Saturday, October 10, 2020

CPP: Bigwas | September 2020

Propaganda publication posted to the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) Website (Oct 10, 2020): Bigwas | September 2020 

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CPP/NDF-Negros Island: NDF Negros calls on the international community to collectively investigate and call for an end into the worsening human rights abuses in the country

Propaganda statement posted to the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) Website (Oct 10, 2020): NDF Negros calls on the international community to collectively investigate and call for an end into the worsening human rights abuses in the country


OCTOBER 10, 2020

On October 7, the UN Human Rights Council adopted a resolution on the Philippines in Geneva, Switzerland. Ka Bayani Obrero, spokesperson of NDF-Negros welcomes the resolution and added that the international community is taking notice and is taking action on the worsening rights situation in the country. However, the resolution falls short in investigating and prosecuting the perpetrators of state-sponsored violence.

In Negros alone, 93 fell victim to extra-judicial killings and more than 120 were illegally arrested based on trumped-up charges, not counting the numerous cases of illegal detention. Last August, renown human rights defender, Zara Alvarez, was gunned down in the streets of Bacolod City.

Peasant communities are incessantly threatened, harassed and intimidated by the increasing militarization in the countryside brought by the implementation of Memorandum Order 32 and Execituve Order 70. A glaring example is the mutilation of Bernardo Guillen, a farmer in his 50s from Brgy. Tan-awan, Kabankalan City. He was found decapitated and already decomposing last September 26. Bernardo Guillen is the 275th farmer brutally killed under Duterte.

Bernardo Guillen is the third victim of mutilation for this year alone. Last February 28, Ka Rido of the Leonardo Panaligan Command was captured and killed after an armed encounter in Sitio Agpapataw, Brgy. Binobohan, Guihulngan City. When elements of the 94th IB released his dead body to his family, his fingers were cut off and bruises was evident all over his body. Reken Remasog, a farmer, also had his legs broken by soldiers before he was shot dead in Sitio Maluy-a, Brgy. Sandayao, Guihulngan City last August 14.

Merciless, brutal and barbaric killing is prohibited under the Geneva Conventions. Protocol I and II guarantees for civilians and persons hors de combat. Mutilation constitutes a war crime in both international and non-international armed conflicts under the Statute of the International Criminal Court.

The latest crime by the fascist Duterte is the arrest of human rights defender and community development worker, Wilmar “Verdy” Pongasi, local peasant organizer, Jovanie Bohol and two habal-habal drivers. Collectively known as Moises Padilla 4, they were apprehended at a checkpoint in Brgy. Montilla, Moises Padilla last October 2. Similar to the crackdown of legal offices in October 2019, the AFP/PNP was quick to plant firearms and explosives and alleged that they are NPA members.

“These are just some of the blatant attacks and human rights abuses under the fascist Duterte regime. There is an urgent need for a decisive and substantial response to demand accountability for the heinous crimes against the people committed by Duterte and his bloodthirsty cohorts. We call on all Filipinos to continue our fight for justice against state-sponsored violence. Ultimately, it is only through the victory of the national democratic revolution can justice be attained”, ended Ka Bayani Obrero.

CPP/IB: Bello displays zero ounce of sympathy to workers

Propaganda statement posted to the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) Website (Oct 10, 2020): Bello displays zero ounce of sympathy to workers


OCTOBER 10, 2020

The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) today called out Department of Labor and Employment Sec. Silvestre Bello III for displaying a despicable lack of sympathy for Filipino workers by declaring plans to exempt capitalists from paying workers’ 13-month salaries this year.

Bello revealed this during an online press briefing on Thursday, following an announcement from the Employers Confederation of the Philippines (ECOP) that some two million workers may not receive their bonus this coming December.

“The Labor Department’s proposal to allow capitalists to forego payment of 13-month salaries is completely unacceptable to millions of hard up workers,” said CPP Chief Information Officer Marco L. Valbuena.

“It is shameless as Duterte’s minions squabble over billions of pesos of pork barrel and big capitalists are pampered with tax exemptions. Sec. Bello, don’t you have any ounce of sympathy for workers left in you?” Valbuena added.

The reactionary law mandates all employers to pay their workers a 13th month pay not later than December 24 annually. The said pay is equivalent to a twelfth of a worker’s basic annual salary. However, the same law also allows exemption of commercial establishments classified as “distressed” from paying this bonus.

Workers raised alarm over this provision as the term is too broad and vague and may be used as a pretext by capitalists to accumulate more profit amid the pandemic. Labor groups demanded the regime to bail out micro, small and medium enterprises in dire straits instead of denying workers their much-needed payout.

Kalinaw News: Team ISUDA 5ID nagsanib pwersa laban sa insurhensiya at CoVid19

Posted to Kalinaw News (Oct 10, 2020): Team ISUDA 5ID nagsanib pwersa laban sa insurhensiya at CoVid19

Camp Melchor F Dela Cruz, Upi, Gamu, Isabela- Nilagdaan ng Isabela State University (ISU), Department of Agriculture (DA) Region 02 at ng 5th Infantry Division, Philippine Army (ISUDA 5ID) ang kasunduang naglalayong maiparating sa mga lugar na apektado ng insurhensiya ang Agri-based Technology. Kasama rin dito ang paglunsad ng Health Guard System laban sa Corona Virus Disease 2019 (CoVid19) at Education and Skills Training.

Ang Agri-based Technology Extension Project ay isang konsepto na maghahatid ng mas mahusay na pamamaraan upang mapalago ang agrikultura sa pamamagitan ng paggamit ng makabagong teknolohiya. Layunin din nito na maipaabot sa mga liblib na lugar na apektado ng insurhensiya ang naturang proyekto upang maipagkaloob sa mga residente ang libreng pangkabuhayan sa ilalim naman ng Community Support Program.

Ayon kay Dr. Roberto Busania, Regional Technical Director for Operations ng Kagawaran ng Agrikultura ng Rehiyon 2, bagamat hindi nagkukulang sa tustus ng pagkain ang Rehiyon Dos, batid nilang mayroon pa ring mga pamilya ang nagkukulang ng pagkukunan ng makakain dahil sa kahirapan na dulot na rin ng insurhensiya. “Adhikain ng Kagawaran ng Agrikultura na mai-ahon ang bawat komunidad sa kahirapan na siyang susi sa katiwasayan ng bansa, kung kaya lubos ang aming pasasalamat sa pamunuan ng 5th Infantry Division at ng ISU na kami ay makasama sa inyong bayanihan. Katuwang ang aming ahensya sa pagtugon sa problema sa insurhensiya sa pamamagitan ng pagbibigay sa inyo ng buong suporta bilang isa sa mga miyembro ng Task Force ELCAC.”

Nilagdaan din ang kasunduan sa paglulunsad ng Health Guard System para sa paglaban kontra CoVid 19. Ito ay sistema upang mapadali ang contact tracing para mapigilan naman ang pagkalat ng naturang sakit. Ang nasabing sistema ay mas mabisa kaysa sa ginagawang manual recording sa kasalukuyan. Kakailanganin lamang ang mobile number at address ng isang indibdiwal na kung saan malilimitahan nito ang galaw ng bawat isa. Base sa kasunduan, ang ISU ang magbibigay ng software, data storage, at technical assistance sa pag o-operate sa naturang sistema. Habang ang 5ID naman ang magbibigay ng ilan pang mga kagamitan.

Sa ilalim naman ng Education and Skills Training na pangungunahan ng ISU, madagdagan pa ang kaalaman at kahusayan ng bawat miyembro ng 5ID sa pagganap ng kani-kanilang mga tungkulin sa pamamagitan ng mga pagsasanay at pagtuturo.

Sinabi ni Dr. Ricmar Aquino, Presidente ng Isabela State University, na kaisa ang kanilang unibersidad sa pagkontrol ng pagkalat ng CoVid 19. Bukod dito, nakahanda rin sila sa pagsuporta sa hanay ng kasundaluhan laban naman sa insurhensiya. Aniya, pagpapakita ng kanilang suporta ang paglagda sa naturang kasunduan. “Ang laban sa insurhensiya ay hindi lamang laban ng Philippine Army at Armed Forces of the Philippines kundi laban ng bawat Pilipino. Ang pagbigay solusyon sa ugat nito ay tungkulin ng lahat. Kaya ang pagtitipon ng mga ahensiya tulad ng 5th Infantry Division, Isabela State University at Department of Agriculture sa paghatid ng mga programang nabangit ay halimbawa ng pagbigay solusyon sa mga problema ng ating bayan.”

Sa naging pahayag naman ni BGen Laurence E Mina PA, Commander ng 5ID, ang naturang aktibidad ay ilan lamang sa mga nauna ng hakbang ng gobyerno upang magkaroon ng pag-unlad sa bawat komunidad. “Ang pagtutulungan ng iba’t ibang mga ahensiya ng pamahalaan, akademya at pati na rin ang mga pribadong sector ng lipunan maging ang mga non-government organizations ay nagsisilbing mahusay na plataporma upang mai-ahon ang antas ng pamumuhay ng mga Pilipino sa mga komunidad. Katugunan na rin ito sa problema ng ating mga kababayang magsasaka upang mas lumago pa ang kanilang pangkabuhayan at maging sapat ang kanilang naihahain sa kanilang hapag-kainin,”

Dagdag pa rito, sinabi rin ni BGen Mina na ito rin ay isa lamang sa mga paraan upang mawaksan ang terorismo, pang-aapi at panlilinlang ng mga teroristang New People’s Army. “When the road begins, insurgency ends. Kaya natin ipinaparating ang serbisyo at mga programang pangkabuhayan sa kanayunan. Dahil kung mayroong kaunlaran ang isang lugar, mawawala ang mga teroristang grupo na nagpapahirap sa mga residente. Hangad natin ang patuloy na pag-unlad sa bawat lugar upang umangat ang antas ng pamumuhay ng bawat Pilipino.”

