Saturday, March 6, 2021

I won’t be defeated, Duterte tells communists

From the Philippine News Agency (Mar 6, 2021): I won’t be defeated, Duterte tells communists (By Ruth Abbey Gita-Carlos)

‘I WILL NOT BE DEFEATED.’ President Rodrigo Duterte says on Friday (March 5, 2021) he would not allow himself to be defeated by the communist movement. The President made the statement during the joint meeting of national and regional task forces to end local communist armed conflict (ELCAC) in Cagayan de Oro. (Screengrab from RTVM)

With less than two years in office, President Rodrigo Duterte on Friday took a firm stance that he would not allow himself to be defeated by the communist movement.

Duterte made the statement during the joint meeting of national and regional task forces to end local communist armed conflict (ELCAC) in Cagayan de Oro, as he lamented that communist insurgents continue to commit criminal offenses, such as extortion, arson, rape, and murder.

“Mao ng kinabuhi inyong gusto? Karon, kamong mga nakasabot, og nisulod sa utok ninyo ning akong mensahe, ako di ko mapildi (Is that really the life that you want? Now, for those of you who were able to fully comprehend what I said, you should understand that I won’t be defeated),” he said.

The communist rebels’ ceaseless attacks against government troops and civilians have prompted Duterte to sign on Nov. 23, 2017 Proclamation 360, which formally scrapped the peace negotiations with the communist group’s political wing, the National Democratic Front (NDF).

The termination of the peace talks was followed by the Dec. 5, 2017 signing of Proclamation 274, classifying the communist movement’s armed wing, the New People’s Army (NPA), as a terror organization.

On Dec. 10, 2018, Duterte signed Executive Order 70, directing the National Task Force ELCAC to provide an efficient mechanism and structure for the implementation of the government’s whole-of-nation approach in ending insurgency and attaining inclusive and lasting peace.

In his latest speech, the President said he would stop the communists’ plan to topple his administration.

He reiterated his order to the military and the police to neutralize communist rebels.

“Unsaon? Unsaon man ninyo pagtumba daw ang gobyerno be? Ako musugot matumba ninyo ang gobyerno? Ako, panagsa ra ko mag... Mao akong giingnan ang militar, pulis. Pag engkwentro gani mo, mogunit og armas, patya. Patya gyud. Tiwasi. Ingna ang human rights, ako nang sugo. Ako'y mapreso. Way problema na (So how do you intend to overthrow the government? Do you think I’ll allow the government to be defeated? Well, I rarely ever… That’s why I told the military and police that during encounters, if the enemy is holding a gun, kill them. Kill them right away. Tell the human rights that it’s my order. I’ll be the one to go to jail. No problem.)

Not a fascist

Duterte also debunked the communists’ persistent claims that he is a fascist, maintaining that he would never resort to a one-man rule.

“Niadto singgit ninyo, ‘Pasista!’ Kinsa may mopasista? Ako magpasista? O ako magpasista, ang military ang mupatay sa ako. Og dili, mag-coup d’etat na sila (You used to shout, ‘Fascist!’ Who’s a fascist? Me? If I become a fascist, the military would be the first to kill me. If not, they will stage a coup d’etat),” he said.

Duterte was confident that soldiers and policemen would not be fooled by the communist group’s false accusations against him.

“Ang military dili na buang. Ang pulis dili na. Hiritan ka gyud ana (The military aren’t fools. The police aren’t fools, as well. They will really stop you),” he said.

Know what’s right

Duterte had relatively warm ties with the communists during his first months in office.

However, the NPA’s continued attacks against state forces and civilians amid the holding of peace talks took a toll on him.

Duterte remains optimistic that communist rebels would abandon the armed struggle and return to the fold of the law.

“Kamong mga komunista, nahibawo man mo og unsa la’y tama. Unsa may tama? Di ka magdaog-daog isigkatawo, di ka makig-giyera nga di ka gyud makadaog. Bandido mong tanan. Wala mo'y ideyolohia kay ang tanang komunista, ang China ug ang Russia kapitalista na (You communists should know what’s right. And what is the right thing to do? You don’t oppress your fellowmen. You don’t wage a war that you will never win. You are all bandits. You have no ideology. All communist countries, China and Russia, they are capitalists now),” he said.

The President assured communists that they would get assistance from the government to help them rebuild their lives when they decide to reintegrate into society.

