Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Kalinaw News: NPA continues to disintegrate in Bukidnon

Posted to Kalinaw News (Nov18): NPA continues to disintegrate in Bukidnon

IMPASUGONG, BUKIDNON. November 18 – The New People’s Amy (NPA) continue to disintegrate after four (4) of its members with two (2) firearms voluntarily surrendered to the 8th Infantry “Dependable” Battalion (8IB), Impasugong, Bukidnon on November 14, 2020.

The surrenderees were identified as Jopel, Squad Leader; Mike and Joel, team leaders, all of Squad 2; and Angela, Platoon (Pltn) Medic, all from Pltn 3, Guerilla Front (GF) Malayag, Sub Regional Committee (SRC) 2, Northern Central Mindanao Regional Command (NCMRC).

They disclosed that physical exhaustion, hunger, lack of food and operational supplies, and the realization of the NPA’s false promises caused them to surrender.

Jopel who surrendered along with his one (1) M16 rifle revealed the extreme hunger he experienced with the armed group. He said, “Ako ni surrender tungod sa hilabihang kagutom. Kasagaran sa among pagkaon gina bahin-bahin namo ang usa ka latang tinapa alang sa pito ka mga myembro sa among grupo” (I surrender because of extreme hunger. We usually divide our meal, one can of sardines, among seven members of our group.)

“Halos tanan sa akong mga kauban nag surrender na, wala na usab kami igong bala ug mas daghan na kami dehado kung magpadayun pa kami sa walay pulos nga pakigbisog,” said Mike who surrendered with his one Garand rifle. (Most of my colleagues already surrendered, also we do not have enough ammunition and we will be outnumbered and at a disadvantage if we will continue with this worthless struggle.)

Angela said, “Nisalig ko sa ilang giingon nga hatagan nila ako og trabaho ug tabangan nila ang akong pamilya, apan wala akoy nadawat. Gikapoy nako sa pag operate matag gabii bisan kusog kaayo ang ulan.” (I trusted them when they said that they will give me a job and they will help my family, but I received nothing. I am already tired operating every night even if it’s raining hard.)

“Alang sa mga nagpabilin sa walay kapuslanan nga armadong pakigbisog, ako nagalaom nga buhaton usab ninyo ang mu surender. Wala kamoy mabatunan gawas sa kagutom ug kakapoy. Surender na karun bag-o pa maulahi ang tanan” said Lt Col Edgardo V Talaroc Jr, Commanding Officer of 8IB. (For those who remain in futile armed struggle, I hope you will also surrender. You’ll gain nothing aside from hunger and exhaustion. Surrender now before it’s too late.

Kalinaw News: EastMinCom Sees Rising Trend of CNT Neutralization

Posted to the Kalinaw News (Nov 18,. 2020): EastMinCom Sees Rising Trend of CNT Neutralization

NSFA, Panacan, Davao City – The Eastern Mindanao Command (Eastmincom) continues to see a rising trend of neutralization of the members of the Communist Terrorist Group (CTG) over the past weeks.

The data from Eastmincom shows that there were 48 encounters with the CTG in October and the first quarter of November which resulted in the death of 10 Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army Terrorists (CNTs) and the capture of 20 more.

A total of 29 firearms were also voluntarily surrendered by the former rebels to the troops in the same period and had been remunerated through the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP).

The series of surgical operations launched by Eastmincom’s units in its area of responsibility in October and the first half of November have also resulted in the discovery of 60 CTG hideouts and the capture of 64 high-powered and low-powered firearms.

There had been a total of 3,832 neutralized CNTs and their allies in the Eastern Mindanao region from January 1 to November 16, 2020, according to the records of Eastmincom. Out of this figure, 3,652 are dissociated members of the Underground Mass Organizations (UGMO) and CNT surrenderees while the remaining numbers are CTG members who were either apprehended or killed in combat.

An encounter between the 27th Infantry Battalion (27th IB) and some undetermined number of CNTs under a certain Arian Jane Ochita Ramos alias Marikit inside the vicinity of So Quibolog, Barangay Mapula I Paquibato District, Davao City on November 14, 2020 resulted in the arrest of two newly recruited teachers of the Mindanao Interfaith Services Foundation Inc. (MISFI) Academy identified as Geliejorain Ngojo and Nasria Bansil.

