Friday, February 5, 2021

Kalinaw News: Top NPA Leader Killed, Firearms Seized in Quezon

From Kalinaw News (Feb 5, 2021): Top NPA Leader Killed, Firearms Seized in Quezon

CAMP CAPINPIN, Tanay, Rizal – A notorious NPA leader was killed in a 45-minute firefight after his group encountered government forces in Sitio Pung-uy, Brgy Masaya, Buenavista, Quezon on Friday, February 5 at 4:00 in the morning.

The casualty was identified as Ronnel Batarlo alias Marwin who died during the gunfight while an M16 rifle and an M203 grenade launcher were recovered after the soldiers secured the area.

It can be recalled that the said NPA group was responsible for various terroristic activities, including the ambush of the police at Brgy San Juan in San Narciso, Quezon in February last year. They were also the ones encountered by government troops three days ago in Brgy Bulo, Mulanay, a nearby municipality in Quezon.

MGen Greg T Almerol, Commander of the Army’s 2nd Infantry Division, said that the trooper who was injured during the encounter is already in stable condition and is currenly recuperating in the hospital.

“This recent incident would not happen if these NPA terrorists heeded the government’s call for peace and given themselves a chance to live away from the horrors of terrorism. We therefore encourage the rest to surrender and return to the folds of the law before it’s too late.”

All available military assets have been placed on high alert in support of the ongoing pursuit operations against the fleeing terrorists.

Joint AFP-PNP checkpoints were also established on possible exit points in the area.

[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:]

Black Hawk choppers vital in rescue ops: DND

From the Philippine News Agency (Feb 6, 2021): Black Hawk choppers vital in rescue ops: DND (By Priam Nepomuceno)

File photo

Helicopters such as the S-70i Black Hawk, which are capable of transporting relief personnel and aid, are a necessity in disaster-prone countries like the Philippines, an official of the Department of National Defense (DND) said on Saturday.

"For a country constantly beset by calamities and currently battling a pandemic, transport helicopters like the 'Black Hawks' are an absolutely necessary asset in our inventory that will allow the Armed Forces to respond efficiently and effectively to critical situations," DND spokesperson Arsenio Andolong said in a statement.

He added that the DND aims to address the need to upgrade and expand the helicopter fleet of the Philippine Air Force (PAF), by acquiring more of the Black Hawk transport helicopters, which are versatile workhorses that are capable of performing various functions in a variety of situations.

"For instance, they can and will be used in airlifting relief goods and first responders during disasters, as well as ferry supplies such as perishable vaccines and medicines to far-flung areas that are difficult to reach by land. The 'Black Hawk' transport helicopters will evacuate people during emergencies, and can fly critically-ill or injured patients to medical facilities when time is of the essence," Andolong said.

Earlier, President Rodrigo Duterte has approved the acquisition of 15 Black Hawk helicopters to address the growing heli-lift deficiency of the PAF, Cabinet Secretary Karlos Nograles announced on Thursday.

Duterte gave his nod during the 51st Cabinet meeting held at Malacañan Palace on Wednesday, Nograles said in a virtual presser.

Nograles said Duterte has also ordered the decommissioning of all the PAF’s UH-1H Huey combat utility aircraft helicopters following the January 16 crash in Bukidnon.

The PAF received six modern S-70i Black Hawks late last year, which is part of the 16 units ordered from Polish company Polskie Zaklady Lotnicze Sp.z.o.o. and manufactured under license from Sikorsky USA.

The entire order is worth USD241 million or about PHP11.5 billion. The remaining 10 S-70is are expected to be delivered by the first quarter of 2021.

The Black Hawk helicopters were procured through a government-to-government transaction with Poland. The negotiations were completed in 2019.

The acquisition of the S-70i combat utility helicopters is as part of Horizon 2 of the AFP Modernization Program.

