Thursday, June 25, 2020

Army nabs 'NPA arsonists,' seizes firearms

From the Sun Star-Cagayan de Oro (Jun 24, 2020): Army nabs 'NPA arsonists,' seizes firearms (By ALWEN SALIRING)

Photo courtesy of 4ID

Photo courtesy of 4ID

GOVERNMENT soldiers have tracked down the communist insurgents allegedly responsible for burning construction equipment and arrested a wanted rebel who was implicated in extortion, grave threat and murder cases in Bukidnon.

The military identified the rebels as members of the Guerilla Front "Malayag" of North Central Mindanao Regional Committee under Fredo Banawan in a series of clashes in the hinterland areas of Barangay Canangaan, Cabanglasan town.

Arrested was Fredo Banawan, also known as "Migz," 35, a resident of Quezon town, and has a pending arrest warrant for violation of the Expanded Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act (Republic Act 10364).

The Army's 88th Infantry Battalion launched its pursuit operations against the New People's Army (NPA) arsonists responsible for the burning of a payloader and dump truck owned by a construction firm who reportedly refused to submit to the NPA's extortion schemes in Valencia City on June 19.

The series of encounters early this week resulted in the confiscation of six high-powered guns, including four M16 rifles, a carbine rifle and an M203 grenade launcher, laptop, mobile phones, C4 landmine, two improvised anti-personnel mines, assorted magazines of M14 and M16 rifles, three burners, assorted medical staff, and personal belongings.

"Our troops will be relentless in our pursuit against the communist terrorists who have nothing to offer to the people but endless violence and vicious cycle of terror. This intensified campaign is aimed to finally put an end to the decades long problem of communist insurgency. Hence, we call on all well meaning and responsible citizens to support our campaign so that we will finally end this menace of our society," 4th Infantry Division commander Major General Andres Centino said.

The military urged the business sectors and other victims of extortion by the NPA to "stand up and not be afraid, but cooperate instead with the authorities."

"To the remaining communist NPA terrorists, your end is nearing, Your meaningless cause is dying and your deception of the people has long been uncovered. Lay down your arms while there is still time, receive the government's socio-economic support and rejoin your families," Centino added.

11 NPA rebels surrender in Antique

From the Manila Bulletin (Jun 23, 2020): 11 NPA rebels surrender in Antique (By Tara Yap)

A total of 11 rebels of the New People’s Army (NPA) surrendered Tuesday to the Police Regional Office (PRO-6) and the Army’s 61st Infantry Battalion (61 IB) in Culasi town, Antique province.

Police Brig. Gen. Rene Pamuspusan of Police Regional Office (PRO-6) talk to several of the 11 former New People’s Army (NPA) rebels who surrendered Tuesday, June 23. (PRO-6)

“These 11 rebels were once leaders and members of the NPA’s Panay Regional Committee,” said PRO-6 Director Brig. Gen. Rene Pamuspusan.

Among them was “Ka Paner”, who was squad leader of NPA’s Igabon Platoon. Another was squad leader “Anton” or “Minmin” of the NPA’s Napoleon Tumagtang Command Southern Front Committee.

The 11 former rebels reportedly operate in Antique and the boundary towns in neighboring Aklan province.

Pamuspusan dismissed claims of left-wing organizations that men who surrendered were fake NPA rebels.

“The police and the army both validated their participation in armed communist activities,” Pamuspusan told members of the Iloilo Police and Defense Press Corps in an online press conference Tuesday afternoon.

Aside from the physical surrender, the former NPA rebels also gave up their firearms including two shotguns, a .45-caliber pistol, three grenades, five rifle grenades, and several types of ammunition.

Meanwhile, Governor Rhodora Cadiao of Antique province assured the former rebels will be entitled to avail livelihood program under the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP) that will assist them as they gradually rejoin the folds of society.

EASTMINCOM: Eastmincom slams NPA after 23 IHL-banned mines seized

Posted to the Eastern Mindanao Command (EASTMINCOM) Facebook Page (Jun24, 2020): Eastmincom slams NPA after 23 IHL-banned mines seized

NSFA, Panacan, Davao City - "The use of landmines by the New People's Army (NPA) should be condemned. More than the reason that it violates basic human rights and the International Humanitarian Law (IHL), it is purely barbaric, as the damage of such explosives does not discriminate whether the target is a soldier or an innocent child. Clearly, this group, who disguises themselves as the ‘people’s army’, are nothing but a bunch of terrorists whose main goal is to hold all of us hostage through fear while advancing their self-serving political agenda.”

This was the reaction of Lt. Gen. Jose Faustino, Jr., Commander of the Eastern Mindanao Command, after 23 IHL-banned landmines were seized by the 25th Infantry Battalion (25IB) at Sitio San Agustin, Brgy. New Calape, Montevista, Davao de Oro on Monday (June 22).

25IB Commander Lt. Col. Asnawi Muti said that the discovery came after a certain ‘alias Don’, a rebel returnee who used to be a courier for the NPA in Agusan del Sur and Davao De Oro, revealed the location of the said landmine depot at Sitio San Agustin.

Aside from the 23 landmines—three (3) 25 kg improvised explosive devices (IED), eight (8) 15 kg IEDs, and twelve (12) 5 kg IEDs—government authorities also recovered two (2) Garand rifles and 15 pieces of blasting caps.

It can be recalled that for the last couple of weeks, several former NPA members who surrendered to the units under the Eastern Mindanao Command have also led the authorities to the discovery of other arms caches, further manifesting the weakening of the NPA not only in membership but also in their firepower. But the NPA use of landmines, which has been happening for decades, has largely been left unnoticed by the international community.

