Thursday, April 1, 2021

Philippines, US discuss Chinese activities in West Philippine Sea

From Rappler (Apr 1, 2021): Philippines, US discuss Chinese activities in West Philippine Sea (SOFIA TOMACRUZ)

White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan reiterates to Philippines national security adviser Hermogenes Esperon that the Mutual Defense Treaty covers the South China Sea

The Philippines and United States discussed their shared concerns over Chinese activities in the South China Sea, including the West Philippine Sea, in a call on Wednesday, March 31, the White House said.

During the call, White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan reiterated to Philippines national security adviser Hermogenes Esperon that the two countries' Mutual Defense Treaty – which sees both sides commit to defend one another in case of an attack – covered the South China Sea.

Sullivan and Esperon, the White House said, "agreed that the United States and the Philippines will continue to coordinate closely in responding to challenges in the South China Sea." 

(READ: Biden's opportunities in PH and how Duterte can gain from them)

"Sullivan underscored that the United States stands with our Philippine allies in upholding the rules-based international maritime order, and reaffirmed the applicability of the US-Philippines Mutual Defense Treaty in the South China Sea," it added.

The call between the countries' national security advisers in Manila and Washington comes as the Philippines has described the presence of hundreds of Chinese boats anchored near features in its exclusive economic zone in the West Philippine Sea as "swarming and threatening."

Led by Esperon, the Philippines' National Task Force for the West Philippine Sea maintained the Chinese vessels were manned by Beijing's maritime militia – a claim denied by Chinese diplomats, who have asserted that the boats were seeking shelter from "rough seas," and that no militia were aboard.

Earlier on Wednesday, the NTF-WPS reported over 200 Chinese ships remained anchored across Julian Felipe (Whitsun) Reef, Kenna (Chigua) Reef, Pag-asa Island, Panganiban (Mischief) Reef, Kagitingan (Fiery) Reef, and Zamora (Subi) Reef.

Duterte gov't urged to hold joint patrols with US as Chinese ships still in West PH Sea

The scattering of China's ships in Philippine waters had been documented by the NTF-WPS after Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana and Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr repeatedly demanded that China withdraw its vessels in the West Philippine Sea.

The Philippines earlier filed a protest against China after over 200 vessels first spotted near Julian Felipe Reef in early March continued to linger in the area, despite showing no signs of actual fishing activity.

On Thursday, April 1, Locsin had reasserted that islands and other maritime features in the West Philippine Sea belonged to Filipinos despite China's illegal build-up in these areas.

"Within our EEZ so it’s ours. The durability and vintage of the structures don’t matter. Ours," Locsin tweeted. He made the statement after the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) conducted a patrol over Union Banks, a group of features within the Kalayaan Islands Group under the Municipality of Kalayaan in Palawan.

"During this patrol we were able to document manmade structures that built on some of the features. These structures are illegal," the AFP said.

Canada, Australia, Japan, and Europe are among countries that have voiced concern about China's intentions in the South China Sea.

The US had earlier backed the Philippines’ concerns over the presence of Chinese maritime militia in its waters, vowing to stand by its oldest ally in Asia.

Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan, China, and Vietnam have competing territorial claims in the South China Sea, through which at least $3.4 trillion of annual trade passes.

44 Chinese ships still at Julian Felipe Reef

From Panay News (Apr 1, 2021): 44 Chinese ships still at Julian Felipe Reef (By Adrian Stewart Co)

Amid the diplomatic protest filed by the country against China, several Chinese ships are still seen around the Julian Felipe Reef in the West Philippine Sea, the National Task Force-West Philippine Sea (NTF-WPS) said.

In a statement, the NTF-WPS said around 44 Chinese maritime militias remained “moored, anchored, and stationary at Julian Felipe Reef.”

Aside from these 44, a maritime patrol by the Philippine Army saw over 200 other Chinese vessels scattered in Kalayaan Island Group (KIG) – 115 in Chigua (Kennan) Reef, 45 in Pag-asa Island, and 50 others in Panganiban (Mischief), Kagitingan (Fiery), and Zamora (Subi) Reefs.

The NTF-WPS also noted in its report that four People’s Liberation Army Navy vessels were also spotted in Panganiban Reef.

“The vessels, which China said were fishing boats, are maritime militia, and their build-up and massing formation from Julian Felipe Reef to other areas of the Kalayaan Island Group is hazardous to navigation and safety of life at sea,” the task force said.

“They may be doing illicit activities at night and their lingering (swarming) presence may cause irreparable damage to the marine environment due to marine pollution and destruction of coral reefs,” it added.

