Monday, March 22, 2021

Kalinaw News: 61 Former Rebels receive lifelong learnings for community reintegration in Agusan del Norte

Posted to Kalinaw News (Mar 21, 2021): 61 Former Rebels receive lifelong learnings for community reintegration in Agusan del Norte

BUENAVISTA, Agusan del Norte – At least sixty-one (61) former rebels (FRs) directly benefited from a three-day livelihood skills training conducted from March 16 to 18, 2021 at the headquarters of the 23rd Infantry (Masigasig) Battalion (23IB) in Jamboree Site, Purok 6, Barangay Alubihid, Buenavista, Agusan del Norte.

The training was organized through the convergence of efforts of the 23IB, the Provincial Government of Agusan del Norte, the office of Agusan del Norte Second District Representative Maria Angelica Amante-Matba and the Department of Education in the province (DepEd-ADN).

The three-day activity was also in line with the DepEd-ADN’s ALS/IPED Caravan: Livelihood Skills Training for Former Rebels that carried the theme: “Strengthening ALS/IPED Education through Transformative Partnership for Lifelong Learning.”

The ALS/IPED stands for Alternative Learning System Indigenous People Education.

The opening activity last March 16 was attended by Gov. Dale B. Corvera, Cong. Ma Angelica Rosedell M Amante-Matba, Dr. Evelyn R. Fetalvero Regional Director, DepEd, Schools Division Supt. Romeo O. Aprovechar, and 23IB commanding officer Lt. Col. Julius Cesar C. Paulo. Representatives from the different line agencies of the government also witnessed the start of the three-day activity.

The sixty-one (61) FRs have undergone ten (10) types of skills training during the three-day program that includes Basket Making, Baking, Food Processing, Wellness Massage, Beauty Care, Welding and Electrical Installation, Skirting, Landscaping, and T-Shirt Printing.

During the conclusion of the three-day training on Thursday (March 18), Alias Tatay Nilo, one of the FRs thanked the government, particularly the 23IB for the opportunities he received.

“Dako ni siyag katabang para sa mga FRs og daghan na mga kahigayonan nga gihatag sa gobyerno, karon pa nato nabati. Kung atong ikumpara sa bukid ang mga pagtulun-an nga gihatag halos ihungit na nila sa ato. Mapasalamaton kami sa inyong kooperasyon labi na sa 23IB, wala kami nagmahay nga naa mi diri nakaabot,” Tagay Nilo said.

He also recognized the programs and services of the administration of Pres. Rodrigo R. Duterte, especially the support given to the former combatants of the communist New People’s Army (NPA).

“Nagpasalamat kami sa gobyerno nga gipanguluhan ni Pangulong Rodrigo Roa Duterte. Tungod sa iyang mga maayong panlantaw, napahigayon ang mga pagtulun-an alang sa panginabuhian nga dakung tabang kanamo ilabi na kung kami mobalik na sa among mga komunidad. Daku sab og natabang ang ALS program. Kini nga mga pagtoon makatabang unya sa among paglambo uban sa among pamilya,” Tatay Nilo said.

He emphasized that the government has provided services to every FRs who are now temporarily sheltering at the headquarters of the 23IB.

Tatay Nilo also asked the FRs to fully utilize the learnings they received from the DepEd and other agencies of the government.

“Dili na nato buhian ning kahibalo nga atong nadawat kay kaning tanan blessings alang kanato. Ang panggamhanan naghatag og dakung panahon aron lamang kita maka kat-on niing mga pagtulun-an,” Tatay Nilo said.

At the opening of the activity on March 16, DepEd-ADN Supt. Aprovechar emphasized the objectives of the ALS/IPED program and the benefits it will bring to the FRs.

“The Department of Education through the Alternative Learning System aims to educate people especially those who are less fortunate individuals having a hard time accessing formal basic education. Through the implementation of Executive Order 70 institutionalizing the Whole of Nation Approach, we join the Local Government Units (LGUs) in helping the FRs by providing different skills training to prepare them as they will soon be reintegrated to their respective communities,” Aprovechar said.

For his part, Gov. Corvera said that insurgency, which has been pestering the country for years, is the concern of everybody.

“Insurgency is a problem of everybody and every one of us must give our part to solve it. Our soldiers have been risking their lives to achieve peace and we manifest our continuing vow to support the 23IB’s mission of winning peace by using public funds to provide basic services to help the civilian populace and different tribes in far-flung communities to include the FRs,” Corvera said.

Rep. Amante-Matba also asked for the cooperation of the FRs during the training, saying that learnings will help them change their economic living conditions.

“We hope that you will focus on this activity to learn more because it will surely help you raise your economic status in the near future. Even though the government is always willing to provide for your necessities, you still need to exert efforts to improve your living. Your government focuses on extending help both in FRs and different far-flung communities who are in need. But it is so hard for us to sustain the needs of all people and we need your cooperation especially now that we are facing this pandemic wherein we need to serve everyone. We hope that you will focus, be serious in order to learn more skills that will help you to have a sustainable livelihood when you go back to your respective communities,” Amante-Matba said.

Meanwhile, Lt. Col. Paulo expressed gratitude for the continuing support of the Provincial Government and other agencies to the Former Rebels at the 23IB.

“These sets of training will help them acquire technical competencies which will help them to be employed or develop their entrepreneur skills in the future. We are glad that all of you showed interest in these training activities. This will be the start of your progressive lives. Use your learned skills to improve your lives when you return to your communities,” Paulo said.

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

Kalinaw News: 12,000 displaced residents due to BIFF atrocities set to receive aid in Maguindanao

Posted to Kalinaw News (Mar 20, 2021): 12,000 displaced residents due to BIFF atrocities set to receive aid in Maguindanao

CAMP SIONGCO, Maguindanao – A total of 12,305 individuals equivalent to 3,469 families have evacuated to different evacuation centers and are set to receive relief aids based on the joint team of Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office (MDRRMO) of the municipalities of Datu Saudi Ampatuan, Shariff Saydona Mustapha, Mamasapano, Shariff Aguak, and Datu Unsay all of Maguindanao Province as clearing operations of JTF Central continues in the area to drive-out violent extremists belonging to Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) – Karialan Faction and Dawlah Islamiya (DI) – Turaife Group at Datu Saudi Ampatuan (DSA) town of Maguindanao.

On the other hand, the Office of the Civil Defense – Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (OCD-BARMM) recorded some 4,264 families as of 10:00 pm on March 19, 2021. These consist of 2,154 families affected in Datu Saudi Ampatuan, 989 families were affected in Shariff Saydona Mustapha, 800 families in Mamasapano, 231 in Shariff Aguak, and 20 families in Datu Unsay and are now in different evacuation centers. According to Director Raylindo AniƱon, OCD-BARMM, the said data was the official and reliable information recorded from the grounds wherein displaced families are currently seeking refuge in the various temporary evacuation centers due to fear of being caught in the crossfire.

It can be recalled that last March 18, 2021, armed clashes erupted as local terrorists attempted to attack residents and the Joint Peace and Security Team (JPST) outpost at Barangay Kitango, DSA, Maguindanao.

Meanwhile, according to Col. Pedro Balisi, Brigade Commander of 1st Mechanized Brigade, since the start of the clearing operations, the total number of killed BIFF combatants rose to five (5) and two (2) were wounded. The troops seized two 5.56mm converted rifles, one (1) homemade 12-gauge shotgun and the discovery of four (4) improvised explosive devices (IEDs), three (3) unexploded ordnance (UXOs), three (3) ICOM/Motorola radios, subversive documents, and other personal belongings from the BIFF.

Major General Juvymax Uy, the Commander of JTF Central and 6ID has placed on heightened alert status all military units inside and around the adjoining towns of Datu Saudi Ampatuan to thwart any attack plotted by extremists groups. “We would like to assure the residents of the Province of Maguindanao that your soldiers from JTFC and 6ID are committed to serve the people and protect the communities of Maguindanao. We will not let our guards down and assures our fellow Filipinos that together we will address the threat presented by these violent extremist groups,” Maj. Gen. Uy added.

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

Kalinaw News: NPA female child yields; exposes terrorist leader of sexual abuse

Posted to Kalinaw News (Mar 20, 2021): NPA female child yields; exposes terrorist leader of sexual abuse

CAMP MONTECLARO, MIAGAO, ILOILO – A 16-year old female member of the Communist NPA Terrorists (CNT) surrendered to the Philippine Army’s 61st Infantry (Hunter) Battalion on March 18, 2021 revealing that she was sexually abused by a ranking NPA leader.

The victim was identified as Nene (not her true name) from the 1st District of Iloilo who finally escaped from her sexually abusive leader and other male comrades while they were temporarily camped in a mountainous area in Miagao, Iloilo. According to Nene, they were sexually abused and harassed by their leader and comrades. As a consequence, nine (9) of her female comrades got pregnant wherein many of them are still minors.

“Sa amon nga grupo gintangka-an ako sang imaw ko nga si Ka Victor nga irape, kadarwa na ka beses, mayad gani na abtan kami kang imaw man namon, amo to ana gin awat kami nanda kag nagparayu daun kami”, Nene was quoted while telling about her ordeal inside the CNT organization.