A pursuit operation conducted by the 89th Infantry Battalion on the following day in response to the armed clash in Paquibato District also led to another exchange of fire between the troops and the fleeing CNTs under Alias Marikit at Sitio Lower Mapula, Barangay Mapula in Paquibato District.

The 15-minute firefight dispersed the CNTs while two others identified as Archie Sagan-a alias Bogard and Ryan Ligkat alias Ryan were killed after succumbing to gunshot wounds. The troops were also able to recover several firearms and personal belongings which were abandoned by the fleeing CNTs.

Another skirmish also erupted on November 15, 2020 at So. Polia, Barangay Marayag in Lupon, Davao Oriental between the troops and some 20 CNT members which led to the capture of the enemy’s firearms and other valuables.

In a previous report, six CNTs belonging to the Guerilla Front 53 (GF53) also yielded to the troops of the 16th Infantry Battalion (16th IB) at So. Guitawan, Barangay Poblacion, Arakan in Cotabato on November 10, 2020 at around 5 pm.

One of the six surrenderees later disclosed to the troops that they had entrusted a courier to hide their high-powered firearms. A follow-up operation led the troops to the CNT’s trusted courier who eventually conceded to the authorities by divulging the location of the firearms. Troops successfully captured the hidden firearms and had taken custody of the surrenderees for the proper disposition of the case.

Troops from the 28th Infantry Battalion (28th IB) were also able to recover an M14 rifle and M203 grenade launcher belonging to the CTG during an operation conducted at Sitio Banhawan, Brgy Marayag, Lupon in Davao Oriental on November 9, 2020.

Meanwhile, seven more CNTs including a high-ranking personality had raised the white flag anew as a result of the enhanced implementation of the military’s Community Support Program (CSP) in the remote communities.

The seven CNTs, who were identified as members of the dismantled Weakened Guerilla Front (WGF) Tala of the Far South Mindanao Region (FSMR) and the dissolved Guerilla Front 51, Southern Regional Committee 3 (SRC3) of the Southern Mindanao Regional Committee (SMRC), surrendered to the troops of the 73rd Infantry Battalion (73rd IB) at So. Luot, Poblacion, Malapatan in Sarangani Province on November 10, 2020.

The surrenderees revealed that the deployment of Community Development Teams (CDTs) in the remote communities encouraged them to yield. Their desire to surrender was further amplified by the aggravating circumstances that they were facing such as the difficulty to keep their cause afloat amid the impending danger and hunger.

LtGen Jose C. Faustino, Jr., Commander of Eastern Mindanao Command, lauded the troops’ dedication in delivering development-oriented and people-centric programs in the communities which hamper the CTG from getting more recruits and encourage members of the CNTs to surrender.

“This is only one of the many proofs that Eastmincom does not only contribute to the attainment of sustainable peace but also paves the path towards progress in remote communities,” LtGen Faustino said.

The Eastmincom Commander also expressed his gratitude to the local government agencies who helped in making the CSP a success.

“The success of the CSP would not be possible if it were not for the strong support of the local officials and agencies under the Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (TF-ELCAC). Indeed, our synergy and sustained cooperation make the vision of an insurgency-free Philippines possible,” he added.

Meanwhile, LtGen Faustino stressed that the CTG’s planned offensives will be disadvantageous to them as all favorable signs point that the troops have the upper hand in terms of resources and manpower.

“We have seen the dwindling numbers of the CNTs over the years. It is only a matter of time before we can see their group’s total collapse,” the Commander said, urging the remaining CNTs to abandon their lost cause and to join their former colleagues who have embraced the law and are enjoying the benefits from the government that come with their decision to surrender.

“To the remaining CNTs, the government, together with the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), believes in second chance. This is your chance to embrace the law again. If you lay down your arms, a good future and many opportunities await you under the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP),” LtGen Faustino reiterated.

Anti-terror law takes effect today

From the Visayan Daily Star (Nov 18, 2020): Anti-terror law takes effect today

*Presidential photo

Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra yesterday said Republic Act 11479, or the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020, will take effect today.

In a message to reporters, Guevarra said the effectivity clause of the law states that it shall take effect 15 days after its publication in the Official Gazette or in at least two newspapers of general circulation.

“Considering that the law was published on July 3, it will take effect on July 18, which is the 15th day. This is in accordance with the ruling of the Supreme Court in ‘People vs Nicolas’, among others. We rectify our earlier statement that the law will take effect after the 15th day, or on July 19,” he said.

RA 11479, which seeks to give the country more teeth in curbing terrorism, amends RA 9372 or the Human Security Act of 2007.