“Nakasabot ko. So mao nang nagbuhi ko'g kwarta para kadtong nakasabot nako. Di na man mo kinahanglan pasabton kay kamo mismo may utok. Nahibaw mo nga ngil-ad ng inyong ginabuhat nga mangayo mo sa mga pobre unya pamatyon pa ninyo og mupabor sa gobyerno (I understand. So that’s why I’m spending money on those who understand what I’m saying. You don’t need to be taught to understand because you yourselves are capable of understanding. You know that what you’ve been doing, extorting from the poor and killing those who favor the government, is wrong),” Duterte said.

Apart from the Philippines, the Communist Party of the Philippines - NPA has also been branded as a terror group by the United States, the European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, and New Zealand.

Harmonized gov't efforts cut Reds' influence in NorMin: Esperon

From the Philippine News Agency (Mar 6, 2021): Harmonized gov't efforts cut Reds' influence in NorMin: Esperon (By Priam Nepomuceno)

National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr., (Screengrab from RTVM)

The harmonized efforts of government agencies under the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) has significantly curbed the influence of the communist movement in Northern Mindanao, National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr., said on Friday.

"But may I report, Mr. President (Rodrigo Duterte), that for 2019 and 2020, our security forces backed by government agencies and the private sector all harmonized under NTF-ELCAC have dismantled three guerilla (fronts) in this region; and 196 barangays were cleared from the influence of the CPP-NPA (Communist Party of the Philippines-New People's Army (CPP-NPA),"
Esperon said during the joint meeting of the NTF-ELCAC and Regional Task Force (RTF) ELCAC in Cagayan de Oro City.

Present in the meeting was President Rodrigo R. Duterte along with RTF ELCAC 10 chair, Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Secretary Martin Andanar, and other ranking government officials.

Esperon, meanwhile, lauded the RTF ELCAC 10 for expediting developments that will help prevent communist terrorists from recruiting and operating in Northern Mindanao through embarking early on convergence areas for development (CAPDev).

"Through the CAPDev system of RTF 10, funds that were already available in 2019 and funds from the General Appropriations Act of 2020 were brought to these conflicted barangays to the tune of PHP17 billion," he added.

Conflicted barangays or those with high poverty rates or geographically isolated and disadvantaged are targeted by the CPP-NPA-National Democratic Front (NDF) for recruitment.

Land reform, irrigation, education

"If we include the infrastructure projects that benefited the regions and provinces in general, 'completed projects reached PHP44 billion' in 2019 up to 2021. Among the projects going to the barangays are projects of the President on land reform, free irrigation, and free education," Esperon said.

In line with this, 6,500 hectares were distributed to 5,755 agrarian reform beneficiaries; of which there will be 250 more recipients by April.

He added that 64 percent of the land programmed under agrarian reform now has irrigation.

"May I also report that there are now 75,200 students in state universities and colleges enjoying free tuition. And line agencies in the region continue to bring developments to the barangays," he added.

The Department of Agriculture, he said, has released about PHP800 million per province for 2021 on Friday.

The Department of Labor and Employment has committed to providing 100 jobs to every barangay in the region.

"Secretary (Silvestre) Bello (III) has committed to giving 100 employment per barangay na nandito ngayon (that are here), Sir, and they will earn PHP4,000. Kinwenta niya (he computed), PHP54 million. Thank you, Secretary Bello for the employment," Esperon added.

"TESDA (Technical Education and Skills Development Authority) (has) released PHP30 million; many agencies are here to commit E-CLIP (Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program) Dalawang returnees, may bahay sila na example, Sir. (There are) 250 houses pero dalawa lang iyong pumunta rito (Two returnees already have their own houses. There are 250 house owners now but only two are here). Fisheries projects, farm-to-market roads by DPWH (Department of Public Works and Highways) were awarded here or presented as completed," he said.

Esperon also reported programs coming from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources that includes its national greening project and the Department of Education's two-story eight classroom buildings.

Also included were various projects from the Department of Information and Communications Technology, Department of Trade and Industry; Department of Science and Technology, and Fiber Development.

Barangay Development Program

"Mr. President, today, we have the barangay captains who are beneficiaries of the Barangay Development Program which is the program for conflicted areas that the President approved in a Cabinet meeting in 2020," Esperon said.

