Friday, January 3, 2020

AFP-CRS: DND Chief: BARMM Won't Have Own Armed Force

Posted to the Armed Forces of the Philippines-Civil Relations Service (AFP-CRS) Facebook Page (Dec 30,, 2019):): DND Chief: BARMM Won't Have Own Armed Force

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana clarified that President Rodrigo Duterte did not actually want the Bangsamoro Autonomous region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) to have its own armed force, but only security personnel under the military’s control.

#AFPyoucanTRUST | www.afpcrs.com



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

AFP-CRS: Make Themselves Useful

Posted to the Armed Forces of the Philippines-Civil Relations Service (AFP-CRS) Facebook Page (Jan 2, 2020):): Make Themselves Useful

MAKE THEMSELVES USEFUL. President Rodrigo Roa Duterte renewed his call to members of the New People’s Army (NPA) to surrender weeks after he expressed his interest to reopen peace negotiations with the National Democratic Front of the Philippines.

In his speech during his visit to the earthquake-affected families in the municipality of M’lang, Cotabato, he said members of the NPA, the armed wing of the Communist movement,could make themselves “useful” if they surrender and contribute to the development of the country.

#AFPyoucanTRUST | www.afpcrs.com




https://www.facebook.com/CivilRelationsServiceAFP/photos/a.182240175128048/2946576518694386/?type=3&theater

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

AFP-CRS: Mga programa ng gobyerno lalong nagpapahina sa CPP-NPA

Posted to the Armed Forces of the Philippines-Civil Relations Service (AFP-CRS) Facebook Page (Jan 2, 2020):): Mga programa ng gobyerno lalong nagpapahina sa CPP-NPA

Image may contain: 1 person, text

https://www.facebook.com/CivilRelationsServiceAFP/photos/a.745817715436955/2951828694835835/?type=3&theater

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

Duterte Spokesman: Philippines Remains in State of Emergency

From BenarNews (Jan 3, 2020): Duterte Spokesman: Philippines Remains in State of Emergency
(Mark Navales and Richel V. Umel)



Soldiers stand watch as women walk in the city of Marawi, southern Philippines, Nov. 13, 2017. Mark Navales/BenarNews

A national emergency remains in effect throughout the Philippines, the government clarified Friday, after it lifted martial law in southern Mindanao island at the end of 2019.

Shortly after taking office in 2016, President Rodrigo Duterte proclaimed a state of emergency across the nation.

“Proclamation No. 55 issued by the president on Sept. 4, 2016, which declared a state of national emergency on account of lawless violence, is still in effect despite the expiry of martial law in Mindanao in December,” presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo said.

Duterte allowed martial law to expire in the south on Dec. 31, in response to recommendations from police and military officials, according to Panelo.

Military spokesman Brig. Gen. Edgard Arevalo said the president issued the state of emergency directive days after a night market was bombed in Davao City, his hometown in the south. That attack, claimed by Islamic State (IS) militants, killed 14 people and injured dozens of others.

“Our operations will continue but there may be less [operations] in areas where security situation has improved. We need to continue doing this, especially in areas where there are incidents of terrorist violence,” Arevalo said.

“If our enemies see that we have become relaxed in terms of security, they may slip through again,” he said.

Duterte declared martial law or military rule in southern Mindanao island in 2017 to defeat IS-linked militants who took over the city of Marawi in May of that year. The militants were chased out after a five-month battle with government forces that left the city in ruins, but foreign militants are thought to have escaped.

Government officials have said that an Indonesian couple with ties to Abu Sayyaf – an IS-linked Philippine militant group – blew themselves up in January 2019 during a suicide attack a church on southern Jolo island that killed more than 20 people.

Constitutional power
The constitution empowers the president, as commander in chief, to declare a national emergency and allow state forces to carry out warrantless arrests, according to Panelo. He said the proclamation was specifically called to suppress “lawless violence” in the south and to prevent it from spreading to other parts of the country.

Panelo emphasized that “it cannot be subjected to judicial review unless constitutional boundaries are violated.”

“Therefore, as long as the president deems it necessary to prevent or suppress lawless violence, invasion or rebellion, then he is lawfully authorized to resort to this calling out of power,” he said.

Panelo said the state of emergency remained in place as the nation faces a communist insurgency and the possibility of a terrorist organization re-establishing itself.

Meanwhile in Marawi, Drieza Lininding, chairman of the Moro Consensus Group, said life had not returned to normal in the city. The group has been described as young professionals, civil society organizations leaders, academicians and students who seek to compliment negotiations between the government and the Moro National Liberation Front and Moro Islamic Liberation Front.

“We thought that after the lifting of martial law, we could regain our normal life with less restrictions and fears, but unfortunately we were told that the lockdown from 10 p.m. to 4 a.m. in Marawi and Lanao del Sur for the past two years is still in place,” he said.

“I am aware that some of the perpetrators were already arrested and suspects named. We have nothing against the proclamation or extensive coordination among government security forces to suppress lawlessness and violence,” he said.

“But what we don’t understand is why a place like Marawi, where more than half of its residents are displaced, needs the lockdown? Half of our city is a ghost area.”

Zia Alonto Adiong, a Muslim official in Marawi, said that while the state of emergency remained in effect, security forces could establish checkpoints to respond to the threats.

“Of course, if you have a business, you would not invest in an area without a stable peace-and-order situation,” he said.

https://www.benarnews.org/english/news/philippine/emergency-state-01032020122355.html

122 former NPA rebels are now technical skills graduates

From the Manila Bulletin (Jan 3, 2020): 122 former NPA rebels are now technical skills graduates (By Mike Crismundo)

CAMP BANCASI, Butuan City – A total of 122 former communist-New People’s Army (NPA) rebels are now graduates of various technical skills extended to them by the government.

“These former rebels can now live normal and productive lives with their families,” said Maj. Regie H. Go, chief of Public Affairs Office of the Army’s 4th Infantry (Diamond) Division (4th ID).

He also emphasized that with the skills they learned from the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), they can be also productive in their respective communities.

Their training was facilitated by the Army’s 58th Infantry Battalion (58th IB).

Aside from the 58th IB and TESDA, the training was also held in partnership with St. Gregory the Great Technical School Incorporated, MANA Millennium Technical School Incorporated, GPY Consultancy & Training Center Incorporated, and Goodwill Technical Skills & Computer College Incorporated.

The former rebels availed of the free skills training like carpentry, auto mechanic, masonry, and welding.

They proudly marched in toga and received their certificates in a ceremony at the 58th Infantry Battalion headquarters, Claveria, Misamis Oriental on December 21, 2019.

“The skills training they learned is also a big Christmas gift for them,” Maj. Go added.

During their graduation, TESDA also distributed their training allowance ranging from P1,000 to P2,400.

Miraluna N. Baje-Lopez, provincial director of TESDA-Misamis Oriental, said the free training was conducted under the Special Skills Training Program of TESDA to the equip former rebels with the necessary skills to start anew.