The Supreme Court (SC) earlier consolidated the petitions challenging the constitutionality of the law.

Cases were filed by the former head of the Office of the Government Corporate Counsel Rudolph Philip B. Jurado, Christian S. Monsod, Felicitas A. Aquino, and the Ateneo Human Rights Center, two labor groups represented by the Center for Trade Union and Human Rights (CTUHR) and the Pro-Labor Legal Assistance Center (PLACE), and the Sanlakas party-list.

The first four cases were filed by the group of lawyers Howard Calleja and former education secretary Armin Luistro, Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman, the group of law dean Mel Sta. Maria and several professors of the Far Eastern University (FEU), and the Makabayan bloc in the House of Representatives led by Bayan Muna Party-List Rep. Carlos Isagani Zarate.

The SC earlier required the Office of the President, several agencies under the executive department, and both houses of Congress to comment on the last four petitions seeking to stop the enforcement of the law starting July 19.

The Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) which will file the comments for the Office of the President and the agencies under the executive department has reportedly received the SC resolution requiring comment on the first four cases.

However, it is not known yet whether the OSG would file a motion for extension of time to file the comment because of the filing of the four other petitions.

MSAB commends 4ID for high satisfaction rating in NorMin, Caraga

 From the Philippine Information Agency (Nov 18, 2020): MSAB commends 4ID for high satisfaction rating in NorMin, Caraga (By 4ID) 

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY, Nov. 18 --The Multi-Sector Advisory Board (MSAB) of the 4th Infantry Division (4ID), Philippine Army commends the Officers and personnel of 4ID for getting a high client satisfaction rating on their services in Northern Mindanao and Caraga.

4ID got 88.86% and 85.18% satisfaction rating from Regions 10 and 13 respectively or an average of 87.02 percent in the two Regions.

The client satisfaction survey was conducted by Northern Mindanao State College led by its President, Dr. Catherince Roween C. Almaden from June to August 2020 in Region 10 which was funded by the Central Mindanao University headed by Dr. Jesus Antonio G. Derije, DVM, Ph.D and from September to October 2020 in Caraga Region. It aims to determine the satisfaction and trust of the people in the services provided by the military.

The survey focused on the satisfaction of the people with the services provided by the military in the two regions. Some of the questions asked during the survey were; whether the respondents feel safer with the military’s presence in their community, are the military effective in their community outreach and dialogue including information exchange, and whether the military is effective in conducting security operations in addressing peace and security concerns among others.

It also aims to identify weaknesses and gaps in the 4ID’s campaign so that it can be adjusted or modified accordingly to deliver what’s best for the people.

According to Mr. Ariel Hernandez, Chairperson of MSAB, the members of the board were not surprised by the survey’s result considering that 4ID has a very comprehensive roadmap that guides its soldiers in performing its mandate of protecting the people within its area of responsibility.

However, Hernandez said that the result should serve as a warning for 4ID not to be complacent in their work because one soldier’s mistake or abuse may diminish the satisfaction and trust of the people to the military. To attain perfection may be hard but there is no other way for 4ID to go but forward in its transformation journey.

“While we congratulate 4ID for this feat, we also would like to remind its officers and personnel to sustain the gains by maintaining a professional and disciplined soldiers in performing its mandate. Continued advocacy on the objectives of the Army Transformation Roadmap shall be conducted from the highest unit down to individual soldiers, reminding them that to serve and protect the people means respecting their rights at all times and listening to their concerns and suggestions," Hernandez said.

Hernandez added that the board appreciates the conduct of the survey because it is really necessary to have 3rd party surveys to be able to listen to the voices of the people on the ground.

“This undertaking is commendable, the board is ready to advocate this initiative to the Philippine Army MSAB at Headquarters Philippine Army for other Philippine Army Major Units to emulate," Hernandez stressed.

Meanwhile, MGen Andres C Centino, Commander of 4ID thanked the members of the MSAB during its meeting last November 5, 2020, for guiding the division on its journey to become a world-class Infantry Division that is a source of national pride by 2028.

“To become a world-class army, first we need to become professional soldiers loved by the people in our area of operation. It is therefore very heart-warming to know that our clients, the people of Northern Mindanao and Caraga are satisfied with our services especially in sustaining the peace and providing security to their communities”, said MGen Centino.

