Sunday, October 18, 2020

Army soldier killed, 4 others hurt in Albay clash

From the Philippine Daily Inquirer (Oct 17, 2020): Army soldier killed, 4 others hurt in Albay clash (By: Mar S. Arguelles)

An Army soldier was killed while four others from his unit were injured in an encounter on Saturday afternoon with suspected New People’s Army (NPA) rebels in a remote village in Oas town in Albay province, report from the military said.

The report identified the slain soldier as Sergeant Ignacio Refuerzo of the Philippine Army (PA) Civil-Military Operation (CMO) Battalion while the wounded soldiers were identified as Sgt. Edgar Sarahan, Private First Class Alsaddam Adulahid, Pfc. Alvin Esteria, Private John Mark Verdilflor, and Private Teodoro Cardano Jr., all members of the same battalion.

The members of the Chameleon Team of the CMO Battalion were on their way to Barangay (village) Tobgon when they
encountered a group of NPAs in Sitio (sub-village) Quipo at around 4 p.m.

Report said that the rebels also suffered undetermined number of casualties in the firefight that ensued.

Report also said the CMO team was holding the military’s Serbisyo Caravan at Barangay Mayag in said town when the encounter happened.

A hot pursuit operation was launched by the Army to capture the rebels who escaped while police have set up checkpoints Barangay Camagon in the neighboring village.

CPP/CIO: Mightily resist Duterte’s laws and rules on state terrorism

Propaganda statement posted to the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) Website (Oct 18, 2020): Mightily resist Duterte’s laws and rules on state terrorism


OCTOBER 18, 2020

The implementing rules and regulations issued by Duterte’s Anti-Terror Council details how the so-called Anti-Terror Law will be used to stifle dissent and suppress civil and political rights. It attempts to give the law a facade of “respect for human rights” but its fascist fangs are revealed in the details.

Section 4.4 is particularly deceptive which lists advocacy, protest and other similar exercises of civil and political rights as “not considered terrorism” BUT ONLY IF these do not serve “terrorist” aims which include to “intimidate the general public” or “create an atmosphere or spread a message of fear” and other criteria which the Duterte cabal can conjure against its critics.

The DOJ claims that the rules stipulate that “mere suspicion” is not ground for arrest. However, the rules state that individual or groups can be designated as terrorists by the ATC “on reasonable ground of suspicion” which, of course, will be to the determination of the zealots in the ATC.

The ATC declares it does not claim judicial or quasi-judicial powers, yet it empowered itself to release a list of “designated terrorists” which will practically serve as death sentence to those who will included. This overturns the internationally accepted norms of due process and the underlying tenet of “innocent unless proven guilty” as those in the list will surely be treated as guilty and be subjected to state repression and liquidation. This makes a mockery of humanity’s achievements in the field of bourgeois law and human rights. This law and its rules are a slap on international legal conventions and sets the country apart as a pariah.

This is no different from the AFP’s counterinsurgency practice of maintaining a “list of NPA members and supporters” and requiring those in the barrios to submit themselves to its authority under pain of arrest or extrajudicial killing.

The rules of the ATA, furthermore, gives wide latitude for state forces to carry out warrantless arrests and prolonged detention of up to 24 days without charges, surveillance and wiretapping, restricting people’s right to travel and other draconian powers.

The Party joins civil libertarians, defenders of human rights and freedom-loving Filipinos in denouncing these implementing rules and regulations and in reiterating the demand for the junking of Duterte’s terror law.

The negative repercussions of this undemocratic law on civil rights and freedoms are gross and far-reaching. The broad range of democratic forces must unite, stand firmly, mightily oppose this law and clamor for its immediate repeal.

All those responsible for this fascist law must be made to pay for enabling Duterte to reign with brazen terrorism. They should be ousted together with the tyrant himself in order to pave the way for the restoration of freedoms under a new, more democratic regime.

CPP/CIO: Gen. Gapay is a fascist bigot and Islamophobe

Propaganda statement posted to the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) Website (Oct 18, 2020): Gen. Gapay is a fascist bigot and Islamophobe


OCTOBER 18, 2020

The Communist Party of the Philippines stands in solidarity with the Moro people in denouncing Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief Gen. Gilbert Gapay’s allegation that madrasas are being used “to recruit suicide bombers.” Gapay displays fascist bigotry and anti-Muslim chauvinism for baselessly associating Islamic schools with “radicalization” and “terrorism.” This stunning accusation reveals the AFP’s deep-seated religious prejudice against Muslims and the Moro people.

The AFP’s plan to investigate Moro students is utterly discriminatory and incites religious intolerance, hatred and Islamophobia. This program is clearly part of the regime’s continuing campaign of suppression against the Moro people’s struggle for genuine self-determination in order to rob them of their ancestral lands and rich natural resources, similar to what has been done in Marawi.

The anathematizing of the madrasas reminds us how the fascist regime’s baseless accusation against Lumad schools being “training ground for NPA fighters” is being used to attack communities and pave the way for aggression into Lumad ancestral land.

The attack on madrasas is just one facet of the Anti-Terrorism Law which is now being used to suppress religious freedom on the mere basis of suspicion. Without laying down definite proof, the AFP conjured a specter of “suicide bombers” and peddled this in its press releases in order to justify its plan to escalate aggression against Moros.

CPP/IB: NPA seizes 7 firearms from drunken Surigao del Sur Coast Guard men

Propaganda statement posted to the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) Website (Oct 16, 2020): NPA seizes 7 firearms from drunken Surigao del Sur Coast Guard men


OCTOBER 16, 2020

The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) today congratulated the New People’s Army (NPA)-Surigao del Sur for mounting a successful raid against abusive elements of the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) having a drinking binge while on duty in Barangay Wakat, Barobo, Surigao del Sur last October 12 at 6:15 p.m.

“Likely tipsy and confused by their intoxication, the PCG operatives failed to defend their post which allowed the Red fighters to control the station without even firing a single shot,” said CPP Chief Information Officer Marco L. Valbuena, citing reports from NPA-Surigao del Sur.

According to NPA-Surigao del Sur spokesperson Sandara Sidlakan, the NPA unit seized a .30 caliber machine gun, four M16 rifles, and two .45 caliber pistols, 5 ammo vests, two handheld radios and several rounds of live ammunition.

“This successful tactical offensive is a huge slap on the face of the 4th ID, particularly its spokesperson Maj. Rodulfo Cordero Jr., and his fascist commander MGen. Andres C. Centino, who belittled the CPP’s call on the NPA to intensify tactical offensives nationwide,” said Valbuena.

In newspaper reports, Maj. Cordero claimed that they are “ready” for the NPA offensives and asserted that they have enough forces. Valbuena pointed out to the NPA report which stated that the NPA unit was easily able to pass through the highway despite the AFP’s checkpoints, adding “Maj. Cordero must be joking when he claimed they are ready.”

“The AFP will never be ready because they do not know when and where the NPA and the people’s militias will next mount an attack,” said Valbuena. “They cannot keep their forces on eternal Red alert. They cannot impose an absolute prohibition on drinking, lest their men become disgruntled.”