The benefits of the program also included free training and assessment, entrepreneurship training, allowance of P100 per day for the duration of the training, and toolkits.

New AFP chief Santos a noted ‘hunter’ of Reds, Abu Sayyaf

From the Philippine Daily Inquirer (Jan 3, 2020): New AFP chief Santos a noted ‘hunter’ of Reds, Abu Sayyaf (By: Jeannette I. Andrade)



Felimon Santos Jr. —CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

A former Army intelligence chief, who gained a reputation for being a tenacious “hunter” who had captured Abu Sayyaf and communist leaders, has been named as the new chief of staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines.

Lt. Gen. Felimon Santos Jr., chief of the Eastern Mindanao Command (Eastmincom), will take the helm of the 190,000-strong military from Gen. Noel Clement in ceremonies on Saturday, according to Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana.

Lorenzana showed reporters a Jan. 2 letter from President Duterte approving Santos’ appointment “effective Jan. 5, 2020.”

Santos was recommended to the post by the AFP Board of Generals headed by Clement, who will turn over the command to Santos a day ahead of his 56th birthday.

Military officers retire at 56, unless they are kept at their posts by the President.

Santos, who turned 55 on Aug. 3, graduated from the Philippine Military Academy in 1986.

He was to turn over Eastmincom to Maj. Gen. Jose Faustino Jr., the current chief of the 10th Infantry Division.
Santos was chief of the Army intelligence group when Communist Party of the Philippines leaders Benito Tiamzon and his wife, Wilma, were captured in March 2014, in Aloguinsan, Cebu.
‘Adept in peace programs’

As AFP deputy chief of staff for intelligence that same year, he was instrumental in the arrest of Abu Sayyaf finance officer Khair Mundos, who was on the United States’ most wanted terrorist list.

According to Lt. Col. Ezra Balagtey, Eastmincom public affairs officer, Santos is “adept in a wide range (of) peace and security programs not only in Mindanao but in the whole country, having been assigned with the strategic offices of the AFP dealing with operations, intelligence and civil-military operations.”

Santos had served in various positions, including as head of the 11th Intelligence Service Unit in Davao City, commander of the Army’s intelligence service group and chief of operations of the Central Command in the Visayas.

Prior to heading Eastmincom, Santos commanded the 7th Infantry Division based in Fort Ramon Magsaysay in Nueva Ecija.He also served in the AFP Civil Relations Service and was commander of Army Civil-Military Operations Group.

Balagtey said the incoming AFP chief’s experience was backed by advanced studies here and abroad.

In a statement, Santos thanked Mr. Duterte for his trust and confidence.

“We will continue to support all the priority programs regarding peace and security of the President,” he said.

Santos assured Filipinos of the military’s full support to ending the communist insurgency and neutralizing terrorists, including the Abu Sayyaf, the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters and other groups that have pledged allegiance to the jihadi group Islamic State.

The military also will continue backing the Philippine National Police and the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency in the administration’s war on drugs, he said.

Gun ban, checkpoints still in effect in Lanao del Sur despite martial law lifting

From Business Wold (Jan 2, 2020): Gun ban, checkpoints still in effect in Lanao del Sur despite martial law lifting

PIO-LDS

THE PROVINCIAL government of Lanao del Sur, which covers Marawi City, announced on Thursday that peace and security measures such as the ban on carrying firearms remains in place despite the end of the martial law declaration effective January 1. In a statement on its social media page, the local government said the military and police heads — Col. Jose Maria Cuerpo II, commander of the 103rd Brigade, and Col. Madzgani Mukaram, Police Provincial Office director — have ordered the continued implementation of checkpoints, curfew hours from 12:00 to 4:00 a.m., and the gun ban that includes licensed weapons.

PEACE COUNCIL

Last Dec. 27, the multi-sector Provincial Peace and Order Council (PPOC) held a meeting wherein a resolution was passed calling for the continued enforcement of Proclamation No. 55, signed by President Rodrigo R. Duterte on Sept. 4, 2016, after Martial Law in Mindanao is lifted. The 2016 proclamation declares a State of National Emergency on Account of Lawless Violence in Mindanao. The meeting was attended by representatives from the police, military, Department of Justice, and line agencies; local government officials; traditional and religious leaders; and members of civil society and non-government organizations. Another resolution was passed during the meeting “to invite a leader of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front to be a member of the PPOC so as to help bring and maintain peace and community security in the Province of Lanao del Sur,” the provincial government said. Martial law in Mindanao was first declared by Mr. Duterte on May 23, 2017, the start of the siege of Marawi City, the provincial capital, by the extremist Maute group. The second extension expired last Dec. 31. — MSJ

https://www.bworldonline.com/gun-ban-checkpoints-still-in-effect-in-lanao-del-sur-despite-martial-law-lifting/

Kalinaw News: 5 ALG members returned to the fold of the law

Posted to Kalinaw News (Jan 3, 2020): 5 ALG members returned to the fold of the law  (By DPAO 6 Infantry Division)



CAMP SIONGCO, Maguindanao – An armed lawless group (ALG) leader and 4 of his followers have surrendered to government forces this morning (December 30, 2019).

Assisted by the local government of Pagalungan, the ALG members surrendered to Army’s 7th Infantry Battalion and 602nd Brigade bringing with them one M16 rifle, one locally made shotgun, and one rocket propelled grenade.

The surrenderers are led by a certain Commander Kinis Biya along with his four followers: Target Mulao, Allan Caballero, Bansil Mantikayan and Nastro Timan. They are members of the ALG in the area of Southern Ligauasan Marsh and residents of Sitio Balikakaban, Brgy Dalgan, Pagalungan, Maguindanao.

Brig. Gen. Roberto Capulong, Commander of 602nd Brigade, said that their surrender have prevented the group from completely joining the Dawlah Islamiya or Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters, which is prevalent in the Liguasan area.

The formal surrender transpired at 602nd Brigade Headquarters in Camp Lucero, Brgy Nasapian, Carmen, North Cotabato.

“I am grateful to the local government of Pagalungan that helped influenced the group’s leader and his followers to return to the folds of law,” said Joint Task Force Central Commander Maj. Gen. Diosdado C. Carreon.

The surrenderers are currently at the temporary custody of the local government of Pagalungan after they were released at 602nd Brigade Headquarters.





[Kalinaw News is the official online source of information on the pursuit for peace in the Philippines This website is a property of the Civil-Military Operations Regiment, Philippine Army located at Lawton Avenue, Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City. Contact us: kalinawnews@cmoregiment.com]

Couple killed in 2nd reported shooting in Negros Oriental

From Rappler (Jan 3, 2020): Couple killed in 2nd reported shooting in Negros Oriental (By Ryan Macasero)

Felix and Avelina Garganian are killed by motorcycle-riding gunmen in Bayawan City



CEBU CITY, Philippines – A married couple was shot dead in Bayawan City, Negros Oriental, on Friday morning, January 3, in the second reported shooting in the province in a day.