"This is the right time for all of us to make a stand against the use of these landmines by the NPA under Mr. Sison. We could no longer play deaf on this issue. We have to bring this problem internationally, particularly the UN, so the whole world would know the true nature of this terrorist group,” Lt. Gen. Faustino added.

The seizure of large cache of explosives could have been more timely during this pandemic considering that the AFP was tasked to help the local government units and national agencies distribute the Social Amelioration Program (SAP) to the remotest Barangays.

Furthermore, according to sources, unnecessary loss of lives, destruction of property and socio-economic disruption were simply averted if not for this crucial revelation.

Source: Public Information Office, Eastern Mindanao Command, AFP

WESTMINCOM: Loose firearms handed over in Maguindanao

Posted to the Western Mindanao Command (WESTMINCOM) Facebook Page (Jun25, 2020): Loose firearms handed over in Maguindanao

A total of 120 assorted high-powered loose firearms were handed over to Joint Task Force Central by the local government of Datu Paglas on June 22, 2020.

The ceremony, held at the municipal gymnasium of Datu Paglas, was spearheaded by Mayor Abubakar Paglas and JTF Central Commander Maj. Gen. Diosdado Carreon.

“We fully support the campaign of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the national government against loose firearms. We want our town to be peaceful and progressive as we continue to change this municipality from a battle area to an industrial and business-oriented one,” said Mayor Paglas.

Handed over were eighty two M16 assault rifles; twenty seven M14 rifles; one cal. 30 machine gun; six M203 grenade launchers; two M60 general purpose machine guns; one M79 grenade launchers; and one 12 gauge shotgun.

The ceremony was graced by Brig. Gen. Roy Galido, Commander, 601st Infantry Brigade; Lt. Col. Rogelio Gabi, Commanding Officer, 40th Infantry Battalion, and other invited guests.

“The successful handing over of firearms was a result of the strong collaboration between the 40th Infantry Battalion and the local government unit of Datu Paglas, anchored with the 601IBde’s campaign against the proliferation of loose firearms,” said Brig. Gen. Galido.

The local government of Datu Paglas has a total of ninety-seven Special CAFGU Active Auxiliary (SCAA) while La Fruitera Incorporated, a banana producing company owned by LGU-Datu Paglas has one hundred SCAA utilizing their personal firearms in maintaining peace and security in the whole municipality.

“I am extending my gratitude to the local government of Datu Paglas for the support as we fulfil our mandates here in Central Mindanao,” said Maj. Gen. Carreon.

“The SCAA, being our force multiplier, will continue their mandated duty in maintaining peace and security in this municipality,” Maj. Gen. Carreon added.

The turned-over loose firearms will be subjected to inspection and proper documentation by the Joint Task Force Central prior its distribution to the SCAA.

“With the support of the local government units and the people of Mindanao, we are continuously gaining grounds in our area of operation,” said Lt. Gen. Cirilito Sobejana, WestMinCom Commander.

“Let us continue to work in unison as we journey towards the attainment of peace and progress in Mindanao while we support the government in its campaign to flatten the curve of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Lt. Gen. Sobejana added.


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Kalinaw News: 402nd Brigade assumes new AOR in Northern Mindanao

Posted to Kalinaw News (Jun 26, 2020): 402nd Brigade assumes new AOR in Northern Mindanao (By 4th Infantry Division)

BANCASI, Butuan City – Brigadier General Maurito L Licudine, Commander, 402nd Brigade conducted his first official field visit on June 24, 2020 to Headquarters 58th Infantry (Dimalulupig) Battalion at Sitio Migbanday, Poblacion, Claveria, Misamis Oriental. The 402nd Infantry (Stingers) Brigade has assumed its new area of responsibility in the provinces of Misamis Oriental, Bukidnon and Camiguin, apart from portions of Agusan provinces.

The Brigade assumed operational control and jurisdiction over 58thInfantry (Dimalulupig) Battalion based in Claveria, Misamis Oriental under Lt Col Ricky Canatoy; the 26thInfantry (Ever Onward) Battalion based in Talacogon, Agusan del Sur under Lt Col Reynald Romel Goce; and 23rdInfantry (Masigasig) Battalion under Lt Col Julius Cesar Paulo stationed in Buenavista, Agusan del Norte.

With the realignment of AOR, 402nd Brigade relinquished the operational control of 29th Infantry Battalion covering northern part of Agusan del Norte, 30th Infantry Battalion covering the whole provinces of Surigao del Norte and Dinagat Islands to 901st Infantry Brigade, and the 36th Infantry Battalion covering the 1st District of Surigao del Sur to the 401st Infantry Brigade.

“The realignment of forces in the whole 4ID was out of necessity in the changing operational environment in order to focus its forces against confronted threats. With the support mechanism provided by the TF-ELCAC thru the different clusters, we shall unleash the final blow to defeat the CTG remnants and finally end the insurgency not only in the Brigade’s AOR but in Northern Mindanao and Caraga Regions”, Brigade General Licudine said.

During the visit, 58th Infantry Battalion highlighted their recent accomplishment to Brigadier General Licudine. Lt Col Canatoy CO, 58IB presented to him Alias Dino, a surrenderee and top NPA leader of Platoon Ryan, Sub-Regional Committee 1 of the North Central Mindanao Regional Committee (NCMRC). Alias Dino surrendered to 58IB last July 19, 2020 and disclosed the location of his former group’s arms cache, which resulted to the recovery of eleven (11) high-powered firearms composed of seven (7) AK47 rifles, one (1) M653 rifle, two (2) M16 rifles, and one (1) M14 rifle, assorted ammunitions, magazines and personal belongings.

