Thursday, March 5, 2020

Abu Sayyaf demands Rp8.4 billion in ransom

From Antara News (Mar 5, 2020): Abu Sayyaf demands Rp8.4 billion in ransom

Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal, and Security Affairs Mahfud MD (Antara/Zuhdiar Laeis)

I have just learnt from TV but a direct report on that matter is not yet available. I will seek official information on it Jakarta (ANTARA) 

Notorious Abu Sayyaf group is demanding 30 million Peso (Rp8.4 billion) as a ransom for the release of five Indonesians, Indonesia's top security minister Mahfud MD has revealed quoting a media report. "I have just learnt from TV but a direct report on that matter is not yet available. I will seek official information on it," he said at a meeting on standardizing the competence of Islamic propagators at the Indonesian Ulema Council here Thursday.

Demand for ransom has been repeated by members of the Abu Sayyaf group whenever they hold foreign hostages though the requested amounts are always different, the Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal, and Security Affairs said.

Eight Indonesians working for a fishing vessel had been abducted by several armed criminals believed to be members of the Abu Sayyaf group in Tambisan waters of Tungku Lahad Dato, Malaysian State of Sabah, on January 16, 2020.

Three of the eight hostages, identified as Abdul Latif (37), Daeng Akbal (20), and Pian bin Janiru (36), were freed along with the wooden fishing boat while five others remain under the custody of this South Philippines-based terrorist group.

These are Arsyad bin Dahlan (42), Arizal Kastamiran (29), La Baa (32), Riswanto bin Hayono (27), and Edi bin Lawalopo (53).

These Indonesian citizens were abducted not far from the spot where three Indonesians were kidnapped in the Tambisan waters, Tungku Lahad Datu, Malaysia, on September 23, 2019, according to the Tambisan police.

This armed terrorist group has repeatedly held Indonesian hostages over these past four years. From 2016 to November 2018 alone, 34 Indonesian citizens had been taken hostage in the southern Philippines.

The Indonesian government has been attempting to seek the release of Indonesian citizens who are still being held hostage.

Regarding the repeated abductions of Indonesians in the Malaysian waters, the Indonesian Consulate General in Kota Kinabalu and Indonesian Consulate General Tawau continued to urge Indonesian citizens who work as fishermen in the Sabah region not to go to the sea until there is a guarantee of security from Malaysian authorities. (INE)

Fourth Quarter 2019 Social Weather Survey: 79% of Filipinos are satisfied with the performance of the AFP

Posted to the Social Weather Stations Website (Mar 5, 2020): Fourth Quarter 2019 Social Weather Survey: 79% of Filipinos are satisfied with the performance of the AFP

A copy of the presentation and the exact survey questions in the module can be viewed here (in PDF, 2.4MB). 

Majority have much confidence in the AFP in defeating the communist rebels and terrorist groups
62% have much confidence in the AFP in defending the territories in the West Philippine Sea and other places against any foreign threats

SWS Media Release (printer-friendly version here)

In view of a sponsor-authorized publication of a commissioned survey module, SWS is disclosing the results and technical details for the benefit of the public.

A special module sponsored by the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) was implemented within the Fourth Quarter 2019 Social Weather Survey, conducted on December 13-16, 2019.

The survey used face-to-face interviews of 1,200 adults (18 years old and above) nationwide: 300 each in Metro Manila, Balance Luzon, in the Visayas, and Mindanao (sampling error margins of ±3% for national percentages, and ±6% each for Metro Manila, Balance Luzon, the Visayas, and Mindanao).

The area estimates were weighted by the Philippine Statistics Authority medium-population projections for 2019 to obtain the national estimates.

The survey results were presented by Mr. Vladymir Joseph Licudine, SWS Deputy Director for Survey Design, Analysis and Training, at the Kapihan sa Manila Bay at Café Adriatico with Marichu Villanueva press conference on March 4, 2020.

The main findings are as follows:

  • 79% of adult Filipinos are satisfied, 15% are undecided, and 5% are dissatisfied with the performance of the AFP. This gives a net satisfaction rating (% satisfied minus % dissatisfied) of +74, classified by SWS as “excellent”; [SWS terminology for Net Satisfaction Ratings: +70 and above, "excellent"; +50 to +69, "very good"; +30 to +49, "good"; +10 to +29, "moderate", +9 to -9, "neutral"; -10 to -29, "poor"; -30 to -49, "bad"; -50 to -69, "very bad"; -70 and below, "execrable"]
  • Majority have much confidence in the AFP in defeating the communist rebels or Communist Party of the Philippines/New People’s Army (CPP-NPA), and terrorist groups in the Philippines such as the Abu Sayyaf (ASG) and Islamic State or ISIS;
  • 62% say they have much confidence in the AFP in defending the territories of the Philippines in the West Philippine Sea and other places against any foreign threats.
A copy of the presentation and the exact survey questions in the module can be viewed here (in PDF, 2.4MB). For inquiries, please contact the office of Edgardo A. Arevalo, AFP Spokesperson, at 0917-5071865 or

SWS survey: Majority of Pinoys believe AFP can quell foreign threats, rebels, terrorists

Posted to ABS-CBN (Mar 5, 2020): SWS survey: Majority of Pinoys believe AFP can quell foreign threats, rebels, terrorists

Members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines-Northern Luzon Command sing the Philippine national anthem at the peak of Mavulis island in Batanes in commemoration of National Flag Day, May 28, 2019. Jeff Canoy, ABS-CBN News

Most Filipinos believe the country's military can defend the Philippine territory, including the West Philippine Sea, against foreign threats and quell communist rebels and terrorists, a Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey released Thursday showed.

This as the military got an "excellent" satisfaction rating, with at least 79 percent of Filipinos content with the military's performance, the survey showed.

Among 1,200 adults surveyed in December, 15 percent were undecided and 5 percent were dissatisfied, survey results released Thursday showed.

The survey showed that 62 percent of Filipinos have "much confidence" in the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) in asserting the country's sovereignty in the event foreign agents pose a danger in its territories, including the West Philippine Sea.

The West Philippine Sea is the country's exclusive economic zone in the South China Sea, which China claims in near entirety. The Chinese have continued incursions in the area, ignoring a 2016 ruling of a United Nations-backed tribunal invalidating its sweeping claims.

The survey was released just as the Philippines terminated its Visiting Forces Agreement with the United States, the country's long-standing ally, as President Rodrigo Duterte's administration pushed for a self-reliant military.
Malacañang insists on push for self-reliant PH military amid VFA termination

Majority of the public also believe the AFP could defeat members of rebel groups Communist Party of the Philippines and its armed wing the New People’s Army (CPP-NPA), and terrorist groups Abu Sayyaf (ASG) and Islamic State (IS), according to SWS.

The report showed that 79 percent of respondents had "much confidence" that the AFP could quell communist rebels, with 17 percent undecided and 4 having little confidence. 

Some 75 percent, meanwhile, expressed "much confidence" that the military could defeat terrorist groups. Some 19 percent were undecided and 6 percent had little confidence, the survey showed. 

The military has been pursuing operations against communist rebels after the collapse of peace negotiations, while offensives have been going on against terrorist groups linked to bomb attacks and kidnappings mostly in the restive south.

Government has been working towards modernizing the military, which has long been grappling with aged or lacking equipment.

The survey was conducted from December 13 to 16, 2019 using interviews from 300 adults each from Metro Manila, rest of Luzon, the Visayas and Mindanao.

Pangasinan village chief shot dead

From the Philippine Star (Mar 6, 2020): Pangasinan village chief shot dead (By Raymund Catindig, Eva Visperas, Artemio Dumlao)

BAYAMBANG, Pangasinan, Philippines – A barangay chairman of this town was gunned down on Wednesday.

