residents fled and were displaced after the army, and Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) clashed in Barangay Tukanalipao, Mamasapano, Maguindanao.

Army’s 33rd Infantry Battalion (33IB) had an encounter with the BIFF, which is linked to the Islamic State (IS) along Tukanalipao River wherein one rebel died, and two others were injured. The SAF (Special Action Force) 44 also died in the said site in 2015.

According to Ismael Hashim, chairperson of Barangay Tukanalipao, the BIFF rebels opened fire on the military stationed near the new bridge built across Tukanalipao River.

The Mamasapano residents said the BIFF fled the scene with their killed and two wounded members following ground and artillery attacks by the government’s military forces.

Army notes rising number of IEDs found in Maguindanao

From the Philippine News Agency (Dec 4, 2019): Army notes rising number of IEDs found in Maguindanao (By Edwin Fernandez)

IMPROVISED BOMBS FOUND. Government troops found additional improvised bombs left behind by on Tuesday (Dec. 3, 2019) by fleeing Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters in Barangay Pamalian, Shariff Saydona Mustapha, Maguindanao. A total of 20 homemade bombs were so far recovered by soldiers since the resumption of the all-out military operation against the BIFF in the area since November 24. (Photo courtesy of 6ID)

CAMP SIONGCO, Maguindanao -- More improvised explosive devices (IEDs) were recovered by government forces hunting down the Islamic State-inspired Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) in Maguindanao, the Army here said Wednesday.

On Tuesday,
six more powerful IEDs were discovered by government troops in Maguindanao as the military intensified its offensive against the BIFF, Maj. Gen. Diosdado Carreon, 6th Infantry Division (6ID) commander, said.

“The total number of IEDs found is now at 20,”
Carreon said, adding that soldiers found 14 other IEDs in Shariff Saydona Mustapha town and its environs since Nov. 24 when the all-out military operation commenced.

Carreon, also head of Joint Task Force Central (JFTC), said the latest set of IEDs found was in Barangay Pamalian, Shariff Saydona Mustapha, where abandoned lairs of the radicals were discovered lately.

Carreon said elements of Army’s 5th Special Forces Battalion (5SFB), while continuously clearing the area from the terror group whose members have already scampered away, discovered the IEDs in Sitio Diate of Barangay Pamalian.

The IEDs found were made from two 81mm mortar rounds, three 60mm mortar rounds, and one rocket-propelled grenade warhead.

“Our ground troops under the 601st Infantry Brigade will continue to scour the areas of engagement for the remnants of the terrorists who intentionally left the IEDs to harm our pursuing troops,” Carreon said.

The demolition team of 5SFB successfully defused the IEDs and brought these to the 33rd Infantry Battalion Tactical Command Post for safekeeping.

DILG gives financial aid for former rebels returning to society

From the Manila Bulletin (Dec 4, 2019): DILG gives financial aid for former rebels returning to society (By Chito Chavez)

Some P171.6 million of financial aid was given to 2,862 rebel surrenderers for turning themselves into the government with the promise to become lawful and productive citizens of the republic.

DILG Secretary Eduardo Año (Philippine Information Agency / MANILA BULLETIN)

The Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) said the financial package provided to former Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) members was in recognition of their decision to lay down their arms under the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP) from July 2018 to Nov. 2019.

Based on data of the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG)-National Barangay Operations Office, of the 2,882 former rebels (FRs), 2,635 were granted immediate assistance and 1,788 received livelihood assistance, while 655 got firearms remuneration, a total of P 171.6-million in assistance through E-CLIP from July 2018 to November 2019.

“The Communist Party of the Philippines and New People’s Army are now hurting as [their] ranks have been decimated by the huge number of surrenderers since July last year,” DILG Secretary Eduardo Año said.

E-CLIP is a peace-building and social protection program that provides interventions to former NPA rebels and Militia ng Bayan (MB) toward transforming them into productive citizens of society.

In a media forum on Wednesday, DILG Undersecretary and spokesman Jonathan E. Malaya said millions of pesos are earmarked to ensure that FRs are able to transition to normalcy with ease and most importantly, that their needs and livelihood are prioritized.

He noted that in the General Appropriations Act of 2020, a total of P260 million in funds for E-CLIP was earmarked “to further the cause of encouraging current rebels to renounce their lives as enemies of the state and live a normal life.”

Under the E-CLIP grant, FRs or their qualified beneficiaries are entitled to benefits including guaranteed safety and security and various forms of monetary assistance including P50,000 as livelihood assistance, P21,000 for meals and other expenses while the FR is in the custody of the Receiving Unit, P15,000 per FR for mobilization expenses, and firearms remuneration amounting to the value of turned-in firearms.

“E-CLIP will be here to assist rebels who want to change the story of their lives, those who want to abandon the hostility of armed conflicts,” Malaya said.

Services down to the grassroots

Malaya said despite the government’s success in capturing terrorists and aiding rebel surrenderers, “education and ensuring that the services of the government reach the fringes of the society down to the far-flung areas” are still the potent mechanisms for fighting Communist terrorist groups (CTGs) in the country.

He said that CTGs recruitment target the most vulnerable sectors, those that the government is finding hard to reach. This can be countered by education and awareness coupled with consistent government services by means of programs such as the Retooled Community Support Program (RCSP).

RCSP is the government’s primary program at the grassroots level to combat the activities of the CTGs. It is focused on giving solutions to socio-economic and cultural problems.

“They must know that their government will never forsake them and that assistance and services will be granted to them. Napakahalaga na malaman nila ang mga ito (It is very important that they know this),” Año said.

He explained that the RCSP is an inclusive program that is addressing identified issues of the community by closing the governance and development gaps through the provision of needed government programs and projects.

Malaya also noted that in line with the RCSP, the Capacitating Urban Communities for Peace and Development (CUCPD) program was simultaneously launched in various cities in Metro Manila last Nov. 19 to implement RCSP in areas identified as “white areas” or urban cities where CTGs focus their propaganda against the government.

“CUCPD is programmed to counter propaganda, halt recruitment, and promote national healing through development-oriented programs for various sectors like the urban poor, students, and professionals,” Malaya said.

Raps filed vs 2 arrested NPA leaders

From the Sun Star-Zamboanga (Dec 4, 2019): Raps filed vs 2 arrested NPA leaders

GOVERNMENT authorities have filed charges for illegal possession of firearms and explosive before the prosecutor’s office in Lanao del Norte against two leaders of the New People’s Army (NPA) they have arrested in that province, military officials announced.

Captain Clint Antipala, Army’s 1st Infantry Division information officer, said charged on Monday, December 2, were
Christopher Cañete alias Ka Glock and Virjon Virtudazo alias Ka Thunder.

Antipala said they were arrested by a joint military and police forces in a checkpoint around 12 midnight, Sunday in Dableston Village, Sultan Naga Dimaporo, Lanao del Norte.

Seized from them were an improvised explosive devised (IED), a caliber .45 pistol, a caliber .38 revolver, rifle grenade, and paraphernalia.

Brigadier General Bagnus Gaerlan, Army’s 1st Infantry Division and Joint Task Force Zampelan (Zamboanga Peninsula and Lanao Provinces) acting commander, said the two arrested leaders have revealed the identities of NPA members, including some who are allegedly “hiding in plain sight.”

Gaerlan said they are conducting verification and investigation since they also revealed identities of their supporters and their locations as well as their future plans. 