As the presence of Chinese vessels remains in the Philippines exclusive economic zone (EEZ), NTF-WPS said it continues to assert the Philippine sovereignty, sovereign rights, and jurisdiction over the KIG and WPS, and expressed its concern over the illegal Chinese maritime presence.

The country increased the deployment of maritime vessels from the Philippine Navy, Philippine Coast Guard, and Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources to safeguard its sovereignty, territorial integrity, and national patrimony in the KIG.

NOCPPO, Army on ‘heightened alert’ following clashes in NegOr

From the Panay News (Apr 1, 2021): NOCPPO, Army on ‘heightened alert’ following clashes in NegOr (BY DOMINIQUE GABRIEL BA√ĎAGA)

The Negros Occidental Police Provincial Office (NOCPPO) and the Philippine Army’s 303rd Infantry Brigade (303IB) were placed on “heightened alert” on March 30. Another clash between government forces and New People’s Army (NPA) insurgents transpired in Sta. Catalina, Negros Oriental.

Police Colonel Romy Palgue, NOCPPO director, said the elite Special Action Force (SAF) clashed with rebels in Negros Oriental on Monday, which resulted to the death of two NPA members.

With the NPA’s major loss in Guihulngan City last week, both the NOCPPO and the 303IB believed the insurgents may be planning another attack on government forces, civilians and former rebels “as revenge.”

Palgue said he already ordered the police to further strengthen their monitoring in police stations and their intelligence community.

Army Colonel Michael Samson, acting commander of the 303IB, echoed Palgue.

Samson said it is difficult to say as to how many exactly are the remaining rebels in Negros as they are operating in four different fronts.

However, based on their latest intelligence, the NPA’s northern and central Negros fronts have been drastically reduced to platoon size numbering less than 30-40 insurgents.

Samson said these rebels are still operating in the boundary of Negros Occidental particularly in the town of Moises Padilla, with most of the skirmishes happening in Negros Oriental.

“Much of the central Negros front has already been decimated, but we still have to take care of the remnants,” he added.

Meanwhile, Samson confirmed that an NPA insurgent they arrested in the Guihulngan City clash was doing well at the Governor William Villegas Memorial Hospital in the said city.

The captured insurgent, identified as “Jojo,” revealed he was only 17 years old and a resident of Canlaon City, Negros Oriental.

Samson said they are still validating the insurgent’s claims, but they have decided to hand him over to the Guihulngan City Social Welfare and Development office.

The teen was hit on the right leg after he engaged in a gun battle with government forces. To recall, at least 10 of his comrades died.

Samson added that six of the 10 fatalities have already been given a proper burial.

2 soldiers slightly wounded in clash, arms cache seized

From the Mindanao Times (Mar 30, 2021): 2 soldiers slightly wounded in clash, arms cache seized (BY RHODA GRACE SARON)

SOLDIERS recovered an assault rifle and assorted bullets during a 30-minute clash with the New People’s Army (NPA) and troops of the 58th Infantry Battalion in Gingoog City on Sunday, March 28.

Two soldiers sustained minor injuries and are now recuperating at the Camp Evangelista Station Hospital.

1Lt. Jefferson Mariano, the civil-military operations officer of 58th IB, said
the encounter happened at around 11 a.m. in the hinterlands of Barangay Samay when the troops responded to the report of farmers regarding the harassment from the rebels.

They recovered one M16 rifle, one short magazine for M16, four magazines for AK-47, one Signus radio, one cellphone, nine rounds of .40mm ammunition, assorted medical paraphernalia, and subversive documents.

Today, the NPA marks its 52 years of armed revolution.

Lt. Col. Ricky L. Canatoy, commanding officer of the 58th Infantry Battalion, said, “The encounter is a result of the continuous effort and active steps to thwart enemy hostile activities.

” We call on the remaining members of CTGs to lay down their arms and live a peaceful and normal life, and to avoid unnecessary waste of life. The Army will not hesitate and is always ready to use its force against peace spoilers and other threat groups who will continue to use terrorism,” Canatoy said.

Troops recover body of NPA fighter in Gingoog

From the Mindanao Times (Mar 31, 2021): Troops recover body of NPA fighter in Gingoog (BY RHODA GRACE SARON)

A NEW People’s Army (NPA) guerrilla was recovered during a pursuit operation at the hinterlands of Barangay Binakalan, Gingoog City following an encounter on Mar. 28.

The casualty was identified as Oliver Hulliao, platoon guide of Sub-Regional Committee 1, and a resident of Sitio Lantad, Barangay Kibanban, Balingasag. He was identified by a rebel returnee.

1Lt. Jefferson Mariano, the civil-military operations officer of 58th IB, said Hulliao was among the NPA group that was encountered by the troops in Barangay Samay of Gingoog City.

