Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Farmer attacked, killed inside his home by terrorists

From the Manila Bulletin (Oct 29, 2020): Farmer attacked, killed inside his home by terrorists (By Liezle Basa Iñigo)

CAGAYAN — A band of terrorists killed a farmer inside his residence in Barangay Isca, Gonzaga here on Wednesday.


The victim was identified as Freddie Pahicniyon, 34, a native of Banaue, Ifugao and resident of Purok 7, Barangay Isca, Gonzaga, Cagayan.

Investigators said that at about 5:15 a.m. on Wednesday, at least 10 unidentified terrorists in camouflage uniforms barged into the house of the victim and shot him several times causing his instantaneous death.

The suspects fled towards Sitio Tagcar of Brgy. Isca, Gonzaga, Cagayan.

Police Regional Office 2 (PRO2) Regional Director Police Brigadier General Crizaldo O Nieves said the murderous act of the Communist Terrorist Group is proof of their criminal nature and total disregard for the life and rights of other people.

“I urge the public to deny support to these lawless groups and to immediately report to the authorities their presence in the community to prevent them from disturbing the peace and order in the region,” he added.

Nieves assured the family of the slain farmer that they will hunt down the perpetrators and have them face the full force of the law.

He directed Cagayan Philippine National Police Provincial Director Col. Ariel N Quilang to conduct a thorough investigation and manhunt operation for the identification and immediate arrest of the perpetrators.

“They are no different from ordinary criminals. Hence, treat them as such,” Nieves said.

Abu Sayyaf member arrested, sub-leader escapes

From Malaya Business Insight (Oct 29, 2020): Abu Sayyaf member arrested, sub-leader escapes (By Victor Reyes)

A MEMBER of the terrorist Abu Sayyaf group involved in a recent kidnapping of a Filipino-American farmer was arrested Tuesday in Zamboanga City while his immediate superior, Abu Sayyaf sub-leader Injam Yadah, evaded arrest.

Maj. Ronaldo Lumactod, spokesman of the PNP Anti-Kidnapping Group (AKG), identified the arrested bandit as Anerson Tungayao, a resident of Barangay Tapanaya in Sirawai, Zamboanga del Norte.

Lumactod said Tungayao was nabbed by AKG operatives, backed by other police and military units, at around 5:30 p.m. Tuesday at the shoreline of Barangay Arena Blanco.

He said Tungayao and Yadah were spotted by the government troops in the area “preparing for possible kidnapping operation and seen armed with high-powered firearms.”

Lumactod said Tungayao was cornered and subsequently arrested by the troops but Yadah, who he said was the primary target of the operation, managed to evade arrest.

AKG director Brig. Gen. Jonnel Estomo said Tungayao and Yadah were behind the September 16 kidnapping of Filipino-American farmer Rex Triplitt in Barangay Tapanayan, Sirawai. Triplitt’s wife was able to escape and reported the incident to authorities.

Triplitt was rescued by joint military and police forces after a brief firefight with his Abu Sayyaf captors in Barangay Pisa Itom, also in Sirawai on September 30. No one was hurt in the encounter.

Estomo said Tungayao’s arrest foiled a planned kidnapping of the Abu Sayyaf.

Estomo said the Abu Sayyaf members usually disguise themselves as construction workers when they kidnap and extort money from victims, who are mostly local businessmen in the Zamboanga Peninsula area.

Troops clash with Abu Sayyaf bandits in Sulu; war materials, documents seized

From GMA News (Oct 29, 2020): Troops clash with Abu Sayyaf bandits in Sulu; war materials, documents seized (By ANNA FELICIA BAJO)

An encounter between government troops and Abu Sayyaf bandits in Indanan, Sulu, on Wednesday afternoon resulted in the recovery of war materials, including weapons, the military said Thursday.

Among those recovered by government security forces were two M14 rifles, three hammocks, two pairs of combat boots, two backpacks, and photocopies of passports allegedly owned by two Indonesians.

The gun battle with more or less 15 local terrorists believed to be under Mundi Sawadjaan and Radulan Sahiron lasted for 20 minutes, the military said.

Lieutenant General Corleto Vinluan Jr., commander of the military's Western Mindanao Command, said no casualties were reported from the government side but noted that the Abu Sayyaf group sustained an undetermined number of casualties. Hot pursuit operation is ongoing to arrest the bandits.

Vinluan also said the documents containing high intelligence value would be subjected to a thorough probe, which can help in the military's campaign to eradicate activities of local and foreign terrorists.

Colonel Antonio Bautista, commander of the 1101st Infantry Brigade, said the military deployed additional troops to establish blockades in the possible routes of the local terrorists.

Meanwhile, Joint Task Force Sulu chief Major General William Gonzales hailed the troops for their unrelenting efforts to eliminate the Abu Sayyaf group.

"Our troops are currently pursuing these terrorists. We have the manpower, we have the war assets, and we have the people of Sulu rallying behind us," he said.

"They give tip-offs and they forbid ASG presence in their communities. The Tausugs are very confident and they are not afraid as they themselves are volunteering to confront terrorists," he added.

The military continues to hunt Sawadjaan, the alleged mastermind of bombing attacks in Sulu province, including the twin blasts in Jolo that claimed the lives of at least 15 people in August.

On September 22, government troops seized a suspected lair of Sawadjaan in Indanan where some personal belongings as well as food were recovered.

Sawadjaan's cousin, identified as Arsibar Sawadjaan, was killed during an encounter in Patikul early this month. He was also a sub-leader and bomb-maker of the Abu Sayyaf group, according to the military.

Meanwhile, Sawadjaan's alleged assistant, Hashim Saripada, was nabbed by authorities in Zamboanga City last month.

Troops recover NPA arms cache in Zambo Norte

From the Philippine News Agency (Oct 29): Troops recover NPA arms cache in Zambo Norte (By Teofilo Garcia, Jr.)

RECOVERED. Troops belonging to the Army's 44th Infantry Battalion recover on Wednesday (Oct. 28, 2020) an arms cache containing five M-16 Armalite rifle, one Carbine rifle, and other war materiel of the communist New People's Army in Sitio Palos, Barangay Santo Niño, Gutalac, Zamboanga del Norte. The recovery was made possible through information shared by former rebels who had surrendered. (Photo courtesy of the 44th Infantry Battalion)

Government troops recovered Wednesday an arms cache and other war materiel of the communist New People’s Army (NPA) terrorists in the hinterlands of Zamboanga del Norte, a military official said.

Lt. Col. Don Templonuevo, commander of the Army's 44th Infantry Battalion, said the recovery of the firearms that
include five M-16 Armalite rifles and one M1 .30-caliber Carbine rifle was the result of the information provided by former NPA combatants who had earlier surrendered to the government.

Also recovered in Barangay Santo Niño, Gutalac, Zamboanga del Norte, were various types of munition, a cellular phone, medicines, medical and dental equipment, and other belongings.

“The troops were able to gain the complete trust and confidence of high-ranking officials of Guerrilla Front Feliciano 'A', Western Mindanao Regional Party Committee, who surrendered to the unit," Templonuevo said.

“During the conduct of custodial debriefing, these former rebels voluntarily relayed the information of the location of the arms cache,” he added.

Brig. Gen. Leonel Nicolas, commander of the 102nd Infantry Brigade, assured the former rebels who provided the information that they would receive remuneration under the government's Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program.

3 BIFF members yield to Army

From the Philippine News Agency (Oct 28, 2020): 3 BIFF members yield to Army (By Edwin Fernandez)

PURSUING PEACEFUL LIVES. Lt. Col. Glenn Caballero (left), the Army’s 34th Infantry Battalion commander, and Mayor Ramil Dilangalen of Northern Kabuntalan, Maguindanao (right), flash the peace sign together with three members of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters who yielded to military authorities in Midsayap, North Cotabato on Tuesday (Oct. 27, 2020). The surrenderers said they want to live normal lives after realizing that they were fighting for a futile cause. (Photo courtesy of 34IB)

Three members of the Islamic State-inspired Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) have surrendered to military authorities in North Cotabato, the commander of the Army’s 6th Infantry Division said.

“The surrenderers complained that they were duped in(to) joining a lost cause and an extremely wrong advocacy,”
Maj. Gen. Juvymax Uy said.

The surrenderers, all members of the BIFF under Commander Mando Mamalumping alias Commander DM,
voluntarily yielded on Tuesday afternoon to the Army’s 34th Infantry Battalion (34IB) based in Barangay Salunayan, Midsayap, North Cotabato.

“The Moro bandits were operating in the peripheries of Midsayap town and neighboring Northern Kabuntalan municipality in Maguindanao province,”
Lt. Col. Glenn Caballero, the 34IB commander, said in a separate interview on Wednesday.

Caballero lauded Mayor Ramil Dilangalen of Northern Kabuntalan for facilitating the surrender of the three, whose identities were withheld for security reasons.

“Live a peaceful and progressive life together with your families,” he told the returnees who also turned over a Barrett .50-caliber sniper rifle, an M-14 sniper rifle, and ammunition.

In a recorded message, one of the surrenderers said he was excited to return to their respective families.

“We have not seen our families since the start of the pandemic,” one of the three said in the vernacular.

The provincial government of Maguindanao is set to provide them with initial livelihood assistance.

Esperon slams calls for dismantling the NTF-ELCAC

From the Manila Bulletin (Oct 27, 2020): Esperon slams calls for dismantling the NTF-ELCAC (By Martin Sadongdong)

National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr. on Tuesday lambasted Left-leaning lawmakers and organizations who want the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) to be dismantled after one of its officials was accused of red-tagging.


“In the strongest terms, I denounce the personalities that claim to be ‘progressive’ and are calling for the dismantling of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict,” Esperon, who also serves as the vice chairman of the anti-communist task force, said in a statement.

