Saturday, December 19, 2020

Kalinaw News: E-CLIP team inaugurates halfway house for former rebels in Misamis Oriental

Posted to Kalinaw News (Dec 19, 2020): E-CLIP team inaugurates halfway house for former rebels in Misamis Oriental

CLAVERIA, Misamis Oriental- The Province of Misamis Oriental inaugurated the new Halfway house for Former Rebels (FRs) during a simple ceremony held at Provincial Police Office (PPO), San Martin, Villanueva yesterday, December 18, 2020.

The said inauguration was graced by Hon. Yevgeny Vincente Emano, Provincial Governor of Misamis Oriental and was attended by Engr. Marisia Naybe, Provincial Director of Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), MGen. Andres C Centino, Commander of 4th Infantry “Diamond” Division, BGen. Maurito L Licudine, Commander of 402nd Infantry “Stingers” Brigade, BGen. Ferdinand T Barandon, Commander of 403rd Infantry “Peacemaker” Brigade, PCol. Raniel Vallones, Police Director of PNP Misamis Oriental, and Lt. Col Ricky L Canatoy, Commanding Officer of 58IB. Present also are the head of offices of different government agencies.

Meanwhile, DILG PD Marisia Naybe emphasized that the said halfway house will serve as temporary shelter for the FRs while the concerned unit processes their enrolment to the Enhanced Comprehensive and Local Integration Program (E-CLIP). Likewise, it will serve as a facility for FRs in conducting social healing and reconciliation, rehabilitation, and education and skills training activities that the government would offer.

The establishment of the halfway house is one of the benefits under E-CLIP which is a convergence effort of the National Government Agencies (NGAs) to assist the FRs in returning to the mainstream society. Moreover, E-CLIP was designed to provide not just financial assistance to former rebels, but also to provide them transitional shelters through the construction of halfway houses.

As embodied in the Executive Order No.70 (EO70), the beneficiaries of the program are members of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), New People’s Army (NPA), and National Democratic Front (NDF) who have shown their desire to abandon the armed struggle and become productive members of the society.

PD Naybe also mentioned that the house which can accommodate 35 FRs would address the long-prevailing problem about the accommodation of former rebels while preparing them for community reintegration.

On the other hand, Lt. Col. Ricky L Canatoy, Commanding Officer of 58IB said, “The former rebels showed their trust to the government and their sincerity to become productive members of the society by surrendering. They have done their part and next is for us to assist them and go along with them in their journey towards their reintegration to society.”

“Through this, they can be slowly reintegrated to the mainstream society, be with their families, and start over with their new and peaceful lives,” Lt. Col. Canatoy ended.

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

Kalinaw News: Food Security Program embraced by constituents in formerly abandoned community

Posted to Kalinaw News (Dec 19, 2020): Food Security Program embraced by constituents in formerly abandoned community

LANTAWAN, Basilan Province – The Office of the Provincial Agriculturist-Basilan (OPAg-Basilan), in partnership with the 16th Special Forces Company, continually promotes food security program through agriculture here in the formerly abandoned community of Barangay Calugusan where they initiated an agri-livelihood training last Friday, 18 December 2020.

Through the food security program of OPAg-Basilan headed by Dr. Khayang Luy Battad, the constituents learned and embraced agriculture as a viable means for sustainable livelihood where they were taught with different methods of vegetable production technology.

Captain Lorefel Judaya, the Commanding Officer of the 16th Special Forces Company, appreciated the eagerness of the constituents in embracing the program, and highly commended the strong partnership of the military and OPAg-Basilan.

“Kami ay sumasaludo sa kasipagan na pinapamalas ng ating mga magsasaka dito sa komunidad. Kasama ang OPAg-Basilan, magtulungan tayo upang mapanatili ang kabuhayan, kapayapaan, at kaunlaran dito sa inyong barangay.”, Captain Judaya expressed.

The barangay of Calugusan in Lantawan Municipality was abandoned by its constituents for more than a decade due to a clan war, or locally known as rido. But now that peace has been brought back thru the Community Support Program of the military, many families are already returning to their homelands.