Negros police identified them as Felix and Avelina Garganian. The shooting of the Garganian couple was the 2nd attack reported by the police in the province on Friday.

The first reported attack involved lawyer Ray Moncada, who was shot at around 8:40 am in Dumaguete City but survived.

The Garganians were shot by gunmen at 7 am while traveling on a motorcyle to Bayawan City. Residents reported the incident to the police at 9:30 am. The attackers also rode a motorcycle.

Investigators said they do not have other details yet on the background of the victims or the possible motive for the shooting.

Negros Island witnessed a spate of killings in 2019.

At least 21 people – 17 civilians and 4 policemen – were killed in a string of shooting incidents in Negros Island in just 10 days, from July 18 to July 28, 2019. 

(TIMELINE: Killings in Negros)

Senators called for an inquiry in August on the increased number of killings on the island.

In December, San Carlos Bishop Gerardo Almanza said in a statement that the church would continue to ring its bells until the killings stop in Negros Island. "We ring the bells each evening in Negros as a reminder that life he sacred,” he said. “We wish to shake the conscience of those carrying out dastardly death operations commanded from above."

https://www.rappler.com/nation/248459-couple-shot-dead-negros-oriental-january-2020

Youth urged not to be influenced by terrorism

From the Philippine Information Agency (Jan 3, 2020): Youth urged not to be influenced by terrorism (By Gene V. Baquiran)

Featured Image

IGUIG, Cagayan, Jan. 2 (PIA) – The Indignation Rally against CPP-NDF-NPA held here on Dec. 27, 2019 centered on the youth, urging them not to be persuaded by the propaganda of the Communist Party of the Philippines, New Peoples Army, and National Democratic Front (CPP/NPA/NDF).

"The government is providing almost all the needs of its people especially the youth, thus, there is no reason for them to join these rebel groups," said former youth leader, now Sanguniang Bayan Member, Mariz Callueng during the nationwide simultaneous indignation rally which aimed to denounce all forms of violence, terrorism and atrocities in support to the implementation of Executive Order No. 70.



Callueng, who represented Mayor Ferdinand Trinidad here, said the advocacy of the government especially the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Armed Forces of the Philippines against terrorism is advantageous not only for the citizens of the country but especially the youth as they are the future leaders and builders of the nation.

For his part, municipal Sangguniang Kabataan Federation President Rvlord Escobar, who is also the regional president of the Kabataan Kontra Droga at Terorismo (KKDAT), said the generation today and the next generations are lucky enough to have a President who is determined to end terrorism.

"With the President's commitment to end insurgency, it gives us assurance that someday, no one will be afraid to have his children or relatives become a victim of cruelty and terrorism. As a head of the organization, I give my full support to this campaign,” Escobar added.

PCpt. Roselle S. Damil, officer in charge of PNP Iguig, said it has been 51 years that the CPP-NPA-NDF used the young students from different universities to stage protests against the government, they recruit and take advantage of these young individuals.

"For 51 years, these rebel groups tried to destroy the good future that awaits the young, now it’s time to take back the young ones from the hands of these terrorists so that they will enjoy the kind of life they want," Damil added.

Meanwhile, all barangay captains and SK officials of the town, including PNP officials, LGU officials and employees and other stakeholders joined the rally with placards in their hands, denouncing the atrocities of the CPP-NPA-NDF. (ALM/MDCT/GVB/PIA 2-Cagayan)

Tagalog News: NPA na namatay sa Luzon, naiuwi na sa Agusan

From the Philippine Information Agency (Jan 3, 2020): Tagalog News: NPA na namatay sa Luzon, naiuwi na sa Agusan (By Nora C. Lanuza)



LUNGSOD NG BUTUAN, Enero 23 (PIA) -- Labis ang pagdadalamhati ni Erlinda Cabachete, ina ng rebeldeng si Bertoldo Cabachete, Jr. o kilala sa mga kamag-anak na si Junjun at alias LJ sa mga NPA na namatay dahil sa pneumonia habang siya ay myembro pa ng New Peoples Army (NPA) sa kabundukan ng Carranglan, Nueva Ecija.

Mula Luzon, dinala ng mga military ang labi ni alias LJ o Junjun at dumating sa kanilang tahanan sa bayan sa Nasipit, Agusan del Norte noong Disyembre 29 ng hapon.


Isinisi ni Erlinda ang pagkamatay ng kanyang anak sa grupong NPA. Ayon kay Erlinda, ang NPA ang nagdala sa kanyang anak sa kamatayan kaya't nanawagan siya ng hustisya para sa kanyang anak.

Ayon din sa kapatid ni Junjun na si Roberto, noong taong 2018 magkasama pa sila sa Maynila. Nagpaalam daw sa kanya si Junjun na pupuntang Nueva Ecija upang doon magtrabaho, ngunit hindi na ito bumalik pa. Hindi nila inakalang isa na pala siyang miyembro ng NPA.

Dahil sa tulong ng isang dating rebelde na kasama ni Junjun sa Nueva Ecija, nalaman ng pamilya ang mga nangyari kay Junjun gayundin ang mga gawain ng mga NPA.

Sa kwento nito, pinabayaan ng mga NPA si Junjun dahil siya ay nagkasakit ng pneumonia at wala ng silbi sa kanila hanggang ito ay mamatay. Itinuro din niya sa mga militar kung saan siya inilibing kaya’t nagkaroon sila ng panahon na hukayin ang kanyang mga labi at ihatid sa kanyang pamilya sa Nasipit, Agusan del Norte.


Dahil sa nangyari, nananawagan si Mayor Enrico Corvera ng Nasipit sa mga kabataan na maging aktibo at huwag magpalinlang sa mga NPA. Ayon sa alkalde, patuloy ang pinaigting na paglaban ng local government unit at militar sa pagrerecruit ng mga NPA sa kanilang lugar.

Malaki ang paniniwala ni Lt. Col. Francisco Molina, Jr., ang commanding officer ng 23rd Infantry Batallion na isang biktima ng pagbrainwash ng NPA si Junjun, pinangakuhan ng tulong ngunit pinabayaan. (with reports from 23IB/NCLM/PIA Agusan del Norte)

https://pia.gov.ph/news/articles/1032218

Caraga IPs join gov't in solving insurgency problem

From the Philippine Information Agency (Jan 3, 2020): Caraga IPs join gov't in solving insurgency problem (By Jennifer P. Gaitano)



BUTUAN CITY, Jan. 3 (PIA) - The Indigenous Peoples (IPs) in Caraga region are getting more participative in their involvement to government’s activities, particularly in solving the problem on insurgency. This is their way of support to the implementation of Executive Order 70 (EO70) of President Rodrigo Duterte to end local communist armed conflict.