Aside from this, Esperon also hit back at the task force’s critics who want to defund the Barangay Development Program (BDP), a counter-insurgency plan which aims to deliver various government programs in conflict-afflicted and geographically isolated areas that are freed from the influence of the Communist Party of the Philippines and the New People’s Army (CPP-NPA).

Calls for the dismantling of the NTF-ELCAC originated from Bayan Muna Partylist Reps. Carlos Zarate and Ferdinand Gaite last week.

They want the anti-communist task force to be dissolved after one of its spokespersons, Lieutenant General Antonio Parlade Jr., was embroiled in a red-tagging controversy involving some celebrities.

“We have here a task force that is only spreading lies, disinformation, and fake news that would be funded by around P19 billion of taxpayers’ money that could have been allocated to fighting the COVID-19 pandemic, give aid to those left jobless by the pandemic, and help our agriculture,” said Zarate.

“Why waste hard-earned money on this fake news agency and just dismantle it?” he added.

But Esperon rebutted Zarate and Gaite as he explained that the NTF-ELCAC follows a two-track strategic framework to accomplish their mission of eradicating communist insurgency.

He said the first track focuses on the political, economic, and socio-cultural impact of NPA rebellion to address the primary issues and root causes of insurgency and the development of strong institutions in the communities.

He said part of the NTF-ELCAC’s proposed P19-billion fund for 2021 will be used to build and provide farm-to-market roads, school buildings, water and sanitation system, national greening program, health stations, electrification, crops, livestock and fisheries, interconnectivity, and livelihood and skills trainings in 822 NPA-cleared barangays under the Barangay Development Program.

On the other hand, he said that the second track tackles peace engagement, law enforcement, and military tactics to invite communist rebels to return to the fold of the law, delegitimize insurgents, and conduct sustained military operations against the CPP-NPA.

“We, in the NTF-ELCAC, do not stand in the way of advocacies for the rights of vulnerable sectors. In fact, these are exactly what we want for our society — the opportunity for women to be heard, to protect our children from armed conflict, to provide sustainable development solutions to poverty and the health crisis,” Esperon emphasized.

“This BDP belies the accusation of Congressman Zarate that the task force is only for ‘spreading lies, disinformation, and fake news’ that would be funded with P19 billion. The impact of COVID-19 pandemic, in fact, magnifies the urgency of delivering these initiatives to the communities,” he said.

The controversy stemmed from Lt. Gen. Antonio Parlade’s warning to actress Liza Soberano to distance herself from Gabriela Women’s Party, a progressive group advocating for women’s rights.

Soberano participated in an online forum organized by the Gabriela’s youth sector, which was linked by Parlade to the CPP-NPA. The group has denied the military general’s allegation, although many former Gabriela youth members had been killed in encounters, fighting on the side of the NPA rebels.

Parlade also issued the same warning to Miss Universe 2018 Catriona Gray, while accusing actress Angel Locsin and her sister, Angela “Ella” Colmenares, and their uncle, former Bayan Muna Partylist Rep. Neri Colmenares, of ties to the underground movement. They all denied these claims, even as General Parlade, commander of the AFP Southern Luzon Command, cited evidence that Ella had joined the NPA on Polillo Island, Quezon and returned only to legal life when she gave birth.

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana had cautioned Parlade from accusing any individual of ties to communist groups unless he has a solid evidence.

Meanwhile, Jose Maria “Joma” Sison, founding chairman of the CPP, criticized Parlade and Lorenzana for supposedly branding activists and advocates as “terrorists.”

“In their excessive zeal to witch hunt and red-tag legal democratic organizations and personalities, Lorenzana and Parlade exposed their ignorance of the NDFP [National Democratic Front of the Philippines] table of organizations,” Sison said.

Sison said Parlade, Lorenzana, and the rest of the NTF-ELCAC are bent on using the rule of “guilt by association” under the “catch-all pretext of anti-terrorism” to “incriminate any person in any kind of criminal offense while doing away with the principle of due process.

Army-NPA clash displaces more than 200 people in Matalam, Cotabato

From GMA News (Oct 28, 2020): Army-NPA clash displaces more than 200 people in Matalam, Cotabato (By WILLIAMOR MAGBANUA)

KIDAPAWAN CITY — At least 51 families or 255 individuals have fled their homes in a remote barangay in Matalam, Cotabato as the Army troops and New People’s Army guerrillas clashed over the weekend.

Soldiers claimed that an insurgent was killed in the firefight.

Brigadier General Roberto Capulong, 602nd Brigade commander, said the troops were on foot patrol in Barangay Arakan's Sitio Rudson when the rebels fired at them, triggering a gun battle.

Government troops recovered an M16 rifle, live ammunition, two mobile phones and several subversive documents.

Barangay Arakan chairman Haron Mantawil said the evacuees --temporarily in the brangay covered court --need mats, mosquito nets, water and food, including hygiene.

Mantawil said the villagers are still afraid to return home as tension remains high because the army are still doing pursuit operations against the NPA rebels.

“We are still waiting for a go signal from the authorities when will be safe to go home,” Mantawil said.

North Cotabato Governor Nancy Catamco, visited the displace families and distributed food packs and sacks of rice for the evacuees.

“What we want is a peace of mind of our people. We urge both the military and the rebels to spare the civilians from any harm,” the governor appealed.

Opinion: We need more Parlades, Badoys to defeat the insurgency

Opinion piece posted to the Manila Times (Oct 28, 2020): We need more Parlades, Badoys to defeat the insurgency (By Rigoberto D. Tiglao)

I AM referring to Lt. Gen. Antonio Parlade, the chief of the Southern Luzon Command. He is also the spokesman of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-Elcac), created by President Duterte in 2018 under Executive Order No 70. Going by its performance these past two years, this body could be in our history as the spear of the nation that finally took down, after 50 years, the scourge that is the communist insurgency.

Badoy is Undersecretary Lorraine Marie T. Badoy of the Presidential Communications Operations Office assigned to the task force.

Both have been bold in calling a spade a spade, tearing down the many masks Communist Party insurgents have been using for decades to fool the idealistic youth, shanghaiing them to join a movement which — as proven in the case of dozens of my former comrades — only lead to pathetic wasted lives, death in some forgotten jungle or expiration in a charity hospital ward from some disease that afflicts the elderly or the malnourished.

Such useless suffering while their leader Jose Ma. Sison has been living for 34 years now in bourgeois comfort and even luxury in the Netherlands, even dreaming of being the leader of an international communist movement, and writing eulogies for his comrades, that atheist weirdly hinting that they will be in some proletarian heaven.

I spent a good part of my youth as a cadre of the Communist Party of the Philippines, heading in the early years its Manila-Rizal organization in Manila-Rizal then, its most advanced formation at that time. As a reporter, and would-be (but failed) academic, I have closely observed and studied the growth and demise of the communist movement.

Never, I mean not even during martial law, were there Parlades and Badoys engaging the communists in what has turned out to be the most important aspect of the war against the insurgency: the ideological and propaganda battlefield.


Of course there were several nemeses of the communist movement, but they were all in the military aspect of the anti-insurgent war. They never spoke in public, their photos never in the media that you wouldn’t have heard of them, among them: Maj. Miguel Aure of the 5th Constabulary Security Unit (which captured me and later Jose Ma. Sison, renegade Philippine Constabulary lieutenant Victor Corpus and the New People’s Army head Kumander Dante); the legendary Col. Boogie Mendoza, also of the 5th CSU; and Maj. Arcega of the Intelligence Service of the Armed Forces of the Philippines.

A communist front so livid over Parlade. From communist party website

There were no Parlades and Badoys at that period courageously speaking and unmasking the communists in our midst, their organizations, and undertaking counter-propaganda against them, pointing out — as the two have been doing now — that the youth fooled by their front organizations joining the NPA have only ended up as corpses in battles with the obviously more well-trained and better armed Army.

The National Intelligence Coordinating Agency is, I would think, the organization with the most expertise on the communist insurgency and with the capacity to track down and hunt their cadres. Have you ever heard of any NICA official in any administration speak against the communists? For that matter, have you ever heard of a Philippine National Police regional or provincial director in an area so infested with the NPA publicly speak against the Reds? Before Parlade, was there any Army official so vocal — and articulate — in condemning the insurgency?

There is one important reason that the likes of Parlade and Badoy are so rare. Military men retire at 56, and most — despite the common notion — aren’t rich that they could retire, and they therefore have to eke out a living.


At least in the 1980s, the communists had a deadly assassination squad, the Alex Boncayao Brigade, which proved their expertise when they assassinated intelligence officer Rolando Abadilla in 1996, even if he was already retired at the time.

Why would a military man prefer having to always look behind his shoulder, and spend money on bodyguards which he may have to do if he became known for condemning the communists?

Even the media has been either so scared of, enamored by, or sympathetic to the insurgency that I haven’t read an investigative piece or watched a TV documentary exposing the NPA’s atrocities and its record of killing our soldiers and police.

By his press remarks practically asking Parlade to stand down, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana is demonstrating this kind of faint-hearted don’t-bash-the-communists attitude– that has allowed the communists’ network of fronts to flourish — is still very much alive in the defense establishment.

Parlade, sworn to defend the Republic as a military officer, and Badoy, also sworn to do her duty as a civil servant assigned to the task force, wouldn’t be doing their jobs if they didn’t point out that Filipinos, especially the youth, should be aware, and very wary, of Gabriela and nearly a hundred organizations that the CPP founder Sison himself unwittingly had identified as the fronts of or controlled by the party when he listed these as members of his International League of People’s Struggles, his failed attempt to found an international communist movement. (See my column “Sison, with his huge ego, red-tagged his communist fronts long ago,” The Manila Times, Sept. 14, 2020.)