Ex-NPA rebels, IPs get housing project in Sibugay town

From the Philippine News Agency (Feb 5, 2021): Ex-NPA rebels, IPs get housing project in Sibugay town (By Teofilo Garcia, Jr.)

HOUSING PROJECTS. Mayor Jarvis Acosta (right) of Siay, Zamboanga Sibugay, and Maj. Cyril Noel Ates, the Army's 44th Infantry Battalion (IB) executive officer, confer with each other after the signing Thursday (Feb. 4, 2021) of a memorandum of agreement with the National Housing Authority for the implementation of two housing projects for former New People's Army rebels and supporters, and indigenous peoples. Also in photo is Engr. Al-Khwarizmi Indanan, NHA district manager. (Photo courtesy of the 44th IB)

Two housing projects are set to be implemented for former New People’s Army (NPA) rebels and indigenous peoples (IPs) in Zamboanga Sibugay province, a military official said Friday.

Lt. Col. Don Templonuevo, commander of the Army's 44th Infantry Battalion, said the housing projects to be established in Barangays Balagon and Mirangan in Siay town, Zamboanga Sibugay, would benefit 210 recipients.

Templonuevo said the recipients consist of 110 former NPA rebels from Barangay Mirangan, and 100 former NPA supporters and IP families in Barangay Balagon.

Templonuevo said a memorandum of agreement was signed Thursday by Siay Mayor Jarvis Acosta, chairperson of the Municipal Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (MTF-ELCAC); Engr. Al-Khwarizmi Indanan, National Housing Authority (NHA) district manager; and Maj. Cyril Noel Ates, 44th IB executive officer, for the implementation of the two housing projects.

He said the housing projects are in line with Executive Order 70 issued by President Rodrigo Duterte in late 2018.

E.O. 70 institutionalizes the whole-of-nation approach in attaining inclusive and sustainable peace, creating a national task force to end local communist armed conflict, and directing the adoption of a national peace framework.

14 former rebels thank gov't for livelihood aid

From the Philippine News Agency (Feb 6, 2021): 14 former rebels thank gov't for livelihood aid (By Samuel Toledo)

DOLE-Bicol regional director Joel Gonzales (File photo)

Fourteen former members of the New People’s Army (NPA) from different towns of Sorsogon province who were recipients of livelihood starter kits have expressed deep gratitude to the government for allowing them to start a new life.

The starter kits distributed by the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) on Thursday comprised of jigs, tools, and various equipment worth more than PHP250,000.

“With grateful hearts, the rebel returnees thanked the government for their starter kits as they now live free of fear and apprehension and with hopes to start their lives anew,” DOLE-Bicol director Joel Gonzales said in an interview on Friday.

One of the recipients, "Maria” (not her real name), 48, said: “Nakaintra ako sa dati kong grupo dahil sa impluwensya ninda sako. Estudyante pa sana ako, na engganyo na ninda akong mag intra ta sa harong mi mismo sinda nagdadaragos tapos nagkakaraon. Mapagal palan maging sarong rebelde kaya salamatunon tabi saindo ta saro ako sa mga nahatagan nin kabuhayan hali sa DOLE,” she recalled. (I was able to join our underground movement because they influenced me. While I was still a student, they already lured me to join them because they were taking shelter and eat food in our house. It was really very difficult to be a rebel, that’s why I thank you all because I am one of those who were handed with this livelihood assistance from DOLE)."

Another beneficiary, "Jose” (not his real name), 43, a two-year course graduate, had been active in the rebel group for five years before he finally left the armed struggle.

Through the skills training given by the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), he was able to secure a certificate for Shielded Metal Arc Welding.

Marilyn L. Luzuriaga, DOLE provincial director of Sorsogon, said “the government through its agencies and units are always willing to help especially for those people who are displaced and marginalized -- DOLE Kabuhayan Starter Kit is one of them”.