[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: JTF Central Commander joins 601st Brigade Anniversary Celebration

Posted to Kalinaw News (Oct 10, 2020): JTF Central Commander joins 601st Brigade Anniversary Celebration

The Commander of Joint Task Force Central and 6th Infantry (KAMPILAN) Division attended the 42nd founding anniversary celebration of 601st Infantry (Unifier) Brigade in Camp Leono, Barangay Kalandagan, Tacurong City on October 9, 2020.

Major General Juvymax R. Uy was welcomed by 601st Brigadier General Roy Galido along with the other guests.

In his speech, Maj. Gen. Uy commended the Unifier Brigade troops for their accomplishments and upholding peace in their area of responsibility.

“Sa ating mga kababayan, ang tagumpay po namin ay tagumpay din po ninyo. Tunay na makakamit natin ang pangmatagalang kapayapaan at kaunlaran sa ating patuloy na pagtutulungan” Maj. Gen. Uy said in his message during the anniversary program.

The activity was highlighted with the donning of ranks to newly promoted enlisted personnel, pinning of military awards and giving of plaques of recognition to the troops of 601st Brigade.

Sultan Kudarat Governor Suharto ‘Teng’ Mangudadatu graced the event together with the local chief executives of the province of Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao and South Cotabato.

[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: Teroristang NPA, nanunog at hinadlangan ang pag-unlad ng Lal-lo, Cagayan

Posted to Kalinaw News (Oct 10, 2020): Teroristang NPA, nanunog at hinadlangan ang pag-unlad ng Lal-lo, Cagayan

Camp Melchor F Dela Cruz, Upi, Gamu, Isabela- Isa nanamang teroristang gawain ang ipinaranas ng rebeldeng Henry Abraham Command- New People’s Army sa mga manggagawa matapos sunugin ang kanilang tinutuluyang Bunk House sa Barangay Dagupan, Lal-lo, Cagayan noong ika-9 ng Oktubre taong kasalukuyan.

Pahirap sa mga manggagawa ang epekto ng hindi makataong gawain ng mga rebeldeng NPA at patunay na ayaw nilang umangat ang antas ng pamumuhay ng mga residente sa nasabing lugar.

Sa naging pahayag ng mga residente, patatayuan ng imprastraktura para sa pangkabuhayan ang mga lupang nabili ng negosyanteng si Danilo Tamayo na siya namang sinusuportahan ng mga residente ngunit tinutulan ng mga teroristang NPA. Nais lamang ng mga manggagawa na magkaroon ng pagkakakitaan para sa kanilang pamilya ngunit mas pinahirapan sila ng mga rebeldeng NPA matapos na sunugin ng mga ito ang kanilang bunkhouse. Nagpapakita ito ng pagiging makasarili ng mga teroristang grupo dahil kanilang hinahadlangan ang nakatakdang pag asenso ng mga mamamayan sa bayan ng Lal-lo.

Ayon sa salaysay ng mga security guards na nakasaksi sa pangyayari, nagtungo ang hindi mabatid na bilang ng mga indibdiwal sa bakuran na pagmamay-ari ni Tamayo at biglaan na lamang silang piniringan at iginapos. Matapos nito, sinunog ng naturang grupo ang tatlong mga kubo at tinangay ang isang shotgun at 9mm pistol na baril.

Agad itong ipinagbigay alam sa tanggapan ng 501st Infantry Brigade, 5th Infantry Division, Philippine Army na nakatalaga sa nasabing lugar na kung saan, mabilisan naman ang ginawang pagresponde ng naturang hanay.

Sa ngayon ay patuloy ang isinasagawang imbestigasyon ng mga otoridad sa pangyayari habang nagsasagawa na ng manhunt operation ang kasundaluhan kasama ang kapulisan para sa agarang pagkakahuli ng mga salarin. Natukoy naman sa inisyal na imbestigasyon na ang biktimang si Tamayo ang nagmamay-ari ng DDT Construction Inc.

Dahil sa hindi makataong ginawa ng mga rebeldeng NPA, apektado ngayon ang pangkabuhayan ng mga trabahante sa naturang kompanya.

Kinokondena ng Lokal na Pamahalaan ng Lal-lo at ng buong Cagayan maging ng 5th Infantry Division, Philippine Army ang ginawang pananabotahe ng mga rebeldeng NPA sa pag-unlad sa bayan ng Lal-lo.

Ayon kay BGen Laurence E Mina PA, Commander ng 5ID, na taliwas sa kanilang ipinaglalaban, ang panununog na ito ang mismong patunay na sila ang lumalabag sa karapatang pantao. Nagpapakita lamang ito ng kanilang kasakiman at pagkagahaman sa kapangyarihan dahil sa takot na kanilang idinudulot sa mga tao sa bayan ng Lal-lo.

” Ang panununog na ito ay isang desperadong hakbang ng mga komunistang grupo ng Henry Abraham Command upang hadlangan ang patuloy na pag-unlad sa probinsya ng Cagayan at dahil sa unti unting paghina ng kanilang pwersa na dulot din sa malakas na pagsuporta ng mga mamamayan na unti unti nang namumulat sa mga kasinungalingan at maling idiolohiyang pinapalaganap ng rebeldeng NPA”

Dagdag pa ni BGen Mina, “Maging ang kanilang pagtangay ng mga baril ay isang paglabag sa Comprehensive Law on Firearms and Ammunitions. Nagpapatunay lamang ito na walang kinikilalang batas ang teroristang NPA na nangangahulugang ayaw nila sa maayos na sistema sa pamamalakad ng pamahalaan.”

Aniya, maging ang ginawang pagsunog ng mga rebeldeng NPA sa tatlong mga kubo ay nagpapakita ng kaduwagan sapagkat kanilang idinadaan sa dahas ang kanilang laban. “Kailan man ay hindi kukunsintihin ng ating pamahalaan ang mga ganitong gawain ng teroristang NPA. Sila ay hadlang sa kaunlaran ng bawat bayang nagsusumikap tulad ng La-lo, Cagayan. Higit pang papaigtingin ng ating kasundaluhan ang Focused Military Operation (FMO) upang matugis at mahadlangan ang mga Terroristang grupo na walang ng ginawa kundi ang manggulo at maghasik ng takot.”

Hinikayat ng heneral ang publiko na makipagtulungan sa kasundaluhan at kapulisan sa Lambak ng Cagayan at Cordillera Region upang tuluyan ng masupil ang karahasan ng mga rebeldeng NPA.

[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:]

20 ex-rebels to benefit from gov’t integration program

From Panay News (Oct 10, 2020): 20 ex-rebels to benefit from gov’t integration program

Former members of the New People’s Army were presented to Antique Governor Rhodora Cadiao, Philippine National Police and Philippine Army at the Binirayan Gymnasium on August 7, 2020.

ANTIQUE – Twenty former rebels (FRs) who surrendered this year will benefit from the government’s Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (ECLIP).

As part of ECLIP, the former members of the New People’s Army’s Northern and Central Front in Antique will be provided by the provincial government and local government agencies with livelihood programs, skills training, education, social and psychological rehabilitation, and security assurance.

With the Peace Order and Public Safety Office (POPS) as ECLIP facilitator, the FRs will receive the following:

● pangkabuhayan packages from Department of Trade and Industry

● skills training depending on FR’s interest from Technical Education and Skills Development Authority

● livestock from Department of Labor and Employment

● access to education through Alternative Learning System using the modular learning system from Department of Education

● employment opportunities in Department of Public Works and Highways’ roadside maintenance program

● PhilHealth’s free annual healthcare

● vegetable seeds from Office of the Provincial Agriculturist

● Provincial Health Office’s free health checkups

POPS Consultant Margie L. Gadian said these packages and benefits should be implemented and delivered to the FRs this month.

ECLIP is a government program that aims to provide FRs and their immediate family a complete assistance package while they are being reintegrated back to the community. (with a report from Mary Catherine Ynez U. Lavega/Antique PIO)/PN

ANGAY-ANGAY LANG: Pamalandong sa Bangsamoro Self-determination via RCC-MM (5)

Posted to MindaNews (Oct 10, 2020): ANGAY-ANGAY LANG: Pamalandong sa Bangsamoro Self-determination via RCC-MM (5) (By RUDY BUHAY RODIL)

Part V. Political Power of the Autonomy

ILIGAN CITY (MindaNews /10 October) — Political power is at the heart of the autonomy question. It has been said that the Marcos autonomy in Regions IX and XII was no real autonomy, just an administrative arrangement where there is mere delegation rather than real transfer or devolution of power.

Not surprisingly, there were not lacking warnings against a repetition surfacing during public consultations. The RCC-MM Commissioners were well aware that there had to be a devolution of real power.