The National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) Caraga has intensified the conduct of capability building to IP leaders in the region to equip and give them the opportunity to contribute in finding solutions on the different issues and concerns, as well as the challenges that every community are facing today.

According to Director for Operations Leouel Santos of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC), the IP sector is voluntarily getting involved in the activities that form part to the efforts and initiative of the government to address the concerns particularly in the conflict-affected areas.

“We continue conducting dialogue with the IP sector to know their issues and concerns and to assess what instrumentalities that the government has in order to address these concerns and help the sector excel in what they do in their respective communities,” bared Santos.

For Bae Bebeth Enriquez, a Mamanwa from Barangay Mahaba, Cabadbaran City, Agusan del Norte, the New People’s Army (NPA) has been causing too much chaos and distress to the IP communities, which hinders development among the tribes. Hence, she hoped for the defeat of the NPA terrorists in order to ensure bright future of the next generation.



“We could no longer take what the NPAs are doing to our communities. They have been abusive to the IP tribes and they are the main reason why we do not progress. We really hope and pray that with the government’s effort to put a stop on the armed conflict, the IP tribes would also experience a peaceful and developed life,” underlined Enriquez.

Meanwhile, NCIP-Caraga Regional Director Ferdausi Saniel Cerna encouraged all IPs to continue to have perseverance in all their undertakings and to remain strong along with the government in the fight against the NPAs in Caraga region.

“The President has always been very supportive to the IP sector and I believe it was among his inspiration in coming up with the implementation of EO70,” Cerna cited. (JPG/PIA-Caraga)

Featured Image

https://pia.gov.ph/news/articles/1032217

Army belies alleged ceasefire violation in AgSur

From the Philippine Information Agency (Jan 3, 2020): Army belies alleged ceasefire violation in AgSur (By 402nd Brigade, PA)

BUTUAN CITY, Jan. 3 -- The Philippine Army in Caraga was quick to address the allegation against them by the Communist NPA Terrorist (CNT) groups operating in Agusan del Sur regarding the violation of the ceasefire last December 23, 2019.

The 26th Infantry Battalion (26IB) allegedly staged attacks against the New People’s Army (NPA) near the village of San Vicente, Esperanza in Agusan del Sur despite the declaration of the Christmas truce, according to a certain Nicolas Marino of the Central Mindanao Regional Committee (NCMRC) of the NPA.

Lt. Col. Romeo C. Jimenea, 26IB Commanding Officer, clarified that such statements are fabricated and that no such attack transpired and no personnel of his battalion were involved.

“Such statement is to further their ploy to redeem themselves in the eyes of the public, especially after the cruelty they displayed in the killings made in the different areas in Visayas,” the Army official said.

The killings that were referred to are the encounters in Labo, Camarines Norte and Tubungan, Iloilo that resulted to the death of one soldier while over eight more were injured.

The act of perpetuating lies by the CNT groups for the purpose of tarnishing the reputation of the Philippine Army is not a recent phenomenon, as clarified by Brigadier General Maurito L. Licudine of the 402nd Infantry Brigade, Philippine Army. BGen. Licudine expressed his support to the 26IB should they choose to resort to such countermeasure especially when circumstances require it.

“Your soldiers are disciplined, responsible and professional. We support whatever the Commander-In-Chief declares as long as it is within the bounds of our constitutional mandate,” he added. (DMRosales/402nd Brigade/PIA-Caraga)

Youths in Simara island stage 'Alay Lakad' to denounce CTG atrocities

From the Philippine Information Agency (Jan 3, 2020): Youths in Simara island stage 'Alay Lakad' to denounce CTG atrocities (By Paul Jaysent Fos)



Pastor Nick Facalarin, a member of Corcuera Municipal Advisory Council said that they organized an 'Alay Lakad' activity to denounce the violence committed by communist terrorist groups (CTG) in the Philippines. (Photo Courtesy: Corcuera Municipal Police Station)

CORCUERA, Romblon, Jan. 3 (PIA) -- A group of young people in Corcuera, Simara Island, Romblon organized an 'Alay Lakad' activity last December 27, 2019 to denounce the violence committed by communist terrorist groups (CTG) in the Philippines.

The group carried banners that said "We, the youths of Mimaropa, strongly condemn the terroristic and criminal activities of the CCP-NPA-NDF. We want peace, order, and security for our region and country; progress and prosperity for our family and people, and better future for the youths and our generation".

The activity was attended by participants from the youth sector, local government units, religious groups, senior citizens, and more.

Pastor Nick Facalarin, a member of Corcuera Municipal Advisory Council said that they organized the activity as part of nationally-coordinated simultaneous protest actions, following Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), the New People's Army (NPA), and the National Democratic Front's (NDF) 51st founding anniversary on December 26.

In a phone interview with the Philippine Information Agency-Romblon, Facalarin encourages youths not to join communist groups but instead focus on their studies for their future.

"Wala namang NPA dito sa atin, pero payo ko pa rin sa kanila kung ma-imbita man sila, na mas magandang mag-focus na lang sila sa kanilang pag-aaral, at sa mga religious groups sumali (Although there's no NPA here in our community, but I still advise them that if ever they will be invited by the communist to join, it is better to focus on their studies or join religious groups instead)," Facalarin said.

In 2019, Romblon province was declared as an insurgency-free province - the second province, after Cavite, in Southern Luzon to be declared by the military as an insurgency-free province with its stable internal peace and security. (PJF/PIA-Mimaropa/Romblon)

https://pia.gov.ph/news/articles/1032085

Banton LGU, PNP stage indignation rally vs CPP-NPA

From the Philippine Information Agency (Jan 3, 2020): Banton LGU, PNP stage indignation rally vs CPP-NPA (By Paul Jaysent Fos)



During the indignation rally held in Banton, Mayor Faderanga urged participants to strongly denounce all forms of violence, terrorism, and atrocities that impede peace and order, and development to the communities. (Photo Courtesy: Banton Municipal Police Station)

BANTON, Romblon, January 3 (PIA) -- The municipal police station in this town together with the local government unit and barangay officials headed by Mayor Milagros Faderanga conducted an indignation rally on December 27, to condemn the anti-people activities of the Communist Party of the Philippines - New People’s Army - National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF) around the country.

The activity started with a parade around town followed by a short program held at the lobby of the town's Municipal Hall.

During her speech, Banton mayor Faderanga, also the End Local Communist Armed Conflict (ELCAC) Chairman of this town, urges participants to strongly denounce all forms of violence, terrorism, and atrocities that impede peace and order, and development to the communities.

She also added that the members of the CPP-NPA-NDF were declared as "persona non grata" in the island through a resolution passed by the Sangguniang Bayan in 2019.

In his speech, Police Captain Chisi Faderagao of Banton Municipal Police Station, thanked the local government unit of Banton for supporting the programs of President Rodrigo Duterte's administration to stop terrorism in the country.

