Saturday, November 14, 2020

CPP/News: 4 journos fall victim to another round of attacks against media

Propaganda news article posted to the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) Website (Nov 12, 2020): 4 journos fall victim to another round of attacks against media

NOVEMBER 12, 2020

Four journalists fell victim to another round of attacks against media workers in the Philippines. A radio commentator was killed and two others were arrested in Luzon on Tuesday, while another Visayas-based reporter was red-tagged last week.

The attacks came after the Philippines was listed on October 28 as seventh most dangerous country in the world for journalists in the Committee to Protect Journalists’ 2020 Global Impunity Index. These attacks once again shattered the illusion peddled by the that the press is “free and robust” and underscores how the reactionary law is being weaponized to stifle criticism.

Virgilio Maganes, 62, columnist for Northern Watch weekly publication and commentator for DWPR radio station, was gunned down by riding in tandem gunmen outside his home in Barangay San Blas, Villasis, Pangasinan. The victim sustained six bullet wounds in the head and other parts of the body which killed him instantly.

The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) condemned the killing citing that it “could be related to the botched attempt on his life” four years ago. He is the 18th journalist killed under the Duterte regime.

On the same day in Camarines Norte, Virgilio “Bagwis” Avila Jr., commentator for local radio station 98.5 OK-FM Daet and Mia Concordia, news anchor at local media Dateline Camarines Norte were arrested and detained for six hours over a cyber libel case filed against them by Gov. Edgardo Tallado. Both are critical of the inefficient pandemic response of the provincial government.

Avila and Concordia were released after posting bails of P320,000 and P80,000, respectively. Meanwhile, Deo Trinidad, another journalist in the complaint, was not arrested after posting bail of P20,000.

Earlier, Avila was also slapped with a separate libel case filed by Tallado’s allies against him and four other journalists, including commentator Rommel Ibasco Fenix, who was arrested last September 15 while hosting his radio program.

In Panay, Philippine Daily Inquirer reporter and NUJP director Nestor Burgos Jr. was red-tagged by fake rebel surrenderee Jeffrey Celiz of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict on November 5. Celiz accused Burgos and 49 other individuals of being cadres of the armed revolutionary movement. The Philippine Daily Inquirer belied the allegation saying that Burgos has been in their reportorial staff since 2001.

Attacks against Philippine media have intensified under Duterte who has expressed open contempt for journalists, especially those critical of his regime. In June, Maria Ressa, Rappler chief executive and executive editor of Rappler and known critic of Duterte, was found guilty of “cyber libel” in a Manila court. On July, Duterte’s supermajority in Congress blocked the renewal franchise of ABS-CBN which allegedly refused to air his campaign ads during the 2016 presidential elections.

CPP: Protest Duterte’s neglect and indifference to people’s plight amid disaster

Propaganda statement posted to the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) Website (Nov 14, 2020): Protest Duterte’s neglect and indifference to people’s plight amid disaster

NOVEMBER 14, 2020

The Filipino people are outraged by Duterte and his government officials’ display of utter disinterest and indifference to the plight of millions of victims of the five storms that successively hit Luzon and other parts of the country over the past three weeks.

Amid their sufferings, millions of Filipinos witnessed firsthand the worthlessness of the national government. While they faced the storm and floods, Duterte and his officials were practically non-existent. Millions struggled on their own, or with their neighbors or private individuals and organizations. Many were grumbling: may gubyerno ba sa Pilipinas? (Is there even a government in the Philippines?) In social media, #NasaanAngPangulo trended.

The severity of the impact of the storms was aggravated by the national government’s failure to coordinate its different agencies and local units, put in place preemptive measures, release required amounts of funds, preposition enough personnel and equipment for swift rescue efforts and grossly lacking government aid. Impaired by lack of funds, national government rescue personnel could not respond to several hotspots at once and could only deploy helicopters long after people spent the night on their roofs.

Instead of acknowledging their weaknesses, Duterte and his officials responsible for these failures have resorted to blaming victims for supposedly not heeding storm warnings. They obscure the fact that it is primarily the responsibility of the national government to secure people’s lives in times of severe storms. Massive population evacuation especially in flood-prone areas is the task of the government. The responsibility of the national government goes way beyond issuing warnings.

Duterte himself went on national television in an unusual midday address last Thursday during which he spoke for just a few minutes. He, however, succeeded only in further arousing anger when he trivialized the sufferings of the people by saying he “would have wanted to go swimming” with the people in the flood waters. He did not give clear orders for the mobilization of government resources, but did not waste the opportunity to lash out at the vice president who has been visible in disaster response efforts.

Millions of Filipinos now suffer from the devastation of the floods and landslides. Tens of thousands of homes in rural areas, town centers and cities were destroyed by strong winds, floods and raging waters and mudflow. Rice fields, vegetable gardens and other crops were inundated. Fishing boats were smashed by rampaging sea surges. Hard-earned property were damaged. Many are left with nothing.

Government aid is arriving at snail-pace and are barely sufficient. Private relief agencies, local government units as well as people’s organizations have mobilized resources to extend aid to the victims in the face of severe shortcoming of the national government. They can, however, only do so much to cover the absence of the national government.

The Duterte government, however, has different priorities in terms of attention and funding. It continues to prioritize counterinsurgency and corruption-ridden infrastructure projects. Meanwhile, its disaster agencies are incapable of extending even the barest necessary assistance to millions who are in need of immediate aid to rebuild their homes and recover their livelihood. The P3 billion budget of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) and the P800 million of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) are grossly inadequate to help the millions of victims tide over the coming days and weeks and help them rebuild their homes and livelihood. Damage to Marikina City alone is estimated at P15 billion.

Amid growing hunger and suffering, the Party calls on all victims of the recent storms, especially the peasants, workers and other impoverished sectors, as well as the rest of the Filipino people, to urgently come together and build their organizations and networks. They must raise their voices in just indignation. As long as Duterte hears only dissonant cries, he will simply ignore the people’s pleas.

It is not for the victims and the rest of the people to wait, plead or pray for assistance from the national government. They must defend their dignity and assert their rights. They must demand the national government to perform its state responsibility and act swiftly in the face of the grave situation of the people. They can turn their communities and evacuation areas into centers of protest to amplify their demands and denounce the Duterte government’s failure to perform its obligation to mitigate people’s hunger and other forms of sufferings amid the disasters.

Having lost everything, millions of victims have the right to receive immediate aid from the government. The state must ensure the distribution of food, water, clothing, medical supplies and construction materials to help the victims tide over the next few weeks and months until they could rebuild their homes and recover their livelihood. They must demand immediate recompense for their loss of property and devastation of their fields and other sources of livelihood caused by the recent tropical storms for the state’s failure to guarantee their lives and social security. The peasant masses must demand emergency aid to help them recoup their losses. The grave disaster underscores the demand of workers for jobs and wage increases.

Organizations of calamity victims can take the initiative to call on foreign governments and international humanitarian agencies to extend assistance to Filipinos. At the same time, they can help build a distribution network to ensure that aid goes directly to the victims to prevent corrupt officials from defrauding them of what is theirs.

At the same time, they must hold the Duterte regime accountable for its criminal neglect of disaster response, having cut funding and alloting a measly P15.7 billion this year, 60% less than the P39 billion allotted in 2017. They must also hold the regime responsible for its failure to undertake substantive environmental rehabilitation, dredging of rivers and lakes and other flood-control measures after four years in power. The regime must be made to answer for promoting mining, logging, destructive infrastructure projects and other foreign-funded enterprises that cause massive environmental destruction.