Brigadier General Licudine was warmly welcomed by the troops during the reception. After the reception, 58IB hosted a press conference together with the Commander 402nd Brigade, Honorable Juliette Uy, 2nd District Representative of Misamis Oriental, Honorable Miraluna Abrogar, Municipal Mayor of Claveria, Misamis Oriental and Honorable Osmundo Dela Rosa, Municipal Mayor of Malitbog, Bukidnon. After the conference, he checked the operational readiness of the troops and gave them guidance on how to accomplish their mission. He intends to decisively defeat the enemy and ultimately end the local insurgency in its area of operation.

During the press conference, Brigadier General Licudine also thanked the presence of all the media personalities who continue to support the AFP and PNP in its campaign to end the insurgency and become an active partner in sustaining the peace and security in Misamis Oriental. He said that he is not new to the area as he was then the Battalion Commander of 8IB covering the three (3) provinces of Bukidnon, Misamis Orien
tal and Camiguin.

“We firmly believe in the important role of the media as the catalyst of truth and in bringing the right information to our people. We need to amplify and echo the sentiments of the FRs so that many would understand the deceptive nature of the Communist Terrorist Group and eventually resolve this insurgency problem in an environment of peace and without bloodshed”, BGen Licudine added.

[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:]

Suspected terrorists killed in Parañaque police operation

From CNN Philippines (Jun 26, 2020): Suspected terrorists killed in Parañaque police operation (By CNN Philippines Staff)

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, June 26) — Two suspected terrorists, with alleged ties to bomb expert Mundi Sawadjaan, were killed in a joint police and military search operation on Friday.

A media release sent by the security forces said the Philippine National Police and Armed Forces of the Philippines carried out a search operation on
Bensaudi J. Sali and his wife Jolo-native Merhama Abdul Sawari in Better Living Subdivision in Parañaque City.

It said the couple fired upon the authorities during the implementation of the search warrant, leading to a firefight, which ultimately ended in the death of Sali and Sawari.

Authorities said the couple was allegedly planning terrorist activities. They were also tagged as the financial conduit of Daesh-East Asia because of their confirmed connection with bomb expert, Mundi Sawadjaan.

"Their presence in Parañaque City has something to do with the coordination and planning of terrorist activities. Information further disclosed that the couple were engaged in illegal firearms transaction," authorities said.

Authorities recovered two ISIS flags and several pieces of ammunition on the scene, including 2 hand grenades, improvised firing device, a rifle, hand guns, and blasting caps.

More troops deployed in Iloilo, Capiz to fight Reds

From Panay News (Jun 26, 2020): More troops deployed in Iloilo, Capiz to fight Reds (By Ruby Silubrico)

Philippine Army’s 3rd Infantry Division spokesperson says 12 more teams have been deployed in Iloilo and Capiz provinces on June 22 to go after members of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army. PNA

ILOILO City – The Philippine Army’s 3rd Infantry Division (3ID) has deployed more personnel in central Iloilo and Capiz for peace development initiatives and combat operations against members of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA).

Major Cenon Pancito III, 3ID spokesperson, said 12 teams from the 12th Infantry Battalion have been deployed in municipalities of Calinog, Jansiuay, Lambunao, and Maasin in Iloilo province along with Tapaz, Capiz on June 22 as part of the Community Support Program (CSP) to local government units (LGUs).

Pancito did not disclose the number of deployed troops but said they are enough to engage with the NPA rebels.

According to him, the CSP is being supported by the Capiz Police Provincial office and several government offices of the municipalities, among others.

“We hope through this approach, we can protect the people in barangays threatened by the rebels and also in NPA infested areas. Pero we can still accommodate ‘yung mga rebelde na gustong sumuko at gustong maka-avail ng government programs,” he added.

Meanwhile, 301st Infantry Brigade deputy commander Colonel Orlando Edralin emphasized the value of CSP as a tool to end the cruelty of the CPP-NPA with the help of the local government units.

“The CSP is really a big help to us in protecting the people from the true virus of the community – the Communist Terrorist Groups, which for 51 years have sown terror in the community. This activity is the beginning of new hope for the people of Capiz and Iloilo because of the stronger alliance and camaraderie between the Philippine Army and the LGUs,” he said.

“It is the hallmark of unity towards achieving peace and in ending the local communist armed conflict in Panay which for decades has caused unwarranted misery to the Ilonggos in the Island,” Edralin added.

7 NPA rebels linked to cop’s assassination

From Panay News (Jun 26, 2020): 7 NPA rebels linked to cop’s assassination (By Ruby Silubrico)

Seven members of the New People’s Army (NPA) were behind the killing of a police officer in Barangay Teniente Benito, Tubungan, Iloilo on June 15, according to the Tubungan police station.

They would be charged with murdering Police Master Sergeant Arnel Paurillo, 42, of the Iloilo Police Provincial Office’s (IPPO) Provincial Drug Enforcement Unit, said Police Lieutenant Jose Rommel Samson, Tubungan police chief.

Witnesses identified the seven, and the murder charge would be filed this week, he told Panay News.

Paurillo was shot to death at around 9:30 p.m. at the house of friend Rodolfo Talamillo while waiting for two police officers from the Tubungan police station to plan an anti-drug operation.

Samson said armed men suddenly entered the compound then two of them shot the policeman several times.

The suspects introduced themselves as members of the NPA.

“Three of the four suspects were wearing facemasks,” said Samson.

Responding policemen recovered spent bullet shells of a .45 pistol and .9mm pistol from the crime scene.

Paurillo was really the target, said Samson, pointing out that the armed men did not harm Talamillo.

The IPPO and Police Regional Office 6 condemned the killing.

“We are deeply saddened by the death of Master Sergeant Paurillo in the course of fulfilling his duty to enforce the law and fight criminality,” said IPPO director Police Colonel Paul Kenneth Lucas.