"I recall, pardon, Sir, for revealing this, that you wanted to start the program immediately but Covid-19 came in kaya nagkaroon ng (so there was a) delay. But today, we have the funds for the Barangay Development Program for 822 barangays which were under NPA influence but cleared in 2016 to 2019," he added.

Esperon said 119 barangay captains from Region 10 were also present Friday to symbolically receive the projects.

"These barangays will receive PHP20 million each, PHP20 million, for farm-to-market roads, classrooms, electrifications, health stations, water systems, and communal irrigations. And the other agencies will bring in projects not only to these cleared barangays but also to the other barangays," he added.

Apart from the Philippines, the Communist Party of the Philippines - NPA has also been declared as a terror organization by the United States, the European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, and New Zealand.

7 Abu Sayyaf bandits surrender in Sulu

From the Philippine News Agency (Mar 4, 2021): 7 Abu Sayyaf bandits surrender in Sulu (By Teofilo Garcia, Jr.) 

SURRENDER. Seven Abu Sayyaf Group bandits surrender Wednesday (March 3, 2021) in Sulu to the troops of the Joint Task Force (JTF)-Sulu and yielded assorted high-powered firearms. One of them, Jaber Binuri, said he wished to be with his two sons since his wife was arrested recently with eight others for illegal possession of explosives. (Photo courtesy JTF-Sulu public Information Office)

Seven Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) bandits have surrendered in Sulu province as the love of family and loss of leadership prompted them to return to the fold of the law.

Maj. Gen. William Gonzales, Joint Task Force (JTF)-Sulu commander,
identified the bandits as Jaber Binuri, 35; Jupihar Alih, 25; Hassan Albain, 25; William Janatol, 38; Rajik Alih, 34; Kaisal Maddan, 22; and, Ibin Hapas, 57, who surrendered Wednesday in Sulu.

The bandits also yielded assorted high-powered firearms.

Gonzales said Binuri decided to surrender to be with his two sons -- a three-year-old and a five-month-old baby--following the arrest of his wife, Nudsza Aslun.

Aslun and eight other women were arrested on February 19 for illegal possession of explosives in joint law enforcement operations in Patikul, Sulu.

Aslun earlier told the police that she was a widow since her husband, Jaber, was killed in one of the clashes with government troops.

“Noong nalaman ko na naaresto ang asawa ko, nagpaalam ako kay Ben Wagas na magbakasyon para kunin ko 'yung mga anak namin at dalhin sa Zamboanga. Ang totoo, nakatawag na ako sa kaibigan ko na sundalo na gusto ko na bumaba (When I learned that my wife was arrested, I asked the permission of Ben Wagas (an ASG sub-leader) to go on vacation to fetch my children and bring them to Zamboanga. But the truth is that I was able to call my friend, a soldier and told him I want to surrender),” the JTF-Sulu quoted Binuri as saying.

“Jaber and Nudsza's story is a stark example of how terrorism has put its claws on the integrity of a family. Fortunately, Jaber's duties as a father won over his loyalty to the ASG. I commend his guts for coming forward. I personally assured him that his trust in us will not be put to waste,” said Gonzales, who is also the 11th Infantry Division commander.

Binuri revealed he was under the group of slain ASG leader Hatib Hajan Sawadjaan when he joined the ASG in 2013.

When Sawadjaan died, he joined the group of Wagas, an ASG sub-leader.

Lt. Col. Nelicar Corsino, 15th Civil-Military Operations Battalion commander, said that Binuri is still under their custody and undergoing custodial debriefing sessions.

“He is still adjusting. But he is doing well and he's with his three-year-old child,” Corsino said

The other ASG bandits have surrendered due to loss of trust and leadership, according to the JTF-Sulu.

Samar mayor condemns killing of 2 village chiefs

From the Philippine News Agency (Mar 4, 2021): Samar mayor condemns killing of 2 village chiefs (By Sarwell Meniano)

ROADSIDE KILLING. A police investigator examines the body of two village chiefs in Tarangnan, Samar shot by motorcycle-riding gunmen on Wednesday (March 3, 2021). The local government of Tarangnan, Samar has strongly condemned the killing. (Photo courtesy of Rene Castino)

The local government of Tarangnan, Samar has strongly condemned the killing of two village chiefs in their town on Wednesday.