The multi-sector advisory board is composed of leaders with impeccable integrity who came from private sectors, regional agencies, academe, religious sector and elected officials. Their mission is to see to it that 4ID is performing in accordance with the highest standard of public service. They recommend programs and initiatives that will improve the systems and processes of the division for transparency and effective delivery of services to the people they serve.

The board is headed by its chairperson, Ariel Hernandez, the Senior Adviser to Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process, and the Vice-Chairperson Director Mylah Faye Aurora B. Cari┼ło, the Regional Director of NEDA 10. (4ID)

TESDA turns-over ELCAC-PRLEC project to Brgy. Pamigsian in Bontoc

From the Philippine Information Agency (Nov 18, 2020): TESDA turns-over ELCAC-PRLEC project to Brgy. Pamigsian in Bontoc (By Rebecca G. Cadavos) 

MAASIN CITY, Nov. 18 (PIA) -- The Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) Southern Leyte in coordination with the member agencies of the Provincial Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict - Poverty Reduction, Livelihood and Employment Cluster (ELCAC-PRLEC) turned-over a bakery in Barangay Pamigsian, Bontoc, Southern Leyte on November 13, 2020.

Elizabeth Garcia, TESDA Provincial Director in her message during the short program said that the newly turned-over bakery is one of the manifestations of the convergence efforts to assist identified focused barangays throughout the province.

“This project manifest our convergence, from the barangay to the local government units, in coordination with the different agencies like the Department of Labor, Department of Trade and Industry, among other participating agencies,” she said.

Garcia said around 20 graduates of bread making were the beneficiaries of the said project in coordination with the barangay officials.

Four units of improvised ovens from the Department of Labor were also given to the PRLEC beneficiaries in a ceremonial turn-over ceremony.

Garcia disclosed that the said program is a continuing process.

“Additional competency trainings can be added such as cake making or pastry making,” she aid.

TESDA announced that they are also accepting applicants who wanted to avail of other programs, like the scholarship program, among other community-based competency training programs.

As of last year, there has been a total of 120 beneficiaries who availed the scholarship program of based on TESDA’s Angat Lahat battlecry, Garcia reported.

The ceremonial turn-over was led by Gov. Damian G. Mercado, other provincial and local officials, together with the representatives from the ELCAC-PRLE Cluster. (ldl/rgc/PIA8-Southern Leyte)

Abra PRLEC launches livelihood trainings in conflict-affected town

From the Philippine Information Agency (Nov 18, 2020): Abra PRLEC launches livelihood trainings in conflict-affected town (By Xandro Alexander D. Carino)

MALIBCONG,Abra, Nov.18(PIA)–-Livelihood trainings for residents in Barangay Buanao in this municipality will start very soon with the launching of the “Kabuhayan para sa Kapayapaan” Project by the Poverty Reduction, Livelihood and Employment Cluster of the Abra Provincial Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (PTF-ELCAC).

The lined up skills trainings are masonry, carpentry, organic agriculture production and entrepreneurial training. Sixty trainees composed of indigenous peoples and former rebels are listed to partake in the training courses.

“Kabuhayan para sa Kapayapaan” is part of the cluster’s project in support to Executive Order No. 70 of President Rodrigo Duterte institutionalizing a “Whole-Of-Nation” Approach to end local communist armed conflict towards the attainment of sustainable and inclusive peace.

Buanao Punong Barangay Sergio Paganao expressed his gratitude for the program led by PRLEC for their barangay.

“We are very grateful that the services of the government have already reached us here in the far flung areas. Under the administration and leadership of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte, services and programs of the government are now brought to us gradually,” he said.

Malibcong Vice Mayor Regino Siddayao also thanked all the participating agencies as he encouraged everyone to work hand in hand to bring more training services and programs of the government to the people.

“From top to bottom, we, who are working in the government, must help one another to provide the needs of our people. The service of the government was not felt by our people. That is one of the reasons why there is insurgency in our province. But now, here comes the government bringing the services that we are longing for. With these livelihood trainings and production brought to us, we could feel the sincerity of our government to serve its people,” he said.

Members of the PRLEC Abra also signed a pledge of commitment with the local government unit of Malibcong for the sustainability of the project.