Duterte’s criminal neglect of the people’s welfare amid the disaster comes on top of several months of failed response to the pandemic, mismanagement of the economy, brazen corruption, unbridled foreign borrowing, pro-business policies to the detriment of workers, lack of subsidies for agriculture and a slew of other policies that worsen the situation of the downtrodden masses.

Worse than the successive typhoons is the disaster of the Duterte regime and its reign of state terrorism, corruption, national treachery and anti-people policies. The outrage of the Filipino continues to build up and threatens to turn into a storm of protest with the demand for Duterte’s removal from power whether through his resignation or ouster.

NTF-ELCAC spox baselessly red-tags CNN Philippines for sharing student org's donation drive

From the Philippine Star (Nov 14, 2020): NTF-ELCAC spox baselessly red-tags CNN Philippines for sharing student org's donation drive (By Xave Gregorio)

MANILA, Philippines (Updated 4:00 p.m.) — A spokesperson for the controversial anti-communist task force baselessly red-tagged CNN Philippines for sharing a donation drive by a leftist student organization for victims of Super Typhoon Rolly (international name: Goni) and Typhoon Ulysses (international name: Vamco).

National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) spokesperson Lorraine Marie Badoy flagged the TV network for sharing on Twitter the
League of Filipino Students’ (LFS) call for donations.

Badoy accused, without proof, the LFS of being a “known front” of the Communist Party of the Philippines, its armed wing the New People’s Army, and the coalition of underground communist organizations, the National Democratic Front.

Membership in the CPP is not illegal, as the Anti-Subversion Law has been repealed. These groups have also not yet been declared as terrorists by local courts.

Rights groups have also warned against red-tagging, as those accused can be exposed to harassment, threats to life and even death.

READ: As Senate holds hearing on red-tagging, Amnesty urges end to 'deadly practice'

Badoy then went on to ask if it is true that there is an LFS and College Editors Guild of the Philippines (CEGP), a campus journalism organization, “cell” in CNN Philippines. There is none.

The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) called Badoy's red-tagging of CNN Philippines during a calamity "despicable."

"Such heartless behavior is a disgrace not only to her office but to the whole government she supposedly serves," the NUJP said in a statement.

The union added that Badoy's accusations are "totally irresponsible" and endangers CNN Philippines journalists, and members of LFS and CEGP.

This is not the first time that members of the NTF-ELCAC baselessly red-tagged media organizations.

In a recent appearance on One News’ “The Chiefs,” Lt. Gen. Antonio Parlade Jr., another spokesperson for the NTF-ELCAC, baselessly claimed that communist rebels have “infiltrated” all media outlets, with some of them even supposedly ascending to management posts.

The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines decried Parlade’s statement, saying that he has “painted a virtual target on everyone who mans the country’s newsdesks and newsrooms” and has “slandered the whole industry.”

Philippines Names Police Chief Who Oversaw Bloodshed, Ignored Lockdown Rules

Posted to The Diplomat (Nov 13, 2020): Philippines Names Police Chief Who Oversaw Bloodshed, Ignored Lockdown Rules (By Nick Aspinwall)

The appointment this week of Debold Sinas is another worrying sign for human rights in the Philippines.

An aerial view of Camp Crame, the headquarters of the Philippine National Police.Credit: Flickr/Jun Acullador

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s national police chiefs have not been known for their commitment to the promotion and upholding of human rights. His newest chief follows in the footsteps of his predecessors – but he is best known for violating his own lockdown rules.

Maj. Gen. Debold Sinas was named head of the Philippine National Police on November 9, after serving as Manila police chief since December 2019. He became notorious in May when he held a birthday party at police headquarters during a mandatory quarantine that he was tasked with enforcing. Attendees flouted social distancing rules and did not wear face masks as they shared a meal.

The party enraged Filipinos who had been stuck at home for weeks and subject to strict mask-wearing and social distancing rules – when they could even leave the house. In the six weeks before the party, the Philippines arrested more citizens for quarantine violations than any other country, most in the Manila area overseen by Sinas.

Senior police officials defended Sinas and claimed the event was not a “party” but a mañanita, in which the birthday celebrant is woken up in the morning with a serenade. Many Filipinos failed to see how the mañanita fell short of constituting “deliberate partying,” and Sinas and 18 other police officers were charged with social distancing violations.

But Duterte opted not to remove Sinas from his post, calling him “honest” and “a good officer.” Now, he has been promoted to oversee the country’s 200,000-strong police force.

Sinas is also under investigation for allegedly harassing a retired policeman living on the grounds of Camp Crame, the national police headquarters. CCTV footage showed Sinas and his men arriving at the man’s home and demanding that his family move out, even as they claimed to hold legal residency documents signed by Sinas himself.

During his Manila stint, the new police chief also made headlines for lashing out at numerous reporters and saying people should not protest during the pandemic as “it’s extra work for us.”

Perhaps the most damning blemish on his record comes from the time he spent in the Central Visayas region from 2018 to 2019. Sinas allegedly oversaw the targeted killings of farmers on Negros Island whom he claimed were members of the communist New People’s Army (NPA). Families of the deceased say the farmers were merely advocates for land rights, and no evidence has linked the farmers to illegal activities.

Sinas implemented a plan called “Oplan Sauron,” named after the “Lord of the Rings” villain. In its first phase, six farmers were killed by state security forces in December 2018. In its second phase, three months later, 14 farmers were killed on a single day throughout the island.

Sinas defended the operations, saying the farmers “really fought” and “were not ready to surrender, because they were hardcore rebels.” Numerous independent probes, including witness accounts, dispute that the deceased farmers fought back.

The Philippines’ controversial anti-terror law, enacted earlier this year at the height of the coronavirus pandemic, was likely inspired in part by the “state of emergency” declarations in Negros that gave Sinas the latitude to carry out the deadly operations. Now, he takes the reins of the entire nation’s police force.

Sinas will follow in the footsteps of past chiefs such as Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa, who served from July 2016 to April 2018 and oversaw tens of thousands of extrajudicial killings during President Duterte’s “war on drugs,” according to the country’s rights commission. Sinas has pledged to carry on with the drug war, which has become more deadly during the coronavirus pandemic.

Dela Rosa, now a senator, had his United States visa canceled in January due to his role in the extrajudicial killings. The decision set off a short-lived spat between Manila and Washington when Duterte canceled a defense agreement between the two, although he reversed that decision in June.

Under president-elect Joe Biden, the U.S. could take a firmer stance against Philippine rights violators. In September, a group of House Democrats introduced a bill that would suspend military aid to the Philippines if Manila does not show progress in improving its human rights record.

If Biden, as president, continues to show more interest in global human rights than his predecessor, Sinas may want to think twice before scheduling his next mañanita in Hawaii.AUTHORS

[Nick Aspinwall is a journalist based in Taipei.]

What's in Bangsamoro government's 3-year development plan?

From Rappler (Nov 13, 2020): What's in Bangsamoro government's 3-year development plan? (By TAJ BASMAN)

Normalization, or giving former MILF combatants a chance to rejoin society and pursue sustainable livelihood, is crucial to the region's development

Over a year after its creation, the Bangsamoro government launched its 3-year development plan with the ultimate goal of uplifting the lives of the Bangsamoro and establishing the foundations of self-governance through moral governance.

