Monday, March 8, 2021

BI upholds ruling to deport Dutch missionary

From Rappler (Mar 8, 2021): BI upholds ruling to deport Dutch missionary (By JEZREEL INES)

The Bureau of Immigration tags Dutch missionary Otto de Vries as an 'undesirable alien' who is now blacklisted

The Bureau of Immigration (BI) said on Monday, March 8, that it has denied the appeal of Dutch missionary and labor rights advocate Otto de Vries to overturn the cancellation of his residence visa.

The BI said that in a February 26 order, its Board of Commissioners maintained its ruling to cancel De Vries’ permanent visa due to his failure to provide evidence to reverse this decision.

Aside from the cancellation of his visa, the Dutch missionary has been ordered to immediately leave the country. He has been tagged as an undesirable alien, and has been included in the BI’s blacklist.

BI canceled his visa following information from National Intelligence Coordinating Agency (NICA) that de Vries actively participated in several protest rallies in Mendiola and Pasig.

BI Commissioner Jaime Morente emphasized that foreign nationals should not participate in partisan political activities in the country.

“There were photos of him engaged in several rallies in the country. Foreigners have no business joining such activities as it is a clear violation of their conditions of stay,” said Morente.

De Vries, who is a lay missionary from the Diocese of Rotterdam in the Netherlands, is working with the Ecumenical Institute of Labor Education and Research (EILER), a nongovernmental labor organization in the Philippines formally established in 1981.

He wrote a study about the labor situation in the country and discovered how poor the condition of Filipino laborers under the subcontractual system.

In a statement, EILER condemned the BI ruling on De Vries.

“The Bureau of Immigration is swift to blindly accept NICA’s preposterous report on Otto’s supposed participation in ‘terrorist activities’ when in fact Otto has only been fulfilling his duties as a lay missionary in service of the workers,” said EILER executive director Rochelle Porras in a statement Sunday, March 7.

“What do we make of a government agency that all too quickly drives away foreign missionaries like Otto and Sister Patricia Fox, but fails to recognize their decades of service to the Filipino people?” Porras added.

Bloody Sunday: 5 activists dead, mass arrests in Southern Tagalog

Posted to Davao Today (Reposted from Bulatlat) (Mar 7, 2021): Bloody Sunday: 5 activists dead, mass arrests in Southern Tagalog 

Aftermath of the killing of Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (BAYAN) Cavite coordinator Manny Asuncion inside the Workers Assistance Center (WAC) office in Dasmarinas city, Cavite early morning of March 7. (Photo courtesy of PAMANTIK-KMU)

Five activists were killed and at least three others were arrested in what appeared to be government crackdown on progressives in Southern Luzon early this morning, March 7.

Groups likened the simultaneous raids on progressives’ offices and homes to “Oplan Sauron” – the joint police and military operations first conducted in Negros island, and most recently in Panay island, both resulted in mass killings and arrests of high-profile leaders and activists.

As of this writing, posts on social media by progressive groups Pamantik-TK and Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) said the police were serving “search warrants” to the victims in simultaneous operations at 4 a.m. in Cavite, Rizal, Laguna and Batangas.

Killed were:

Manny Asuncion, coordinator of Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan-Cavite), who was killed in a raid at the Workers’ Assistance Center (WAC) in Dasmariñas City, Cavite

Melvin Dasigao and Mark Lee Coros Bacasno of San Isidro Kasiglahan, Kapatiran, at Damayan para sa Kabuhayan, Katarungan at Kapayapaan (SIKKAD K3) in Kasiglahan Village, Rodriguez (formerly Montalban), Rizal.

Ariel Evangelista and wife Chai Lemita-Evangelista were killed inside their hut in barangay Calayo, Nasugbu, Batangas.

Ariel Evangelista with wife Chai Lemita-Evangelista and Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (BAYAN) Cavite corrdinator Manny Asuncion. (Photo from Karapatan Secretary General Cristina Palabay’s Facebook page)

The couple’s 10-year-old son reportedly hid under a bed and witnessed the killing. Police were serving the search warrant issued by Judge Jason Zapanta. Ariel was a staff of the Ugnayan ng Mamamayan Laban sa Pagwawasak ng Kalikasan at Kalupaan (UMALPAS KA), the peasant group in Hacienda Looc. Police reportedly whisked away the victims’ remains after the operations. The Lemita family found the bodies at the John Paul Funeral in Nasugbu.

Meanwhile, the three arrested were:

Labor organizer Esteban Mendoza, executive vice president of Organized Labor Association in Line Industries and Agriculture (Olalia KMU) was arrested at his home in barangay Mamatid, Cabuyao city, Laguna province at around 4 a.m.

Elizabeth Camoral, spokesperson of BAYAN-Laguna was arrested at the office of the Defend Yulo Alliance in barangay San Isidro, also in Cabuyao city

Human rights worker Nimfa Lanzanas, 61, of KAPATID (Families and Friends of Political Prisoners-Southern Tagalog), was arrested at her house in Cabuyao. Her son, Edward, a member of activist group PUMALAG, has been a political detainee for seven years.

Nimfa Lanzanas and Elizabeth Camoral (Photo from Karapatan Secretary General Cristina Palabay’s Facebook page)

KMP said the house of peasant leader Lino Baez in Sto. Tomas, also in Batangas was raided but they are still confirming if he was arrested.

The groups are also reported that the houses of one “Dodong Bagsik” and “Tatay Moises” were raided in Montalban.

Last Thursday, March 4, two activists were also arrested. Arnedo Lagunias, former officer of Lakas Manggagawang Nagkakaisa sa Honda and Alyansa ng Manggagawa sa Enklabo, and Ramir Corcolon, secretary general of Water System Employees Response and a national council member of the Confederation for the Recognition and Advancement of Government Employees were nabbed in Sta. Rosa and San Pablo City, Laguna, respectively.

In a statement, Cristina Palabay, secretary general of Karapatan, said that the spate of raids, arrests, and killings are “clearly the handiwork of the rabid red-tagger Antonio Parlade Jr. as the military’s Southern Luzon commander and the spokesperson of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict.”