These are communist fronts that exploit the youth’s idealism or the plight of aggrieved sectors to advance their propaganda agenda of demonizing the government as an oppressive one. The party’s other aim is to gradually convince these recruits to join the Communist Party and the NPA. The track record of the communist front Kilusang Mayo Uno is very instructive: Pretending to be trade unionists, party cadres encouraged workers to undertake strikes for higher pay, and to refuse any agreement with the capitalists. The results have been violent clashes in the picket line or workers thrown out of their jobs — and therefore easy recruits to the NPA. Alex Boncayao for instance was a labor leader at the infamous La Tondeña strike.


The claim that that silly actress and beauty queen were simply “exercising their constitutional right to free expression” that Parlade shouldn’t have questioned them is so 1950s hogwash. Parlade wouldn’t have cared if the two blabbered that communism is the best system for us, and that the NPA are freedom fighters.

But these two were praising Gabriela, the CPP’s most successful front organization, and it was Parlade’s duty and task to unmask this organization. I’ve seen this before. The party’s first women’s organization, the Makibaka, had a boost in their ranks when Gemma Cruz Araneta told the media that she was proud to be a member of it. Nearly everyone in the underground probably wanted to be assigned to the same unit that the late Maita Gomez and Nelia Sancho were.

The party knew the power of “celebrity-endorsement” even before professional admen did. There was a huge crowd of poor rural folk that assembled (which made us worry over security) when we brought the folk singer Sampaguita to an old Huk base in Nueva Ecija. We petty bourgeois in the city do not realize that the poor rural folk see a movie star as a goddess, her words the word of a deity.

The most insane argument over this issue of Parlade’s “red-tagging” of these organizations is of the same genre that Jews were “tagged” as an inferior race by the Nazis, or minority tribes as automatically pariahs by the majority, ruling tribes in an African nation.

The military concludes that certain organizations were set up or linked to the Communist Party, not people of a certain ethnicity. And they have identified these organizations as such not just by mere analysis, but by the testimony of defecting party members who were members or even leaders of these.

If these organizations aren’t so, they could deny outright that they have links to the Communist Party, and that they condemn its armed insurgency and its atrocities — as Badoy asked the communist minor minion Teddy Casiño to do, which of course he didn’t.

Creating front organizations has been Sison’s most successful tactic in advancing his bloody cause. He stumbled on this tack when the old Soviet-influenced Partido Komunista ng Pilipinas, which he initially belonged to, set up organizations it obviously controlled such as the Socialist Party of the Philippines, which didn’t go far. While in Indonesia in the 1960s getting revolutionary tips from the Partai Komunis Indonesia, Sison saw the folly — the huge tragedy — of an open or aboveground communist party, which was so easily identified and massacred by the hundreds of thousands by the Suharto regime.

Mass organizations

Instead of openly communist cells, Sison instead ordered his cadres to organize what he called “mass organizations” in which there is a secret “party group” or “party branch” controlling them. There are nearly a hundred of these “mass organizations”, one each for nearly all sectors of Philippine society, as shown in the list of members of Sison’s International League of People’s Struggles accompanying this column. These are also fund-raising vehicles for Sison, both through the $150 membership fees he collects from each, or through funds meant to finance these organizations but are siphoned off to him.

Indeed, Sison even managed to convince President Cory Aquino to order her minions to adopt a provision in the 1987 Constitution — the party-list system — that eventually allowed him to install in the current Congress seven of his cadres, who get hundreds of millions of pesos from us taxpayers, a portion of which is used by the NPA to destroy our democratic system.

Would I as an idealistic youth wanting to change the country have joined the Kabataang Makabayan, which was Sison’s main attempt to organize the youth, if he had instead named it “Communist Youth League”?

The communist movement is no longer mainly a military one, as the NPA has lost its 1980s strength. This is due to the fact that its sources of funds — money from loggers in the 1970s, miners and robberies in the 1980s and 1990s, and cellphone companies in the 2000s has dried up or is fast drying up. Its working-class and peasant base has also all but been dismantled.

It has become mainly a propaganda party, with its numerous fronts providing for the employment of its aging cadres, no longer fit nor willing to be in the armed struggle, but mainly – as Parlade and Badoy have been exposing — NPA recruitment centers for the youth who, tragically with very little military training, are killed in firefights with the Army in just months and years, the party’s offering to the altar of proletarian revolution.

Parlade and Badoy are in the forefront of our dream to finally end after 50 years this insane insurgency, and we need more like them. I salute their patriotism. The nation should too.

Facebook: Rigoberto Tiglao
Twitter: @bobitiglao
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7 NPAs surrender to Angeles cops

From the Manila Standard (Oct 27, 2020): 7 NPAs surrender to Angeles cops (By Jess Malabanan)

Angeles City—A seven-man team of suspected communist guerillas were forced to surrender to police authorities, citing difficulties and tired of running away from military operations while in the underground, a top police officer said Monday.

Police Colonel Joyce Patrick Sangalang, director of the Angeles City Police Office (ACPO), said the group were members of the Milisyang Bayan under Kilusan Larangan Gerilya Front 1 operating in the tri-boundaries of Tarlac, Zambales and Pampanga provinces.

The surrenderees, whose names were not mentioned in the report, were subjected to tactical interrogation by the police shortly after they took their oath of allegiance held at the ACPO covered court at Barangay Sto. Domingo here. Jess Malabanan

“They surrendered without their firearms,” said Sangalang as he encouraged the former rebels to seriously consider the program being offered by the government for them under the Regional Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict.

Sangalang said reports noted some members of the Communist-lead New People’s Army (NPA) spent their rest and recreation in Angeles City being a part of the “White Area Committee” of the CPP-NPA.

He said the surrenderres are the same group operating in the upland of Barangay Sapang Bato in this city and nearby areas in Porac and Floridablanca towns in Pampanga and in Bamban, Capas municipalities in Tarlac province.

A filler was sent to ACPO for the formal surrender of the rebels, said Sangalang.

Last Friday, a member of indigenous people’s community in Angeles returned to the fold after he formally took his oath of allegiance to Central Luzon police director BGen. Valeriano Templo De Leon during Command Visit here at Camp Tomas Pepito, the home of ACPO.

De Leon said the surrender of communist guerillas only showed that the government is sincere in its quest for lasting peace not only in the countryside but in the entire country.

“This is also in line with the nine-point agenda of Police Chief PGen. Pancratius Cascolan which is the Bayanihan Spirit and the Community Service Oriented Policing for stronger partnership and active engagement with communities in ensuring peace and order and to sustain the gains against crime and violence with maximizing police visibility in areas,” he added.

Making Peace in Deeply Divided Societies: the Case of Mindanao in the southern Philippines

Posted to the Small Wars Journal (Oct 26, 2020): Making Peace in Deeply Divided Societies: the Case of Mindanao in the southern Philippines (Jose Mikhail Perez)


Last 21 January 2019, the provinces that make up the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) voted in favor of creating a new autonomous region known as the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) with a huge turnout of 87.8% (1.738 million voters). Almost 89% (89.57%) from the total number of voters voted yes in the creation of a new autonomous region to be carved out in the southernmost island of Mindanao in the Philippines (Rivelli, 2020). Despite threats from Islamic extremists to stall the plebiscite, the overwhelming result finally secured the end of the civil war between the Christian-dominated Filipino government in Manila and the Moro Muslims in Mindanao who once sought independence from the Philippines. This conflict has plagued the southern Philippines for almost three decades, resulting in the deaths of 120,000 lives and the displacement of almost two million people (Lara and Champain, 2009).

In this article, our goal is to explain the factors why making peace in ethnically-divided societies, such as Mindanao, are often hard to secure. The primary argument that this article proposes is that the settlement of peace processes in ethnically divided societies are more likely to experience more cycles of violence during peace transitions. This argument is based from the various studies on ethnic conflicts after the Cold War where peaceful transitions in heterogeneous societies are more prone to interethnic violence while undergoing democratization (Snyder, 2000; Gurr, 2002; Coakley, 2009).

This article is structured as follows. First, the origins and history of the Mindanao conflict will be briefly discussed. Second, the various efforts of the Philippine government to end the conflict will be scrutinized. Third, the challenges of violent extremism by Islamic jihadists are explained in order to provide a bigger picture of the conflict’s intractability. Fourth, the exclusionary politics between the three dominant ethnic groups in Mindanao: Christian settlers, Moro Muslims, and the indigenous people (Lumads), will be analyzed in the context of the ‘tri-people’ ethos that resulted in the creation of the BARMM. Lastly, the challenges brought by the creation of a self-ruling government in the southern Philippines will be analyzed in order to provide policy solutions in the future of resolving ethnic conflicts in Southeast Asia. A conclusion will then highlight the salient points discussed in the article.

A Brief History of the Mindanao Insurgency

Geographically speaking, Mindanao is the second largest island group in the Philippines. With an area of almost 97,530 square kilometers, 70% of its inhabitants identify themselves as Christian while 24% identify themselves as Muslim (Philippine Census 2000, as cited in Philippine Statistics Authority, 2005).

The indigenous Muslim of population, or the Moros, are historically at a disadvantage in Philippine politics since they have experienced higher levels of poverty from the rest of the Philippines despite the fact that their region produces a significant amount of natural resources (Walter, 2009). The Moros are the overwhelming majority in the BARMM provinces of Basilan, Lanao del Sur, Maguindanao, Sulu, Tawi-tawi and Cotabato City. Despite their common Islamic heritage, they are divided into 13 various ethnolinguistic groups with the Maranaos, Maguindanaos, and Tausugs as the predominant groups who altogether make up 66% of the Moro population (Coronel-Ferrer, 2012). Both the Maranao and Maguindanao people hail from the Lanao and Maguindanao provinces in central Mindanao while the Tausug people currently inhabit the Sulu archipelago. At present, the Moros only comprise roughly 5-6% of the entire Philippine population (Philippine Census, 2000).

