Saturday, February 22, 2020

2 ASG bandits surrender in Basilan

From the Philippine News Agency (Feb 22, 2020): 2 ASG bandits surrender in Basilan (By Teofilo Garcia, Jr.)

SURRENDERED. Two Abu Sayyaf Group bandits identified as Nakib Asmad (2nd from left) and Suwaib Mungkay (2nd from right) surrender in Hadji Mohammad Ajul town, Basilan province on Thursday (Feb. 20, 2020). Mayor Ibrahim Ballajo (left) and Capt. James Dipdip (right), commander of the 19th Special Forces Company of the Army's 4th Special Forces Battalion, facilitated their surrender. (Photo courtesy of the Western Mindanao Command Public Information Office

Two Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) bandits surrendered to government authorities in the province of Basilan, military officials said Saturday.

Brig. Gen. Fernando Reyeg, Joint Task Force Basilan commander,
identified the two ASG surrenderers as Suwaib Mungkay, alias Abu Black, and Nakib Asmad, alias Abu Halifa. They surrendered at the municipality of Hadji Mohammad Ajul in Basilan at about 11 a.m. on Thursday.

Reyeg said the troops of the Army’s Special Forces Battalion and Hadji Mohammad Ajul Mayor Ibrahim Ballajo facilitated the surrender of the two, who also turned over two Carbine rifles and one caliber .45 pistol with ammunition.

“Mungkay and Asmad were involved in the Lamitan bombing last July 31, 2018,”
he said.

Ten people, including a soldier and five militiamen, were killed while seven others were wounded during the July 2018 powerful bomb explosion at a military detachment in Barangay Magkawit, Lamitan City, Basilan.

Reyeg said the two underwent custodial debriefing, after which they were turned over to the local government of Hadji Mohammad Ajul for their inclusion in the government programs for rebel returnees.

“As I always say, peace is a shared responsibility. I am happy that our partners and stakeholders are always there to support us in our peace campaigns,” said Lt. Gen. Cirilito Sobejana, Western Mindanao Command chief. “Through our convergence, we are able to sustain the momentum and attain positive results in our journey towards peace and sustainable development here in the region.”

Sulu town execs declare ASG persona non grata

From the Philippine News Agency (Feb 22, 2020): Sulu town execs declare ASG persona non grata (By Teofilo Garcia, Jr.)

PERSONA NON GRATA. Village officials, religious leaders, and representatives from other sectors join the signing of manifesto during a peace covenant meeting Wednesday (Feb. 19, 2020). The group declared the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) as persona non-grata in the town of Parang, Sulu. (Photo courtesy of Western Mindanao Command Public Information Office)

The local officials of the town of Parang in the province of Sulu have signed a manifesto declaring the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) as persona non grata in the municipality, the military said on Saturday.

Maj. Gen. Corleto Vinluan, Joint Task Force Sulu commander, said the signing of the manifesto was made during a peace covenant meeting Wednesday in the town of Parang.

Vinluan said Sulu Gov. Abdusakur Tan and Parang Mayor Alkhadar Loong led the covenant meeting, where key officials denounced the ASG and proposed initiatives to strengthen and institutionalize public safety, security, and well-being in the municipality.

The other stakeholders and officials who signed and took part in the commitment are the following: Col. Ignatius Patrimonio, 1102nd Infantry Brigade commander; Col. Taharudin Ampatuan, Patrimonio’s deputy; Lt. Col. Jooney Jay Businos, 2nd Special Forces Battalion commander; Imam Kahal Tiplahan, Muslim religious leader; Lt. Col. Jeff Uy, OIC-Sulu Police Provincial director; Captain Rico Tagure, 4th Special Forces Company commander; Maj. Moh’d Hussin Tapsi, Parang police chief; Councilor Awaljaman Tahil, Parang Liga ng mga Barangay president; and the 24 barangay chairpersons of Parang.

Vinluan said the covenant meeting also empowered the religious sector to promote mutual respect and peaceful coexistence.

He said the municipal and military officials have activated the Municipal Task Force in Ending Local Armed Conflict (MTF-ELAC) during the signing of the covenant.

“The activation of the MTF-ELAC substantially proves that the government is serious in accelerating the peace process in Parang, Sulu. It shows that the different sectors are also working together to sustain security and normalcy in the area,”
he said.

He said key officials also activated the Municipal Peace Action Operations and Monitoring Center (MPAOMC) and the Islamic Religious Council of Parang to address the socio-cultural, security, and development issues and to sustain and tap the development potentials of the town.

Vinluan said several consultations and discussions were held during the Municipal Peace and Order Council meeting in Parang since February 6.

“Peace calls for commitment, involvement, and integration of efforts. We let synergy work out and bring a breakthrough in our security and development campaign. With our headway, this convergence will continue to substantiate our peace efforts and ameliorate our gains,” said Lt. Gen. Cirilito Sobejana, Western Mindanao Command (Westmincom) chief.

“I thank and urge our committed partners who ardently share this common goal towards transformation for peace and progress in Sulu and the entire Mindanao,” Sobejana said.

Top NPA member yields to Panay Army

From the Philippine News Agency (Feb 22, 2020): Top NPA member yields to Panay Army (By Gail Momblan)

ANOTHER SURRENDERER. Alias "Cardo" (middle) surrenders to the Philippine Army's 61st Infantry Batallion (61IB) on Saturday (Feb. 22, 2020). “Cardo”, 49, of Tubungan town is considered a high ranking member of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA). (PNA Photo by Army's 61IB)

A high ranking member of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) has surrendered to the Philippine Army’s 61st Infantry Battalion (61IB) on Saturday.

Alias “Cardo”, 49, of Tubungan town yielded to government troops in their headquarters at Camp Monteclaro, Igtuba village, Miagao.

“This surrenderer said he is already tired of being part of the armed struggle,” Lt. Col. Joel Benedict Batara, commander of the 61st IB, told the Philippine News Agency (PNA).

However, the Army cannot yet divulge the real name and the position of the surrenderer for security reasons.

“He also has to undergo a further interview,” he said.

Batara said the surrender of the rebel member is a loss to the CPP-NPA, specifically to the Southern Front, Komiteng Rehiyon-Panay.

Batara said “Cardo” trusts the government and he is at ease that the government, especially the local government unit, will help him.

“He has doubts at first since he was indoctrinated by his leaders in the movement that once he surrenders, the army will torture him and that his life will be in great danger,” he said.

The surrender of "Cardo" was personally facilitated by Tubungan Mayor Roquito Tacsagon.

Batara said Tacsagon and Tubungan towns have again proven their commitment to the government’s fight against insurgency.

Tubungan town implements a reintegration program to benefit former members of the CPP-NPA.

The program dubbed “Project ROKIT” or Reintegration Oplan Kabalaka for Deserving Individuals in Tubungan provides rebel returnees with livelihood and other reintegration assistance.

Batara said the Army will facilitate the enrolment of “Cardo” in the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program.

Meanwhile, Col. Marion Sison, 301st Brigade commander, said the surrender of “Cardo” proves that the campaign of the government against insurgency is working.

“It is a manifestation that the E.O. (executive order) 70 or the national task force to end the local communist armed conflict is functioning and effective in the area of Panay. For the next few months since the commencement of EO 70, we are expecting more surrenderers as we are aiming for peace and development,” he said in a statement.

Bad case of the flu

Bad case of the flu.

Caught nasty flu bug. I am down for the count. Blog will be sporadic for a couple of days until I start feeling better.

Retired Analyst