Sidlakan, for her part, said the NPA offensive was a response to complaints against the PCG unit operating in the area. Coast guards reportedly extort money from small fishermen and oblige them to give out a portion of their catch for free. There was also a complaint against a drunken Coast Guard personnel who slapped a child on the face.

Former Rebel reunites with family during reconciliation ceremony in Bukidnon

Posted to the Kalinaw News (Oct 18, 2020): Former Rebel reunites with family during reconciliation ceremony in Bukidnon (By 4th Infantry Division)

IMPASUGONG, Bukidnon. 18 October – A former rebel was reunited with his Higaonon family during the “Singampu Hu Butwaay”, a reconciliation ceremony conducted in Sitio Ulayanon, Brgy Kalabugao, Impasugong, Bukidnon on October 10, 2020.

@Bert, who voluntarily surrendered last September 03, 2020 at Headquarters, 8th Infantry Battalion, Impasugong, Bukidnon was able to meet his siblings after being separated for many years. He was very optimistic for their family reunion after leaving the Communist New People’s Army Terrorists (CNTs) which has separated family members who are fighting for a lost cause. His sisters were overjoyed and could not hold back their tears when they saw him standing in front and still alive.

The teary eyed @Bert expressed his happiness, “Grabe ang akong kalipay human natuman ang akong pangandoy nga makita nako ang akong pamilya. Kini ang unang panaghiusa sa among pamilya human kami gibulag-bulag sa komunistang terorista.” (I am filled with joy and excitement because my wish to finally see my family was fulfilled. This is the first reunion of our family after we were separated by the communist terrorist).

“Mapasalamaton ako nga nakita na nako ang akoang igsuon nga buhi ug anaa na siya sa sabakan sa gobyerno. Dili ko gusto nga gub-on pag-utro sa mga komunistang terorista ang among malipayon nga pamilya.” said @Teda, the eldest sister. (I am very grateful seeing my brother who is still alive and has returned to the folds of the government. I don’t want the communist terrorist to ruin our happy family again).

LTC Edgardo V. Talaroc Jr, Commanding Officer of the 8th Infantry Battalion said, “Sa mga biktima nga myembro sa Communist New People’s Army Terrorists, ang pagbalik sa sabakan sa gobyerno makatabang kaninyo aron matuman ang inyong mga pangandoy. Dili pa ulahi ang tanan, biyae na ang walay kwenta nga armadong pakigbisog ug balik sa inyong mga pamilya nga dugay nang naghulat sa inyoha.” (To the victims of the Communist New People’s Army Terrorist, returning to the folds of the government will help fulfill your dreams. It is not yet late, leave the useless armed struggle and return to your families who have been waiting for a long time).

It can be recalled that on October 10, 2020, the Municipal Task Force ELCAC of the Municipality of Impasugong, Bukidnon initiated the conduct of “Singampu Hu Butwaay” in Sitio Ulayanon, Bgy Kalabugao, Impasugong, Bukidnon. The activity is a traditional ceremony which in the Higaonon tribe signifies the reconciliation of two or more parties involved in serious conflict.

[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: Army scores high-powered firearms in Zamboanga del Norte

Posted to the Kalinaw News (Oct 18, 2020): Army scores high-powered firearms in Zamboanga del Norte (By 1st Infantry Division)

CAMP SANG-AN, Zambo Sur- Tipped-off by former rebels, Army’s 97th Infantry Battalion captured high-powered firearms in Barangay Bunawan, Godod, Zamboanga del Norte last 17 October 2020 in the morning.

“The couple who were former NPA Terrorist members, known as alias Larry and Grace, previously surrendered to 97th IB and disclosed the location of hidden arms cache to the troops”, said Lt. Col. Manaros Boransing, 97IB commander.

Five AK-47 assault rifles were captured which were accordingly being used by Terrorist members of the Communist NPA Terrorists Cell Feliciano Alpha (Flex “A”) but were buried due to dwindling of their fighters and limited ammunition.

According to Brig. Gen. Leonel Nicolas, 102nd Infantry Brigade Commander, “The losses of their fighters is due to our continous and no let-up combat operations”.

“The continued commitment of the Army and the different stakeholders in implementing the E-CLIP will motivate the remaining CNTs to lay down their arms and return to the folds of law,” Brig. Nicolas added.

Maj. Gen. Generoso “Gene” Ponio, Commander, 1st Infantry Division, enjoins all stakeholders throught the LTF-ELCAC to sustain the momentum of our efforts against these Communist Terrorist Groups (CTGs).

“We are now about to see the end of the presence of the CTGs in Zamboanga Peninsula, as more and more CNTs continue to surrender to the government,” Maj. Gen. Ponio said.

“We will claim to be victorious in this battle and in due time, the peace-loving people of Zamboanga Peninsula will enjoy a safe, peaceful and progressive society for their families,” Maj. Gen. Ponio aded.

The firearms are in the custody of 97th IB and now subject for documentation and processing to establish their origins and will be transferred to Zamboanga del Norte Provincial Police Office (ZNPPO) to process firearms renumeration under E-CLIP.

[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: Deceived Locals hold Indignation Rally vs NPA in Mabini Davao de Oro

Posted to the Kalinaw News (Oct 18, 2020): Deceived Locals hold Indignation Rally vs NPA in Mabini Davao de Oro (By 71st Infantry Battalion)

MAWAB, Davao de Oro — 200 residents from Barangays Anitapan, Golden Valley, including its special barangay Mascareg and Singapore all of Mabini marched together to condemn the terror attacks, recruitment of minors and massive extortion activities of the CPP-NPAs on October 15, 2020 at Brgy Anitapan, Mabini, Davao de Oro.

Participants marched together and loudly voiced-out their sentiments on how the CPP-NPA made their lives miserable by hampering the existence of peace and development. They also expressed that these communist terrorists were no longer welcome and are banned from entering their barangays. They want to have a peaceful community, free from violence and abuses from these terrorists.

Among the participants were the former UGMOs of the Special Brgy Singapore who recently received solar electrification donated by the Jaime V Ongpin Foundation which was facilitated by the 71st IB in partnership with the Local Government Unit of Mabini and Davao de Oro. Deed of donation of said Solar Generator Set was formally turned over to them during the culmination.

“We have been deceived by terrorists NPA’s false promises, they even get a share from our small income, they’ve been blocking the buyers of our bananas, now we know what is their real purpose that is to put us in vain and if unable to recover they will draw us to join the armed struggle that will bring us nowhere,” said angrily by one of the participants during his testimony.

Furthermore, the highlight of the activity was the Signing of the Oath of Allegiance back to government by former members of the UGMOs that have been deceived by the communist terrorist. This was followed by the burning of CPP-NPA Flag to strongly condemn and withdraw their support to the terrorist group.

“Before, development was hampered because of the presence of terrorist NPAs in this area, but now as we condemn these terrorists, inclusive peace will be attainable and development will push through,” Mayor Reynaldo Dayanghirang said on during his message.