“Bangsamoro Development Plan 2020-2022” was institutionalized after the interim Bangsamoro parliament approved it in July this year and was launched on November 4 in the regional government’s seat of power in Cotabato City.

The 366-page document articulated the overall thrust and direction of the BARMM for a 3-year period, or until the end of its transition phase in 2022.

Experiences of governing the now-defunct Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) informed the formulation of the plan.

“It takes into account the ARMM performances and lessons learned from the implementation of programs and projects in the ARMM Regional Development Plan, 2017-2022, as well as, the priorities identified in other existing Bangsamoro Plans such as the Bangsamoro Development Plan or BDP I of the MILF and Bangsamoro Development Agency and BDP II of the MNLF and MILF, and the Unified Bangsamoro Development Plan (UBDP),” said Mohajirin Ali, Bangsamoro Planning and Development Authority (BPDA) Director General.

After a look at Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) data on how regional economies fared in 2019, BARMM still has much room for improvement.

National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) OIC Undersecretary Mercedita Sombilla said that despite the Bangsamoro region posting a 5.9% growth and being one of the fastest growing regions, its contribution to the national economy remains the lowest at 1.3%.

“Nevertheless, we are hopeful that this challenge will be addressed with the implementation of the BDP and with the effective governance of this Bangsamoro leadership," she said.

The change of political structure and fiscal autonomy ushers in a new hope in the BARMM to catch up with development and be at par with the rest of the country, she said.

She added that sustained commitment and strong support from development partners are keys in complementing the region’s resources to fund BDP programs.

Displacement hampers economic development

The development plan acknowledges the autonomous government’s challenge in sustaining the gains of the peace process to protect the safety of the Bangsamoro citizenry.

The areas covered by BARMM have had to face several security challenges like rido (clan wars), terrorism and violent extremism, illegal drugs, and human rights violations,

Identifying upholding peace, security, public order and safety, and respect for human rights as its development goals, the development plan “aims to cement the gains of the peace process achieved in the past years while strengthening the institutions and mechanisms in the BARMM to ensure the protection and safety of the people.”

According to the BDP, "recurring displacements hampered various socioeconomic activities in the community, delaying economic development that worsens the poverty situation and well-being of the people.”

As a response, the development plan provided strategies “to ensure the recovery and rehabilitation of areas long affected by armed conflict and transform them, including the former combatants, into a more productive communities and members of the society.”

Normalization as tool for the economic

BDP 2020-2022 stressed the importance of national government support to the normalization process.

Normalization, according to the development plan, provides for a process where former combatants can achieve their desired quality of life, attain sustainable livelihood, and participate in society.

The Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) is to decommission 40,000 of its combatants by the end of 2022, the last year of the Bangsamoro Transition Authority, as stated in the Annex on Normalization of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB).

Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) Assistant Secretary Wilben Mayor, on the other hand, said that the Joint Task Force on Camps Transformation (JTFCT) is also reaching the completion of the camps transformation plans for all government-acknowledged MILF- Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Forces (MILF-BIAF) camps.

The camps transformation plans, he said, are anchored on the BDP “to ensure that these once conflict-affected areas are transformed into peaceful and productive communities.”

In an interview with Rappler, Benedicto Bacani of the Institute for Autonomy and Governance (IAG) emphasized that the mandate of the transition covers not just the political but also the normalization track.

Every decommissioned combatant will receive a socioeconomic package worth P1 million which will cover cash assistance, personal security (education, health, and skills development), and housing.

This phase of the peace process, according to BDP 2020-2022, will sustain stability in the region and create a conducive environment for investments and development.

“It is critical. The normalization has to work and it will only work if the capacities are there, because that will be a burden to the governance side if it doesn’t,” said Bacani.

The development plan indicated 8 development goals which will be the focus of BARMM’s interventions until 2022:
  • establish the foundations for inclusive, transparent, accountable, and efficient governance
  • uphold peace, security, public order and safety, and respect for human rights
  • create a favorable enabling environment for inclusive and sustainable economic development
  • promote Bangsamoro identity, cultures, and diversity
  • ensure access to and delivery of quality services for human capital development
  • harness technology and innovations to increase socio-economic opportunities and improve government services
  • increase strategic and climate-resilient infrastructure to support sustainable socioeconomic development
  • improve ecological integrity, and promote and enhance climate change adaptation, and disaster risk reduction to sustain resilience of communities

Kalinaw News: Female NPA member surrender with firearms in Surigao del Norte

Posted to Kalinaw News (Nov 14, 2020): Female NPA member surrender with firearms in Surigao del Norte

PLACER, Surigao del Norte— An active member of New People’s Army finds her way back to the mainstream after she successfully surrendered to the Community Support Program Team in Barangay Quezon, Surigao City, Thursday, November 12.

Based on the report, the said personality was
identified as @Leilan (true name is being withheld for security), 19 years old, a regular member of SYP16B, Guerilla Front 16, NEMRC and a resident of Purok Avocado of the same barangay.

In her return to the folds of the law, she turned over one Caliber .45 and a hand grenade to the combined elements of Charlie Company, 29IB, 1st SDN Provincial Mobile Force Company, and Regional Mobile Force Battalion 13.

Regretful of her involvement with the Communist Terrorists Group (CTG), she disclosed that she joined the underground movement hoping that it will give her a better living condition. She said that the Communist NPA Terrorists (CNT) are using lies such as financial support and scholarship to encourage the youth to be involved and support their agenda.

She further revealed that her first involvement with the said group includes joining the underground mass organization in their locality wherein they are being mobilized in mass actions and rallies. She also said that she served as a courier of the armed group before she was formally recruited to be a regular NPA member.

Furthermore, @Leilan cited that she was radicalized together with other young recruits through indoctrinations and “teach-ins” about communist ideology and propagandas to inculcate culture hatred against the goverment.

Realizing her mistakes, she said that for several times she asked permission to return home but her superiors prevented her to do so. She admitted that she was only allowed to leave the group when she got pregnant by her Team Leader. For months, she went on hiding until she decided to surface and formally surrender to be reunited with her family and live a normal life.

Meanwhile, Col. George L. Banzon, Commander of 901st Infantry (Fight’Em) Brigade, said that he was grateful of the decision of the former rebel to totally abandon the armed struggle. Taking the case of @Leilan, the Brigade Commander stressed that it was clear manifestation of communist’s exploitation of our youth.

“The communist terrorists are opportunists who capitalize the vulnerabilities of our youth and the case @Leilan was a classic example of this. By luring her to join the violent armed struggle, the CTG deprived her with the opportunity to have a better future. Indeed, her situation is difficult knowing that she is now facing the responsibilities and challenges of being a parent after she was exposed into a situation where she was not supposed to be in” he said.

In coordination with LGU and other government agencies, Col. Banzon said that they will help the victim to avail benefits under the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (ECLIP).

“The government door is always open for those who will choose to surrender. Through our Local Task Force ELCAC, we will help her to avail the government programs intended for them so that she will have a new lease of life after her miserable experiences with the CTG”, Col. Banzon said.

On the other hand, the Brigade Commander reminded the local populace to be careful and watchful against CPP-NPA-NDF deceitful tactics so that they will not fall into the communist’s trap.