“Obediently heeding the president’s kill, kill, kill orders like the lapdog that he is, Parlade has now exceeded the brutality of fascist butcher Jovito Palparan in letting loose a murderous rampage without any attempt to disguise it,” Palabay said. (Reposted by

Torres vows to end insurgency before end of President’s term

From the Mindanao Times (Mar 8, 2021): Torres vows to end insurgency before end of President’s term (BY RHODA GRACE SARON)

THE TOP officer of the 10th Infantry Division has vowed to end the insurgency in the Davao Region before the end of President Rodrigo Duterte’s term.

Major General Ernesto Torres Jr., who replaced General Reuben Basiao as commander of the unit, he has been briefed about the situation of insurgency in the region.

“Well when I was briefed this afternoon (March 4) regarding the situation in the region in the area of 10th ID, (I believe it is very doable considering the decrease number of guerilla fronts, and the cooperation that we are getting from the stakeholders, from other agencies it is very doable to really declare the whole region peaceful and attain the mission that was set forth by the previous commanders,” said Torres, who also believed one part of doing it is to continue the gains that the region has gotten in terms of development.

“Of course, we will sustain the gains of the previous commander of 10th ID because we believe that he was able to lay a strong foundation for peace and development in the area,” he added.

In order to sustain the gains, he said the unit will sustain its focus on military operations, hand-in-hand with livelihood development that Basiao has introduced in the region and the entire area under the jurisdiction of the unit.

“We will sustain the gains in what we are going to do so we will continue capacitating our soldiers, we will continue also providing the facilities of the camp and ofcourse we will remain committed in our collaboration with Regional task force ELCAC (End Local Communist Armed Conflict),” he further said.

However, Torres admitted that the areas under the unit have remained challenging because of the remaining presence of the armed group. “Although we have decrease the number of guerilla fronts and enemies that we are confronting the challenges are still there so there are still numbers of Guerilla Fronts that we have to contempt but we are very optimistic that just like what I have said that making insurgency free (region) is doable,” he added.

He added he will continue to strengthen the relationships that the unit has cultivated with the local chief executives in its area. “Davao City is also under me so we would just have to revisit the cooperation with the Davao City official,” he added.

He said the unit is supporting wholeheartedly the government in the implementation of the Barangay Development Program (BDP).

Military: NPA leader slain, Another member rescue

From the Mindanao Times (Mar 8, 2021): Military: NPA leader slain, Another member rescue (BY RHODA GRACE SARON)

THE MILITARY reported that soldiers killed on March 2 a leader of the New People’s Army who refused to surrender, while another report that a member of the armed group was rescued when he escaped from his group three days later.

The report identified the one who was killed as Renante Mantos, while the one who ran away from his group was rescued by a team of soldiers from the 30th Infantry Battalion in Alegria, Surigao del Norte.

First Lt. Justin Carlo Yu, 28th Infantry Battalion Civil-Military Operations officer, said members of the unit killed Mantos, secretary of the Guerilla Front 2.

Yu said the a resident of the place where Mantos was killed reported to the unit the presence of the latter as a team of soldiers was patrolling the area in Maco, Davao de Oro. The soldiers, who identified Mantos with the help of his former colleague, urged him to surrender, but Mantos pulled his gun instead.

This prompted the soldiers to shoot him, which resulted in his death.

The unit then turned over Mantos’ belonging to the local police, including his firearm, a fully loaded 45 caliber pistol.

The military reported that Mantos was among the beneficiaries of the local peace efforts, including the call for them to surrender, but had continued to join the armed movement.

On the other hand, Second Lt. Benjamin Elisand de Dios, Civil-Military Operation officer of 30th IB, said the rebel by his unit was a member of Sandatahang Yunit Pampropaganda of Guerilla Front16 under North Eastern Mindanao Regional Committee (NEMRC).

The rebel, de Dios added, also turned over a rifle, ammunition and other personal belongings.

He added that the rebel reached out to the hotline number of the unit while being chased by members of his group. This prompted the unit to dispatch a team which resulted in an encounter.

The rebel then escaped from his team and gave himself up to the soldiers as he accused the armed movement of lying to him.

“The situation in the mountain is hard, I’ve heard that my former comrades who surrendered before are now living peacefully, and I also noticed that there is no better life in the armed struggle, that’s the reason, I surrendered in order to live peacefully,” he said based on the military report.

DBM releases P52M development funds for insurgency-cleared barangays

Visayan Daily Star (Mar 8, 2021): DBM releases P52M development funds for insurgency-cleared barangays (BY GILBERT P. BAYORAN)

The Department of Budget and Management has issued a memorandum stating that the P52 million development funds for 26 Negros Occidental barangays cleared of New People’s Army affectation is now available, Maj. Cenon Pancito III, spokesperson of the Army’s 3rd Infantry Division said yesterday.

As soon as they complied with the requirements, the DBM will download the funds, Pancito said.

Recipients of the development funds are 14 barangays of Escalante City, Alimango, Binagyuhan, Buenavista, Dian-ay, Japitan,Langub, Libertad, Mabini, Malasibog, Paitan, Pinapugasan, Rizal, Udtongan and Washington.

Other recipients were Brgy. San Pablo of Manapla, barangays of Bulwangan, Codcod, Guadalope, Nataban and Quezon in San Carlos City, Brgys. Estado and Gawahon in Victorias City, Brgy. Banago in Bacolod City, Brgy. Canlusong inEB Magalona, and Brgy Caduhaan in Cadiz City.

Pancito stressed that those barangays will not receive cash, but projects worth P20 million each.

Aside from Negros Occidental, two barangays in Antique, four in Capiz and 42 in Iloilo City and Iloilo province are also receiving P20M each in development funds, DBM record showed.

Pancito disclosed that a total of P1.4 billion worth of projects has been earmarked by DBM for 74 insurgency-cleared barangays in Western Visayas.

DBM has already issued Local Budget Circular 135, that will serve as the guidelines in releasing NTF-ELCAC’s Local Government Support to the Barangay Development Program (LGSF-SBDP).

Recipients can use the said funds for farm-to-market roads, school buildings, water and sanitation systems, rural electrification, housing; medical, burial, transportation, food, cash-for-work and educational assistance for indigent person or households.

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, these barangays may also spend their respective budget allocations to build health stations or fund initiatives related to Covid-19 vaccinations, among others, the guidelines said.

Also included among the projects to be funded by the LGSF-SBDP are “reconstruction, rehabilitation, repair and other similar projects in connection with the occurrence of natural, or human-induced calamities, epidemics, crises resulting from armed conflicts, insurgency, terrorism and other catastrophes, it added.