Richard Roldan, 44, of Barangay Zone 2, was on a motorcycle on his way to Alcala town when he was fired upon by unidentified assailants in a gray Toyota Innova in Barangay Ketegan.

Roldan was initially brought to the Blessed Family Hospital in San Carlos City then transferred to the Region 1 Medical Center in Dagupan City, where he died while being treated.

Probers have yet to determine the motive for the killing.

In Ifugao, Joseph Calabson, former barangay chairman of Tukuakan in Tinoc town, was shot dead by suspected communist rebels who broke into his house on Monday night.

The gunmen reportedly left a letter from the Nona del Rosario Command of the New People’s Army, accusing Calabson of being a government informant.

NPA claims responsibility for ambush of military troops in Negros Oriental

From the Manila Bulletin (Mar 5, 2020): NPA claims responsibility for ambush of military troops in Negros Oriental (By Glazyl Masculino)

The Leonardo Panaligan Command of the New People’s Army (LPC-NPA) Central Negros Guerrilla Front admitted being behind the staging of an ambush of troops from the Army’s 94th Infantry Battalion (IB) at Barangay Luz, Guihulngan City, Negros Oriental on March 3.

New People’s Army (MANILA BULLETIN)

According to LPC-NPA Deputy Spokesperson Ka Ann Jacinto, 10 troops were on board an army truck when an NPA unit opened fire at them.

Jacinto, in a press statement, said that the state forces suffered two fatalities and four wounded soldiers,while two others fled and another soldier was missing.

“The NPA unit no longer pursued the ambushed soldiers because they were nearing a populated area and civilians might be harmed,” she added.

She said that their military action was in response to orders of their Regional Operational Command to launch tactical offensives against massive militarization and killings in the countryside.

The Army reported on Wednesday that there were no fatalities on their side, but four soldiers were wounded in the attack when an improvised explosive device exploded, followed by a 10-minute firefight.

Meanwhile, Jacinto condemned the alleged torture of two captured NPA members by the 94th IB.

Last February, two members of the Special Partisan Unit (Sparu) of NPA were allegedly killed in an encounter with the Philippine Army at Barangay Binobohan.

But Jacinto clarified that the two guerrilla fighters were captured after the encounter and did not actually resist arrest.

“Nonetheless, they were brutally tortured before they were killed since they did not give any information against their comrades to the soldiers,” she said.

She said that despite the government’s reactionary movement, the people will continue to wage a revolutionary armed struggle until social justice is achieved.

Army lauds DepEd move vs. NPA recruitment in schools

From the Philippine News Agency (Mar 6, 2020): Army lauds DepEd move vs. NPA recruitment in schools (By Alexander Lopez)

AWARENESS. Lt. Col. Francisco Molina (standing in podium), the commander of 23rd Infantry Battalion of the Army speaks during the 2nd Division Management Committee Conference of the Department of Education in Agusan del Norte. He noted the importance of teachers in saving the students from the recruitment of the New People’s Army on school campuses. (Photo courtesy of civil-military operations office, 23rd IB, Army)

The Philippine Army in Agusan del Norte welcomed the recent move of the Department of Education (DepEd) in recognizing the threats of the continuing recruitment of the New People’s Army (NPA) in schools.

Lt. Col. Francisco Molina, the commander of 23rd Infantry Battalion told the Philippine News Agency (PNA) on Friday that top officials of DepEd Agusan del Norte convened on March 3 the 2nd Division Management Committee Conference to discuss the issues and concerns on NPA recruitment in schools.

"I was present during the conference where I told the top DepEd officials in the province about the result of our surveys and the outcomes of the series of information drives we conducted in different schools,” Molina said.

Molina added that it was the first time top DepEd officials in Agusan del Norte discussed the insurgency problem and the degree of NPA recruitment inside school campuses.

In February this year, a series of information drives were held by 23rd IB in different schools in the towns of Nasipit, Las Nieves, Carmen, and Buenavista in Agusan Del Norte.

Molina thanked DepEd officials in Agusan del Norte for convening the conference that provided schools heads the information on the degree of NPA recruitment in schools.

He said the conference, joined by 364 participants to include supervisors, school heads and guidance councilors, was held on Tuesday.

“The participants now realize the extent of NPA recruitment in their schools and the danger it posed to their students,”
Molina said.

He added that the conference was also graced by Agnes “Lola” Lopez, the national president of People’s Advocacy for Collaboration and Empowerment Inc. (PeACE, Inc.), an organization of former rebels in the country.

“Lopez urged the teachers in Agusan Norte to protect the students being their second parents inside the school campuses, especially from the manipulations of the NPAs, by inculcating not only academics but also good moral values,” Molina said.

During the conference, Lopez urged the teachers to solidify the sacrifices of the parents, value the efforts of the government, and encourage the children to finish their studies.

“Lopez called on the teachers, especially those who are members of Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT Partylist) to refrain from recruiting innocent children to join the armed group, instead, be the good role model to students, as their future depends on how the teachers encourage students to reach their goals in life,” Molina said.

High ranking Communist leader surrenders in Ilocos Sur

From the Manila Bulletin (Mar 5, 2020): High ranking Communist leader surrenders in Ilocos Sur (By Freddie Lazaro)

SAN FERNANDO CITY – National Security Adviser Hermogenes C. Esperon Jr. announced the surrender on Tuesday of a high-ranking leader of the Communist Front Organization (CFO) in Region 1, and the Communist Party of the Philippines – New People’s Army (CCP-NPA) to government authorities.

National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr. (JANSEN ROMERO / MANILA BULLETIN)

Esperon, who is also director-general of the National Security Council (NSC), said on Thursday that Mary Ann Gabayan, 44, with code name as Ka Gellie, secretary-general of Ilocos Human Rights Alliance’s (IHRA), took her oath of allegiance to the Republic of the Philippines through Ilocos Sur Governor Ryan Luis Singson at the capitol in Vigan City.

After her pledge of allegiance,
Gabayan renounced her membership from CFO, and withdrew her support for the CPP-NPA.

“Mary Ann Gabayan, who was one of the speakers during protests’ rallies in Ilocos provinces against the government, expressed her full – support to the government, and she condemned the ideologies of the CPP-NPA-NDF (National Democratic Front) atrocities,” Esperon said.

Gabayan, after admitting that she was also a victim of deception undertaken by the terrorist group on its own mmbers, vowed to abandon the wrong ideologies instilled in her mind, and to support the programs of the government for peace and development under the Executive Order 70 or “whole-of-nation approach” in ending local communist armed conflict (ELCAC).

Moreover, she realized that what they were doing was not for the welfare of the people, and what they were espousing to the public were mere propaganda.

The atrocities they committed that involved hurting and even killing innocent civilians did not justify anything and never benefitted the people, Gabayan said.

Witnessing Gabayan’s oathtaking were mayor Leopoldo Gironella Jr. of Salcedo, Ilocos Sur; Barangay Chairman Girlie Garrido of Pias, Salcedo; Colonel Audrey L. Pasia, the brigade commander of the Army’s 702nd Brigade; Lieutenant Colonel Rodrigo A. Mariñas Jr., Commanding Officer of the Army’s 81st Infantry Battalion; and, Police Colonel Ysmael S. Yu, the acting provincial director, Ilocos Sur Police Provincial Office.

Gabayan’s withdrawal of support and membership from the Communist group followed deaths of Alias Guyo, Alias Unor and Alias Ricky, three of NPA’s top ranking leaders of Komiteng Larangang Gerilya Ilocos Sur in an encounter with the army and police on February 13; the surrender of Evaristo Boquing Jr, an influential former top ranking NPA in Ilocos Sur, on February 18; and, the final blow was when Reverend Pastor Jaypee Bulusan, Chairman of IHRA-Karapatan apologized to the people and also expressed his support to the government and vowed to encourage his church members to do the same during the inter-faith meeting held at Namoroc, Vintar, Ilocos Norte on February 22.