“We are hoping that the surrender of @Leilan may serve as reminder for everyone, specially to the parents to be vigilant so that our children will not end up victims of the CNTs”, he added.

Kalinaw News: Former rebel aids Army to recover NPA arms cache in Agusan del Norte

Posted to Kalinaw News (Nov 14, 2020): Former rebel aids Army to recover NPA arms cache in Agusan del Norte

BUENAVISTA, Agusan del Norte – With the help of the information from a former rebel (FR), another arms cache of Communist New People’s Army (NPA) Terrorist (CNT) was unearthed by the troopers of 23rd Infantry (Masigasig) Battalion in the forested area of Sitio Sabang, Barangay Lower Olave, Buenavista, Agusan del Norte on November 12, 2020.

The former rebel in the person of a certain Alias Tuyom, was previously a member of Team Baking, Squad Dos, Sentro de Grabidad (SDG) KINGDOM, Guerrilla Front-4A, and a member of Squad 1, Sub Regional Sentro de Grabidad (SRSDG) SAGAY, Sub Regional Command 3 (SRC3), NCMRC who surrendered to the unit last October 6, 2020.

Recovered at the said area were two Caliber .38 Revolver, five rounds of Ctg .38 Revolver ammunition and one pack bag. Moreover, the said recovered items were believed to be buried by the withdrawing remnants of SDG CAOCAO, GF-4A, and SRSDG SAGAY, SRC3, NCMRC after the encounter at Sitio Kawayan, Barangay Nong-nong, Butuan City last April 27, 2020.

Lt. Col. Julius Cesar C. Paulo, the Acting Commanding Officer of 23rd Infantry Battalion extended his gratitude to the former rebel for actively cooperating with the unit.

“We all know that the FRs are experts on the entry and exit points of the CNTs and they possessed more knowledge on the possible hideouts and the designated firearms cache of the armed group. We are glad that the FRs never fail to help us in ending the local communist armed conflict in our area of operations by sharing important and positive information that has a great impact on dismantling the terror group,” Paulo said.

He added that the discovery and seizure of the firearms, ammunition, personal belongings and documents will further make the lives of the remaining CNTs harder.

“These firearms and ammunition, though buried and concealed, will eventually be used by the CNTs in their future terroristic activities such as extortion and harassment of civilians in their communities,” Paulo said.

The 23rd IB commander also emphasized that several hideouts of the CNTs in Agusan del Norte were also discovered by the Army with the help of civilians.

“But the residents in far-flung communities are fighting back nowadays as they admitted of being forced to provide support to the CNTs because of fear,” Paulo said.

He cited the issues and concerns raised by civilians against the CNTs during the series of peace consultations and dialogues conducted by the 23rd IB and the local officials.

“The civilians are already tired of the CNTs. They openly aired their grievances during these dialogues and the desire to live in peace to allow government development programs and services into their communities,” Paulo said.

He also reiterated his call to the remnants of GF-4A to listen to the call of the government and return to the fold of the law.

“Do not waste your time. Listen to the call of the government. Leave the communist movement that is governed by lies, deception and false hopes. You still have that precious time to renew your lives with your families,” Paulo said.

Kalinaw News: Top ranking NPA of Western Mindanao killed, yield 6 firearms in Zambo Norte clash

Posted to Kalinaw News (Nov 14, 2020): Top ranking NPA of Western Mindanao killed, yield 6 firearms in Zambo Norte clash

CAMP SANG-AN, Zamboanga del Sur- Top 2 ranking Communist NPA Terrorist (CNT) of Western Mindanao was killed and yielded six high-powered firearms in a clash with 44th Infantry Battalion and Zamboanga del Norte Provincial Police Office in Barangay ZNAC, Tampilisan, Zamboanga del Norte, Friday night, November 13, 2020.

The cadaver was identified by former rebels as Leonido Nabong alias COCO/BASTE, a member of Komisyon Mindanao (KOMMID), former Secretary from April 2002 to September 2011 and currently the 1st Deputy Secretary of the Western Mindanao Regional Party Committee (WMRPC).

“Coco or Baste, as we commonly know him, was one of the remaining pillars, oldest and the most hardcore personality of the WMRPC,” said Lt. Col. Don Templonuevo, Commanding Officer, 44th Infantry Battalion.

“The troops found Coco when he was abandoned by his comrades and tried to revive him but unfortunately passed away,” Lt. Col. Templonuevo added.

The 45-minute firefight resulted to the capture of four M16 and one M14 assault rifles and one M203 grenade launcher.

Meanwhile, Brig. Gen. Leonel Nicolas, Commander, 102nd Infantry Brigade expressed his gratitude to the locals who tipped-off the government forces of the location of the Communist Terrorist Group.

“For the past months, our troops on the ground have been pursuing the remaining elements of the Guerilla Front Feliciano “A” and will continue to hunt down the remaining CTGs in Western Mindanao,” said Brig. Gen. Nicolas.

“However, we will keep our doors open for those who still wish a second chance to be with their families and return to the mainstream society,” Brig. Gen. Nicolas added.

For his part, Maj. Gen. Gene Ponio commended the troops for this remarkable accomplishment.

“The Tabak troopers in close coordination with all stakeholders through the Whole-of-Nation Approach under the EO 70 will remain steadfast in its mandate of ending the local communist armed conflict in Western Mindanao,” said Maj. Gen. Ponio.

“We are close to winning our fight against insurgents in the region with the continued support of local chief executives, constituents and other stakeholders”, added Maj Gen. Ponio.

As of this posting, troops are still conducting pursuit operations against fleeing members of the CTG.

Angel Locsin meets with Parlade to discuss red-tagging

From Rappler (Nov 14, 2020): Angel Locsin meets with Parlade to discuss red-tagging

Parlade had previously accused Locsin and her sister of having ties to the rebel New People's Army

Angel Locsin met with Lieutenant General Antonio Parlade Jr on Saturday, November 14, to talk about military official's accusing her and her sister Ella Colmenares of having ties with the rebel group New People’s Army.

On Instagram on November 14, lawyer Joji Alonso said that Parlade and Locsin “discussed, threshed out and cleared” the issues that he brought up against the actress in recent weeks.

“Miss Locsin expressly denounces violence and terrorism in any form and supports all efforts of the government to maintain the safety and protection of its citizens,” Alonso said in her post, which included photos of Locsin and Parlade’s meeting.

Parlade is chief of the Southern Luzon Command (SoLCom) and a member of the government's National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC).

Alonso also said that Parlade “conveyed to Ms. Locsin his appreciation for her contribution to the AFP and her continuing advocacy to help the poor, impoverished and the helpless.”


Parlade had previously claimed in a now-deleted Facebook post that Colmenares had joined the NPA in 2005 and was deployed for 18 months in Poliliop Island. He also said that Locsin had supported her sister throughout.

Locsin denied the claims, and responded by posting her sister's transcript of records as a student at the Philippine Christian University in the same year she was accused of going underground.

The actress said that the red-tagging had endangered her and her family.

Locsin had also been mentioned by Parlade when he "warned" actress Liza Soberano against supporting women's group Gabriela, saying that if Soberano continued to do so, she would end up like activist Jo Lapira. Lapira was a UP Manila student who killed in a clash between government troups and suspected NPA members in Nasugbu, Batangas in November 2017.

Locsin defended Soberano, saying of Parlade's actions: "how 1920s."