Mayor Arnel Tan asked the local police to hunt the killers of Bonifacio Babon and Amelita Helbolario, chairmen of Barangay Marabut and Barangay Awang, respectively. Also killed in the attack is Elpidio Babon, Jr., a motorcycle driver.

"We are deeply saddened and strongly condemn the brutal shooting of our two local officials and their driver that occurred in Tarangnan-Balugo Road on Wednesday morning,” Tan said in a statement issued late Wednesday night.

Babon and Helbolario were riding a single motorcycle to join the municipal peace and order council meeting at the town hall when motorcycle-riding men attacked them around 8:40 a.m. on Wednesday.

The two victims suffered multiple gunshot wounds, according to the police.

Babon and the driver died on the spot while Helbolario was declared dead on arrival at the Samar Provincial Hospital in Catbalogan City.

The identities of the gunmen are still unknown.

“I urge our residents to be vigilant and report to the police if they see suspicious-looking people in their communities to avoid incidents like these,” Tan added.

Tarangnan is a coastal town in Samar province with a population of 25,000.

The town is 129 kilometers north of Tacloban City, the regional capital of the Eastern Visayas region.

Troops, Dawlah Islamiya terrorists clash in Lanao

From the Philippine News Agency (Mar 4, 2021): Troops, Dawlah Islamiya terrorists clash in Lanao (By Teofilo Garcia, Jr.)

Government troops have recovered improvised bombs, bomb-making components, and other war materiel in a clash with Dawlah Islamiya terrorists that injured five soldiers in Lanao del Sur, military officials said Thursday.

The clash ensued when the troops of the 55th Infantry Battalion, headed by Lt. Col. Franco Raphael Alano,
chanced upon a lair of terrorists while on combat operation Wednesday in Barangay Tamparong, Madalum.

The troops launched the combat operation in response to the reports from concerned citizens regarding the presence of armed men in the barangay, he said.

The firefight lasted for almost five hours, after which the terrorists scampered in various directions.

Aside from bomb-making devices, the troops also recovered various caliber of ammunition, food rations, various personal belongings, and a hammock of an infant in the terrorists' lair.

“Despite our continuous conduct of military operations which has resulted to a series of encounters during the previous weeks, it is evident that they have no regard even for their family's safety, putting them in great danger,” Alano said.

He did not reveal the names of the five soldiers injured in the clash but said they sustained minor injuries and have been given treatment.

The clash took place a day after a member of the Dawlah Islamiya surrendered due to continuous military offensive against them in Lanao del Sur.

Lt. Gen. Corleto Vinluan Jr., Western Mindanao Command chief,
identified the member as Amirudin Dimakuta, 40, who surrendered around 1:30 p.m. Tuesday.

Dimakuta yielded an AK-47 assault rifle with two magazines of ammunition.

Tandag City cops capture 2 ‘NPA rebels’

From the Philippine News Agency (Mar 4, 2021): Tandag City cops capture 2 ‘NPA rebels’ (By Alexander Lopez)

Police have arrested two suspected members of the communist New People’s Army (NPA) in separate operations in Tandag City Wednesday afternoon, the chief of the Surigao del Sur Police Provincial Office (SDSPPO) said Thursday.

In a statement, Col. James T. Goforth
identified the suspects as Ramel Aguire, 47, and Jenelyn Abao, 29, both residents of Purok Golden Shower, Barangay Pangi.

“Aguire is listed as top one most wanted person in provincial level in Surigao del Sur,” Goforth said, adding the suspects are live-in partners.

Aguire and Abao are members of the "weakened" Guerrilla Front (WGF) 30A of the NPA under a certain Joel Mahinay, Goforth said.

Goforth said the suspects were arrested by virtue of arrest warrants issued last year by the Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 40 in Tandag City for murder and multiple attempted murder.

The court recommended no bail bond for the suspects.

Goforth said the couple was among the NPA rebels who figured in an armed encounter with the local police in September last year in a hinterland area in Tandag City.

A policeman, Patrolman Jennis Mark Encinas, was killed during the encounter.

“The arrest of these CTG (Communist Terrorist Group) members only proves that we are determined to go after criminals who have violated the law and to bring justice to their victims,” Goforth said.