Meamwhile, Major General Lenard T. Agustin, the commander of the army’s 7th Infantry Division, lauded the local peace panel for their efforts and the relentless combat operations of army’s 702nd Infantry Brigade and the Philippine National Police counterparts in going after the CPP- NPA that destroy the peace and development of communities.

“The combined efforts of the army, police the LGUs yielded another withdrawal of support and membership from the CTGs by a hardened leader of the CTG’s front organization in Northern Luzon. Our efforts anchored with EO 70 will continue to be relentless and will be intensified in the coming days, so I am reiterating my call to the dwindling forces of the NPA and their supporters in Ilocos Sur and its adjacent provinces to surrender now or die in vain,” said Agustin.

Meanwhile, Pasia welcomed Gabayan’s decision to support the effort of the government instead of working for the terrorists.

“This is the situation we were hoping for, that the supporters of NPAs will realize their mistakes and withdraw their membership and support to the CTGs. In the coming days, we are expecting more surrenderers among NPAs and their supporters operating in Ilocos Sur and nearby provinces, as surrender fellers were already coming in bulk to my subordinate units’ headquarters,” said Pasia.

Pasia said the surrender of Gabayan was a big boost to their campaign in line with the Executive Order 70 or The-whole-of-nation-approach to end the local communist armed conflict.

“Gabayan pledged to denounce any invitation, participation and giving support to the CPP-NPA and instead, she will be giving her full support, commitment and cooperation to the Philippine Army, Philippine National Police and the government in maintaining peace and order of the province of Ilocos Sur and the rest of Region 1,” Pasia added.

Duterte says military to remain in Marawi, orders fast release of rehabilitation funds

From GMA News Online (Mar 5, 2020): Duterte says military to remain in Marawi, orders fast release of rehabilitation funds (By VIRGIL LOPEZ)

President Rodrigo Duterte asked residents of war-torn Marawi City to support the continued deployment of soldiers to thwart attacks by Islamist militants who occupied the city nearly three years ago.

Duterte made the appeal on Wednesday when he met with government agencies involved in the Marawi rehabilitation, local government officials and leaders of internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Marawi, according to a Palace press release on Thursday.

“I’m not after the Maranao, ang akin d’yan is the military should be there to avoid a repeat of... ‘yang military hindi ‘yang Maranao ang hinahanap n’yan, the terrorists that terrorize everybody,”
he said.

“Now, if you are bothered by my explanation to you, just look at what happened to the Middle East.”

Duterte said he would favor Muslim soldiers to be deployed in Marawi, a predominantly Muslim city.

Twenty-four out of the 96 barangays in Marawi were devastated by the deadly clash between the government forces and the ISIS-inspired Maute group which began on May 23, 2017 and ended five months later.

Issues confronting rehabilitation efforts were also discussed, the Palace said, with local residents complaining about slow completion of projects and expressing their intention to return to their homes.

The rehabilitation initiatives were delayed by circuitous approval process in the bureaucracy, prompting the President to designate Housing Secretary and Task Force Bangon Marawi chairperson Eduardo del Rosario to coordinate efforts, especially with the release and approval of much-needed budget.

Duterte also instructed the Department of Budget and Management to expedite the release of funds for the rehabilitation process, said Senator Christopher “Bong” Go, who was present in the meeting.

“What happened to Marawi was a tragedy to this nation and so, in the aftermath, we will do everything to correct so many wrongs and injustices committed against the Moros, not only in Marawi and Lanao but everywhere in Mindanao,” Go quoted Duterte as saying.

In his report to the President, Del Rosario said 2,911 families have been relocated and the government no longer maintains evacuation centers as of January this year.

A total of 2,911 out of 4,866 programmed transitional shelters are already occupied. The rest of the housing units will be completed in the third quarter of the year.

As to the permanent shelters, the government targets to build 3,580 units to be completed in the first quarter of 2021. Currently, 165 units are occupied.

Del Rosario said the reconstruction of major infrastructures and roads is also ongoing with the Mapandi Bridge already 100% complete.

“I want to finish the projects during my time,” the President said.

Gordon wants forex firm probed over alleged Maute group link

From GMA News Online (Mar 5, 2020): Gordon wants forex firm probed over alleged Maute group link (By DONA MAGSINO)

Senate Blue Ribbon committee chairman Richard Gordon said Thursday he wants foreign exchange firm Excellent Forex Corporation to be probed over possible involvement with ISIS-inspired Maute group.

Gordon said the foreign exchange company could be involved in financing the Maute group which laid siege in Marawi City in 2017.

"I have information that they have a branch in Marawi and the reason why it caught my attention is that you know mayroong foreign funding na pumasok doon sa Maute,"
he said during a Senate hearing on potential money laundering activities.

"Maybe I'm just overly zealous and I'm ready to be corrected but I would suggest you find out,"
the senator added.

Based on the records of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, Excellent Forex Corporation is a registered foreign exchange firm but has no declared branch in Marawi.

A certain Emil Alfonso is affiliated with the said company, according to BSP Deputy Governor Chuchi Fonacier.

"I have him as one of those bringing in and declared $2.5 million. He brought it in, in cash. We'll be chasing after this agency wondering why," Gordon said.

Alfonso and other incorporators of the foreign exchange firm were among those invited to the Senate hearing but did not attend.

DILG vows no abuse of anti-terror law; insists rallyists and rebels have 'same intent'

From the Philippine Star (Mar 4, 2020): DILG vows no abuse of anti-terror law; insists rallyists and rebels have 'same intent' (Franco Luna) 

Amid concerns that the anti-terrorism bill could be used to silence legal dissent, the Department of Interior and Local Government on Wednesday said that the existing body of laws in the country had enough safeguards to combat any possible abuse.

This was told to reporters on the sidelines of the Talking ASEAN on “Preventing Violent Extremism through Good Governance and Rule of Law” forum organized by think tank Stratbase ADR Institute and The Habibie Center’s ASEAN Studies Program in Makati City.

Asked about the concerns of a number of groups that the new bill would allow the state to indiscriminately crack down on legal organizations, DILG Undersecretary for Plans, Public Affairs and Communication Jonathan Malaya, also department spokesperson, said the bill is meant to pattern the country's Human Security Act after those of neighboring nations.

"I think there are enough safeguards in the law to make sure na hindi yan. We actually congratulate the Senate and thank them for the passage of this amendment to the Human Security Act," Malaya said.

Although he did not elaborate on those safeguards, Malaya said during the forum that the DILG under the leadership of Interior Secretary Eduardo Año has now been more proactive about disciplining and keeping LGUs accountable.

Año, though,last year called for the revival of the Cold War-era Anti-Subversion Law, saying "leftist groups should be banned for being subversive and illegal."

READ: The Anti-Subversion Law, explained

Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra, in response, said "being leftist is far from being terrorist."

"As long as activism remains in the realm of ideology, there is nothing to be alarmed about," he also said.

The Justice secretary said that strengthening the Human Security Act, the country's anti-terror law, would be a better approach.
'Criminalizing legal acts'

Last Wednesday, the Senate passed Senate Bill 1083 or the proposed Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020, which amended certain provisions of the Human Security Act of 2007.

Under the bill, anyone suspected of being terrorist can be detained without a warrant for up to 24 days.

Groups opposed to the bill say it will allow the administration to criminalize legal exercises of free speech and peaceful assembly given the current government strategy of accusing activist groups of being front organizations for communist rebels.

In an earlier statement, the National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers said SB 1083 “criminalizes acts which have, traditionally, been considered legitimate exercises of free speech, freedom of expression, the right of peaceful assembly, and freedom of association."