Former student leader of Xavier U killed in encounter with gov’t troops

From MindaNews (Nov 14, 2020): Former student leader of Xavier U killed in encounter with gov’t troops (By FROILAN GALLARDO)

CAGAYAN DE ORO (MindaNews / 14 November) — A former student leader and Magna Cum Laude graduate of Xavier University who joined the communist rebels in the 1970s was killed in an encounter with Army troops in Tampilisan town, Zamboanga del Norte on Friday.

Lt. Gen. Corleto Vinluan, Jr., chief of the Western Mindanao Command (WestMinCom) said
the body of Leonardo “Nido” Nabong was found after the rebels engaged Army troops in a 45-minute gunfight in Purok 2, Barangay ZNAC, Tampilisan, Zamboanga del Norte at around 6:15 p.m.

Vinluan said Nabong was the first deputy secretary of the Communist Party of the Philippines Western Mindanao Regional Party Committee (WMRPC) covering Mt. Malindang which straddles the provinces of Misamis Occidental, Zamboanga del Norte and Zamboanga del Sur

The Western Mindanao Command released this map showing the site of encounter where Leonardo “Nido” Nabong was killed on Friday, November 13, 2020.

Nabong was better known by his nickname” Nido.” His schoolmates in Xavier University admired him after he joined the New People’s Army (NPA) in the early years of Marcos’ martial law.

Vinluan said Nabong was with 10 other armed fighters of the NPA Guerrilla Front Flex A when soldiers engaged them in barangay ZNAC.

“An exchange of gunfire ensued for 45 minutes after which the militants withdrew,” Vinluan said.

Vinluan said four M16 and one M14 rifles, one M203 grenade launcher, 10 long and four short magazines for M16 rifle, six rounds live ammunition of 40mm were seized at the encounter site.

The military said Nabong, known by his aliases “Otik/Berto/Bonie,” was also an Executive Committee member of the Komisyon Mindanao (KOMMID) and carried a reward of 6.15 million pesos for his capture dead or alive.

Nabong had been reported to have died several times in past, prompting the military to present a photograph of his dead body.

Several former classmates, friends and former rebels attested that the person in the photograph was Nabong.

Nabong graduated Magna Cum Laude with a degree in Agriculture at the Xavier University in 1976. He was Salutatorian in high school at the same university.

After college graduation, he worked in a banana plantation in Compostela Valley.

He later joined the NPA allegedly after the family’s land in Tagoloan, Misamis Oriental was sequestered by government to become part of what is now the Phividec Industrial Authority.

He was a relative of the late Misamis Oriental Vice Gov. Norris Babiera and friend of the late Cagayan de Oro Mayor Vicente Emano.

Nabong used to command NPA guerilla Front B covering the eastern part of Misamis Oriental before he was transferred to guerilla front “Monterosa” in Mt. Malindang.

He also represented the Communist Party of the Philippines-Northern Mindanao in the 1986 peace talks under the administration of then President Corazon Aquino.

His former comrades said the death of Nabong, a known strategist and guerilla leader, will be a big loss to the NPA.
(Froilan Gallardo / MindaNews)

US donates isolation tents to Zambo

Posted to the Mindanao Examiner (Nov 13, 2020): US donates isolation tents to Zambo

ZAMBOANGA CITY – The US Special Operations Task Force donated four isolation tents to the local government as part of Washington’s support to Zamboanga’s pandemic response.

US Embassy photos show Mayor Beng Climaco with members of the US Special Operations Task Force.

Mayor Beng Climaco and Vice Mayor Rommel Agan received the donation.

The mayor thanked Washington for its continued support to the local government in fighting the pandemic. “Thank you very much US Government for the continuous partnership and support and assistance for the good of the people of Zamboanga and the entire country. Vaya con Dios,” she said.

The US government also donated in May over 100 boxes of personnel protective equipment, masks, goggles, thermometers and other medical supplies to the Zamboanga City Health Office, Zamboanga City Medical Center, West Metro Medical Center, Zamboanga Peninsula Medical Center and Ciudad Medical Center in response to the pandemic.

The donation was handed over by Major Nathan Golike, commander of the US Special Operations Task Force.

Climaco has praised Washington for the continued support Zamboanga is receiving through its various programs here and she even highlighted the strong partnership of the Philippines and the United States.

She said under her administration, Zamboanga City has been one of the priority areas in the country of the US- funded programs, which include technical assistance on governance, security, peace and conflict resolution, education, environmental protection, urban planning, revenue generation and health, especially at this coronavirus pandemic.

Manila received over P978 million ($19.5 million) in aid from the U.S. government to address the Covid-19 pandemic. And this was also complemented with donations of food, technology, and other assistance from American companies as a testament to their deep commitment to flatten the pandemic curve in the Philippines. (Zamboanga Post)

7 pro-ISIS fighters killed, Sayyaf commander captured in South

Posted to the Mindanao Examiner (Nov 13, 2020): 7 pro-ISIS fighters killed, Sayyaf commander captured in South

Government soldiers killed an Abu Sayyaf fighter and 6 other pro-ISIS fighters, including their sub-leader, in separate clashes Friday in the southern Philippines, officials said.

A military photo shows the body of a Sayyaf fighter killed in Basilan province.

Army Lt. Gen. Corleto Vinluan, Jr., chief of the Western Mindanao Command, said troops from the 64th Infantry Battalion guided by army intelligence soldiers raided an Abu Sayyaf hideout before sunrise and killed terrorist leader Hasid Salahim in a clash in the village of Etub-Etub in Sumisip town, a known stronghold of the pro-ISIS group in the Muslim province, just 30 minutes by boat from here.

“Upon reaching the area, the subject immediately fired upon our dismounting troops. Our soldiers were forced to return fire which resulted in the death of Salajim,” he said, adding soldiers also recovered an automatic rifle from the hideout.

A military photo shows the body of Arafat Bulacon, a sub-leader of the Dawlah Islamiya, killed by soldiers in a firefight along with 5 others in South Cotabato's Polomolok town. 

Vinluan said police commandos and Special Forces soldiers also killed Arafat Bulacon, of the Dawlah Islamiya or the Ansar Al-Khilafah Philippines, in a firefight in Polomolok town in South Cotabato province after security forces tracked him down in his hideout. Two commandos were wounded in the clash.

“Based on the report from the ground, Arafat Bulacon, a.k.a. Maula was neutralized after initiating a firefight with the operating troops of the 4th Special Action Battalion of the PNP Special Action Force and 5th Special Forces Battalion, who were serving his warrants of arrest for murder,” he said. “The encounter further resulted in the deaths of five more local terrorists and the wounding of two PNP-SAF personnel.”

Vinluan said security forces recovered assorted weapons and an ISIS flag from the hideout. He said - quoting a report from Brig. Gen. Roy Galido, commander of the

601st Infantry Brigade - Bulacon was one of the perpetrators of the General Santos City bombing in 2018 and he was involved in a string of criminal activities in South Cotabato.

Military photos show Abu Sayyaf sub-leader Amah Ullah is captured by soldiers following a clash in Sulu's Patikul town.

Both fighting came a day after troops also clashed with Abu Sayyaf terrorists in Latih village in Patikul town in Sulu province and captured their sub-leader, Amah Ullah, who was wounded in the battle, according to Vinluan.