Military: Ranking CPP-NPA leader, 2 others slain in Antipolo clash

From the Philippine Daily Inquirer (Dec 6, 2019): Military: Ranking CPP-NPA leader, 2 others slain in Antipolo clash (By: Delfin T. Mallari Jr)

Government forces killed a suspected ranking communist rebel leader in Southern Tagalog region and two others in an alleged shootout in Antipolo City early Thursday, a regional Army spokesman said.

In a report, Captain Jayrald Ternio, head of the public affairs office of the Army’s 2nd Infantry Division,
identified the slain rebel as Armando Lazarte alias “Pat Romano”, alleged secretary of the Communist Party of the Philippines – Southern Tagalog Regional Party Committee’s Sub-Regional Military Area 4A.

Report from Police Regional Office 4 identified one of the slain rebels as “Ka Bisaya,” alleged NPA Platoon leader in the region. The other rebel is still unidentified.

The report, quoting Lt. Colonel Christopher Diaz, commander of the Army’s 80th Infantry Battalion which operates in Rizal province, said the combined military and police forces, armed with warrant of arrest, went to Lazarte’s safe house inside Sierra Vista Subdivision in Barangay (village) Cupang around 2 a.m.

Lazarte and his two other companions reportedly opened fire, prompting the government forces to retaliate.

Ternio said the government forces applied first aid treatment to the wounded rebels. But they died while being taken to Amang Rodriguez Hospital in Marikina City.

No member of the government forces was hurt in the shootout.

The government troops reportedly seized one M16 rifle, one 9mm pistol, one caliber .45 pistol, two hand grenades, laptops, mobile phones and rebel documents.

Report said the presence of Lazarte and companions in the area was tipped off by “informants” from inside the rebel movement.

Diaz tagged Lazarta as “notorious New People’s Army (NPA) commander” who allegedly led the burning of equipment at the Kaliwa Dam project in Infanta, Quezon early this year.

The military also claimed that Lazarte led a series of ambush that used land mines against policemen in Baras and Antipolo City sometimes last year

Diaz said the death of Lazarte “is a decisive blow to the communist terrorists for it will result to leadership vacuum”.

The military said Lazarte was the second high-ranking communist rebel leader from Southern Tagalog who had been neutralized in nine days following the arrest of Jaime “Ka Diego” Padilla at the Cardinal Santos Medical Center in San Juan City, where the NPA leader was supposedly confined due to hypertension.

Padilla was the NPA spokesman in the Southern Tagalog region.

Suspected NPA killed in encounter with government troops in Agusan del Norte

From the Cebu Daily News (Dec 5, 2019): Suspected NPA killed in encounter with government troops in Agusan del Norte (By  Florence Baesa)

The items recovered from a suspected hideout of rebels in Agusan del Norte. | photo courtesy of 23rd Infantry Battalion

A suspected member of the New People’s Army ( NPA) was killed during an encounter between troops of the 23rd Infantry Battalion (23IB) and suspected rebels in Sitio San Jose, Barangay Durian, Las Nieves, Agusan del Norte on Wednesday morning, December 4, 2019.

According to a military report,
troops recovered three high powered firearms, an AK 47 rifle and two M16 rifles from the alleged hideout of the rebels in the area. Also recovered were four laptops, one generator, 21 backpacks, two sacks of rice, food supplies, medicines, subversive documents and other personal belongings.

“I commend the troops of the 23IB and the people of Las Nieves, Agusan Del Norte for their continued efforts in flushing out the communist terrorists from their area of responsibility. The success of military operations can be attributed to the effective activation of local Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict in the province,” said Major General Franco Nemesio Gacal, commander of the 4th Infantry (Diamond) Division.

Lieutenant Colonel Francisco Molina Jr., commanding officer of the 23IB, said in a statement that the troops received information from concerned citizens in the area regarding the presence of armed men.

Upon reaching the area, the troops encountered more or less 40 suspected rebels believed to be members of the North Central Mindanao Regional Command (NCMRC) under Eddie Mangubat, alias “Weds.”

A fierce gunbattle lasted for about 15 minutes, after which the enemies withdrew towards the northeast, leaving behind a downed comrade.

The recovered body of the suspected NPA was turned over to the Barangay Council of Barangay Durian for proper identification.

Gacal, meanwhile, called on members of the NPA to surrender and enjoy the government programs intended for the surrenderees.

“I’m calling on the rest of the NPAs still fighting the government to surrender for the locals have already declared them Persona Non Grata or unwanted,” Gacal said.

Reds target 3 Cabinet men, general

From the Journal Online (Dec 5, 2019): Reds target 3 Cabinet men, general (By Joel dela Torre)

A SPARROW (assassination) unit of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF) has tagged three Cabinet secretaries of the Duterte administration and a ranking official of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) for neutralization.

Heading the list is Interior and Local Government Secretary Eduardo Año who was joined by National Security Adviser Secretary Hermogenes Esperon and Presidential Adviser for Indigenous Peoples’ Concerns Secretary Allen Capuyan.

Also targeted for assassination is AFP Deputy Chief of Staff for Civil-Military Operations Maj. Gen. Antonio Parlade.

It was Parlade who divulged the information during a media forum yesterday held at the DILG-NAPOLCOM building in Quezon City.

According to the AFP official, the central committee of the CPP-NPA-NDF had decided Tuesday night to make him and the three Cabinet officials their top targets through Oplan Hades.

Aside from the Cabinet members and military official, the communist list of targets included five cadres who helped the government in exposing the CPP’s activities.

Parlade said that Oplan Hades is intended to neutralize counter-revolutionaries or those who are against their group.

This is the first time in years that the communists placed the four government people in their list for neutralization, Parlade said.

6th ID produces 677 new breed of soldiers

Posted to the Philippine Infomation Agency (Dec 4, 2019): 6th ID produces 677 new breed of soldiers (By DPAO-6ID)

Featured Image

COTABATO CITY, Dec. 4 – The 6th Infantry Division welcomed the 677 new breed of soldiers as they recently graduated from military training at Barangay Semba, Datu Odin Sinsuat, Maguindanao.

6th Infantry Division and Joint Task Force Central Commander, Maj. Gen. Diosdado C. Carreon graced the graduation ceremony of Candidate Soldier (CS) Classes 575, 591, 599, 600, and 601 of 2019.

It can be noted that 600 male and 85 female candidate soldiers took their oath on June 1, 2019. Two Hundred Ninety Nine came from the 52nd Engineer Brigade in Bukidnon, 12 from 54th Engineer Brigade in Zamboanga City, 16 from 4th Infantry Division in Cagayan de Oro City, 10 from 10th Infantry Division in Compostela Valley, 15 from 11th Infantry Division based in Sulu, and 323 from the 6th Infantry Division in Maguindanao.

After undergoing a six-month rigorous military training, 677 have passed and completed the training composed of 592 males and 85 females. Their training was divided into three phases, the Transformation Module and Orientation Phase, Basic Soldiery Skills, and Field Training Exercise facilitated by the Division Training School of the 6th ID.

CS Rosalia C. Tarona topped Class 575 with a general average of 93.44%, CS Zaira Mae C. Cornel topped the Class 591 with 92.44%, CS Gleir C. Presbitero topped the Classes 599 and 600 with 93.42%, while CS Rochelle C. Wayno topped the Class 601 with 92.91%.