Army hospital frontliners in CDO vaccinated vs COVID-19

 From the Mindanao Examiner (Mar 8, 2021): Army hospital frontliners in CDO vaccinated vs COVID-19 (By FROILAN GALLARDO)

CAGAYAN DE ORO (MindaNews / 06 March) — A hundred medical front liners at the Camp Evangelista Station Hospital in Barangay Patag here were vaccinated Friday afternoon with CoronaVac, a vaccine against COVID-19 manufactured by China’s Sinovac Biotech.

Elsewhere in the city, inoculation also started on Friday for the 1,400 medical front liners at the Northern Mindanao Medical Center (NMMC), the main regional referral center for COVID-19 cases.

An Army nurse injects CoronaVac, a COVID-19 vaccine manufactured by China’s Sinovac Biotech, on a fellow medical frontliner in Camp Evangelista, Cagayan de Oro City on Friday, March 5, 2021. A hundred medical frontliners of the Camp Evangelista Station Hospital were given their first dose of the vaccine on Friday. MindaNews photo by FROILAN GALLARDO

The Army 4th Infantry Division received 300 doses of CoronaVac, a small part of the initial batch of 600,000 doses donated the country by China. China’s donation, which arrived in the Philippines on February 28, specifies 100,000 doses are a gift of the Chinese military to the Armed Forces of the Philippines.

Army spokesperson Major Rodulfo Cordero said the medical front liners vaccinated on Friday would get their second or last dose on April 4 also at the station hospital.

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said he has secured 90,000 doses of anti-COVID 19 vaccines for the 130,000-strong Armed Forces of the Philippines and its 60,000 paramilitary personnel nationwide.

Lorenzana said this would be shipped to all Army divisions, battalions and forward military camps including Kalayaan Island, which has 50 Philippine Marines at its station.

An Army nurse retrieves a supply of CoronaVac, a COVID-19 vaccine, from a refrigerator in Camp Evangelista, Cagayan de Oro on Friday, March 5, 2021. A hundred medical frontliners of the Camp Evangelista Station Hospital were given their first dose of the vaccine on Friday. MindaNews photo by FROILAN GALLARDO

“Vaccination is mandatory for all soldiers and personnel of the Armed Forces of the Philippines,” he told reporters here on Friday.

But Lorenzana said soldiers and personnel who do not want to be vaccinated with the Chinese-made vaccine will have to pay for the vaccine of their choice. (Froilan Gallardo / MindaNews)

Bangladeshi cargo vessel escapes pirate attack in Tawi-Tawi waters

From the Mindanao Examiner (Mar 8, 2021): Bangladeshi cargo vessel escapes pirate attack in Tawi-Tawi waters

A Bangladeshi bulk carrier, the Akij Pearl, escaped pirates who tried to board the cargo vessel while sailing off Sibutu Island in the southern Philippine province of Tawi-Tawi near the Malaysian border, reports said.

Akij Pearl

The incident, which occurred on March 3, was only reported Sunday by the ReCAAP Information Sharing Centre which immediately issued a warning and urged ship master and crew to exercise extra vigilance when transiting the waters off Eastern Sabah and in the Sulu-Celebes Seas, in particular waters off Sibutu Island.

ReCAAP stands for Regional Cooperation Agreement on Combating Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships in Asia.

“While the bulk carrier was underway, an unidentified speed boat with three perpetrators on board attempted to board the ship. The master reported the incident to the Philippine Navy Littoral Monitoring Station,” ReCAAP said.

The 190-meter cargo vessel, built in 2005 by the Mitsui Tamano Engineering and Shipbuilding in Japan, departed the port of Taicang in Jiangsu province in China on February 2, according to a report by the Marine Traffic Terrestrial Automatic Identification System.

It was unclear whether the pirates were members of the pro-ISIS group Abu Sayyaf who operate in the area. But in January last year, Abu Sayyaf terrorists hijacked a Malaysian trawler and kidnapped eight of its crew members and brought to Sulu province.

ReCAAP reported that at least 86 crew members had been kidnapped in the area since March 2016.

The Malaysian state of Sabah has also extended its curfew hours and is now on heightened due to threats posed by the terror group Abu Sayyaf.

Sabah Police Commissioner Datuk Hazani Ghazali said the curfew hours runs from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. and covers areas up to three nautical miles off Tawau, Semporna, Kunak, Lahad Datu, Kinabatangan, Sandakan and Beluran - all near the border of Tawi-Tawi’s chain of islands.

The curfew which was supposed to end February 28 was extended until March 16. It was imposed in July 2014 following a series of Abu Sayyaf kidnappings which saw the beheading of kidnapped Sarawak man Bernard Then Ted Fed and the killing of several others, including a policeman and tourists.

“There is a need to continue the curfew in these waters to prevent the encroachment of terrorists and criminals who can threaten the safety of locals, international researchers and tourists on islands,” Malaysian media quoted Ghazali as saying.

Ghazali, citing unnamed intelligence sources, said kidnap-for-ransom groups and Abu Sayyaf militants are still trying to attack and commit cross-border crimes. “We also want to ensure the safety of the people of Sabah who use the waters and are staying near the Esszone,” he said.

Malaysian newspaper The Star also quoted Ghazali saying that the curfew was to facilitate enforcement and monitoring of boat activities in the areas, as well as establish a sense of security with nearby chalet owners and fishermen through the presence of a security team.

Malaysia and Indonesia have a border patrol agreement with the Philippines and share regular intelligence and conduct trilateral maritime patrols to prevent piracy and terrorism, including ransom kidnappings of sailors in the maritime borders.

The Philippine military previously said that security is tight in the border to prevent Abu Sayyaf kidnappings inside Sabah or in the waters of Tawi-Tawi which is frequented by cargo boats. Security forces have been targeting militants in Tawi-Tawi, Sulu and Basilan provinces forcing a number of terrorists to surrender. (Mindanao Examiner)

Sayyafs kill 2 brothers in Basilan

 From the Mindanao Examiner (Mar 8, 2021): Sayyafs kill 2 brothers in Basilan

Members of the pro-ISIS group Abu Sayyaf on Monday killed 2 Muslim brothers and allegedly beheaded one of them who was a pro-government militia in the southern Philippine province of Basilan, reports said.

It said the duo was ambushed in the village called Guiong in Sumisip town, a known lair of the terrorists group. The bodies of the slain men were recovered by their family.