As it stands, activists already often express fear over what they call a de facto martial law in the country after President Rodrigo Duterte signed Executive Order 70, creating the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict and instituting a whole of nation approach against insurgency.

READ: Duterte signs ‘whole-of-nation‘ EO vs insurgency

Activists have said that this has led to government moves against legal organizations under the guise of counter-insurgency, though Malaya cited EO 70 as among the initiatives against violent extremism.

"Both threats to our country are to be addressed by the amendments," Malaya said.
'Legal, rebel groups have same intent'

Asked if the new bill conflated legal activist groups with communist rebels, Malaya said: "I don't think so. I think the position of the [Armed Forces of the Philippines] is valid, there are indeed communist terrorist groups."

Among the organizations tagged as communist front organizations rights watchdog Karapatan and church group Rural Missionaries of the Philippines, as well as Lumad schools run by the Alternative Learning Center for Agricultural and Livelihood Development and Salugpongan Ta’ Tanu Igkanogon Community Learning Center Inc.

READ: Karapatan say rights workers under surveillance, being harassed | IBON asks ombudsman to ‘punish’ Duterte admin officials for red-tagging

"Itong mga legal fronts na ito, they operate as if they are cooperating with government or are just critics of the government, when in fact, they have an ideology," he said.

"Alam naman ng lahat yan (Everybody knows that), that there are above-ground organizations considered legal fronts. Both have the same intent, which is to overthrow the government. They wish to overthrow the government in order to implement their ideology in the country. I think that's also a threat to the state."

Protesting or being a member of an activist group is not the same thing as being a member of the Communist Party of the Philippines or of the New People's Army.

READ: CHR warns of grave implications of red-tagging groups

"If you're just expressing criticism, that's part of democracy. Wala namang problema doon. But the problem comes when you are part of an organization," he said.

Although he did not specify how administration agents would go about distinguishing the two, he assured the public that the government would first have to draw a firm distinction before pursuing a case against suspected communist elements.

"The rule of law in this respect is being followed," he said.

"We have to make that distinction. Whenever an arrest is made, the government has to establish someone's crime."

READ: How activists respond to being tagged as rebels

"Wala namang subversion law ngayon," he added.

Philippine jurisprudence defines red-tagging as "the act of labelling, branding, naming and accusing individuals and/or organizations of being left-leaning, subversives, communists or terrorists (used as) a strategy… by state agents, particularly law enforcement agencies and the military, against those perceived to be ‘threats’ or ‘enemies’ of the state."

The Commission on Human Rights in April said that labelling groups before an objective judgment violates the constitutional guarantee of presumption of innocence.

In an interview in August, Bayan Muna chairman Neri Colmenares stressed that criticizing the government, or even agreeing with the CPP-NPA on certain issues, is not the same thing as taking up arms against the government.

RELATED: Bayan Muna, Anakbayan deny recruiting members for NPA

"You don't lump the opposition with armed combatants just because they espouse similar issues," he said.

WESTMINCOM: WestMinCom hosts IndoMalPhi Trilateral Security Conference

Posted to the Western Mindanao Command (WESTMINCOM) Facebook Page (Mar 5, 2020):  WestMinCom hosts IndoMalPhi Trilateral Security Conference

The Western Mindanao Command hosted the Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines Trilateral Security Conference held at Garden Orchid Hotel, Zamboanga City on March 5, 2020.

The meeting was attended by representatives from the General Headquarters of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, Indonesian and Malaysian counterparts, and the top officers of the Western Mindanao Command and its subordinate units.

Discussed during the meeting were the following agenda: The Operational Environment of the Tri-border Area; Kidnapping Trends in the High Seas: Modus Operandi of Threat Groups; Government Initiatives and Efforts: Current Courses of Action of the Philippines, Indonesia, and Malaysia in Addressing the Kidnapping of Persons in the Tri-border Area; and Identifying the Gaps and Challenges in Securing the Tri-border Area.

Representatives from the three countries then shared their recommended solutions to the security challenges presented.

In his remarks, WestMinCom chief Lt. Gen. Cirilito Sobejana stressed that security is a shared responsibility.

“The improvement of joint operation capabilities is assured through our coordinated air and sea patrols in maritime and land border areas. This is an efficient measure as we enhance our intelligence and information sharing to thwart kidnapping, piracy, and incursion of foreign militants within our territorial borders,” Lt. Gen. Sobejana said.

“The AFP extends its profound gratitude to the delegates from the Indonesian and Malaysian armed forces. Let us continue to work together for genuine peace and sustainable development,” he concluded.

The partnership among the three countries aims to resolve security challenges within the tri-border area.


6th Infantry Division - Kampilan
601 Infantry - Unifier Brigade
602nd Liberator Brigade
603 Persuader Brigade
1st Mechanized Infantry Brigade
Unang Marinong Brigada
Team Tabak
Joint Taskforce Basilan
Team Igsoon
Haribon Troopers
Magbalantay Cmo
11 Infantry Division "Alakdan Troopers"
Gagandilan Siete
1102 Infantry "ganarul" Brigade
1st BCT Aegis
Kwatromarinobrigada Sulu
Jtf Tawi Tawi Indomalphi
Joint Task Force Zamboanga Virtual Center
Unbeatable Ranger Battalion
Matatag Battalion
Tow Westmin Cmo
Tow Westmin Pio
Naval Forces Western Mindanao
Cmou Western Mindanao
Katapatan Pangkatihan-Dagatan

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CPP/NDF-Ilocos: NDF-Ilocos: Esperon, nagpunta sa La Union para maghabi ng kasinungalingan!

NDF-Ilocos propaganda statement posted to the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) Website (Mar 4, 2020): NDF-Ilocos: Esperon, nagpunta sa La Union para maghabi ng kasinungalingan!

MARCH 04, 2020

Digmang Bayan, hindi magagapi ng EO70 at Whole of Nation Approach

Bumubula ng kasinungalingan ang bibig ni National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr. sa idinaos na Kapihan sa Ilocos noong Marso 4 sa probinsya ng La Union. Dinaluhan ito ni Esperon bilang pangalawang chairperson ng National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict at bilang Cabinet Officer for Regional Development ng Ilocos. Katuwang ang mga kinatawan mula sa Regional Development Council at Regional Peace and Order Council, tinalakay nila ang pagpapatupad ng Executive Order 70 sa rehiyon.

Ipinagmalaki nila ang pagpaslang ng mga tropang militar sa mga Pulang mandirigma na sina Enniabel Balunos, Julius Marquez at Maria Finela Mejia noong Pebrero 13. Katulad ng inaasahan, naghabi sila ng kwento ng engkwentro kung saan diumano namatay ang tatlo sa halip na amining execution ang paraan ng pagpatay nila sa mga kasama. Binanggit din ni Esperon na dahil sa pagkawala ng tatlo, ‘Papunta na sa (kanila)’ ang iba pang mga Pulang mandirigma at wala nang batayan para maglunsad ng armadong pakikibaka.

Mga Batayan ng Rebolusyon
Ito marahil ang pinakamalaking kasinungalingan ni Esperon. Ayon sa kanya, ngayon lamang sa ilalim ni Rodrigo Duterte, nagtamasa ng kaunlaran ang mamamayan tulad ng pamamahagi ng lupa, libreng irigasyon, pinalaking 4Ps at kalsada para sa kanayunan. Kung gayon, hindi na kailangan ang armadong pakikibaka. Gayundin, may mga pabuya diumano para sa mga kasama na ‘magbabalik-loob’ sa pamahalaan tulad sa E-CLIP o enhanced comprehensive local integration program, isang programa ng gobyerno na nangunguna sa peke o sapilitang pagpapasuko habang kinukurakot ng mga opisyal ng militar ang malaking pondo nito.