Within Mindanao, the presence of various non-Muslim indigenous people have coexisted with the Moros prior to the arrival of Western colonizers and Christian settlers (Paredes, 2015). Collectively known as the Lumads, they have continued to practice their pre-Islamic and pre-Christianity beliefs and traditions in order to distinguish themselves from the Moros and eventually the Christian settlers who have settled in Mindanao. According to Coronel-Ferrer (2012), the Lumads are scattered in the various provinces of Muslim Mindanao with Maguindanao having the highest numbers, where most of them belong to the Teduray ethnolinguistic group. At present, the newly enacted Bangsamoro Organic Law (R.A. 11054) also recognizes the existence of other Lumad ethnolinguistic groups in the Bangsamoro such as the Lambiangan, Dulangan Manobo, Blaan, and Higaonon ethnolinguistic groups.

The history of the Mindanao conflict is rooted in historical and political causes. Initially, the Moro identity was born out of the colonial consciousness against Spanish rule who wanted to convert the natives to Christianity. According to Frake (1997), the Spaniards used the term Moro as a terrorist label to the Filipino Muslims by giving them the exact name of their Muslim enemies in Spain. For this reason, Buendia (2006) suggests that the exclusionary politics of the Spanish and American colonizers, and now the post-colonial ‘Filipino-run state’ to ‘divide and conquer’ the natives led to the belief among the Moros that they have never been a part of the Philippines and that their struggle is a continuation of their ancestors’ war for independence.

Under American colonial rule, the Americans have implemented a benevolent assimilation policy in subjugating the Moros. However, they were still unsuccessful in assimilating them and other indigenous people under the Philippine colonial government (Rodil, 1994; Paredes, 2015). This transfer of power from the Spaniards to the Americans resulted in the Moro rebellion from 1899-1913 with a humiliating defeat on the part of the Moros.

Moro nationalism was again revived during the Marcos dictatorship when about 28 Muslim military trainees in Corregidor were summarily executed (Buendia, 2006). This massacre eventually became known as the Jabidah Massacre that inflamed ethnic hatreds between Christians and Muslims in the 1960s and 1970s. Furthermore, the imposition of martial law by the Marcos administration in order to quell the Moro rebellion further mobilized the various Moro groups in demanding secession from the Philippines through violent means.

In 1971, the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) was established under Nur Misuari and Hashim Salamat, who both left the Bangsamoro Liberation Organization (BMLO) since both of them believed that the MNLF should be a nationalist and secular revolutionary organization, not Islamic (Buendia, 2006). Hence, MNLF leaders sought to renounce their Filipino-Muslim identity and reclaim their Moro identity as descendants of ‘unsubjugated’ or ‘uncolonized’ peoples. Misuari (1986) as cited in Frake (1997) said:

‘From this very moment there shall be no stressing the fact that one is a Tausug, a Samal, a Yakan, a Subanon, a Kalagan, a Magindanao, a Maranao, or a Badjao. He is only a Moro’.

On 23 December 1976, the Philippine government and the MNLF signed the Tripoli Agreement that sought for the creation of an autonomous region in Mindanao that included thirteen provinces and nine cities (Walter, 2009). However, the implementation of the said agreement proved to be unsuccessful. Under the treaty, the agreement would only be implemented if a majority of the citizens living in the thirteen provinces voted in favor of the terms. Unfortunately, only five out of the thirteen provinces voted in favor that resulted in the creation of the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) in 1989.

Nonetheless, the fulfilment of the Tripoli Agreement was only realized under the Ramos administration in 1996 when the GRP-MNLF Final Peace Agreement (FPA) was signed. Under the agreement, Nur Misuari became governor of the ARMM and chairman of the Southern Philippines Council for Peace and Development (SPCPD). However, the establishment of the ARMM was fraught with several problems such as bureaucratic inefficiency, dominance of ethnic groups in regional governance, and weak institutions in tax collection and state-building (Abinales & Amoroso, 2005). Thus, this has only created more problems than solutions under the leadership of the MNLF.

On the other hand, ideological and political differences between Nur Misuari and Hashim Salamat forced the latter to form a rival revolutionary organization that wanted secession of the Bangsamoro from the Philippine state. In 1984, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) was established as a response to the acceptance of the MNLF to the government’s offer of semi-autonomy, in which the MILF is strongly opposed against it. Despite several decades of armed insurgency, the MILF finally withdrew their claim for independence in 2011 upon the signing of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) under the Benigno Aquino III administration that sought to establish a sub-state in the southern Philippines, thus, elevating the status of the ARMM into the BARMM today.

Government Measures in Securing the Peace

The various peace agreements signed between the Philippine government and the various Moro armed groups are what Walter (2009) describes as a case of ‘reputation-building’ where states evaluate their decisions to negotiate with separatist groups in order to prevent more conflicts in the future. Self-determination disputes represent a set of cases for governments to pursue war as a rational strategy because it provides credible information about future intent (Walter, 2009). Applying this to the Philippine context, interethnic violence between government and Moro rebel groups do not often end upon the signing of peace agreements since their implementation is not often credible. Rather, most Philippine presidents offer self-governing autonomy to the armed Moro groups, not independence, in order not to compromise the territorial sovereignty of the Philippines. Their decisions are often influenced by the approval of the Christian majority in order to secure political capital for the next elections. As Jarstad (2009) has observed, most peace agreements are analyzed in terms of the power sharing agreements, without analyzing if the said provisions in the agreements are actually implemented. In her study, only seven from the twelve cases of peace agreements that she studied have actually implemented their power-sharing arrangements. Thus, this raises the concern that peace agreements may only be good on paper but bad in actual practice.

As mentioned earlier, the Philippine government has only offered two options for the Moros: (1) autonomy/self-governance; and (2) a sub-state solution. Both options are far from the initial goals of both MNLF and MILF on securing independence to all Filipino Muslims. However, Coronel-Ferrer (2012) suggests the institutionalization of both power-sharing and power-dividing measures in order to address the problem of lower political participation among ethnic groups in war-torn societies. This concern will be discussed further in the succeeding chapters.

The Threat of Radical Islamism

After the US declared the War on Terror after the 9/11 attacks, the Philippines also launched its own counterinsurgency programs against the rise of violent extremist groups in Mindanao. One of the most prominent extremist groups in the region is the Abu Sayyaf Group (literally means sword of the father in Arabic) with various strongholds in the provinces of Basilan and Sulu (Frake, 1997). The group was established by Abdurajak Abubakar Janjalani in expressing opposition to the MNLF and MILF peace processes in the 1990s. Over time, the goals of the Abu Sayyaf appear to have vacillated between criminal objectives and ideological intent due to their methods of gaining attention to the government and media (US State Department, 2012). At present, the group has gained a notorious reputation for carrying out suicide bombings, kidnappings, and extortion (Banlaoi, 2005; Hart, 2019).

Another extremist group in the Mindanao conflict is the Maute group with a stronghold in the province of Lanao del Sur (Terrorism Research & Analysis Consortium, 2020). This group is responsible for the Marawi siege, also known as the longest urban battle in Philippine history that caused the deaths of more than 1,000 people and 400,000 people displaced from their homes (Agence France-Presse, 2017). According to official government reports, after the Maute group’s defeat in the Marawi crisis, the Philippine government will need $1.1 billion to rebuild the city (Lorenzana, 2017 as cited in Agence France-Presse, 2017).

Contemporary global trends presently shape the future of violent extremism in Mindanao. The rise of Islamic fundamentalism has attracted foreign fighters to join the cause in promoting an Islamic ‘caliphate’ in the southern Philippines. Both the ASG and Maute group have pledged allegiance to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) where they have conducted terrorist activities like suicide bombings and kidnapping for ransom in the name of ISIL (Hart, 2019).

Exclusionary Politics in the Bangsamoro

As mentioned earlier, the current Bangsamoro regional government operates on both power-sharing and power-dividing approaches. Power-sharing mechanisms provide the consociationalism backdrop for autonomous regions in order to provide substantial representation and guarantees for ethnic minorities through measures like territorial decentralization, proportional representation of government positions, and decision rights to minority ethnic groups (Coronel-Ferrer, 2012).

On the other hand, power-dividing mechanisms such as multiple majorities and check and balance mechanisms among the various decision-making bodies are created in order to create multiethnic political parties who are accountable to their constituents (Coronel-Ferrer, 2012). Both mechanisms are provided in the creation of autonomous governments to raise the prospects of national unity among previously ethnically diverse groups.

However, Paredes (2015) laments the current setup of the Bangsamoro regional government as ‘Moro-dominated’. Citing Mohagher Iqbal, the former MILF chief negotiator in the GRP-MILF peace process, the relationship between Moros and the other indigenous groups are often based on the notion of the political superiority of the Moros in the peace process. Using a pseudonym (Jubair), Iqbal (2007) as cited in Paredes (2015) argues:

‘The MILF does not deny Lumads the right to their own ancestral domain, but argues that their fate is inseparable because of history. It is their destiny to be the ‘small or younger brother’ of the Moros, who will protect them.’

Nevertheless, in spite of the unique ‘tri-people’ approach in the Bangsamoro where Christians, Moros, and Lumads coexist; the conditions of latter remain unchanged due to bureaucratic neglect, political superiority of the Moros, state favoritism to Christian settlers, and constant marginalization of the Lumads in their ancestral domain (Paredes, 2015). Moreover, this fragile peace is further complicated by the Lumad’s marginalization of the peace process that make them vulnerable to recruitment by state and non-state armed groups (Coronel-Ferrer, 2013).