The constitutional provisions with respect to what powers would be devolved were most clear in this regard. It was merely a matter of balancing central government authority and autonomous powers.

The RCC-MM proposals were contained in Article IV (Government Structure) and Article VI (Inter-Governmental Relations) of the Final Report, very specific and detailed. There was no mutilation in Congress. Although the subject was distributed in Articles IV, V, VI, and XIX of the Organic Act, one would notice that the final version was simpler, sharper and shorter.

One important addition which was not in the RCC-MM version was the immediate transfer of control and supervision of line agencies of the National Government to the Regional Government, namely, those dealing with local government, social services, science and technology, labor, natural resources, and tourism, including personnel, equipment, properties and budgets. The others were scheduled for a later date. And what about budgetary support? We quote from Art. XIX, Sec. 4, Par. 3:

“The National Government shall continue such levels of expenditures as may be necessary to carry out the functions devolved under this Act: Provided, however, That the annual budgetary support shall, as soon as practicable, terminate as to the line agencies or offices devolved to the Regional Government.”

There was also the provision for the creation of an Oversight Committee that would supervise the transfer of powers, functions, properties, assets, liabilities, personnel and so on. One could see that Congress really stretched to the limit the devolution allowed by and within the Constitution.

We close this section by citing Article V, Sec. 2 of RA 6734:

The Autonomous Region is a corporate entity with jurisdiction in all matters devolved to it by the Constitution and this Organic Act as herein enumerated.

1) Administrative organization;
2) Creation of sources of revenues;
3) Ancestral domain and natural resources;
4) Personal, family and property relations;
5) Regional urban and rural planning development;
6) Economic, social and tourism development;
7) Educational policies;
8) Preservation and development of the cultural heritage.
9) Powers, functions and responsibilities now being exercised by the departments of the National government except:
a) Foreign affairs;
b) National defense and security;
c) Postal service;
d) Coinage, and fiscal and monetary policies;
e) Administration of justice;
f) Quarantine;
g) Customs and tariff;
h) Citizenship;
i) Naturalization, immigration and deportation;
j) General auditing, civil service and elections;
k) Foreign trade;
l) Maritime, land and air transportation and communications that affect areas outside the Autonomous Region; and
m) Patents, trademarks, trade names, and copyrights; and10) Such other matters as may be authorized by law for the promotion of the general welfare of the people of the region.

Still, many people cannot help but wonder and feel insecure about the real implications of those ubiquitous phrases found all over the organic act, namely, “subject to the provisions of the Constitution” and “subject to national laws.” (MindaViews is the opinion section of MindaNews. A peace specialist, Rudy Buhay Rodil is an active Mindanao historian and peace advocate)

TOMORROW: The Gut Level Issue or How to Sustain the Economic Life of the Autonomy

Indon bomber, 2 Sayyafs captured in Sulu

Posted to the Mindanao Examiner (Oct 10, 2020): Indon bomber, 2 Sayyafs captured in Sulu

SULU - Philippine authorities are holding an Indonesian suicide bomber and 2 Filipino terrorists after security forces raided an Abu Sayyaf hideout Saturday in the southern province of Sulu.

Military photos released to the regional newspaper Mindanao Examiner show the explosive vest seized by security from an Abu Sayyaf hideout in Sulu province.

Security officials identified the Indonesian as Rezky Fantasya Rullie and the 2 militants as Nur-Aina Alihasan, the wife Abu Sayyaf fighter Ben Yadah; and Fatima Sandra Jimlani, also the wife of another terrorist.

“Based on the report submitted by Brig. Gen William Gonzales, Rezky Fantasya Rullie, a.k.a Cici, an Indonesian national, and her comrades were apprehended by virtue of a warrant to search a house at Sitio Kuppong, Barangay San Raymundo, Jolo, Sulu issued by the Regional Trial Court,” Lt. Gen. Corleto Vinluan, Jr., chief of the Western Mindanao Command, said in a statement.

He said soldiers and police commandos involved in the capture of the trio seized an explosive vest rigged to a pair of pipe bombs.

“The operatives seized an improvised explosive device vest rigged with 2 pipe bombs and other components,” he said, adding, the trio is now being interrogated by the authorities in an effort to extract information on their terror plan.

Army Brig. Gen. William Gonzales, commander of an anti-terror task force, said his group have been pursuing the trio since the twin suicide attacks in Jolo town in August that killed and wounded dozens of people.

“We have been pursuing foreign suicide bombers in Sulu after the twin bombing in Jolo on August 24, 2020. Rullie was first in our list since we have received intelligence reports that she is going to conduct suicide bombing after the death of his husband, Andi Baso, an Indonesian foreign terrorist who was reportedly neutralized during an encounter with two of our ranger battalions on August 29, 2020,” he said.

Rullie is believed to be the daughter of the Indonesian couple who perpetrated the twin suicide bombing at Jolo Cathedral on January 27, 2019.

Gonzales said he ordered security forces to intensify the hunt for other foreign and local terrorists in the South. “We will never cease to hunt down these foreign terrorists, coddled by Mundi Sawadjaan and Radulan Sahiron," he said.

“We are assuring the Filipino people most especially the Tausugs of Sulu that your Armed Forces in this part of our country will never allow the foreign terrorists to sow fear and chaos in our land,” he added. (Mindanao Examiner)

USAID exec honored in Zambo

Posted to the Mindanao Examiner (Oct 10, 2020): USAID exec honored in Zambo

THE LOCAL government of Zamboanga thanked the United States Agency for International Development and Dr. Reynaldo Navacilla, Field Site Manager of USAID Protect Wildlife Project following the completion of management plans for Islas de Santa Cruz, Pasonanca Park and Watershed, the assessment of Once Islas here.

Dr. Reynaldo Navacilla, Field Site Manager of USAID Protect Wildlife Project, receives a certificate of commendation from Mayor Beng Climaco and City Administrator Apple Go. (Bong Serondo)

Mayor Beng Climaco and City Administrator Apple Go led local officials and employees in thanking Navacilla, who was received a certificate of commendation and a City Council resolution expressing gratitude for the USAID program.

She said the Protect Wildlife Project - a partnership between the United States and the Philippines - donated complete sets of computer equipment to the local government in an effort to further boost environmental and fishery protection here.

The donation was coursed recently through the Office of the City Environment and Natural Resources (OCENR) and the Office of the City Agriculturist (OCA), according to Climaco, adding, the equipment will help in the daily operations of OCENR and OCA in maintaining their data base intended for recording, retrieving and analysing data related to apprehensions, seizures and other information related to enforcing environmental and fishery laws here.

Part of the donation was environmental plans developed in partnership with the local government and technical assistance from the USAID. The documents included the Zamboanga City Central Mangroves Framework, Ayala Watershed Management and Development Plan and Manicahan Watershed Management and Development Plan, Zamboanga City Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan and the Environment Code of the City of Zamboanga.

The P1.2-billion, five year, Protect Wildlife biodiversity conservation project was launched in March 2017 by the U.S. government through USAID which partnered with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources and aims to help protect and manage the country’s diverse habitats and species.

The project is also designed to address biodiversity loss and illegal wildlife trade in some of the most vibrant and vulnerable ecosystems in the country. And it uses a comprehensive strategy that combines technical assistance for government and civil society partners, partnerships for conservation financing, behavior change campaigns and social marketing, science and technology, and environmental law enforcement.

This holistic approach promotes partnership among environmental stakeholders and empowers those best positioned to address biodiversity loss and the illegal wildlife trade.

Aside from Zamboanga City, the provinces of Tawi-Tawi and Palawan, which host some of the most bio-diverse habitats and unique species in the country, are included in the project because they are also exposed to various human-induced threats such as poaching and trafficking of wildlife, destructive fishing practices, and loss of habitats from widespread conversion of forests, wetlands, and mangroves to settlements and agricultural lands. (Zamboanga Post)

China’s Disinformation Campaign in the Philippines

Posted to the Mindanao Examiner (Oct 10, 2020): China’s Disinformation Campaign in the Philippines

IN U.S.-China relations, “coordinated inauthentic behavior” is no longer just a polite description for bilateral summits, but the latest tactic in the on-going competition for power and influence in the Indo-Pacific.

President Rodrigo Duterte with President Xi Jinping. (PCOO)

On September 22, Facebook announced that it had dismantled a Chinese disinformation campaign that used false accounts and profiles to dupe unwitting individuals into consuming Chinese disinformation.

Dubbed “Operation Naval Gazing” by the social media analysis firm Graphika, the network consisted of 155 accounts, 11 pages, nine groups and six Instagram accounts and attracted an audience of at least 130,000 followers.

The network particularly targeted the Philippines, where it actively interfered in Philippine politics and generated millions of digital interactions by promoting politicians favorable to China, including President Rodrigo Duterte.

‘Philippines has been the perfect target for Chinese political interference – but it won’t be Beijing’s last victim’

This marks the second time that Facebook has removed disinformation networks emanating from China and heralds a new age of information warfare in the Indo-Pacific, where the United States and allies like the Philippines are uniquely vulnerable to attack.

China’s embrace of foreign influence operations marks an important evolution in its cyber statecraft. While Beijing has long embraced cyber espionage in particular as a central facet of its national security, it has historically struggled with information warfare.

Yet a reassessment appears to be under way in Beijing. After witnessing Russia’s successful use of information operations, particularly in election interference, China has made a concerted effort to learn Russian disinformation tactics and adapt them to its own interests.