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

Kalinaw News: 5ID and Cagayan sign MOA for the activation of SCAA in the Province

Posted to Kalinaw News (Dec 19, 2020): 5ID and Cagayan sign MOA for the activation of SCAA in the Province

CAMP MELCHOR F DELA CRUZ, Upi, Gamu, Isabela– A memorandum of agreement for the activation of Special CAFGU Active Auxiliary (SCAA) Company was signed between the 5th Infantry Division, Philippine Army represented by MGen Laurence E Mina PA, Commander and Cagayan Provincial Government represented by Governor Manuel M. Mamba at Cagayan Sports Complex, Tuguegarao City, Cagayan on December 18, 2020.

An initial 88 civilian volunteer recruits will undergo training and augment the present peace and security forces in Cagayan in partnership with the Philippine National Police and other law enforcement units.

Security is vital for the development of any place. The province of Cagayan has huge economic potential but the threat posed by the Communist Terrorist Group (CTG) hinders inclusive development in the area. The establishment of SCAA in Cagayan is a necessary measure to secure vital establishments that fosters economic growth for the province.

The SCAAs will be further tasked to be protectors of the environment/ecological balance, first responders to disasters and calamities and livelihood enhancers.

Governor Mamba leads the campaign of the local government against insurgency. He then thanked the army for their continuous focused military operations in the region and as partner agency in humanitarian assistance and disaster relief responders in Cagayan.

MGen Mina expressed his utmost concern on the security of the people against the terrorist CPP-NPA to be able to attain the economic growth and development in the said province, being considered as the seat of Regional Government Agencies and the trading and commercial hub of Northern Luzon.

“Batid natin na hangarin ng mga mamamayan ng Cagayan ang tunay at pangmatagalang kapayapaan kung kaya’t patuloy ang pagsusumikap ng pamahalaang panlalawigan na tugunan ang hamong ito sa probinsya. Kaisa ang pamunuan ng 5ID sa lahat ng mga hakbangin ng pamahalaang panlalawigan ng Cagayan para isulong ang kaayusan at pag unlad ng taumbayan sa probinsiya.”

Mayors of the different municipalities of Cagayan witnessed the MOA signing. Also present during the program were Department of Interior and Local Government Regional Director Jonathan Paul Leusen, and Commander of 501st Infantry Brigade, Col Steve D Crespillo, 17th Infantry Battalion Commander Lt Col Angelo C Saguiguit, 77th Infantry Battalion Commander Lt Col Joeboy D Kindipan, and PNP Cagayan.

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

Kalinaw News: Total Surrender: Guerilla Front 33 Yields to Whole-of-Nation Effort in Davao Region

Posted to Kalinaw News (Dec 19, 2020): Total Surrender: Guerilla Front 33 Yields to Whole-of-Nation Effort in Davao Region

Maco, Davao de Oro- Following a major encounter in New Corella, Davao del Norte between troops of 25th Infantry Battalion and CPP-NPA’s Weakened Guerilla Front 33 on December 12, one amazon was killed and a total of 26 NPA regulars surrendered to the authorities.

The combat operations against WGF 33 was launched a week earlier after intelligence reports affirmed their presence in the hinterlands of New Corella and Asuncion, Davao del Norte.

Erstwhile, 25IB and 60th Infantry Battalion have deployed their Community Support Program (CSP) Teams in over 20 barangays in the aforementioned towns including San Isidro of Davao del Norte and Laak of Davao de Oro since March this year to aid in the dismantling of the said communist terrorist groups.

The initial encounter between government troops and the NPA resulted to the surrender of Gabriel Cano Frias, aka Brando, with two (2) M16 rifles, two (2) M14 rifles and one (1) M653 rifle. A succeeding encounter resulted to the death of one NPA amazon and the surrender of Meakaella Llanos aka Mawi with one (1) M16 rifle and one (1) AK47 rifle.

With the help of Brando, Mawi, other surrenderees (former rebels), and the families of the remaining WGF 33 members—who had already been in contact with the military prior the incident—Christian Pastor aka Khan, Commanding Officer of WGF 33, Dino Bazar aka Denden, Front Secretary, and Malou Pandanaon, member, Abe Segunda also surrendered to the troops. They brought with them another M16 rifle.

By December 14, fifteen (15) more members of WGF 33 surrendered to 25IB bringing with them three (3) more high-powered firearms.

On the other hand, 60IB has been conducting complementary CMO and Intelligence Operations in their side of the Area of Operations. This resulted to the surrender of six (6) more members of WGF 33 with four (4) high-powered firearms.

In total, this recent operation resulted to the neutralization of 29 (additional 4 surrendered to 60IB on December 16) members and recovery of 15 firearms of WGF 33.