According to Alamon (2017), the recruitment of Lumad fighters in the New People’s Army (NPA) are caused by the framing of the Communist Party of the Philippines and the New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) in the Lumad struggle in Mindanao as a class struggle that makes it conducive for the Lumads to join their rebellion against the Philippine nation-state. This is supported by Duterte’s (2017) recent claim that 75% of the NPA’s foot soldiers are mostly Lumads:

‘75 percent of the rebels now, Lumads. Sila ang pinupusta ng NPA. Hindi ‘yung mga Bisaya, hindi ‘yung mga Ilonggo, hindi ‘yung mga Ilocano. Sila ang ginagawang sundalo. Pagka kaunti-kaunti nila, sila ang maubos. ‘Yung tribo nila will be left with — wala ‘yung mga lalaki, nasa — pumayag na gawing sundalo (75% of the rebels now [are mostly] Lumads, they are the ones [being recruited] by the NPA...Not the Visayans, not the Ilonggos, not the Ilocanos. They [Lumads] are made into soldiers [for the NPA]. When they are small in numbers, they are eventually eliminated. Their tribe will be left without the men - agreeing to be soldiers, (Duterte, 2017 as cited in Capistrano, 2017).’'

This ‘tri-people’ approach is espoused by various groups such as Mindanao-based NGOs, minority groups, and human rights organizations in order to promote peaceful coexistence between the three notable ethnic groups in the Bangsamoro as a “contested territory'' (Coronel-Ferrer, 2013; Paredes, 2015). In the Mindanao case, the tri-people approach is presented by civil society to the state, represented by the Christian Filipino majority, in order to correct the injustices committed to the Moros (Paredes, 2015). However, Lumad interests are often sidelined in favor of the two dominant ethnic groups since they are often regarded as ‘second class minorities’ (Barter, 2015). If this existing relative peace only remains in favor of certain ethnic groups, then genuine peace will always be elusive in the long run.

Securing Peace under Greater Autonomy

Upon the enactment of the new Bangsamoro law (RA 11054), the Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA) as the interim regional government is created in order to assist in the transformation of former rebels into politicians that will eventually create multiethnic parties (Taniguchi, 2020). Indeed, this transformation is crucial in the success of the Bangsamoro government as an ideal model for peaceful transitions to previously war-torn societies.

In order to finally acknowledge the historical injustices committed on both sides, there are proposals to the Bangsamoro regional government to finally create a truth commission for Mindanao (La Viña, 2012; Castillo, 2014). According to Castillo (2014), the creation of a transitional justice system in the Bangsamoro is important because:

‘It is also crucial for a localized transitional justice process to be responsive to the diversity of and contestations over understandings of the past and the present, the advantages and pitfalls of truth-telling; and the weight of emotions, betrayal, mistrust and memory.’

Another important aspect in finally addressing the security issues in ethnically diverse societies is the demobilization, disarmament, and reintegration (DDR) of former rebel fighters. According to a report from the International Crisis Group (2019), the Bangsamoro government must also address in the disarmament of thousands of former militants, reign in other Islamist groups, and provide assistance in the integration of former guerillas to government service. Considering that gun culture is deeply embedded in Moro society, it will be hard for former rebels to give up their weapons to the government since they have used them for decades as a form of personal security and/or communal defense. As of this writing, the MILF is expected to turn over at least 2,100 weapons this year as agreed in the CAB last 2011 (Sarmiento, 2019).

Thus, conflicts in ethnically divided societies are often faced with complicated challenges ranging from territorial arrangements, disarmament of former rebels, and human rights atrocities during and after the bloodshed. Consequently, a multi-level approach from the national, regional, and local levels is needed to address the grievances committed by all parties once and for all.


The implementation of a peace agreement in a region ravaged by decades of civil war is a daunting task. There is no ‘one size fits all’ approach to finally settle all these grievances in the longue durée. However, identifying the factors why making peace in ethnically-divided societies, such as in Mindanao, is still an important endeavor in view of the theoretical and practical relevance of understanding intrastate wars.

Drawing from arguments mentioned above, the primary factors why peace remains elusive in Mindanao is due to a variety of issues. One is the lack of government effort to genuinely share power to the newly-created Bangsamoro autonomous government in terms of political trust. Second, the complexity of violent extremism promoted by Islamic jihadists still pose a threat to the fragile peace in the region. Third, the exclusionary politics promoted by dominant Moro groups against ethnic minorities remain unaddressed. And finally, the lack of transitional justice and genuine DDR mechanisms to rectify the atrocities committed by various key conflict actors impedes all parties to move on from the spoils of war.

To sum up, if the Philippine government turns a blind eye in considering the factors mentioned earlier, then peace in Mindanao will still be elusive for the next generations to come.


Alamon, A. (2017) Wars of extinction: Discrimination and the Lumad struggle in Mindanao. Mindanao Interfaith Institute on Lumad Studies.

Abinales, P. & Amoroso, D. (2005) State and Society in the Philippines. Rowman and Littlefield Publishers.

Agence France-Presse (2017, October 19) Marawi: City destroyed in Philippines’ longest urban war. Philippine Daily Inquirer.

Banlaoi, R. (2005) Abu Sayyaf Group: From Mere Banditry to Genuine Terrorism. Southeast Asian Affairs. 1(1): 247-262.

Barter, S.(2015) ‘Second-order’ ethnic minorities in Asian secessionist conflicts: problems and prospects. Asian Ethnicity. 16(2): 123-135.

Buendia, R. (2006) The Mindanao conflict in the Philippines: ethno-religious war or economic conflict? In A. Croissant, B. Martin, S. Kneip (Eds.) The Politics of Death: Political Violence in Southeast Asia. LIT Verlag

Capistrano, Z. (2017, June 22) Untrue: NDFP belies Duterte’s claim that 75% of NPAs are Lumad. Davao Today.

Castillo, R. (2014) Perspectives on Truth, Justice, Reparation, and Reconciliation in Central Mindanao. In Moving Beyond: Towards Transition Justice in the Bangsamoro Peace Process. forumZFD Philippines.

Coakley, J. (2009) Comparing ethnic conflicts: Common Patterns, Shared Challenges. Nationalism and Ethnic Politics. 15(3-4): 261-279.

Coronel-Ferrer, M. (2012) To share or divide power? Minorities in autonomous regions, the case of the autonomous regions in Muslim Mindanao. Ethnic and Racial Studies, 35(12): 2097-2115.

Coronel-Ferrer, M. (2013) Costly wars, elusive peace: Collected articles on the Peace Processes in the Philippines, 1990-2007. University of the Philippines Press.

Espina-Varona, I. (2016, March 10) Alphabet of terror in the Philippines’ political boiling pot. Catholic News Asia.

Frake, C. (March 1998) Abu Sayyaf: Displays of Violence and the Proliferation of Contested Identities Among Filipino Muslims. American Anthropologist, 100(1): 41-54.

Gurr, T. (June 2002) Attaining Peace in Divided Societies: Five Principles of Emerging Doctrine. International Journal on World Peace. 19(2): 27-51. https:/

Hart, R. (2019, July 22) Abu Sayyaff is Bringing More of ISIS’ Brutal Tactics to the Philippine. World Politics Review.

International Crisis Group. (2019, June 27) The Philippines: Militancy and the New Bangsamoro. Report No. 301.

Jarstad, A. (2009) The Prevalence of Power-sharing: Exploring the Patterns of Post-election Peace. African Spectrum 44(3): 41-62.

La Viña, A. (2012, September 16) Riverman’s Vista: A Truth Commission in Mindanao. MindaNews.

Lara, F. & Champain, P. (2009, July) Inclusive peace in Muslim Mindanao: revisiting the dynamics of conflict and exclusion. International Alert.

Paredes, O. (2015) Indigenous vs. native: negotiating the place of Lumads in the Bangsamoro homeland. Asian Ethnicity, 16(2): 166-185.

Philiippine Census 2000 (2005, June 8) Mindanao Comprised About 24% of the Philippines Total Population. Philippine Statistics Authority.

Revelli, P. (2020, April) Philippine revives self-rule for Bangsamoro. Le Monde Diplomatique.

Rodil, B. (1994) The Minoritization of Indingenous Communities in Mindanao and the Sulu Archipelago. Alternate Forum for Research in Mindanao.

Sarmiento, B. (2019, September 19) Philippine rebels learn to live without their guns. Asia Times.

Snyder, J. (2000) From Voting to Violence: Democratization and Nationalist Conflict. Norton

Taniguchi, M. (2020, August 12) From Rebels to Rulers: The Challenges of the Bangsamoro Government in Mindanao. The Diplomat.

Terrorism Research and Analysis Consortium (2020) Maute Group/Islamic State of Lanao/Daulat Ul Islamiya / Daulah Islamiyah (ISEA). Terrorism Research and Tracking Consortium.

US State Department (2012, July 31) Abu Sayyaff. Office of the Coordinator for Counterterrorism.

Walter, B. (2009) Reputation and Civil War: Why Separatist Conflicts Are So Violent. Cambridge University Press.

Yusingco, M.H. (2020, February 15) Countering Violent Extremism after Mindanao’s ‘New Dawn’. The Diplomat.

[Jose Mikhail Perez is a lecturer and researcher based in the Philippines. He has an undergraduate degree in political science and is currently pursuing his master’s degree in international studies at the University of the Philippines Diliman. He writes on armed conflict, civil wars, interethnic violence, the Philippines, and Southeast Asia.]