He also ensured the public that there is no presence of CPP-NPA-NDF in the island, the reason why Romblon province was declared as insurgency-free province. (PJF/PIA-Mimaropa/Romblon)

TFBL chair assures more FRs to receive benefits under E-CLIP

From the Philippine Information Agency (Jan 3, 2020): TFBL chair assures more FRs to receive benefits under E-CLIP (By Susan G. De Leon)



TFBL Chairperson Usec Mapagu assures the former rebels (FR’s) that they will receive E-CLIP benefits, specifically Housing provided by the National Housing Authority, as discussed by Architect Susana V. Nonato during the E-CLIP Committee meeting. (Photo courtesy of DND)
QUEZON CITY, Jan. 3 (PIA)—Task Force Balik-Loob (TBFL) head assured that more former rebels (FRs) who have who have returned to the folds of the law will receive their benefits under the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP).

Department of National Defense Undersecretary Reynaldo Mapagu, Head of Task Force Balik-Loob(TFBL) which implements the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP) said that “the budget of E-CLIP is intact and ready for release, and as soon as the former rebels obtain their Joint AFP-PNP Intelligence Committee (JAPIC) clearance, they will immediately receive their benefits.”

Mapagu lauded the more than 10,000 former rebels (FRs) who have surfaced and returned to the fold of the law since the Task Force was organized in 2018.

Of the 10 thousand former rebels, which include members of the Militia ng Bayan comprised of unarmed supporters of the Communist Terrorist Groups (CTGs), Mapagu said that only about 3,000 so far have been awarded the benefits of the program because of the “very stringent vetting process they implement, to ensure that the program won’t be taken advantage of.”

He stressed that the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) are continuously working together on issuing JAPIC clearances to authentic FRs and Militia ng Bayan members, who have chosen to return to their families and loved ones, and rejoin mainstream society.

Those whose applications to the E-CLIP have been processed have received a P65,000.00 cash assistance, as well as livelihood training and housing benefits.

Mapagu expressed hope that more NPA and Militia ng Bayan members will surface and avail of E-CLIP.

“I call out to all our brothers and sisters, who are engaged in the CTGs’ pointless activities of violence, extortion, arson and deception to return to our people so that our country will finally experience lasting peace,”Mapagu said.

Mapagu said thousands of former rebels are celebrated Christmas with their family. But he also revealed that because of the high numbers of FRs who have chosen to avail of E-CLIP and live a life of peace, the CTGs are now forced to aggressively recruit minors from schools and barangays, a fact that many sectors of society strongly condemn.

He said that the CTGs membership significantly decreased when they lost the thousands who have grown tired of fighting the government and terrorizing our people, so “they are now resorting to recruitment of minors, just like they did in the past.”

He also shared that some of the rebels he spoke to when they were presented to him admitted that they joined the NPA “when they were still minors, as young as 13 and 15 years old.” (PIA-NCR)

For 75 folks in conflict-stricken village in Samar, better life in 2020

From the Philippine Information Agency (Jan 3, 2020): For 75 folks in conflict-stricken village in Samar, better life in 2020 (By PIA 8)

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TACLOBAN CITY, Jan. 3 (PIA) - Some 75 residents of Barangay Guimbanga, one of the 11 priority barangays in Calbiga, Samar, are looking forward to a better life for them and their families in 2020.

This is so as several days before New Year, they successfully completed their livelihood trainings and received their certificates of completion in a simple graduation rites held at the Pavillion, Brgy. Letiron, Calbiga, Samar.

The graduates expressed their gratitude for the sincerity of the government to uplift their lives and improve their well-being in the society.

Of the 75 graduates, twenty five (25) students finished their training on Raised Meat Type Animals (Leading to Organic Agriculture Production NC-II); twenty five (25) in Producing Organic Fertilizer; and twenty five (25) in Producing Various Concoctions and Extracts.

Aside from their certificates, the graduates received tools as part of their starter kits: 50 Knapsack Sprayers, 50 weighing scales, 25 Shovels, 25 Spading Forks, 25 Sprinkles and 25 Measuring Cups.


TESDA-8 Samar Provincial Director Engr. Enrico Banario confirmed the graduates and awarded the training certificates with Hon. . Eva L. Castillo, Vice Mayor of Calbiga, LTC Rhomel R Langcauon, CO of 46IB, Ms. Delia Mabansag, PESO Calbiga, Mr. Danilo Miralles and Erick Mabajen.

The skills training towards employment program is part of the Executive Order Number 70 to End Local Communist Armed Conflict in the Province of Samar to rebuild the community into a better place to live.

The trainings were conducted by the Bosis Family Rural Farm School from September 25- October 03 2019 through the TESDA-Samar, lead of the Poverty Reduction and Employment Cluster (PRLEC) of the Samar Provincial Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict and the Calbiga Municipal Task Force- ELCAC.

No less than TESDA-8 Provincial Director Engr. Enrico Banario confirmed the graduates and awarded the training certificates with Hon. . Eva L. Castillo, Vice Mayor of Calbiga, LTC Rhomel R Langcauon, CO of 46IB, Ms. Delia Mabansag, PESO Calbiga, Mr. Danilo Miralles and Erick Mabajen. (PIA8)

https://pia.gov.ph/news/articles/1032263

Tagalog News: NPA idineklarang 'persona non grata' sa probinsya ng Cagayan

From the Philippine Information Agency (Jan 3, 2020): Tagalog News: NPA idineklarang 'persona non grata' sa probinsya ng Cagayan (By Oliver T. Baccay)

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TUGUEGARAO CITY, Cagayan, Enero 3 (PIA) - - Bilang suporta sa adhikain ng pamahalaan na wakasan na ang insurhensiya sa bansa, ang lahat ng lokal na pamahalaan sa lalawigan ng Cagayan ay nagpasa ng resolusyong nagdedeklara sa mga miyembro ng Communist Party of the Philippines, New Peoples Army, at National Democratic Front (CPP/NPA/NDF) na 'persona non grata' sa kani-kanilang mga nasasakupang lugar.

Bagamat iilang bayan na lamang ang pinamumugaran ng mga rebelde dito sa lalawigan, lahat ng dalawampu’t walong bayan, ang lungsod na ito at maging ang pamahalaang panlalawigan ay naghayag ng kanilang pagtutol sa marahas na paraan ng pakikibaka ng mga rebelde.


Kinakausap ni PCol. Ariel Quilang, officer-in-charge ng PNP Cagayan, ang mga Militia ng Bayan na nagbalik-loob sa pamahalaan. (Kuha ng CPPO)

Ayon kay Police Col. Ariel Quilang, officer-in-charge ng Cagayan Police Provincial Office, ang deklarasyon ng mga lokal na pamahalaan ay nagpapakita na hindi sinusuportahan ng mga ito ang anumang ideyolohiya ng mga rebeldeng grupo at gusto na nilang mawala sa kanilang mga lugar ang mga rebelde.