The Leadership Award was presented to CS Adrian M. Andog for Classes 599, 600, and 601 and CS Rosalia C. Tarona for Classes 575 and 591.

Meanwhile, CS John Michael P. Cuerpo (Class 591), CS Vincent James Insidan (Class 601) CS Angelito Trapero (Class 600), CS Jirah Mea M. Fasoy (Class 599) and CS Jordan P. Gallano (Class 575) received the Top Gun Award for obtaining the highest grade in marksmanship.

In his message, Maj. Gen Carreon, emphasized to the new graduates that they should be proud of what they have learned during the whole duration of their training and that they should serve the Philippine Army with honor.

He also reminded them to protect their integrity for this will cost them their job if this will be compromised.

The new graduates will be enlisted into the ranks of Private and will be deployed to different units in Mindanao. (DPAO-6ID)

Peace advocacy symposium empowers youth to say No to CTG recruitment

Posted to the Philippine Infomation Agency (Dec 5, 2019): Peace advocacy symposium empowers youth to say No to CTG recruitment

Retired Army Officer LTC Mario Jose Chico, convenor of Youth PH Guild, discusses topics on Saving the Youth during the Peace Advocacy Symposium with some 800 students of the Samar State University in attendance on December 2.

CATBALOGAN CITY, Dec. 4 - Some 800 students, faculty and staff gathered together for a Peace Advocacy Symposium held on December 2 at the Samar State University - Catbalogan Campus.

Organized by the 8th Civil - Military Operations (DANGPANAN) Battalion (8CMOBn) of the 8th Infantry Division, Philippine Army, the Symposium aimed to inculcate on the youth the culture of peace.

LTC Mario Jose Chico, a retired Army officer and the convenor of Youth PH Guild, in his presentation, discussed the topics on Saving the Youth. It highlighted how communist terrorist groups (CTGs) infiltrate the youth and student sector to convince them to join the armed struggle.

At the end of the presentation, the students as well as the teachers manifested their desire to be activist of Peace and Development rather than activists of wrong ideology that leads towards armed revolution.

Lieutenant Colonel Edgar Allan B. Orbito, commanding officer, said “Symposium like this does not only prevent infiltration to the student sector but will also give awareness to youth and their parents on the possible issues that will provoke them to join leftist organizations. Right information is the best weapon against NPA’s deception.”

Mr. Tomas O. Banez, the NSTP coordinator of SSU said, “Para sa inyong mga kabataan, grab the opportunity na makapag-aral ng maayos, libre naman ang tuition just focus sa pag-aaral at tandaan hindi pagsigaw sa kalsada ang solusyon sa mga problema. Huwag niyo na pakialaman ang problema ng ating bansa bagkos ang unahin niyo ay ang makapagtapos ng pag-aaral para sa inyong kinabukasan, para mapatunayan niyo na kayo ang tunay na pag-asa ng ating bayan. 'Wag na 'wag kayong magpapaloko o magpapagamit sa mga kumunista at wala silang maitutulong sa inyo bagkos kayo ay mapapahamak lamang.”

The 8CMOBn in partnership with the Commission on Higher Education and other government agencies will continue to do its mandated task by conducting the same activity to inculcate in the youth Patriotism, Nationalism and other Basic Desirable Values to infuse in them, faith in the creator, belief in the sanctity and dignity of life, conviction and unity of the family and adherence to the truth and justice. (PIA-8)

3rd Mech, Jelexie hold gift giving in Sta. Ignacia

Posted to the Philippine Infomation Agency (Dec 5, 2019): 3rd Mech, Jelexie hold gift giving in Sta. Ignacia (By Gabriela Liana S. Barela)

About 520 students in far-flung communities in Sta. Ignacia, Tarlac benefit from the gift giving activity of the 3rd Mechanized Infantry Battalion in partnership with Jelexie Bread King Corporation. (7th Infantry Division)

TARLAC CITY, Dec.4 (PIA) -- About 520 students in far-flung communities in Sta. Ignacia town benefitted from the gift giving activity of the 3rd Mechanized Infantry Battalion (3rd MIB) in partnership with Jelexie Bread King Corporation.

Students of Calipayan Elementary School and Timmaguab Elementary School received bread packs and slippers.

“This convergence effort with the private sector is in line with Executive Order No.70 or the Whole-of-nation approach to End Local Communist Armed Conflict,” 3rd MIB Commander Lieutenant Colonel Norberto P. Aromin Jr said.

Aside from gift giving, there was a film showing focused on inculcating to the youth the spirit of Bayanihan and make them aware of the deceitful tactics and exploitation of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA).

3rd MIB also encouraged parents and teachers to play their role in actively protecting the youth from the influence of the CPP-NPA.

“We have always been a partner in alleviating the welfare of the indigents by bringing basic services jointly with partner stakeholders, and in educating the youth about the ills of communism,” Aromin added.

For this part, 7th Infantry Division Commander Major General Lenard T. Agustin lauded the effort of 3rd MIB and thanked Jelexie Bread King Corporation whose owner is a member of the division’s Multi-Sector Advisory Board (MSAB).

“Our MSAB is made up of well-respected civilians from the different sectors of the community and functions as an advisory group for the Command,” he disclosed. (CLJD/GLSB-PIA 3)

Panabo Mayor chides NPAs

From the Philippine Infomation Agency (Dec 5, 2019): Panabo Mayor chides NPAs (By Jeanevive Abangan)

Panabo City Mayor Jose Relampagos (center) calls the New Peoples Army as a nuisance during the press conference held shortly after the ceremonial declaration of the city labeling the rebel group as persona non grata.

DAVAO DEL NORTE (PIA)—“They’re a bother.” Panabo City Mayor Jose E. Relampagos said of the members of the New People’s Army (NPA) as he issued on Monday, a public declaration to end local communist armed conflict and eventually declared the rebel group as “persona non grata”

In a press conference following the ceremonial declaration made during the Monday Convocation of city government employees, Relampagos detailed how NPA members had bothered communities where they used to draw support.

Claiming to have had direct encounter with NPAs as he used to ran a small business in far-flung communities in Panabo, Relampagos said NPAs “are collecting taxes.” “Dako na nga kahasol. (That’s really a bother),” he said while admitting that he used to give taxes to the NPA.

“Sa laktod nga pagkasulti, kusog sila mangayo. (In other words, they are much of the asking),” Relampagos said as recounted his dealings with them before his stint as the City Mayor of Panabo.

He said NPAs were also asking rice from poor people in peripheral areas and that their reported acts of killing civilians and staging ambush against military personnel were causing troubles in communities with their presence.

“Dakong kahasol ang ilang guibuhat maong ako gideklar jud nako nga sa Panabo sila persona non grata. (What they did were really bothering so here in Panabo, I declare them as persona non grata),” he said but he could not offhand tell the barangays which still suffer from these bothersome acts of the NPAs.

Relampagos swore not being cowed by NPAs however, he appealed them to go back mainstream and seek intervention of the government “which is offering a number of programs” for them to have a normal life away from the life of hunger.

“Pero ako silang giawhag nga mobalik sa sabakan sa gobyerno kay ang gobyerno daghang programa… Aplay sundalo, dako sweldo… didto gutom,” he said.

Relampagos claimed that the 40 barangays of Panabo had been cleared of armed NPAs but cautioned residents from supporting the rebel group as he is up to arrest those found in cohorts with NPAs.