He said Ullah was rushed to hospital by his captors who are members of the 17th Special Forces Company led by 2Lt. Jhonny-Ric Bregonia. Ullah’s followers managed to escape and were being hunted down by Bregonia’s unit. (Rhoderick Benez)

2ID sends troops for disaster response; saves lives after Ulysses onslaugh

From the Philippine Information Agency (Nov 14, 2020): 2ID sends troops for disaster response; saves lives after Ulysses onslaught (By PA 2ID DPAO)

CAMP CAPINPIN, Tanay, Rizal, Nov 13 (PIA) --The Army's 2nd Infantry Division mobilized all its available assets for Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Response or HADR to aid communities in its area of responsibility which are greatly affected by Typhoon Ulysses on Thursday, November 12.

This came after MGen Greg T Almerol, Commander of 2ID, directed his Incident Command Staffs to muster all available manpower and equipment before the typhoon struck Southern Tagalog.

"Our responsibilities as soldiers do not end in just securing the land from insurgencies. These disasters have harmed our fellowmen, and we now have to be with them to bring hope during these challenging times."

Per report this morning, troops were able to save five individuals of the Marquez-Paraiso family who were trapped in a landslide at Magsaysay, Infanta, Quezon. The personalities were then immediately rushed to a hospital in Tanay for medical attention.

Meanwhile, other HADR teams deployed in affected areas across Southern Tagalog recorded 67,480 rescued individuals in CALABARZON and 20,273 in MIMARO provinces.

Almerol also reminded his soldiers to always be wary of any possible terrorist attack as these calamities may be an opportunity for the NPA terrorists to take advantage and harm our people just like what they did in Macalelon, Quezon early on Thursday while the typhoon is at its peak.

He encouraged every Jungle Fighter to treat calamities as opportunities to serve the people, assist the local government units, and bring the spirit of Bayanihan alive.

"Let us not create any opportunity for our foes - the coronavirus and the terrorists - to strike us during any of our humanitarian missions. Our presence during these times of crisis is paramount in keeping our oath of service to our fellowmen," added Almerol.

The 2ID has deployed 86 Search, Rescue, and Retrieval or SRR teams in all typhoon-affected areas under JTF Katagalugan, most especially in the areas of Rodriguez and Tanay for HADR missions.

National Highway Mabitac in Laguna, Lemery-Taal and Laurel-Agoncillo Road in Batangas, and Lopez-Calauag Road in Quezon are reported impassable due to erosion and debris. Meanwhile, Cavitex, Laguna National, and Tanay-Sampaloc Roads remain passable as of this writing.

Ulysses is the country's 21st storm this year and the ninth to affect the Southern Tagalog. (PIA-4A/PA 2ID DPAO)

4 helicopters dispatched by AFP to Cagayan Valley

From the Philippine Information Agency (Nov 14, 2020): 4 helicopters dispatched by AFP to Cagayan Valley (By Northern Luzon Command)

CAMP SERVILLANO AQUINO, Tarlac City — Four helicopters were dispatched by the AFP’s Northern Luzon Command to Cagayan Valley on Saturday as they shift the focus of their “post-Ulysses” humanitarian missions to Region 2.

NOLCOM Commander Major General Arnulfo Marcelo Burgos Jr issued the order after unprecedented flooding was recorded in the province’s history.

“My order is for these air assets not to have idle time”, said Maj Gen Burgos while adding that “they will be stationed in Cauayan, Isabela and, in coordination with the provincial government, will be deployed for Search, Rescue, Retrieval and Relief Operations particularly on those far-flung areas which land-based vehicles are unable to reach.”

“These strategic assets under NOLCOM, which come with four Search and Rescue Teams, will complement the 138 SRR Teams of 5th Infantry Division, the core of which is composed of two Army Battalions and one Marine Battalion Landing Team, who are at all times in close coordination with the different Disaster Risk Reduction Offices from the Region as well as in the Provincial down to the municipal levels”, he added.

Based on experts’ assessments, the massive flooding was due to numerous factors such as Magat Dam’s opening of gates and the large number of rainwater from the Sierra Madres and Cordillera Mountain Ranges which have now finally reached the lowlands of Cagayan Valley.

These were compounded by the high water level in the seas thereby causing “back flow” from the supposed outlets of major water ways in the region.

It can be recalled that since October, when a series of weather disturbances started threatening Northern and Central Luzon, Maj Gen Burgos has already placed all military units, personnel and equipment under him on alert and directed them to be ready to respond should the need arise.

“There really is no substitute for long drawn planning and preparation” something which, according to him, “includes our proactive actions of prepositioning not just our forces before the typhoon but also relief goods for the would-be affected communities”, explained Maj Gen Burgos.

He ended his statement by assuring the people of Cagayan that “your soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines are one with you and will be by your side every step of the way as you move forward from this calamity. No amount of rain will drench our resolve to help you, no amount of mud will hinder us to reach and protect you.”

Aside from Region 2, hundreds of NOLCOM troopers are currently deployed to other Ulysses’ hard hit areas such as Aurora in Region 3, Pagudpud in Ilocos Region and Ifugao in Cordillera Administrative Region.

They are part of the more than 200 Disaster Response Teams that were activated and deployed by NOLCOM. According to the military, one C-130 and a C-295 aircraft have been dedicated to support the Cagayan Valley relief operations.

As of the moment, plans are underway for it to be used to ferry 11 additional Disaster Response Teams with equipment from the National Capital Region. Gov Manuel Mamba of Cagayan Valley earlier expressed his people’s gratitude to the men and women of NOLCOM for the close coordination and collaboration throughout the calamity. (PIA-2)

AFP rescues 2,727 individuals affected by Typhoon Ulysses, launches 'Tulong Bayanihan'

From the Philippine Information Agency (Nov 14, 2020): AFP rescues 2,727 individuals affected by Typhoon Ulysses, launches 'Tulong Bayanihan' (By Jimmyley E. Guzman)

PASIG CITY, Nov. 14 (PIA) -- The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) on Friday reported that it rescued a total of 2,727 individuals from the devastating effects caused by Typhoon Ulysses.

Among the rescued were 2,716 in the National Capital Region, Rizal Province and Bicol Region, and 11 who were injured in Camarines Sur. The military also retrieved eight (8) cadavers from Bicol, Region 4A and Zambales while it recorded nine (9) persons reportedly missing.

“The Armed Forces of the Philippines will never waver in carrying out our duty to protect the wellbeing of our people. As defenders of peace and security, the AFP is one with the Filipinos as we rise as one nation from the devastation brought by Typhoon Ulysses,” AFP Chief of Staff General Gilbert Gapay said.

Gapay also announced that the AFP will launch “Tulong Bayanihan” for relief missions in affected areas by Typhoon Ulysses and Super Typhoon Rolly. The program will activate military units as drop-off points for donations which will then be delivered to communities as part of the AFP’s relief operations service.

“Through our Tulong Bayanihan program, AFP camps nationwide will serve as drop points for individuals, groups or organizations who intend to donate food and non-food items to typhoon victims,” the AFP chief said.

The AFP is the lead agency for the Search, Rescue and Retrieval (SRR) Cluster of the National Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council (NDRRMC) Response Cluster. At present, there are 83 SRR teams, 83 ground mobility assets, nine (9) aircrafts, and 18 naval assets deployed in affected areas. Meanwhile 145 ready-reserve deployable SSR Teams are on standby for identified hardest-hit areas including 268 land assets, nine (9) aircrafts, and two (2) vessels including 25 rubber boats.