PMA alumni homecoming 2021 to be held online

From the Philippine News Agency (Feb 6, 2021): PMA alumni homecoming 2021 to be held online (By Liza Agoot)

LIMITED. Cadets of the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) during the parade and review at the Borromeo Field inside Fort Del Pilar in Baguio City in this undated photo. This year's PMA annual homecoming will be done online and only one representative from each class physically attending, an officer said on Friday (Feb. 5, 2021). (PNA file photo by Liza T. Agoot)

The annual homecoming of the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) this year will be done online and only one representative from each class physically attending, an official said on Friday.

Chief of the Operations section of PMA Lt. Col. Ronald Gaboy, during the meeting of the Cordillera Regional Inter-Agency Task Force, said the annual alumni homecoming will be a limited event and the attendees will join online.

He said the homecoming on February 12 and 13 is expecting about 800 or more in attendance over Zoom.

He said they previously planned to have a limited attendance of 350 but was further reduced.

“We reduced it to a hi-breed limited face-to-face with only the class presidents attending. The others, about 800 or more will attend through Zoom,” Gaboy said.

He said as of Feb. 4, there were 40 who signified physical attendance on February 13 where the usual parade will be held at the Borromeo Field and sitting at the grandstand. The grandstand has a capacity ranging from 700 to 800.

“There will be no event that will be held in a closed venue,” Gaboy said.

He added that there are no scheduled class activities considering the limitations on social gatherings set by the IATF.

All those physically attending the homecoming are required to have a travel authority from the local police or the local government unit where they are coming from.

A medical certificate and a negative polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test are also required from the attendees.

He said they are coordinating with the Baguio City Health Services Office to check on the requirement for the permit to hold the homecoming.

Gaboy added that they have requested the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) to allow attendees of the homecoming to pass on Kennon Road to and from Baguio.

Office of Civil Defense regional director and RIATF chairman Albert Mogol, also a PMA alumnus, urged the officer to coordinate with the emergency operations center of the city for smooth conduct of the event.

The PMA annually holds the alumni homecoming where thousands of its graduates attend the three-day events for the class and the academy.

Aside from them, family members of the cavaliers come to the city to attend one of the PMA big events, aside from the graduation.

Gapay cites Navy, military for job well done in farewell visit

From the Philippine News Agency (Feb 4, 2021): Gapay cites Navy, military for job well done in farewell visit (By Priam Nepomuceno)

Photo courtesy of Naval Public Affairs Office

Outgoing Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief-of-staff, Gen. Gilbert Gapay, has lauded the Philippine Navy (PN) and the rest of the military for a job well done during his term.

Gapay made the remark during his farewell visit to the Philippine Fleet and Naval Special Operations Command (NAVSOCOM) at Naval Base Heracleo Alano in Sangley Point, Cavite City Wednesday.

"(A) job well done and (thank you) for all your support, cooperation, services, and sacrifices rendered during my stint as the Chief of Staff,” he said.

Gapay, who assumed the military's top post in August last year, will retire from the service on Thursday upon reaching the mandatory retirement age of 56. He will be replaced by Army commander Lt. Gen. Cirilito Sobejana.

He assumed his duties as AFP chief last August 3. replacing Gen. Filemon T. Santos.

“As I retire, I will retire happy, proud, and (content) knowing that the Navy and the Armed Forces will be left with good leaders and good men and women with solid camaraderie… continue doing your job with utmost professionalism and commitment,” he added.

Sailors and marines accorded Gapay fitting honors upon his arrival as tribute and recognition of his invaluable and selfless service rendered to the Filipino people.

He also witnessed a capability demonstration at NAVSOCOM’s Airborne Ground.

During his visit, Gapay also had a dialogue with PN senior leaders led Navy chief Vice Admiral Giovanni Carlo Bacordo and a "Talk to Troops" where he addressed the officers, enlisted personnel, and civilian human resources aboard the Philippine Fleet and other naval units via video teleconferencing.