Per revelation of the surrenderees, the extreme pressure from the military’s thorough TRIAD operations coupled with the initiatives of the respective local government units, national government agencies, and friendly civil-society organizations—that is, from our intelligence and CMO operators’ series of negotiations with their families, friends, and former comrades to the pressure from our CSP Teams’ presence and activities in their communities together with the LGUs and other instrumentalities of government—has really had its toll to their group.

Add to this, the persisting issues of corruption and abuse of power by their communist-terrorist leaders, the continuing demoralization of their members, and the exponential shrinking of their mobility corridors and mass bases left them no choice but to totally surrender.

COL LUIS REX D BERGANTE INF (GSC) PA the Brigade Commander of 1001st “PAG-ASA” Brigade extend condolences to the families of @AMY. Col Bergante also lauded the troops and reiterates his message to remaining NPAs to lay down their arms and instead embrace peace, It is just unfortunate that someone lost her life. “In the spirit of Christmas, come to us and we would be happy to help you join with your family like your former comrades who are now happy and looking forward in celebrating Christmas and New Year with their respective families”.

Meanwhile, the leadership of 10ID expressed the same sympathy to the family of killed NPA. MGen Reuben Basiao commended the brave men and officers under 1001st Brigade, the LGU and residents of New Corella for their united effort in preventing communist-terrorists from destroying the Peace that the community has started to experienced. With the destruction of armed elements of GF 33, your armed forces together with the LGUs will continue to push for developmental programs. According to Governor Edwin Jubahib, “this time programs and projects in Davao Norte will be unhampered with the possible dissolution of GF 33.”

The surrenderees were presented to the public yesterday December 17, 2020.

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

Kalinaw News: Residents in far flung village of Agnor get gifts from LGU, Army

Posted to Kalinaw News (Dec 18, 2020): Residents in far flung village of Agnor get gifts from LGU, Army

BUENAVISTA, Agusan del Norte – Thousands of residents from the different villages in the town of Nasipit in Agusan del Norte will receive gifts from the local government unit (LGU) in the area and the Army’s 23rd Infantry “Masigasig” Battalion.

The gift-giving activity dubbed the Renewed and Intensified Community Outreach (RICO), is the collaborative efforts of the LGU, particularly the Municipal Task Force to End the Local Communist Armed Conflict (MTF-ELCAC), the 23rd IB, and the other stakeholders in time with the celebration of this year’s Yuletide season and pursuant to the provisions of Executive Order No. 70 (EO 70).

The program has already started in Sitio Tabon, Barangay Aclan, and Sitio Campo in Barangay Jamiguitan last December 14. The said communities are considered Geographically-Isolated and Disadvantaged Areas (GIDAs) in the town of Nasipit. The program will be concluded on December 26.

The RICO program is designed to meet the needs of the residents in GIDA areas and at the same time determine their situation in terms of peace and order and development. The program will also bridge the people of the communities to the LGU concerned and the different line agencies of the government and to the Army.

The said program is expected to benefit more than three thousand (3,000) residents of the five (5) GIDA barangays of Nasipit. Aside from gifts, the residents will also receive free services from the government including medical, birth registration, distribution of food packs and slippers, circumcision for the children, and free haircut which will be provided by the “Pogi Team” of the 23rd IB.

The residents in the identified GIDA areas in Nasipit have already withdrawn their support to the Communist New People’s Army (NPA) Terrorists (CNTs). The Underground Mass Organizations (UGMOs) of these barangays have also voluntarily surrendered to the government in recent mass surrender activities this year.

The gifts the residents will receive will include food packs containing five (5) kilos of rice, assorted canned goods, and ham for the Christmas celebration. In the sitios of Tabon and Campo, more than six hundred (600) residents have already received the gifts and the free services of the government through the RICO program.

Nasipit Mayor Enrico R. Corvera, in a statement, wished all the residents in the town, especially in the GIDA areas for a happy and meaningful Christmas celebration.

“In this season of giving, we heartily bring simple gifts in your communities with the aim to make everyone feel that Christmas is still alive even in the midst of the pandemic. We must also bear in mind that the true meaning of Christmas is not about giving expensive gifts, because what important is sharing what we have with the needy, loving our neighbors and giving hope to everyone who is in great distress. Not all of us were blessed with a good living, so, no matter how big or small the present is, it will become a great blessing to someone who has a grateful heart. May everyone be given good health and a bountiful blessing in this coming year ahead and may everyone celebrate Christmas happily with their families and loved ones,” Mayor Corvera said.