“This is a whole of the nation approach kaya nakikipagtulungan tayo sa iba't ibang grupo upang makamit natin ang katahimikan sa lalawigan,” pahayag ni Quilang.

Nagdeklara rin ito ng 'localized peace talks' upang bigyan daan ang malumanay at diplomatikong pag-uusap, at upang hikayatin na rin ang mga rebelde na magbalik loob sa pamahalaan.

Target din ng kapulisan na magkaroon ng sariling bersiyon ng deklarasyon ang mga barangay upang lalo pang mapaigting ang kampanya laban sa insurhensiya sa lalawigan at tuluyan nang mawakasan ang paghahasik ng kaguluhan ng mga rebeldeng grupo.

Kamakailan lamang ay mayroong labimpitong mga 'militia ng bayan' at dalawang rebelde ang sumuko sa mga otoridad.

Kabilang sa kanilang mga isinuko ay mga kagamitan noong aktibo pa sila tulad ng mga libro, pahayagan, at iba’t-ibang mga babasahin na ginagamit sa paghahayag ng kanilang doktrina, pagtuturo ng rebelyon at pag-recruit sa taumbayan na umanib sa kanilang grupo. (MDCT/OTB/PIA 2-Cagayan)

CamNorte stakeholders support Barangayan ELCAC towards sustainable peace

From the Philippine Information Agency (Jan 3, 2020): CamNorte stakeholders support Barangayan ELCAC towards sustainable peace (By Rosalita B. Manlangit)

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DAET, Camarines Norte, (PIA) – The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) with the support of national government agencies and local government units recently implemented here, the Retooled Community Support Program (RCSP) or Barangayan, a convergence to achieve sustainable peace.

This was the Serbisyo Caravan which was held in the barangays through RCSP or dialogue between the community and the National Government Agencies (NGAs) in order to identify significant issues in their respective areas.

DILG LGOO VI Vencer Guerero said that this is in line with Executive Order No. 70 issued Dec. 4, 2018 on “institutionalizing the Whole of Nation Approach in attaining inclusive and sustainable peace, creating a National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (ELCAC) and directing the adoption of a National Peace Framework.”

He said that Bicol Region particularly Camarines Norte, Camarines Sur and Sorsogon were the first in the country to implement the RCSP or Barangayan 2019, a 6 day immersion of the DILG to identify issues affecting Geographically Isolated and Dis-advantaged Areas (GIDAs). Some of the issues may be answered immediately while others will be elevated at the national level for funding support.

He said that of the target 16 GIDAs, 10 were already conducted starting November this year with remaining 6 to be implemented on the first quarter of next year.

The 10 GIDAs Barangayan were implemented in Exhiban, Submakin, Malibago, Guisican, Bayabas, Cabatuhan and Malogon of Labo town; Itok and Lukbanan of Capalonga and Bulala of Sta. Elena, all in Camarines Norte.

The program aims to end armed conflict by 2022 and may target another barangays to conduct RCSP in the coming years.

Guerero said that the “Serbisyo Caravan” is just a bonus that is being implemented by the NGAs and LGUs at the municipalities.

LTC. Luzmindo Mamauag Jr. Commanding Officer of the 96th IB, 9th ID Philippine Army on the other hand said that they will first conduct the Community Support Program (CSP) to identify issues. They will forward these to the DILG to implement RCSP at the barangay level.

Mamauag said that stakeholders were present at the Barangayan to address and solve issues, a way for the community to feel that there is government and for the terrorist not to convince new members.



LTC. Luzmindo Mamauag Jr. Commanding Officer of the 96th IB, 9th ID Philippine Army discusses that their role in the Barangayan during the “Talakayan sa PIA” spearheaded by the Philippine Information Agency (PIA) Camarines Norte and participated by media persons in the province, held Dec. 6 at Captains Sportsbar, Magang, Daet. (RBManlangit-PIA5/Camarines Norte)

Among the primary issues raised were low price of “copra” which they immediately addressed through livelihood programs of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), (TESDA) and Department of Agriculture (DA); illegal small scale mining and land titling which will, likewise, be answered by the concerned government entities, he said.

The farm to market roads for them to bring their products, schools, bridges and water are among the secondary issues in the GIDAs.

Aside from the agencies mentioned, other institutions that are part of the Basic Service Delivery Team (BSDT) include Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR), Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), Department of Health (DOH), Department of Education (DepEd), Commission on Higher Education (CHED), Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), National Commission of Indigenous People (NCIP) and other agencies identified in responding to the issues raised.

Meanwhile, a total of 81 communist terrorists including their supporters surrendered at the 96th IB, 9th ID Philippine Army this year, he said

Of the 81 who surrendered, 4 have qualified and availed the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP) of P50,000 for livelihood and P15,000 immediate support assistance.

A total of 3 high powered or M16 and 1 low powered or shotgun firearms were also surrendered by communist terrorists. Those who surrendered firearms were paid amounting to P150,000 per M16 and P60,000 for shotgun.

Also, a total of 122 entities have declared New People’s Army as “Persona Non Grata” during the implementation of ELCAC. Of the 122 total number, 119 barangays, 6 liga ng mga barangays, 6 municipalities and the province of Camarines Norte made the said declaration.

It can be recalled that the province of Camarines Norte was the first province to organize a Provincial Task Force ELCAC under Regional Task Force ELCAC and the first to conduct the convergence for peace through “Serbisyo Caravan” held August 29 this year in Labo town with the support of the regional counterpart.

Aside from the Philippine Army, other members of Barangayan Peace, Law Enforcement and Development Support (PLEDS) Team are composed of Philippine National Police (PNP), Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP), and Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP).

The team assists in the clearing operations, gathering of information, perimeter security and first-aid response in case of emergency.

Camarines Norte Police Provincial Office PMajor Joselito Bermas, chief Provincial Personnel Records and Management Branch/chief Provincial Learning Doctrine said that they support the implementation of the Barangayan in the province.

He said that the province is generally peaceful due to the support of the community that served as their force multiplier.

Meanwhile, CNPPO Provincial Director P/Col. Marlon C. Tejada , in a meeting held Dec. 6. said that the Provincial Peace and Order Council (PPOC) have just finalized and approved the Peace and Order & Public Safety (POPS) plan for CY 2020-2022 which is aligned with the “Whole of Nation Approach.”

He said that to address criminality,, cooperation and unity among the stakeholders and the community is needed.

He also urged media to impart the right information to the public.


Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency Agent Vidal DC Bacolod says there are 82 drug cleared barangay in the province out of 260 affected areas during the “Talakayan sa PIA” spearheaded by the Philippine Information Agency (PIA) Camarines Norte and participated by media practitioners in the province, held Dec. 6 at Captains Sportsbar, Magang, Daet. (RBManlangit-PIA5/Camarines Norte)

He said that to address criminality needs cooperation and unity among the stakeholders and the community.

He also urged the media to impart the right information to the public.