2 terrorists killed in foiled escape in Maguindanao

From the Philippine News Agency (Feb 4, 2021): 2 terrorists killed in foiled escape in Maguindanao (By Christopher Lloyd Caliwan)

Photo courtesy of Maguindanao PNP

Two members of a militant extremist group tagged in a series of bombings in Central Mindanao were killed in a foiled escape in Maguindanao on Thursday.

Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Gen. Debold Sinas, citing reports coming from the PNP Command Center said Rasul Dubpaleg and Bhadz K. Dubpaleg, both members of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF), were earlier arrested by police and military team in Rajah Buayan, Maguindanao around 10 a.m.

After securing the two suspects in the police vehicle, the team immediately left to avoid possible confrontation with enemy forces in the area, which is a known stronghold of the BIFF.

While in transit to the Maguindanao Police Provincial Office, a commotion ensued in the passenger cabin of the patrol car as the suspects tried to overpower their guards by wrestling for the cops’ firearms.

Both suspects were wounded in the scuffle and were promptly brought to the Maguindanao Integrated Provincial Health Office for treatment but were later pronounced dead by the attending physician.

Police records identified both suspects as affiliated with the Dawlah Islamiya Hasan Group and are core members of the BIFF Karialan-Bungos Faction.

The suspects were sought by the police for their involvement in four bombing incidents -- two in Isulan, Sultan Kudarat, one in Midsayap, North Cotabato, and the Dec. 31, 2018 blast outside the Southseas Mall in Cotabato City.

Sobejana to do well in peace advocacies, AFP modernization: DND

From the Philippine News Agency (Feb 4, 2021): Sobejana to do well in peace advocacies, AFP modernization: DND (By Priam Nepomuceno)

Incoming AFP chief-of-staff Lt. Gen. Cirilito Sobejana. (File photo)

The Department of National Defense (DND) on Thursday expressed confidence that incoming Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief-of-staff Lt. Gen. Cirilito Sobejana will do well in advocating for peace and development aside from pushing for the modernization of the military.

"Lt. Gen. Sobejana's sterling record as a military officer has prepared him to assume this very important role as CSAFP. Having personally seen and experienced the adverse effects of armed conflicts, Lt. Gen. Sobejana is a strong advocate for peace and development. We are confident that he will continue leading the way for the modernization of the Armed Forces," the DND said in a media statement.

The DND also congratulated Sobejana on his assumption as AFP chief and chairman of the Joint Chiefs of the Armed Forces.

"The Department likewise expresses profound appreciation for the service of outgoing Chief of Staff Gen. Gilbert Gapay for almost 40 years. As he returns to civilian life, we wish him all the best," it added.

Sobejana, a member of the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) Class of 1987 will succeed Gapay, a member of PMA Class of 1986, who will formally retire from the service after reaching the mandatory retirement age of 56 on Thursday.

Earlier, Sobejana vowed to work harder to further professionalize the military.

Sobejana, the 55th chief of the AFP, was awarded the Medal of Valor, the highest award by the AFP for gallantry in combat by former President Fidel Ramos in 1996.

Gapay offered gov’t post after tour of duty as AFP chief

From the Philippine News Agency (Feb 5, 2021): Gapay offered gov’t post after tour of duty as AFP chief (By Ruth Abbey Gita-Carlos)

 President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday asked retired Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief-of-staff Gen. Gilbert Gapay to join his government after the latter’s “successful tour of duty” as the military chief.

During the change of command and retirement ceremony in honor of Gapay, Duterte offered the retired AFP chief a post either in the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) or the Department of National Defense (DND).

Duterte, however, did not mention the exact position that he is offering to Gapay.

“Sir, after tonight you might want, you might opt to take the MWSS vacated by Gen. Salamat or you might also choose to be with your home ground the DND. It’s your choice,” Duterte, in a speech delivered at the Camp Aguinaldo in Quezon City, told Gapay.

Duterte was referring to retired Lt. Gen. Emmanuel Salamat who currently serves as MWSS administrator and vice chair of the state water regulator’s board of trustees.