There was no immediate statement from authorities, but the gruesome killings occurred two weeks after unidentified assailants had decapitated statues of Catholic saints in the small chapel of San Isidro Labrador in Lamitan City, also in Basilan, one of the 5 provinces under the Muslim autonomous region.

The attack on the church coincided with the Roman Catholic observance of Ash Wednesday and police are investigating the incident.

No individual or group claimed responsibility for the desecration of the chapel, but suspicions fell heavily on the Abu Sayyaf and other pro-ISIS groups violently fighting for the establishment of a caliphate. (Zamboanga Post)

902nd IB welcomes 11 CTG surrenderees

From the Philippine Information Agency (Mar 8, 2021): 902nd IB welcomes 11 CTG surrenderees (By Ana-Liza S. Macatangay)

CAMP ELIAS ANGELES, Pili, Camarines Sur, March 8 (PIA) -- Tired from running away and frustrated from the promise of peace and justice that have never been realized after the decade-long insurgency war, 11 Communist Terrorist Group (CTG) members in Bicol, went down from the mountains and returned to the folds of law.

Col. Jaime Abawag Jr., Brigade Commander of the 902nd Brigade, welcomed the surrenderees with open arms and offered the government’s sincere promise that they can start a new life through the various programs that awaits them in return of turning their back from the senseless fight.

“These new surrenderees, like those who preceded them, will undergo further validation and will be enrolled to the government's Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP) afterwards,” Col. Abawag said.

In a press statement from the Division Public Affairs Office (DPAO) thru its Spokesperson, CPT John Paul Belleza, he said that the surrenderees might have realized the futility of carrying arms and running endlessly in the mountains.

On March 5, Friday, 11 regular CTG members yielded to the 902nd Infantry Brigade bringing with them two garand rifles, one bandolier and assorted ammunitions. (Photo credits: 902nd IB/DPAO/PA

“Seeing the inhumane and unlawful schemes of the CPP-NPA-NDF, members of the Communist Terrorist Group in Bicol continue to surrender in droves. On Friday, March 5, eleven regular CTG members yielded to the 902nd Infantry Brigade bringing with them two garand rifles, one bandolier and assorted ammunitions,” Belleza added.

Col. Abawag also recognized the contribution of other government agencies and the community in this recent development.

"They are the first batch of surrenderees for the month of March and we expect more to follow in the coming days. We attribute this another accomplishment to the joint effort of our partners in other government agencies and of course, the local populace," Col. Abawag said.

MGen. Henry A. Robonson, Jr,. Commander of the Joint Task Force Bicolandia (JTFB) extended his gratitude to the formel rebels for heeding the call of the government to abandon the CTG’s cause and return to the folds of law.

"Since the implementation of EO 70 or the Whole-of-Nation approach, we learned that insurgency is not just a military problem. With all the government agencies rallying to bring the basic goods and services to the people, we are able to identify the underlying problems in our society and find practical solutions,” MGen. Robinson explicitly said.

He added that there is no reason now for the rebels to fight the government since it is already doing its best to deliver the best services to the people.

“I would like to congratulate the former CTG members for choosing the right path and for choosing to live a peaceful life with their family. Let us all join hands in ending insurgency in our county,” the official added.

“This 2021, there are new batches of CTG members and supporters yielding to the various units of the 9th Infantry (SPEAR) Division every month. Last January, a total of 22 regular CTG members surrendered in Sorsogon and Masbate bringing with them 21 high powered firearms and one low powered firearm while six others, yielded in Camarines Sur last February turning in five firearms,” Belleza reported. (PIA5/Camarines Sur, with reports from CPTJPBelleza-9DPAO)

600 doses of CoronaVac arrive at 9ID aboard PAF's Black Hawk

From the Philippine Information Agency (Mar 8, 2021): 600 doses of CoronaVac arrive at 9ID aboard PAF's Black Hawk (By Ana-Liza S. Macatangay)

CAMP ELIAS ANGELES, Pili, Camarines Sur, March 8 (PIA) -- The Army in Bicol, through the headship of Joint Task Force Bicolandia (JTFB) and 9ID “Spear” Division Commander MGEN Henry A. Robinson welcomed the arrival of 600 doses of CoronaVac, a SINOVAC-produced vaccine as the government’s vaccination program rolls-off all over the country.

Photo credits: Alvin Carinan /DPAO / PIA5/Camarines Sur

This morning, March 8, Robinson, together with the medical officers of the Camp Elias Angeles Station Hospital (CEASH) and personnel of the Department of Health (DOH)-Bicol personally received the vaccines at the 9ID Headquarters via the Philippine Air Force’s Black Hawk helicopter.

MGen Robinson expressed his full support to the government’s vaccination program and considered the arrival of the vaccine as a positive development to the government’s intensified campaign against COVID-19.

“We, in the JTF Bicolandia, wholeheartedly support our government’s earnest desire to defeat the COVID-19 which has plagued our country and caused extreme suffering to the Filipinos for a year now. As we continue to stand on the frontline in this fierce battle, it is only deemed necessary to safeguard our soldiers who are exposed and vulnerable to the threat of this virus,” the official added.

In a press statement, Division Public Affairs Office (DPAO) Spokesperson Capt. John Paul Belleza, stated that a total of 300 recipients from the prioritization list of 9ID will be inoculated.

“Priority of the first dose will be the healthcare workers of 9ID while the remaining vaccines will be intended for other military personnel and CAFGU Active Auxilliaries (CAAs),” Belleza explained.

Cpt. Eusebio Alcera III, Executive Officer of CEASH, the said vaccines will be temporarily stored at the Camarines Sur Environment, Disaster Management, and Emergency Response Office (EDMERO) Vaccination Operation Center, the only facility with a cold chain storage.

CEASH though, under Dr. Alcera explained that the vaccination will be implemented only after a vaccination simulation is completed, a DOH requirement for the accreditation of the vaccination site. (PIA5/Camarines Sur, with reports from CJPBelleza-DPAO)

7 former rebels in Tarlac get P405K worth of E-CLIP assistance

From the Philippine Information Agency (Mar 8, 2021): 7 former rebels in Tarlac get P405K worth of E-CLIP assistance (By Trixie Joy B. Manalili) 

TARLAC CITY, March 8 (PIA) -- About seven former rebels received a total of PhP 405,000 financial assistance under the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP) of the government.