In other development, Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency Agent Vidal DC Bacolod said that there are 82 drug cleared barangays in the province out of 260 affected areas.

He said that they have already launched 9 Balay Silangan or Reformation Centers for drug pushers in the towns of Basud, Daet, Jose Panganiban, Mercedes, Paracale, San Lorenzo Ruiz, San Vicente, Talisay and Vinzons.

All these reports and updates were presented and discussed during the “Talakayan sa PIA” spearheaded by the Philippine Information Agency (PIA) Camarines Norte and participated by members of the media in the province, held Dec. 6 at Captains Sportsbar, Magang, Daet. (RBManlangit-PIA5/Camarines Norte)

https://pia.gov.ph/news/articles/1031631

Army, PNP in Caraga to continue operations amid ceasefire

From the Philippine Information Agency (Jan 3, 2020): Army, PNP in Caraga to continue operations amid ceasefire (By 402nd Brigade, PA)

BUTUAN CITY, Jan. 3 -- Despite the declaration of ceasefire between the military and police forces and the terrorist groups last December 22, 2019, the Philippine Army and Philippine National Police (PNP) in Caraga remain vigilant as they continue operations to ensure peace in the region during the Yuletide season.

This is in response to the threat posed by the Communist NPA Terrorist (CNT) groups even after the declaration of a unilateral ceasefire by the National Democratic Front (NDF) representing the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and New People’s Army (NPA).

Brig. General Maurito L. Licudine, 402nd Brigade Commander, clarified that the ceasefire is only inclusive of the suspension of the military offensives of the troops under the 402nd Brigade, which means apprehension of items and individuals that are deemed suspicious and accomplice of crimes are not a violation to the said truce, which will take effect from December 23, 2019 until January 7, 2019.

“As such, we shall be on guard and will continue to be vigilant to thwart any CNT planned atrocities in a manner that is in line with the ceasefire mechanisms as this is also deemed significant to create the lasting peace that we yearn to promote here in our region,” added Licudine.

Such operations resulted in the postponement of the plenum, an annual gathering among the leaders of the Communist Party of the Philippines, New People’s Army, and the National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF) which was scheduled to take place on December 29 at Sitio Bay-ang, Bgry. Lahi, Gigaquit in Surigao del Norte, according to the statement released by Ka Oto, spokesperson of the Guerilla Front 16, Northeastern Mindanao Regional Command, to the media practitioners from cities Cagayan de Oro, Iligan, and Davao whom they invited specifically for the event.

The push for the continued operations by both the military and police forces in the region served as reinforcement as previous records involving ceasefires also showed the CNTs dishonoring the agreement and instead utilize the time to plan for a Tactical Offensive (TO) against the military. (DMRosales/PIA-Caraga)

Cordillerans denounce atrocities of communist terrorist groups

From the Philippine Information Agency (Jan 3, 2020): Cordillerans denounce atrocities of communist terrorist groups (By Redjie Melvic M. Cawis)

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LA TRINDIAD, Benguet, Jan. 3(PIA) -- More than 70 local government units in the Cordillera recently spearheaded indignation rallies to denounce all forms of violence, terrorism and atrocities committed by communist terrorist groups (CTG).

The indignation rally held on December 26, 2019 was a national simultaneous protest action against the CTGs organized by the LGUs in coordination with the Philippine National Police, non-government organizations, stakeholders, and other cause-oriented groups in time for the 51st anniversary of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP).


Cordillerans participate in the indignation rally to condemn all forms of violence, terrorism and atrocities committed by communist terrorist groups (CTG). (Bontoc MPS photo) 

Together with the different government agencies, religious groups, barangay officials and other sectors, the LGUs held a “walk for peace” and programs in their localities to condemn the presence and atrocities of the CPP – New People’s Army (NPA).

The participants held banners, posters and tarpaulins calling for an end to the “terrorist” activities, extortion, harassment and deception of civilians, as well as recruitment of minors and indigenous peoples by the CPP-NPA-National Democratic Front.

In Bontoc, Mountain Province, an effigy of CPP founder Jose Maria “Joma” Sison was burned to make a statement that they condemn the NPAs and their atrocities.



An effigy of CPP founder Jose Maria “Joma” Sison is burned during the indignation rally in Bontoc, Mountain Province to make a statement that people condemn the NPAs and their atrocities. ( Bontoc MPS photo)

Police Regional Office - Cordillera (PRO-COR) Regional Director Brigadier General Israel Ephraim Dickson said the indignation rally was aimed to encourage all the people to support the government in its campaign to put an end to local communist armed conflict.

“In as much as the PNP and AFP are at the forefront in the combat against terrorist groups, the PNP's role in this mobilization is to ensure that the activities will be carried out peacefully. Many have suffered and countless lives have been sacrificed because of the unlawful acts of these rebel groups. Now, we show through this rally that Cordillerans are united in this cause and that we are dead serious in the fight against terrorism and all forms of violence that affect the lives of the people and the development of our communities,” he said.

Dickson also urged the people especially the youth to educate themselves about the CTGs and not to fall to their deceptive strategies of recruiting new members.

The rally was also in support to the government’s program and efforts to end local communist armed conflict through the whole of nation approach or Executive Order 70 by President Rodrigo Duterte in efforts to end the decades-old insurgency problem in the country by 2020 and attain sustainable peace and development especially in the countryside. (JDP/RMC- PIA CAR)

Cotabato City curfew to continue sans martial law

From the Philippine News Agency (Jan 3, 2020): Cotabato City curfew to continue sans martial law (By Edwin Fernandez and Noel Punzalan)



The Cotabato City Hall. (PNA file photo)

COTABATO CITY – Discipline hours or curfew hours here will stay although martial law in Mindanao has been lifted, the city mayor said Friday.

Mayor Cynthia Guiani-Sayadi said she sees no reason to repeal the ordinance implementing curfew hours from 10 p.m. until 4 a.m., adding it has been "good to the people of Cotabato City."

“There is no violation of any national law here,” Sayadi said

Even before martial law was imposed in 2017 following the Marawi siege, the mayor said Cotabato City has been observing curfew hours that reduced street crimes, including murders, robberies, and illegal drugs peddling.

Martial law in Mindanao ended on Dec. 31, 2019, after more than two years of implementation following the five-month siege of the Maute-led terror group in Marawi City on May 23, 2017.

“The implementation of curfew hours has the support of the general public and it has done many good things for the people and the city,” the mayor said.

Upon assumption to office in mid-2016 following the death of her mayor-brother, Sayadi has been leading nightly “Ronda Patrol” by roaming around the city, including crime-prone areas.

Sayadi vowed to continue her regular patrol with the help of the city police and operatives from Joint Task Force Kutawato “so the people of Cotabato City could sleep soundly at night.”

She said the police may still conduct mobile patrols, put up checkpoints and inspect vehicles coming in and out of the city.