“Ug gusto mo naay NPA, hala hatagi ninyo mosuporta kay aron dakpon mo ni Mayor Relampagos. Ana ra na. (if you want the presence of NPAs, you go on supporting them so that Mayor Relampagos will arrest you. That is it.),” he said with emphasis.

In his speech delivered during the ceremonial declaration, Relampagos professed his strong opposition against the adversarial intent of the NPA to overthrow the government. “Ilawon sa akong administrasyon, dili ko mo sugot na madani nila atong katawhan alang sa ilang mga interes. (Under my administration, I won’t allow them to convince our people to take side with their interest),” he said.

“As the City Mayor of Panabo, I am more willing to help our President Rodrigo Duterte to attain peace that we are hoping for,” he said.

The Declaration of NPA as Persona Non-Grata in Panabo City had the presence of 1003rd Infantry Brigade commander, Col. Nolasco Mempin and Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Provincial Director Abito Bernasor. (PIA XI / Jeanevive Duron Abangan)

60th Inf Battalion honors partner-stakeholders

From the Philippine Infomation Agency (Dec 5, 2019): 60th Inf Battalion honors partner-stakeholders (By Jeanevive Abangan)

DAVAO DEL NORTE (PIA) - Plaques of appreciation and medals of honor were conferred by the 60th Infantry Battalion (IB) to partner-stakeholders during its recently-held 33rd Founding Anniversary of the command located at Dona Andrea in the Municipality of Asuncion.

The primary awards given was “Gawad sa Kaunlaran” for government and private sector agencies and offices which had remarkably contributed in transforming the lives of beneficiaries especially the Ata-Manobo residents in the hinterlands of Barangay Gupitan in Kapalong.

The 60th IB also bestowed to partner-stakeholders the Parangal sa Kapanalig and honor medals particularly to those who had gone to the village of Tapayanon that it discovered early this year, and nurtured through stakeholder engagement using the whole-of-nation approach of converging services.

“We are winning the war,” 60th IB commander, Lt. Col Gilbert Ombos said as he expressed his gratitude for the support of partner-stakeholders that included government offices such as the Philippine Information Agency (PIA) and the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD); and civic organizations particularly the Mindanao Peace Council, Kiwanis Matahum Dabaw, JCI Duwaling, Rotary Club of Tagum North, Football for Humanity, Maharlika Sports Development Institute, Negrense Volunteer Corporation, ACDI Multi-purpose Cooperative-Tagum, One Heart for Hope and Quota International, among others.

Ombos attributed the success of winning NPA-influenced communities to the support of local government units of Davao del Norte, to the national government and its national line agencies aside from the private sector.

Kapalong Mayor Maria Theresa Timbol receives a plaque of appreciation from 60th Inf. Battalion commander Lt. Col. Gilbert Ombos.
He also extended the same gratitude to his troopers and to the higher commands: the 1001st Infantry Brigade under the command of Col John V. Oberio and 10th Infantry Division of Major General Jose C. Faustino Jr.

In his address, Faustino lauded the 60th IB for exemplifying the “truest definition of excellent service and highest commitment” and for giving spirit to the Mediator logo represented by a dove that “symbolizes purity of their passion and love for service”.

“To Lt Col. Ombos and predecessors, thank you for keeping and fulfilling the expectation of the command, the people you are serving and your unit,” he said. “60 IB with its excellent accomplishment is truly a reflection of your leadership and the snappy contribution of your mediator troopers,” he said addressing the commanders.

Faustino reciprocated with gratitude the contribution that partners had pitched in to ensure success of the command. “Let us recognize and offer our sincerest gratitude and appreciation to the contributors of your units’ successful endeavors,” he said. (PIA XI/ Jeanevive Duron-Abangan)

Gov’t destroys 94 NPA-surrendered weapons in NorMin

From the Philippine Infomation Agency (Dec 5, 2019): Gov’t destroys 94 NPA-surrendered weapons in NorMin (By Apipa P. Bagumbaran)

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY, Dec. 2 (PIA) -- Some 94 firearms turned-in by former members of the New People’s Army (NPA) and Militia ng Bayan in Bukidnon province were destroyed during a demilitarization ceremony held inside the 4th Infantry Division camp last week.

The firearms were cut using circular saws to ensure that no parts of the firearms could be re-used or recycled.

DILG-X Regional Director Arnel Agabe leads the ceremonial demiliarization of 94 firearms turned-in by former members of the New People’s Army (NPA) and Militia ng Bayan in Bukidnon province. (Vince Bautista/PIA Cagayan de Oro)

The demilitarized firearms consisted of 13 M16 rifles, 17 M14 rifles, two grenade launcher, one CZ 858 tactical, one 22mm long rifle, ten 12 gauge shotguns, 14 carbine cal.30 rifles, seven cal.45 pistols, one 9mm Uzi, eight cal.38 revolvers, one mini barret, one 5.56mm revolver, 16 improvised handguns, and two improvise rifles.

National Defense Undersecretary and Task Force Balik Loob Chairperson Reynaldo Mapagu said the demilitarization of firearms is the government’s way of showing its commitment to ending the local communist armed conflict

"By destroying the means by which the atrocities of the communist terrorist groups are perpetuated, we are showing that we are sincere in creating a more peaceful country for our children and our grandchildren to live in. Also, the demilitarization of firearms is a testament that we are not recycling firearms to pursue corrupt or other unlawful ends,” he said.

The destruction of NPA-surrendered firearms in Cagayan de Oro City marked the second demilitarization rites conducted under the government’s Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP). The first demilitarization was held in July, this year, in Tagum City and witnessed by President Rodrigo Roa Duterte.

The demilitarization activity dubbed “Kalinaw sa Amihanang Mindanaw” was conducted by the Regional Inter-Agency Task Force on ECLIP (RIATFE) in support to the operationalization of Executive Order No. 70, known as the “whole-of-nation approach” in ending local communist armed conflict.

During the activity, financial assistance packages totaling Php2,862,000 were turned-over by the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) to 105 former rebels who embraced the path to peace. The financial packages consisted of immediate assistance (Php1,560,000), livelihood assistance (Php950,000), firearms remuneration (Php142,000), and reintegration assistance (Php210,000).

The Department of Social Welfare and Development also distributed cash assistance, sleeping kits, and family food packs while the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority committed to provide skills training and livelihood programs to the former rebels and their families.

Moreover, a check worth Php5 million was handed over to the city government of Cagayan de Oro for the construction of a halfway house.

National Defense Undersecretary and Task Force Balik Loob Chairperson Reynaldo Mapagu reminds the public not allow themselves to be drawn in the fight against fellow Filipinos. He emphasizes that the demilitarized firearms would be the lasting symbol of the failed communist revolution of Jose Maria Sison and his followers. (Rodolfo Mendoza/PIA Cagayan de Oro)

"The former rebels will now be our partners in championing the retooled community support program (RCSP) as they will be part of the core teams who will immerse in the barangays to mobilize communities into sectoral groups and ushered them to participate in sectoral dialogues," said DILG Assistant Secretary for Peace and Security Alexander Macario

According to him, the RCSP aims to address identified issues of the communities by closing the governance and development gaps through the provision of government services, programs, and projects.