Nene also reveals that female members served as cooks and they used to fetch water for their senior comrades. They were also given instructions that, if one of them will be caught by the Army, none of them will tell the truth on what’s happening inside their armed organization.

Meanwhile, Colonel Joel Benedict G Batara, Commanding Officer of 61IB said that the CNTs are godless and have no morals. “They prey on their own female comrades who are even minors for sexual satisfaction and other forms of exploitation. They continue to destroy the moral fabric of the society and future of our youth.

I therefore call on all parents to watch over their children and instill in them utmost awareness on the deceptive recruitment scheme of the CNTs”, Col. Batara added.

Currently, the surrenderor is under the care and guidance of the 61IB, PNP and DSWD for security and psychosocial debriefing.

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

Kalinaw News: Government forces seize CTGs lair in Aurora town

Posted to Kalinaw News (Mar 20, 2021): Government forces seize CTGs lair in Aurora town

BALER, Aurora-Government troops seized Communist Terrorist Groups (CTGs) lair of the Komiteng Larangang Guerrilla Sierra Madre (KLG-SM) at the boundary of Barangay Bazal and Diaat, Maria Aurora at around 2:30 p.m., Thursday, March 18, 2021.

Lt. Col. Reandrew P. Rubio, commander of 91st Infantry “Sinagtala” Battalion, Philippine Army said that his troops led by 2nd lieutenant Joshua Aurelio and 1st Provincial Mobile Force Company (1PMFC) of the Aurora Police provincial Office (APPO) were conducting joint combat strike operations at the said place when they discovered an abandoned enemy lair with personal belongings such as rubber shoes, lower fatigue uniform, slippers, rain boots, and kitchen utensil.

He said that the lair was believed to be abandoned by the remnants of weakened KLG-SM for almost 3 to 4 months and can accommodate more or less 10 Communist Party of the Philipines-New People’s Army-Terrorists (CNTs).

Ltc Rubio added that the recent discovery of abandoned CTG lair and the recovery of personal belongings and some kitchen utensils indicates that the remnants of weakened KLG-SM are now on the run evading the government security forces.

“They are now reported to be hiding in the tri-boundary of Aurora-Nueva Viscaya-Quirino due to our sustained combat operations in the area. We are calling the remnants of KLG-SM to abandon the armed struggle and be reunited with your loved ones. Our government is waiting for you and willing to assist your needs in order to live peacefully,” Rubio said, explaining that the discovery of the lair was due to the reports from civilians.

“Our civilians do not like the presence of NPA terrorists in their area. They are continually supporting us and doing their part in order to make the communities peaceful and free from NPA influence,” he said.

The battalion commander also said that the people of Aurora are very supportive and continually called the weakened NPA to surrender and avail the financial assistance under the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP) of the government.

E-CLIP is a complete package of assistance for the NPA rebels who surrender to the government.

The beneficiaries will receive the incentives that will cater to the psychosocial and psychological needs of the former rebels (FRs) in preparation for their reintegration into mainstream society.

The total amount to be received by the FRs includes firearm remuneration and livelihood assistance.

Ltc Rubio encouraged the weakened active NPA and supporters to surrender and join the mainstream society for a peaceful life. “Our government has all the best programs to offer for the former rebels to enjoy peaceful and progressive lives,” Ltc Rubio said.

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

Kalinaw News: Abu Sayyaf Group sub-leaders captured while escaping Sulu; Indonesian kidnap victims rescued

Posted to Kalinaw News (Mar 20, 2021): Abu Sayyaf Group sub-leaders captured while escaping Sulu; Indonesian kidnap victims rescued

March 19, 2021, Kuta Heneral Teodulfo Bautista Jolo, Sulu – At around 10:30pm last night, members of the Abu Sayyaf Kidnap-for-Ransom Group (KFRG) together with three Indonesian kidnap victims (KVs) were rescued by government security forces.

This transpired after their boat capsized near Pasigan Island in Tawi-Tawi. The group were reportedly forced to leave Sulu despite the strong current to evade the intense military operations in said province.

Law enforcement units captured Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) sub-leaders Sahud Salasim @ Ben Wagas and Injimar Mangkabong @ Bensal Jakare after they were recognized as members of the ASG-KFRG. Salasim, a core member of the ASG-Sulu KFRG, transferred to Sulu when his group in Basilan disbanded. He is married to a certain Dr Moharin, still practicing in Basilan. Meanwhile, Mangkabong, who is from Patikul, Sulu has been previously operating under the group of notorious ASG leader Radullan Sahiron.

The three rescued Indonesian KVs were identified as Riswanto Bin Hayono, Arical Kastamiran, and Arsyad Bin Dahalan.

According to JTF-Sulu and 11th Infantry Division Commander MGen William N Gonzales, intelligence units confirmed that the KFRG under @ Ben Wagas decided to travel to Tawi-Tawi to evade the relentless focused military operations of the security forces in Sulu.

“To recall, the group of sub-leaders @ Ben Wagas, @Apo Mike, and @ Injam Yadah staged the kidnapping of these Indonesians on January 17, 2020 off of the waters of Tambisan, Malaysia. Since then, we have intensified our combat operations against these kidnappers. Originally, this KFRG hides in the mountainous areas of Indanan. Just last February, we launched brigade combat operations in that area. They were also not able to cross to Patikul area as we have established patrol bases within its hinterlands. Fortunately, the people of Sulu have been very helpful as they actively and continually deny the ASG of their usual hideouts.”

Notably, one of the Indonesian KVs told authorities in Tawi-Tawi that another kidnap victim, whom they identified as La Baa, was killed by their abductors while trying to escape during an encounter between the ASG and government forces in Patikul, Sulu on September 29, 2020. Another kidnap victim, a minor named Khairul, remains unaccounted for.

“After 14 months of persistent military operations, these people [KVs] are finally safe. The cooperation between the government security forces in Sulu, the LGU and the residents has again paid-off. We welcome this development, as this proves that the ASG cannot sustain their KFR activities in the island of Sulu.

This also demonstrates that government forces have gained control over the Basilan-Sulu-Tawi-Tawi area,” said MGen Gonzales. “The JTF-Sulu will continue to look for the remaining kidnap victim and pursue the members of the ASG who are now either hiding or scampering away to other provinces to evade us” he added.

Reportedly, some five to 10 other ASG members were with the group for their escape. Units under JTF-Sulu are now on alert in case the remaining abductors would sail back to Sulu.

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

Water request leads to Marines’ capture of ASG subleader in Tawi-tawi

From MindaNews (Mar 21, 2021):Water request leads to Marines’ capture of ASG subleader in Tawi-tawi (By FRENCIE CARREON)

A simple plea for drinking water for four armed men in one of the coastal villages in Languyan town in Tawi-Tawi, led to the capture of an Abu Sayyaf Group subleader by the military on Saturday evening.

ASG subleader Hajan Sahijuan, also known within his circle as Apo Mike, was initially asking for drinking water for one person but when he demanded water for three more persons and was refused for lack of supply, he stirred a commotion
that alerted joint intelligence operatives of the Marine Battalion Landing Team 6 and the 2nd Marine Brigade deployed within the area in the quiet village of Kalupag on Kalupag Island, Languyan in the country’s farthest province of Tawi-Tawi.

Sahijuan was then with two other ASG members and one kidnap victim, an Indonesian national whose identity was not known, as the three managed to flee during military pursuit.

“The troops of the Marine Battalion Landing Team-6 under Lt. Col. Venjie Pendon acted on a report regarding the presence of suspicious fully-armed men in Barangay Kalupag Island. Onboard PS 35 headed by Col. Nestor Narag, Jr., the Deputy Brigade Commander of the 2nd Marine Brigade, the troops proceeded to the area but upon their arrival, the terrorists opened fire,” said Lt. Gen. Corleto Vinluan, Jr., Commander of the Western Mindanao Commander in a press release.

Pendon said Sahijuan “was abandoned by his two comrades who fled bringing along the remaining Indonesian kidnap victim with them.”

“We executed prompt military action following the receipt of information. We are anticipating reports from the communities that is why we made sure that our assets are at high readiness. Moreover, the availability of the Philippine Navy surface assets like PS 35 and 3 MPACs was crucial,” said Brig. Gen. Arturo Rojas, Commander of the JTF Tawi-Tawi. (Frencie L. Carreon, MindaNews)

Karapatan paralegal officer arrested in CDO, brought to Butuan

From MindaNews (Mar 21, 2021): Karapatan paralegal officer arrested in CDO, brought to Butuan (By FROILAN GALLARDO)

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY — A paralegal officer of the human rights watchdog Karapatan, was arrested here early Sunday morning, and brought to the regional police office in Butuan City.

Karapatan Caraga posted a notice on social media shortly before noon Sunday that Renalyn Tejero was arrested by suspected police and “we are currently unaware as to where she was brought.”

“Please help us find her,” it said.

From Karapatan Caraga

In a statement to reporters, Cagayan de Oro City police chief Col. Henry Dampal said Tejero was arrested by a joint police and Army team in Barangay Lapasan here at 5 a.m. on Sunday.

Dampal said police operatives from Caraga region brought Tejero to the PNP regional office in Camp Col. Rafael Rodriguez in Butuan City.

He said Tejero was arrested based on an arrest warrant for murder and multiple attempted murder cases filed in the Caraga region.