Moreover, officers of the newly organized people’s organizations took an oath on their different positions. They also turned over their work plans to the LGU Mabini and received different kinds of vegetable seeds from the Provincial Agriculturist Office of Davao de Oro.

[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:]

Beyond West Philippine Sea, diplomats defend waters behind the scenes

From Rappler (Oct 18, 2020): Beyond West Philippine Sea, diplomats defend waters behind the scenes (By SOFIA TOMACRUZ)

Filipino diplomats have met with officials from Japan, Indonesia, Vietnam, and Palau to discuss maritime interests beyond the Philippines’ sea dispute with China

While the Philippines’ maritime dispute with China takes much of the spotlight, Filipino diplomats have been quietly working to fortify the Philippines’ maritime boundaries and strengthen ties with neighbors.

Recent presentations from the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) 2021 budget hearings, along with reports from the agency’s Maritime and Ocean Affairs Office (MOAO), showed Manila’s efforts go beyond the heated issue of the West Philippine Sea.

In the past year, Filipino diplomats met with officials from Japan, Indonesia, Vietnam, and Palau, among others, to discuss maritime interests.

With these discussions, the Philippines looks at possible areas of cooperation with other countries, from security and research to environmental protection and fisheries.

Here are key developments:

1. Philippines-Japan

In June 2019, the Philippines and Japan revived its formal dialogue on maritime and ocean affairs for the first time in 6 years.

Former Maritime and Ocean Affairs assistant secretary Generoso Calonge told Rappler the revival of discussions was prompted by a decision by Philippine Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr and former Japanese foreign minister Kōno Tarō after a meeting held in Davao in February 2019.

The dialogue was created to determine which areas in the maritime sector both Manila and Tokyo can cooperate on, with a focus on maritime security. Its first meeting was held in Tokyo in September 2011, while its second meeting took place in Manila in February 2013.

During the meeting in June 2019, the Philippines sought Japan’s support to establish a university in the Philippines that would focus on maritime affairs. Japan, meanwhile, shared its best practices in developing exclusive economic zones.

2. Philippines-Indonesia

Like Japan, key bilateral discussions were also revived with Indonesia for the first time in 3 years.

This took place in September 2019 when the Philippines and Indonesia held its 10th Meeting of the Joint Permanent Working Group on Maritime and Ocean Concerns (JPWG-MOC) in Yogyakarta.

The meeting came on the heels of a historic maritime deal finally entering into force 25 years after it was first discussed by the Philippines and Indonesia in June 1994. The treaty, which took effect in August 2019, drew a boundary between the countries’ overlapping exclusive economic zones.

During the JPWG–MOC meeting, the two countries discussed cooperation on search and rescue efforts, fisheries, and the delimitation of continental shelves, among others.

Philippines-Indonesia maritime boundary treaty now in force

3. Philippines-Vietnam

In October 2019, the Philippines and Vietnam also convened the 8th Meeting of the Philippines-Vietnam (PH-VN) Joint Permanent Working Group on Maritime and Ocean Concerns (JPWG-MOC).

It was the first time the key bilateral mechanism was done in 8 years, following the two countries’ last JPWG-MOC meeting in August 2011. Bilateral talks on the permanent working group became inactive after the the two countries had decided to elevate talks to the vice-ministerial level in 2011.

During the two countries’ meeting in October 2019, the Philippines and Vietnam discussed cooperation on maritime law enforcement, environmental protection, fisheries, and marine scientific research.

4. Philippines-Palau

Discussion were also held between the Philippines and Palau in November 2019.

The 4th Technical Panel Meeting on the Maritime Boundaries saw both countries discuss their positions on maritime boundaries and agree to continue talks to reach a resolution on the issue.

The Philippines and Palau are neighboring countries that share maritime boundaries with Palau located southeast of the Philippines.

Four NPA rebels yield to Army in Negros

From Panay News (Oct 19, 2020): Four NPA rebels yield to Army in Negros (BY DOMINIQUE GABRIEL BAÑAGA)

(From left) New People’s Army rebels Jone “Dim/Dem” Alfuerto, Deito “Mar” Ferolino, Snooky “Noky” Mejio, and Rodrigo Fat surrendered to officials of the Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict in Guihulngan City, Negros Oriental. PH Army

Four members of the New People’s Army (NPA) – Leonardo Panaligan Command surrendered to the Philippine Army in Guihulngan City in Negros Oriental.

Captain Ramond Jamisal, Civil-Military Operations officer of the 62nd Infantry Battalion,
identified them as Jone “Dim/Dem” Alfuerto, Deito “Mar” Ferolino, Snooky “Noky” Mejio, and Rodrigo Fat.

They were all members of the Komiteng Rehiyon-Negros/Cebu/Bohol/Siquijor of the Communist Party of the Philippines, Jamisal said.

The four insurgents surrendered to officials of the Guihulngan City Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (CTF-ELCAC).

Alfuerto and Mejio also turned over their .38-caliber revolvers to local authorities.

In a separate statement, Mayor Carlo Jorge Joan Reyes Guihulngan City said they now have six former NPA insurgents in custody as well as 25 NPA supporters.

Reyes said they expect more to follow as other insurgents are now in contact with them expressing their intention to also surrender to the authorities.

“These waves of victories are what will ultimately become the tidal wave to wipe out insurgency in the city,” Reyes said.

He added: “It is a cataclysmic change fueled by the cooperation of an awakened citizenry and the might of all the government agencies comprising the CTF-ELCAC.”/

MNLF chair Yusoph Jikiri, 66: a “beacon of peace,” a “great mujahid”

From MindaNews (Oct 18, 2020): MNLF chair Yusoph Jikiri, 66: a “beacon of peace,” a “great mujahid” (By CAROLYN O. ARGUILLAS)

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 18 October) – Yusoph Jikiri, chair of a large faction of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF), succumbed to bone cancer in his hometown in Pasil, Indanan, Sulu late Saturday evening. He had just turned 66 on October 7.

Jikiri was Chief of Staff when the 1996 Final Peace Agreement was signed between government and the MNLF. He was elected Governor of Sulu from 2001 to 2004, lost to Benjamin Loong in his reelection bid and was elected 1st district Representative from 2007 to 2010.

MindaNews sources said Jikiri was airlifted to Manila from Sulu a few days ago where a medical procedure was suggested but he opted to return to his hometown on October 16. He passed away at 11 p.m. on October 17.

Yusoph Jikir, chair of the Moro National Liberation Front, former Sulu Govenror and 1st district Representative, on 28 January 2020 during a meeting with representatives of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation at the Seda Hotel in Davao City. MindaNews photo by MANMAN DEJETO

In his inaugural speech as Governor in 2001, Jikiri said: “My government is your government, for truly I belong to you, I am among you, a son of a poor family. To this land I give my life, body and soul. Let me, therefore, seek your cooperation. Come to me as your elder brother, (or) even as your father and together we can make this land great once more in history.”