As he welcomed the former rebels to a new peaceful life, he reminded them not to waste the opportunity given to them to start anew with their respective families. Macario also urged them to encourage their comrades to go down and return to the fold of law to avail of E-CLIP packages.

Meanwhile, Mapagu said the Armed Forces of the Philippines recorded a total of 11,969 surrenderees as of October 31, this year, of which 3,593 are either NPA regular fighters or Militia ng Bayan members. The rest are members of the Underground Mass Organization, Sangay ng Partidong Lokalidad, and mass supporters. Of the 3,593 former rebels, 2,991 have already been enrolled in the E-CLIP and have received financial assistance from the DILG. (APB/PIA-10)

Landbank launches first lending program under E-CLIP

From the Philippine Infomation Agency (Dec 5, 2019): Landbank launches first lending program under E-CLIP (By Susan G. De Leon)


Defense Undersecretary Reynaldo B. Mapagu who also chairs Task Force Balik Loob with five (5) former rebels (FRs) who surrendered under the E-Clip Program, and receive financial assistance during the launching of Landbank's Lending Program. (Photo courtesy of TFBL)

QUEZON CITY, Dec. 5 (PIA)--The Landbank of the Philippines recently launched a financial assistance program to support former rebels (FRs) who are returning to the fold of law under the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP).

Task Force Balik-Loob (TFBL) and LandBank signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) to facilitate the lending program as part of the E-CLIP during its launch held in Catarman, Samar.

Under the Lending Program, LBP may provide loans up to Php100, 000 to fund small and micro-enterprises (SMEs), and livelihood projects. LBP will also conduct loan counselling and financial literacy seminars to FRs prior to release of their loans.

FRs over the age of 21 who have no pending cases are qualified to avail of the loan program. Those disqualified due to age or have pending cases can designate a familymember who will be listed as the borrower in their stead. FRs can submit their loan applications to LBP lending units across the country, together with their proof of identification and certification from the Joint AFP-PNP Intelligence Committee (JAPIC).

During the launch Chairperson Task Force Balik Loob Defense Undersecretary Reynaldo B. Mapagu said everyone will benefit from the dividends of peace and development.

“For that same reason, we should all work together and converge our efforts towards ending the local communist armed conflict. Let us stand with our president towards attaining a peaceful and prosperous Philippines free from the scourge of the communist terrorist group,” Mapagu said.

The E-CLIP is the flagship program of the Duterte administration that seeks to effect social healing and national unity through a whole-of-nation approach towards the higherobjective of having just and lasting peace.

It provides social equity to former members of the CPP-NPA-NDF and the Militia ng Bayan by devising a different modality of providing benefits and services to the FRs, in order to reintegrate them into mainstream society. These benefits do not serve as an end, but rather a means to aid the FRs in securing a foothold in restarting their lives.

Unlike previous government rebel reintegration programs, the E-CLIP provides a wider array of benefits based on the particular needs of FRs and their families such as financial assistance, housing, education, skills training, healthcare, legal assistance, and among others through a convergence of various national and local government agencies.

The TFBL was organized to oversee the implementation of E-CLIP pursuant to Administrative Order No. 10 of President Duterte. It includes DILG, Department of National Defense, Office of the President, National Housing Authority, and the Office of the Presidential Adviser for Peace among its lead agencies, and other government agencies and instrumentalities as partner agencies that may be tapped to provide additional benefits and services to FR’s. (TBFL/PIA-NCR)

Tagalog News: 79 sumukong kasapi ng 'Militia ng Bayan', tumanggap ng ayuda

From the Philippine Infomation Agency (Dec 5, 2019): Tagalog News: 79 sumukong kasapi ng 'Militia ng Bayan', tumanggap ng ayuda (By Voltaire N. Dequina)

Bahagi ng seremonya sa opisyal na pagsuko ng mga dating kasapi ng Militia ng Bayan ay ang pagsunog sa watawat ng rebeldeng samahan na dati nilang kinaaniban. (Voltaire N. Dequina/PIA Occ Min)

SAN JOSE, Occidental Mindoro, Dis 5 (PIA) — Tumanggap ng pera at livelihood assistance mula sa pamahalaan ang 79 na sumukong kasapi ng Militia Ng Bayan (MB) sa isang pormal na seremonya noong nakaraang linggo sa bayang ito.

Ayon kay Juvy Tepico ng panlalawigang tanggapan ng Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), ipinagkaloob ang mga ayuda alinsunod sa Enhanced–Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-Clip), isang programa ng pamahalaan na nagbibigay ng packaged assistance sa mga sumukong kasapi ng Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), New People’s Army (NPA), National Democratic Front (NDF) at MB, upang magamit nilang panimula sa kanilang pagbabagong-buhay.

“Agarang tulong na P15,000 bawat isa ang unang ipinagkaloob sa mga dating rebelde matapos maproseso ang kanilang pagsuko at opisyal na silang nakasama sa E-CLIP” saad ni Tepico, gayundin aniya ang livelihood assistance na ibinatay naman sa uri ng pagkakakitaan o kabuhayan na kayang itaguyod ng benepisyaryo.

Ayon pa kay Tepico, gagabayan ng husto ang mga benepisyaryo dahil bukod sa puhunan ay isasailalim din sila sa mga training o pagsasanay ng iba’t ibang ahensya, tulad ng Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) at Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), sa pangangsiwa ng Provincial Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (PTF-ELCAC).

“Upang mabigyan agad ng pagkakakitaan ang ating mga surrenderees ay isasali natin sila sa programang Tulong Panghanapbuhay sa Ating Disadvantaged/Displaced Workers (TUPAD),” saad pa ni Tepico.

Ang TUPAD ay programa ng Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) kung saan bibigyan ng agarang trabaho ang mapipiling benepisyaryo sa loob ng 10-30 araw, habang inihahanda pa ito na itaguyod ang pangmatagalang kabuhayan.

Pahayag naman ni Rosalina Lamocca, tagapamahala ng Provincial Social Welfare and Development Office (PSWDO), ang mga nabanggit na ayuda ay ilan lamang sa nakalaan sa mga rebelde na nais nang makabalik sa lipunan. Aniya, sagot din ng gobyerno, sa pamamagitan naman ng lokal na pamahalaan, ang pangangailangan sa edukasyon at medikal ng mga nagbalik-loob gayundin ang pamilya nito.

“Halimbawa’y buntis ang asawa ng sumuko o may sakit, tutulong ang LGU Prov sa abot ng makakaya sa pamilya ng sumuko,” paliwanag ni Lamocca. Maari rin aniyang magbigay ng scholarship ang LGU Prov sa mga anak ng dating rebelde.

Kwento pa ng opisyal ng PSWDO, nakaatang rin sa kanilang tanggapan, katuwang ang kaparehong opisina sa munisipalidad (MSWDO), ang pagmo-monitor sa takbo ng kabuhayan ng mga nagbabalik-loob sa pamahalaan. (VND/PIA MIMAROPA/Occ Min)

Basilan celebrates Mindanao Week of Peace

From the Philippine News Agency (Dec 5, 2019): Basilan celebrates Mindanao Week of Peace (By Rene V. Carbayas)

ISABELA CITY, Basilan, Dec 5 (PIA) – Peace Caravan, Children’s Peace-tival, and Youth Peace Camp highlight this year’s celebration of Mindanao Week of Peace in Basilan with the theme “Kapayapaan Para sa Kinabukasan ng Kabataan.”