Dampal said the court did not grant any bail for the murder cases filed against Tejero.

The arrest of Tejero triggered a scare among human rights defenders here especially that she was earlier “red tagged” for her work and had received several death threats.

Tejero’s arrest came after President Duterte instructed police and soldiers to “kill and finish off” communist rebels during a meeting of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict in Cagayan de Oro early this month. (Froilan Gallardo / MindaNews)

2 rebels, soldier killed in Talakag clash

From MindaNews (Mar 21, 2021): 2 rebels, soldier killed in Talakag clash (By FROILAN GALLARDO)

TALAKAG, Bukidnon (MindaNews / 21 March) — Two alleged members of the New People’s Army (NPA) and a soldier of the elite 1st Special Battalion were killed after a four-hour clash inside the 42,000-hectare Kibaritan military reservation in Barangay San Rafael on Saturday.

Another Army soldier was wounded and brought to the Camp Evangelista Station Hospital in Cagayan de Oro, according to Lt. Judy Magsayo, 1st Special Battalion civil military officer.

Talakag, Bukidnon. Map courtesy of Google

Magsayo said the soldier died on the way to a hospital in Cagayan de Oro some 59 kilometers north from Barangay San Rafael. The names of the slain and wounded soldiers were withheld pending notification of their kin.

One of the slain rebels was Paragas Saparo Hoyman, 21. He was identified in a funderal home in Talakag by his cousin, Dimdim Arnado.

Arnado said Hoyaman left their family in Barangay Rogongon in Iligan City three years ago.

“We never heard of him in the last three years. We heard stories that he had joined the New People’s Army,” Arnado said.

Army spokesperson Major Rodolfo Cordero `Jr., said soldiers of the 1st Special Battalion clashed with some 70 communist rebels at the hinterlands of Sitio Kimutya, Barangay San Rafael at around 9:30am Saturday.

The encounter site lies within the 42,000-hectare Mt. Kibaritan that straddles the towns of Kalilangan and Talakag in Bukidnon and Wao in Lanao del Sur.

Cordero said the soldiers recovered two M16 rifles, three AK47 magazines, five combat packs and an improvised explosive device.

He said the troops are hunting the rest of the NPA band who withdrew to the forests.

Barangay San Rafael chair Puyat Sagayan said the fighting occurred when most of the village farmers were out on the field harvesting corn.

“Our farmers ran back to the village when they heard the explosions. Everyone was scared,” Sagayan told Mindanews.

He said many of the farmers in their haste to flee, left behind their sacks of harvested corn.

Sagayan said the entire village watched as two Air Force helicopters fired rockets at the suspected NPA positions.

“We never saw anything like this in our entire lives,” he narrated.

Sagayan said later that evening, the soldiers came to ask their help in carrying the bodies of the dead rebels.

He said he sent two tanods who brought the body to the barangay hall in San Rafael at 9 p.m. (Froilan Gallardo / MindaNews)

Sobejana receives four rescued Indonesian kidnap victims

From MindaNews (Mar 21, 2021): Sobejana receives four rescued Indonesian kidnap victims (By FRENCIE CARREON)

Armed Forces of the Philippines Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Cirilito Sobejana flew to this city Sunday to receive in formal rites the four Indonesian kidnap victims who were rescued by government troops on Thursday and early Sunday morning.

Rescued on Thursday were Rizal Kasta Miran, 30, Arsad Bin Dahlan, 41, and Andi Riswanto, 26, while rescued early Sunday morning (March 21) was 15-year old Khairuldin Bin Ye Kii, all residents of Kabupaten Wakatobi municipality, Sulawesi Tengara, Indonesia.

On Saturday evening, 15-year old Khairuddin escaped along with the two Sayyaf companions of Abu Sayyaf subleader Hajan Sahijuan, also known as Apo Mike. But following a firefight at 6:30 Sunday morning, he was rescued as he was abandoned by the two who escaped during the military operation.

Fifteen year old Khairuldin Bin Ye Kii of Sulawesi, Indonesia rescued in Tawi-tawi early Sunday morning, March 21, 2020. The boy hopes to be reunited with his family after more than a year’s captivity by the Sulu-based Abu Sayyaf Group. He is escorted by the Naval Forces Western Mindanao to Zamboanga City. NAVFORWM handout

Western Mindanao Command led by Lt. Gen. Corleto Vinluan acknowledged the joint operatives of the Tandubas, Languyan and South Ubian municipal police, all of the PNP Maritime Force, as well as the Marine Battalion Landing Team 6, representing the Joint Task Force Tawi-Tawi who pursued on March 18, 20, and 21, the Abu Sayyaf Group, then resistant and heavily armed onboard a motorized boat.

The troops were likewise acknowledged for their capture of ASG subleader Majan Sahijuan who led a team in battling against the Marines and Maritime Police in Kalupag Island after an attempt to ask for water from residents in the island-barangay. Sahijuan eventually died due to loss of blood while in the custody of the 2nd Marine Brigade.

Lt. Gen. Cesar Hawthorne Binag, Deputy Commissioner for Operations of the Philippine National Police, congratulated “the key players” as he cited the “strong partnership of the Philippine National Police and the Armed Forces of the Philippines.”

Binag, representing PNP Chief Debold Sinas, cited importance of trust (“tiwala”) by the civilian populace on the government forces while he hoped to “continue this kind of working relationship,” noting the value of “cooperation, sharing of (intelligence-based) information, joint operation, et cetera.”

Sobejana on his part commended the troops and spoke of the military’s concern “to free our country of terrorists” as he specifically mentioned the Abu Sayyaf Group in Western Mindanao, the Bangsamoro Islamic fighters in Eastern Mindanao, the remnants of the Maute group in Marawi. This, as he calls on the military to be mindful of the provisions and demands of Executive Order No. 70.

He expressed optimism that with unity and cooperation peace will reign in the Bangsamoro region, in Mindanao and “even across the (Philippine) archipelago, because I do believe that security is a shared responsibility not only by the military and police alone. It requires support from the other agencies of the (Philippine) government.

“If we look at the reasons why there are insurgents or there are terrorists, there are other factors that are beyond the Armed Forces to resolve. That’s the reason why we have to involve other agencies of government, even the business sector that provides their employment,” Sobejana added.

Sobejana told MindaNews in a telephone interview that the four Indonesian nationals will be “formally turned over to the Charges d’Affaires of the Indonesian Embassy on Tuesday.” (Frencie Carreon, MindaNews)

Security forces kill Sayyaf leader, 2 others; rescue last Indon hostage

From the Mindanao Examiner (Mar 21, 2021): Security forces kill Sayyaf leader, 2 others; rescue last Indon hostage

Security forces shot dead 3 Abu Sayyaf terrorists, including a notorious leader, and rescued an Indonesian hostage following a firefight Sunday on Kalupag Island off Languyan town in the southern Philippine of Tawi-Tawi, officials said.

Officials said the 15-year hostage, Mohamad Khairuldin, is now in the hands of the Filipino military in Tawi-Tawi.

“With the relentless efforts of the AFP and PNP, the last kidnap victim in captivity was rescued from his abductors in Tawi-Tawi,” said Lt. Gen. Corleto Vinluan, Jr., chief of the Western Mindanao Command

He said Abu Sayyaf leader, Apo Mike whose real name was Majan Sahidjuan, and two other gunmen were killed by security forces. “We are happy that all the hostages are safe now and we are also able to neutralize the notorious “Apo Mike” and two of his comrades,” Vinluan said.

Sahidjuan was among those behind the spate of border kidnapping and hijacking of Malaysian and Indonesian trawlers off Sabah and Tawi-Tawi.

The rescued Indonesian was among 5 fishermen kidnapped by the Abu Sayyaf off Tambisan waters in Lahad Datu town in Sabah near the Philippine border in January 2020.

Eight gunmen hijacked their trawler and kidnapped five of the eight crew members, one of the hostages was identified by the Indonesian news agency Antara as Arsyad Abdullah, the boat’s skipper.

On Friday, three other kidnapped Indonesian fishermen were also rescued by soldiers and policemen after their boat capsized off South Ubian town near Languyan town while fleeing from a military operation in nearby Sulu province.

The trio - Riswanto Bin Hayono, Arical Kastamiran, and Arsyad Bin Dahalan – are now in the custody of the military. Two of their 5 Abu Sayyaf escorts - Sahud Salisim alias Ben Wagas and Bensal Jakare – were captured.

Vinluan said one of the Indonesian hostages whom he did not name was killed by the Abu Sayyaf in September last year while trying to escape.

Brig. Gen. Arturo Rojas, commander of the Joint Task Force Tawi-Tawi, said the Abu Sayyaf terrorists are now on the run due to ongoing military operations against them in Sulu.

The Indonesian government has been notified by the rescue of the hostages who are now under the custody of the Marine Battalion Landing Team 6 in Tawi-Tawi province.