Duterte made the offer, as he hailed Gapay’s contributions to the AFP’s successful fight against insurgency.

“During your tenure you have commendably stirred the men and women of the AFP towards our goal of eliminating insurgency and securing our sovereignty,” he said.

Gapay was appointed AFP chief on August 3 last year. He also served as Philippine Army commander.

Gapay is a member of the Philippine Military Academy Class of 1986 and graduated on top of his class.

Duterte commended Gapay for inspiring the military personnel to fulfill their duties despite the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic.

“When our nation faced a daunting public health crisis last year, you inspired your troops to risk their lives to contain the pandemic and providing essential humanitarian assistance to our people,” he said.

Duterte wished Gapay “all the best” as the retired AFP chief and hoped that the latter would find a “new path to happiness.”

“Your example of hard work and excellence has set a high standard not only for you and those around you but most especially for the institution’s future leadership, the Armed forces of the Philippines,” he said.

Army commander Lt. Gen. Cirilito Sobejana, a Medal of Valor awardee, replaced Gapay as next AFP chief of staff.

Sobejana can lead AFP amid fight vs. insurgency, terrorism: PRRD

From the Philippine News Agency (Feb 5, 2021): Sobejana can lead AFP amid fight vs. insurgency, terrorism: PRRD (By Azer Parrocha and Priam Nepomuceno)

NEW AFP CHIEF. President Rodrigo R. Duterte salutes incoming Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Cirilito Sobejana during the AFP Change of Command and Retirement Ceremony at Camp Emilio Aguinaldo in Quezon City on Thursday (Feb. 4, 2021). Duterte also thanked outgoing AFP chief Gen. Gilbert Gapay for his successful tour of duty. (Presidential photo by Simeon Celi)

President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday expressed confidence that newly-installed Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief-of-staff Lt. Gen. Cirilito Sobejana would lead the military to new heights to address threats to the country’s peace and security.

In a speech at the Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City, Duterte welcomed Sobejana as AFP chief after thanking outgoing chief Gen. Gilbert Gapay for his successful tour of duty.

“I am confident that under Lt. Gen. Sobejana’s leadership, the AFP will achieve even more milestones in the campaign to address the insurgency and terror, and put an end to all these threats to our national security,” he said.

Duterte enjoined government troops, under Sobejana’s leadership, to continue being vigilant and pro-active in performing his duties.

“It is my hope that this new beginning will ensure a more fruitful collaboration as we strive to be a source of great moral strength to our people,” he added.

He also assured the government’s full support for the promotion of the military’s improved welfare as well as the upgrading of their capabilities in securing the safety of the people.

“As keepers of peace and order, you are instrumental in building a safe environment where our people can live without fear from lawless elements,” he said. “Through our joint effort in building the road to recovery during the pandemic, I am confident that we will move closer in achieving our shared aspirations for a better and stronger Philippines.”

Courage, compassion

Meanwhile, Sobejana said the country's strength lies in the courage and compassion of all Filipinos.

"History certainly teaches us that our country's strength lies in our country men's courage and compassion. These values are surely ingrained deeply in the Filipino spirit, empowering us to push our personal boundaries to be of service to one another," he said in his assumption speech.

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte salutes incoming Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Cirilito Sobejana during the AFP Change of Command and Retirement Ceremony at Camp Emilio Aguinaldo in Quezon City on (Thursday) Feb. 4, 2021. (Presidential photo by Robinson Niñal)

During time of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic, calamities and other security challenges, Sobejana said Filipinos should bring out the best in themselves and "demonstrate our resiliency."

"We must remain steadfast as a nation united by a dauntless spirit that never give up but continue to fight on," he said.

As the newly-installed AFP chief, he implored every Filipino to be one with be one with "every solder, sailor, airmen, marine and civilian human resource of the Armed Forces of the Philippines in our fight against the enemies of the state and other threats."