Hundreds of children from Sumisip town joined the Children’s Peace-tival and launching of 2020 as the Year of Ecumenism, Interreligious Dialogue and Indigenous People.

No less than the Ambassador of Spain to the Philippines graced the occasion who was delighted to be able to finally visit the province of Basilan.

”You may know that I have very special desire to visit this wonderful Philippine Island. So rich in culture, history, and nature. It is a privilege to be able to participate in this celebration of peace with the people of Basilan, in Basilan,” Señor Jorge Moragas, Ambassador of Spain to the Philippines said during his speech.

The crowd were amused when he uttered in Filipino his appreciation for the efforts of the people to work for peace.

“Pinupuri ko ang inyong pagsisikap sa pagtataguyod ng kapayapaan (I laud your efforts in promoting peace),” he said.

Religious leaders from Christian Catholics and Muslims also delivered messages of peace. Both leaders, Basilan Bishop Leo Dalmao DD and Basilan Ulama Supreme Council Chairman Dr. Aboulkhair Tarason emphasized on unity and love for fellowmen that results to respect for all people regardless of faith, sex, and age to build a progressive and peaceful community.

Moreover, Basilan Governor Jim Hataman Salliman proudly announced the new image of Basilan and encourage the people outside to visit the province and see for themselves and experience the peace that the people are enjoying now.

“Even as we have struggled for so many years of what is expected of us and our community, we can say that Basilan is now different as what it has been said [before],” the governor said as he recalled and describe the unpeaceful image of Basilan before.

He recalled how the people of Basilan were robbed-off of opportunities and peace because of violence, conflict, and poor governance that affected children and youth then.

“However, all these changed because of the efforts of various sectors, the local government, military, police, religious leaders, and civil society; Basilan today is different,” he said.

Meanwhile, in a separate event, some 200 young people, some of them are children and families of Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF), and former Abu Sayyaf participated in leadership training during the Youth Peace Camp at a local beach in Lamitan City over the weekend.

The youth have undergone different activities and workshops on Leadership facilitated by the Philippine Information Agency, coastal clean-up and went through various obstacles/challenges during the amazing peace race team-building activities that helped develop their self-confidence, building trust and camaraderie.

The various activities of the Mindanao Week of Peace in Basilan were the joint effort of the Provincial Government of Basilan, Nagdilaab foundation Inc., ZABIDA, Manos Unidas and AECID, LAMITAN City LGU, and in collaboration with Joint Task Force Basilan and other stakeholders. (EDT/RVC/PIA9-Basilan

5 NPA rebels yield in Surigao Sur

From the Philippine News Agency (Dec 5, 2019): 5 NPA rebels yield in Surigao Sur (By Alexander Lopez)

NEW LIFE. Five members of the New People’s Army surrendered to the troopers of 75th Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army on December 3 in Barangay Maharlika, Bislig City, Surigao del Sur. The rebels say they are tired of hiding from the law. (Photo courtesy of 75th Infantry Battalion)

After more than three years of hiding in the hinterlands, five members of the New People’s Army (NPA) operating in the province of Surigao del Sur surrendered to authorities on Tuesday.

In a statement issued on Wednesday, the Army’s 75th Infantry Battalion
lauded the decision of the NPA surrenderers to avail of the government's program for former rebels.

Lt. Col. Warren C. Munda, 75IB commander, welcomed alias “Tisoy”, “Panchito”, “Kwago”, “Richard”, and “Atong” to the fold of the law as they also turned over assorted high-power firearms and ammunition at the 75IB headquarters in Barangay Maharlika, Bislig City.

Munda said the five were members of the NPA's weakened Guerrilla Front 14 under the North Eastern Mindanao Regional Committee (NMRC) of the communist rebel movement.

The Army said Tisoy regretted the “lost opportunities" they had for the last three years with the NPA, who deceived them into believing that their lives would be better in the organization.

“We gained nothing but hardships and sacrifices. What a loss for us in the last three years,” Tisoy said.

Munda also assured the former rebels of their safety as the government will provide them with the necessary assistance to help them avail of the government's Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program.

Samar army taps birth registration in anti-NPA drive

From the Philippine News Agency (Dec 5, 2019): Samar army taps birth registration in anti-NPA drive (By Roel Amazona)

OUTREACH. Soldiers distribute candies to children during a community support program in Pinabacdao, Samar. The army has incorporated mobile birth registration in its outreach activities in rebel-infested communities in Samar. (Photo courtesy of 46th Infantry Battalion)

In two Samar towns, the military’s campaign against insurgency includes helping villagers gain their legal identities.

Lt. Col. Rhomel Langcauon, commanding officer of the Philippine Army’s 46th Infantry Battalion, said on Thursday that
one of the most common problems among residents of remote Samar communities is the absence of certificates of live birth.

“About 30 to 40 percent of residents in far-flung villages have no birth certificates, a very important piece of document that every Filipino must-have,” Langcuonon said in an interview.

He recalled hearing stories of student-athletes barred from joining competitions since they do not have a birth certificate.

The teens in remote villages here are deprived of several opportunities due to lack of legal documents, making them vulnerable to New People’s Army recruitment, the army official added.

This prompted the military to organize an outreach activity with free mobile birth registration in partnership with local governments.

One of the services provided is free on-site registration of births in remote communities. This initiative has been carried out in rebel-infested communities of Pinabacdao and Calbiga, Samar.

A birth certificate is a vital record that will establish the birth of a child. It authenticates one's identity and nationality and assists with obtaining government-issued identity documents, such as a passport or driver's license.

Holding a birth certificate makes it easier to prove citizenship, according to the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA).

“The problem of the lack of birth certificate is very rampant in these two towns. Aside from this, there are also parents who are not yet legally married. We asked the mayors to sponsor a mass wedding for these couples who have been living together for decades,” Langcuonon added.

Extreme poverty, distance from the town center, and the lack of awareness on the value of legal identity documents are among the reasons these families do not secure these documents.

The provision of copies of birth certificates is part of the community support program, an initiative of the military to facilitate the government’s development programs by hearing issues and concerns of villagers and bringing them to the attention of concerned government offices.

Early this year, the PSA reported that five million Filipinos nationwide remain unregistered with the agency. Almost 40 percent of the total unregistered Filipinos are children aged 0-14 years old.

14 NPA rebels, 185 Kadamay members surrender in Bulacan

From the Philippine News Agency (Dec 5, 2019): 14 NPA rebels, 185 Kadamay members surrender in Bulacan (By Manny Balbin)

RETURNEES. Newly-installed Bulacan Provincial Director, Colonel Emma Libunao presents the 14 members of the New People’s Army (NPA) and 185 members of Kalipunan Ng Damayang Mahihirap Kadamay Group (KADAMAY), the alleged urban poor front organization of Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), who voluntarily surrendered to the authorities during the “Pagbabalik Loob Sa Gobyerno” program at Camp Alejo Santos, City of Malolos, Bulacan on Thursday (December 5, 2019). Also in photo (from left) are Governor Daniel Fernando, PRO 3 Regional Director Brig. Gen. Rhodel Sermonia, 48th IB Battalion Commander, Lt. Col. Felix Emeterio Valdez, and DILG provincial director Darwin David. (Photo by Manny Balbin)

CAMP ALEJO SANTOS, Bulacan -- Fourteen members of the New People’s Army (NPA) and 185 members of Kalipunan Ng Damayang Mahihirap Kadamay Group (KADAMAY), the alleged urban poor front organization of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) operating in the area, voluntarily denounced armed struggle and surrendered to the authorities on Thursday.