In the recently concluded awarding ceremony, Governor Susan Yap urged the former rebels to maximize the financial aid in starting anew in the mainstream society.

“You can criticize the government but there’s no reason to raise arms because that would mean a different story. You can be critical as it help us know where the government is lacking but there is no need to harm each other. As Filipinos, we should always unite and help one another,” she stressed.


Governor Susan Yap (3rd from right) leads the awarding ceremony of Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program benefits to seven former rebels. (3rd Mechanized Infantry Battalion)

Also, Yap lauded the collaborative efforts of 3rd Mechanized Infantry Battalion (3rd Mech), Provincial Social Welfare and Development Office, Tarlac Police Provincial Office, and the Department of the Interior and Local Government for making the event possible.

For his part, 3rd Mech Commander Lieutenant Colonel Eugene Henry Cabusao encouraged the E-CLIP beneficiaries to take advantage of the cash grant and the second chance given to them by the government in their new life.

With gratitude, one former rebel vowed to change from their old ways, and to develop the cash assistance into something that will help them in their daily sustenance. (CLJD/TJBM-PIA 3)

Mt. Province PLGU sustains livelihood program for FRs

From the Philippine Information Agency (Mar 8, 2021): Mt. Province PLGU sustains livelihood program for FRs (By PIA Mt. Province)

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BONTOC, Mountain Province, March 8(PIA) -- Governor Bonifacio C. Lacwasan, Jr. recently signed the memorandum of agreement sustaining the Provincial Livelihood Program for Rebel Returnees.

Now on its 10th year of implementation, 26 former rebels continue to avail of the program with the renewal of their contracts. The recipients receive monthly honorarium of Php 5,500 in exchange of community services that they render in their barangays under the supervision of their respective barangay chairpersons.

The provincial livelihood program of former rebels started in 2011 with 42 beneficiaries.

Under this program, a monthly honorarium of P5, 000.00 is given to a qualified rebel returnee in exchange for the community service he or she performs in the barangays such as cleaning of roads and pathways.

In 2019, the monthly honorarium was increased to P5, 500.00.

Before the release of the honorarium, the beneficiaries are required to submit monthly accomplishment report and daily time record approved by their respective barangay chairpersons.

Every year, the Provincial Social Welfare and Development Office conduct a year-end evaluation which is participated by the program beneficiaries. (PIA Mt. Province with reports from PLGU)

DOLE helps 73 villagers in ELCAC hot spot brgys of Ambaguio

From the Philippine Information Agency (Mar 8, 2021): DOLE helps 73 villagers in ELCAC hot spot brgys of Ambaguio (By Benjamin Moses M. Ebreo)

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BAYOMBONG, Nueva Vizcaya, March 7 (PIA) - The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) has provided livelihood assistance in the three barangays of Ambaguio town, benefiting 73 villagers.

Grace Pomar, DOLE Provincial Officer said the Tulong Panghanapbuhay sa Ating Disadvantaged/Displaced Workers(TUPAD) program benefited eight villagers in barangay Napo, 28 in Dulli, 26 in Ammoeg and 11 in Camandag last year.

The four remote barangays of Ambaguio are identified as target areas of the Provincial Task Force (PTF)-End Local Communist Armed Conflict (ELCAC).

"We are asking our local government officials to avail of our various livelihood assistance programs as we still have available funds for its target beneficiaries," Pomar said.

She made the report during the recent Joint Meeting of the Provincial Peace and Order Council (PPOC), Provincial Anti-Drug Abuse Council (PADAC) and PTF-ELCAC.

TUPAD is a community-based package of assistance that provides emergency employment for displaced workers, underemployed and seasonal workers, for a minimum period of 10 days, but not to exceed a maximum of 30 days, depending on the nature of work to be performed. (MDCT/BME/PIA 2-Nueva Vizcaya)

Tagalog News: Kalupitan at pang-aabuso ng NPA, pinatunayan ng mga residente ng Sto. Niño, Cagayan

From the Philippine Information Agency (Mar 8, 2021): Tagalog News: Kalupitan at pang-aabuso ng NPA, pinatunayan ng mga residente ng Sto. Niño, Cagayan (By 17th Infantry Battalion)

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LAL-LO, Cagayan, Marso 6 (PIA)- - -Humigit-kumulang 400 na mga katao ang dumalo sa isinagawang peace rally sa barangay Abariongan Uneg, Sto. Niño, Cagayan upang maipakita at maiparating sa mga teroristang Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) na hindi sila katanggap-tanggap sa kanilang barangay dahil sa kanilang mga kalupitan at pang aabuso.

Ang nasabing peace rally ay pagpapakita ng tuluyan nang pagtalikod ng mga residente sa nasbaing barangay sa mga teroristang CPP-NPA. Sa kanilang pagmamartsa, binabggit ng mga ito na hindi nila mararanasan ang pag-unlad na kanilang inaasam kung hindi nila puputulin ang kanilang ugnayan sa teroristang CPP-NPA.

Pinangunahan naman ni Brgy. Captain Erwin Oli ang panunumpa sa katapatan ng Pilipinas na kung saan, naging manipestasyon ito ng kanilang tuluyang pagputol ng ugnayan sa teroristang CPP-NPA at mga organisasyong konektado rito.

Hinimok ni Oli ang kanyang mga nasasakupan na suportahan ang mga inilalatag na programa at mga proyekto ng pamahalaan dahil ito ay para sa ikabubuti ng lahat.

“Susi sa ating hinahangad na progreso ang pagtatakwil natin sa mga NPA na walang dinala sa ating barangay kundi hinanakit at paghihirap. Isang napakalaking oportunidad na araw na ito upang maiparating sa teroristang NPA na wala silang puwang sa ating barangay," ayon kay Oli.

Dagdag ni Oli na nais nila ng positibong pagbabago at panahon na upang itakwil ang mga NPA.

"Nariyan ang ating kasundaluhan, kapulisan, at mga ahensya ng pamahalaan na tutulong sa atin upang mapaunlad ang ating barangay! Sama-sama tayo sa kapayapaan at kaunlaran ng ating mahal na barangay,” sinabi pa ni Oli.

Inihayag naman ni Lt. Col. Angelo C Saguiguit, commanding officer ng 17th Infantry Battalion ang kanyang kagalakan sa tapang na ipinamalas ng mga residente upang itakwil ang rebeldeng CPP-NPA.