The launching program was also attended by the Civil Military Operations Officer 1Lt. John Rey Barro of the 24th Infantry Battalion, Philippine Army, Malibcong Municipal Police Station Acting Chief of Police Lt. Edwin Laruya and Police Captain Daryl Garro of the 1504th Maneuver Company, Regional Mobile Force Battalion. (JDP/XADC/CAGT – PIA CAR, Abra)

SNA deploys 'Agu-balang' as force multiplier in RCSP-target barangay

From the Philippine Information Agency (Nov 18, 2020): SNA deploys 'Agu-balang' as force multiplier in RCSP-target barangay (By Danilo E. Doguiles)

Barangay Midtungok's "Agu-balang" (protectors of the forest).

SENATOR NINOY AQUINO, Sultan Kudarat, Nov. 18 (PIA) -- In line with the efforts to beef up peace and development initiatives in Retooled Community Support Program (RCSP)-target barangay, the local government unit of Senator Ninoy 'Aquino (SNA) and the Armed Forces of the Philippines are deploying "Agu-balang" as force multipliers in Midtungok and neighboring places.

"Who are the 'Agu-balang'? They are the protectors of our forests. They are the protectors of the Manobo Dulangan tribespeople," SNA Mayor Randy Ecija Jr. explained while presenting the peacekeeping team during the RCSP Serbisyo Caravan at Sitio Lemangga in Barangay Midtungok on Friday.

Mayor Ecija said members of the forest protectors were selected by the 7th Infantry (Tapat) Brigade stationed in the area and the local government unit.

"They are our mouths and eyes in the forests," the local chief executive said.

The team has about 40 members.

In an interview with Philippine Information Agency, a member of the "Agu-balang" elaborated that their responsibilities as "Agu-balang" include monitoring the forests in and around Midtungok against any form of illegal activities and watching out for presence of suspicious individuals.

Also in line with peace and development efforts in the area, at least five individuals have also been designated as CSP (Community Support Program) operators.

"These are professionals that help the LGU and our soldiers in informing the people of Barangay Midtungok and the 11 sitios about the programs, projects, and activities of the government in their places.

"Because of the partnership of the LGU, the military and the CSP operators we are successful in the conduct of CSP, which has resulted in the inclusion of Midtungok as an RCSP target area," Mayor Ecija said.

The Retooled Community Support Program is one of the strategies to carry out the mandate of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte's Executive Order No. 70 institutionalizing the whole-of-nation approach to end local communist armed conflict (ELCAC).

RCSP takes off from the CSP by expanding the military-led initiative into a convergence of the peace and security sector, local government units, and national government agencies addressing the needs of formerly conflict-affected villages.

Midtungok is one of the 103 barangays across SOCCSKSARGEN Region targeted for implementation of RCSP.

As an RCSP barangay it can avail of a P20-million development assistance package from the national government to implement the programs, projects, and activities or PPAs that the community will identify. Apart from the national government allotment, an RCSP barangay is also set to receive services from the municipal and provincial government and regional line agencies through their respective PPAs.

Mayor Ecija hopes that through the RCSP, residents in Midtungok will enjoy what they have clamored for so long, namely paved road from the town center and bridges where the road crosses the Kulaman river and schools to provide education to children in the interior subvillages.

The partnership of the community, municipal LGU and provincial LGU has already resulted in the establishment of a health center that will offer health services to indigenous people in the area, mostly Manobo Dulangan. (DED-PIA-XII) 

Barangay Midtungok in Senator Ninoy Aquino is accessible through an unpaved road and crossing Kulaman River several times.

NoCot exec backs Army’s diplomatic way to end insurgency

From the Philippine News Agency (Nov 18, 2020): NoCot exec backs Army’s diplomatic way to end insurgency (By Edwin Fernandez)

DIPLOMACY IS KEY. North Cotabato Governor Nancy Catamco (right) tells Army officials on Wednesday (Nov. 18, 2020) that her administration would complement the military strategies to end communism in the province through the massive implementation of government basic services to areas previously influenced by the New People’s Army. Beside her is the Army’s 1002nd Infantry Brigade commander, Col. Potenciano Camba. (Photo courtesy of North Cotabato PIO)

North Cotabato Governor Nancy Catamco has pledged to give her all-out support for the military’s diplomatic campaign against the New People’s Army (NPA) in the province.

“We are bringing basic government services to the people in communities formerly influenced by communist rebels, and we are happy serving them,” Catamco said in a statement on Wednesday.

She leads the “Serbisyo Caravan”, which was in Makilala town on Wednesday.

The caravan visits remote areas where many villagers say it was their first time to feel government presence in their communities.