During the 2020 Taiwan presidential election, China conducted a dedicated but ultimately unsuccessful campaign to use disinformation to sway the election and derail the re-election campaign of President Tsai Ing-wen.

China has enjoyed greater success in using information operations to rebuff criticism of its handling of COVID-19. One video titled “Once upon a virus….”, contrasting China’s response to the pandemic with that of the U.S. memorably led Peter Singer to tweet: “You know that scene in Jurassic Park, the moment when the Velociraptor learns to turn the doorknob? This is it for China in online info-war.”

Operation Naval Gazing reflects this evolution in Chinese cyber operations. The earliest accounts within the network date to 2016; they focused on Taiwanese politics and advanced pro-mainland positions like espousing the benefits of reunification.

However, a shift occurred in 2018 when the network broadened its activities to include a more dedicated focus on naval affairs and regional politics. In particular, the network created several Facebook portals focused on the South China Sea that trumpeted Chinese naval accomplishments and derided American activities.

The network would eventually create pro-China content targeting Indonesia and the U.S., but only managed to gain significant traction in the Philippines.

The Philippines provided an ideal target for China to exercise its capabilities in foreign influence operations and is uniquely susceptible to manipulation through Facebook. Beyond being an American ally and a strategic pivot in the Indo-Pacific, the Philippines is also the most social media addicted country in the world.

The Philippines tops the world in daily usage of social media, with Filipinos spending an average of roughly 4 hours per day on social media. Facebook dominates the Philippine social media landscape with 75 million active users representing 71 percent of the Philippines’ population.

This fervor for Facebook is not an accident, but an acute reflection of the informational and digital realities in the Philippines. In a country plagued by poor digital infrastructure, mobile devices have become the primary means through which Filipinos access the internet.

However, mobile data plans remain expensive. To circumvent this obstacle to entry, in 2013 Facebook partnered with local carriers to offer “Free Facebook,” a plan that allowed mobile subscribers to access Facebook without using data. The result has been a meteoric rise in Facebook usage throughout the country. As Davey Alba at BuzzFeed News noted, “for many in one of the most persistently poor nations in the world, Facebook is the only way to access the internet.”

Facebook’s dominance as an information source has already made disinformation a common feature of Philippine politics. It was critical to bolstering Rodrigo Duterte’s presidential campaign in 2016.

Since the election, disinformation has continued to be employed to defend Duterte’s violent war on drugs, discredit critics and undermine rival media outlets like Rappler and ABS-CBN. It is this combination of social media supremacy and undermining of traditional media outlets that made the Philippines such a welcoming target for Chinese manipulation.

Beginning in March 2018, the Operation Naval Gazing began creating a series of Facebook accounts, pages and groups that explicitly targeted Philippine politics. The pages promoted the activities of politicians seen as sympathetic to China, including President Rodrigo Duterte, his daughter Sara Duterte-Carpio (the mayor of Davao City and a potential successor as president), and Imee Marcos (the daughter of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos), who was elected to the Philippine Senate in 2019.

While Naval Gazing’s other influence operations fizzled, its interference in the Philippines flourished. One Facebook group backing Imee Marcos attracted over 50,000 followers and, despite being active since January 2019, a group named Solid Sarah Z Duterte 2022 (referring to her potential presidential bid) made 115,000 posts and generated over 9.1 million interactions.

Operation Naval Gazing’s explicit and unequivocal interference raises difficult questions in Manila about the outsized role that social media plays in public life, and the nation’s subsequent susceptibility to disinformation.

In particular, it will be fascinating to see whether President Duterte’s vocal disdain for foreign meddling extends to his allies or whether his ire is solely reserved for foreign critics. Yet, it is a mistake to view China’s activities only through the lens of Philippine politics.

Facebook’s exposure of Chinese influence operations illustrates a larger strategic evolution and constitutes a direct challenge to both the U.S.-Philippine alliance and American defense prerogatives throughout the Indo-Pacific.

The launch of Naval Gazing’s Philippine campaign in March 2018 was not tied Philippine politics but was initiated immediately after U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo reaffirmed American defense commitments to the Philippines in the South China Sea.

On Facebook the various profiles, page, and groups not only promoted politicians aligned with China, but unambiguously campaigned for the Philippines to realign itself with China. For example, amid the Covid-19 outbreak Naval Gazing defended China’s handling of the pandemic, celebrated medical aid from Beijing despite its dubious benefits and praised China for its generosity in offering as-yet non-existent vaccines to the Philippines.

The South China Sea featured prominently throughout these efforts, including praise for Duterte after he stated that China was “in possession” of the South China Sea. Taken collectively these elements demonstrate a concerted campaign to weaponize social media against the U.S.-Philippine alliance.

Having failed to either bully the Philippines into obedience or buy its acquiescence, China has now embraced political interference as a means of decoupling the Philippines from the U.S. Specifically, China has identified the political discord within the U.S.-Philippine alliance as the partnership’s greatest vulnerability and recognized social media as the ideal tool with which to inflame this divide and achieve its strategic objectives.

Importantly, while the Philippines’ fondness for Facebook makes it particularly susceptible to foreign influence operations, the underlying conditions of intra-alliance tension that made the campaign dangerous color security partnerships throughout the region. Rather than being a brief foray into active measures, Operation Naval Gazing evinces a wider strategic embrace of foreign influence operations by China that could begin to erode the U.S. alliance system.

In the face of a similar threat from Russian active measures, NATO has pioneered a collaborative approach to cyber defense and created innovative programs like the Cooperative Cyber Defense Center of Excellence and a handbook on Russian information operations to help member-states detect and defeat foreign influence operations.

It is essential that similar programs be developed and implemented in the Indo-Pacific as well. Proactive engagement with partners like the Philippines to develop capabilities to resist malicious cyber campaigns are essential to seizing the initiative in the information environment and must be enshrined as a strategic priority.

Expanding existing defense cooperation initiatives and training programs to include cybersecurity is an essential first step but combating disinformation cannot succeed as a military undertaking alone.

Instead, as the U.S. adopts a more competitive posture in its cyber diplomacy, cooperative engagement with partners like the Philippines should be a focal point of these undertakings and provide a framework for collaborative action not just with partner states but also between American agencies as well. Indeed, to mitigate underlying conditions and societal factors like the Philippines’ Facebook’s addiction it is necessary to embrace an interdisciplinary and inter-departmental framework. Ultimately, a wide range of policy resources and expertise is required to implement programs like infrastructure development, media literacy training and cybersecurity education that are necessary to build community resilience against foreign manipulation.

At its heart, Operation Naval Gazing is a warning siren as to whether Tokyo, Seoul, Canberra, Manila and especially Washington are willing to take proactive measures to defend their information environments. If not, they will again risk being caught flatfooted as a foreign actor learns to use social media to undermine their collective security. (By Gregory Winger - The Diplomat)

Sayyaf atrocities condemned

Posted to the Mindanao Examiner (Oct 10, 2020): Sayyaf atrocities condemned

MUSLIM VILLAGERS in the southern province of Sulu have condemned the murder of a farmer who was attacked by Abu Sayyaf militants in Patikul town where residents declared the pro-ISIS group as “persona non grata”.

Lt. Gen. Corleto Vinluan Jr., chief of the Western Mindanao Command, confirmed the recent attack and said the lone casualty, Tali Lakibul, was also a member of the paramilitary group called Barangay Peacekeeping Action Team (BPAT) in Patikul town’s Igasan village.

“The residents of Barangay Igasan were harvesting farm products when they were fired upon by an undetermined number of local terrorist group members,” Vinluan said, quoting a report by Brig. Gen. Ignatius Patrimonio, commander of the 1102nd Infantry Brigade.

He said soldiers from the 6th Special Forces Battalion under Lt. Col. Rafael Caido and other BPAT members were sent to pursue the militants who escaped after the attack. “Troops are conducting a hot pursuit operation to neutralize the heartless enemies,” Vinluan said.

The body of Lakubul was also recovered by security forces and handed over to his grieving family for burial.

Just recently, Gov. Sakur Tan led the signing of the so-called “Parjanjian Indanan or the “Indanan People Peace Covenant” which aims to harness the community's participation and empowerment to achieve long-lasting peace in the southern province.

Tan signed the covenant with Indanan municipal officials and witnessed by senior military and police officials led by Vinluan and Brig. Gen. Samuel Rodriguez, the regional police chief; including Brig. Gen. Bernade Balba, who heads the Special Action Force.

The governor reiterated his all-out support for the peace and development effort in the town and asked villagers to support the government efforts.

Tan also held a covenant meeting with Parang Mayor Alkhadar Loong where government officials denounced the Abu Sayyaf atrocities and propounded initiatives to strengthen and institutionalize public safety, security, and well-being in the municipality.

Vinluan and other security officials also witnessed the covenant which also empowered the religious sector to promote mutual respect and peaceful co-existence. During the signing of the covenant, local and military officials activated the Municipal Task Force in Ending Local Armed Conflict (MTF-ELAC).

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

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

President Rodrigo Duterte has previously sought Tan to help him talk peace, but at the same time ordered security forces to crush the Abu Sayyaf, blamed for the August twin suicide bombings in the capital town of Jolo that killed over a dozen soldiers and civilians, and left scores of innocent people injured.