“Tapusin na natin ang 52 na taong pagpapahirap ng mga rebeldeng CPP-NPA sa inyong lugar! Sa tulong ninyo, positibo nating nakikita ang magandang kinabukasan na walang mga teroristang CPP-NPA. Ang inyong pagsuporta sa ating mga programa ang siyang dahilan kung bakit nakakapasok na sainyong barangay ang mga proyekto ng ating pamahalaan,” ani Saguiguit.

Samantala, bukod naman sa peace rally, sinunog din ng mga residente ang bandila ng teroristang CPP-NPA-NDF na sumisimbolo rin ng kanilang pagtalikod sa armadong grupo. (MDCT/PIA-2)

Calbayog City mayor, 2 aides killed in ambush

From the Philippine News Agency (Mar 8, 2021): Calbayog City mayor, 2 aides killed in ambush (By Sarwell Meniano)

AMBUSH. The vehicle used by Calbayog City Mayor Ronald Aquino and his three bodyguards when ambushed by gunmen on Monday (March 8, 2021). The mayor and two of his security personnel died on the spot while one was rushed to a nearby hospital. (Contributed photo)

Calbayog City Mayor Ronald Aquino and two of his bodyguards were killed in an ambush late Monday afternoon.

The victims were on board a white van and cruising through Laboyao Bridge in the city’s Lonoy village heading north when fired at by gunmen riding two cars at around 5:30 p.m.

Aquino's three bodyguards retaliated, resulting in an exchange of gunfire.

The mayor and two of his security personnel died on the spot site while one bodyguard was brought by some residents to a nearby hospital.

One of the suspects also died, a sketchy police report said.

“Probers of Calbayog police station are now conducting an on-site investigation to determine the motive of the said incident,” the initial report sent to the local media by the Philippine National Police (PNP) regional office here said.

Meanwhile, Brig. Gen. Ildebrandi Usana, PNP spokesperson, in a statement, said PNP Chief, Gen. Debold Sinas, has directed Police Regional Office 8 director, Brig. Gen. Ronaldo de Jesus, to conduct a thorough investigation.

He said they would keep the public informed as soon as more details are gathered regarding the attack.

Aquino, who was on his third and last term as the city's chief executive, served as mayor since 2011 after then Mayor Reynaldo Uy was killed in a fiesta celebration in Hinabangan, Samar.

Calbayog City had witnessed a series of shooting incidents that targeted local government officials.

On Oct. 8, 2020, former City Councilor Jessie Jackson was shot dead in broad daylight while driving a motorcycle along the major highway.

The city, a commercial hub in the northwest part of Samar province, is about 172 kilometers north of Tacloban, the regional capital.

AO35 task force may tackle Southern Tagalog killings

From the Philippine News Agency (Mar 8, 2021): AO35 task force may tackle Southern Tagalog killings (By Benjamin Pulta)

EVIDENCE. Authorities log the pieces of evidence gathered in simultaneous operations on Sunday (March 7, 2021) in Southern Tagalog provinces. The police said the legitimate operations were conducted based on search warrants. (Photo courtesy of PRO-4A)

MANILA – Are they legitimate operations?

The Department of Justice (DOJ) on Monday said it will dig deeper into the death of nine individuals, alleged members of so-called progressive groups, in Southern Tagalog over the weekend.

The Philippine National Police (PNP) confirmed on Monday that six in Rizal, two in Batangas, and one in Cavite died in “search warrant operations”. There were also six arrests made — three each in Laguna and Rizal. It added nine were still at large — eight in Rizal and one in Batangas.

“Kung mga activist ang mga involved na may mga (If activists were involved and who had) certain advocacies, whether it be trade unionism, or peasant associations or organizations or IPs (indigenous peoples), ‘yung may specific advocacies, we will definitely include them in the AO 35 task force (since it would be) within their jurisdiction,” DOJ Secretary Menardo Guevarra said in an interview.

Administrative Order 35 Task Force is the government's inter-agency committee on extra-judicial killings, enforced disappearances, torture and other grave violations on the right to life liberty and security of persons. A meeting is scheduled this month.

“This interagency committee task force can address this growing number. Maybe in the third or fourth week of March. It’s difficult to convene person to person with what’s happening, but we have to, we need to, and were going to have this meeting,” he said.

Guevarra said the National Bureau of Investigation is part of the task force and will be represented in the meeting.

The simultaneous arrests, according to the Police Regional Office 4A, were armed with 24 search warrants for Violations of Republic Act 10591 (Comprehensive Firearms and Ammunition Regulation Act) and were carried out by the Calabarzon police, Criminal Investigation and Detection Group, and the Special Action Force and its military counterparts.

"As far as the PNP is concerned, it was a legitimate operation. We have the search warrant, the order from the court. We just implemented the search warrant," Laguna police spokesperson, Lt. Col. Chitadel Gaoira, told CNN Philippines.

"Based on our records, a crime is usually committed with these firearms, with these instruments, so we have these operations. We don't want to wait for the suspects to use these explosives and loose firearms in criminal or illegal activities," she added. (

Over 5K military medical front-liners vaccinated so far

From the Philippine News Agency (Mar 8, 2021): Over 5K military medical front-liners vaccinated so far (By Priam Nepomuceno)

COVID JAB. Department of Health Secretary Francisco Duque III administers the Covid-19 vaccine to Col. Fatima Claire Navarro at the V. Luna Medical Center in Quezon City to kick-off the country’s vaccination rollout on March 1, 2021. Navy Capt. Jonathan Zata, Armed Forces of the Philippines public affairs office chief, on Monday (March 8) said at least 5,293 medical front-liners of the AFP have been vaccinated so far with Sinovac vaccines. (Photo by Priam Nepomuceno)

At least 5,293 medical front-liners of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) have been inoculated so far with the Sinovac Biotech's CoronaVac vaccines as many have responded to the call, AFP public affairs office chief Navy Capt. Jonathan Zata said on Monday.

Zata said the vaccinees came mostly from military treatment facilities (MTFs) in the National Capital Region (NCR) and the 4th Infantry Division in Cagayan De Oro.

"Mainly from the MTFs of the NCR and 4th Infantry Division. Other MTFs (from the Unified Command) will be starting today (Monday)," he said.

Vaccination of military health front-liners started on March 1, a day after the 600,000 doses of Sinovac vaccine donated by China arrived in the country.