Jikiri was a member of the MNLF Council of 15 that was organized in early 2001. The Council took over the leadership of the MNLF from Nur Misuari whom it named as Chairman Emeritus.

He assumed the chairmanship of the MNLF in February 2017, succeeding Muslimin Sema. In January 2019, he spoke at the Shariff Kabunsuan Cultural Complex in Cotabato City to express the MNLF’s support for the ratification of Republic Act 11054, the Organic Law for the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM).

The MNLF under the Jikiri-Sema faction was represented in the Bangsamoro Transition Commission that drafted the law and in the Bangsamoro Transition Authority, the 80-member body that is govering the BARMM during the transition period until June 30, 2022.

In a message, Presidential Peace Adviser Carlito Galvez Jr. called Jikiri a “beacon of peace.”

Galvez said the MNLF Central Committee under Jikiri’s stewardship partnered with the Armed Force of the Philippines in 2017, as they launched an anti-kidnapping and terrorism task force to end the menace of terror groups, particularly the Abu Sayyaf, in Sulu.

“Till the very end, Brother Jikiri’s main concern was to bring the full realization of the Bangsamoro people, harness the full economic potential of the Bangsamoro homeland, while creating the conditions where sustainable peace could take root. His ultimate goal was to create a better and brighter future for the Bangsamoro people,” he said.

Former Presidential Peace Adviser Jesus Dureza, who served the post under the Arroyo and Duterte administration, said he was sad to hear of Jikiri’s death.

“He was always soft spoken and gentle in his ways. He preferred to stay behind the scene even during those times when he became the leader of the Council of 15 of the MNLF, Sulu congressman and a revered MNLF leader. We both had unforgettable times together. Rest In Peace Partner. My memories of you will never end although you are gone,” Dureza wrote on his Facebook page. .

Legacy of dedication

Naguib Sinarimbo, Minister for Interior and Local Government and BARMM, called Jikiri “another great mujahid.”

Sinarimbo said Jikiri as Chief of Staff of the MNLF’s Bangsa Moro Army “led his forces in defending our communities” under Marcos’ martial law.

He said they were in a meeting Saturday night with the Chief Minister and MILF chair Ahod Balawag Ebrahim and briefly discussed Jikiri’s health condition.

“We take comfort in the fact that Chairman Jikiri has served well his Creator and his people. May his good deeds be rewarded by Allah and his sins forgiven. May Allah admit him in jannatul Firdaus.”

The new leaders of the MNLF in a press conference in Pagadian City in February 2017 (left to right): Yusoph Jikiri, Chair; Muslimin Sema, Chair of the Bangsamoro People’s Congress; Prof. Duma Sani, Vice Chair; Hatimil Hassan, Vice Chair, Internal Affairs; Maj. Gen. Datun “Doc” Diocolano, Chief of Staff, BAF: Abdul Sahrin, Secretary General; Rasul Rasdi, Deputy Secretary General; and Firdausi Abbas, Vice Chair, External Affairs. Photo courtesy of OMAR SEMA

Bangsamoro Member of Parliament Jose Iribani Lorena, a member of the MNLF peace panel that negotiated the 1996 FPA, wrote: “my chief, my chairman and best friend left a legacy of dedication, compassion and love for the Bangsamoro cause. He was a benevolent leader and freedom fighter May the almighty Allah grant him mercy and reward him for his service as a martyr. Till we meet again my brother.”

Addressing leaders of the Bangsamoro struggle, MP Omar Crisostomo Sema, son of Muslimin Sema whom Jikiri succeeded as chair, said, “may the ‘Chief’s’ passing away make us realize that our terms here in this world is limited and temporary, that the tasks we have put on ourselves for our Hula, Bangsa and Agama must be realized and achieved with careful haste. We must realize our mandate whether in the MNLF, MILF (Moro Islamic Liberation Front) or the Bangsamoro Government. Let’s do it quick!”

Magsukul (Thank you)

Susan Palad, who married Jikiri in the late 1990s, said she repeatedly explained to their two children that their father “does not belong to us but to his people.” The marriage lasted until Jikiri became so busy with his new role as Sulu Governor

Palad wrote about Jikiri on her Facebook page on September 24, thanking him for their two children.

Moro National Liberation Front Chair Yusoph Jikiri delivers a message of support during the Peace Assembly for the ratification of Republic Act 11054 or the Organic Law for the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao. BOL in Cotabato City on 18 January 2019. MindaNews photo by MANMAN DEJETO

She remembers Jikiri as a “kind man” who was “generous to a fault.”

“Humble because of his poor beginnings. His house in Pasil, Indanan (in Sulu) during his MNLF days was a small one with no wooden floors. Just the hard earth,” she asid.

When Jikiri was Governor of Sulu, “he slept on a piece of carton while taking a ride in the overloaded boat from Jolo to Zamboanga.”

Palad remembers how Jikiri would wait outside the office of Nur Misuari, MNLF Chair and Governor of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao from 1996 to 2001, to “wait for his turn in in the long steady line of visitors until a staff would spot him and immediately bring him inside Misuari’s office. He will always stay ‘unahin mo ba yung mga tao na nangangailangan ng tulong,’”

She described Jikiri as “one of the fiercest warriors of the MNLF” and when then President Fidel Ramos visited Jolo, he asked Misuari who Jikiri was and Misuari “pointed out to this man clinging for dear life at the back of the jeep.‘That, Mr President is the Chief of Staff of the MNLF!’”

His 22-year old daughter, Sana-a Elizabeth wrote: “If we were given another chance, we would do things differently. God knows how eager I was to feel your presence while growing up. I get a lot of hugs from people but none of them were as warm as yours.”

“I don’t know much about you but i know you are a great man and a pride of Sulu. Every time I’m in the island, I always think about you and that’s why I’ve taken interest in going to conflict affected areas and help improve the relationship with the AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines) and the people because I knew that was also your goal in life — to spread peace,” she added.

She said she is “always proud” of her father and “am forever grateful. I have no regrets that you are my father. I love you forever, Ama. Rest well. (Carolyn O. Arguillas / MindaNews)

Sulu governor urges military chief to retract sensitive statement

From the Mindanao Examiner (Oct 18, 2020): Sulu governor urges military chief to retract sensitive statement

SULU GOVERNOR Sakur Tan branded as preposterous the statement of Philippine military chief General Gilbert Gapay that madaris or Islamic schools in the province are suspected of radicalizing students.

Gov. Sakur Tan with President Rodrigo Duterte in Jolo town where the Filipino leader offered flowers for those who perished in the August 2020 twin bombings. 

Gapay’s statement also drew criticisms from Muslims.

“I join the many Muslim voices, to include that of Rep. Mujiv S. Hataman, on the Madrasa issue. I do agree that to have come from no less than the Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, saying that Islamic Schools in the country can be possible hotbeds of terrorism or to link Madrasa to terrorism, is both absurd and uncalled for.,” Tan said.

He added: “Indeed such statements coming from a supposedly high and responsible officer of the Armed Forces, is not one we expect from a respectable officer and a gentleman. We are certain that the good General has no ill intent.”