“Ikaw ‘yung — I address you because ikaw ‘yung nire-respeto ko. You have a colorful life. Kung sa patay, dapat patay ka na sa dinaanan mo sa buhay, and yet you are still here around. Why don’t you try to help me within the next few months last term just to talk about peace? It need not really be a — an arrangement, just talk about peace,” Duterte told Tan during one of his recent visits in the province.

Aside from Tan, Duterte also spoke to Nur Misuari, chairman of the Moro National Liberation Front, to support the government’s peace efforts. (Mindanao Examiner)

Army promotes 524 soldiers

From the Philippine Information Agency (Oct 10, 2020): Army promotes 524 soldiers (By Merlito G. Edale, Jr.)

CITY OF ILAGAN, Isabela, Oct. 10 (PIA) - At least 524 soldiers were promoted by the 5th Infantry Division, Philippine Army command based in Gamu town.

The donning of new ranks of the enlisted personnel was led by 5ID, PA Commanding General BGen. Laurence E. Mina inside the army camp on October 5, 2020.

Army Maj. Jekyll Julian Dulawan, 5ID, PA Division Public Affairs chief, said that at least 121 of the promoted Enlisted Personnel are assigned inside the army camp while the others are assigned in the different units of 5ID.

Dulawan said that while the camp is properly observing the NTF-IATF health protocols, the donning of rank activity was strictly observed wih the wearing of face mask, face shield and observance on social distancing.

BGen. Laurence E. Mina, 5ID, PA commander urged the newly-promoted enlisted soldiers to prove their capabilities and worthiness as disciplined soldiers in performing their tasks in their work assignments.

“Your promotion is also carried with larger responsibility and you must abide by lawful orders from the higher command,” Mina said.

He said promotions deserve more responsibilities, higher expectations and bigger demands in performing your respective assignments.

“Your Star Troopers family is happy to see you step higher in your careers. I truly hope that you will be inspired to do more than what is expected of you, Congratulations!” Mina said. (BME/MGE/PIA 2-Isabela)

CTG affected barangays in Ilocos Sur get livelihood assistance

From the Philippine Information Agency (Oct 10, 2020): CTG affected barangays in Ilocos Sur get livelihood assistance (By Joyah Mae C. Quimoyog) 

CANDON CITY, Oct. 10 (PIA) - Forty-three recipients of the Department of Trade and Industry’s (DTI) Pangkabuhayan sa Pagbangon at Ginhawa – Livelihood Seeding Program (PBG-LSP) from the two communist-terrorist group (CTG) affected barangays in Candon City received goat/hog raising livelihood starter kits on Thursday, October 8.

Eighteen recipients from Barangay Bugnay graduated from the 11-day training program in raise organic small ruminants leading to Organic Agriculture Production NC II under the Special Training for Employment Program (STEP) funded by the Office of Ilocos Sur Second District Representative Kristine Singson and 25 recipients from Barangay Tablac graduated from the 13-day training on integrated organic farming system program-raise organic hogs of the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA).

Each of the recipients from Barangay Bugnay received two goat heads while the recipients from Barangay Tablac received two piglet heads with four sacks of rice bran.

The TESDA, through its provincial office headed by Provincial Director Socorro Galanto, also awarded the training support fund of the recipients amounting to Php2,760.00 each for Barangay Bugnay and Php3,080.00 each for Barangay Tablac as financial assistance aside from the livelihood kits from DTI.

John Vincent Justo, one of the recipients in Barangay Bugnay, expressed his gratitude to TESDA for conducting the training as well as to the trainers for patiently teaching them everything they must know in raising small ruminants.

“Itong mga napag-aralan namin ay mai-apply namin para makamit ang vision na gawing “Kalding (Goat) Capital of Candon City” ang aming barangay dahil naniniwala kami na lahat ng malaking bagay ay nagsisimula sa maliit na hakbang,” he said.

“Ipinapangako namin na hindi masasayang ang mga tulong na ito dahil gagamitin namin upang mapalago ang aming pamumuhay hindi lamang para sa aming sarili kundi para sa aming barangay, sa ating probinsiya at sa buong Pilipinas,” he added.

Aside from the said recipients, DTI also awarded the same livelihood kits to four additional recipients – families of the victims of the encounter in Sta. Lucia, Ilocos Sur last August as endorsed by the Philippine Army.

Along with the TESDA and other national government agencies (NGAs), as members of the Poverty Reduction Livelihood and Employment Cluster of the Provincial Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict, DTI-Ilocos Sur Provincial Director Grace Lapastora conveyed her excitement during her message to the recipients as she is hopeful that this program will not only bring change to the recipients but progress to the whole community of Barangay Bugnay.

“If you are eager and excited to receive your livelihood kits today, mas excited ang government na magbigay sa inyo dahil iyong ibibigay sa inyo is a hope that through your effort, you will be the catalyst that will bring about the progress of the economy of Barangay Bugnay,” she said.

Moreover, Candon City Mayor Ericson Singson assured that amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the local government unit (LGU) along with various NGAs and the provincial government will continue to give assistance for the welfare of the residents.

“Bigyan natin ng tyansa ang mga tulong na ibinibigay ng ating gobyerno at ating yakapin ang mapayapang pamumuhay. Isipin natin ang ating pamilya at ang ating komunidad at puno ako ng pag-asa na magtutuloy-tuloy ang inyong suporta sa gobierno. Palakihin at palaguin niyo ang mga kambing at baboy na ito dahil kahit may banta ng pandemya, ang taos-pusong pagtulong ng ating gobyerno ay hindi nawawala upang mapaunlad ang inyong pamumuhay,” he said.

The activity was also attended by representatives from the Office of Ilocos Sur Second District Representative Kristine Singson, Gov. Ryan Luis Singson represented by Sangguniang Panlalawigan Members (SPMs) Trade and Industry Committee Chairperson Gina Cordero and Vice Chair Jaime Singson, Battalion Executive Officer Major Renante Carsano of the 81st Infantry Battalion, 702nd Infantry Brigade Philippine Army, Sangguniang Panlungsod Member Aileen Acal of LGU-Candon City, and Fe Valdez of the Department of Agrarian Reform-Ilocos Sur. (JCR/AMB/JMCQ/PIA Ilocos Sur)

Tip from locals leads to arrest of NPA gunsmith in Iloilo

From the Philippine News Agency (Oct 9, 2020): Tip from locals leads to arrest of NPA gunsmith in Iloilo (By Perla Lena)

NPA GUNSMITH. P/BGen. Rene P. Pamuspusan, director of Police Regional Office-6, presents to the media on Friday (Oct. 9, 2020) an arrested suspect who is said to be serving as gunsmith for the New People's Army. His arrest is considered a big blow to the communist terrorist group. (PNA photo by RPIO)

Information from the community has led to the arrest of a suspect who served as gunsmith for the New People’s Army (NPA).

On Friday, P/BGen Rene P. Pamuspusan, director of Police Regional Office 6 (PRO6), presented to the media 53-year-old Joemarie G. Arro of Barangay Aguiauan, Miag-ao, Iloilo, who was arrested on Thursday, Oct. 8, by operatives of the Regional Intelligence Unit and Miag-ao Municipal Police Station by virtue of a search warrant.

“He is being used by the CPP NPA to prepare their armaments. So he is really supporting the group as per our report,” Pamuspusan said in a press conference.

He said that since last year, they have been working on information linking Arro to the communist terrorist group. It was confirmed last month based on the tactical interrogation that was conducted on some surrenderers and returnees from the rebel group, he added.

Acting on a search warrant issued by Executive Judge Nelita Jesusa A. Bacaling of the Regional Trial Court Branch 72 in Guimbal, Iloilo, the police units seized from the suspect's possession a 12-gauge shotgun; five 12-gauge shotgun barrels; one semi-pistol of unknown caliber; an improvised .38-caliber pistol with magazine; five pieces of air guns; seven pieces .38-caliber revolvers; 12 assorted magazines; 187 assorted ammunition; and assorted gunsmith tools.

The suspect's arrest is also in line with the efforts of the Philippine National Police (PNP) in ending local communist armed conflict.

Pamuspusan said that based on information, Arro has vast connections with the group of Joven Ceralvo alias "Lex", commanding officer of the Suyak Platoon, Southern Front, KR-Panay, that is operating in the hinterland areas of southern Panay.

“The subject acts as the gunsmith for the CPP-NPA and most of the firearms recovered in his possession during the service of the search warrant are believed to be of Ceralvo’s group,” he added.

Pamuspusan said they have yet to determine if the suspect is a member of the terrorist group or is just a supporter.

“This is a critical accomplishment by our intelligence community. It’s really very hard to establish another type of service from him or like him,” he added.

Pamuspusan said Arro could also be doing business with other buyers aside from the communist terrorist group.

Meanwhile, Lt. Col. Joel Benedict Batara, commanding officer of the 61st Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army, said the arrest of Arro will have a positive impact on the government’s campaign to end insurgency.

“This is a good break for security forces because we are now strengthening our intelligence forces so sources of their firearms are traced. We have a better picture of them right now,” he said.

6 BIFF combatants in Maguindanao yield to military

From the Philippine News Agency (Oct 10, 2020): 6 BIFF combatants in Maguindanao yield to military (By Noel Punzalan)

CAMP SIONGCO, Maguindanao – Six members of the Islamic State-linked Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) yielded to the military on Friday.