It has served several villages in the towns of Arakan, Magpet, and Makilala, all in North Cotabato, bringing to the people services of various government agencies, such as those in health and agriculture, as well as the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA).

“Many applied for birth certificates and other government-issued documents through the PSA,” Catamco said.

Part of the caravan is the presentation of Army programs that aim to help former rebels.

Catamco on Wednesday received a security briefing from the Army’s 1002nd Infantry Brigade, led by its commander, Col. Potenciano Camba, such as implementing the Community Focus Program (CFP) in the province.

The CFP is an outreach program where soldiers peacefully convince the populace that it is better to support the military and the government than use violence.

"Insurgency has destroyed many lives, many children, and families and it must end,” Camba said as he sought Catamco’s support to end the armed struggle of the rebels. “Through your help for the AFP, I believe we will succeed and win this war without firing a gun.”

Catamco pledged the provincial government’s support for all programs that the Army would undertake in the province.

“We will make this ELCAC (End Local Communist Armed Conflict) effective,” she said, adding that the program is intended, foremost, for the next generation.

Documents expose NPA extortion, recruitment of minors in Leyte

From the Philippine News Agency (Nov 18, 2020): Documents expose NPA extortion, recruitment of minors in Leyte (By Sarwell Meniano)

EXPOSING EXTORTION. Some of the documents recovered by soldiers from the house of suspected members of the New People's Army in an upland village of Carigara, Leyte on Nov. 13, 2020. The documents exposed the communist terrorist group’s activities to recruit minors and extort money and food supplies from local government officials, businesses, and farmers. (Photo courtesy of Philippine Army)

The recent recovery of documents from the house of a suspected member of the New People’s Army (NPA) in an upland village in Carigara, Leyte has exposed the group’s activities to recruit minors, and extort money and food supplies from local government officials, businesses, and farmers.

The documents, posted online by the Philippine Army’s 802nd Infantry Brigade on Wednesday, show a handwritten report of an NPA member listing their sources of financial support. These include a major resort hotel and two big construction firms based in Ormoc City, Leyte.

Also listed are the internal revenue allotment of some remote villages in Carigara, Leyte, and "solicitation" to six mayors in Leyte province, which was not indicated in what way it was carried out.

The specific report has not indicated any numbers, except for the volume of rice collected from local farmers.

“In the past, we heard a lot of hearsays about sources of NPA extortion funds, but it is only now that we got tangible evidence. A former rebel who surrendered to the military verified that these documents were written by one of their commanders,” said Capt. Karahudin Adil, the spokesperson of the Army’s 802nd Infantry Brigade.

Soldiers turned over these documents to the Philippine National Police as evidence for filing of possible charges against local officials tagged as sources of extortion money.

“We will talk to them to find out why they gave in to the threats of the communist terrorist group,” Adil told the Philippine News Agency (PNA) in a phone interview Wednesday.

The handwritten documents also confirm the rebels’ goal to recruit 15- to 17-year-old members from remote communities in Leyte to compose the NPA’s young communist league.

“These documents reaffirm that the NPA has been recruiting minors in Leyte. Recently, we also found textbooks on revolutionary underground mass movement and bomb-making manual meant for young recruits,” Adil added.

Soldiers recovered the documents on Nov. 13 from the house of suspected NPA members Edencio and his wife Nora Dionaldo.

Government troops also rescued the couple’s seven children, including five minors, and recovered war materiel from the house.

The pursuit against suspected NPA fighters who recently abandoned a nearby lair led government troops to the house of the Dionaldo family.

Edencio remains at-large while Nora and the couple’s eldest son, Ernie, were detained at the town’s police station. They are now facing charges of illegal possession of firearms, ammunition, and explosives.

The military called on local officials who “seemed to be playing deaf” to the illegal activities of the NPA in their areas to be more active in countering communist terrorism in their locality.

The NPA, which has been waging a five-decade armed struggle against the government, is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, the European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines.

90 NPA rebels yield in Sarangani, nearby areas

From the Philippine News Agency (Nov 18, 2020): 90 NPA rebels yield in Sarangani, nearby areas (By Richelyn Gubalani)

Lt. Col. Ronaldo Valdez, commanding officer of the Army’s 73rd Infantry Battalion. (Photo courtesy of 73IB)

At least 90 New People’s Army (NPA) combatants have surrendered within the first 10 months of the year in parts of Sarangani province and the neighboring areas, an Army official said Wednesday.