The influential governor said during this time when the country is dealing with the coronavirus pandemic, it is incumbent on everyone to be prudent and avoid tearing the threads of wounds that are yet to heal.

“I cannot blame Muslims if they harbor resentment and disappointment that the specter of profiling and typecasting of people based on their faith, still lingers in the midst. To put in question an institution where most, if not all Muslim children, had their first foundation of good morals based on Islam as a religion of peace, is to infer that Muslims in their primal are already branded unkindly,” he said.

Tan urged Gapay to retract his statement. “I join the various groups and individuals, in calling on General Gapay - with respect as Muslims are taught to be at an early age - to withdraw or retract his statement in reference to the Madrasa issue. Let us allow sobriety and goodwill to prevail,” he said.

Basilan Rep. Mujiv Hataman with Governor Sakur Tan.

Basilan Congressman Mujiv Hataman who was former Muslim autonomous regional governor said Gapay’s statement is dangerous and unfair.

“The Armed Forces should not be making general statements linking madrasa to terrorists without presenting irrefutable proof of its existence. It is dangerous and unfair, and it serves no real purpose but to unjustly put our schools in a very compromising situation,” Hataman, himself studied in madrasah, said.

Hataman said these institutions only advocate for peace and learning and are not breeding grounds for violent extremists and terrorists.

“Hindi ako kailanman nakarinig ng kahit na anong turo ng tungkol sa terorismo. Sa katunayan, tinuturuan kami dito na huwag gumawa ng masama at manakit ng kapwa. Bilang isang magulang, natatakot ako sa statement na ito ng AFP. Paano kung ang anak ko ay nag-aaral sa isang madrasa? Ano ang mararamdaman ng mga estudyante na sila pala ay iniimbestigahan na?” said Hataman, a former governor of the now-defunct Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).

Gapay said they are monitoring madaris and other schools in Sulu where “some sort of radicalization activities are going on.”

Aside from madaris, he said terrorist groups are also recruiting you on social media.

“One of the media or vehicles they are using is the social media. We have found out from some of those who surrendered and captured that quite a number of them have been recruited and radicalized through social media,” Gapay said, adding, this could be the reason why Filipino Abu Sayyaf militant Norman Lasuca blew himself up near a military base in Sulu’s Indanan town in June last year.

“We cannot imagine a Filipino really being recruited or being used as a suicide bomber. Usually, we expect that that suicide bombers would be foreign terrorists that have slipped here in our country, but we were really surprised when we had that first incident in 2019 in the person of Mr. Lasuca. It was really an eye opener for us that the effort to recruit, to radicalize, and even mold the suicide bomber out of Filipinos is really at that level,” he added.

According to the Lowy Institute, an independent and nonpartisan think tank based in Sydney, Lasuca’s domestic life raises more questions as to the pathway he took to become a suicide bomber.

It said Lasuca was of mixed parentage - he lived in Sulu with his Tausug mother and Muslim convert father. He ran away from home due to his abusive father, founding succour with purported members of the Abu Sayyaf in 2014. It is unknown if he was involved in other Abu Sayyaf operations prior to the one that took his life.

There was no immediate statement from former Muslim secessionist leader and now Chief Minister of the Bangsamoro autonomous region Murad Ebrahim on Gapay’s sensitive statement. (Mindanao Examiner)

Virtual activities highlight this year’s commemoration of the first hoisting of US flag in the country, at Dulag Hill 120

From the Philippine Information Agency (Oct 17, 2020): Virtual activities highlight this year’s commemoration of the first hoisting of US flag in the country, at Dulag Hill 120 (By Olive P. Tiu) 

TACLOBAN CITY, Oct. 17 (PIA) -- The Local Government of Dulag, Leyte has cancelled all the “live” or face-to-face annual traditional activities on October 19 in line with the Leyte Gulf Landings 76th Anniversary, as the safety and health of its constituents is the paramount concern of the LGU.

This was disclosed by Mr. Rolando Cagara, SB Secretary and Chair of Dulag Cultural Heritage and the Arts Council, who represented Mayor Mildred Que during the October 16 episode of PANINDUGAN, virtual Kapihan among PIA and Friends.

This year, the LGU opted to have a virtual video presentation via the LGU FB page. The presentation will only have three parts, Mr. Cagara said, the message of Mayor Que, the singing of the newly composed song, Isao Yamasai dedicated to Japanese Captain Yamasai who was very kind, helpful and friendly to the people of Dulag during the Japanese Occupation, and one musical rendition by the San Jose National High School Ensemble.

To recall, it has become a tradition that the town of Dulag in the province of Leyte is the center of activities every October 19, in connection with the Leyte Gulf Landings anniversary.

The Dulag Commemorative Celebration which is sponsored by the Municipal Government of Dulag, Leyte led by Mayor Mildred Que, and the Provincial Government of Leyte led by Governor Leopoldo Dominico L. Petilla, is usually held at the Hill 120 at Barangay San Rafael, where the American flag was first raised in the Philippines during the Liberation.

At Dulag Hill 120 fronting the main highway of Dulag, is a historical marker narrating the historic significance of the place.

It reads: "Atop the height of this hill 120, Blue Beach, Dulag Leyte, Philippines at 10:42 a.m. 20 October 1944, only 42 minutes had elapsed since the first assault troops of the 3rd BN of 382D Infantry, 96th Division of the American forces of liberation had landed 1st Lt. Clifford W. Mills raised the American flag in Philippine soil after it had been lowered at Bataan on 9 April 1942. Floating high and proud was tangible proof that the Americans had made good their promise to the Filipinos."

"In grateful memory of the unknown American soldiers, who with untold magnanimity and valiance fought and paid the supreme sacrifice on this foreign shore to liberate a people foreign to them."

Also present at the Hill is a Japanese Memorial and Cenotaph of the bloody encounter which reads: "Cenotaph Dedicated to console all souls of Filipinos, Japanese, Americans who passed away in Leyte during World War II. Sworn that the same tragedy and mistake should never be repeated. Prayer for the true world peace and friendship forever."

Going up, there is a trail of concrete steps to the top of Hill 120 which require a five-minute trek.

On top of the hill is a touching scene, a figure of the American Marine climbing a coconut tree and carrying an American flag… another American Marine follows him from behind.

From the top of the hill, one could see the Blue Beach of Dulag where a part of the Allied Forces landed.

The annual activity at Hill 120 is aimed at keeping alive the importance of the hill in the Liberation of the country from foreign invaders.

Indeed, the young people of the municipality and the whole country must know the important historical events that took place in their respective areas. (PIA-8)

Leyte fulfills vow to remember the heroism of all who fought for the Motherland

From the Philippine Information Agency (Oct 18, 2020): Leyte fulfills vow to remember the heroism of all who fought for the Motherland (By Olive P. Tiu) 

TACLOBAN CITY, October 20 (PIA) -- Amid the threat of COVID pandemic, the province of Leyte will commemorate the 76th Leyte Gulf Landing Anniversary in fulfilment of the vow to remember the heroism of all who fought for the Motherland.