Maj. Gen. Juvymax Uy, commander of the Army’s 6th Infantry Division (6ID), said the latest BIFF surrenderers gave up before the 40th Infantry Battalion (40IB) in President Quirino town in adjacent Sultan Kudarat province.

The Army’s 40IB is one of the operating units of the 6ID in Central Mindanao.

Uy identified the surrenderers as Rogial Manalasal, Talusan Manalasal, Bin Batingkal, Omar Manalasal, Sangutin Kabilan, and Montasir Kanao, all BIFF members operating in the marshy areas in the second district of Maguindanao.

“The members of the local terrorist group chose to return to the fold of the law amid intensified focused operations launched against the BIFF in the province,” Uy said.

The surrenderers turned over two Garand rifles, one rocket-propelled grenade, one Barrett sniper rifle, and one M79 grenade launcher.

“We are tired of fighting. We just want to go home,” Batingkal, one of the surrenderers, said in the vernacular.

Uy vowed to continue employing more pressure on the ground to force local terrorists to cross the line of surrender.

The surrenderers are currently undergoing custodial debriefing at the 40IB headquarters.

Suspected female Indonesian terrorist, 2 others nabbed in Sulu

From the Philippine News Agency (Oct 10, 2020): Suspected female Indonesian terrorist, 2 others nabbed in Sulu (By Teofilo Garcia, Jr.)

ALLEGED INDONESIAN TERRORIST. Government forces arrested on Saturday (Oct. 10, 2020) Rezky Fantasya Rullie alias Cici (shown above), a suspected Indonesian suicide bomber, and two others in a law enforcement operation in Jolo, Sulu. The other two are the wives of an Abu Sayyaf Group sub-leader and follower. (Photo courtesy of Joint Task Force Sulu) 

Government security forces on Saturday arrested an Indonesian woman believed to be a suicide bomber, and two others in a law enforcement operation in Jolo, Sulu, the military said.

Brig. Gen. William Gonzales, commander of the Joint Task Force (JTF) Sulu, said
Indonesian national Rezky Fantasya Rullie alias Cici; Inda Nurhaina, wife of Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) sub-leader Ben Tatoo; and Fatima Sandra Jimlani, wife of ASG member Jahid Jam were arrested in a house said to be owned by Tatoo in Barangay Asturias in Jolo at about 1:50 a.m.

Gonzales said a suicide vest rigged with pipe bombs and other components of an improvised explosive device were found in their possession.

The suspects were placed under the custody of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group, he said.

Gonzales said Rullie was on top of their list in the pursuit operation they launched against foreign terrorists in Sulu after the August 24 twin bombings in Jolo.

He said Rullie was the wife of alleged Indonesian terrorist Andi Baso, who was killed in a clash with government troops in Sulu and is believed to be the daughter of the Indonesian couple who perpetrated the Jan. 27, 2019 twin suicide bombing at the Mount Carmel Cathedral in Jolo.

“We have been pursuing foreign terrorist suicide bombers in Sulu after the twin bombing of Jolo town last Aug. 24, 2020. Rullie was first on our list since we have received intelligence reports that she is going to conduct suicide bombing after the death of (her) husband, Andi Baso, an Indonesian foreign terrorist who was reportedly neutralized during an encounter last Aug. 29, 2020 with two Scout Ranger Battalions under (the) 1102nd Brigade in Patikul, Sulu,” Gonzales said.

He said with this development, the Armed Forces of the Philippines and Philippine National Police in Sulu, together with other government intelligence agencies, have served justice to the Filipino people.

Gonzales said the JTF Sulu, under the direction of Lt. Gen. Corleto Vinluan Jr., commander of the Western Mindanao Command, would “never cease to hunt down these foreign terrorists, coddled by ASG leaders Mundi Sawadjaan and Radulan Sahiron.”

“We are assuring the Filipino people, most especially the Tausugs of Sulu, that your Armed Force in this part of our country will never allow foreign terrorists to sow fear and chaos in our land. We affirm that the JTF Sulu will continue its focused combat, intelligence, and civil-military cooperation activities in Sulu to end Abu Sayyaf terrorism the soonest possible time,” he said.

'Disgruntled' NPA leader yields in Zambo Sur

From the Philippine News Agency (Oct 10, 2020): 'Disgruntled' NPA leader yields in Zambo Sur (By Teofilo Garcia, Jr.)

A "disgruntled" ranking leader of the communist New People’s Army (NPA) rebel surrendered to government authorities in Zamboanga del Sur, officials said Saturday.

Brig. Gen. Leonel Nicolas, commander of the 102nd Infantry Brigade,
identified the NPA surrenderer as Marino Daano Anlas, 29, a squad leader of the NPA unit operating in the Zamboanga Peninsula area.

Nicolas said Anlas, who was visibly "tired and weary," surrendered to the troops around 1:30 p.m. Friday in Barangay Laperian, Tukuran, Zamboanga del Sur.

Maj. Gen. Generoso Ponio, commander of the 1st Infantry Division, said during the initial debriefing, Anlas revealed that he became disgruntled after the rebel movement failed to keep their promises of financial support for his family.

Meanwhile, Lt. Gen. Corleto Vinluan, Jr., commander of the Western Mindanao Command (Westmincom), lauded the support of the community in the military's campaign against communist insurgency and terrorism in Southern Philippines.

MILF to help pursue killers of 4 family members in NoCot

From the Philippine News Agency (Oct 10, 2020): MILF to help pursue killers of 4 family members in NoCot (By John Andrew Tabugoc)

CARNAGE SURVIVOR. One of the four survivors in the carnage that took place on Friday (Oct. 9, 2020) in Barangay Lagunde, Pikit, North Cotabato, is treated for gunshot wounds at a local hospital after a group of armed men fired at their house. Four members of the family, all females that included a three-year-old, were killed during the shooting. (Photo courtesy of Jess M. Ali – DXMY-RMN Cotabato)

PIKIT, North Cotabato – The Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) vowed to help authorities pursue the armed group responsible for the killing of four family members and wounding of four others in a remote village here on Friday.

In an interview, Capt. Mautin Pangandigan, Pikit chief of police, said
the MILF 108th brigade base command has expressed intention to help speed up the capture of the perpetrators behind the crime.

Pangandigan said they already have the identities of the suspects based on the information provided by a survivor, but declined to name them in public as not to jeopardize ongoing pursuit operations.

“The MILF assistance is a huge help to track down the suspects now on the run to evade authorities”, he said.

On Friday noon, four armed men emerged at Sitio Tugunan, Barangay Lagunde, and shot the house of the victims.

Killed on the spot were Sittie Alipolo Abdullah, 58; Zenaida Abdullah Mustapha, 36; Laga Abdullah 34; and a three-year-old toddler.

Those injured who have been confined at a hospital are Asria Abdulrajak Abdullah, 30, and three minors aged 13, 8, and 7.

Police investigators said “retaliation” was the primary motive in the attack, linked to a recent police anti-drug operation in the village that resulted in the confiscation of illegal drugs.

Pangandigan said a member of the Barangay Peacekeeping Action Team (BPAT) who owns the residence that was attacked was among those who accompanied the police and the barangay captain in the anti-drug operation.

Pangandigan said Barangay Lagunde, some 15 kilometers from the town center, is considered as a critical area by law enforcers due to the presence of armed lawless groups in the area.

“The BPAT member who lives in that house was the target of the suspects but was not inside when the carnage took place,” Pangandigan said.

The dead victims were buried according to customary Muslim rites also on Friday.

PH Army keen to end terror threat with arrest of 3 terrorists

From the Philippine News Agency (Oct 10, 2020): PH Army keen to end terror threat with arrest of 3 terrorists (By Priam Nepomuceno)

The arrest of a female Indonesian suicide bomber and two other persons with reported links with the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) in Barangay San Raymundo, Jolo, Sulu Saturday highlights the resolve of the Philippine Army (PA) and other security troops to eliminate the terrorist threat.

“The arrest of these individuals is a manifestation that the Army and its subordinate units are now more capacitated to find, fix, fight, and finish the enemy. We will continue to support our troops on the ground as they go after these threats and keep our communities safe,”
PA chief Lt. Gen. Cirilito Sobejana said in a media statement.

Sobejana was referring to the law enforcement operation of troops from the 11th Infantry Division and other government security forces that
arrested Nana Isirani also known as Renzy “Cici” Fantasya Rullie, an Indonesian female bomber.

Also arrested were Nur Aina Alihasan, also known as Inda Nhur; and Fatima Sandra Jimlani Jama; both wives of ASG members.

"Early in the morning today, the authorities implemented the search warrant to the house of local terrorist group sub-leader Ben Quirino Yadah alias Ben Tatoo at Sitio Kuppong, Barangay San Raymundo, Jolo, Sulu. Seized from their possession were several components used in making improvised explosive devices. The three are believed to be planning for their next suicide bombing," PA spokesperson Col. Ramon Zagala said.

He added that Sobejana commends the efforts of the 11th Infantry Division and its counterparts for this successful operation.

Meanwhile, Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) spokesperson Marine Maj. Gen. Edgard Arevalo said Rullie is the wife of Indonesian terrorist Andi/Amin Baso.

Based on intelligence reports, Rullie was supposed to bomb an area in Zamboanga City after giving birth.