He also believes that with unity and conviction, the country and its people can attain victory.

"This is a collaborative project. It requires the commitment, dedication and support of everybody, the military, the civil government and the people as a whole. We will adopt the whole-of-the nation approach to end the local armed conflict. Through this convergence, we shall nurture the concept of peace and progress," he said. "Peace meaning people empowerment in addressing conflict environment and progress as patriotic response to opportunities geared to reinvigorate an economically sustainable society.”

He also assured the public that all their soldiers, airmen, sailors, and marines of the AFP will do their job following the rule of law, give due respect to human rights and strictly adhere to the provisions of the International Humanitarian Law.

"And in all that we do, we will exemplify the AFP's core values of honor, service and patriotism as well as uphold our core purpose of protecting the people and security the state and before I end, I am pleased to let you know that in the name of public service, your AFP is neither above nor below you, we are always beside you," Sobejana said.

Sobejana, a member of the Philippine Military Academy “Hinirang Class” of 1987, is the commanding general of the Philippine Army since July last year.

He also commanded the Joint Task Force Sulu, the Maguindanao-based 6th Infantry Division, and the Western Mindanao Command.

Sobejana is also a recipient of the Medal of Valor, the country’s highest military award that is equivalent to the Congressional Medal of Honor of the United States.

He earned his Medal of Valor award in 1995 after leading the fight with an estimated 150 Abu Sayyaf terrorists in Isabela town in Basilan despite sustaining crippling wounds in the encounter.

Navy to deploy 2 landing docks for Covid-19 jabs transport

From the Philippine News Agency (Feb 5, 2021): Navy to deploy 2 landing docks for Covid-19 jabs transport (By Priam Nepomuceno)

BRP Tarlac (left) and BRP Davao Del Sur (right). (File photo)

The Philippine Navy (PN) can deploy its two landing docks equipped with reefers to help transport coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) vaccines to remote areas once these become available.

"Ang ating mga LD (landing dock vessels) po ay may mga reefers onboard na maari pong magamit na cold storage, upon orders by higher headquarters po (Our LD have reefers aboard that can be used for cold storage, if these ships are ordered by higher headquarters to transport Covid-19 vaccines," PN public affairs office chief, Commander Benjo Braganza said in a message to the Philippine News Agency Thursday night.

Negranza was referring to the BRP Tarlac (LD-601) and BRP Davao Del Sur (LD-602), both of which have an overall length of 120 meters, breadth of 21 meters, draft of five meters and can carry a payload of 2,800 tons.

The vessels have a cruising speed of 13 knots and a maximum speed of 16 knots and a minimum operating range of 7,500 nautical miles. Both ships can carry 500 troops, two rigid-hull inflatable boats, two landing craft units, and three helicopters.

Both were acquired from Indonesian shipbuilder PT PAL for around PHP4 billion and were delivered to the PN in 2016 and 2017 with the BRP Tarlac being named the lead ship.

Negranza said following are initial information on the volume and sustained temperatures of these reefers aboard the two landing dock vessels:

*Meat and fish reefer: 60 cubic meters/ -20°C

*Vegetable room: 50 cubic meters/ 3°C

*Lobby: 12 cubic meters/ 10°C.

If these reefers are not enough, Negranza said these ships can still be used to transport vaccine cold-storage units that would be used by the government.

"For our other ships with substantial cold-storage capacities that may be used, I cannot confirm as of yet," he added. (

Talks with UP to boost DND ties with universities, colleges

From the Philippine News Agency (Feb 5, 2021): Talks with UP to boost DND ties with universities, colleges (By Priam Nepomuceno)

DND spokesperson Arsenio Andolong. (File photo)

The Department of National Defense (DND) on Friday expressed hope that its talks with the University of the Philippines (UP) would pave the way for stronger cooperation with all academic institutions.