His Excellency Rodrigo Roa Duterte, President of the Republic of the Philippines, is expected to virtually deliver a Commemorative Message, Leyte Governor Leopoldo Dominico L. Petilla disclosed.

Governor Petilla, said, that aside from the Flag-raising ceremony and the Wreath-laying ceremonies which will be done at the MacArthur Landing Memorial National Park at Palo, Leyte, the other parts of the program will be done virtually.

These include the invocation to be led by Msgr. Ramon Aguilos, Chaplain of the Holy Spirit Chaplaincy; the Welcome Remarks by Palo Mayor Frances Ann B. Petilla; the Tribute to the Veterans and Lighting of the Peace Torch by Veteran Marcial Y. Posion, World War II Veteran, Former Vice President of the Burauen Post; and Joel Joseph Cabides, Regional President and VFP SDAI Region VIII Chapter, with the special participation of the SAMLEYAW DANCE COMPANY.

Solidarity greetings will also be done virtually by Justice Manuel Pamaran (RET), President of the Veterans Federation of the Philippines; USEC Ernesto Carolina, Administrator of the Philippine Veterans Affairs Office; His Excellency Steven James Robinson, Ambassador of the Embassy of Australia; Group Captain Nick McMillian, Defence Attache of the Embassy of New Zealand; Mr. Alastair Totty, Deputy Head of Mission, Embassy of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland; Minister Yasushi Yamamoto, Deputy Chief of Mission, Embassy of Japan; and Captain Noel Corpus, Naval Attache, Embassy of the United States of America.

A dedication to the Eastern Visayas Surviving Veterans of World War II will be done through a Solo rendition of Dakilang Lahi by Mr. Carlo Martin Igot.

This will be followed by the virtual Leyte Gulf Landings Digital Story Telling, a virtual tour of the MacArthur Landing Memorial National Park.

The Anniversary Message will be given by Leyte Governor Leopoldo Dominico L. Petilla.

Governor Petilla called on Leytenos not to go to the MacArthur Park on October 20 but instead watch the proceedings through the social media. This will ensure the safety of the people and stop the spread of COVID-19, the Governor said. (PIA-8)

Tagalog News: First Scout Ranger Regiment, may bagong commander

From the Philippine Information Agency (Oct 18, 2020): Tagalog News: First Scout Ranger Regiment, may bagong commander (By Shane F. Velasco) 

SAN MIGUEL, Bulacan, Oktubre 18 (PIA) -- Pormal nang hinirang ng Philippine Army bilang bagong commander ng First Scout Ranger Regiment o FSRR si Col. Freddie Dela Cruz kapalit ni Outgoing Commander BGen. William Gonzales.

Pinangunahan ni Philippine Army Commanding General Lt. Gen. Cirilito Sobejana ang change-of-command ceremony na ginanap sa Kampo Simon Tecson na nasa barangay Tartaro sa bayan ng San Miguel.

Bago maging regiment commander ng FSRR, naging deputy group commander ng Presidential Security Group si Dela Cruz.

Sa larangan naman ng combat, namuno siya bilang commanding officer ng 4th Scout Ranger Battalion sa Mindanao at ang 3rd Scout Ranger Company sa Visayas.

Isang kasapi ng Tanglaw-Diwa Class of 1992 sa Philippine Military Academy at saka nagtapos ng pagiging isang Scout Ranger.

Bukod dito, kumuha rin siya ng hiwalay na scout ranger course sa United States Army sa Fort Benning sa state of Georgia hanggang matamo ang master’s degree sa National Security Administration mula sa National Defense College of the Philippines.

Kaugnay nito, kinilala ng Philippine Army ang mga naging ambag ni Gonzales sa kanyang pamumuno sa FSRR.

Kabilang diyan ang pagkaka-neutralized sa 150 indibidwal na mga kalaban ng estado. Kasama na riyan ang dalawang Abu Sayyaf Group sub-leaders at nakapagkumpiska ng 130 na iligal na mga armas.

Pinapurihan din siya sa inisyatibo na mapagkalooban ng mga skills at livelihood training ang mga wounded-in-action na mga kawal ng FSRR. (CLJD/SFV-PIA)

Tagalog News: Project T.I.K.A.S ng Scout Ranger Regiment, nilaanan ng P83M

From the Philippine Information Agency (Oct 18, 2020): Tagalog News: Project T.I.K.A.S ng Scout Ranger Regiment, nilaanan ng P83M (By Shane F. Velasco) 

SAN MIGUEL, Bulacan, Oktubre 18 (PIA) -- Sabay-sabay na itinatayo ang mga bagong istraktura at pinapabuti ang mga dati nang pasilidad ng First Scout Ranger Regiment o FSRR sa loob ng Kampo Simon Tecson sa bayan ng San Miguel.

Ito ang Project T.I.K.A.S o ang Tatag ng Imprastraktura para sa Kapayapaan at Seguridad na nilaanan ng Department of National Defense ng 83 milyong piso at isinakatuparan ng Department of Public Works and Highways.

Ayon kay Sgt. John Maxelle M. Lamano, non-commission officer ng public affairs office ng FSRR, isa itong convergence program ng dalawang ahensya upang maisabay sa modernisasyon ng mga armas ng sandatahan ang husay ng kalidad ng mga pasilidad sa mga base militar.

Ang nasabing halaga ay mula sa pambansang badyet ng 2020.

Pinakamalaking ginugulan ang paglalatag ng aspalto o asphalt overlaying sa 3 kilometrong perimeter road sa halagang 30 milyong piso.

Isinaayos ang nasabing kalsada upang maging pantay, makinis at hindi nakakadapa ang pinagdadausan ng mga pagtakbo na bahagi ng training ng mga nais maging Scout Ranger.

May 20 milyong piso naman para sa konstruksyon ng karagdagang Administrative Building kung saan magkakaroon ng tanggapan ang Battalion Liason Office.

Nagsisilbi ang tanggapang ito bilang tagapag-ugnay ng FSRR sa iba pang sangay ng Armed Forces of the Philippines sa iba pang ahensya ng pamahalaan at maging sa mga pansibilyan o pribadong institusyon.

Sa tabi ng administrative building, matatapos na ang konstruksiyon ng mas malaking motorpool, parking bays at auto repair shop sa halagang 10 milyong piso. I

pinaliwanag ni Lamano na minarapat ng FSRR na magkaroon ng sarili at maayos na motorpool upang matiyak na mapangalaan ang mga asset vehicles gaya ng 6x6 trucks, 4x4 Kia military trucks at iba pang opisyal na sasakyan na nakadestino sa Kampo Tecson.

Itinatayo na rin ang bagong barracks para sa mga Enlisted Women Personnel ng FSRR na kayang maglulan ng nasa 30 na nilaanan ng 15 milyong piso.

Ang Kampo Tecson ay ang punong himpilan ng FSRR na nasa barangay Tartaro sa bayan ng San Miguel. Malapit ito sa paanan ng Biak-na-Bato na bahagi ng bulubundukin ng Sierra Madre.