Maj. Gen. William Gonzales, commander of the 11th Infantry Division in Sulu province, said the operations against the pro-ISIS group are going on. “We continuously bolstered our offensives to pressure the Abu Sayyaf to release the hostages which forced them to look for a safer refuge,” he said. (Mindanao Examiner)

Marawi Siege: ‘This battle against ISIS was the biggest in the Philippines since WWII’

Posted to the Mindanao Examiner (Mar 22, 2021): Marawi Siege: ‘This battle against ISIS was the biggest in the Philippines since WWII’

WITH THE help of U.S. Special Forces, the Armed Forces of the Philippines have been battling radical Islamic terrorists in the south Pacific island chain since 2002.The Philippines, a former Spanish colony, is a predominantly Christian nation. However, its southern islands are home to a large Muslim population. Since the late 60s, there has been some form of push, political or terrorist, to create an independent Muslim state in the southern Philippines. The most prominent terror organization in Philippines since the early 2000s is the Abu Sayyaf Group.

Known officially by their ISIS counterparts as Islamic State — East Asia Province, ASG first had ties to Al-Qaeda. They operated extensively throughout Southeast Asia, especially in Malaysia, Indonesia, and the Philippines. ASG conducted bombings, kidnappings, assassinations, and drug trafficking to further their cause for an Islamic caliphate. Under the leadership of Isnilon Hapilon, who swore allegiance to ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, ASG began conducting kidnappings and killings in the name of ISIS in 2014.

Simultaneously, brothers Omar and Abdullah Maute founded their own Islamic terrorist organization in their hometown of Marawi in the southern Philippines. The brothers were educated in Muslim nations overseas where they were radicalized. Bringing this ideology back to the Philippines, they recruited other Muslim Filipinos to their cause. Working alongside Hapilon, Maute group and ASG stockpiled weapons and ammo in Marawi for a planned offensive. It would be their opening attack to establish an Islamic caliphate in the Philippines.

By May 2017, Maute group and ASG had amassed a huge stockpile of arms in Marawi. However, their planned offensive was forced to be accelerated. Working with the Philippine National Police, AFP Intelligence learned that Hapilon, who was on the FBI’s Most Wanted Terrorists list with a reward of $5 million, was in Marawi. A surgical operation was launched on May 23, 2017 to capture the ASG leader. However, when Philippine Special Forces entered the city, they found much more than they bargained for.

Prepping for the planned offensive, roughly 1,000 militants had amassed in Marawi, some of whom came from foreign countries. Heavily armed, they quickly took over the city, burning churches, homes, and executing known Christians on sight. As civilians fled, some Muslims harbored their Christian neighbors who could not get out and hid them from the extremists. ASG and Maute group blocked all roads in and out of the city and took hostages demanding that the AFP cease all military operations in and around Marawi. At the same time, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte declared a state of martial law for the entire island of Mindanao.

The next day, additional military forces arrived and 120 hostages at the hospital were freed. Key buildings like city hall and a university were recaptured by AFP forces who established command posts in preparation for the coming operations. The Philippine Air Force began airstrikes on Marawi. Army units pushed into the city and battled against heavy resistance. Although AFP ground troops were able to re-secure much of Marawi by May 31, the sections of the city under militant control were a maze of tight alleys and closely packed buildings. It would require Fallujah-style house-to-house room-by-room clearing to secure the rest of the city.

Moreover, Hapilon and the Maute brothers were still at large. Even if the majority of the militants were killed or captured, the escape of the terrorist leaders would be a major victory for ISIS. Heavy street fighting raged through the contested areas of the city as AFP troops rooted out pockets of resistance in search of the high value targets. To complicate the already arduous task of urban combat, the militants dug tunnels throughout the city. Like the Vietcong in Vietnam or the Soviets in Stalingrad, this allowed them to escape quickly and covertly from an engagement and reappear in an unexpected location.

Fighting continued through June with the AFP announcing that it had killed over 200 militants. Still, resistance in the city was stiff and Marawi seemed no closer to being secured. Additionally, an estimated 2,000 civilians remained trapped in the city. On the morning of June 25, a unilateral ceasefire began in recognition of the Islamic holiday of Eid. This allowed Muslims on both sides of the fighting to observe the end of the month-long period of Ramadan. It also gave many civilians the opportunity to escape. Despite the ceasefire, militant snipers continued to engage AFP positions. At the end of the ceasefire, combat operations resumed in full.

In addition to technical support from the United States in hunting the wanted terrorist leaders, the Philippines accepted the aid of the Australians. Two AP-3C Orion surveillance planes were sent to the Philippines to support the battle. By July, AFP reported nearly 400 militants had been killed and over 700 civilians had been rescued. Still, 93 AFP service members were KIA and at least 45 civilians were dead.

On July 20, AFP forces scored a major strategic victory. Mapandi Bridge, which provides access to Marawi’s commercial center, was retaken. This allowed AFP armored vehicles to push further into the city. Intense close-quarter fighting continued in the city’s rubble. IEDs and militant snipers made progress slow and deadly. However, AFP forces scored a major victory when Abdullah Maute was killed in an airstrike on August 7. His death was a morale boost for the weary Filipino troops who had been engaged in heavy and constant combat for months.

On August 18, the AFP announced that the combat zone had been reduced to an area covering 800×600 meters. Still, this section of the city contained 400 buildings which would have to be cleared one-by-one in search of Hapilon and Omar Maute.

By September, the combat zone had been reduced to an area of 500 square meters. However, these gains came at a high cost. Hundreds of Filipino troops had been wounded and dozens killed. On September 24, the last key bridge in Marawi was captured by the AFP, effectively isolating the remaining militants. Although Islamic representatives lobbied for a peace agreement, the Philippine government rejected them, saying that it was too little, too late. They would accept nothing less than total victory over the terrorists. In October, a major development occurred that would help bring the fighting to an end.

A hostage who had been held by Hapilon and Maute managed to escape to AFP lines and informed them of the location of the terrorist leaders. Army Special Forces Command quickly planned a top-tier operation. Elements of the 1st Scout Ranger Regiment and the Light Reaction Regiment, modelled after the 75th Ranger Regiment and Delta Force respectively, were tasked with clearing the suspected location and killing or capturing Hapilon and Maute. Trained by their American counterparts, these were the best men for the job. Supported by armored fighting vehicles, the commandos executed the operation on October 16.

As the Special Forces troops assaulted the target building, Hapilon and Maute escaped out the back. However, they were engaged by the remainder of the commandos and the armored vehicles who had secured the rear of the building. Maute was almost immediately killed by the .50-cal gunner in one of the vehicles. However, the gunner was unable it identify the fleeing militant as Maute through his thermal sight. Meanwhile, Hapilon was engaged by Ranger sniper teams who struck him three times in the chest. Despite going down, Hapilon harmlessly returned fire until he succumbed to his wounds.

The commandos killed a further 8 militants in securing the target building. 17 hostages including women, children, and a 2-month-old baby, were rescued. There were no AFP or civilian casualties. Once the target area was secure, the commandos went through the bodies and identified Hapilon and Maute. The announcement of their deaths was met with celebration across Marawi. DNA samples were sent to the FBI in the United States who confirmed the identities of the terrorist leaders.

The next day, President Duterte flew down to Marawi and declared the city’s liberation from the Islamic state. Fighting continued until October 23, exactly five months from the start of the battle, when the last pockets of ASG and Maute fighters were eliminated. The victory was hard-won. 168 Philippine service members were killed and over 1,400 were wounded. Sadly, 87 civilians also lost their lives during the five months of fighting. Still, 978 militants were killed and 12 were captured. The Battle of Marawi dealt a major blow to ASG and all but eliminated Maute group.

Marawi itself suffered greatly. 95% of structures in the 4 square kilometer combat zone were damaged, if not completely destroyed. This left 200,000 civilians displaced. The battle was the most intense and destructive in the Philippines since WWII. Rehabilitation and recovery efforts continue to this day.

The Battle of Marawi was the ultimate failure for ISIS in Southeast Asia and a display of strength and unity for the Filipino people. ASG and Maute group were unable to establish their caliphate. Moreover, the Filipino people, Muslims, Christians, soldiers, and civilians alike, stood side-by-side against the violence and terror brought upon them and prevailed. (By Miguel Ortiz, The Mighty.)

DavNor gov determined on ending poverty, to address insurgency

From the Philippine Information Agency (Mar 22, 2021): DavNor gov determined on ending poverty, to address insurgency (By Jeanevive Abangan)

DAVAO DEL NORTE, MARCH 18 (PIA) - Provincial Governor Edwin I. Jubahib is hell-bent on ending poverty in the province of Davao del Norte as he makes intensified strides to rollout down the grassroots level the Kausa sa Agrikultura at Panginabuhian sa Barangay (KAAGAPAY).

In an interview in Talaingod, Jubahih cited KAAGAPAY as the “master key” in addressing insurgency which is rooted, among other factors, in poverty.

Jubahib recognized the need for insurgency-vulnerable sector, especially the poor and the underprivileged, to take hold of sustainable livelihood so they can provide the needs of their families and send their children to school.

“Kaya ang direksyon ko bilang Governor, tapusin ko talaga itong kahirapan sa buong probinsya ng Davao del Norte (so my direction as the Governor, I will definitely end poverty in the entire province of Davao del Norte) in tandem with the Philippine Army and the Philippine National Police, na maibay natin ang totoong kapayapaan dito sa ating probinsya (so we would be able to set sustainable peace in the province).”