Tiyak na batid ni Esperon ang kahungkagan ng sinasabi niyang kaunlaran. Pulos propaganda ang kanyang binanggit, kung hindi man puro mga reporma at hindi talaga malawakan at malalim na panlipunang pagbabago. Kilala ang rehimeng US-Duterte sa pagkakalat ng fake news sa pamamagitan ng mga trolls at ng sariling mga ahensya (tulad ng Duterte Legacy noong Enero). Sa pamamagitan ng mga ito, nagbubuhat ito ng sariling bangko at nagpapakalat ng pekeng tagumpay. Ipinagmalaki niyang may Php20 milyong halaga ng kalsada, health system, water system at kabuhayan para gapiin ang insurhensya. Ngunit sa karanasan, mas sa kurakot napupunta ang mga pondong ito.

Maski ang ‘paghina’ diumano ng rebolusyonaryong kilusan, kabilang na ang pekeng pagpapasuko at pagkakalat ng black propaganda laban sa mga rebolusyonaryo at progresibong organisasyon, fake news lamang. Sa mismong press conference, kapal-mukha itong nagkwento na ginagamot ng mga sundalo ng gobyerno ang mga sugatang mandirigma ng New People’s Army. Ang totoo, pinapahirapan, ipinapahiya at nilalapastangan ng mga sundalo ng Philippine Army (PA) ang mga sugatang kasamang wala nang kakayahang lumaban hanggang sila’y mamatay. Ito ang ginawa nila kina Ka Lea, Ka Goyo at Ka Ricky.

Nananginip ng Gising

Ang mismong katawagang whole-of-nation approach para durugin ang mapagpalayang kilusan ay isang kasinungalingan. Hindi taumbayan ang kumikilos para gapiin ang rebolusyon ngunit taumbayan ang ginigipit at tinatakot ng PA, katuwang ang iba’t ibang ahensya ng lokal na yunit ng gobyerno, para humiwalay sa agos ng pakikibaka. Sa Kapihan, hindi sinabing ang pagsisikap ng PA para ‘pasukuin’ ang mga lider-masa ng ligal na pagkilos ay puno ng harassment, pananakot, panunupil sa kalayaang kumilos at pagkakait ng kapayapaan, at iba’t ibang maruruming anyo ng pampulitikang pag-uusig. Gayundin, sa bulag na hangarin ni Esperon na supilin ang anumang pagtuligsa sa pamahalaan, hinding-hindi niya mapag-iba ang armadong pakikibaka sa ligal na pakikibaka. Tulad sa kapapasa sa Senado na Anti-Terror Bill, pawalis at malisyosong itinuturing ng rehimeng Duterte na ‘terorista’ ang sinumang maging kritikal sa kanyang pamamalakad, kahit sa pinakasimpleng anyo nito.

Ngunit obhetibong katotohanan na may tunggalian ng uri sa lipunang Pilipino. Kailangang mag-alsa ng mga magsasaka para sa lupa at suporta sa agrikultura; magbabangon ang mga manggagawa para sa disenteng sahod at maayos na kalagayan sa pagwaan; magbabalikwas ang kababaihan, bata at LGBTQ+ para sa pagkilala sa kanilang mga karapatan; at lalabas sa kalsada ang kabataang estudyante para maging maayos ang kinabukasan. Ngunit dahil hindi sapat ang ligal na pakikibaka, kinikilala ng maraming pambansa demokratikong aktibista na kailangan ang armadong paglaban. Nananaginip ng gising si Esperon noong mismong presscon noong sinabi niyang wala nang batayan para ilunsad ang Demokratikong Rebolusyong Bayan.

Hindi dahil tinuran ni Duterte, ni Esperon o ng sino mang galamay niya ay siya nang totoo. Taumbayan ang higit na nakababatid ng katotohanan at ang masa lamang ang lilikha ng kasaysayan. Armadong rebolusyon ang tanging landas ng mamamayang Pilipino. ###

CPP/NPA-Sorsogon: Mga ahente ng estado ang pumatay kay Felix Chico

NPA-Sorsogon propaganda statement posted to the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) Website (Mar 5, 2020): Mga ahente ng estado ang pumatay kay Felix Chico

MARCH 05, 2020

DALAWANG motorsiklong labas-masok sa kampo ng 2nd Provincial Mobile Force Company (PMFC) ng PNP sa Barangay Aquino, Bulan, Sorsogon ang gamit ng mga armadong lalaking pumaslang kay Felix Chico nitong Marso 3 sa Barangay Somagongsong ng naturan ding bayan. Ayon ito sa mga nakasaksi sa pangyayari.

Si Chico ay sakay noon ng kanyang motorsiklo pauwi sa Barangay Calpi bandang alas-6:00 pagkagaling sa munisipyo ng Bulan kung saan namamasukan siya bilang drayber ng ambulansya. Anang mga saksi, sinundan si Chico ng apat na lalaking sakay ng dalawang motorsiklo, pinatigil bago dumating sa Barangay San Francisco, at saka pinagbabaril.

Gawi na ng mga tauhan ng 2nd PMFC ang pagpatay ng sinumang mapag-initang sibilyan tuwing may inilulunsad na armadong aksyon ang NPA. Matatandaang hinaras ng mga Pulang mandirigma ang kampo ng 2nd PMFC nitong Pebrero 16 kung saan nasugatan si Patrolman Eric Cabilao at pinarusahan naman ng kamatayan ang taksil sa rebolusyong si Antonio Benzon, Jr. sa bayan ng Casiguran nitong Pebrero 22.

Dating mandirigma ng NPA si Chico, kaya marahil siya pinag-interesan ng death squad ng PNP. Naulila niya ang kanyang asawa at anim na anak.

Mariin naming kinukundena ang pasistang krimeng ito laban sa isang sibilyan. Sa ganitong mga krimen lamang magaling ang mga duwag na ahente ng estado.

Visit NPA-Sorsogon’s website at
Follow them on Twitter: @cmcnpasorsogon

Kalinaw News: Army’s 1ID boost counter insurgency, terrorism capabilities

Posted to Kalinaw News (Mar 6, 2020): Army’s 1ID boost counter insurgency, terrorism capabilities (By 1st Infantry Division)

CAMP SANG-AN, Pulacan, Zamboanga del Sur – The 1st Infantry (TABAK) Division boost its counter insurgency and terrorism capabilities as it refilled and trained the 5th Infantry (Duty-Bound) Battalion today, March 5, 2020.

The 5IB before was a Civilian Armed Forces Government Unit (CAFGU) Battalion, managing Civilian Active Auxiliaries (CAAs) assigned in 1st Infantry Division.

The unit was unfilled last November 1, 2019 during the activation of the newly organized 1st Division CAA Affairs Unit, who now administered CAAs in the area of responsibility.

The 5IB will now become a manuever unit and will undergo organizational training in order to instill and develop camaraderie among troops who were taken from the different manuever battalions of 1ID.

The training will also enhance the skills of the unit in its war fighting capability and mold them their competency on counter insurgency and terrorism.

Maj. Gen. Gene Ponio, the 1ID Commander, challenged the unit to train more, be inspired and work with dedication and pride.

“This may be a new environment to you, but your individual task as a soldier has always been the most important thing to accomplish the mission and serve the constituents of 1ID”, added Ponio.

Ponio ended his message inspiring the troops and informing them the importance of being diverse, familiar with all the threats and their tactics.

[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:]

Kalinaw News: Former Marawi siege spox now leads 53rd Infantry Battalion

Posted to Kalinaw News (Mar 5, 2020): Former Marawi siege spox now leads 53rd Infantry Battalion (By 53rd Infantry Battalion)

CAMP SANG-AN, Labangan, Zamboanga del Sur – A former Marawi Siege spokesperson in year 2017 will now lead the 53rd Infantry (MATAPAT) Battalion after the change of command ceremony held in Guipos, Zamboanga del Sur, Thursday, March 5, 2020.