The clash resulted in the recovery of one M16 rifle, one short magazine for M16, four magazines for AK47, one Signus radio, one cellular phone, nine rounds 40mm ammunition, assorted medical paraphernalia, and subversive documents.

Lt. Col. Ricky L. Canatoy, commanding officer of the 58th Infantry Battalion, said the NPAs carry out simultaneous attacks throughout the country during their anniversary.

“For what purpose? All for naught,” he said. “Yet another life was lost today as a result of their actions. Our sincere condolences to the bereaved family. Another life is wasted. This has to come to an end right now.”

The recovered body was then brought to a funeral parlor in Gingoog City for the proper turnover to his family.

2 wounded in Cotabato City blast

From MindaNews (Apr 1, 2021): 2 wounded in Cotabato City blast (By FERDINANDH B. CABRERA)

Two persons were wounded when a homemade bomb went off near a police outpost in Cotabato City Thursday night.

Police Colonel Rommel Javier, city police director of Cotabato City confirmed that two bystanders were hurt in the explosion along Jose Lim St. at around 6:30 p.m.

Members of the Cotabato City police force cordon off the blast site near a police outpost and in in front of the building that used to house Police Precinct 4 on Thursday evening , 01 April 2021. MindNews photo by FERDINANDH . CABRERA

The blast site is near a police outpost and in front of the building previously housing the Police Precinct 4. It is also around 60 meters away from the San Roque chapel where several residents of Mother Bagua were attending a Maundy Thursday mass. Javier said those who attended the Maundy Thursday rites left the chapel calmly.

Injured were Marguiana Kalim and Azmad Cader who were rushed to a nearby hospital in the city.

After the first explosion, police found two more improvised explosive devices (IEDs) nearby.

Police are still investigating the incident. (Ferdinandh B. Cabrera / MindaNews)

Maundy Thursday blast injures 2 in Cotabato City

Posted to the Mindanao Examiner (Apr 1, 2021): Maundy Thursday blast injures 2 in Cotabato City

KIDAPAWAN CITY - Two persons were reported wounded in a blast near a police station in Cotabato City in the restive southern Philippine region of Mindanao.

The explosion occurred along Jose Lim Street in the village called Mother Bagua where a church mass was going on. No individual or group claimed responsibility for the explosion.

The wounded Azmad Cader and Marguiana Kalim were rushed to the Cotabato Regional Medical Center.

No other details or reports were made available either by the police or military, but the blast occurred just as Catholics are observing the Holy Week. Other reports said one improvised explosive was also recovered near the scene. (Mindanao Examiner)

Candlelighting and peace rally held in Baguio City

From the Philippine Information Agency (Apr 1, 2021): Candlelighting and peace rally held in Baguio City (By Redjie Melvic M. Cawis)

The peace walk by the different volunteers and youth groups in the city of Baguio. RMC PIA-CAR

BAGUIO CITY, March 31 (PIA) -- Government line agencies and law enforcement agencies led a simultaneous candle lighting and peace rally in different locations in the city as part of the information drive on the government’s actions against the atrocities by the New People’s Army (NPA) on Monday (March 29).

The Baguio City Police Office and the 503rd Infantry Brigade of the Philippine Army spearheaded the activity with the local government unit led by Peace and Order Council Chairperson Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magalong.

Youth volunteers and other stakeholders earlier held a “peace walk” from the Malcolm Square thru Session Road and Harrison Road to the Melvin Jones Grandstand for the candlelight event The volunteers held placards with messages condemning the NPA atrocities of the.

It was followed by a program and the film viewing of the different activities and programs of the government and the different sectors in the region particularly in NPA infected communities.

503rd Infantry Brigade Deputy Commander Colonel Christopher Sab-it assured the public that the government is making its moves to address the problem on insurgency in the country. RMC PIA-CAR

In his message, 503rd Infantry Brigade Deputy Commander Colonel Christopher Sab-it said the candlelight event is way to raise awareness of the actions or the atrocities of the communist terrorist groups which have been on years.

He explained that under the administration of President Rodridgo Duterte, the partnership to end the armed conflict with the terrorist group is addressed by the whole country; not just the government but those in the private sector joining hands thru the Whole of a Nation Approach to end local communist armed conflict and its programs by the different government and non-government agencies and offices.

Meanwhile, Cesvir Lopez ,the DILG Baguio focal person of the Ending Local Communist Armed Conflict, called on the people especially the parents to be aware of the activities of their children particularly in urban areas. Baguio City is among the areas where the NPA terrorist groups recruit its members so it is important for the people in the city to know about the deception of the terrorist organization.