Army blasts NPA following seizure of landmine depot

From the Mindanao Times (Jun 26, 2020): Army blasts NPA following seizure of landmine depot (BY RHODA GRACE SARON)

The Eastern Mindanao Command slammed the New People’s Army (NPA) after soldiers of the 25th Infantry Battalion recovered 23 landmines in Sitio San Agustin, Barangay New Calape, Montevista, Davao de Oro on Monday.

Lt. Gen. Jose Faustino, Jr., Commander of the EastMinCom, said the NPA knows that the continued use of landmines violates the International Humanitarian Law.

“It is purely barbaric as the damage of such explosives does not discriminate whether the target is a soldier or an innocent child,” he said. “Clearly, this group, who disguises themselves as the people’s army, is nothing but a bunch of terrorists whose main goal is to hold all of us hostage through fear while advancing their self-serving political agenda.”

Lt. Col. Asnawi Muti, 25th IB commander, said a rebel returnee pointed to them the location of the landmine depot. Alias Don used to be a courier for the communist rebels.

Aside from the 23 landmines—three 25-kilo improvised explosive devices, eight 15-kilo IEDs, and twelve 5-kilo IEDs—government authorities also recovered two Garand rifles and 15 pieces of blasting caps.

“We could no longer play deaf on this issue. We have to bring this problem internationally, particularly the UN (United Nations), so the whole world would know the true nature of this terrorist group,” Faustino added.

Top NPA leader in Bukidnon surrenders

Posted to the Mindanao Examiner (Jun 25, 2020): Top NPA leader in Bukidnon surrenders

A HIGH -ranking New People’s Army (NPA) leader alias “Puldo” surrendered Friday, June 19, to the 1st Special Forces Battalion (1SFB) that led the troops to a secret place where supply of weapons and rounds of ammunition are kept hidden.

“Puldo,” 32, is one of the top-ranked leaders of NPA Guerilla Front 68-A under North Central Mindanao Regional Committee (GF68-NCMRC) operating in Bukidnon and nearby provinces.

The arms cache discovered in separate secluded sites contained one Cal. 7.62mm AK47 rifle; one Cal. 5.56mm M653 rifle; one Cal. 5.56mm M16 rifle; one long and two short magazines for M653 rifle; seven magazines for AK47 rifle; 48 rounds Cal. 5.56 ammunition; and 59 rounds Cal. 7.62mm ammunition.

It was uncovered Sunday, two days after aka Puldo admitted of the arms cache at Sitio Kalabasahon, Imbayao, Malaybalay City and Sitio Kubayan, Kibenton, Impasugong town.

In a custodial debriefing at the army camp, alias Puldo said he experienced abusive human exploitation, hunger, criminal activities, and isolation from family as he served the CPP-NPA’s GF68-NCMRC for many years. He also revealed that the communist ideology that broke his spirit ultimately compelled him to surrender.

Lt. Col. San Versicio G. Jose Jr, 1SFB commander, said the government’s Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP), the peace and development program of 403rd Infantry Brigade, 4ID, PA, and the intensified military operations of 1st Special Forces Battalion in Bukidnon forced him to abandon the criminal activities of the Communist Terrorist Group and return to mainstream society(By Rex L. Larita, CMO 1SFBn, 403Bde, PA )

Sadanga mayor calls on CAR LGUs to ban CPP-NPA front organizations in their areas

From the Philippine Information Agency (Jun 25, 2020): Sadanga mayor calls on CAR LGUs to ban CPP-NPA front organizations in their areas (By Carlito C. Dar)

Mayor Gabino Ganggangan of Sadanga, Mountain Province, as an invited resource speaker for the Joint Cordillera RTF - ELCAC and RPOC, shares his municpality's initiative to ban CPP - NPA front organizations from their locality. (CCD/PIA CAR)

BAGUIO CITY, June 24 (PIA) - - Sadanga Mayor Gabino Ganggangan challenges all local government officials in the region, from the barangay up to the provincial level, to make a stand and help end local insurgency in the country by banning in their respective localities not only the entry of the Communist Party of the Philippines – New Peoples Army (CPP-NPA) but also the front organizations that work as propagandist of extremism.

Ganggangan issued the challenge during the June 19 joint meeting of the Cordillera Regional Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (ELCAC) and the Regional Peace and Order Council (RPOC) meeting here presided by Agriculture Secretary William Dar, the Cabinet Officer for Regional Development and Security (CORDS) for the Cordillera Region.

Ganggangan outlined that while the national government and its armed forces are doing the battle with the CPP-NPA, it is also high time for local local officials to make a stand and prove which side of the war they are in.

“My call to the leaders of Cordillera, why don’t we challenge these organizations claiming to be the voice of our constituents. It is about time that the real representatives of the people which are actually the elected officials having been given the mandate of the people when they were elected upon. It is high time for them to talk”, he stressed.

“We should declare (Persona Non Grata) the CPA and other front organizations. I think that is where the local government can contribute into”, he added.

For Sadanga, the mayor shared that they just made a resolution signed by all the punong barangays declaring the Cordillera People’s Alliance and other CPP – NPA front organizations persona non grata in the municipality.

He outlined the need to stop the communist propaganda activities and recruitment of their constituents into the communist armed conflict, which may lead into fighting among relatives as many of their people are also part of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police.

On possible laws or rights that may be violated by the resolution, Ganggangan said that they invoke their indigenous “ugali” (practices).

“We have the right as a people to ban anybody from entering our homeland,” he stressed.

Secretary Dar lauded Ganggangan and the municipality of Sadanga for the initiative and calls on the RTF – ELCAC to consider such local initiatives in the campaign strategy of the task force.