A total 3,777 AFP personnel consisting of 147 Officers, 2,451 Enlisted Personnel, 550 CAFGUs and 629 Reservists with 303 land, 32 watercrafts, 12 aircrafts, and six naval assets were deployed to assist local government units in Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Response (HADR) operations.

In the National Capital Region, a total of 86 families and 385 individuals were rescued while 349 families and 6,309 individuals were evacuated as of 5:00 p.m. on November 12. The Joint Task Force NCR led HADR efforts in Valenzuela City, Quezon City, Marikina City, Montalban, Rizal, Pasig City, Pandacan, Manila, Navotas, Caloocan.

In Southern Luzon, the Joint Task Force Katagalugan spearheaded disaster response and relief efforts in affected municipalities of Quezon Province, Rizal, Laguna, Camarines Sur, and Catanduanes. HADR and Quick Response Teams from the 201st Brigade, 21DRC, CMO Battalion, 85th Infantry Battalion, 59th Infantry Battalion, 564th Engineer Construction Battalion, 202nd Brigade, and 80th Infantry Battalion were mobilized to provide aid in the areas.

The 564th Engineer Construction Battalion led the search, rescue and retrieval operations as well as clearing operations in Los Baños, Laguna. The 80th Infantry Battalion on the other hand led rescue efforts in the towns of San Mateo, Rodriguez, Baras and Tanay all in Rizal Province.

The 9th Infantry Battalion in coordination with the local government units conducted force evacuation to the residents of Barangays Malibago of Sipocot and Quitang, Bahay and Sta. Rosa del Sur of Pasacao, all in Camarines Sur.

In the Bicol Region, the Joint Task Force Bicolandia led force evacuations, transportation of evacuees to relocation sites, and distribution of food relief goods. Among communities assisted were in Tinambac, Buhi and Calabanga in Camarines Sur; Pandan and Virac in Catanduanes; and Legazpi City.

Disaster response units and essential assets under Northern Luzon Command on the other hand are on alert for possible deployment and augmentation. It continues to intensify the conduct of coordination and close monitoring and coordination on both emergency operations centers of provincial and municipal disaster risk reduction and management offices.

“The AFP assures the public that disaster response operations will be prioritized to address the needs of the Filipino people. We will continue to assist the local government units in providing manpower, mobility and equipment for the relief and rehabilitation of communities affected by Typhoon Ulysses,” Gapay said. (PIA NCR)

26 members of CPP underground org in Guimba return to folds of gov’t

From the Philippine Information Agency (Nov 14, 2020): 26 members of CPP underground org in Guimba return to folds of gov’t (By Carlo Lorenzo J. Datu) 

CITY OF SAN FERNANDO, Pampanga, Nov.14 (PIA) -- About 26 members of the Liga ng Manggagawang Bukid (LMB) withdrew their membership and support to the Pambansang Katipunan ng Magbubukid, an underground organization of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP).

Group leader Arsenia Del Rosario led the move in a ceremony held at barangay Cawayang Bugtong in Guimba, Nueva Ecija.

84th Infantry Battalion Commanding Officer Lt.Col. Honorato Pascual Jr. said the withdrawal of support was realized after the information dissemination of the Army in the barangay.

“Informing the people about the deception of the CPP-New Peoples’ Army (NPA) bandits is a worthwhile endeavor, as we in return, are saving lives. Through our information dissemination campaign, we opened their minds with the truth about these front organizations,” he said.

About 26 members of the Liga ng Manggagawang Bukid withdrew their membership and support to the Pambansang Katipunan ng Magbubukid, an underground organization of the Community Party of the Philippines. (84th Infantry Battalion)

The Oath of Allegiance to the government and the withdrawal of support was made before the presence of Barangay Cawayang Bugtong officials led by Punong Barangay Marcos Ovina.

Del Rosario confessed that they thought that the LMB was advocating for the improvement of the plights of farmers, however, they learned through the Army that they were only being used for the CPP-NPA bandit’s political agenda.

In a statement, 7th Infantry Division Commander Major General Alfredo Rosario Jr. welcomed the decision of the 26 members of the LMB to pledge their allegiance to the government.

“Joining a people’s organization is a right, however, it is our duty to inform the people of what organizations will get them into trouble. So, we are calling on everyone to be careful of what organization they will be part of,” he stressed. (CLJD-PIA 3)

12 BIFF militants yield to Army in Maguindanao

From the Philippine News Agency (Nov 14, 2020): 12 BIFF militants yield to Army in Maguindanao (By Edwin Fernandez)

RIGHT DECISION. Maj. Gen. Juvymax Uy (left), commander of the Army’s 6th Infantry Division, checks one of the rifles that Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters surrenderers turned in to the Army in Maguindanao on Friday (Nov. 13, 2020) as Army 33rd Infantry Battalion commander, Lt. Col. Elmer Boongaling looks on. Uy said the rebels made the right decision to peacefully surrender and live normal lives. (Photo courtesy of 6ID)

COTABATO CITY – At least 12 members of the local terrorist group, the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF), have surrendered to the Joint Task Force Central (JTFC) and the Army’s 6th Infantry Division (ID) in Maguindanao, the Army said Saturday.

The former Moro rebels under the Karialan faction surrendered
to the 33rd Infantry Battalion (IB) on Friday afternoon and handed over their weapons to Maj. Gen. Juvymax Uy, 6ID commander and concurrent chief of the JTFC in Central Mindanao.

The surrenderers turned in two M14 rifles, four Barret sniper rifles, an Uzi submachine gun, one M16 rifle, and two Garand rifles.

“These former BIFF combatants are residents of Mamasapano and Rajah Buayan, both in Maguindanao,” Uy told reporters here.

Lt. Col. Elmer Boongaling, 33rd Infantry Battalion commander, said a combination of military operations and community engagements in the area led to the surrender of the former rebels.

The surrender rites were held at the headquarters of the 33IB in Barangay Zapakan, Rajah Buayan, Maguindanao.

“We realized the futility of our cause and we do not know what we are fighting for anymore,” Abdul, one of the former BIFF combatants, said in the vernacular.

1ID unveils Army green camp program

From the Philippine News Agency (Nov 14, 2020): 1ID unveils Army green camp program (By Teofilo Garcia, Jr.)

GREEN CAMP. The 1st Infantry Division unveils on Saturday (Nov. 14, 2020) the Army Green Camp Program to boost food production amid the coronavirus pandemic. Photo shows Lt. Col. Janet Laurena, 1ID headquarters camp commander (right), and Upper Pulacan Barangay chairperson Melanio Bambao (2nd from right) plant vegetables together with the other participants during the program launch. (Photo courtesy of 1ID Public Affairs Office)

ZAMBOANGA CITY – The 1st Infantry Division (ID) launched Saturday the Army Green Camp Program to boost food production amid the coronavirus disease pandemic.

Lt. Col. Filven Noche, 1ID Civil-Military Operations chief, said the program aims to maintain a model farm and supply its personnel with agricultural products, helping them cope with the impacts of the pandemic.

To ensure sustainability, Noche said 1ID tapped the residents of Barangay Upper Pulacan, the host village of Camp Cesar Sang-an, which houses the division headquarters in Labangan, Zamboanga del Sur.