Lt. Col. Julius Cesar C. Paulo, the Commanding Officer of 23IB also shared his warmest greetings of Christmas to all the residents in the area.

“Now is the best time to help each other and to share our blessing. It is also the best time to be with our families and to forget all the hatred and chaos we had in our hearts. We encourage all the remnants of the CNTs to go back to the folds of the law and to your families. Your families are waiting for your return. Leave the armed struggle and be a responsible parent to stand as the great foundation and light to your families,” Paulo said.

He added that even in the midst of the pandemic, everyone must not lose hope by feeling the real essence of Christmas.

“It is not about how bountiful our tables may seem, but it’s about celebrating Christmas with our families and of course, having good health is the most important gift we receive from our savior Christ Jesus who gave his life to save us from our sins. There is so much to be thankful for this year and even though your armies are far away from our families, we still consider this year as the most wonderful time of the year,” Paulo said

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

Kalinaw News: 24 Former Rebels receive Pamaskong Handog in Bukidnon

Posted to Kalinaw News (Dec 18, 2020): 24 Former Rebels receive Pamaskong Handog in Bukidnon

IMPASUGONG, BUKIDNON – A total of 24 former rebels and their families received “Pamaskong Handog” from Local Government Unit (LGU) of Impasugong on December 16, 2020, at Headquarters, 8th Infantry Battalion (8IB), Impasugong, Bukidnon.

The “Pamaskong Handog” is a gift-giving program initiative of the Impasugong LGU intended for former rebels who decided to choose peace and finally return to the fold of the law. The program intends to make the former rebels feel the essence of Christmas and that they are cherished members in the society.

The activity was spearheaded by Hon. Maria Norley Pepito, Municipal Vice-Mayor. Hon. Meriel A. Almeda, Municipal Councilor, Sangguniang Bayan members, and Lt. Col. Edgardo V. Talaroc Jr., Commanding Officer of 8IB assisted the distribution of the gift packs to the former rebels who were very much elated to receive the gifts.

“Ako ug ang akong mga kauban nagpasalamat sa paghatag kanamo sa kini nga dungog bisan pa kaniadto nga nakahimo kami usa ka sayup nga desisyon,” @Jasmine said as she emotionally expressed her gratefulness for the blessing she and her fellow former rebels received. (I, together with my former comrades are grateful for giving us this honor though in the past we’ve made a wrong decision.)

Meanwhile, Hon. Pepito motivated the former rebels as she said, “Gusto nako mahibal-an ninyo nga wala gyud kamo pasagdi sa gobyerno. Usa kami sa tinuud nga gobyerno. Karong Pasko gaksa ninyo ang gugma sa pagbalik sa sabakan sa gobyerno.” (I want you to know that our government never neglected you. We are one with the real government. This Christmas, embrace the love while you return to the government.)

“Mapasalamaton ako sa walay hunong nga paningkamot sa lokal nga gobyerno sa among mga FR. Nanghinaot ko nga tungod sa ani nga programa, ang mga former rebels magsaulog sa Pasko nga malinawon, labi ka malipayon, puno sa grasya, ug gugma uban ang ilang mga pamilya,” Lt. Col Talaroc Jr said. (I am grateful for the relentless efforts of the local government for our FRs. I hope that through this program, the former rebels will celebrate Christmas peacefully, happily, full of grace, and love together with their families.

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

Kalinaw News: 32 former members of ALMANA pledge to support the government in Gabaldon, Nueva Ecija

Posted to Kalinaw News (Dec 18, 2020): 32 former members of ALMANA pledge to support the government in Gabaldon, Nueva Ecija

BALER, Aurora-The area considered as “strongholds” of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF) in the town of Gabaldon, Nueva Ecija continues to plunge due to the surrender of its members and supporters.

Lt. Col. Reandrew P. Rubio, commander of the Philippine Army’s 91st Infantry “Sinagtala” Battalion, said that the CPP-NPA and its supporters continue to weakened under the area of operations (AORs) of the 91st IB.