Lt. Col. Ronaldo Valdez, commanding officer of the Army’s 73rd Infantry Battalion (IB), said the surrenderers have expressed desire to avail of the government’s reintegration program and lead normal lives with their families.

Valdez said
the returnees, who yielded over 70 low and high-powered firearms, are mostly indigenous peoples lured into joining the NPA by promises of "certain benefits that never realized."

Most of the surrenderers, he said, were previously under the NPA's Guerilla Front 71 (Tala)-Far South Mindanao Region, which operates in the hinterlands of Sarangani and Davao Occidental.

“This is the result of our continuing collaboration with the LGUs (local government units) and concerned agencies to bring the necessary developments and services to our communities,” Valdez said in a radio interview.

Valdez said they expect more NPA combatants to surrender in the coming weeks through local leaders' assistance, complemented by the military and other government agencies' joint community outreach activities.

The Army official also attributed the series of surrenders to the local task force's efforts to end the local communist armed conflict (ELCAC), which he said have been delivering various projects and services to communities, especially those in the remote areas.

“We brought farm inputs like seeds, fish fingerlings, and basic implements to help provide sustainability to our residents. There were projects like roads and other infrastructure,” he said.

AFP reservists to help in post-disaster ops in Cagayan Valley

From the Philippine News Agency (Nov 18, 2020): AFP reservists to help in post-disaster ops in Cagayan Valley (By Zorayda Tecson)

CAMP AQUINO, Tarlac – Military reservists will be tapped to assist in the post-disaster response operations in Cagayan Valley.

Maj. Gen. Arnulfo Marcelo Burgos Jr., commander of the Northern Luzon Command (Nolcom), said on Wednesday that mobilization is already taking place and that the deployment of reserve units from Northern and Central Luzon are expected within this week.

Burgos said the reservists will be complementing the deployed strategic assets of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) in Cagayan Valley as the military gears to expedite their operations.

He also said that the reservists will be placed under the Joint Task Force Tala, Nolcom’s operating arm in Region 2, which is working in close coordination with the Emergency Operations Center of Cagayan Valley’s Office of Civil Defense as well as the governors of Cagayan and Isabela through their Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office.

Burgos described the reservists as the Philippines’ strategic reserve in terms of human resource, "thus, by sending them to ground zero, we will have enough manpower in the frontlines as efforts begin to transition to recovery and rehabilitation”.

This, he added, is similar to the model that the government used in Batangas after Taal’s explosion “thereby allowing our combat forces to ensure the safety of the people and communities in this part of the country through their security operations”.

Brig. Gen. Ferdinand Fraginal, commander of AFP Reserve Command, said in a statement that “the reserve force is at all times ready to heed the call of our beloved motherland be it in the defense of her flag during war or simply to be by the side of her devastated people in times of calamities”.

Fraginal said that immediately after the initial planning meeting with General Burgos, he already tasked the Regional Community Defense Groups within Nolcom’s area of responsibility to muster the reservists and deploy them within 24 hours.

“They are civilians who volunteered to don military uniforms not for the pay, not for the benefits but only for the privilege of serving as a soldier under our flag, for our country, and in the defense of the Filipino people,” he said.

183 ex-NPAs get over P16.9-M aid in Caraga

From the Philippine News Agency (Nov 18, 2020): 183 ex-NPAs get over P16.9-M aid in Caraga (By Alexander Lopez)

At least 183 former combatants of the communist New People’s Army (NPA) from four areas in the Caraga Region have already received over PHP16.9 million in financial aid through the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (ECLIP) of the government.

The cash grant was released on various dates starting June 11 this year, the Department of the Interior and Local Government in Caraga (DILG-13) said during the 4th quarter meeting of the Regional Peace and Order Council (RPOC) on Wednesday.

“The bulk of the financial aids were in the form of firearms remuneration and livelihood assistance aimed to help the FRs renew their lives as they reintegrate back to the communities and families,”
the DILG-13 said during the meeting presided by Surigao del Sur Gov. Alexander T. Pimentel, the RPOC chairman.

Of the 182 former rebels who received the assistance, 29 are from this city, 22 in Agusan del Norte, 13 in Surigao del Norte, and 118 in Surigao del Sur.

Rebel returnees in Surigao del Sur received the highest amount from June to September this year, totaling over PHP7.1 million, followed by Butuan City with PHP2.4 million.

Former NPA combatants in Agusan del Norte received over PHP1.8 million in livelihood assistance, while over PHP1 million was also released to the returnees in Surigao del Norte.