Commanding General of the Philippine Army (CGPA) Lt. General Jose Faustino Jr. cited the KAAGAPAY program of Governor Jubahib as “one very big factor” in addressing local communist armed conflict in Davao del Norte, and in bringing to the folds of the laws those who had joined the revolutionary struggle of the New Peoples Army (NPA).

During his recent visit at Talaingod-based 56th Infantry Battalion, General Faustino looked at Talaingod as a “template” of clearing an area highly influenced by the NPA and the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) in tie-up with its legal fronts.

He gave credit to the convergence efforts of various local and national government agencies in pooling and hauling government services to indigenous peoples (IPs) far-flung communities which previously had not been reached.

“Dito mo nakita sa Davao del Norte how the LGU led, and the chief executive led the assault on poverty, the assault on insurgency, and how the local government addresses the basic needs, the basic complaints of the people not only in Talaingod but the whole of Davao del Norte,” said Faustino in a media interview in Talaingod.

However, Jubahib said “more are yet to be done” recognizing the wide-scale needs he has to address especially among IP communities and others who are living in the mountains and those at the peripheral areas of the province.

“Ang dami pa po nating kailangang i-serve sa bawat isa na matagal na nilang kinakailangan, na maibigay ng gobyerno. (There are still a number that we have to serve of services they have been needing from the government),” he said.

Jubahib was with General Faustino who recently led the ground-breaking ceremony of a three-hectare lot in Sitio Tugas, Barangay Sto Nino in Talaingod, where the 56th Infantry Battalion will transfer its command post. (PIA XI/ Jeanevive Duron Abangan)

896 former rebels in Bukidnon receive P8.9-M cash aid

From the Philippine Information Agency (Mar 22, 2021): 896 former rebels in Bukidnon receive P8.9-M cash aid (By CMO, 8IB, 403rd Bde, PA)

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CAMP OSITO BAHIAN, Malaybalay City, March 15—Some 896 former rebels (FRs) in Bukidnon received a total of P8.9 million financial assistance from the government recently held at Poblacion, Impasugong, Bukidnon.

Organized by the local Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (TF-ELCAC) with support from the Office of Senator Bong Go, the FRs received P10,000 cash each.

In a video message, Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go said “Dako ang akong pasalamat sa inyong pagtambong karong adlawa. Kini usa lamang ka gamay nga hinabang para kaninyo labi na gyud karong panahon sa pandemya pinaagi sa programa sa atong gobyerno ubos sa pagmando sa atong Pangulong Rodrigo Roa Duterte. Daghang salamat kaninyong tanan. Unta magpadayon ang inyong pagsuporta sa atong gobyerno para sa kalambo-an. (I am very grateful for your presence today. This small help comes from the government as ordered by President Rodrigo Duterte. I hope this would help you especially this time of pandemic. Once again thank you. I hope you will continue your support of the government’s peace and development efforts.

The signing of the Memorandum of Agreement between the Department of Agriculture (DA) Region 10 and the local government of Impasugong for the Enhanced KADIWA project also highlighted the event.

Impasugong Mayor Anthony Uy explained that the DA’s KADIWA assistance program aims to give farmers additional capital, through farmers’ cooperatives and associations, to buy the farm inputs and equipment that could help them sell their produce directly to consumers. This may include packing equipment, vegetable crates, a delivery truck, and a revolving fund as assemblers or consolidators of fresh produce.

On the same occasion graced by the Provincial Governor, DTI, TESDA, DA, DOLE, and DSWD, the FRs also received family food packs and livelihood kits.

In a speech, Gov. Jose Maria Zubiri Jr. said the beneficiaries are those regular members of the New People’s Army (NPA) and ‘Militia ng Bayan’ operating in Bukidnon who surrendered from the year 2016 to date.

“Sa mga mahal nakong katawhan dinhi sa Bukidnon labi na kaninyo nga kaniadto nahisalaag sa inyong mga dalan. Nia sa inyong atubangan karon ang mga ahensiya nga naghi-usa aron matabangan kamo sa inyong pagbalik sa atong gobyerno. Akong panawagan sa mga kaigso-onan ko nga naa pa sa kabukiran nga pagmata na kamo sa kamatuoran nga dunay tinuod nga gobyerno nga andam motabang kaninyo. (To my dear people here in Bukidnon—especially those who have strayed from the right paths—could realize that the government wants everybody to live a peaceful, happy, and comfortable life. Hence, I call on my brothers and sisters who are still in the mountains to return to the fold of the law because the government cares for you),” the governor said.

Brigadier General Ferdinand T. Barandon, 403rd Infantry Brigade commander also thanked the former rebels for cooperating with the government’s peace efforts.

"Ito na po ang resulta ng pagpapatupad ng Executive Order No. 70 na pinirmahan ni Pangulong Rodrigo Roa Duterte noong 2018 na kung saan nakasaad ang pagtutulungan ng ibat-ibang ahensya para sa isang layunin na makamtan natin ang tunay na kapayapaan. Ako po’y muling nagpapasalamat sa ating mga kasamahan sa kapayapaan at kaunlaran pati na sa ating Governor Jose Maria Zubiri dahil sa kanilang kooperasyon. (Our hard work pays off as President Rodrigo Duterte’s EO No. 70 comes to fruition. Once again, I thank our colleagues for the full cooperation and support in achieving our aspirations. I am also grateful to Gov. Jose Maria R. Zubiri for his support to meet the FRs’ needs),” BGen. Barandon said. (CMO, 8IB, 403rd Bde, PA/PIA Bukidnon)

2 high-ranking NPA leaders surrender in Bukidnon

From the Philippine Information Agency (Mar 22, 2021): 2 high-ranking NPA leaders surrender in Bukidnon (By CMO, 8IB, 403rd Bde, PA)

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CAMP OSITO D. BAHIAN, Malaybalay City, March 15--Two high-ranking leaders of the New People’s Army (NPA) surrender along with five followers on Tuesday, March 9.

Armando Daluniag, also known as “Ambo, Satur, Pegan, or Dario” served as commander of Headquarters Force Neo under North Central Mindanao Regional Committee (HQF Neo-NCMRC) and former deputy secretary of Guerilla Front 89.

Ambo said he also persuaded the unit’s squad leader Roland Lagunday alias “Ben” to surrender.

Daluniag and Lagunday, both of the same unit operating in Bukidnon and neighboring provinces surrendered to the 8th Infantry Battalion of the 403rd Brigade, 4ID, Philippine Army following sustained calls by the Provincial Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (PTF-ELCAC) to give up and return to the fold of the law.

Along with their five NPA allies, the duo brought 10 high-powered firearms consisting four M16 rifles; three AK47; one M653 attached with M203 grenade launcher, one M653; and one M14 rifle.

Lt. Col. Edgardo Talaroc Jr, 8IB commander, said the government’s whole-of-nation approach and the intensified military operations in Pantaron Range forced these top NPA leaders to abandon the Communist Terrorists Group.

In one of the interviews at the 403rd Brigade army camp, Daluniag disclosed that they were attracted to the news saying their comrades who recently surrendered are now enjoying the government’s livelihood benefits.

“Nakita namo ang tinuoray nga programa sa atong gobyerno dili lamang sa pag-istorya labaw na gyud sa buhat. Nakita usab namo nga ang mga mi-surrender ug una pa kanamo nakatagamtam na sa kahapsay ug kalinaw sa ilang pamuyo kauban ilang pamilya. Busa mopasalig mi sa among kooperasyon diha sa bisan unsa nga lakang nga himuon sa atong gobyerno," he said.

(We’ve witnessed that the government is true to its words as we see that those NPAs who surrendered are now living peacefully with their respective families. We commit to give our full cooperation with the government.)

Brigadier General Ferdinand T. Barandon, 403rd brigade commander, meanwhile, emphasized that during President Rodrigo Duterte’s recent visit to Cagayan de Oro City last March 5, the President urged those remaining NPA rebels to peacefully lay down their arms.

“Ito na nga po ang resulta ng ating pagtutulongan. Sa pamamagitan ng Executive Order No. 70 at ng NTF-ELCAC, kung saan lahat po tayo ay nagsama-sama para sa isang layunin. Positibo po ang aking pananaw na baling araw ay matatapos din po natin ang 52 taon na insurhensiya. Muli, ako po ay nananawagan sa mga gusto pong magbalik-loob. Bukas po ang ating gobyerno para sa inyo at marami po ang nakahandang mga programa para sa inyo," BGen. Barandon said.

(This is the result of our cooperation through the Executive Order No. 70 and the TF-ELCAC of which we all come together for one purpose. I am optimistic that one day, we will end this 52 years of insurgency. Once again, I call on those who want to surrender; our government is open. There are lots of government programs ready for you.)(CMO, 8IB, 403rd Bde, PA/PIA Bukidnon)

84 NPA surrenderees in MisOcc get financial aid from DSWD

From the Philippine Information Agency (Mar 22, 2021): 84 NPA surrenderees in MisOcc get financial aid from DSWD (By Shaine Mae R. Nagtalon)

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MISAMIS OCCIDENTAL, Marrch 17 (PIA)--A total of 84 former members of the New People’s Army (NPA) from Misamis Occidental received financial assistance from the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) in line with the government’s enhanced reintegration program at Camp Burgos, Oroquieta.

DSWD provided a P5,000 cash grant to each returnee to support their basic needs amid the continuing COVID-19 pandemic.