Lt. Col. Jo-ar Herrera succeeded Lt. Col. Marlowe Patria who is set to take post as the Assistant Chief of Staff for Civil Military Operations, G7 of 1ID.

Herrera is a member of the Philippine Military Academy Class of 1999. He is a Ranger and topped his class in Psyops Officers Course in Fort Bragg, North Carolina, USA.

He is a graduate of Master of Arts major in Social and Development Studies in UP Baguio.

He also completed his Command and Staff Course in Goh Keng Swee Command and Staff College, Singapore, a requirement for the position he now assumed.

During his assumption speech, Herrera thanked and expressed his gratitude to the command for considering him as the commmanding officer of 53rdIB.

He also stated the importance of collaboration and convergence among stakeholders; commitment and courage of troops to accomplish the mandated task.

He further vowed to continue the legacy of his predecessor.

Maj. Gen. Generoso “Gene” Ponio, Commander of 1ID and the presiding officer, congratulated and thanked Lt. Col. Patria, the outgoing battalion commander, for the accomplishments during his stint.

“I am confident and sure that Lt. Col. Herrera will steer this unit into greater heights with his experience and leadership capabilities”, said Ponio.

“I also urge the stakeholders to trust and support the new battalion commander in its goal for a more peaceful and progressive Zamboanga del Sur”, added Ponio.

[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:]

Kalinaw News: MGen Vinoya vows to never let CTG’s terrorize Bohol

Posted to Kalinaw News (Mar 5, 2020): MGen Vinoya vows to never let CTG’s terrorize Bohol
(By 3rd Infantry Division)

CAMP PERALTA, Jamindan, Capiz – MGen Eric Vinoya, the Commander of the Army’s 3rd Infantry (Spearhead) division has ordered 47th Infantry (Katapatan) Battalion to hunt and never allow the CPP-NPA Terrorist regain their strength in Bohol.

MGen Vinoya made this order following a firefight between joint elements of AFP and PNP and members of the CPP-NPA Terrorist in Barangay Cansumbol, in Bilar town, province of Bohol on February 29, 2020.

The said encounter resulted to the death of Private First Class Jerald Villanueva, 26 years old of Purok 8, Brgy. Upper Dansuli, Isulan, Sultan Kudarat and an NPA member identified as Marcelo Tejero Maldos, 55, from Cantumocad, Loon, Bohol. The latter was identified through his Voter’s ID found in the area.

MGen Vinoya said, Bohol has now a blooming tourism industry enjoyed not only by its citizens, but also by local and international tourists, hence, we will not allow these communist-terrorists to establish and cast terror in the province again. We wiped them out from Bohol before, we will make sure to erase even their traces in the province once more with the support and cooperation of the peace-loving Boholanons.

“Boholanons are benefiting an insurgency-free community for almost a decade due to their vigilance and grit in helping and supporting the government’s peace campaign. I am optimistic that with these positive traits of the Boholanons, the government forces will be able to totally eradicate these terrorists in the province. With the Boholanons on our side, rest assured that we will protect Bohol from the menace of this communist-terrorist group. We will never let them harm the people of Bohol again. We will do it no matter what happens and whatever it takes,” Vinoya added.

The AFP and PNP had already beefed up their forces in Bilar to pursue the remnants of the terrorist group following the encounter. The Local Government Unit of Bilar headed by Hon. Manuel Jayectin also promptly responded to the area and took necessary actions relative to the present situation.

Bohol has been considered insurgency-free for over a decade. However, in 2018 there were reports about the sightings of the armed men in some towns.

[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:]

Kalinaw News: 3ID Commander sets the tempo on intensified operations against NPAs

Posted to Kalinaw News (Mar 5, 2020): 3ID Commander sets the tempo on intensified operations against NPAs (By 3th Infantry Division)

CAMP PERALTA, Jamindan, Capiz – The Philippine Army is now controlling the pace and intensity of the operational situation in Negros Island, MGen Eric Vinoya, the Commander of the Army’s 3rd Infantry (Spearhead) Division revealed.

“With the Negrenses’ vigilance in cooperating and giving us accurate information about the whereabouts and activities of the CPP-NPA Terrorists (CNTs) in Negros, we are now dictating the operational tempo favorable to the government security forces in the island. Evident to this is the latest combat operation of the 62nd Infantry (Unifier) Battallion in Brgy Binobohan, Guihulngan City, Negros Oriental on February 28, 2020 that resulted to the death of the two (2) members of the CNT Special Partisan Unit (SPARU),” MGen Vinoya said.

MGen Vinoya added, “Aside from creating a favorable battleground for the government forces, the present operational tempo in Negros also brought positive results to the Negrenses specifically those victims of communist-terrorists’ ruthlessness. Justice has been served for all innocent civilians after the neutralization of these SPARU members. With their neutralization, we are also expecting the dwindling of the communist-terrorist group’s criminal activities in the area. And, with the Negrenses on our side, we are optimistic that we can totally eradicate these terrorists in due time.”

Earlier, 62IB disclosed that the killed SPARU members were responsible of the killing of innocent civilians in Guihulngan and Canlaon City all of Negros Oriental. They were also part of the group in the area that continuously threatening the people who refuse to cooperate with them.

With the death of the SPARU members, Vinoya renewed his persistent call to the remaining communist-terrorists in the island to surrender for them to avoid the same fate. “We have troops everywhere. We have the support of the people. Your armed struggle is now hopeless and irrelevant, but you can still pick the best option; and that is to surrender,” Vinoya emphasized.

Moreover, the 3ID Commander reiterated his call to the Negrenses to continue cooperating and supporting their Army in its fight against the communist-terrorists. “Your constant support is all we need to maintain the favorable operational tempo we have right now. We are grateful that you never failed to partake in all of our peace efforts particularly in wiping out these terrorists from your communities. Let us continue working together to put an end to the decades-long communist armed conflict, and together we can move forward towards the achievement of genuine peace and development in this part of the country,” 3ID Commander further said.

[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:]

IP schools to open in two Surigao villages

From the Mindanao Times (Mar 5, 2020): IP schools to open in two Surigao villages (BY RHODA GRACE SARON)

The 3rd Special Forces Battalion (3SFBn) and the 544th Engineer Construction Battalion will provide the manpower and equipment to build Lumad schools in time for the June 2020 classes.

These schools in far-flung communities will replace the Tribal Filipino Program of Surigao del Sur (TRIFPSS), which will be closed for failure to comply with the Department of Education requirements to operate as an alternative learning school.

Surigao del Sur Governor Alexander T. Pimentel worked with the Department of Education-Caraga and Regional Development Council XIII, led by Bayugan Mayor Kirk A. Asis, to build the makeshift rooms to replace the alleged communist-influenced schools.

DepEd-Caraga regional director Cesar Bringas said they are targeting the opening and operationalization of the makeshift schools in Km. 9 and Sitio Lucnodon by the start of the school year.

“The makeshift schools will be constructed and hopefully be operational on June,” Director Bringas, said.

The beneficiary communities were identified from the ocular inspection of proposed DepEd IP schools sites in the conflict-affected communities of Sitio Simowao (Km. 9), Diatagon, Lianga and Sitio Lucnudon, Mahaba, and Marihatag of Surigao del Sur on March 2.

Lianga Mayor Novelita M. Sarmen and Marihatag Mayor Justine Pelenio expressed their support and gratitude to the prime movers of the DepEd school project since it will give IP children access to basic education.

Col. Allan D Hambala, 401st Infantry Brigade commander, said the development and increased economic activities in far-flung areas would help steer the people away from being recruited into the New People’s Army.