He added that the Alpha Company of 91st IB under 1st Lieutenant Jun Niño Espora, Community Support Program quick reaction team of Major Sagersanti C. Estrada, Executive officer, Gabaldon Municipal Police Station and the 1st Provincial Mobile Force Company of the Nueva Ecija Police Provincial Office and other friendly forces facilitated the withdrawal of support and membership of 32 former members of Alyansa ng mga Mamamayang Nagkakaisa (ALMANA) to CPP-NPA-NDF at Barangay North Poblacion, Gabaldon, Nueva Ecija.

“Our brothers and sisters are tired of the presence of the communist terrorist in their communities. They decided to return to the fold of the law,” he said.

On Wednesday, the government troops welcome the 32 mass supporters who pledged allegiance to the government in a ceremony held in Barangay North Poblacion, Gabaldon town in Nueva Ecija.

1st Lt. Espora led the pledged of support and their allegiance to the government in a ceremony spearheaded by the 91st IB.

The activity was followed by the burning of NPA flag, peace rally and giving of food packs.

“The CPP-NPA-NDF mass base continues to weaken due to the series of surrenders of the regular members and supporters. Our people now realize the deceptions and lies that the communist movement brought to their lives and communities. They are now conscious of what they actually gained in the evils brought by the terrorist group. They got nothing but miseries in life, hardship and nowhere to go,” Rubio said.

The battalion commander urged the remaining NPA rebels in the said town to lay down their arms and avail of the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP) and help the government achieve peace.

Mayor Emata lauded the efforts of 91st IB to end local insurgency in his town and urged others to withdraw their support to the alleged legal front organizations of the CPP-NPA-NDF.

He added that the communist terrorists group will not gain something good from joining an organization with unreasonable cause.

Isidro Diozin, one of the surrenderer said that that he learned the real intention of the terrorists organization in agitating their land problem issues.

“Ginamit nilang isyu ang usapin sa problema sa lupa upang mahikayat subalit wala namang napatuhungang maganda at lalo pang napasama. Tinatalikuran na namin ang aming organisasyon at nagbabalikloob sa gobyerno,” Diozin said.

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

Kalinaw News: Army Commander Awards Troops, Highlights Heroism

Posted to Kalinaw News (Dec 18, 2020): Army Commander Awards Troops, Highlights Heroism

CAMP BANCASI, Butuan City – The Army’s 402nd Infantry Brigade Commander marked the another year ending campaign with the awarding of several soldiers under its command during a simple yet meaningful Flag Raising Ceremony held yesterday morning, December 14, 2020 at its Headquarters in Brgy Bancasi, Butuan City.

1st Lieutenant Joan C Gamponia, the Brigade’s Personnel Officer and Adjutant, said that a total of fourteen (14) deserving soldiers composed of organic personnel of 402nd Brigade and personnel coming from its operational controlled Battalions were bestowed with Gold Cross Medal and Military Merit and Commendation Medals who demonstrated gallantry in action and exemplary performance of their respective tasks and mission above and beyond their peers.

She added that one of the awardee received the third highest medal to be awarded to a soldier in the AFP, the Gold Cross Medal. Unable to disclose the identity of the soldier for security reason, the awardee was involved in a firefight against CPP-NPA-Terrorist (CNTs) who was twice the number of his men. A rare feat that only those who performed conspicuous courage and gallantry in action beyond great danger and even at the risk of loss of life will be awarded of such medal. While others were responsible for the surrender and capture of CNTs in the Brigade’s Area of Responsibility in Agusan del Sur and Agusan del Norte.

The awarding of troops is one of the thrust of the 402nd Infantry (Stingers) Brigade under the command and leadership of Brigadier General Maurito L Licudine, and was conducted quarterly to ensure that every deserving personnel is recognized as a simple gesture of genuine appreciation to the troops’ commitment to duty and selfless sacrifice.

Brig. Gen. Licudine in his inspirational message regarded the deserving soldiers as unsung Heroes who excel beyond the call of duty without expecting anything in return or for fancy accolades. He congratulated the awardees for the efforts and continuous dedicated service worthy of emulation by their peers.

“I urge you to continue what you have started and always do your best. There are still a lot to be done. We must be firm and set our focus in ending this local communist armed conflict and continue to partner with peace stakeholders to pave the way for the
peace and development that we are longing for here in Caraga”, Brig. Gen Licudine ended.