Guv to meet with police over explosion in Iloilo town

From the Philippine News Agency (Mar 4, 2021): Guv to meet with police over explosion in Iloilo town (By Perla Lena)

INVESTIGATION. Iloilo Governor Arthur Defensor Jr. calls for a conference with Col. Gilbert Gorero, director of the Iloilo Police, regarding an explosion in a remote barangay in Janiuay, Iloilo on Wednesday (March 3, 2021). In a press conference on Thursday (March 4, 2021), he said he could not speculate who was behind the incident. (Photo screenshot from Balita sa Kapitolyo)

Iloilo Governor Arthur Defensor Jr. has called on the Iloilo Police Provincial Office (IPPO) to investigate an explosion that occurred hours before the groundbreaking ceremony for a government project in Barangay Panuran, Janiuay, Iloilo on Wednesday.

In his regular press conference on Thursday, Defensor said while he condemned the incident, he has yet to sit down with IPPO Director, Col. Gilbert Gorero, for a briefing.

He said as a lawyer, he could not simply attribute the incident to any group and instead wait for the police to do its task.

“We are giving them time to investigate,” Defensor said.

In his report furnished to the media on Wednesday afternoon, Gorero said soldiers of the 603rd Regional Mobile Force Battalion (RMFB6) were traversing the boundary of barangays Pangilihan and Canauili in Janiuay on their way to Barangay Agcarope when they heard an explosion at about 9:30 a.m.

They were supposed to conduct a clearing operation for the groundbreaking of an agroforestry support facility sub-project in Barangay Panuran that afternoon, the report said.

The Iloilo City Explosive Ordnance Disposal and Canine Unit (EOD) found an improvised explosive device (anti-personnel mine), the directional type, measuring 6 inches in diameter and 8 inches in height.

It made use of an orange PVC pipe containing 714 pieces of shrapnel made of 9 mm. corrugated steel bar.

“Two suspects fled immediately after the explosion,” the police report added.

No casualty was reported after the incident.

In an interview over RMN Iloilo, Major Gary Tungala, team leader of the EOD unit, said they also recovered a firing wire of about 30 meters to 40 meters.

Most likely, Tungala said, the target was the police patrol car but the device exploded after it passed the area.

He added that it was likely the blasting cap failed to ignite the explosive, otherwise, its "detonation distance” could have reached 50 meters to 100 meters.

Cop slain, 2 others hurt in SoCot ambush

From the Philippine News Agency (Mar 5, 2021): Cop slain, 2 others hurt in SoCot ambush (By Allen Estabillo)

AMBUSH. Photo shows the silver Toyota Vios sedan the three policemen from Koronadal City were riding when they were ambushed Friday morning (March 5, 2021) along the national highway in Barangay Polonuling, Tupi town in South Cotabato. Its driver, Staff Sgt. Renante Espero, died on-the-spot due to multiple gunshot wounds while his two companions, Staff Sgts. Rey Jerome Silvederio and Jorex Velasco, were wounded in the attack. (Contributed photo)

A policeman was killed while two others were wounded in an ambush Friday morning along the national highway in Tupi town, South Cotabato province.

Col. Jemuel Siason, South Cotabato police director, said the policemen were aboard a private vehicle and proceeding to this city when they were waylaid by unidentified armed men carrying automatic rifles around 6 a.m. at a portion of Purok 15B, Barangay Polonuling.

He said the vehicle’s driver, as Staff Sgt. Renante Espero, died on-the-spot due to multiple gunshot wounds while his companions, Staff Sgts. Rey Jerome Silvederio and Jorex Velasco, were hit on the hand and legs.

Silvederio and Velasco were brought to the Dr. Arturo P. Pingoy Medical Center in Koronadal City and already declared out of danger by attending doctors.

Siason said the victims, who were wearing their athletic uniforms, came from Koronadal City and were on their way to the Police Regional Office-12 headquarters in Barangay Tambler when they were attacked.

As they were passing the vicinity of Purok 15B, Barangay Polonuling, an undetermined number of suspects reportedly opened fire at them using M16 Armalite rifles.

The suspects then hastily left the scene aboard a silver Toyota Fortuner that was last seen heading toward the direction of Polomolok town.

Siason said the victims were former members of the drug enforcement unit of the Koronadal City police station and temporarily assigned at the regional police holding and accounting unit due to their pending administrative cases

He said the policemen were facing complaints related to their previous anti-illegal drug operations.

The police official said the pursuit operations are ongoing against the suspects in coordination with various police units.