USAID engages youth to help Marawi communities

From the Mindanao Times (Mar 5, 2020): USAID engages youth to help Marawi communities (BY WARREN ELIJAH VALDEZ)

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) launched the YOUth Innovate! Summit on March 3 at Cagayan de Oro City.

The YOUth Innovate! Summit was initiated to “engage and recognized the young innovators in Mindanao, especially those who were directly affected by the Marawi Siege.”

The summit, initiated in coordination with Plan International, detailed the innovative ideas of 22 youth groups who were part of the undertaking.

Along with 250 youth leaders from from displaced and host communities in the Lanao provinces, USAID mission director Lawrence Hardy led the opening of the summit together with Cagayan Mayor Oscar Moreno, Iligan City Mayor Celso Regencia, and Marawi City Mayor Majul Gandamra.

In a press release dated March 4, Hardy said the “summit showcases how youth-led innovation can help communities build back better from conflict.”

The USAID mission director also met with women entrepreneurs as part of recognizing the Women’s History Month and World Water Day.

USAID-constructed trading center and water storage tanks were also handed over to the municipality of Kapai.

To address the water services expansion in Marawi City, the Marawi City Water District was able to receive USAID-supported water plans and technical studies. The US government has allocated more than $63.6 million (P3.4 billion) for rehabilitation of Marawi.

USAID continues to implement its projects advocating for health, education, economic growth, good governance and environmental resilience in CDO, as one of its eight partner cities through its Cities Development Initiative.

The aim of the program is to help cities outside of Metro Manila “so they can attain their full potential as engines of inclusive, sustainable growth for the country.

Lawmakers seek House probe of shooting vs Lumads in Surigao Sur

From the MindaNews (Mar 5, 2020): Lawmakers seek House probe of shooting vs Lumads in Surigao Sur

MALAYBALAY CITY (MindaNews / 5 March) – Lawmakers belonging to Bayan Muna have asked the House of Representatives to investigate the “indiscriminate firing” last Feb. 21 in a Lumad village in Surigao del Sur allegedly by the 75th Infantry Battalion.

Children comprise the majority of evacuees from the upland areas of Barangay Diatagon in Lianga, Surigao del Sur. July 20, 2018. MindaNews photo by GG BUENO

In a proposed resolution, Representatives Eufemia Cullamat, Karlos Isagani Zarate and Ferdinand Gaite said the incident hit the residence of Naldo Calipay in Sitio Emerald, Barangay Diatagon in Lianga town, injuring his 5-year old child and two relatives.

The resolution said the victims were hit by shrapnel.

It said that around 11am on the same day, residents heard gunshots and explosions from nearby Sitio Simowao that lasted for about an hour. The 75IB reportedly engaged New People’s Army rebels in an encounter.

Two hours after, 10 soldiers allegedly surrounded Calipay’s house and opened fire.

A grenade fell on the house of Naldo Calipay, destroying the roof and injuring his child and two relatives, the resolution said.

The 75IB has been stationed near civilian homes since August 2019, it said.

On Feb. 29, 67 Manobo families fled their homes after getting threats from the military that they would get back at them if the rebels attacked again, it added. (MindaNews)

Team-building training ensures readiness to help Basilan ASG returnees

From the Mindanao Examiner (Mar 5, 2020): Team-building training ensures readiness to help Basilan ASG returnees

PSYCHOSOCIAL SUPPORT Services (PSS) facilitators for ASG returnees in Basilan now understand the importance of communication and synergy after completing the three-day psycho-social team-building training on February 20-22 held at the House of Peace in Isabela City.

The activity served as an avenue for the PSS Facilitators to enhance their knowledge and skills in using effective communication and games during their interactions with their beneficiaries to be able to ensure good facilitation and appropriate approach that will create comfortable participation among them.

The Philippine Information Agency who served as Resource Speaker for the activity emphasized that effective information through dynamic communication process is very useful in strengthening psycho social support services to better understand the gaps and provide possible interventions.

“Ngayon lang namin naintindihan na napakahalaga pala ng communication, na hindi lang ito basta basta kundi kailangang alam mo talaga kung paano makipag communicate ng tama,” one of the facilitators said.

Furthermore, the facilitators were grateful that through this activity they gained more knowledge in understanding concepts between and among other stakeholders. For them, it is also very important to strengthen camaraderie of the team for continues engagements.

“It also helps build and add more linkages and networking for other agencies,” said Pelita Tacorda, CSWDO Lamitan City.

The Team Building Activity is already a Phase 3 of Training of Trainers on Psychosocial Support Services (PSS) under the Good Governance and Community Action towards Resilience and Empowerment (AS2G CARE) project in Basilan implemented by Balay Mindanaw in partnership with Nagdilaab Foundation Inc., the Armed Forces of the Philippines and other stakeholders.

PSS is one of the project components of Balay Mindanaw Foundation Inc. (BMFI) given to Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) returnees. This aims to change the mindset of the returnees through different activities such as psycho social debriefing, exposure tour and livelihood programs in partnership with line agencies and other civil society organizations. (By Rene V. Carbayas)

Mayor Sara stresses cooperation to prevent repeat of terror attacks

From the Philippine Information Agency (Mar 5, 2020): Mayor Sara stresses cooperation to prevent repeat of terror attacks (By Joey Dalumpines)

DAVAO CITY March 3 (PIA)- Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte urged Dabawenyos to cooperate with authorities to prevent incidents like the Old Davao Airport Terminal Bombing Incident which is commemorated on its 17th year anniversary today.

She said it is the reason why the culture of security is being promoted in the city.

Duterte stressed that a terror attack can victimize anyone now and in the future and that cooperation with the people in authority is a must.

Duterte said the Task Force Davao and the Davao City Police Office must be aware of any terror plot through the information coming from the people.

She also gave her commitment of support to the victims of the Old Davao Airport Terminal Bombing incident through the assistance from the City Social Services and Development Office.

“We learn from your loss; we are one with you in your loss. To the wounded, the city of Davao will continue to support you, the City Social Services and Development Office, no matter how old and dilapidated their computer system maybe, already knows who you are,” Duterte said. (PIA XI- Joey Sem G. Dalumpines)

NegOr studes told to shun illegal drugs, terrorism

From the Philippine Information Agency (Mar 5, 2020): NegOr studes told to shun illegal drugs, terrorism (By Jennifer C. Tilos)

NEGROS ORIENTAL, March 5 (PIA) -- Philippine Army troopers of the 302nd Infantry Brigade (IB) continue to visit schools to advise students to avoid illegal drugs and stay away from terrorism.

The ‘Achiever Troopers’ led by Brigade Commander Col. Noel Baluyan of the 302nd IB cautioned the nearly 500 students including teachers of Diaz College in Tanjay City against the harmful effects of illegal drugs and terrorism.

The Anti-Illegal Drugs and Anti-Terrorism symposium held Tuesday was conducted through the Tanjay City Advisory Council.

It aimed to heighten awareness on the current situation of illegal drugs and orient the students on the insurgent exploitation and other destructive influence/activities of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People's Army- National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF). 

A Philippine Army officer distributing Information, Education and Communication (EIC) materials on anti-insurgency during the symposium at Diaz College in Tanjay City. (KT/PIA Negros Oriental)

According to Capt. Khadaffy Tawantawan, information officer designate of 302nd IB, the activity intends to isolate the youth from the deceptive recruitment strategy of the communist terrorist groups.

This is also to enable the students to make the right choices and encourage more open communication between parents and children, said Tawantawan.

He warned students about the recruitment activities being done by CPP-NPA in schools.

Baluyan also encouraged the students to help the government in ending the insurgency.

“I urge you, as students and youth of this country, to be vigilant and be discerning in joining organizations in your school. This is because the CPP-NPA-NDF has mastered the art of deception," he said.