DSWD SWAD Team Leader Christopher Requina said the cash aid is part of their interventions under the Assistance to Individuals in Crisis Situation (AICS) program, which supports the recovery of individuals and families suffering from unexpected life events or crises.

“I am very thankful that you have surfaced, abandoned the armed struggle and became productive members of society, and the government through the DSWD will always be here to support you and your family,” Requina said.

Requina also added that the department is tasked to harmonize the delivery of basic services and social development packages to conflict-affected areas and vulnerable communities, facilitate societal inclusivity, and ensure active participation of all sectors of society in the pursuit of the country’s peace agenda.

For his part, 10th Infantry Battalion Lt. Cornel Ray Tiongson thanked the former rebels for their cooperation and support to the government and the Province of Misamis Occidental.

Tiongson emphasized that the government is very serious to end the problem of insurgency. "Rest assured that we will do everything together with all government agencies to end this local communist arm conflict in the province."

Meanwhile, Governor Philip Tan shared the programs of the province intended for the former rebels. “We assure our former rebels that the government, civic organizations, NGO and cooperative will be with them every step of the way in their desire to have a new life,” Tan said.

Elena Roman from Barangay Lampasan, Don Victoriano thanked the government after receiving the financial aid. She then urged the remaining members of the NPA to surrender to the government.

"Akong dakong pasalamat sa DSWD labi na sa gobyerno sa cash assistance tungod kay dako kaayo nga katabang sa amoa. Sa mga nagpabilin pa nga miyembro ug sa mga misuporta pa sa rebeldeng NPA, gi-awhag nako tamo nga musurrender na ug mubalik na kamo sa gobyerno," Roman said.

(I am very thankful to DSWD especially the government for the assistance because it's a big help to us. I encourage the other NPA rebels to surrender and return to the fold of the law.)," she said.

The Province of Misamis Occidental will also provide medical health assistance, free education and monthly assistance amounting to P2,500 for the month of July to December 2021. The Department of Agriculture (DA) will also provide cacao seedlings to the former rebels. (SMRN/PIA Misamis Occidental)

Village chief urges rebels to return to gov't.

From the Philippine Information Agency (Mar 22, 2021): Village chief urges rebels to return to gov't. (By Irene Joy B. Dayo)

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GINGOOG CITY, Misamis Oriental, March 18 (PIA)--“Kamo dili pasagdan sa atong pang-gobyerno (The government will not forsake you),” Barangay Captain Porferio Duque of Baranggay Eureka here told the New People's Army (NPA) rebels who are still fighting the government in the mountains, as he urged them to reutrn to the folds of the law.

In a recent interview with the Philippine Information Agency, Duque said Barangya Eureka is one of the farthest barangays in Gingoog City where some NPA members are said to have visited.

“Ako usab nanghinaot ug nag-awhag sa among mga kaubanan o kaperyentehan nga anaa pa sa grupo nga nasalaag ug nakigbatuk sa atong panggobyerno pinaagi sa armadong pakigbisog, nga unta mogawas na kamo ug sa katapusan, mosilong na sa landong sa kagamhanan kay sigurado ako nga kamo dili pasagdan sa atong panggobyerno, diha sa establisar sa inyong bag-ong panginabuhian nga malahutayon ug pinuy-anan," he said.

(I am calling all our friends and relatives who are still in the movement to return to the folds of the law because the government is going to help them with a better form of livelihood.)

The village chief said his barangay now feels the government, as one of the beneficiaries of the Barangay Development Program (BDP) pursued under the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC).

BDP is a flagship program of the current administration to address poverty and spur economic development by solving the root causes of insurgency.

With BDP, water works, tribal hall, concrete farm-ro-market roads and other projects have been implemented in the barangay. "All of these happened in this present administration," Duque said.

“Ang akong barangay, naay 13 ka purok. 75 years na ka tuig, wala gyud ni sila nakatagamtam ug proyekto pinaagi sa waterworks ug panubig sa mga sitio, (We have 13 districts in our barangay. For 75 years, we never experienced having a proper water system),” he shared, citing one of their projects which is the water system. Barangay Eureka including the tribal group – Tribu Higaonon - that as well composed the barangay is very happy with the realization of the projects. They believe these projects are what they need the most to improve their lives.

“Ang tubig, kung magpadayon kini, dako kaayo nga improvement sa akong barangay. Dako kaayo ang improvement kay ang tubig musumpay kini sa panginabuhi (If uninterrupted, improvement in the barangay is certainly attainable since the water system is basic in all forms of livelihood,” he continued," he continued.

Duque also explained the importance of providing and sustaining these projects in ending insurgency in remote areas.

“Ang pinakauyokan nga problema nga gyera pinaagi sa armadong bakigbisog, nasuta nga dili diay gyira gamit ang armas ug bala ang kasulbaran niini, kon dili ang tukma nga kasulbaran, pinaagi diay sa pagsulbad sa problema sa pamahaw, paniudto ug panihapon, pinaagi sa paghatag ug kapanginabuhian sa katawhang kabus, ilabi na gayud sa mga sakop sa katawhang Lumad sa among dapit nga mao ang Tribung Higaonon ug mga kasikbit nga mga barangay ng uhaw sap ag-amuma sa atong kagamhanan,” he maintained.

(Armed struggle is never the solution to the problems experienced by many. It is through solving hunger by providing livelihood to marginalized communities, especially to the "Lumads" and other communities who are thirsty for government support.)

Duque thanked President Duterte and his administration for the projects given to his barangay saying, “Ang mga programa nga gipatuman ubos sa imong administrasyon, Tatay Digong, sugod na namong natagamtaman ug kini niabot na ug nabati gayud mismo sa labing ubos ug yano nga lumulupyo sa kabaranggayan, ilabi na sa barangay Eureka."

(Tatay Digong, we are now enjoying the projects you gave to our barangay.)

The Misamis Oriental Task Force End Local Communist and Armed Conflict (MisOr-ELCAC) was launched in Barangay Eureka in September 2019. (IJBD/PIA10)

Official deployment of N. Samar RCSP teams underway

From the Philippine Information Agency (Mar 22, 2021): Official deployment of N. Samar RCSP teams underway (By Ailene N. Diaz)

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CATARMAN, Northern Samar, March 22 (PIA) -- The official deployment of uniformed personnel under the Retooled Community Support Program (RCSP) commenced on March 22 during the simultaneous send-off activity initiated by the PNP Northern Samar at the Northern Samar Police Provincial Office (NSPPO).

RCSP Team from Northern Samar Police Provincil Office, Regional Mobile Force Battalion, Special Action Force, and 803rd Brigade of the Philippine Armt. Also in photo are officers from the Bureau of Fire Protection and BJMP. (PIA-N. Samar)

PNP Deputy Director for Operations presented 214 personnel who have undergone Community Support Program Operations Training from NSPPO, Regional Mobile Force Battalion (RMFB), Special Action Force (SAF) and 803rd Brigade of the Philippine Army.

From these trained personnel, 30 teams composed of 132 uniformed men will be deployed to nine municipalities initial recipients of the program, the towns of Victoria, San Isidro, Lavezares, Catubig, Las Navas, Bobon, Pambujan, Laoang and San Roque.

Representing the League of Municipalities of the Philippines Northern Samar Chapter, Mayor Galahad Vicencio and President of the Liga ng mga Barangay President Liza Esidera accepted the teams in behalf of municipalities and barangays. Mayor Vicencio encouraged his colleagues to support the shared goal to end the decades-long thievery, terrorism and economic sabotage being done by the CTG.

In a message of PNP Regional Director PBGen Ronaldo De Jesus as read by PNP Provincial Director Col. Arnel Apud, he said the government is serious to end the more than half a century battle with the communist terrorist groups that have been exploiting innocent Filipinos, hundreds of lives were sacrificed both in the government side and the innocent civilians.

“The Police Regional Office 8 is committed to sustain the programs on Retooled Community Support Program to bridge the gap between the people and the government in order to sustain development and lasting peace,” De Jesus pointed out.

Various partner agency members of the Provincial Task Force ELCAC also aired their support and commitment to the program as expressed by BFAR OIC Director Norberto Berida, DTI Provincial Director Mimosa Regis, DILG LGOO Ms. Elaine Abigail Delorino, 803rd Deputy Brigade Commander Col. Efren Morado and PIA Provincial Manager Ms. Ailene Diaz in behalf of PIA Regional Director Erlinda Olivia P. Tiu.

(L-R) BFAR OIC Dir. Norberto Berida, PIA N. Samar Manager Ailene Diaz, DTI Provincial Director Mimosa Regis, PNP Provincial Director Col. Arnel J. Apud, Board Member Fawa Batula, 803rd Deputy Brigade Commander Col. Efren Morados, LMP Northern Samar Chapter President Mayor Galahad Vicencio, DILG LGOO Ms. Elaine Abigail Delorino and Liga ng mga Barangay President Liza Esidera. (PIA-N. Samar)

In his message delivered by Board Member Fawa Batula, Gov. Edwin Ongchuan affirmed empowering communities as a necessary step to end local communist armed conflict as manifested in the RCSP, joining the efforts of the government, non-government and private sector to address the development gaps in communities.