For the meeting, each cluster of the regional task force presented updates and accomplishment reports. The RPOC also provided reports on peace and order and security, illegal drug situation and the campaign against illegal logging. (JDP/CCD-PIA CAR)

PMA willing to testify in Dormitorio murder case

From the Philippine News Agency (Jun 25, 2020): PMA willing to testify in Dormitorio murder case (By Pigeon Lobien)

The Borromeo field with the rampart of the Philippine Military Academy at the Fort Del Pilar in Baguio city. (PNA file photo by Liza T. Agoot)

BAGUIO CITY – The Philippine Military Academy (PMA) is willing to testify and provide documents if ordered by the court on the death of fourth class cadet Darwin Dormitorio.

In a PMA statement on Wednesday, the academy said “the PMA welcomes with high hopes the development on the cadet 4CL Dormitorio case emanating from the resolution released by the Baguio City Prosecutor’s Office.”

“Rest assured that the Academy will continue to support and comply with any court order should we be required to appear, bring documents, or testify,” it added.

The Baguio City Prosecutor’s Office has found probable cause to charge with murder Third Class Cadets (3CL) Shalimar Imperial and Felix Lumbag Jr.; PMA Station Hospital officers Capt. Flor Apple Apostol, Maj. Ofelia Beloy and Lt. Col. Ceasar Candelaria.

Two other cadets -- Julius Tadena and 2nd class cadet Christian Zacarias-- were charged with hazing and less serious physical injuries and for slight physical injuries, respectively.

The complaints against 1st Class Cadet Rey Sanopao, 3rd Class Cadet Rey David John Volante, 3rd Class Cadet John Vincent Manalo, and tactical officers Maj. Rex Bolo and Capt. Jeffrey Batistiana were dismissed for lack of probable cause.

The charges against then PMA Superintendent Lt. Gen. Ronnie Evangelista and Brig. Gen. Bartolome Vicente Bacarro were also dropped.

The resolution was a result of the investigation by a panel of prosecutors composed of Assistant Prosecutors Margarita de Guzman-Manalo, Edwin Brian Sagsago, and Philip Randolf Kiat-ong. It was approved by city prosecutor Elmer Sagsago.

All cadets have been placed under custody and were already earlier dismissed as members of the Cadet Corps Armed Forces of the Philippines.

Dormitorio, 20, died inside the PMA barracks after experiencing beatings on September 18 last year and was confined at the hospital twice. Bruises were found on his stomach consistent with hazing.

40IB cited for 2 BIFFs’ surrender in Maguindanao

From the Philippine News Agency (Jun 25, 2020): 40IB cited for 2 BIFFs’ surrender in Maguindanao (By Edwin Fernandez)

WAR MATERIALS NO MORE. Major Gen. Diosdado Carreon (right), Army’s 6th Infantry Division commander and Joint Task Force Central (JTFC) chief, inspects one of two rifles surrendered by two combatants of the Islamic State-linked Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters in Gen. S. K. Pendatun on Wednesday (June 24, 2020). Looking on are Lt. Col. Rogelio Gabi (center), 40th Infantry Battalion commander, and Brig. Gen. Roy Galido, 601st Infantry Brigade chief. (Photo courtesy of 40IB)

CAMP SIONGCO, Maguindanao – The chief of the Army’s 6th Infantry Division lauded the 40th Infantry Battalion (IB) stationed in Gen. S. K. Pendatun, Maguindanao for the surrender of two combatants of the Daesh-inspired Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) in the province.

“Your accomplishment in destroying the armed lawless groups and the BIFF contributed a lot in maintaining peace and order in the province,”
said Major Gen. Diosdado Carreon, who also heads the Army-led Joint Task Force Central, after the two BIFFs were presented to him at the headquarters of the 40IB in President Quirino town on Wednesday.

Lt. Col. Rogelio Gabi, 40IB commander, identified the two surrenderers as Abubakar Kautin, a BIFF field commander long wanted by authorities, and Katin Said, his loyal follower.

The surrenderers turned over an M16 rifle and an M1 Garand rifle.

The BIFF leader’s surrender was also made possible by the joint efforts of Gen. S. K. Pendatun Mayor Rafsanjani Ali and Datu Paglas Mayor Abubakar Paglas.

Speaking to reporters, Gabi said his unit is willing to accept BIFFs, including those from the communist New People’s Army, who are willing to live normal lives with their families.

“We will do our mandate to maintain peace and order, and at the same time accept those who are willing to change,” he said.

For those who prefer violence, Gabi said the Army is ready to face them.

Earlier this month, the 40IB destroyed a major BIFF lair in Barangay Baumol, Lambayong, Sultan Kudarat following a firefight.

Subanen tribal leaders seek UN help vs. NPA intrusion

From the Philippine News Agency (Jun 25, 2020): Subanen tribal leaders seek UN help vs. NPA intrusion (By Leah Agonoy)

AGAINST NPA INTRUSION. Timuay Lucenio Manda, the chairperson of the Gukom Western Mindanao Tribal Leaders Federation, shows the petition papers they sent on June 23, 2020 to the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner on Human Rights, seeking help from the UN body to protect their ancestral domain against intrusion by the communist New People's Army. The Gukom is made up of Subanen tribal leaders from different ancestral domains in Region 9 and Misamis Occidental. (PNA photo by Leah D. Agonoy)
PAGADIAN CITY, Zamboanga del Sur--A federation of Subanen tribal leaders in Western Mindanao has appealed to the United Nations (UN) to help them protect their ancestral domains against intrusion by the communist terrorist New People’s Army (NPA).

In a petition sent Tuesday to the UN’s Office of High Commissioner on Human Rights headed by Verónica Michelle Bachelet Jeria, Gukom Western Mindanao Tribal Leaders Federation (Gukom) accused the NPA of actively impeding the development of their tribal lands through a combination of atrocities and deceptive tactics.

Gukom, consisting of Subanen tribal leaders from different ancestral domains in Region 9 and Misamis Occidental, had earlier declared the NPA as persona non grata in their ancestral domains.