The City Council passed Ordinance 4529, otherwise known as the Discipline Ordinance of Cotabato City, in late 2018 following Sayadi's request to further curb criminality in the locality.

Authorities said the ordinance has also resulted in reduced illegal drugs and eradicated street gangs.

https://www.pna.gov.ph/articles/1089921

Incoming AFP chief to continue campaign vs. Sulu terror groups

From the Philippine News Agency (Jan 3, 2020): Incoming AFP chief to continue campaign vs. Sulu terror groups (By Priam Nepomuceno)



Incoming Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief-of-staff, Lt. Gen. Felimon T. Santos. (File photo)

Incoming Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief-of-staff, Lt. Gen. Felimon T. Santos, is expected to continue the campaign to neutralize terror groups in Sulu and help implement the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.

"He is expected to pursue the drive to neutralize the remaining local terrorist groups in Sulu, Basilan, and Central Mindanao and carry on the implementation of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region (in) Muslim Mindanao, which is now in its incipient stage," AFP spokesperson, Marine Brig. Gen. Edgard Arevalo, said in a message to reporters Thursday.

Arevalo said the AFP lauds President Rodrigo Duterte's appointment of Santos to the Command's highest post.

Santos, a member of the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) Class of 1986, also commanded the Nueva Ecija-based 7th Infantry Division before his appointment to the Eastern Mindanao Command last January.

"He is a seasoned commander, leader, and manager. As an experienced military professional, he is noted for his integrity and competence in the field of operations, intelligence, and civil-military operations," Arevalo said.

Santos will replace Gen. Noel S. Clement, a member of PMA Class of 1985, who will retire from the service on January 5 after reaching the mandatory retirement age of 56.

Clement, was appointed as the 52nd AFP chief on Sept. 24, 2019.

"Despite being low-key and easy to get along with, General Officer, Lt. Gen. Santos Jr., commands high respect and (the) admiration of his superiors, peers, and subordinates, owing to his impeccable record in his more than 37 years of consequential service in the AFP and the Republic," Arevalo said.

Santos will assume command of the AFP at a time when it enjoys a high approval rating and the campaign to end the local communist armed conflict is in full swing, he added.

https://www.pna.gov.ph/articles/1089910

DA to prioritize building FMRs in communist-infested areas

From the Philippine News Agency (Jan 3, 2020): DA to prioritize building FMRs in communist-infested areas (By Filane Mikee Cervantes)



Agriculture Secretary William Dar

Department of Agriculture Secretary William Dar on Friday said they will prioritize the construction of farm-to-market roads (FMRs) in communist-infested areas as part of the government’s initiative to fight insurgency.

In a press conference, Dar described the move as a “double-purpose intervention” as it aims to encourage peace and development in the countryside.

Dar said the department would collaborate with the Department of Public Works and Highway to reduce construction backlog of around 10,000 kilometers.

“We have about 10,000 kilometers of incomplete road networks, and we will prioritize the construction and rehabilitation of FMRs in communist-infested communities,” Dar said.

The FMRs would give access to and from food production areas, allowing food producers to bring their produce in trading areas and gain maximum profit from their production.

Dar noted that the move is aligned with the new-thinking approach for agriculture to level-up productivity and income in the agriculture sector.

https://www.pna.gov.ph/articles/1089964

AFP, PNP must 'strictly' impose state of nat'l emergency: Palace

From the Philippine News Agency (Jan 3, 2020): AFP, PNP must 'strictly' impose state of nat'l emergency: Palace (By Ruth Abbey Gita-Carlos)



Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo 

Strict enforcement of President Rodrigo Duterte's declaration of a state of national emergency in the entire country must be followed by the Armed Forced of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP), Malaca├▒ang said on Friday.

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said the implementation of Proclamation 55, which was signed by Duterte on Sept. 4, 2016, would help maintain peace and order nationwide, especially since the more than two years of martial rule in Mindanao expired on Dec. 31, 2019.

Panelo said while the state of national emergency is deemed as the "most benign among the three extraordinary powers," it can be used to stop terrorism and communism in the country.

"(State of national emergency) should remain imposed and strictly observed by the AFP and PNP to ensure the maintenance of law and order in all other parts of the country given that there remains the communist insurgency to reckon with, as well as there is yet a terrorist organization resurrecting to be crushed," the Palace official said in a statement.

Proclamation 55 declares a state of national emergency on account of lawless violence in Mindanao.

The proclamation also mandates the military and the police to "undertake such measures as may be permitted by the Constitution and existing laws to suppress any and all forms of lawless violence in Mindanao and to prevent such lawless violence from spreading and escalating elsewhere in the Philippines."

Panelo said the state of national emergency is "still in effect," despite the expiry of martial law in Mindanao in December last year.

"Proclamation No. 55 was issued pursuant to the calling out power of the President," he said. "Therefore, as long as the President deems it necessary to prevent or suppress lawless violence, invasion, or rebellion (such as at present times), then he is lawfully authorized to resort to this calling out power."

The President declared martial law in Mindanao on May 23, 2017, following the siege of the Islamic State-linked Maute terror group in Marawi City in Lanao del Sur province.

In December last year, Duterte heeded the military ground commanders and Philippine security officials' recommendation not to extend the martial rule in Mindanao, following the drop in crime incidents in the southern region.

Citing Article 7, Section 18 of the 1987 Constitution, Panelo said Duterte, as the Commander-in-Chief, has three extraordinary powers "[a] to call out the armed forces, [b] to place any part of the country under martial law and [c] to suspend the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus."

"Given that the two other extraordinary powers (martial law and suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus) involve curtailment and suppression of civil rights and individual freedoms, they entail more stringent safeguards as they may be exercised only when there is actual invasion or rebellion, and public safety requires it," Panelo said.

"Further, as compared to previous constitutions, the 1987 Constitution has imposed the following limitations in declaring the same, as ascertained by the Supreme Court: [a] an original period of sixty days; [b] a review and a possible revocation by Congress; and [c] a review and a possible nullification by the Supreme Court," he added.

Panelo said while the "calling out" power is contained in the provision that sanctions the imposition of martial law and the suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus, it is "unique that it can be used independently without the participation of Congress."

The Palace official added that the actual use of the "calling out" power "cannot be subjected to judicial review unless constitutional boundaries are violated."

Panelo hoped that the public would cooperate with the government as it continues the imposition of a state of national emergency nationwide.

He also guaranteed that the current administration would not tolerate any abuses amid the implementation of Proclamation 55.

"The Office of the President asks the citizenry for their usual cooperation, even as we assure them that the government will not allow any abuse of their fundamental civil and political rights during this state of national emergency," Panelo said.

On Dec. 31, or the same day when martial law in Mindanao ended, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana ensured that peace and stability in the besieged region will continue to prevail.

AFP spokesperson, Brig. Gen. Edgard Arevalo also said the military would comply with the President's directive stated in Proclamation 55.

https://www.pna.gov.ph/articles/1089965