“We’re considering all angles, including the possible involvement of local terrorist elements,” he said in a radio interview.

Siason was referring to the Islamic State-inspired Dawlah Islamiya-Socsargen Katiba, which was tagged as behind an ambush in Barangay Koronadal Proper, Polomolok in April last year that resulted in the killing of two policemen.

He said they received intelligence reports that the group had been planning to conduct retaliatory attacks against “uniformed personnel” in the area.

Police units in the province are already on high alert and have intensified their security operations due to the threat, he said.

Surigao Norte cops nab ‘NPA militia’ member

From the Philippine News Agency (Mar 5, 2021): Surigao Norte cops nab ‘NPA militia’ member (By Alexander Lopez)

REBEL MILITIA NABBED. Personnel from Tagana-an Municipal Police Station in Surigao del Norte arrest Danilo Casaquet (2nd from right), an alleged Militia ng Bayan under Guerrilla Front 16 of the New People’s Army on Thursday (March 4, 2021). Seized from the suspect were one M76 rifle grenade and one silver STI EDGE .45 caliber pistol with magazine and five ammunition. (Photo courtesy of PRO-13 Information Office)

An alleged member of the Militia ng Bayan (MB) of the communist New People’s Army (NPA) was arrested during the implementation of a search warrant for loose firearms in the town of Tagana-an, Surigao del Norte.

In a statement Friday, Brig. Gen. Romeo Caramat Jr., the director of the Police Regional Office Caraga (PRO-13), identified the suspect as Danilo H. Casaquet, 52, a resident of Purok 3, Barangay Upper Libas, Tagana-an town.

“The service of the search warrant was in line with the continuing efforts of PRO-13 against the members and supporters of Communist Terrorist Group (CTG) in Surigao del Norte,”
Caramat said.

He added that
Casaquet is an MB member working under the Guerrilla Front (GF) 16 of the North Eastern Mindanao Regional Committee (NEMRC) of the NPA.

The search warrant against Casaquet was issued by the 3rd Municipal Circuit Trial Court in Placer, Surigao del Norte last February 24, and was implemented by the personnel of Tagana-an Municipal Police Station (TMPS) on Thursday.

Confiscated from the possession of Casaquet were one M76 rifle grenade and one silver STI EDGE .45 caliber pistol with magazine and five ammunition.

Caramat said the suspect will be facing criminal charges for violation of Republic Act No. 10591 or the Comprehensive Firearms and Ammunition Regulation Act and Republic Act No. 9516 that amended the provisions of Presidential Decree 1866 that codifies the laws on illegal and unlawful possession, manufacture, dealing in, acquisition or disposition of firearms, ammunition or explosives.

“One of the marching orders of PNP Chief, General Debold M. Sinas is to account loose firearms throughout the country to ensure that no unlicensed firearms or explosives will fall into the hands of unlawful individuals,” Caramat said.

He also assured the residents of the Caraga Region that PRO-13 will continue to enforce laws for public safety and security.

Navy Southern Luzon recruitment ongoing

From the Philippine News Agency (Mar 6, 2021): Navy Southern Luzon recruitment ongoing (By Connie Calipay)

LEGAZPI CITY – Want to join the Philippine Navy?

The Naval Forces of Southern Luzon (Navforsol) is conducting mobile recruitment until March 10, 2021.

Lt. Arjel Orense, Naval Installation and Facility Southern Luzon (NIF) administration officer, said on Friday they have received 1,000 applicants so far.

“We are encouraging all qualified applicants to submit their applications until March 10 at Navforsol, Naval Station Julhasan Arasain in Rawis, Legazpi City,” Orense said in a phone interview, adding that walk-in applicants are also welcome.

Applicants from other provinces may email their credentials at or check

Orense said the recruitment is an opportunity to serve the country.

“It is now the time to be part of the service that will help in building our nation. They can help our country by giving what they can do, their skills and talent that can help our country,” he said.

He said applicants who will pass the series of examinations (physical, mental, written) will be entitled to insurance and healthcare benefits, billeting and housing privileges, leadership and other skills training, free medical and dental service, and job security with high compensation.

ASG surrenderers rise to 40 as one more yields

From the Philippine News Agency (Mar 6, 2021): ASG surrenderers rise to 40 as one more yields (By Teofilo Garcia, Jr.)