Timuay Lucenio Manda, the Gukom chairperson, led the signing of the petition and was joined by all members of the federation.

“We don't want them [NPA] to involve the Subanens in their conflict with the government by hiding within the hinterlands and forests that belong under our ancestral domain,” Manda told the Philippine News Agency Thursday.

He said the NPA's armed rebellion against the government “disrupts the development of the Subanen communities. If they wanted to solve their problem, they should talk to the national government and not involve the peaceful living Subanens."

He said Subanents are worried about the continued" intrusion and systematic atrocities" of the NPA, which he said has displaced tribal communities as rebels "illegally occupy" their ancestral lands.

Timuays or tribal elders, he said, are under constant threat of being killed by the communist rebels if they oppose the NPA's "doctrine, principle, and struggle".

“They conduct indoctrination to the IP (Indigenous Peoples) youths, recruiting them to join the terrorism through hate speech and exploitation against the current government system. What is worse, is the destruction of the traditional leadership structure and governance processes,” Manda said.

Timuay Basilio Promon, a tribal leader in Bayog, Zamboanga del Sur, said the presence of the NPA in their forest lands has exposed them to dangers.

Promon said the NPA rebels would force the residents in the area to serve as couriers of food supplies from the town center of Bayog to the hinterlands.

“They (residents) comply in fear of their lives,” the tribal leader told the Philippine News Agency.

“As much as we wanted to stay away from them, they keep coming, and we are afraid being sandwiched between them and the government forces in cases of encounters,” he added.

Promon said they decided to declare the NPAs as persona non grata “as we no longer want them to enter our ancestral domain since we as tribal leaders, wanted peace in our community, and to welcome the development projects of the government”.

Anti-terrorism bill

Meanwhile, Manda said they see the anti-terrorism bill as a" good law", adding the government must raise the awareness of the people in the hinterlands for "proper implementation".

“In general, if you are not a terrorist, why are you afraid of the law?” he said.

Manda noted that basic government services are now being felt in Bayog, Zamboanga del Sur after President Rodrigo Duterte issued Executive Order No. 70, institutionalizing the whole-of-nation approach in attaining inclusive and sustainable peace.

He said road projects are now being implemented in the barangays of Sigacad, Depore, Dimalinao, Bantal, and Canuayan.

He encouraged other tribal leaders to support the government’s approach to solving the problem of peace and order.

“Until there are problems such as intrusion in the ancestral domain, the development will be hampered,” he said.

“The NPA should talk with the government and end the armed struggle since war is not the solution. If they see something wrong with the government's approach, let them correct it through dialogue,” he said.

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

Army cites TESDA agricultural initiatives in Surigao Sur

From the Philippine News Agency (Jun 25, 2020): Army cites TESDA agricultural initiatives in Surigao Sur (By Alexander Lopez)

ON-SITE PRACTICUM. Farmers from conflict-affected villages of Mahaba and Bayan in Marihatag, Surigao del Sur are now undergoing on-site training on organic farming and other agriculture technologies. This is part of the initiative of the Poverty Reduction Livelihood and Employment Cluster of the Task Force on Ending Local Communist Armed Conflict headed by the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority in Surigao del Sur. (Photo courtesy of 3SFBn)

The Philippine Army has expressed support to the initiative of the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority in Surigao del Sur (TESTA-SDS) to help farmers increase productivity amid the continuing threats of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).

In a statement Thursday (June 25), the Army's 3rd Special Forces Battalion (3SFBn) said the TESDA-SDS--the government agency that heads the Poverty Reduction Livelihood and Employment Cluster (PRLEC) of the Task Force on Ending Local Communist Armed Conflict (TF-ELCAC) in the province--has already implemented an intensified program for agriculture production in Barangays Mahaba and Bayan in Marihatag town.

“Mahaba and Bayan are among the conflict-affected areas included in the Peace and Development Zones (PDZs) in Surigao del Sur,” said 1Lt. Krisjuper Andreo Punsalan, 3SFBn civil-military operations officer.

With the support of the PRLEC under TESDA-SDS, Punsalan said farmers in the two barangays are now engaged in series of on-site training for skills livelihood programs on organic agriculture in the production of vegetables, herbs, processing of spices, and production of native chickens.

The ongoing program that started on June 15 is also being supported by the local government unit (LGU) of Marihatag, the Department of Agriculture, and the Community Support Program (CSP) of the 3SFBn.

In the same statement, TESDA-SDS director Rey Cueva said the training will contribute to the resiliency of the residents of the two barangays amidst the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Organic agriculture could boost the Ahon Lahat, Pagkaing Sapat (ALPAS) program of the DA to produce continuous food supplies as we face the pandemic crisis in the province,” Cueva was quoted as saying.

Col. Joey Baybayan, 3SFBn commander, said that aside from ensuring food security, the program will also contribute in exposing and countering the Agrarian Revolution (AgRev) being espoused by the communist New People’s Army (NPA) in the province, especially in remote and conflict-affected areas.

“AgRev is a tool of the CNTs (Communist NPA Terrorists) to agitate, organize the peasants using issues in the agriculture sector and mobilize them in anti-government demonstrations and eventually recruit them,” Baybayan said.

He added that the fake socio-economic package incorporated in AgRev introduced by the NPA in the far-flung and conflict-affected areas serve as “authority” for them to forcibly and illegally distribute lands to gain supporters through recruitments and create a shadow government.

Baybayan said that former rebels who are now supporting the government have exposed mass organizations, especially farmers’ groups that have direct links with the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and its armed wing, the NPA and the National Democratic Front

These mass organizations, he added, include the Kahugpungan sa mga Mag-uuma ng Surigao del Sur (KAMASS) and the Nagkahiusang Maguuma sa Agusan Del Sur (NAMASUR) which are all allies of the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) and the Pambansang Katipunan ng Mambubukid (PKM).