DILG-13 said that a total of PHP12.5 million was already released to the former rebels from the three provinces and one city as of September this year.

Aside from livelihood benefits, the agency said the former rebels also received remunerations for surrendered firearms totaling PHP4.4 million.

Navy ship conducts passing exercise with SoKor counterparts

From the Philippine News Agency (Nov 18, 2020): Navy ship conducts passing exercise with SoKor counterparts (By Priam Nepomuceno)

The Philippine Navy's (PN) corvette, the BRP Conrado Yap (PS-39), conducted a passing exercise (Passex) with two ships of the Republic of Korea Navy (ROKN) on Manila waters on Tuesday.

In a statement on Wednesday, Navy public affairs office chief, Lt. Commander Maria Christina Roxas, said the ROKN Cruise Training Group, consisting of ROKS Kang Gam-chan (DDH-979) and ROKS Soyang (AOE-51), travels all over the world to visit various ports.

"With the prevailing pandemic, however, the ROKN opted for an at-sea exercise with the PN on their way to Malaysia in lieu of a port visit," she added.

The Passex is a customary undertaking to ensure that vessels and aircraft communicate and cooperate.

It is also a form of rendering honors to transiting foreign naval vessels and affirms the strong ties between the Philippines and South Korea.

Roxas said the BRP Conrado Yap established communications with the ROKN ships at about 10 a.m., which was followed by low-altitude flybys by Philippine Air Force FA-50 PH jet fighters.


GOODWILL GESTURE. South Korea donated face masks and hand sanitizers. The gesture was inspired by South Korea's deep appreciation of the Philippines for being the first Asian country to send troops in their support during the Korean War, according to a Philippine Navy official. (Philippine Navy photo)

"Part of the exercise was the transport of the South Korean-donated 10,000 pieces of face masks and 2,000 pieces of hand sanitizers to PS-39 through rigid inflatable boats. The gesture was inspired by South Korea's deep appreciation of the Philippines for being the first Asian country to send troops in their support during the Korean War in 1950," she said.

This was followed by the three ships' tactical maneuvers that culminated in a farewell sail.

The ROKN has been among the key defense partners of the Navy with their contributions to the latter’s modernization.

Most recent among these was the transfer of the former Pohang-class corvette, now the BRP Conrado Yap, to the Navy in 2019.

SoKor donates masks to BRP Conrado Yap

From the Philippine News Agency (Nov 18, 2020): SoKor donates masks to BRP Conrado Yap

BRP Conrado Yap (PN photo)

The Republic of Korea Navy Cruise Training Task Group (ROKN CTTG) on Tuesday donated K-PPE (Personal Preventive Equipment) to the crew of BRP Conrado Yap.

"This K-PPE delivery serves the purpose of expressing gratitude to the Philippines as a combatant nation in the 71st anniversary of Korean War; assisting the Covid-19 prevention efforts of the Philippine Navy; and promoting friendship and vitalizing the military exchange of the two countries," Korean Cultural Center in the (KCC) Philippines said.

The donation includes 10,000 Korean-made KF-94 masks and 2,000 hand sanitizers and were transported using three boats from ROK ships Kang Gam Chan and Soyang.

CTTG commander RDML Kim Gyung Chul, noted that “at the outbreak of the Korean War, Philippines was the first country in Asia to deploy troops to help our country, and many bright young men sacrificed their lives to protect our freedom. We will forever remember the sacred sacrifices of the people of the Philippines.”

The KCC noted that BRP Conrado Yap is named after a Korean war hero, Captain Conrado D. Yap of the Philippine Army, adding much significance to Korean aid.

As a commander of special force company of the 5th Battalion Combat Unit, Captain Yap participated in the battle of Yultong in April of 1951 in Northern Yeon Chun, Gyeongi-Do province.

Captain Yap’s unit overcame the hardship of numerical inferiority and forestalled the attack of the Chinese force. From this battle, he sacrificed his life to save his wounded soldiers.

To pay tribute to his military merit, South Korea and the Philippines awarded him each nation’s most noble medals: the “Order of Military Merit Taeguk” and “Medal of Valor", the KCC said.

The Korean government also appointed Yap as the “Korean War Hero of the Month” last April. Last year, the Philippine Navy named the Korea-transferred ROKS Chung Ju, a Pohang-Class Patrol Combat Corvette, after Captain Conrado Yap as the PS Conrado Yap.