Bulacan police acting director, Colonel Emma Libunao presented the rebel returnees and the 185 Kadamay members during the “Pagbabalik Loob Sa Gobyerno” program held in this camp.

Present during the program were Governor Daniel Fernando, Police Regional Office 3 (PRO3) Director, Brig. Gen. Rhodel Sermonia; and Pandi Mayor Enrico Roque.

Libunao said the surrenderers are eligible of the government's Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP).

E-CLIP is one of the flagship programs of the Duterte administration which aims to provide social equity to former members of the CPP-NPA-NDF (National Democratic Front) and the Militia ng Bayan to reintegrate them into mainstream society.

The E-CLIP provides a wide array of benefits such as financial assistance, shelter, education, skills training, healthcare and legal assistance through a convergence of various national and local government agencies.

Sermonia, for his part, lauded the effort of the local municipality of Pandi town headed by Mayor Roque and Major Joy Placido, Pandi chief of police, who initiated the “balik-loob” program.

“Maraming salamat (sa) inyong pagbabalik loob. Dahil sa inyong presensya ngayong umaga, nabawasan ang posibilidad na may batang iiyak dahil sa nawalan ng ama o asawa na magluluksa. (Thank you for returning back to the mainstream society. With your presence this morning, the possibility that there is a child crying due to the loss of a father or a wife mourning will be lessened),” he said.

The PRO-3 chief said the national government is serious in maintaining peace and order in line with Executive Order No. 70, known as National Task Force-End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC).

Meanwhile, Governor Fernando said there is a big difference now as compared before wherein both the government and the rebel forces talked through bloody war with the use of guns and ammunition.

Fernando assured that the provincial government of Bulacan will provide social services and employment opportunities to the rebel returnees.

“The provincial government of Bulacan is implementing sustainable livelihood programs as well as scholarship programs for rebel returnees,” he said.

‘Tri-people’ calls for unity, peace in Caraga

From the Philippine News Agency (Dec 5, 2019): ‘Tri-people’ calls for unity, peace in Caraga (By Alexander Lopez)

CULMINATION. Some 200 leaders and members of groups representing the Christian, Muslim, and Indigenous Peoples communities join in the culmination activity of the Mindanao Week of Peace celebration at the Bishop’s House in Butuan City on Wednesday (Dec. 4, 2019). The participants issued a call for unity to attain genuine peace in the region. (PNA photo by Alexander Lopez)

BUTUAN CITY – Leaders representing the Indigenous Peoples (IPs), Muslims, and Christians in the Caraga region jointly called for unity to "win the peace" in the region.

In his message during the culmination of the weeklong celebration of Mindanao Week of Peace at the Bishop’s House here on Wednesday, Butuan Diocese Bishop Cosme Damian Almedilla urged the people of Caraga to “unite in solving our societal problems, the insurgency, and other issues and concerns of the different sectors.”

It is only through unity that people in the region can attain genuine peace and live in harmony until the next generation, he said.

Almedilla’s call was also supported by Director Ferdausi S. Cerna of the National Commission of Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) 13 (Caraga), who encouraged the "tri-people" in the area to "not just preach peace but also live with it."

Cerna added that the people of Caraga must win over the fear that serves as a hindrance to achieving lasting peace.

Lawyer Paisal M. Mamintal of the National Commission on Muslim Filipinos (NCMF) 13 emphasized the similarities between cultures of the people of Mindanao that he said can become the "strength to attain peace."

"We may hold varying beliefs and follow different religions, yet we were conceived from one ancestry," Mamintal said.

The celebration that started on November 28 featured dialogues among the tri-people in Caraga on different perspectives on peace and development.

Brig. Gen. Maurito Licudine, commander of the Army’s 402nd Brigade, told the participants that sincerity is also needed among parties in conflict to achieve lasting peace in the area and Mindanao.

Licudine said as a soldier, he has witnessed the brutal effects of war on people and communities.

Winning the peace, he said, means all parties "must work one," citing the role of everyone in the ongoing implementation of the "whole-of-nation approach" of the government to end local communist conflicts in communities.

Abner Caga, officer-in-charge of Philippine Information Agency 13 and concurrent director in Caraga, also noted the importance of proper communication and dialogue among all sectors in the region.

Caga asked the participants to help the government fight the spread of fake information that “acts as a leverage of the leftist groups for the purpose of eroding the foundation of the relationship between various sectors that strive for peace.”

4 more NPA rebels yield in South Cotabato

From the Philippine News Agency (Dec 5, 2019): 4 more NPA rebels yield in South Cotabato (By Allen Estabillo)

Col. Jemuel Siason, South Cotabato police director. (PNA GenSan file photo)

Four more members of the New People’s Army (NPA) in South Cotabato province surrendered to local government and police personnel following a series of negotiations, a police official said on Thursday.

Col. Jemuel Siason, South Cotabato police director, said the rebels yielded along with three high-powered firearms late Tuesday afternoon in a village in Lake Sebu town.

Siason said the surrenderers were fetched by a team from the South Cotabato Police Provincial Office and the Provincial Social Welfare and Development Office and brought to Koronadal City.

The four underwent initial verification on Wednesday in coordination with the Army’s 27th Infantry Battalion (IB), he said.

Siason said the returnees were former members of Platoon Samsung of the NPA’s Guerilla Front 73 that operates in the hinterlands of Lake Sebu and neighboring localities in Sultan Kudarat province.

They surrendered a homemade M-79 grenade launcher, M14 rifle with 10 live ammunition and a Winchester Garand rifle with seven live bullets reportedly issued by their unit.

“They were long time members of the NPA and one of them was recruited back in 2006,” he told reporters, adding the four wanted to surrender for quite some time already but were just waiting for the right timing due to safety and security concerns.

Siason said the four rebels decided to surrender mainly due to their difficult situation in the mountains, as they were reportedly always on the move to avoid the military operations.

He said they were encouraged by the efforts of South Cotabato Gov. Reynaldo Tamayo Jr. and other government agencies, under the Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict, to address the needs of their communities.

“They saw how things have improved in their villages, especially when they came to Koronadal City for the first time. They realized that there’s no more reason for them to fight in the mountains,” he said, citing statements from the surrenderers.

Last month, at least 24 NPA rebels from parts of the province surrendered to police and military units and availed of the government’s reintegration program.

Nineteen of the surrenderers, who were all previously under the NPA’s Front 73, yielded to the Police Regional Office-12 and the five others to the 27IB.

3 cops, militiaman hurt in Sulu ambush

From the Philippine News Agency (Dec 5, 2019): 3 cops, militiaman hurt in Sulu ambush (By Teofilo Garcia, Jr.)

Google map of Patikul town, Sulu.

Three police officers and a militiaman were wounded in an ambush staged by the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) bandits in the hinterlands of Sulu, officials said Thursday.

Lt. Col. Gerald Monfort, Joint Task Force Sulu information officer, said the attack took place around 6:50 p.m. Wednesday in Barangay Buhanginan, Patikul, Sulu.

Monfort said the policemen and Barangay Peacekeeping Action Team (BPAT) members were on security patrol when the ASG bandits ambushed them, leading to a five-minute firefight.