Kalinaw News: 150 Former SP, MB and NPA Mass Supporters, Return to the folds of the Government

Posted to Kalinaw News (Oct 28, 2020): 150 Former SP, MB and NPA Mass Supporters, Return to the folds of the Government

Montevista, Davao de Oro- More than 150 former Milisyang Bayan (MB), Sangay sa Partido sa Lokalidad (SPL) and NPA Mass supporters participated in the conduct of 3-day Peace Building (Live-in) Seminar in Municipal Sports Complex, Montevista, Davao de Oro on 26-28 October 2020 with the theme “Pakiglambigit ug pakigtimbayayong sa katawhan.alang sa tinuoray nga kalinaw ug kalambuan”.

Six (6) barangays of Montevista, Davao de Oro were included in the seminar namely: Mayaon, Prosperidad, New Cebulan, Lebanon, Poblacion and San Vicente after conducting a series of Peace Dialogues in the barangays. The said barangays were formerly infiltrated by CPP-NPA-NDF and many of its mass supporters were organized in different barangays in the Municipality.

After the encounter with Communist Terrorist Group (CTG) confronted by the 25th Infantry Battalion, Weakened Guerilla Front 33 (WGF33) last June 14, 2020 in Montevista, Davao de Oro, this unit have identified recovery areas in selected barangays and deployed Modified Community Support Program (CSP) teams to further reorient NPA Mass supporters, reorganize, establish Integrated Territorial Defense System (ITDS) and transform the barangays into peaceful and conflict-resilient communities. During the conduct of Modified Community Support Program on the said barangays, issues and propagandas used by CPP-NPA-NDF were addressed with the help of the Local Government Unit (LGU) of Montevista, Davao de Oro led by Hon. Eutropio S Jayectin, Municipal Mayor.

During the conduct of Peace Building Seminar, lectures from different government agencies was discussed to the participants to inform them of the services they can avail and inform them that the government is willing and determined to support and deliver basic services to the people to finally end Communist Armed Conflict. Present during the program is the Municipal Mayor, Hon. Eutropio S Jayectin, Municipal Mayor, Hon. Roel C Abucejo, Chairman on Peace and Order, Barangay Captains of Mayaon, Prosperidad, Poblacion, New Cebulan, San Vicente and Lebanon, PCPT GERALD E BORJA, Montevista Chief of Police, LTC ASNAWI P MUTI (INF (GSC) PA, Battalion Commander of 25IB and COL LUIS REX D BERGANTE INF (GSC) PA, 1001st Brigade Commander.

“We ask for your commitment and support by helping us, the government in protecting your communities against terrorist groups. Let us unite and help one another to be vigilant to shield our love ones from NPA lies and recruitment. Let us convince them to surrender to the Government so that we could attain lasting peace in the community” Hon. Eutropio Jayectin said.

“I have spent 30 years of service in Philippine Army and I have experienced almost 100 NPA Armed groups in an encounter with only 40 of us, the government troops operating in the area during the past years of my service. Today, the NPA is now weakened and there are only a few of them left, let us stop them from recruiting other victims and inform ourselves and others by their lies and deceit to the people and stop them from going back in the barangays.” said COL LUIS REX D BERGANTE INF (GSC) PA, 1001st Infantry Brigade Commander.

[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: 50 AFP Officers get CA nod

Posted to Kalinaw News (Oct 28, 2020): 50 AFP Officers get CA nod

CAMP GENERAL EMILIO AGUINALDO, Quezon City – The Commission on Appointments (CA) Committee on National Defense confirmed the ad interim appointments and nomination of 50 senior officers of the Armed Forces of the Philippines on Wednesday, October 28 at the Senate of the Philippines, Pasay City.

Presided by Rep. Luis “Jon-Jon” A. Ferrer IV, CA gaveled the en banc confirmation of 49 ad interim appointments and one nomination of senior military officers.

Among those confirmed was General Major General Juvymax R. Uy, the current Commander of the 6th Infantry Division of the Philippine Army and was the highest ranking officer present. CA also confirmed the nomination of Brigadier General Vener
Odilon D. Mariano PA to Major General.

The CA found the following Army Colonels qualified for their ad interim appointments: Harold M. Cabunoc, Ramon P. Zagala II, William George S. Cordova, Danilo E. Estrañero, Ernest John C. Jadloc, Vincent Arnold O. Dy, Vicente Edgardo C. De Ocampo, Jessie R. Montoya, Cesar L. Portiz, Edgar O. Josue, Neil Alfonso R. Roldan, Ciriaco A. Lomas-e, Amadeo U. Cruz, Dennis C. Gutierrez, Samuel G. Yunque, Melencio W. Ragudo, Rico O. Amaro, Richard T. Servito, Dante T. Bermillo, Eliezer P. Valdez Jr., Camilo A. Saddam, Joel D. Aquino, Castor O. Bahin, Josue M. Caberto, Zane B. Fernandez, Nemesio A. Escleto, and Arturo E. Junco.

Meanwhille, six Air Force Colonels also confirmed were: Francis Karem E. Neri, Rommel Allen P. Genete, Reynaldo Jose A. Montoya, Jerome Erwin S. Santiago,Melvin A. Banua, and Vicente F. Flora.

CA likewise confirmed three Navy Captains namely: Norman A. Mutia, Edwin F. Carpio, and Michael G. Barrion. Three Marine Colonels also got CA nod, they were: Bladimer B. Caluya, Frederick G. Baradi, and Noel M. Tiu.

Six other colonels from the Dental Service were also approved by CA such as: Isidro Alex C. Urriquia, Ranulfo O. Espera, Sonny A. Ramos, Jonathan L. Dumlao,Maria Teresa P. Boto, and Ben Hur A. Cariño.

Col. Jose Rosel R. Reduble from the Medical Corps and Col. Ela Gemma J. Taguba from the Nurse Corps were also confirmed.

Lastly, Col. Roy L. Onggao from the Chaplain Service also received CA approval.

The confirmation of ad interim appointments and nomination of senior military officers by CA is a manifestation of professionalism and commitment to the highest ethical standard among the AFP’s ranks. This is a pledge that remains one of the military’s
utmost priorities towards becoming credible armed forces that is a source of national pride.

“CA’s confirmation of the ad interim appointments and nomination of our senior officers validates our officer’s corps’ competence and diligence to better prepare them to take on greater responsibilities in the organization. Let this milestone empower your dedication to serve our nation even further for the benefit of every Filipino,” AFP Chief of Staff General Gilbert I. Gapay said in a statement.

[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: Tip sparks armed clash in Paquibato district, troops capture high-powered firearm and IED

Posted to Kalinaw News (Oct 28, 2020): Tip sparks armed clash in Paquibato district, troops capture high-powered firearm and IED

Brgy Malabog, Paquibato District, Davao City – An armed encounter between elements of 27th Infantry Battalion against Communist Terrorist belonging to GF55, SRC5, SMRC ensues at around 4:50 PM, October 27, 2020 at Purok Langub, Brgy Malabog, Paquibato District, Davao City.

Based from the report of the locals, a group of NPA terrorist extorts food supplies to the residents of Purok Langub, Brgy Malabog, Paquibato District, Davao City. Acting on information received regarding the presence of armed group in the aforementioned barangay, troops under 27IB led by 2nd Lieutenant Adolph Reliezer G. Buendia engage the Communist Terrorist Group belonging to GF55, SRC5, SMRC under Arian Jane Ocheta Ramos alias Marikit. The 15-minute firefight yields to the capture of one M16 rifle, IED triggering device, two magazines for AK47, one magazine for M14, one pair M16 hand guard, fifteen rounds live ammunition of 7.62mm, nine gallons containing kerosene fuel, three sacks of rice, cooking utensils, assorted medicines to include contraceptive pills, medical supplies twelve back packs, and assorted personal belongings. No one was hurt from among the 27IB troopers while undetermined on the enemy side.

Prior the encounter, two NPA terrorist hideouts were also discovered by the operating troops early in the morning and before noon which approximately 600 meters away from the encounter site. Such discovery further validates the report of the locals regarding the presence of NPA terrorist extorting food stuffs to the residents of the Geographically Isolated and Disadvantaged Areas (GIDA). As such, at about 4:50 PM armed engagement against NPA terrorist occurs.

The Commander of 10th Infantry “Agila” Division, Philippine Army, Major General Reuben S. Basiao congratulates the “Action” Troopers for their commendable efforts in continuously exerting efforts to locate and engage the NPA terrorists who were involved in several atrocities and extortion activities in Paquibato District. It can be recalled that 27IB troopers also engaged the same group in Barangay Saloy, Calinan District last 09 September that resulted to their major setbacks to include the neutralization of alias Rommel, CO of GF55, 5SRC, SMRC and further forcing others to escape and surrender to the government forces, he added. Meanwhile, Brigadier General Nolasco A. Mempin, 1003rd Brigade Commander also commends the troop’s determination for tirelessly scouring the forested area of Paquibato District in order to hit the NPA terrorists and prevent them from terrorizing the peace loving community of Paquibato District.

In like manner, reiterating his message, Lieutenant Colonel Victorino Seno, Commander of 27IB once again appeal to the remaining NPAs who are victims of dead ideology to lay down their arms, avail the programs and services offered by the government and be a government’s partner in establishing a peaceful environment conducive to sustainable development.

[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-Bicolandia abhors NPA’s extortion activities amid pandemic and calamities

Posted to Kalinaw News (Oct 28, 2020): JTF-Bicolandia abhors NPA’s extortion activities amid pandemic and calamities

CAMP ELIAS ANGELES, Pili, Camarines Sur-The Joint Task Force Bicolandia condemned the continuous extortion activities conducted by the Communist Terrorist Group in Bicol. Major General Henry A. Robinson Jr, Commander of JTFB lambasted the CTG for collecting revolutionary taxes from fishermen in Barangay Binagasbasan, Garchitorena, Camarines Sur days before typhoon Quinta pummelled the region.