"The dialogue with UP President Danilo Concepcion in the presence of CHED (Commission on Higher Education) Chief Prospero de Vera is a positive development as we seek ways to move forward and strengthen our collaboration with academic institutions all over the country," DND spokesperson Arsenio Andolong said in a statement.

Andolong said that during the dialogue on Thursday, the DND expressed its openness to listen to the position of the UP administration.

"We are also hopeful that the members of the UP community will be open to working with us to ensure that our youth do not become victims of those who would lead them down the path of lawlessness and destruction," he said.

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana and UP President Danilo Concepcion both agreed to continue dialogues on cooperation in promoting academic freedom and the recent termination of the accord that prohibits police and military presence in UP campuses.

"The dialogue afforded key leaders the opportunity to discuss the way forward and possible areas of cooperation on how both institutions can promote their mutual aspirations to ensure a safe and secure environment conducive to learning," the DND, CHED, and UP said in an earlier joint statement.

Lorenzana, on Jan. 15, terminated the 1989 DND-UP agreement that requires prior notice be given by the AFP, then Philippine Constabulary, or the Citizen Armed Force Geographical Unit intending to conduct military or police operations in any of the UP campuses, to the University President, the Chancellor of the constituent university, or the Dean of the regional unit concerned, or their respective officers-in-charge in the event of their absence, when the situation so warrants.

Exceptions to the said requirement include hot pursuit cases and ordinary transit. In abrogating the agreement on January 15, Lorenzana called the arrangement "obsolete".

He added that the agreement was used by the CPP-NPA to turn UP into a breeding ground of "intransigent individuals and groups whose extremist beliefs have inveigled students to join their ranks to fight against the government."

The Senate, on Jan. 26, has adopted Resolution No. 616 urging DND and UP to “revisit” their 1989 agreement on military presence in the state university’s campuses and called for a dialogue between both parties.

‘We know who you are’, NICA to CPP-NPA supporters in gov’t

From the Philippine News Agency (Feb 5, 2021): ‘We know who you are’, NICA to CPP-NPA supporters in gov’t (By Marita Moaje)

The National Intelligence Coordinating Agency (NICA) on Thursday said several supporters of communist terrorist groups (CTGs) have infiltrated different government agencies, working as state employees across various offices.

In an interview over DZAR on Thursday, NICA Director-General Alex Paul Monteagudo said they know about the individuals who were able to infiltrate government agencies.

“We know who they are, that they are even party members, supporters of the CPP [Communist Party of the Philippines]. But pinapaalam din natin sa kanila na alam natin. Alam nila na alam namin, alam ng security forces, alam ng gobyerno kung sino sila at binabantayan natin sila (We have informed them that we know. They know that we know, the security forces know, the government knows them, and we are watching them),” Monteagudo said.

Earlier, the Social Welfare Employees Association of the Philippines (SWEAP), the employees’ union of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), decided to cut ties with labor group Confederation for Unity, Recognition and Advancement of Government Employees (COURAGE).

SWEAP moved to disassociate the union from COURAGE after 20 years, citing money issues and supposed “questionable” activities and service.

Monteagudo said SWEAP officials and members started to question COURAGE on how membership fees are spent, adding that they also noticed that the group puts forward agenda related to the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF).

He said SWEAP officials and members felt they are being exploited by COURAGE and decided to disaffiliate from the organization.

Not from NICA but Sison

Monteagudo, however, clarified that it was neither NICA nor the government which claimed that COURAGE is part of the CPP-NPA-NDF, but CPP founder Jose Maria Sison himself.

“Ang pagsasabi naman na terrorist organization ang COURAGE ay hindi kami, mismong si Joma Sison, sa video niya nung 1987 ay in-identify niya ang COURAGE as one of those front organization ng CPP (We were not the one who said that COURAGE is part of the terrorist organization but it was Joma Sison himself in a video in 1987. He identified COURAGE as one of the front organizations of the CPP),” he said.