The exact number of vaccinees per MTF is still being collated as of this time, Zata said.

MTFs located in Metro Manila include the Victoriano Luna Medical Center and the Camp General Emilio Aguinaldo Station Hospital, both in Quezon City; Manila Naval Hospital and the Philippine Army General Hospital, both in Taguig and the Philippine Air Force General Hospital in Pasay City.

On Sunday, Philippine Air Force (PAF) spokesperson Lt. Col. Maynard P. Mariano said the air force is committed to transporting the Covid-19 vaccines in different parts of the country.

“Rest assured, the PAF will be relentless in transporting vaccines as the government's workhorse and is one with the nation in the fight against Covid-19," he said.

The PAF delivered 5,260 vials of Sinovac Covid-19 vaccines to Puerto Princesa City, Palawan on March 5 via a C-295 medium transport aircraft.

"Upon its arrival at Antonio Bautista Air Base, the vaccines were turned-over by Presidential Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea to Palawan Governor Jose Chaves Alvarez and subsequently to DOH (Department of Health) Palawan Representative Dr. Peter Cumareng," Mariano said.

He said the vaccines will be administered to the medical health front-liners of various hospitals in Palawan.

Police health front-liners

Meanwhile, all police health front-liners in Metro Manila have been vaccinated with CoronaVac vaccines, Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Gen. Debold Sinas said Monday.

In a media interview, Sinas said the PNP received 1,400 for its police health workers in NCR.

He said the medical front-liners are from the PNP headquarters in Camp Crame, Quezon, and the National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) in Camp Bagong Diwa, Taguig.

He said they are still waiting for the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Diseases’ (IATF-EID) guidance if the PNP will also be given allocation from the 525,600 doses of AstraZeneca vaccines that arrived in two batches through the COVAX Facility on March 4 and 7.

"Wala pa sila guidance as to the AstraZeneca. We are waiting, baka within this week baka mabigyan na po kami. Again ang instructions naman na nilabas ng IATF unahin po yung mga priority then kasama po kami doon (There is still no guidance as to the AstraZeneca. We are waiting, hopefully this week we will be given. Again the instructions of the IATF is to vaccine first those in the priority list including us)," he added.

Sinas said other Police Regional Offices like Davao and Calabarzon have also started the vaccination rollout for their health workers.

“Hopefully we could reach 80 to 90 percent and marami naman pong mga tao namin ang nagrerespond and we are waiting from the government kung sino po ang bibigyan. (many of our men are responding and we are waiting from the government if who will be vaccinated next),” Sinas said.

Gov’t investigating death of activists in Calabarzon raids (

From the Philippine News Agency (Mar 8, 2021): Gov’t investigating death of activists in Calabarzon raids (By Azer Parrocha)

STATE OBLIGATION. Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque assures during his virtual press briefing on Monday (March 8, 2021) that the government has an obligation to investigate the killing of at least nine activists in a series of raids conducted by the police in Calabarzon. He said it will be included in investigations being conducted by the Department of Justice (DOJ)-led drug war review panel. (Screengrab from PCOO/RTVM)

The national government is investigating the death of at least nine activists in a series of raids conducted by the police in Laguna, Rizal, Batangas, and Cavite provinces, Malacañang said Monday.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque made this remark after human rights groups denounced the killing of activists, which took place two days after President Rodrigo Duterte told state forces to “kill, kill, kill” communist rebels in an encounter.

"Doon sa mga napatay na aktibista, ang obligasyon ng estado po iimbestigahan at kung may makita nila na meron talagang dapat parusahan ang obligasyon ay lilitisin at paparusahan ang mga pumatay (For the activists who were killed, it is the obligation of the state to investigate and if they see that someone should be punished, it is their obligation to put them on trial and punish them),” he said in a Palace press briefing.

He assured the killing of nine activists will be included in investigations being conducted by the Department of Justice (DOJ)-led drug war review panel created to reinvestigate the 5,655 deaths in police drug war operations.

“I am absolutely certain na kasama po ito sa mga kasong iimbestigahan dahil obligasyon po ‘yan ng estado na mag-imbestiga at lumitis sa mga gumagawa ng ordinaryong krimen na murder (that these will be among the cases to be investigated because it is the obligation of the state to investigate and put on trial those committing ordinary crimes such as murder),” he added.

Roque, a human rights lawyer, also defended Duterte’s “kill, kill, kill” remark, stressing that the killing of armed rebels by soldiers is allowed under international humanitarian law.

“Ang order po ni Presidente 'kill, kill, kill' legal po 'yan dahil ang kaniyang sinabing 'kill, kill, kill' ay yung mga rebelede na meron pong hawak na armas (The President’s order to ‘kill, kill, kill’ is legal because he was referring to rebels with arms),” he said.

He said killing of members of the New People’s Army-Communist Party of the Philippines (NPA-CPPA) is justifiable if it is necessary, proportionate, and if it will achieve complete subjugation of the enemy.

“Under IHL po, tama yung order ng Presidente, 'kill, kill, kill' kasi nga po kapag merong labanan, kapag ang kalaban mo may baril na puwede kang patayin, alangan naman ikaw ay nag-antay na ikaw ang mabaril at mapatay. Hindi po paglabag ng batas, international humanitarian law, kapag nagpaputok ang sundalo sa isang armadong NPA fighter at mapatay ang NPA fighter (Under IHL, the President’s ‘kill, kill, kill’ order is correct because if there is a war and if your enemy has a weapon they can use to kill you, it’s not as if you’re going to wait to be shot and killed. It’s not a violation of international humanitarian law for a soldier to shoot and kill an NPA fighter),” he added.

He also assured that the government continues to take steps to address the threat of terrorism and violent extremism in the country.

Slow justice system

Amid criticism over the pace in which killings of activists are being investigated, Roque admitted that the country’s justice system needs a lot of work.

“I will not pretend na wala tayong problema sa ating sistema ng katarungan (that we don’t have any problems with our justice system). Maguindanao massacre, the worst killing ever in peace time in Philippine history took more than 10 years to finish starting from the administration of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and the judgement was handed down in the administration of President (Rodrigo) Duterte. So hindi talaga katangga-tanggap na mabagal na usad ng kasong kriminal sa Pilipinas (So the slow criminal justice system is unacceptable) but that’s something that all branches of government will have to deal with, not just the executive,” he said.

He also noted that the executive and judicial branches of government were working together to expedite the hearing of these cases.