Baybayan also assured the PRLEC of Surigao del Sur of the Army’s continuing support to its programs and initiatives.

“The Army’s team of CSPs, as one of the mechanisms of TF-ELCAC, will continuously be deployed in conflict-affected areas to bridge the gap between the affected communities and the concerned government agencies in addressing various social and basic services issues often exploited by the CNTs to produce recruits through their agitation-organization and mobilization (AOM) scheme,” Baybayan said.

2 village officials gunned down in Albay town

From the Philippine News Agency (Jun 25, 2020): 2 village officials gunned down in Albay town (By Mar Serrano)

Google map of Jovellar, Albay.

Two village officials were gunned down on Wednesday night by still unidentified suspects in a remote village of Jovellar town in Albay province, the town police chief said on Thursday.

Capt. Milard Bongalon identified the victims as Arthur Clemente, 41, a village councilman; and Edel Brando Moina, 57, village treasurer, both of Barangay San Isidro.

Bongalon, in a phone interview, said the shooting incident occurred while the victims were having a drinking session at the residence of one Sonny Medravillo around 6:50 p.m.

Two suspects armed with handguns approached the group and fired at the victims, killing them instantly.

Bongalon said investigators are still determining the identities of the suspects and the possible motive of the killing.

Earlier on Wednesday morning, a policeman died and three others were wounded when ambushed by suspected New People Army rebels also in Barangay San Isidro.

Remembering Digos City’s 1989 gruesome massacre

From the Philippine News Agency (Jun 25, 2020): Remembering Digos City’s 1989 gruesome massacre (By Che Palicte)

31 YEARS ON. Helen Dominguez, a survivor and eyewitness of the 1989 Rano Massacre speaks to members of the media on Thursday (June 25, 2020). Victims of the tragedy were remembered and given tribute in a symbolic rite in Digos City. (PNA photo by Che Palicte)

Thirty-one years have passed and yet the June 25, 1989 gruesome massacre is forever engraved in the heart and mind of Helen Dominguez who lost five members of her family on that fateful day.

A survivor and an eyewitness of the incident, Dominguez recounted the tragedy on a Sunday morning (9 a.m.) when people were gathered for worship at the United Church of Christ in the Philippines in Sitio Rano Barangay Binaton, Digos City in Davao del Sur.

She emotionally recalled that there were about 73 people who were members of the Bagobo-Tagabawa tribe.

Just about five minutes when the fellowship started, some residents rushed to the chapel informing them that the notorious group of the New People’s Army (NPA) headed by ‘Kumander Bensar’ is approaching.

Dominguez said some of them managed to run away and go into hiding while the others, including her family, were left behind and mercilessly shot dead by Bensar’s group.

“I ran and hid through the squash plants with my four-year-old child and prayed to God that we be spared from harm. I heard people screaming and begging for help but Besnar ordered his men to fire at them,” she said in the vernacular.

She added that members of the NPA went to the houses adjacent to the chapel and killed everyone who were caught hiding.

After three hours of the armed men’s killing spree, the group went back to the UCCP chapel and started singing and laughing about the carnage.

“Gunfire stopped at about noon, but what brought shivers down my spine was when I heard the perpetrators singing and laughing inside the chapel,” Dominguez said.

Sensing that the perpetrators already left, Dominguez along with her child stood up and saw bloodied dead bodies.

A total of 38 lifeless bodies including children and women were scattered at the chapel and nearby houses.

She cannot describe her anguish when she saw the lifeless body of his pastor husband who was beheaded by the communist group.

“They beheaded my husband. I lost five members of my family. You just don’t know how painful it is,” Dominguez said.

Moving on

Marking the 31st anniversary of the 1989 Rano Massacre, the victims were remembered through a tribute on Thursday (June 25), with a traditional 21-gun salute to honor the death of the tribesmen.

Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Undersecretary and National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF ELCAC) spokesperson Lorraine Badoy personally attended the commemoration activity along with other officials of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), Philippine National Police (PNP), Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), and the city government of Digos.

Helen Dominguez, a survivor of the June 25, 1989 Rano Massacre, offers flowers at the memorial marker during the 31st commemoration of the tragedy on Thursday (June 25). (Photo by Che Palicte)

She said for 30 years after the incident, she never shed a single tear every time they commemorated the tragedy except for the recent activity.

Badoy, in her speech, said the historical injustice has come about because of the treachery of terrorists who hide behind lies and deceit and use the innocent citizens as their shield as they go about in destructing people’s lives and home.

“These shameless bastards have managed to clothe themselves in respectability and walk the halls of the church, of media, of the academe, the halls of power in Congress and almost all agencies of government and are accorded the title "Honorable" while they crush dreams and break the hearts of our people,” she said.

She added that the journey from 1989 when the grave injustice happened has been a long and arduous journey where justice has painfully eluded them and where it seemed like the lives of the loved ones they lost on that tragic day seemed inconsequential and of no value.

A memorial marker with the etched names of the 38 victims, mostly children and women of the 1989 Rano Massacre in Digos City, Davao del Sur. (Photo by Che Palicte)
“I am standing here to tell you that this is no longer true. We weep with you and feel in our hearts the pain of your loss and the tragic end to each of those lives- innocent children among them whose lives were snuffed out even before they could begin to truly live,” she added.

Anti-Terror Bill to serve justice for Rano

Badoy mentioned that when President Rodrigo Duterte declared the Anti-Terror Bill of 2020 as urgent, he has the Rano massacre in mind.

“Hopefully, this bill will soon be made into law so that this tragedy will no longer be repeated because this gives us, in the government, a powerful weapon to wield so that we may defend and protect you from these soulless bastards, these terrorists Communist Party of the Philippines- New People’s Army-National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF),” she added.