The Philippine Army official asked the students to be wary of the organizations they are joining since some will only deceive them by filling their minds with hatred and violence.

He also encouraged the students to support Executive Order No. 70 and be part of the country's journey towards achieving genuine peace and development. (jct/PIA7 Negros Oriental)

Tagalog News: Kawalan ng trabaho, pag-ahon sa kahirapan sa Bulacan tututukan

From the Philippine Information Agency (Mar 5, 2020): Tagalog News: Kawalan ng trabaho, pag-ahon sa kahirapan sa Bulacan tututukan (By Vinson F. Concepcion)

GUIGUINTO, Bulacan, Marso 5 (PIA) -- Nagsagawa ng pagpupulong ang Poverty Reduction, Livelihood and Employment o PRLE cluster ng Provincial Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict o PTF-ELCAC para sa unang quarter ng taon upang tugunan ang mga isyu ng kawalan ng trabaho at pag-ahon sa kahirapan.

Sa ginanap na pulong sa pangunguna ng Technical Education and Skills Development Authority, binigyan kahalagahan ang PRLE cluster bilang isa sa 12 lines of effort ng PTF-ELCAC na tutugon sa mga nabanggit na isyu.

Kabilang dito ang pagsasagawa ng TESDA ng skills training gaya ng naipagkaloob sa mga dating miyembro ng Kadamay.

Gayundin ang pagbibigay ng Department of Trade and Industry o DTI ng pagsasanay sa entrepreneurship, financing at marketing.

Nagsagawa ng pagpupulong ang Poverty Reduction, Livelihood and Employment cluster ng Provincial Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict sa tanggapan ng Technical Education Skills and Development upang tugunan ang mga isyu ng kawalan ng trabaho at pag-ahon sa kahirapan. (Army 48th IB)

Ayon kay TESDA Provincial Director Jovencio Ferrer Jr., marapat na ang mga bubuuing plano ng PRLE cluster ay naka-angkla at nakasuporta sa whole-of-nation approach sa larangan ng pagibsan ng matinding kahirapan at pagtaas ng antas ng kabuhayan ng mga mamamayan.

Samantala, sinabi naman ni 48th Infantry Battalion o 48IB Commanding Officer Lt. Col. Feliex Emeterio Valdez na mahalagang hakbang ito upang tugunan ang mga nabanggit na isyu na madalas na nararanasan ng mga vulnerable sector na nasasamantala naman ng ilang grupo.

Anya, patuloy ang kanilang gagawing pagbabantay at pagpapanatili ng kapayapaan hindi lamang sa Bulacan kung hindi sa buong nasasakupan ng kanilang operasyon upang maging epektibo at episyente ang tungkulin ng PRLE cluster.

Bukod sa TESDA, DTI at 48IB, miyembro rin ng naturang cluster ang Department of Social Welfare and Development, Department of Labor and Employment, Department of Agriculture, Department of Agrarian Reform Department of the Interior and Local Government, Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources, National Commission on Indigenous Peoples, Department of Science and Technology at Department of Environment and Natural Resources. (CLJD/VFC-PIA 3)

Aurora State College declares CPP-NPA as ‘persona non grata’

From the Philippine Information Agency (Mar 5, 2020): Aurora State College declares CPP-NPA as ‘persona non grata’ (By Carlo Lorenzo J. Datu)

BALER, Aurora, March 5 (PIA) -- Aurora State College of Technology (ASCOT) declared Wednesday the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) as persona non grata.

Administration, staff, employees and students crafted Memorandum Order No. 46, series 2020 that formally declares members of the CPP-NPA unwelcome in ASCOT.

“The achievement of peace and security is a shared responsibility of the people and government,” ASCOT President Eutiquio Rotaquio Jr said.

Aurora State College of Technology declares the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army as persona non grata. (91st Infantry Battalion)

In a statement, 7th Infantry Division Commander Major General Lenard Agustin acknowledged the contribution of the university.

“The declaration made by ASCOT indicates how helpful Executive Order No. 70 or the whole-of-nation approach in attaining genuinely peaceful communities in the country. Only through our strengthened collaboration can the local communist armed conflict be ended,” he added.

For his part, 91st Infantry Battalion Acting Commander Lieutenant Colonel Reandrew Rubio said their unit will continue to work with other stakeholders to ensure that the schools and the province will not be infiltrated by the CPP-NPA and its front groups. (CLJD-PIA 3)

RTF-ELCAC hails 126 LGUs in C. Visayas for condemning CPP-NPA

From the Philippine News Agency (Mar 5, 2020): RTF-ELCAC hails 126 LGUs in C. Visayas for condemning CPP-NPA (By John Rey Saavedra)

PERSONA NON GRATA. Department of the Interior and Local Government-7 (DILG-7) regional director Leocadio Trovela (2nd from right) is shown reporting to the Regional Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (RTF-ELCAC) that 126 of 136 local government units (LGUs) in Central Visayas have passed resolutions declaring the CPP-NPA as persona non grata. Trovela said the remaining eight municipalities and two cities in Cebu are yet to pass their respective resolutions. (Photo courtesy of DILG-7)

The Regional Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (RTF-ELCAC) in Central Visayas has commended the 126 local government units (LGUs) in Central Visayas for passing resolutions declaring the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) persona non grata.

Lawyer Leocadio Trovela, regional director of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) in Region 7, on Wednesday said he is optimistic that the remaining 10 of all 136 LGUs in the region will be able to pass resolutions declaring the communist terrorist group as unwelcome in their places by end of April.

The province of Negros Oriental where insurgency remains a threat to the locals, has hit the 100 percent mark as all 19 municipal and six city councils were able to pass a resolution condemning the CPP-NPA, Trovela said.

He said all the municipalities and cities in Bohol and Siquijor were also able to pass their resolutions declaring the communist party and its armed wing persona non grata.

The 10 LGUs in Cebu province are yet to pass their respective measures, he said.

These LGUs include the municipalities of Aloguinsan, Argao, Barili, Consolacion, Madridejos, San Remigio, Tabuelan and the cities of Talisay and Danao.

“Meron na tayong guidance sa (We already have a guidance with the) PNP (Philippine National Police) to collaborate with the DILG to get the commitment of 10 LGUs in Cebu to submit their resolutions. I have already talked to the Provincial Director of the Cebu PNP,” Trovela said in an interview with the Philippine News Agency.

Fayette Riñen, chief of the Philippine Information Agency (PIA-7) who heads the RTF-ELCAC information cluster, said in a statement posted on their website that Police Regional Office (PRO-7) regional director, Brig. Gen. Albert Ignatius Ferro promised to direct his chiefs of police to personally coordinate with the 10 LGUs to fast track the passage of their respective resolutions.

Trovela said representatives to the regional task force agreed during the 1st Quarter Regional Joint Peace and Security Coordinating Center 7 and Peace, Law Enforcement and Development Support (PLEDS) Cluster Meeting in Cebu to hang tarpaulins carrying the body of the resolutions from each LGU in public places.

“Para merong impact. Makita ng taumbayan na ang bayan nila ay para sa kapayapaan at hindi welcome ang NPA dito (So that there’s an impact. The people would see that their own town is for peace and that the NPA is not welcome in their place),” he said.

A few municipalities like Asturias, a mid-north town in Cebu known as NPA-infested in the 1980s, have already hung tarpaulins carrying the logo of the PNP and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the body of their resolutions condemning the CPP-NPA.

Augusto Marquez Jr., regional director of the National Intelligence and Coordinating Agency (NICA-7), concurred with the idea to hang tarpaulins of persona non grata resolutions of LGUs.

Marquez added that NICA-7 is also monitoring the active support of LGUs to the directive of President Rodrigo Duterte on ending local communist armed conflict through the whole-of-nation approach.