At least ten communist NPA terrorists (CNTs) armed with high-powered firearms were seen extorting money from fishermen of Barangay Calkigao who were also bracing themselves from the typhoon’s onslaught aside from the effect of COVID-19.

“This pandemic has turned the lives of Filipinos, especially the poorest of the poor, upside down. Aside from that, we are also burdened by natural disasters and calamities like typhoon. Thus, we consider CTG’s extortion activities as despicable act. Wala na nga silang naitutulong upang maibsan ang hirap na dinaranas ng ating mga kababayan dahil sa iba’t ibang hamong kinakaharap natin ngayon, dinaragdagan pa nila ang hirap na pinapasan ng mga ordinaryong mamamayan,” MGen. Robinson said.

For the past few months, continuous extortion activities of CTGs were reported in different provinces of Bicol that further aggravated the difficulties in life of the populace in said areas.

In San Fernando, Camarines Sur, heavily armed CNTs demanded P200,000 for the seawall project being constructed in Barangay Cotmo while an amount ranging from P10 to P20 as well as grocery items were extorted from various households in Masbate and Sorsogon.

Thus, JTFB reminded the public to be wary of these schemes and report it to the authorities.

“Our lines are open 24/7 and rest assured that we will respond to your reports promptly. Again, we remind you not to give any form of support to this terrorist group. Extortion activities ang bumubuhay sa kanila kaya kapag wala na silang nakukuhang anumang uri ng suporta sa publiko, hindi na sila makapagpapatuloy pa ng kanilang operasyon. Tulungan niyo kaming wakasan ang local communist insurgency dito sa Bicolandia. Huwag kayong padadala sa pananakot at panlilinlang ng CTG. Your Army in Bicol will protect you at all cost,” MGen. Robinson added.

[Kalinaw News is the official online source of information on the pursuit for peace in the Philippines This website is a property of the Civil-Military Operations Regiment, Philippine Army located at Lawton Avenue, Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City. Contact us:]

Kalinaw News: High-ranking former rebels reveal NPA arms cache, six high-powered firearms captured in Zamboanga del Norte

Posted to Kalinaw News (Oct 28, 2020): High-ranking former rebels reveal NPA arms cache, six high-powered firearms captured in Zamboanga del Norte

CAMP SANG-AN, Zamboanga del Sur – High-ranking former rebels revealed the location of the Communist Terrorist Group’s (CTG) arms cache in Sitio Palos, Barangay Santo Niño, Gutalac, Zamboanga del Norte, Wednesday morning, October 28, 2020.The troops of the 44th Infantry Battalion, immediately launched a retrieval operation at the revealed location which resulted to the capture of six high-powered firearms: composed of five M16 assault rifle and one M1 .30 carbine rifle.

“The troops were able to gain the complete trust and confidence of high-ranking officials of Guerilla Front Feliciano “A”, Western Mindanao Regional Party Committee who surrendered to the unit,” said Lt. Col. Don Templonuevo, Commanding Officer, 44IB.

“During the conduct of custodial debriefing, these former rebels voluntarily relayed the information of the location of the arms cache,” Lt. Col. Templonuevo added.

Also recovered were one long magazine with 26 live ammunitions of cal 30; one Nokia cellular phone; two bandoliers; CTG flag; medical and dental equipment; and assorted medicines.

Commander, 102nd Infantry Brigade, Brig. Gen. Leonel Nicolas expressed his gratitude to the former rebels for sharing vital information.

“We will ensure that these firearms will be processed for firearm remuneration under the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP) that will be given to the former rebels,” said Brig. Gen. Nicolas.

Meanwhile, Maj. Gen. Gene Ponio, Commander, 1st Infantry Division said, “the Tabak will continue to show its sincerity and commitment in assisting former rebels as they reintegrate to the mainstream society.”

[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: Limang miyembro ng teroristang grupo kasama ang isang menor de edad sumuko sa probinsya ng Quirino

Posted to Kalinaw News (Oct 28, 2020): Limang miyembro ng teroristang grupo kasama ang isang menor de edad sumuko sa probinsya ng Quirino

CAMP MELCHOR F DELA CRUZ, Upi, Gamu, Isabela – Limang miyembro ng Regional Sentro De Grabidad, Komiteng Rehiyon-Cagayan Valley kasama ang isang menor de edad ang sumuko sa 86th Infantry Battalion, Philippine Army sa probinsya ng Quirino noong ika- 26 ng Oktubre taong kasalukuyan.

Kinilala ang mga sumuko na sina alyas Daren, 22 taong gulang, Alyas Dario, 23 taong gulang, alyas LenLen, 17 taong gulang, alyas Jackson, 21 taong gulang at alyas Lea, 31 taong gulang na pawang mga residente ng Maddela, Quirino.

Ayon sa kanila, pinangakuan sila ni alyas Wallen ng magandang buhay kapalit ng kanilang pagsampa sa kilusan. Ngunit, taliwas ito sa kanilang naging karanasan sa kamay ni alyas Andong/Narding. Wala silang nakitang patutunguhan ng kanilang pakikipaglaban sa pamahalaan. Ito ang nagtulak sa kanila upang lisanin ang kilusan at sumuko sa kasundaluhan.

Sa kabilang banda, dahil naman sa implementasyon ng Community Support Program ng 86IB kasama ang ilang mga ahensya ng pamahalaan, naliwanagan ang mga mamamayan ukol sa mga nakalatag na programa’t proyekto ng pamahalaan. Dahil dito, ang mga residente na mismo ang nanghihikayat sa kanilang mga sumampang kamag-anak na bumaba at sumuko sa pamahalaan.

Sa ngayon, ay pinoproseso na ang mga dokumento at papeles ng limang sumuko upang mapabilang sa Alternative Learning System na programa ng Kagawaran ng Edukasyon. Maliban dito, sila rin ay sasailalim sa pagsasanay ng Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) upang magkaroon ng oportunidad na maghanap-buhay at madagdagan ang kanilang kaalamang teknikal.

Ayon kay BGen Laurence E Mina PA, Commander ng 5ID, “Ang mahigpit na pakikiisa at pakikipagtulungan ng mga mamamayan ay pagpapakita lamang na wala ng kabuluhan ang CPP-NPA sa komunidad. Ang damdamin ng taumbayan ay sa agarang pagkamit ng inaasam na kapayapaan at pag-unlad. Damang-dama ng ating pamunuan ang kagustuhang ito dahil sa patuloy nilang panghihikayat sa kani-kanilang mga kamag anak na nalinlang ng teroristang grupo. Muli, bukas ang aming mga kampo pati ng mga kapulisan at lokal na pamahalaan sa pagbabalik loob ng mga nalinlang nating kababayan.”

[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:]

Senate panel to summon Parlade to hearing on red-tagging

From Rappler (Oct 28, 2020): Senate panel to summon Parlade to hearing on red-tagging (By RAMBO TALABONG)

Senator Panfilo Lacson files a resolution to probe red-tagging by the government

The Senate panel will summon Lieutenant General Antonio Parlade Jr over the government's red-tagging practices that have drawn condemnation from the public.

In an interview with reporters on Wednesday, October 28, Senate committee on national defense chairman Panfilo Lacson announced that he had filed a resolution earlier in the day to probe "the root of conflict" in red-tagging and red-baiting.

"The problem is that he (Parlade) overanalyzes and he overtalks," Lacson told reporters.

His announcement came in the aftermath of widespread condemnation of the military and the police's red-tagging practices, which reached a climax when Parlade red-tagged popular actress Liza Soberano for speaking at a women's rights webinar hosted by Gabriela.

Gabriela is a leftist group that is neither militant nor revolutionary. The military insists the group is a "legal front" and recruitment base of the communist armed group, the New People's Army.

Parlade, who the military's Southern Luzon commander, is spokesman of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict.

Why does this matter?

This is the first time that a Senate panel will probe red-tagging by the government – a practice that intensified through social media under the Duterte administration. 

(READ: Gov’t platforms being used to attack, red-tag media)

Like other Senate probes, the investigation is expected to lead to recommendations for laws to be crafted by the Senate and the House of Representatives to address concerns that will be uncovered during the hearing.

Activists have been flagging the military and police's red-tagging practices as baseless and threatening to not just activists, but any Filipino who criticizes the government.

The military insisted that it was all in the name of propaganda to end the communist insurgency in the Philippines – the longest-running in Asia.

PUBLISHER’S NOTES | 2007 Sulu `Hostaging’ of AFP general, OPAPP Usec

From the Mindanao Times (Oct 28, 2020): PUBLISHER’S NOTES | 2007 Sulu `Hostaging’ of AFP general, OPAPP Usec (BY JESS DUREZA)

(An excerpt from my still-to-be published book I WALKED WITH PRESIDENTS)

USTADZ HABIER MALIK, an Islamic religious leader who maintained an armed force in the forests of Sulu , was one of the loyalists of MNLF Chairman NUR “Maas” MISUARI.

In 2007, as part of government’s continuing engagement in support of the peace agreement signed in 1996 during the presidency of President Fidel V. Ramos, two high-ranking government officials namely Marine Brig. General Ben Dolorfino and my OPAPP (Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process) Undersecretary Ramon Santos ( himself a former AFP brigadier General) went to Ustadz Malik’s camp to deliver TV sets, food items and other “goodies” as part of government’s goodwill mission to “engage” the still-armed Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) . Although a peace agreement was signed with them eleven (11) years earlier in 1976,they remained armed as there was no “disarmament” provision in that peace pact.