SURRENDERER. Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) member, Muharral Jamalul Kadiri, 34, surrenders to the Marine Battalion Landing Team 12 (MBLT-12) in Bongo, Tawi-Tawi on Thursday (March 4, 2021). The total number of ASG surrenderers has risen to 40 since January. (Photo courtesy of the MBLT-12)

The total number of Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) surrenderers has risen to 40 since January as another rebel yielded in Tawi-Tawi province, military officials announced Saturday.

Lt. Gen. Corleto Vinluan Jr., commander of the Western Mindanao Command,
identified the latest ASG surrenderer as 34-year-old Muharral Jamalul Kadiri, who carries the aliases Al, Als, Ars, Arral, and Kadir, of Barangay Lakit-Lakit, Bongao town, Tawi-Tawi.

Vinluan said Kadiri also turned over an M1-4 rifle with ammunition to the Marine Battalion Landing Team 12 (MBLT-12) in Bongao at about 2 p.m. on Thursday.

Lt. Col. Henry Espinosa, MBLT-12 commander, said Kadiri was recruited by the Sulu-based ASG under sub-leader “Abu Iko” and “Abu Samuel” sometime in 2018 and was involved in several clashes with Army troops in the towns of Patikul and Maimbung, Sulu province.

Espinosa said Kadiri, who feared for his safety, left the ASG in 2019 due to the intensified focused military operations.

He moved to Bongao and laid low for more than a year until he finally decided to surrender.

He is currently undergoing custodial debriefing at the MBLT-12 headquarters before his turnover to the local government of Bongao.

Vinluan said 32 of the 40 ASG bandits who have surrendered are from Sulu, six from Basilan, and two from Tawi-Tawi.

“This is a significant breakthrough in our peace campaign. We hope that the remaining members of the different threat groups in our area of operation will also be enlightened and will choose to end their armed struggle in a peaceful way,” he added.

5 ex-rebels in Nueva Ecija surrender

From the Philippine News Agency (Mar 6, 2021): 5 ex-rebels in Nueva Ecija surrender (By Zorayda Tecson)

ASSISTANCE. Authorities give a sack of rice as an initial assistance to one of the five former rebels who voluntarily surrendered in Nueva Ecija on Friday (March 5, 2021). The five surrenderers likewise yielded firearms, ammunition, and two subversive documents and books to the Nueva Ecija Provincial Task Force- to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (ELCAC). (Photo by PRO-3)

Five former members of communist terrorist groups (CTGs) voluntarily surrendered to authorities in Nueva Ecija on Friday.

Brig. General Valeriano T. De Leon, regional director of Police Regional Office-3 (PRO-3), said the surrenderers were identified as Ka Joey/Ka Lowie, Ka Bong, and Ka Cristy, all former members of CTG under Arcadio Peralta command; Ka Aries, a former assistant provincial commander of Anak Pawis and former provincial committee member and platoon commander Larangan Dos under Josepino Corpus command; and Ka Norma, a former member of Militia ng Bayan also under Josepino Corpus command.

Based on the report of PRO-3, the surrenderers have turned their backs from their groups years ago.

De Leon said the five surrenderers likewise yielded a caliber 45 pistol STI EDGE with one magazine and four live ammunition; a (caliber 9mm pistol LLAMA with one magazine and three (3) ammunition; and two subversive documents and books to the Nueva Ecija Provincial Task Force-to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (ELCAC).

He said the continuous local peace engagement activities of the Philippine National Police (PNP) and other Regional Task Force ELCAC members such as information dissemination made the CTG members aware of the government's programs and the opportunity to change their lives and correct the mistakes they have committed due to deception.

He added that the surrenderers are also eligible to avail of the government’s Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP) where they will be provided with a holistic package of benefits such as livelihood, medical, education, housing, and legal assistance.

6 in 10 NPA fighters identified in NorMin: 4ID

From the Philippine News Agency (Mar 6, 2021): 6 in 10 NPA fighters identified in NorMin: 4ID (By Nef Luczon)

PEACE IN REGION 10. President Rodrigo Duterte delivers his speech in Cagayan de Oro City on Friday (March 5, 2021), capping the Regional Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict's accomplishment in Northern Mindanao. The Army's 4th Infantry Division reported that six in 10 fighters of the New Peoples Army have been identified since the anti-insurgency body was created in late 2018 through Executive Order 70. (PNA photo by Nef Luczon)

The identities of six in 10 communist New Peoples Army (NPA) combatants in Northern Mindanao are already known to government authorities, the chief of the Army's 4th Infantry Division (4ID) said.