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

LANDMINE ATTACK SLAMMED: Tubungan cops escape ‘NPA landmine blast’

From Panay News (Dec 18, 2020): LANDMINE ATTACK SLAMMED: Tubungan cops escape ‘NPA landmine blast’ (By Ruby Silubrico)

“Police stations, especially in high-risk areas, are instructed to be alert and wary of people around them,” says Iloilo top cop Colonel Gilbert Gorero. IAN PAUL CORDERO/PN

ILOILO City – The police chief of Tubungan, Iloilo and at least four of his men escaped unhurt when a landmine believed planted by New People’s Army rebels exploded yesterday afternoon.

Police Lieutenant Jose Romel Samson and his men were on board a Hilux patrol car in the town’s Barangay Balicua when the landmine detonated around 2:45 p.m.

All police personnel on board were safe and returned to their station, Police Colonel Gilbert Gorero, provincial police chief, told Panay News.

The patrol car, however, incurred broken windows on the driver side and holes and scratches on the left side.

According to Gorero, the cops were on their way back to their headquarters after patrol operations.
He said policemen were alerted and reminded to be more vigilant.

“Police stations, especially in high-risk areas, are instructed to be alert and wary of people around them. Your headquarters must not be left unmanned,” Gorero stressed.

The Police Regional Office 6 (PRO-6) condemned the attack.

“These violent acts show their (NPA) real character, which intends to destroy peace and order, create havoc and spread terror in the town of Tubungan,” the PRO-6 said in a statement.

For his part, Captain Cenon Pancito III, Public Affairs Office chief of the Philippine Army’s 3rd Infantry Division, said they are still waiting for more details about the incident.

He reiterated that the use of anti-personnel landmine is a clear violation of Republic Act 9851 (Philippine Act on Crimes Against International Humanitarian Law, Genocide, and Other Crimes Against Humanity).

Tubungan, according to Pancito, is part of the area of operation of the NPA’s Southern Front, Kilusang Rehiyon Panay. It is a strategic place for the NPA rebels to hide because of its mountainous terrain.

The town had been identified as “vulnerable” to the NPA, the armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP).

Authorities are on high alert ahead of the 52nd founding anniversary of the CPP on Dec. 26.

Security forces have increased vigilance for possible hostilities of the CPP-NPA.

These communist insurgents may increase attacks, especially against military and police targets, ahead of the anniversary.

President Rodrigo Duterte earlier said there will be no ceasefire between the government and communist rebels until the end of his term.

Duterte said the ceasefire with the rebels died along with the peace talks.

He also reiterated that he considers the members of the Makabayan bloc in the House of Representatives, as well as other progressive groups, as communists.

The CPP was formed by Prof. Jose Maria Sison on Dec. 26, 1968. It was designated as a terrorist group by current Philippine president and Sison’s former student, Rodrigo Duterte in December 2017.

The CPP has been fighting a guerrilla war against the State since its establishment. Although its ranks initially numbered around 500, the party grew quickly, supposedly due to the imposition of martial law by then president and dictator Ferdinand Marcos during his 21-year rule.

By the end of Marcos’ dictatorship, the number of combatants had expanded to include more than 10,000 fighters.

5 soldiers wounded in Sayyaf clashes in Sulu

From the Mindanao Examiner (Dec 18, 2020): 5 soldiers wounded in Sayyaf clashes in Sulu

Five soldiers were wounded in sporadic clashes with pro-ISIS militants in the southern Philippine province of Sulu, officials said Friday.

The fighting erupted in Patikul town on Thursday after members of the 3rd Scout Ranger Battalion ran into a group of Abu Sayyaf gunmen who were fleeing from pursuing security forces in Pansul village.

Several gunmen were believed killed or wounded in the clashes after troops spotted bloodstains along an escape route used by the Abu Sayyaf. Soldiers also recovered provisions and other materials left behind by the militants.

At least two ranger battalions were battling the Abu Sayyaf under Radulan Sahiron.

“The rangers were establishing blockade a few meters away from the first encounter site in Barangay Pansul when they encountered the fleeing enemies. A fierce firefight ensued which lasted for about 30 minutes after which the enemy withdrew bringing along their casualties with them,” said Maj. Gen. William Gonzales, commander of the Joint Task Force Sulu.

The wounded soldiers were rushed to a military hospital in the capital town of Jolo, according to Lt. Col. Felicito Cutit, commander of the 3rd Scout Ranger Battalion.

“We are certain that the ASG incurred numerous casualties as evidenced in the bloodstains in the encounter site,” he said.