“The RCSP significantly harmonizes and optimizes our efforts as well as resources, to respond to the root causes of insurgency to attain sustainable peace and development,” Gov. Ongchuan stressed.

“The provincial government assures our partners that we will continue our support to RCSP. We will pursue service delivery down to the farthest barangays through our Kauswagan Caravan which we have been conducting since my first year in office. I believe that through constant delivery of services, in agriculture, health, livelihood and other areas, our people will no longer have reason to put up arms against the government,” said the governor.

Board Member Fawa ends his message with the words of Mother Theresa, “We don’t need guns and bombs to attain peace, what we need is love and compassion.”

The event was attended by the barangay officials and Mayor Harris Ongchuan of Laoang, Mayor Don Abalon of San Roque, Mayor Felipe Sosing of Pambujan, Mayor Clara Gremio, Mayor Edito Saludaga of Lavezares, Mayor Guillermo Jumamil of Victoria, Mayor Ferdinand Avila of San Isidro and Mr. Noriel Tan representative of the mayor of Las Navas. (ldl/ADiaz/PIA-N. Samar)

Army troops nab NPA rebel in Iloilo clash

From the Philippine Information Agency (Mar 22, 2021): Army troops nab NPA rebel in Iloilo clash (By Jemin B. Guillermo)

ILOILO CITY, March 22 (PIA) – Another member of the New People’s Army fell into the hands of the government troops.

The 66-year old female “Alias Bing” was collared
by the members of the Philippine Army’s 12th Infantry Battalion following a two-minute armed encounter in Janiuay, Iloilo in the early morning of March 16.

Alias Bing, who is a member of the NPA’s SYP Baloy Platoon and said to be a resident of Barangay Araal, La Carlota City, Negros Occidental, was arrested
while the soldiers were doing a pursuit operation at Barangay Dabong at around 1:20 a.m. of March 16, said 30st Brigade Civil Military Operations Officer Capt. Hazel Joy Durotan in a press release.


The rebel was caught seeking refuge from a house in Dabong village after her other comrades left her and fled from the area.

Following the clash, the troops also seized a Caliber .45 pistol with two magazines and seven ammunitions, and components in making anti-personnel landmine and subversive documents with high intelligence value.

Also recovered from the site of encounter were one hammock, two backpacks and a sling bag, assorted groceries, 10 meters electric wire, and personal belongings, Durotan said.

The arrested rebel and the confiscated items are now in the custody of the Janiuay Police Station.

Brigadier General Marion Sison, the 301st Infantry Brigade Commander, believed that the incident will be a big blow to the NPA’s recruitment and extortion activities given that high-intelligence materials were seized.

Sison revealed that based on the recovered documents, the communist-terrorist group is planning to attack patrol bases, security forces and sabotage government projects in the area.

He said that the recoveries of items needed for staging attacks like components of anti-personnel landmine and electric wire would prove that the NPAs are out to sow terror.

"The CPP-NPA’s are doings evils of making and using anti-personnel landmine like the March 12 attack they did in Lambunao," Sison said, referring to the IED explosion in Barangay Pughanan, Lambunao town that wounded a police personnel and a Barangay Kagawad.

He noted that what the NPAs did was a blatant violation of Republic Act 9851 or the Philippine Act on Crimes Against International Humanitarian Law, Genocide, and Other Crimes Against Humanity, that penalizes as a war crime the employment of means of warfare such as weapons, projectiles and material which are of the nature to cause superfluous injury or unnecessary suffering or which are inherently indiscriminate in violation of the international law of armed conflict.

Sison said that while the Communist Party of the Philippines and its armed wing - NPA, had been fighting for more than five decades already, there is nothing new and they have not done anything but to sow terror and instill fear among the people.

He said, however, that the government is intensely determined to end the local communist armed conflict.

Sison said that the government remains ready to accept and help those who are willing to lay down their arms in the pursuit of peace

And despite and in spite of everything, he said the government would accept those who are willing to lay down their arms in pursuit of peace.

“On March 29, the NPA would be celebrating its 52nd founding anniversary. They will also mark their anniversary by conducting attacks on governments troops and installations and other key economic points,” Sison said. (PIA6/Story and Photo by Capt. HJDurotan/CMO-301Bde/PA)

PNP remains in full alert status after 5 cops died in Cam Norte

From the Philippine Information Agency (Mar 22, 2021): PNP remains in full alert status after 5 cops died in Cam Norte (By Rosalita B. Manlangit)

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DAET, Camarines Norte, March 22 (PIA) – The Philippine National Police (PNP) remained in full alert status following the death of 5 cops in an encounter while conducting critical infrastructure and investment security operations on March 19 at Brgy. Dumagmang, Labo here.

PCol. Julius D. Guadamor, provincial director of Camarines Norte Police Provincial Office (CNPPO) said that personnel from the 2nd Provincial Mobile Force Company led by PLt. Louie James V. Amoy led the security operations and encountered undetermined number of Communist Terrorist Group (CTG) members in the area.

CNPPO continuously monitors up-to-date situation in the province to pre-empt any terroristic attacks that might be launched by this barbaric group.

The police office also sought for the cooperation of the public by reporting suspicious and speculative persons and incidents in their area.

Wounded in action were PCpl. Eric C. Hermoso and Pat. Aldrin M. Aguito who were immediately evacuated from the area and rushed to the CNNPO for medical attention.

Pat. Aldrin M. Aguito, one of the 2 wounded was honored yesterday by giving him the Medalya ng Sugatan, Magiting Certificate and financial assistance from the PNP. (PIA5/Camarines Norte, with photo from CNPPO)

PCpl Roger A. Estoy Jr., Pat. Benny Ric R. Bacurin, Pat. Jeremy C. Alcantara Pat Alex L. Antioquia, and Pat Joey D. Cuarteros unfortunately died during the encounter.

Extreme efforts were undertaken to extricate the bodies of the fallen from the scene.

Guadamor said that the merciless act of the CPP-NPA is a strong verification of their deceptive and fly-by-night activities that imperils the peace and security situation in the region.

The said team were sent out in the area purposely to address several reported extortions among small scale miners and forcing the contractors for 3-5% share on the total project cost of Labo-Tagkawayan Road linking Camarines Norte to Quezon Province.

The PNP Bicol, in close coordination with the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), already maximized the deployment of personnel for reinforcement and possible hot pursuit operation against the perpetrators.

The two wounded cops were honored yesterday by giving them Medalya ng Sugatan Certificate and financial assistance from the PNP.

Meanwhile, necessary medical assistance is already being provided to the wounded and appropriate honors and benefits will be received by the bereaved families. (PIA5/Camarines Norte, with statement from CNPPO)

CTG leader killed in an encounter with gov’t. troops in Balatan, CamSur

From the Philippine Information Agency (Mar 22, 2021): CTG leader killed in an encounter with gov’t. troops in Balatan, CamSur (By Ana-Liza S. Macatangay)

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CAMP ELIAS ANGELES, Pili, Camarines Sur, March 22 (PIA) – It was another success for the government’s campaign against terrorism when a CTG leader was killed in an encounter with the government troops in Barangay Laganac, Balatan, Camarines Sur around 6:45 PM, Sat., March 20.

Carlito Perit who was also using other pseudo names such as Ruth, Reyal and Remar was killed in a gunfight with the joint elements of 902nd Infantry Brigade and Philippine National Police (PNP).

Perit is the leader of the Bicol Regional Party Committee's priority guerilla front, Platoon 3, Larangan 1, Komiteng Probinsya 5. He was abandoned by his two other companions after learning that he perished during the firefight.

In a press statement, Division Public Affairs Office (DPAO) Spokesperson CPT John Paul Belleza, said that Perit’s activities were made known to them through a tipster.

“He was killed after government troopers conducted security operations in the area following the report of a concerned citizen regarding the presence of communist NPA terrorists (CNTs) in their barangay conducting extortion activities,” Belleza added.

A caliber .45 pistol and a magazine were also recovered from the encounter site.

902nd Infantry Brigade Commander Col. Jaime Abawag Jr., extended his gratitude to the residents of Laganac for their cooperation which led to the successful engagement.

"Had it not been for the prompt report of the local populace, we could have not thwarted the CTG's continuous extortion in the midst of the pandemic," Col. Abawag said.

MGen Henry A. Robinson, Jr., PA, Commander of the Joint Task Force Bicolandia (JTFB) raised his hats off to the soldiers, to the police and to the community for their sincere intent to end the decade-long terrorism in the countryside. He said that the latest success of the government troopers is another big loss to the CTG's already declining capability.

"Losing one of its leaders will surely cripple the CTG especially that Perit is handling a platoon of the 9th Infantry (SPEAR) Division's priority guerilla front. For us, it is a step forward in achieving our goal to continue dismantling BRPC's guerilla fronts and stop them from leeching off the local populace including the poorest of the poor,” Robinson added.

He again appealed to the remaining members of the CTG to surrender, put down their arms and return to the folds of the law.