“That’s how the wheel of justice operates. It’s not instant justice ala kangaroo court ng (of the) NPA. It takes time. But we are taking steps even with the support and cooperation of the judicial branch of government to expedite the hearing of these cases,” he said.

CHR may conduct own probe

Roque welcomed calls for the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) to conduct their own investigation into the killing of nine activists.

"Ang CHR is independent. If they want to cooperate in the investigation, they can,” he said.

He added that ongoing investigation could be completed faster with help of the independent constitutional office.

“Sa aking karanasan sa CHR talaga namang kinakailangan din itaas ang antas ng mga kakayahan na magimbestiga ng ating mga imbestigador sa CHR. Pero sa’kin siguro po kung magtulong-tulong sila siguro mas mapapabilis ang ating imbestigasyon (From my experience at the CHR, they also need to raise the standard of their abilities to investigate. But if they help each other, perhaps the investigation will speed up),” he said.

However, he said there is no need for the Palace to compel police and military to cooperate with CHR in the conduct of its own probe.

“No need because the police, [National Bureau of Investigation] know how to conduct the investigation. Antayin nalang nila ang resulta (They can just wait for the results) and they can validate on the basis of their own investigation,” he said.

Lay down your arms

Roque also shrugged off the statement made by Bayan Muna Rep. and House Deputy Minority Leader Carlos Zarate on the alleged "Tokhang-style simultaneous raids in Southern Tagalog."

“Nalilito kasi si Congressman Zarate kasi hindi natin sigurado kung sino talaga ang pinaninindigan ‘yan. Pero ang sabi ni Presidente, hindi lang po siya aktibista, kabahagi siya ng mga rebelde na merong mga armas (Congressman Zarate is confused because he doesn’t know what he stands for. But the President said he’s not just an activist but also among the rebels with arms),” he said.

Last December, Duterte labelled Zarate as a “co-conspirator” of NPA who used rebel taxation to pay for his son’s education in Europe.

Meanwhile, Roque also encouraged members of the CPP-NPA to lay down their arms and return to the folds of the law.

“Ang hamon ko dun sa mga meron pang mga armas at sumusuporta dun sa may mga armas, nasaan po ang pagmamahal sa bayan na hinahayaan natin ang Pilipino pumapatay ng kapwa Pilipino? Magaling naman po kayo mangampanya sa eleksyon, napakadami niyo nang party-list. Ba’t hindi nalang tayo purely parliamentarian struggle? Laos na po yang mga armed struggle na ‘yan (My challenge to those who have arms and conspire with those with arms, where is your love for the country if you allow Filipinos to kill fellow Filipinos? You are good at campaigning for elections, there are so many of you in party-list. Why don’t you just engage in parliamentarian struggle? Armed struggle is outdated),” he said.

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

Get vaccinated, AFP chief tells soldiers

From the Philippine News Agency (Mar 8, 2021): Get vaccinated, AFP chief tells soldiers (By Priam Nepomuceno)

READY TO TRANSPORT. A Philippine Air Force Black Hawk helicopter prepares to transport Sinovac Biotech CoronaVac Covid-19 vaccines on Monday (March 8, 2021). Over 19,800 doses of Sinovac vaccines have been brought to different military and civilian fields units in the country. (Photo courtesy of PAF)

As the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) ramped up the vaccination of its medical front-liners, AFP chief-of-staff Lt. Gen. Cirilito Sobejana on Monday urged all military personnel to take part in the government's inoculation program to protect themselves and their families against Covid-19.

Sobejana made this call as the AFP transported some 19,800 doses of the Sinovac Biotech's CoronaVac vaccine to different military units nationwide.

"We encourage every member of the AFP, to take part in the government’s vaccination program. This is not only meant to protect yourself from the virus, but also to encourage our families and others, who are still undecided to be inoculated,” Sobejana said.

Sobejana joined the transport of 1,200 doses of the vaccine to Davao City and led the ceremonial vaccination of Camp Panacan Hospital’s (CPH) front-line workers, catering to the military and civilian personnel of the Eastern Mindanao Command.

“This afternoon, I am very proud and optimistic to be part of this symbolic vaccination drive of our national government here at Camp Panacan Hospital in Davao City. Lahat tayo ay umaasa na sa bawat bakuna ay simula na rin ng ating pagbangon sa naging malubhang epekto ng pandemya sanhi ng Covid-19 (All us are hoping that every vaccine is also the start of our recovery from severe impact of this Covid-19 pandemic),” he said.

Lt. Col. Reniel Dimayuga, Deputy of the Health Service Center-Eastern Mindanao along with Maj. Ares Macailing and Capt. Victor Salvador Dato of the CPH were inoculated with CoronaVac vaccines.

Aside from the Eastern Mindanao Command in Davao City, Basa Air Base and the Clark Airbase, both in Pampanga, received 1,200 vials of the Covid-19 vaccine each.

Meanwhile, Camp Aquino in Tarlac received 2,400 vials while Fort Magsaysay in Nueva Ecija got 1,200 doses.

Naval Station Agbenar and Wallace Air Station, both located in La Union, 600 vials each while the Philippine Military Academy received 3,000 vaccines on Monday.

Two Black Hawk helicopters of the Philippine Air Force transported 1,200 doses to Southern Luzon Command headquarters in Camp Nakar, Quezon and another 1,200 to the Cavite Naval Base.

Some 600 doses were delivered to the 9th Infantry Division headquarters in Camarines Sur and another 600 vials were transported to the Naval Station Jukhasan Arasain in Legazpi, Albay.

An NC-212i light-lift aircraft brought 1,200 vaccines for the 3rd Infantry Division in Iloilo while some 600 vials were allocated for the Central Command in Cebu, and 1,200 doses for the 8th Infantry Division in Samar.

As of Monday, a total of 5,293 personnel have already been injected with their first dose of CoronaVac in six military treatment facilities, mostly in Metro Manila.

Two more Blackhawks were also utilized to deliver 1,800 doses of CoronaVac and 58 boxes of personal protective equipment to Basco, Batanes on Monday.

These were received by the officials from the Department of Health-Batanes, Provincial Health Office, and Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office prior to storage at the Provincial Health Office facility.

A total of China-donated 600,000 doses of Sinovac vaccine arrived on Feb. 28, including the 100,000 vials given by the Chinese Defense Ministry to the Philippines’ Department of National Defense.