He added that during the early part of President Rodrigo Duterte’s term, the chief executive appointed several personalities whom he knows are part of left-leaning organizations, to show his sincerity that he is willing to accept and talk with them.

The appointees were assigned to different government agencies and brought their own people inside the agency.

Monteagudo said when the officials were removed from their posts, their people remained in the state agencies since they have security of tenure.

Reds infiltrated gov’t

He said even before President Duterte’s term, “Reds have already infiltrated the government with their 52 years of existence”.

“Halos lahat ng ahensya ng gobyerno ay napasukan na sa loob ng 52 years. They have all the time sa loob ng 50 taon na ma-infilitrate itong mga organizations natin (Almost all government agencies have been infiltrated in those 52 years. They had all the time infiltrating our organizations for more than 50 years),” he said.

Another mode of entering government service, Monteagudo explained, is through student leaders who were recruited to join different front organizations and later became members or supporters of the CPP-NPA-NDF.

He said students who decided to remain in the city but remained as CTG supporters were encouraged by the group to take civil service examinations.

After passing the examinations, Monteagudo said they enter government service and work in the agencies.

“Pero pag pumasok yun dun, ang part ng kanilang sweldo pupunta sa partido (When they enter the government, part of their salary goes to the party) but their primary function is to recruit more, to influence, to agitate and to indoctrinate and to act as eyes and ears of the CPP-NPA,” Monteagudo said.

He said NICA has been presenting special briefings in different government agencies on the extent of CTG infiltration on the bureaucracy.

As per NICA’s latest estimate, there are about 300,000 to 400,000 who are allies of different CPP-NPA-NDF front organizations.

However, Monteagudo clarified that being a member of these front organizations does not mean that they are terrorists.

He said many of these members from the government sector do not know that COURAGE is a front of the CPP-NPA-NDF.

The CPP-NPA is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines.

AFP to be more diligent in identifying state enemies: Sobejana

From the Philippine News Agency (Feb 5, 2021): AFP to be more diligent in identifying state enemies: Sobejana (By Priam Nepomuceno)

AFP chief-of-staff, Lt. Gen. Cirilito Sobejana. (File photo)

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) would be more deliberate and careful in performing its mandate particularly in going after enemies of the state, its new chief said on Friday.

"I would like to reiterate (na) gagawin namin yung aming trabaho (we will do our job) in a very deliberate manner, we should be extra careful lalo na sa pagsasalita (especially in speaking), we should be very accurate in determining the enemies of the state kasi (because) I do believe that for us to win this war, we should not just make ourselves bigger but make the enemy smaller, so it's better to create friends than creating enemies," AFP chief-of-staff. Lt. Gen. Cirilito Sobejana said in an interview with ABS-CBN News Channel.

Sobejana said such approaches are necessary as the AFP is mandated to serve the people and should not appear as their enemy.

He added that the military should learn from its mistakes in order to better serve the people.

"We should not hurt anybody unless he is the enemy of the state so we have to really properly identify the enemies of the state as what I have said so that walang (there is no) collateral damage and so on so rest assured na magiging deliberate kami sa aming ginagawa (we will be deliberate in our acts)," he added.

Sobejana's remarks came in the wake of red-tagging accusations hurled at the military by various organizations, the latest of which is the erroneous list of alleged New People's Army (NPA) members which drew flak on social media.

In his first order as AFP chief, Sobejana urged all units to come up with quick wins so that they can put an end to terrorism and insurgency.

"With us fighting insurgency and terrorism for five decades now, I highlighted that we should come up with our quick wins and catch up plan so that we can say that or we can put an end to the menace of terrorism and insurgency and we have to take advantage of the mechanism at hand particularly the EO (Executive Order) 70 wherein it calls for a Whole-of-the Nation Approach, so ibig sabihin (this means) we have recognized that security is a shared responsibility. Everybody in the government should take part and even the community sector or the civilian sector or the community as a whole should even be involved in our peace and security efforts," Sobejana said.