Dito nagaganap ang mga komprehensibong pagsasanay na nais maging Scout Ranger na itinuturing na elite group ng Philippine Army. Lalong Nakilala ang FSRR sa kanilang naging malaking papel sa Liberasyon ng Marawi noong Oktubre 2017. (CLJD/SFV-PIA 3)

Council approves IRR of the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020

From the Philippine Information Agency (Oct 18, 2020): Council approves IRR of the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020 (By Susan G. De Leon) 

CALOOCAN CITY, Oct. 18 (PIA) -- The Anti-Terrorism Council passed a resolution on October 14, 2020 approving the Implementing Rules and Regulations of the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020.

In a statement posted at the Department of Justice website,, it said that the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020 is the most recent effort to address the issue of terrorism and all allied activities, while at the same time ensuring the protection of our civil and political rights.

“In the preparation of the implementing rules and regulations, the Anti-Terrorism Council revisited the Constitution, prevailing laws, other implementing rules and regulations, jurispridence, even the Rules of Court,” the statement reads.

“This is to ensure that executive prerogatives are tempered by the Constitution, prevailing law, and jurisprudence and, if necessary, by available judicial remedies,” added the statement.

The implementing rules and regulations seeks to explain how to put the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020 into effect and what a citizen must do -- or must not do -- to comply with the law.

The implementing rules and regulations thus contains very detailed provisions on terrorism and terrorism-related crimes, on surveillance, on designation of terrorist individuals and organizations, on proscription, on the examination of bank accounts, among others.

More importantly, the implementing rules and regulations, consistent with the declared policy of the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020, very clearly sets out the role that the Anti-Terrorism Council will play in ensuring that policies and programs are in place to address terrorism and its root causes.

Click here to view the full Implementing Rules and Regulations of the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020. (DOJ/PIA-NCR)

Sultan Kudarat coastal town forms task force for peace, security

From the Philippine News Agency (Oct 18, 2020): Sultan Kudarat coastal town forms task force for peace, security (By Edwin Fernandez)

JTF KALILINTAD. Lt. Col. Allen Van Estrera, Army’s 37th Infantry Battalion (IB) commander (seated center), listens to one of the officials of Palimbang, Sultan Kudarat during the organizational meeting of the “Joint Task Force Kalilintad (Peace)” held at the headquarters of 37IB in Palimbang, Sultan Kudarat on Saturday (Oct. 17, 2020). The task force was formed to address the recurring problem of clan wars in the area that have cost the lives of residents and the destruction of properties in the past. (Photo courtesy of 37IB)

To ensure the safety of residents in coastal Palimbang town in Sultan Kudarat province, the local government unit, and the military have formed a task force for peace and security in the area.

Aptly called “Joint Task Force (JTF) Kalilintad (Peace)”, the group is composed of the Army’s 37th Infantry Battalion (37IB), the local police force, town officials, Muslim religious leaders, and other stakeholders.

Lt. Col. Allen Van Estrera, the 37IB commander, said the task force was formed amid the recurring displacement of Moro civilians due to “rido” (clan war) in Palimbang’s villages.

“Up to this time, the residents of the municipality of Palimbang continue to be affected by atrocities committed by its own people due to ‘rido’,” Estrera said during the JTF organizational meeting on Saturday.

He said feuding families oftentimes drag relatives into armed hostilities that resulted in killings and destruction of properties.

With the support of Palimbang Mayor Joenime Kapina, community elders, together with former field commanders of the local Moro Islamic Liberation Front and Moro National Liberation Front factions, were invited to be part of the task force to help address the problem.

Estrera said the task force was primarily aimed at organizing all key stakeholders in the municipality into one core group who could immediately respond and settle incidents and prevent it from escalating into large-scale atrocities.

“We need to work as one,” he added.

With everybody expressing the desire to attain peace in the locality, the JTF Kalilintad was created at the 37IB headquarters in the town.

Kapina, in his message, said the formation of the task force signals the start of a collective effort of all stakeholders in addressing security-related concerns in Palimbang.

Marawi heroes honored on 3rd year of liberation from siege

From the Philippine News Agency (Oct 18, 2020): Marawi heroes honored on 3rd year of liberation from siege (By Divina Suson)

HONORED. Government, police, and military officials offer flowers to the heroes' marker inside the headquarters of the Army's 103rd Infantry Brigade n Saturday (Oct. 17,2 2020). They marked another year of Marawi's liberation from the influence of terrorist groups. (PNA photo by Divina M. Suson)

MARAWI CITY – Government, police, and military officials gathered on Saturday to salute and remember some 168 members of the Armed Forced of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) who died fighting against terrorists to regain Marawi City in 2017.

Despite the pandemic, the government is commemorating the third year of the “Liberation of Marawi” from the terrorist influence after a five-month battle that led to the defeat of the Daesh-inspired terrorist Maute group from May to October 2017.

Lt. Gen. Gilbert Gapay, AFP chief of staff, headed the offering of the wreath to the heroes’ wall, where the names of those who gave their lives were mounted inside the camp of the Army’s 103rd Infantry Brigade in Kampo Ranaw.

“I share the honor and glory of every soldier of the AFP in giving our snappiest salute to all our heroes, the sung and the unsung, for all that they have done in the fulfillment of their sworn duties to protect and serve our nation and our people. Their service and their sacrifice is a legacy that will live on forever,” Gapay said during the commemoration program held inside the former main battle area, now referred to by the government as the most affected area (MAA).

City Mayor Majul Gandamara on the other hand expressed his gratitude to the men and women in uniform for not giving up on the Maranao people even after its liberation.

“To the valiant and courageous men and women in uniform, who have fought and even laid down their lives so that the Philippine flag could still fly high above and free in the flagpoles all over Marawi City, we owe it all to you. Three years on, we are still telling your family that your sacrifices have not been in vain,” Gandamara said.

Lanao del Sur Governor Mamintal Alonto Adiong Jr. was represented by the provincial Sangguniang Kabataan president Jeff Adiong, Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) deputy chief minister and Marawi Special Committee chairperson Ali Solaiman, and Task Force Bangon Marawi (TFBM) chairman and Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development Secretary Eduardo Del Rosario were also among those who joined the event.

“The war was over but we have never left Marawi. To date, our soldiers still actively participate in endeavors that pursue peace and development in Marawi. We have not ceased in giving our 100 percent, war or no war,” Gapay said.

Meanwhile, civic organization Marawi Reconstruction Conflict Watch (MRCW), which was formed as an autonomous monitoring group three years ago, said much still needs to be done, as there had been no compensation for the damages to personal properties while thousands remain in shelters and housing projects in dire conditions.

"Our aim was not to condemn nor denounce but to genuinely help out and lobby the government to address salient issues that fuel anger, frustration, and potentially, violence among our people," the group said in a statement.

The group, which was formed to help affected people ensure that the reconstruction and redevelopment of Marawi is inclusive, context-responsive, and sustainable, also said even if some have benefited from what has been achieved so far, the majority has yet to receive substantial help.