She said it will also move the country forward because the terrorists have gotten in the way of the country’s progress relentlessly and ruthlessly.

“And where they want us to be silent, we must speak out and be the voices of those who were forever silenced on June 25, 1989,” Badoy added.

Meanwhile, the Davao del Sur Police Provincial Office (DSPPO) strongly condemned the terroristic act of the communist rebels and further called on peace-loving people of the province of Davao del Sur to support the timely Anti-Terrorism Bill so that incidents such as Rano massacre will never happen again.

“I urge the public to support the Anti-Terrorism bill, so that these terrorists will rot in jail and justice will be served to the victims of Rano massacre,” said Police Col. Alberto Lupaz, DSPPO provincial director.

Acquisition of 2 more landing docks halted due to Covid-19: Navy

From the Philippine News Agency (Jun 25, 2020): Acquisition of 2 more landing docks halted due to Covid-19: Navy (By Priam Nepomuceno)

The acquisition process for the Philippine Navy's two more strategic sealift vessels has been temporarily halted due to the ongoing coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic.

"Due to Covid-19, the bidding process was temporarily stopped. It is currently on the post-qualification period of the lowest calculated bidder. If the bidder passed, NOA (Notice of Award) and NTP (Notice to Proceed) will be subsequently issued," Navy public affairs office chief, Lt. Commander Maria Christina Roxas said in a message to the Philippine News Agency (PNA) on Wednesday night when asked for an update on the project.

Roxas said these ships will act as reinforcements of the two Tarlac-class strategic sealift vessels, the BRP Tarlac (LD-601) and the BRP Davao del Sur (LD-602), that were acquired during the project's Horizon 1.

"The PN Landing Dock Acquisition Project is included in the Horizon 2 project of the revised Armed Forces of the Philippines Modernization Program in the amount of PHP5.56 billion for the two LDs (landing docks)," she added.

The project's Horizon 1 ran from 2013 to 2017 while Horizon 2 will run from 2018 to 2022.

Roxas added that the two Tarlac-class strategic sealift vessels, which were acquired from Indonesian shipbuilder PT PAL for PHP4 billion, have proven very effective especially at the time of the Covid-19 pandemic.

"It provides humanitarian assistance serving as a sealift and transport vessel," she added.

Meanwhile, PN flag-officer-in-command Vice Admiral Giovanni Carlo Bacordo, in a phone interview, said plans to acquire additional landing docks or strategic sealift vessels are ongoing projects of the Navy.

While the Tarlac-class strategic sealift vessels will be the basis of the additional ships, there will be some improvements that will be made to these landing docks, he added.

Bacordo said the improvements were recommended by the crews of two ships.

Early this week, BRP Davao del Sur, which arrived in the Philippines last June 12 after a five-month deployment in the Middle East, was ordered to transport some 402 locally stranded individuals and three Filipino expatriates from India and Sri Lanka, to Iloilo.

Aside from this, the ship also delivered 32,000 personal protection equipment sets and other medical supplies to the Office of Civil Defense-Western Visayas (Region 6) and has sailed to Cebu City to deliver another 16,000 PPE sets and other items to the OCD headquarters there.

2 PMA cadets, 3 doctors indicted in Dormitorio hazing death

From the Philippine News Agency (Jun 25, 2020): 2 PMA cadets, 3 doctors indicted in Dormitorio hazing death (By Benjamin Pulta)

Photo courtesy of Darwin Dormitorio Facebook account

The Baguio City Prosecutor's' Office ordered the filing of charges of murder and hazing charges against former cadets and officials of the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) implicated in the hazing death of Cadet 4th Class Darwin Dorimitorio.

In a 66-page joint resolution dated June 5 and made public Wednesday, prosecutors ordered that the charges be filed against Shalimar G. Imperal Jr., Felix M. Lumbag Jr., Capt. Flor Apple A. Apostol, Maj. Maria Ofelia R. Beloy and Lt. Col. Caesar A. Candelaria.

Imperial and Lumbag, then third-class cadets, first assaulted Dormitorio in August 2019. Despite numerous visits to the hospital and orders to stay away from Dormitorio, subsequent incidents occurred until Dormitorio succumbed to injuries on the morning of September 19.

Meanwhile, Apostol, Candelaria, and Beloy, medical doctors assigned at the Fort del Pilar Station Medical Hospital who treated the victim were charged after prosecutors said they "grossly failed to provide adequate medical care to Dormitorio, which also caused the latter's death."

Dormitorio, who declined to name his assailants while being treated by the doctors, was noted to have complained of stomachache and was diagnosed with a urinary tract infection despite repeated returns to the hospital.

Cadet 3rd Class (3CL) Julius Carlo Tadena was also charged with hazing and less serious physical injuries while Christian Zacarias, a second-class cadet, was indicted for slight physical injuries.

The charges against Cadet First Class (1CL) Axl Rey Sanopao, Cadet 3rd Class (3CL) Rey David John D. Volante, 3CL John Vincent M. Manalo, Maj. Rex C. Bolo and Capt. Jeffrey Batistiana were dismissed for lack of probable cause.

The charges against Lt. Gen. Ronnie S. Evangelista and Brig. Gen. Bartolome Vicente O. Bacarro, then PMA superintendent and commandant of cadets, respectively, were also dismissed for lack of probable cause.

The charges were recommended by Assistant City Prosecutors Margarita De Guzman Manalo, Edwin Brian Sagsago, and Philip Randolf Kiat-Ong and were approved by City Prosecutor Elmer Sagsago.

"It is everyone's hope that this case would be the last case of hazing not only in the PMA but in all other institutions," the prosecutors said.