He said troops from the Army’s 6th Special Forces Battalion reinforced the joint policemen and BPAT, forcing the ASG bandits to flee to different directions.

The three policemen and a BPAT member were rushed to the Camp Heneral Teodulfo Bautista Hospital in Jolo, the capital of Sulu.

The ambush came five hours after one of the bandits' companions surrendered and turned over a firearm to military authorities in Sulu.

Lt. Col. Alaric Avelino delos Santos, Army’s 41st Infantry Battalion commander, said the ASG surrenderer told them “that a lot of his comrades are now planning to surrender and are just waiting for an opportunity to escape.”

“They are now feeling the full pressure of the government’s war against terrorism,” delos Santos said.

Maj. Gen. Corleto Vinluan Jr., Joint Task Force Sulu commander, said the ambush could be a retaliation for the series of recent ASG debacles “as a result of the active participation of the civilians to our security programs.”

“Their strategy is to sow terror and threat to the general public. Hence, I urge the entire peace-loving Tausug community not to give in to such terror scheme. Let us remain firm with our resolve in putting an end to this senseless violence that has destroyed the image of Sulu for decades,” Vinluan said.

Clash leaves 1 NPA dead, firearms recovered in Agusan Norte

From the Philippine News Agency (Dec 5, 2019): Clash leaves 1 NPA dead, firearms recovered in Agusan Norte (By Alexander Lopez)

RECOVERED FIREARMS. The Army's 23rd Infantry Brigade display the firearms and other materials they recovered after a 15-minute firefight with the New People’s Army rebels in Sitio San Jose, Barangay Durian in Las Nieves, Agusan del Norte on Wednesday (Dec. 4, 2019). (Photo courtesy of 23IB)

A rebel was killed during an armed confrontation between government troops and communist New People’s Army (NPA) guerrillas on Wednesday morning in Las Nieves town, Agusan del Norte, an official said.

The clash in Barangay Durian also resulted in the recovery of three high-powered firearms, ammunition, documents, and personal belongings, the Army’s 23rd Infantry Battalion said in a statement on Thursday.

Lt. Col. Francisco Molina, 23IB commander, said the encounter ensued after government troops responded to civilian tipoff about the presence of NPA rebels in the village's Sitio San Jose.

Molina said that after the 15-minute clash with members of the Guerrilla Front 4A of the NPA's North Central Mindanao Regional Command, the rebels led by a certain Eddie Mangubat retreated, leaving behind a dead comrade.

Government troopers recovered an AK-47 rifle, two M16 rifles, four laptops, a generator, backpacks, sacks of rice, food supplies, medicines, subversive documents, and other personal belongings.

The Army turned over the cadaver of the NPA member to the village leaders in the area for identification and proper disposition, Molina said.

“The (NPA) members risk their lives fighting for the false ideologies and propaganda, but their comrades just left them when they needed them the most,” the Army official said.

He also urged the remaining NPA members in the area to go back to the mainstream society and avail of the government's livelihood program for surrenderers.

Molina also commended the residents in the area who provided information on the presence of the NPA rebels.

New 602Bde chief vows to intensify fight vs. terrorists

From the Philippine News Agency (Dec 5, 2019): New 602Bde chief vows to intensify fight vs. terrorists (By Edwin Fernandez)

CHANGE OF COMMAND. Local officials, led by North Cotabato Governor Nancy Catamco (center) and Sultan Kudarat Governor Suharto Mangudadatu (in white long sleeves), join the turnover of command of the Army’s 602nd Infantry Brigade (Bde) in Carmen, North Cotabato on Wednesday (Dec. 4, 2019). Brigadier General Roberto Capulong, a former senior military assistant to Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, is the new brigade commander replacing Brig. Gen. Alfredo Rosario Jr., who was reassigned as deputy commander of the Eastern Mindanao Command based in Davao City. (Photo courtesy of 6th Infantry Division)

CAMP SIONGCO, Maguindanao – A seasoned military officer from the office of Department of National Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana has assumed as head of the Army’s 602nd Infantry Brigade (Bde) in Carmen, North Cotabato on Wednesday, promising to sustain the government’s campaign against local terrorists and communist rebels.

Brig. Gen. Roberto Capulong, the new 602Bde chief,
said he would also push forward the government’s peace initiatives in conflict-affected communities of the brigade’s area of responsibility.

The 602Bde covers the towns of Midsayap, Libungan, Aleosan, Pikit, M’lang, Tulunan, Matalam, Kabacan, and Carmen in North Cotabato; and also Pagalungan and Pagagawan in Maguindanao.

Major Gen. Diosdado Carreon, Army’s 6th Infantry Division (ID) commander, administered the change of command at Camp Lucero in Carmen town along with provincial and local officials led by North Cotabato Governor Nancy Catamco and Sultan Kudarat Governor Suharto “Teng” Mangudadatu.

Capulong replaced Brig. Gen. Alfredo Rosario Jr., who was reassigned as deputy commander of Eastern Mindanao Command based in Panacan, Davao City.
“I might not achieve what Brig. Gen. Rosario has accomplished but I promise to go beyond the previous commander’s hard work and dedication in bringing long-lasting peace in our area of operation,” Capulong said.

Before his present assignment, Capulong worked as a senior military assistant to Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana.

He was once assigned in the 6ID area of operation during his junior officer years and served as operations and training officer in the different units.

Capulong has appealed for all-out support from local officials for the government to succeed in its desire to establish peace and stability in Central Mindanao.

Napolcom okays activation of Community Affairs Section under PN

From the Philippine News Agency (Dec 5, 2019):Napolcom okays activation of Community Affairs Section under PNP (By Christopher Lloyd Caliwan)

MANILA -- The National Police Commission (Napolcom) on Wednesday approved the activation of a Community Affairs Section (CAS) under the 17 Regional Mobile Force Battalions (RMFBs) and five National Capital Region District Mobile Force Battalions (NCRDMFBs) of the Philippine National Police (PNP).

Napolcom Vice-Chairman and Executive Officer Rogelio Casurao said Resolution No. 2019-857, dated October 29, approved the activation of the section and the strengthening of the Provincial Mobile Force Companies (PMFC) and City Mobile Force Companies (CMFC).

The CAS will act as a conduit in the development, integration, and implementation of various police-community relations programs and activities in support of anti-criminality, anti-insurgency and anti-terrorism campaigns of the PNP.

It is also responsible for facilitating counter-organization and mobilization strategies against mass organizations affected by the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People's Army-National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF) as well as other community programs for Internal Security Operations to overcome insurgency movements, in coordination with the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and other concerned government agencies.

“The success of any PNP policy, program and activity always boils down to the groundwork of our police officers in building the foundation of a well-informed and well-educated community. The activation of the Community Affairs Section and the strengthening of the Provincial and City Mobile Force Companies will bridge the information gap between the police and the citizenry,” Casurao said in a statement.

The newly created section is likewise tasked to assist in the conduct of information operations and activities through the various forms of media, disseminate printed information materials about public safety, and assist in the formulation and implementation of community information and education programs of the PNP.

The Napolcom resolution also provides for the strengthening of the Provincial Mobile Force Companies and City Mobile Force Companies through the provision of additional personnel who shall perform functions relative to the implementation of police-community relations programs and activities in their areas of jurisdiction.

An additional 312 personnel who shall perform functions related to community affairs will be distributed to the different PNP Mobile Forces nationwide.