In a report delivered during the Joint Meeting of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) and Regional Task Force ELCAC with President Rodrigo R. Duterte on Friday afternoon here, Maj. Gen. Andres Centino said the identification of NPA personalities in the region has assisted the military to convince combatants to surrender and pursue rebellion if they resist.

Since NTF-ELCAC was formed through Executive Order (EO 70) in 2018, Centino said 4ID managed to profile 478 of 820 active-duty NPA fighters.

He attributed this to an improved database, which also helped in the discovery of the burial sites of rebels slain by their own comrades so that their bodies could be exhumed and returned to their respective families.

"Before, most of these rebels are known through their aliases, but after (the creation of NTF-ELCAC), we were able to know their real names, and we were able to trace their whereabouts," Centino said.

The 4ID's jurisdiction partly covers provinces of Region 10 and Caraga region.

Centino said EO 70, which seeks to institutionalize the "whole of government approach" in ending local communist armed conflict, the military managed to dismantle three rebel fronts and weakened another--mostly in Bukidnon areas.

The intensified anti-insurgency initiatives have also led to the clearing of 196 barangays in Region 10 from the presence of rebels and communist fronts.

Through Northern Mindanao's ELCAC, the government also spent at least PHP44.3 million as financial incentives for rebel surrenderers under the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program.

Meanwhile, Communications Secretary Jose Ruperto Andanar said the convergence of all sectors to confront the communist insurgency has led to accelerated economic growth for Region 10.

“The coming together of stakeholders, and the transformation into peaceful and productive communities were made possible with the implementation of CAPDev (Convergence Areas for Peace and Development), our enabling umbrella program that has been institutionalized at all levels of governance,” Andanar, who is also the Cabinet Officer for Regional Development and Security (CORDS) in Region, said.

National Security Adviser Sec. Hermogenes Esperon, Jr. underscored local government officials and national agencies' contribution in ending the local communist armed conflict.

"We start this to collectively battle the pandemic, to ensure peace and safety for our people in northern Mindanao and Mindanao as a whole," Esperon said.

Troops rescue NPA rebel in Surigao Norte

From the Philippine News Agency (Mar 6, 2021): Troops rescue NPA rebel in Surigao Norte (By Alexander Lopez)

RESCUED. Government troops rescue a communist New People’s Army combatant after escaping from his group on Friday (March 5, 2021) in Barangay Camp Edward, Alegria, Surigao del Norte. The rebel is now under the custody of the Army's 30th Infantry Battalion. (Photo courtesy of 30IB)

Government troops rescued a communist New People’s Army (NPA) combatant who fled from his group in Surigao del Norte on Friday, the Army's 30th Infantry Battalion (30IB) said in a statement Saturday.

“He decided to leave the group because he is already tired. The promises made to him by the NPA terrorist group also failed,”
30IB said.

The rescue took place in Serinihon, Barangay Camp Edward, Alegria town, 30IB said.

Soldiers sent to extricate the rebel
ran into several NPA combatants under the Sandatahang Yunit Pampropaganda (SYP) 16C2 of Guerrilla Front (GF) 16, North Eastern Mindanao Regional Committee (NEMRC), 30IB said.

“Prior to the encounter, the said personality already reached out to the unit’s hotline cellphone number. He told us he was on his way out from the terrorist group and being chased by several of his ex-comrades,” it said.

The encounter lasted for 10 minutes before the NPA rebels retreated from their position, 30IB said.

The rebel, who was not named for security reasons, turned in an M14 rifle with seven magazines, 21 live ammunition, and a bandolier. He is now under the custody of 30IB at their headquarters in Barangay Mahanub, Gigaquit, Surigao del Norte.

Lt. Col. Ryan Charles G. Callanta, 30IB commander, said the escape of the NPA rebel showed the "disintegration among the ranks of the rebels in the area."

He also pointed out the difficulties the ordinary NPA members face while inside the movement.

“One can imagine how hard it is to being always on the run, hiding when tiredness and hunger crept in. How can one endure these dire situations?” Callanta said.

He said the rescued rebel would be enrolled under the government's Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program.