"Nana Isirani/Renzy Fantasya Rullie alias 'Cici' is the spouse of Andi/Amin Baso. According to intel reports, she has committed to do a suicide bombing mission in Zamboanga City after she has given birth," he added.

Meanwhile, Arevalo said focused military operations ordered by AFP chief-of-staff Gen. Gilbert Gapay on the Dawlah Islamiya-inspired terrorist group, following the August 24 suicide bombing in Jolo which killed 14 people and wounded 75 others, has seriously degraded the capabilities of the terror organization.

He was referring to military operations that neutralized notable ASG sub-leaders which include Samir Nani, a bomb-maker who was killed last August 29; Rullie's husband Baso, who was also killed August 29; and Arsibar Sawadjaan, another bomb-maker, and cousin of Mundi Sawadjaan, who was killed last September 28.

Another factor in the decline of the ASG is the series of surrenders from the terror group due to intense pressure from the AFP.

"Gen. Gapay commends the operating units under Brig. Gen. William Gonzales, the Commander of 11th Infantry Division and Joint Task Force Sulu for this string of successes. To decisively defeat the ASG by December 2020 and relegate them to criminality problem was Gen. Gapay’s specific orders for Western Mindanao Command under Lt. Gen. Corleto Vinluan," Arevalo said.

3 rebs get tired of NPA lies, deception: yield in Ecija

From the Journal Online (Oct 9, 2020): 3 rebs get tired of NPA lies, deception: yield in Ecija (By Steve A. Gosuico)

ALIAGA, Nueva Ecija – Three suspected members of the New People’s Army rebel group surrendered to government forces here on Tuesday.

Lt. Col. Alexander C. Aurelio, commander of the 1st provincial mobile force company, identified the three rebel surrenderees as Ka Tamang, 63, Ka Ito, 55, and Ka Boyok, 51, all of Bgy. Sta. Lucia Young, Zaragosa, Nueva Ecija.

The ex-rebels sought to avail of the government’s Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP), saying they got tired of their group’s lies and deceptions and that they wanted to change and live normal lives, said Aurelio.

The three surrenderees were described as members of Militiang Bayan of Komiteng Larangang Gerilya (KLG-Sierra Madre) and they yielded to the police and military in Bgy. San Eustacio at 1 p.m. here.

Aurelio said their return to the government fold was an offshoot of an intelligence operation facilitated by joint elements of the 1ST PMFC, the RIU3, 303rd MC, the RMFB3, PIU-NEPPO and ACOY 84th IB, Philippine Army.

Alias ‘Admiral’ of NPA-Bohol surrenders

From the Manila Bulletin (Oct 9, 2020): Alias ‘Admiral’ of NPA-Bohol surrenders (By Calvin Cordova)

Another member of the New People’s Army (NPA) operating in Bohol province has surrendered to authorities.

Salvador Golosing Avenido (left), a former member of the New People’s Army, is presented to the media by Police Brig. Gen. Albert Ignatius Ferro (with mic) at the Bohol Provincial Police Office. (Photo via Calvin D. Cordova/MANILA BULLETIN)

Salvador Golosing Avenido surrendered last September 28, the second NPA member to yield in the same month.

Last September 2, a ranking official of the NPA, Joseph Gulle Galagar, also surrendered to the Bohol Provincial Police Office.

Police Brig. Gen. Albert Ignatius Ferro, chief of the Police Regional Office Central Visayas, said the series of surrenders of NPA members was an indication that the Communist terrorist group was weakening.

“It is an indication that the support for the NPA in Bohol is dwindling, but we will not be complacent,” said Ferro.

Ferro said Bohol was declared insurgency-free in 2010, but there have been indications that the NPA continued to operate in the province.

Ferro said suspected NPA training camps were discovered while some government informants were killed.

“We will not lower our guard. We want Bohol to excel especially in its tourism. By November, tourism activities in Panglao will be opening,” said Ferro.

According to Ferro, the 61-year-old Avenido was known as Admiral, Samuel and Sadu while with the NPA.

He was part of the Alyansang Yunit Propaganda Platoon of the Bohol party committee.

He also served as organizer and territorial leader of Hugpong Mag-uuma Bol-anon, Kilusang Mag-uumang Pilipinas (Humabol-KMP).

“He (Avenido) said he decided to surrender because he was forsaken by the group. When he figured in an accident, the terrorist group did not even help him,” said Ferro.

Ferro assured that livelihood assistance will be extended to Avenido and other NPA rebels who will decide to surrender.

Armed men burn agri firm’s vehicles in Misamis

From the Philippine Daily Inquirer (Oct 9, 2020): Armed men burn agri firm’s vehicles in Misamis

Armed men believed to be communist rebels burned four vehicles owned by an agricultural company in Claveria town, Misamis Oriental province, on Tuesday, a military report said.

First Lt. Jefferson Mariano, spokesperson for the Army’s 58th Infantry Battalion, said three dump trucks and a bus owned by Del Monte Philippines Inc. were set on fire by suspected members of the New People’s Army (NPA) at Sitio Talambao in Barangay Bulahan, Claveria.

The attack came two days after the killing in Lianga, Surigao del Sur, of an anticommunist tribal leader who was linked to the murder of “lumad” (indigenous people) leaders and the executive director of a lumad school in 2015.

Maj. Alex Mindalano, public information chief of the military’s Eastern Mindanao Command, said 15 NPA rebels attacked the motorcycle convoy of Hawudon Jomar Bucales, indigenous peoples mandatory representative of Lianga, on Oct. 4. Two of Bucales’ companions were wounded.

Bucales had been tagged as leader of the Mangahat-Bagani paramilitary group that was suspected to be behind the killing of Emerito Samarca, executive director of Alternative Learning Center for Agriculture and Livelihood Development, and lumad leaders Dionel Campos and Datu Bello Sinzo in Diatagon, Surigao del Sur, five years ago. —JIGGER JERUSALEM AND JEOFFREY MAITEM

Officials to bring cases of NPA atrocities before ICJ

From the Manila Bulletin (Oct 9, 2020): Officials to bring cases of NPA atrocities before ICJ (By Mike Crismundo)

BUTUAN CITY – Along with some local government units (LGUs) here, the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) is now working on bringing before the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague, Netherlands the series of killings of indigenous peoples (IPs) allegedly perpetrated by the Communist New People’s Army (NPA) in Caraga region, particularly in the province of Surigao del Sur.

The NCIP and LGUs said they would be bringing these “diabolic and dastardly acts” to the international arena so that the international community would know the atrocities being committed by the NPA on highland natives, particularly the killing of their leaders.

This came after the ambush-slaying last week of Hawudon Jumar Bucales, the Indigenous People Mandatory Representative (IPMR) of Lianga town, which was the latest in the spate of killings among members of the Manobo tribe

In a virtual press conference initiated by the Army’s Third Special Forces Battalion (3rd SFBn), with LGU, military and police officials in Lianga town on Wednesday, October 7, NCIP Chairperson Allen Capuyan said the killings constitute crimes that are punishable under International Humanitarian Law (IHL) and other international laws.

In a strongly-worded statement, the NCIP chair said the agency will file appropriate charges against the leaders and members of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and its armed wing, the NPA, in violation of the provisions of Republic Act 9851, otherwise known as the “Philippine Act on Crimes Against International Humanitarian Law, Genocide and Other Crimes Against Humanity”.

“Justice must be served upon Datu Jumar Bucales and the rest of the IP leaders and members killed by the NPA rebels in Mindanao,and other parts in Caraga region, particularly in Surigao del Sur,” Capuyan emphasized.

He said that the IPs, who comprise 15 percent of the nation’s population, occupy around 30 percent of the land area in the country which they consider as ancestral domains.

Unfortunately, he said these areas were also the targets of the NPA rebels where they regularly intimidate and harass vulnerable tribal communities.

“The government must look at what are the real happenings inside the ancestral domains. The killing of Datu Bucales and other IP leaders manifest the continuing atrocities of the NPA on the IPs in Surigao del Sur,” Capuyan said.

Bucales was killed in an ambush perpetrated by NPA rebels last October 4 in Sitio Mamparasanon, Barangay Banahao, Lianga.

In the same virtual press conference, Lianga town Mayor Novelita M. Sarmen, 3rd SFBn commander Lt. Col. Joey B. Baybayan, Surigao del Sur Police Provincial Office provincial director, Col. James T. Goforth, and the command group of the Army’s 401st Infantry (Unity) Brigade also vowed to support the filing of charges for violations of RA 9851 against the CPP-NPA.

They also filed a case for violations of RA 9851 against the NPA for the killing of Datu Bernandino Astudillo this year.

Astudillo, a 73-year-old Manobo tribal chieftain of Barangay Magroyong, San Miguel, Surigao del Sur, was hacked to death by the NPA last March 19.

Local authorities called on the IP communities to support the planned charges by providing the testimonies.

On the other hand, Surigao del Sur Gov. Alexander T. Pimentel also issued a statement strongly condemning the killing of Bucales and an IP soldier identified as Pfc. Ariel Guinsod Maca.

COMMENTARY//Satur et al. fighting at ground level and under

Commentary posted to the Manila Times (Oct 9, 2020): COMMENTARY//Satur et al. fighting at ground level and under

THE communist New People’s Army (NPA) in Albay and Mindoro ambushed Philippine National Police (PNP) personnel recently. They also killed two Indigenous People (IP) leaders who were known rabid anti-communist advocates in Surigao.