It was to everyone’s surprise when the two (2) officials during that camp visit were not allowed to leave the MNLF camp for reasons only known to Habier Malik. I speculated that perhaps the two (2) officers might have brought up the issue of “disarmament” while there but I was not so sure. They were not allowed to leave and held hostage for several days.

After I was informed of the incident, I immediately flew to Jolo and trekked up to Malik’s “fortress” deep into the Sulu jungles to personally work for their release. I had previously visited myself Malik in his Sulu camp as part of my peace work. I was a bit confident that I had earned his friendship and goodwill.

But I took special care and effort that I too would not be held hostage as I did not know exactly why they were being held. As planned, I did not enter the camp but started talking with Ustadz Malik from the outside. My military escorts also warned me to be extra careful as Malik was known for his volatile or unpredictable ways. I did not enter the camp but stayed at the entrance of the gate area. When Malik recognized me upon my arrival and after my appeal to him ( thru a “Tausug” speaking interpreter) he eventually sent his men to the quarters where Gen. Dolorfino and Usec. Santos were staying for several days . Finally, they were allowed to leave.

Six ( 6) years later, in September 2013, during the presidency of President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino, the same Ustadz Habier Malik and his armed men attacked and devastated Zamboanga City in what became known as the “Zamboanga siege”.

2 IEDs found in Mati village

From the Mindanao Times (Oct 28, 2020): 2 IEDs found in Mati village (BY RHODA GRACE SARON)

SOLDIERS of the 28th Infantry Battalion recovered two improvised explosive devices in Sitio Tagbobolo, Brgy Sainz, Mati City, Davao Oriental on October 23.

The report said the soldiers found the explosives after a resident reported that these were hidden in the village.

Col. Krisnamurti Mortela, commander of 701st Infantry brigade, said
the IEDs were left by members of the Front Committee 18 of the New People’s Army just recently.

The residents reported the incident to the authorities as they feared that these bombs could explode anytime.

Mortela said the explosion would result in massive casualties as the bomb weighed about 15 kilograms each.

He thanked the residents for reporting the presence of the bombs in their area, saying this has has been the result of the cooperation between them and the authorities as confidence-building measures have been put in place like delivery of basic services.

“This is a result of ELCAC ((End Local Communist Armed Conflict) initiatives that opened lines of communications of government and populace, increased awareness of people about government programs, and well-coordinated grassroots interventions to address the welfare and security in GIDA and former conflict-affected areas,” he added.

“People’s faith to us is key to our campaign against insurgency. Together, we shall deliver peace as we continue to trust, open our communication lines and work collectively to end violence and armed conflict,” he added.

NPA demands justice for death of ‘hors de combat’ member

From MindaNews (Oct 28, 2020): NPA demands justice for death of ‘hors de combat’ member (By MALU CADELINA-MANAR)

KIDAPAWAN CITY (MindaNews / 28 Oct) – A leader of the New People’s Army in Southern Mindanao has condemned and demanded justice for the killing on October 11 of one of their top leaders whom he considered as “hors de combat.”

The French term is used to refer to military personnel or combatants who are incapable of fighting because of unconsciousness, wounds or sickness, among others.

In a press statement issued to media on Tuesday, Rigoberto Sanchez, of the NPA Southern Mindanao Regional Operations Command, said Dennis “Ka Mayen” Rodinas was recuperating after having sought medical treatment in Cebu City when government forces allegedly stormed and “summarily” executed him.

Sanchez also urged the “unconditional” release from prison pregnant NPA leader Girlie Mercado and two of Rodina’s relatives: Ryan Moralde and the latter’s sister, Rodelyn.

According to Sanchez, Rodinas’s failing health forced him to seek medical attention late last year.

The military, however, said Rodinas was killed in a gunfight.

Major Eduardo Precioso, spokesperson of the Armed Forces of the Philippines’ Central Command, said that Rodinas was killed after a gunfight with 30 Army and police operatives in his newly constructed house in Barangay Pong-ol Sibugay in Cebu City.

Precioso said the joint Army-police team was serving the five arrest warrants issued by Branch 3 and Branch 56 of the Regional Trial Courts in Compostela, Davao de Oro for murder, terroristic acts and other alleged heinous crimes against Rodinas, but the rebel leader resisted arrest.

Rodinas, said Sanchez, led the raid in April 14, 2015 of the residential compound of Mayor Joselito Brillantes of Monkayo, Davao de Oro (formerly Compostela Valley) and disarmed his private army after they seized 74 of their high-powered firearms and machine guns.

Three years prior to the attack against Brillantes, Rodinas and his team reportedly confiscated 66 high-powered guns issued to a private security agency that allegedly protected a large-scale mining company in Butuan City.

They also attacked in April 2017 Lapanday Foods Corporation in Davao City, Sanchez said.

“It was also in 2017 that Rodinas allegedly executed a certain Dario Otaza, leader of a para-military group, and his son Daryl in Agusan del Sur,” Sanchez said.

The NPA spokesman revealed that Rodinas was captured and jailed for several years in Western Mindanao before he allegedly staged a daring escape in July 2011 through help from an NPA unit in Kitao-tao, Bukidnon.

Rodinas was reportedly onboard a vehicle of the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) headed towards the Davao City Penal Colony when members of NPA Front 53 under then Commander Jasmine flagged it down.

The rebels apparently rescued Rodinas and captured as “prisoners of war” four BJMP personnel, including its jail warden.

“Time and again, the state forces failed to realize that killing a revolutionary will not stem the tide of the revolution, but will only flame the anger of the masses,” Sanchez stressed in a statement. (Malu Cadelina Manar / MindaNews)

Gov't convergence eyes development of remote village in Sultan Kudarat

From the Philippine Information Agency (Oct 28, 2020): Gov't convergence eyes development of remote village in Sultan Kudarat (By Danilo E. Doguiles)

BAGUMBAYAN, Sultan Kudarat, Oct. 28 (PIA) -- National government agencies and municipal and provincial government units converged in Barangay Sumilil in Bagumbayan, Sultan Kudarat Friday to conduct serbisyo caravan and kick off a sustainable peace and development program in the area.

Sumilil, one of the hardest-to-reach communities in Bagumbayan, is one of more than 60 target areas in SOCCSKSARGEN Region for the conduct of Retooled Community Support Program (RSCP) in line with the national government's whole-of-nation approach to bring services to underprivileged communities and end local communist armed conflict.

Among the services that the villagers enjoyed during the caravan were medical and dental services with medicines, circumcision, haircut, mobile civil registration, flu immunization for seniors, and contraceptive insertion for women.

Several regional line agencies were also present to deliver their respective services such as orientation in the new guidelines of the Land Transportation Office and lecture on how to avail of housing project from National Housing Authority.

TESDA XII Regional Director Rafael Abrogar II, chairperson of the Regional Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict technical working group emphasized that the serbisyo caravan is an initial activity for a more comprehensive development intervention for Barangay Sumilil based on an action plan that the residents and their officials, with the assistance of LGU Bagumbayan, have laid down for different government agencies, LGUs, and other stakeholders to respond to and deliver.

"Our program here today won't end with the serbisyo caravan of government offices. Serbisyo caravan is only the beginning because you are important," Director Abrogar said.

"President Rodrigo Roa Duterte has mandated government entities to bring services to barangays through EO 70 (Institutionalizing the Whole-of-Nation Approach and Creating the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict).

"Its primary objective is to fight and defeat insurgency not through guns and bullets and violence but through good governance and bringing the needed services to the people," he continued.

Sumilil have been "cleared" of the presence of the communist terrorist group through Community Support Program (CSP) of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, which qualified the barangay for conduct of RCSP.

Unlike the military-driven community support program, RCSP allows local government units, in close coordination with barangay officials and their residents, champion programs, projects and plans that will ensure sustainable peace and development in once CTG-influenced places.

At the serbisyo caravan, Bagumbayan Mayor Jonalette de Pedro confirmed that Barangay Sumilil's Development Plan has been incorporated in the municipal government's Annual Investment Plan (AIP).

In response to the needs of the community, LGU Bagumbayan initially pledges for the rehabilitation of road to interior sitios, provision of five jetmatic pumps for Sitio Mariva, establishment of goat raising livelihood for 20 solo parents, conduct mobile civil registration and mass wedding, and giving additional financial support to barangay tanods, and health workers.

Also, several government agencies have declared their commitments for the residents such as livelihood from the Department of Labor and Employment and Department of Social Welfare and Development; skills training from the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority; cattle, carabaos and goats for livelihood from the Department of Agriculture; free wifi from the Department of Information and Communications Technology; scholarship from the Commission on Higher Education; housing from the National Housing Authority, among others.

Also in the pipeline are important projects, including farm-to-market roads, electrification, water systems, and many others.

"This is the true government. The true government is the government brought to you by your barangay, municipal, and provincial governments and national government agencies...This is the true government, one that gives you development. Trust the government," Mayor de Pedro said.

Meanwhile, Ian Jon Clemente, local government operations officer VI of the Department of the Interior and Local Government confirmed that as pilot site of RCSP, Sumilil could receive P20-million worth of projects in 2022.

Speaking on behalf of DILG XII, Clemente promised that they will "monitor and stir government agencies" to facilitate the implementation of projects that the barangay local government units have proposed.

Clemente explained that the list of projects from the barangay LGU will be submitted to the RTF-ELCAC to be endorsed to the National Task Force, to the Regional Development Council (RDC) through the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) for funding by the Department of Budget and Management, and the office of their congressional representative.

Among the hundreds of residents who received benefits during the serbisyo caravan were 11 former members of the New Peoples Army who are currently enjoying government support through the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program. (DED/PIA XII)