Military operations continued Friday in the town’s hinterlands, but there was no report from fresh fighting between security forces and militants. (Zamboanga Post)

Indonesia captures top terror suspect

From the Mindanao Examiner (Dec 17, 2020): Indonesia captures top terror suspect

INDONESIAN AUTHORITIES said that a top terror suspect arrested recently was the architect of a series of deadly attacks and sectarian conflicts in the world’s most populous Muslim nation.

Aris Sumarsono, known as Zulkarnaen, was arrested by counterterrorism police in a raid at a house in East Lampung district on Sumatra island.

“He was the military commander of Jemaah Islamiyah,”
National Police spokesperson Ahmad Ramadhan said at a news conference in the capital, Jakarta. “He’s been on the police wanted list for 18 years.”

Zulkarnaen, a biologist who was among the first Indonesian militants to go to Afghanistan in the 1980s for training, was an instructor at a military academy there for seven years, Ramadhan said.

Since May 2005, Zulkarnaen has been listed on an al-Qaida sanctions list by the U.N. Security Council for being associated with Osama bin Laden or the Taliban.

The Security Council said that Zulkarnaen, who became an expert in sabotage, was one of al-Qaida’s representatives in Southeast Asia and one of the few people in Indonesia who had had direct contact with bin Laden’s network.

It said that Zulkarnaen led a squad of fighters known as the Laskar Khos, or Special Force, whose members were recruited from among some 300 Indonesians who trained in Afghanistan and the Philippines.

Zulkarnaen was appointed the head of Camp Saddah, a military academy in the southern Philippines established for fighters from Southeast Asia, the Security Council said. He spent a decade at the camp training other Jemaah Islamiyah members.

He became operations chief for Jemaah Islamiyah after the arrest of his predecessor, Encep Nurjaman, also known as Hambali, in Thailand in 2003.

The United States’ “Rewards for Justice” program had offered a bounty of up to $5 million for his capture. He was the only Indonesian on the list.

Indonesian police said he masterminded church attacks that occurred simultaneously in many Indonesian regions during Christmas and New Year’s Eve in 2000 that killed more than 20 people.

Ramadhan said Zulkarnaen is suspected of being involved in the making of bombs used in a series of attacks, including the 2002 Bali bombings that killed 202 people, mostly foreign tourists, and a 2003 attack on the J.W. Marriott Hotel in Jakarta that killed 12.

Zulkarnaen was also the mastermind of a bomb attack on the official residence of the Philippine ambassador in Jakarta in 2000 that killed two people, a 2004 suicide attack outside the Australian Embassy that killed nine, and a 2005 bombing in Bali that killed 20, Ramadhan said.

He said Zulkarnaen was also the architect of sectarian conflict in Ambon and Poso from 1998 to 2000.

Conflicts between Christians and Muslisms in Ambon, the provincial capital of the Molluca islands, left more than 5,000 people dead and half a million displaced. The Muslim-Christian conflict in Poso, known as a hotbed of Islamic militancy on Indonesia’s Sulawesi Island, killed at least 1,000 people from 1998 to 2002.

Police previously said they were tipped off to Zulkarnaen’s location in raids after interrogating several suspected militants arrested late last month.

Zulkarnaen is also accused of harboring Upik Lawanga, another bomb maker and a key Jemaah Islamiyah’ member. Lawanga was arrested by counterterrorism police in Lampung late last month. He had eluded capture since 2005 after being named as a suspect in an attack that killed more than 20 people at a market in Poso.

A court banned Jemaah Islamiyah in 2008, and the group was weakened by a sustained crackdown on militants by Indonesia’s counterterrorism police with U.S. and Australian support. A new threat has emerged in recent years inspired by Islamic State group attacks abroad.

Indonesia’s last major militant attack was in May 2018, when two families carried out suicide bombings in the country’s second-largest city, Surabaya, killing a dozen people, including two young girls whose parents had involved them in one of the attacks.

Police said the father of the girls was the leader of a militant Jemaah Anshorut Daulah cell who pledged allegiance to Islamic State group leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. (By Niniek Karmini. AP)

Former rebels receive livelihood grants from DILG, DSWD

From the Philippine Information Agency (Dec 19, 2020): Former rebels receive livelihood grants from DILG, DSWD (By Oliver T. Baccay) 

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TUGUEGARAO CITY, Cagayan, Dec. 17 (PIA) - - Four former rebels have received livelihood grants from the government as part of the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (ECLIP) through the Provincial Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict.