These are isolated incidents and have been part of a bigger Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) plan, which they failed to execute for more than 10 months now, thanks primarily to the support of the people to the efforts of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-Elcac).

The incidents were statements: “Bago man lang tayo malaos na nang husto, makabawi man lang kahit papaano (Before we really become so dated, let’s eke out some little gains).”

This is what the droves of surrenderees are saying. “Wala na ang dati naming suporta mula sa masa (Gone is the support we used to enjoy from the masses).” The recent surrender by groups of three or four or more is also a statement: many of these fighters are convinced that they are a dying breed, and that now is the time to lay down their arms.

Meantime, while the attacks of underground units wane, the efforts of the CPP cadres aboveground persist, out of desperation to keep the movement afloat. At ground level, CPP cadres Ka Satur Ocampo, Rep. Carlos Zarate, and the “Kamatayan” bloc, including Karapatan, continue with their attacks on the bureaucracy, keeping hostage the agencies’ budget. After the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO), it’s the National Intelligence Coordinating Agency’s (NICA) turn.

‘Kamatayan’ bloc

NICA chief Alex Monteagudo has spoken in absolute terms about the Kamatayan bloc being members of the CPP. What could be truer than this truth? As head of the repository of all intelligence of every government agency, he should know. He is the most credible person to declare what PCCO Undersecretary Lorraine Badoy and all have been saying all along. One cannot be nominated by the CPP to any of the Kamatayan bloc party-list if they are not card-carrying members of this terrorist organization.

As members of the CPP they are responsible for everything that the terrorist NPA has done like the recent killing of Datu Bocales and Zaldy Maca, both former NPA members but have since helped many NPA rebels return to the fold of the law and live peaceful lives. They were also instrumental in exposing the real agenda of the CPP alternative learning schools like Tribal Indigenous Peoples Surigao Sur (TRIFPSS) which were eventually closed by DepEd.

Just like what Jose Ma Sison did, former NPA members like Datu Jumar Bucales and Datu Rico Maca have tagged the Kamatayan bloc as part of the terrorist organizations. It is not NICA or any of the government officials who red-tagged them; they are simply echoing what needs to be known by our people in order to protect their children from the exploitation of these groups, as well as prevent the IPs from further exploitation. These counter-revolutionary acts of the two IP leaders so enraged the CPP/NPA leadership that they have been sentenced to die, adding to the deaths of thousands more victims of CPP/NPA attacks in the past years.

We demand that Rep. Eufemia Cullamat comment on these IP killings. Can she offer any justification for the killing of her constituents? Or will she be mum about this, knowing that her own siblings who are NPA members, or her husband who is also facing criminal cases, are responsible for the killings.

These members of the Kamatayan bloc have forgotten that they too are public officials who have sworn allegiance to the Philippine flag. Their duality, however, requires them to take an oath too to the CPP constitution, with an M16 bullet gripped in a closed fist, to signify that they embrace the use of violence to achieve their end: to overthrow our democratic government and supplant it with a “democratic dictatorship” (CPP Constitution Art 3 Sec 7).

Terrorist actions

Rep. Zarate, when you invoke Republic Act 6713, and require public officials like DG Monteagudo of NICA, to act with professionalism and the highest degree of integrity, should that not in fact remind you that we are all in the same boat? Shouldn’t it tell you that as elected officials, even if nominated by the CPP, you should do what you can to protect our citizens from the atrocities being committed by the NPA? Shouldn’t it be your job too, to expose the identity of these terrorists who pose a big threat to our children? To our IPs? To the poor and marginalized? If you don’t because of your oath to the CPP, then you will be liable under Sec 15 of the Anti-Terrorism Law for grave misconduct and disloyalty to the Republic and the Filipino people.

So with Satur Ocampo. In his At Ground Level column (Philippine Star, Oct.3, 2020), he asserts that the NTF-Elcac is the prime purveyor of tagging activists and progressive people’s organizations as terrorists and enemies of the state. He cites United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet’s deep concern about these incidents (red tagging leading to the killing of targeted individual groups or organs). But with his involvement in the CPP underground, Ka Satur knows that all of these tagged organizations are indeed red. By virtue of their plans and actions, they all conspire to commit terrorist action and violate Sec 7 of the Anti-Terrorism Law (ATL). The Kamatayan bloc all incite to commit terror acts by their speeches, writings, banners, in violation of Section 9 of the ATL. They also know they are guilty of violating Section 10 — recruitment to a terror organization.

All of them also know that most of the fabricated information provided to the UN came from CPP affiliates in the International League of Peoples’ Struggle, including Ibon and Karapatan, the objective of which is to continue to project that the Philippine government displays a consistent pattern of gross, flagrant abuse of authority — a tyrant. To what end? For Jose Ma Sison to invoke non-refoulement and evade the possibility of being sent home to answer for his continuing crimes of genocide and murder?

Karapatan called on the AFP, PNP and NTF-Elcac to disclose the advocacy groups and the Facebook accounts they are supporting, asking, “how much of peoples’ taxes they are spending on government fake online prop machinery taken down by Facebook.” Cristina Palabay of Karapatan has heaps of issues to explain about NPA violations of human rights.

Meantime, let the Kamatayan bloc explain their involvement in the CPP. Their membership in the CPP is legal so why deny it? But does it justify as well the illegal, murderous actions of the CPP/NPA? Let’s hear it from them.

The author is chief of the AFP Southern Luzon Command and spokesman for the NTF-Elcac.

Government troops seize BIFF lair in Maguindanao

 From ABS-CBN (Oct 7, 2020): Government troops seize BIFF lair in Maguindanao

Photo courtesy of the 6th Infantry Division of the Philippine Army.

Members of the Philippine Army's 2nd Mechanized Infantry Battalion discovered a hideout of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) in Barangay Salman, Ampatuan town in Maguindanao last October 1.

Recovered from the site were 3 anti-personnel mines, several anti-personnel mine components, and a radio with charger.

The encampment can accommodate up to 50 people, the military said in a statement.

“In line with the unit's mandate, the troops will remain steadfast to give its stakeholders the peace and prosperity they truly deserve,” Lt. Col. Omar Orozco, commanding officer of 2nd Mechanized Infantry Battalion, said.

Ground forces would also continuously sustain its offensive operations to neutralize BIFF leaders, said Maj. Gen. Juvymax Uy, Joint Task Force Central and 6th Infantry “Kampilan” Division commander.

AFP wants stronger military cooperation with Thailand

From the Manila Bulletin (Oct 9, 2020): AFP wants stronger military cooperation with Thailand (By Martin Sadongdong)

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) is adamant to strengthen its already robust military ties with Thailand amid prevailing security concerns in the Southeast Asian region and the threat of COVID-19 pandemic around the world.


This was the highlight of a top-level meeting after Group Captain Panlowat Intaravised, Defense and Air Attache of Thailand to the Philippines, paid a courtesy call to AFP Chief of Staff General Gilbert Gapay at Camp Aguinaldo in Quezon City on Oct. 8.

Gapay was represented by Rear Admiral Erick Kagaoan, AFP deputy chief of staff.


In a statement, the AFP said the courtesy call was a chance to promote cooperation and dialogue between the two countries’ armed forces especially in the context of regional peace and security.

“Let us continue to strengthen our relationship focused on our mutual interest of ensuring security and stability in the region,” Kagaoan said.

The Philippines and Thailand have long been allies, with a Treaty of Friendship signed by the two countries in 1949.

In 2015, various agreements on the Terms of Reference for the Working Group of the Philippine Army and Royal Thai Army were signed, enhancing the military cooperation of Manila and Bangkok.

Just last Sept. 25, the Thai government donated two negative pressure isolation rooms to the Department of National Defense (DND) to help in the immediate recovery of Filipino veteran soldiers who have been infected with COVID-19.

Miag-ao villagers hold peace rally vs Reds

From Panay News (Oct 10, 2020): Miag-ao villagers hold peace rally vs Reds (By Ruby Silubrico)

Some 200 residents of barangays Pudpud and San Jose in Miag-ao, Iloilo held a peace rally to condemn the attacks, recruitment of minors and extortion activities of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA).

Dubbed as “Let Us Walk Together for a Peaceful Community,” the activity was held in Barangay San Jose on Oct. 7.

According to the Philippine Army‘s 3rd Infantry (Spearhead) Division (3ID), the people blasted the CPP-NPA for hampering peace and development.

Army Lieutenant Colonel Joel Benedict Batara, commanding officer of the 3ID’s 61st Infantry Battalion, said the rally showed that communist terrorists were no longer welcome in the two barangays.

“I encourage everyone to get involved and be part of the solution. Neutrality and being silent about this issue will definitely favor the tormentor and not the tormented. I thank everyone for making a bold stand denouncing the rebels,” Batara said.

Part of the rally was a testimony of a former rebel. “Jimmy” said he was made to believe that the government was corrupt and armed revolution was the only solution.

He also revealed that he experienced hunger and sleep deprivation because of their endless walking and hiking in the mountains.

Meanwhile, Mayor Macario Napulan of Miag-ao called on his constituents to report to authorities if they are victims of rebels’ harassment.

“Do not be hesitant, do not have doubts. Our AFP is here. Local government officials of our town are here, and they are showing their full support,” he said.