"We have been involved in many government legislative and executive processes as resource persons. We have surfaced these issues and lobbied for our people. We have closely watched," the group said.

Despite this, the AFP continues to be a part of government-initiated infrastructure projects by providing the expertise, skills, manpower, and equipment instrumental in the completion of various projects inside the most affected area (MAA).

He said it is one with the TFBM in carrying out measures to hasten the remaining projects so it could meet their respective deadlines amid the pandemic and other challenges.

The military also said it continues to engage with stakeholders who share the same objectives in providing assistance and support to the people of Marawi.

Among the projects outside the MMA are school buildings for displaced Maranao learners.

“We are hopeful to the good the Anti-Terrorism Law will bring. We’ve already lost too many lives, including innocent citizens who are victims of different terrorist acts. With the implementation of this law, we now have better means to defend the nation against threats to our peace,” Gapay said.

Davao reactivates Peace 911 initiative in Paquibato District

From the Philippine News Agency (Oct 18, 2020): Davao reactivates Peace 911 initiative in Paquibato District

DAVAO CITY – The city government announced on Sunday the reactivation of the Peace 911 initiative in Paquibato District before the month ends.

In a statement, the city government said the comprehensive peace-building and development initiative will now be handled by its new program action officer Aileen Mabanding, who committed to delivering the vision of the program.

“After some needed adjustments were done, we are once again out to restart the program,” it said.

The implementation of the initiative was temporarily suspended in August after it encountered challenges that warranted an urgent reevaluation of some of its aspects.

The bringing of government services, such as health and nutrition and other services to far-flung areas of Paquibato District, will also resume.

“With this, we reiterate that the local government is committed to fully deliver the promise of meaningful peace and sustainable development to our indigenous brothers and sisters in Paquibato District,” the statement read.

Formerly a hotbed of the terrorist activities of the New People’s Army (NPA), Paquibato District is now slowly coming out of the depressing condition of poverty and hunger, lack of livelihood, inaccessibility of education, and problematic road network and infrastructure that could stimulate local economic activities.

“This situation has gripped Paquibato District for many years and we want to reverse the condition of the people for the better. The program’s livelihood intervention for the residents —called Peace Economy— will continue after it has already gained an encouraging headway,” it further said.

The statement added the road and bridge projects aligned with the program will also push through and paperwork for these projects is currently being completed.

“Under Peace 911, we also continue to pursue the establishment of the University of Southeastern Philippines (USEP) campus in Malabog as we prioritize the education of the indigenous children living in the area,” it said.

During its launching in 2018, Mayor Sara Z. Duterte said Peace 911 is a human-centered approach to development which directly answers the needs of people in Paquibato District.

Intensified ops vs. illegal drugs, insurgency stay: PRO-3 chief

From the Philippine News Agency (Oct 18, 2020): Intensified ops vs. illegal drugs, insurgency stay: PRO-3 chief (By Jason De Asis)

COMMAND VISIT. Brig. Gen Valeriano de Leon, newly-installed police director of the Police Regional Office 3 (Central Luzon), delivers his message during the command visit in Baler, Aurora on Sunday (Oct. 18, 2020). De Leon asks police personnel in Central Luzon to continue the fight against illegal drugs and communist insurgency. (Photo by Jason de Asis)

BALER, Aurora – Newly-installed Police Regional Office in Central Luzon (PRO-3) regional director Brig. Gen. Valeriano de Leon on Sunday asked the police personnel in Central Luzon “to bring their uniform to greater heights” as they continue the fight against illegal drugs and communist insurgency.

De Leon, in his command visit for stakeholders’ meeting in Barangay Sabang in this town, said the police force in the entire region, under his leadership, will continue their intensified operations against illegal drugs and the fight to end local communist armed conflict being the mandated programs in the Philippine National Police (PNP).

“I am encouraging our police in this province and in the entire region to bring your uniform into greater heights as our stakeholders are continuously supporting us. The role of the members of the advisory council and other stakeholders are our third eyes in maintaining the peace and order in our area of responsibilities,” he said.

De Leon also congratulated provincial director Col. Raul Siriban for maintaining the peace and order and keeping the province as drug cleared.

“Your exemplary accomplishment in maintaining drug free/cleared status is still a challenge to make sure that gain will sustain. Let us continue the fight against criminality,” he said.

De Leon also thanked the local officials from the provincial down to barangay levels for providing support to the PNP mission.

“Our mayors are always there supporting us. Let us sustain our gains, particularly in this province’s fight against illegal drugs,’” he said.

De Leon said no one should stop in terms of drug campaigns and operations.

“I am challenging everyone to improve the quality of our service to the community. Let us transform into a more capable, effective and credible police force,” he added.

Meanwhile, Siriban said the peace and order in the province remains to be manageable and still the lowest in terms of crime incidents as compared to other provinces in Central Luzon.

“The province has no record of identified organized crime groups operating. However, we are confronting the Komiteng Larangang Guerilla (KLG) Sierra Madre from the mountainous town in Nueva Ecija, Aurora and Bulacan. But, it is still manageable,” Siriban said.

He said a total of 24 former rebels and 42 supporters have already surrendered to Aurora Police Provincial Office from January to September this year.

Before the stakeholders’ meeting, the PRO-3 chief conferred awards to 20 deserving police personnel in the province.

Eighteen of them received Medalya ng Papuri while two others were awarded Medalya ng Paglaban sa Manliligalig.

AFP mourns death of MNLF chair Yusop Jikiri

From the Philippine News Agency (Oct 18, 2020): AFP mourns death of MNLF chair Yusop Jikiri (By Priam Nepomuceno)

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) on Sunday said it is mourning with all peace-loving Filipinos following the death of Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) chair Yusop Jikiri.

Jikiri, 69, died of a bone ailment at his residence in Pasil, Indanan, Sulu Saturday night.

"The AFP joins every peace-loving Filipino in mourning the passing away of Yusop Jikiri, the beloved chairman of the Moro National Liberation Front," AFP chief-of-staff Gen. Gilbert Gapay said in a statement on Sunday.

He also called Jikiri's work in the MNLF and Sulu, as one of its former governors and congressional representatives, as instrumental in the forging of a strong partnership between the AFP and MNLF in the quest for peace.

Gapay said this culminated in the realization of the GPH-MNLF Peace Agreement.

"He is one of the strong pillars who advocated trust and respect as key to achieving lasting peace and development not only in the Province of Sulu but of the Bangsamoro," he added.

Gapay said the entire AFP is paying homage to Jikiri's great contribution to attaining peace and understanding in the southern Philippines.

"Ako, sampu ng bawat miyembro ng Sandatahang Lakas ng Pilipinas, ay nagpupugay sa kanyang napakalaking ambag sa kapayapaan at pagkakaunawaan sa Katimugang bahagi ng ating bansa (I, along with members of the AFP, salute his big contribution in achieving peace and understanding in the southern part of our country)," he added.

He also hopes that Jikiri will serve as an inspiration to every Filipino aspiring for peace and prosperity in the country.