Two of them received P65, 000 each as livelihood grants from the Department of the Interior and Local Government while the other two received P20, 000 each from the Department of Social Welfare and Development.

"Ka Red", a beneficiary, expressed her gratitude to the government for giving them the opportunity to live peacefully and to improve their living status.

"We are very thankful to these assistance because in reality, we, the former rebels, do not have any to start again. That is why we are thankful to the different government agencies that are giving us livelihood assistance," Ka Red said.

She said they will use the cash assistance to buy farm animals that they can use in venturing into farming and to start simple livelihood activities to improve their lives.

Regional Director Jonathan Paul Leusen of DILG encourage further other government agencies to strengthen further development programs that are contributory to the attainment of the government's goal to end rebellion and terrorism.

He also encouraged rebels to lay their arms down, surrender and embrace a peaceful and productive lives with the government. (MDCT/OTB/PIA 2-Cagayan)

Former lady NPA cadre urges rebels to surrender

From the Philippine Information Agency (Dec 19, 2020): Former lady NPA cadre urges rebels to surrender (By Oliver T. Baccay) 

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TUGUEGARAO CITY, Cagayan, Dec. 17 (PIA) - - A lady rebel returnee who have served as secretary and guerilla unit commander of the New People Army (NPA) has urged rebels to surrender to enjoy the government's assistance.

"Ka Red", who was also known as Ka Aji, Ka Elis and Ka Axel, joined the NPA troupe operating in the west and east Cagayan front at the age of 18 in 2013 and surrendered at the age of 25 in 2019.

She was one of the four recipients of a cash assistance under the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program of the Department of Social Welfare and Development through the Provincial Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict.

"To our companions before in the forest who are still supporting the NPAs, it is not yet late for you to surrender," she said.

She also said there's no truth to the propaganda of the rebels that the military and the police will torture them if they will surrender.

"We are living testimonies that the military officials and the police never hurt anyone who surrendered, they protect us and they will assist us," she said in an interview.

She also urged individuals who keep on supporting rebel groups to think carefully if the groups that they are supporting are really after the people's rights or they will just induce conflicts that will further impoverished the farmers and the marginalized.

"Ka Red" also revealed that after serving the rebel groups for almost six years, she decided to surrender when she witnessed corruptions and unpleasant activities of their leaders in the upland.

With the assistance of the government, she is hopeful to improve their living status to serve as good testimony to other active rebels to already get down and surrender. (MDCT/OTB/PIA 2-Cagayan)

2nd missile-frigate BRP Antonio Luna completes sea trials

From the Philippine News Agency (Dec 19, 2020): 2nd missile-frigate BRP Antonio Luna completes sea trials (By Priam Nepomuceno)  

Photo courtesy of the Philippine Navy Public Affairs Office

The prospective BRP Antonio Luna (FF-151), the country's second missile frigate ordered from Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI), has successfully passed its sea acceptance trials (SAT) off Ulsan, South Korea from December 14 to 18.

In a media statement late Friday, Rear Admiral Alberto Carlos, head of the Philippine Navy (PN)'s Technical Inspection and Acceptance Committee (TIAC), declared that FF-151 is compliant with the agreed technical specifications after personally witnessing the warship's performance during the sea trials.

"FF-151 is 95 percent complete at this time. All machinery and combat systems were subjected to test procedures as stipulated in the contract and were observed to be working properly. More importantly, I'm happy to announce that FF-151 passed the prescribed standards and procedures," he said.

Carlos said upon completion of this week's SAT, BRP Antonio Luna's completion rating is almost 100 percent.

This, he added, will pave way for the frigate re-docking and final outfitting before delivery early next year.

Built by South Korean shipbuilder HHI, BRP Antonio Luna is a modern naval warship capable of surface, sub-surface, air, and electronic warfare using state-of-the-art electronic sensors, long-range missiles, acoustic guided torpedoes, and an embarked anti-submarine helicopter.

The ship is expected to be delivered and turned over to the PN in February next year.

The first frigate, BRP Jose Rizal (FF150), was delivered and subsequently commissioned into the Philippine Navy last July 10 this year.

BRP Antonio Luna's keel-laying on May 23, 2019, coincided with the launch of BRP Jose Rizal (FF-150).

The contract for the BRP Jose Rizal and the BRP Antonio Luna was placed at PHP16 billion with another PHP2 billion for weapon systems and munitions.