Noche encouraged the villagers and the troops to work together to sustain the Army Green Camp Program for everyone's benefit.

Melanio Bambao, Upper Pulacan barangay chairperson, thanked the 1ID for involving them in the program.

“Despite the pandemic, we hold on together as one, as leaders, subordinates of the community,” Bambao said.

Ranking NPA leader killed in Zambo Norte clash

From the Philippine News Agency (Nov 14, 2020): Ranking NPA leader killed in Zambo Norte clash (By Teofilo Garcia, Jr.) 

REBEL LEADER KILLED. Leonido Nabong, a ranking leader of the New People's Army, was killed in an encounter with government troops in Barangay ZNAC, Tampilisan, Zamboanga del Norte on Friday (Nov. 13, 2020). He had standing warrants of arrest for multiple murder charges, damage to government property, and rebellion. (Photo courtesy of the 44th Infantry Battalion)

A high-ranking leader of the communist New People’s Army (NPA), with a PHP6.1-million bounty on his head, was killed in a firefight with government troops in the hinterlands of Zamboanga del Norte, military officials said Saturday.

Leonido Nabong, first deputy secretary of the NPA’s Western Mindanao Regional Party Committee, was killed in a 45-minute clash
that ensued after troops on a combat operation in Barangay ZNAC (Zamboanga del Norte Agricultural College) in Tampilisan, Zamboanga del Norte encountered 10 fully armed rebels of the WMRPC’s Guerrilla Front Flex A on Friday, commander of the Western Mindanao Command (Westmincom), Lt. Gen. Corleto Vinluan Jr., said.

Vinluan said the troops of the 44th Infantry Battalion (IB) and police officers also
recovered six high-powered firearms from the clash site.

He said the rest of the rebels scampered in different directions, leaving Nabong behind.

“Coco or Baste, as we commonly know him (Nabong), was one of the remaining pillars, the oldest and the most hardcore personality of the WMRPC," said Lt. Col. Don Templonuevo, 44IB commander.

“The troops found Coco abandoned by his comrades and tried to revive him but unfortunately, he passed away.”

Brig. Gen. Leonel Nicolas, 102d Infantry Brigade commander, said Nabong had standing warrants of arrest for multiple murder charges, damage to government property, and rebellion.

“For the past months, our troops on the ground have been pursuing the remaining elements of the Guerrilla Front Feliciano ‘A’ and will continue to hunt down the remaining CTGs (communist terrorist groups) in Western Mindanao,” Nicolas said.

“However, we will keep our doors open for those who still wish a second chance to be with their families and return to the mainstream society.”

Maj. Gen. Generoso Ponio, 1st Infantry Division commander, said the military would continue to conduct focused operations and maximize intelligence monitoring to prevent the "menaces of society to thrive in the communities in the command’s area of operation."

“Let us continue to work together to win over any threat that hinders peace and progress in the communities,” Vinluan said.

AFP ready to deploy more rescue teams to Cagayan Valley (

From the Philippine News Agency (Nov 14, 2020): AFP ready to deploy more rescue teams to Cagayan Valley (By Priam Nepomuceno)

Aerial photo of Cagayan province taken by the Philippine Air Force (PAF) on Saturday (Nov. 14, 2020). (Photo courtesy of PAF) 

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) has deployed and is preparing to send more personnel and assets to help communities in the Cagayan Valley region that have been severely affected by the series of typhoons, including "Ulysses", which has caused heavy flooding.

"The AFP hears the calls for help. We have sent and will continue to send personnel and assets to the areas in Region 2 (Cagayan Valley) affected by the heavy flooding brought by recent typhoons," AFP Chief of Staff, Gen. Gilbert Gapay, said in a statement Saturday.

The entire Joint Task Force Tala, composed of the 5th Infantry Division, Naval Forces Northern Luzon, Marine Battalion Landing Team (MBLT) 10, and Tactical Operations Group 2, has been on the search, rescue, and retrieval mode.

"All resources of these units are being used to rescue and provide relief to stricken individuals and communities in CAR (Cordillera Administrative Region) and Region 2," he added.

Gapay said two water search-and-rescue (WASAR) teams from Tactical Operations Group 2 are on the third day of their mission in Ilagan City, Isabela, while three search, rescue and retrieval (SRR) teams of the Marine Battalion Landing Team (MBLT) 1, equipped with rubber boats and trucks are in Alcala, Cagayan.

"More than 91 SRR units of the Northern Luzon Command are spread out in 12 provinces and 31 municipalities," Gapay said.

Meanwhile, five helicopters and three more WASAR teams are just waiting for fair weather to fly in and help, he added.

"We continue to cooperate with the Bureau of Fire Protection, Philippine National Police, Philippine Coast Guard, and other members of the SRR Cluster in order to help as many people as possible, as quickly as possible. We have faced many challenges. Our resilience and 'Bayanihan' have kept us forward. We call on everyone to hold on to safety. Help is on the way. And help will come," Gapay said.

As this developed, the Philippine Navy (PN) said a disaster response and rescue team (DRRT) is now headed for Alcala, Cagayan to help in ongoing rescue efforts in the floods caused by the spilling of water from Magat Dam brought by the onslaught of “Ulysses”.

The PN DDRT is composed of 14 personnel led by Marine Lt. Col. Carlo Bubuli and is based at the Naval Forces Northern Luzon's Naval Base Camilo Osias in Sta. Ana, Cagayan.

The team is equipped with a rubber boat with an outboard motor and other DRRT equipment.
Three of the DDRT members are corpsmen from MBLT-10 and a PN reservist trained in emergency response operations.

Navy deploys more rescuers in Cagayan

From the Philippine News Agency (Nov 14, 2020): Navy deploys more rescuers in Cagayan (By Priam Nepomuceno)

PNA file photo

The Philippine Navy (PN) on Saturday said it will deploy two water search-and-rescue (WASAR) teams to augment the current inter-agency rescue efforts for flood-affected families and residents of Cagayan.

Lt. Commander Maria Christina Roxas, PN public affairs office chief, said the WASAR-trained teams will come from the Naval Forces Northern Luzon facility in San Fernando, La Union.

"The two teams will be equipped with two rubber boats and other life-saving equipment. Some members of the DRRTs (disaster response rescue teams) are from Naval Special Operations Group-Northern Luzon who have expertise in WASAR Operation," she added.

These units are now on standby and ready to be deployed upon the availability of air assets and fair weather for their airlift going to Cagayan.

The teams will augment the current AFP DRRTs deployed and spread out in 12 provinces and 31 municipalities in Region 2.

"The deployments of the Navy’s fleet and marine forces for search, rescue, and retrieval operations are part of the Navy's ongoing efforts to assist other government agencies in responding to our fellow Filipinos being affected by the wrath of Typhoon Ulysses in Region 2," Roxas said.

Meanwhile, two Philippine Air Force (PAF) Bell 412 helicopters from the 207th Tactical Helicopter Squadron took off from Villamor Air Base, Pasay City Saturday for rescue missions related to flood-battered Cagayan.

The two helicopters were used by the 505th Search-and-Rescue Group to transport two WASAR teams and their equipment.

Equipment ferried by the helicopters consists of spine board, narkit, rope ladder, life vest, buoy can, kernmantle, carabs, pulley, flat web or the utility rope, helmet, short prussic, and assorted personal protective equipment.