“To the remaining members of the CTG, your number is already dwindling, return to the folds of law, and do not waste your life in this senseless fight. This terrorist group is not worth dying for, I tell you. Do not abandon your family or your future just because of a false belief,” Robinson further said. (PIA5/Camarines Sur, with reports from CPTJPBelleza,DPAO)

Northern, Central Luzon tribal chiefs back government’s peace efforts

From the Philippine Information Agency (Mar 22, 2021): Northern, Central Luzon tribal chiefs back government’s peace efforts (By Trixie Joy B. Manalili)

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TARLAC CITY, March 22 (PIA) -- About 15 tribal chieftains and 20 Indigenous People’s Mandatory Representatives (IPMR) in Northern and Central Luzon backed the undertakings of the government to promote peace and development.

In a two-day Tribal Chieftains’ Summit, participants were empowered to become proactive leaders, and capacitated to cope up on various issues faced by the country.

“We, the tribal leaders, support the government in its endeavor to end local armed conflict, and to achieve peace and development in our country,” Liza Balario, IPMR of Barangay Duhawen in San Marcelino, Zambales, said.

Balario also thanked the Northern Luzon Command (NOLCOM) and National Commission for Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) for the opportunity to learn knowledge that they can share with their members.

For his part, NOLCOM Commander Lieutenant General Arnulfo Marcelo Burgos Jr. emphasized that the activity is part of NOLCOM’s Indigenous People Affairs Desk that reaches out to Indigenous People (IP) and establishes a network for peace and development.

“All the relevant information that they have learned from this activity will empower them to cope up with the challenges of being a tribal leader, from confronting the threat of the communist terrorists to surviving the on-going COVID-19 pandemic. The activity served as a venue for productive interaction, where the tribal leaders can openly express their concerns, and in response our resource speakers can answer them promptly,” he said.

Tribal leaders in Northern and Central Luzon pledge their support to the government’s initiative towards the attainment of peace and development. (AFP Northern Luzon Command)

“Through the activity, we are sending a strong message to the members of the IP communities in Northern and Central Luzon that the government is here for them, contrary to the propaganda of the communist terrorists whose only objective is to prey upon the vulnerabilities of our IPs and sow terror in their communities,” the commander furthered.

Meanwhile, NCIP Commissioner for rest of Luzon Rolando Rivera urged the tribal leaders to proactively guide their constituents towards the path of peace.

“Sustainable development is unattainable without peace,” he remarked.

Topics discussed during the summit include coping up with COVID 19; salient points of Anti–Terror Law; and salient points of Indigenous Peoples’ Rights Act Law.

Also, during the event, Massdrop Marketing members donated five sacks of rice and cash incentives to each participant. (CLJD/TJBM-PIA 3)

Top CPP-NPA leader in CagVal killed in Isabela encounter

From the Philippine Information Agency (Mar 22, 2021): Top CPP-NPA leader in CagVal killed in Isabela encounter (By 5th Infantry Division) 

The fleeing NPAs buried Alias Yuni in a shallow grave in the hinterlands of the said barangay after the encounter between the troops of 86th Infantry Battalion and the terrorist group in San Mariano Sur, San Guillermo, Isabela on March 15.

GAMU, Isabela, March 22 (PIA) - Commander of the Regional Operations Command (ROC) and the Regional Sentro De Gravidad, Komiteng Rehiyon-Cagayan Valley (KR-CV) of the terrorist Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) was killed during an encounter between the troops of 86th Infantry Battalion and the terrorist group in San Mariano Sur, San Guillermo, Isabela on March 15.

During the encounter, the NPA leader was fatally hit and his comrades brought him at Barangay Dingading in the said town in an attempt to hide him from the pursuing government troops.

The troops were able to locate where the NPA buried the killed NPA leader through the continuous information shared by the locals.

In coordination with the Scene of the Crime Operatives (SOCO) and San Guillermo police, the government troops exhumed the cadaver on March 17, 2021.

With the help of former rebels, they positively identified the corpse as 'Alias Yuni', the notorious commander of the terrorist CPP-NPA in the region.

According to the revelations of the former rebels and based from captured enemy documents, Alyas Yuni or Rosalio V Canubas, a native of Calinan, Davao City was a cadre known as alias Dondie from the Regional Headquarters (RHQ), Southern Mindanao Regional Committee (SMRC) before he was directed by the Central Committee of the terrorist CPP-NPA to transfer to Region 02 to lead the ROC and establish the Komiteng Larangang Guerilla Quirino-Nueva Vizcaya (KLG Q-NV) of the KR-CV.

Alyas Yuni led the burning of the million-worth heavy equipment and high-end utility vehicles of a mining firm at Barangay Dimaluadi in Dinapigue, Isabela on October 28, 2015. He also, commanded the hundred-armed terrorist CPP-NPA members that attacked the Maddela Police Station in Quirino on the night of April 29, 2017 where they killed a policeman and seized police firearms and uniforms.

MGen Laurence E. Mina , commander of 5th Infantry Division, Philippine Army said that the death of Alyas Yuni will eventually weaken the RSDG of KR-CV.

“The death of Alias Yuni, the commander of ROC and RSDG of KR-CV is another big blow to the terrorist CPP-NPA. He is the second high-ranking personality of the terrorist CPP-NPA that was killed in a series of encounters that transpired in the AOR this week. These losses will eventually cripple the armed group and eventually weaken the terrorist organization caused by leadership vacuum," Mina said.

The commander reiterates his appeal to the remaining members of the NPA to lay down their arms and surrender now. (MDCT/PIA-2)

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Tagalog News: Teroristang CPP-NPA itinakwil sa bayan ng Baggao; 13 na mga sumuko

From the Philippine Information Agency (Mar 22, 2021): Tagalog News: Teroristang CPP-NPA itinakwil sa bayan ng Baggao; 13 na mga sumuko (By 5th Infantry Division)

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GAMU, Isabela, Marso 22 (PIA)- Naliwanagan sa tunay na mukha ng mapanlinlang at mapang-abusong teroristang Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) ang 13 na mga miyembro nito dahilan ng kanilang pagtakwil sa rebeldeng kilusan at pagsuko sa pamahalaan noong ika-18 ng Marso taong kasalukuyan sa bayan ng Baggao, Cagayan.

Ayon sa mga nagbalik-loob sa pamahalaan, sila ay nalinlang sa mga matatamis na salita ng teroristang CPP-NPA. Ayon sa kanila, ipinangako ng mga rebeldeng CPP-NPA ang pag-angat ng kanilang pamumuhay ngunit taliwas ito sa kanilang naranasan.

Sinabi ng mga dating regular na miyembro ng teroristang CPP-NPA na puro paghihirap at gutom sa loob ng kilusan ang kanilang naranasan. Sobra-sobra rin umano ang kanilang pagod dahil sa kanilang paglilipat-lipat ng lugar upang makapagtago sa kasundaluhan.

Sa pagbabahagi naman ng mga sumukong Milisyang Bayan, mas lalo lamang silang nahirapan sa pagdiskarte sa kanilang pamumuhay dahil naging pabigat lamang sa kanila ang mga rebeldeng CPP-NPA.

Sa pamamagitan ng Community Support Program (CSP) ng 77th Infantry Battalion at sa pakikipagtulungan ng iba’t-ibang mga ahensya ng pamahalaan sa bayan ng Baggao, limang mga mandirigma at walong mga miyembro ng Milisyang Bayan ng Komiteng Probinsya Cagayan, Komiteng Rehiyon-Cagayan Valley ang nagbalik-loob sa gobyerno. Isinuko rin nila ang isang M11 9mm Ingram na baril.

Malaki ang kanilang naging pasasalamat sa pagpasok ng CSP sa kanilang lugar dahil namulat sila sa mga programa at serbisyo ng gobyerno na mas makakatulong sa kanilang pamumuhay.

Sa ipinaabot na mensahe ni Col Steve D Crespillo Inf (GSC) PA, Brigade commander ng 501st Infantry Brigade, kanyang binigyang diin ang mga mapanlinlang na stratehiya ng mga rebeldeng CPP-NPA upang makapagrekrut.

"Alam natin na napakagaling ng propaganda at panlilinlang ng mga komunistang terorista, pero hindi nila maitatago sa kahit anong tamis na salita ang katotohanan na ang buhay ng mga tao sa lugar na kanilang kinikilusan ay lalong lumalala taliwas sa kanilang pangako na pagbabago. Ito ay direktang nararamdaman at nararanasan ng ating mga kababayan sa higit na 52 na taon na pakikipaglaban ng mga terorista CPP-NPA sa gobyerno na lalong nagpapahirap sa mga tao sa kanayunan samantalang maginhawa ang buhay ng mga namumuno na nakatira sa syudad at ibang bansa,” ani Crespillo.

Ikinagalak naman ni MGen Laurence E Mina PA, commander ng 5th Infantry Division, Philippine Army ang kanilang ginawang pagbabalik-loob sa pamahalaan ng 13 dating kaspi ng rebeldeng kilusan.

“Napapanahon na upang tayo’y magkaisa at sama-samang isulong ang makatotohanang kapayapaan sa ating lugar. Hindi sagot ang pag-anib sa teroristang grupo upang makaahon sa kahirapan, bagkus ang disiplina, pagsisikap at positibong pananaw sa buhay,” sinabi pa ni Mina.

Samantala, limang mga dating miyembro ng Komprob Cagayan na tumakas sa kanilang grupo ang kusang sumuko sa gobyerno sa probinsya ng Kalinga sa pagtutulungan ng 77th, 17th, at 50th Infantry Battalion. (MDCT/PIA-2)