“We would like to call upon our constituents, especially the parents, we should know what our children are involved in, (what) our families are involved in, so that we would know how to address when they are called to join terrorism activities,” she said.

The candle lighting activity coincided with the observance of the National Day of Solidarity, Condemnation and Outrage against the CPP-NPA-NDF (Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army- National Democratic Front).

The Police Regional Office – Cordillera said that the candlelight event was also held in the different barangays and police stations thru out the Cordillera provinces and municipalities and in the entire country.

To ensure compliance with the minimum public health standards against the COVID-19, the candlelight events were held at the different locations in the city and the region instead of gathering the different volunteers and stakeholders in one venue. (JDP/RMC- PIA-CAR)

BIFF lair captured, IEDs recovered in Maguindanao

From the Philippine News Agency (Apr 1, 2021): BIFF lair captured, IEDs recovered in Maguindanao (By Edwin Fernandez)

SEIZED. A BIFF hideout found by government troopers in the mountains of Ampatuan, Maguindanao on Wednesday (March 31, 2021). The lair of the extremist group also yielded (inset) seven IEDs, firearms parts and bomb-making components. (Photo courtesy of 6ID)

CAMP SIONGCO, Maguindanao – The military has captured an abandoned lair of the Daesh-inspired Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) in Maguindanao and seized improvised bombs and other bomb-making materials.

Lt. Col. Raymond Rapi, Army’s 1st Scout Ranger Battalion (1SRB) commander, said Thursday the soldiers found the BIFF lair in the mountains of Ampatuan town after a series of clashes in the village of Salman.

“The soldiers discovered an abandoned hideout-cum bomb-making area of the BIFF that has several running trenches and half-size basketball court,” Rapi told reporters here.

Government forces had a running gun battle against the BIFF in Maguindanao on March 18 that affected the towns of Shariff Aguak, Datu Saudi Ampatuan, Mamasapano, Shariff Saydona, Datu Unsay, and Ampatuan.

The 1st SRB has been pursuing the BIFF in the interiors of Ampatuan town, Rapi said.

On Wednesday afternoon, a search around the Salman area resulted in the recovery of seven improvised explosive devices (IEDs), blasting caps, bomb components, electrical wire, solar panel, power supply inverter, two-way radio sets, mobile phones, binocular, a motorbike and other personal items.

On Tuesday, elements of the 23rd Company of the 1st Mechanized Battalion also clashed with a BIFF band in Sitio Bagorot, Barangay Tuayan, Datu Hoffer that led to the recovery of two IEDs ready for disposal.

Maj. Gen. Juvymax Uy, Army’s 6th Infantry Division commander, said that earlier this week, seven IEDs were also disarmed in Salman village as planted by withdrawing BIFF gunmen.

“This brings to a total of 16 IEDs and several BIFF firearms seized so far in ongoing military clearing operations in the affected towns,” Uy said.

Authorities intercept food, explosives for Agusan rebels

From the Philippine News Agency (Apr 1, 2021): Authorities intercept food, explosives for Agusan rebels (By Alexander Lopez)

SUPPLIES FOR REBELS. Two suspects were arrested Wednesday afternoon (March 31, 2021) in Poblacion 2, Santiago, Agusan del Norte with explosives and food supplies supposed to be delivered to New People’s Army rebels in the area. Authorities thanked residents for providing them with information. (Photo courtesy of PRO-13)

Explosives and food supplies believed to be owned by the New People’s Army (NPA) were intercepted in a joint checkpoint of the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Philippine Army on Wednesday afternoon in Santiago, Agusan del Norte.

In a press statement issued Thursday, Brig. Gen. Romeo M. Caramat Jr., director of the Police Regional Office in Caraga (PRO-13), said
two motorcycle drivers were apprehended in Barangay Poblacion 2.

Caramat identified the riders as Darnel Jaudian and Raymund Tanghal, both 24 and residents of Barangay Telesfora in Tubay town.

“I thank the residents in the area for providing us with the information that led to the interception of the explosives and food supplies,” he said.

Seized from the two suspects were 15 meters of detonating cord, one pipe bomb-type improvised explosive device, two magazines for 5.56mm loaded with live ammunition, 33 rounds of caliber 5.56 live ammunition, and assorted goods and food supplies.

“Based on our intelligence report, the items were supposed to be delivered to the members of the NPA’s Guerrilla Front 16, North Eastern Mindanao Regional Committee under the command of Rolando Leyson, Jr., alias Edroy,” Caramat said.

The delivery was scheduled on March 29, in time for the 52nd anniversary of the NPA, the report added.

The suspects are under the custody of the Santiago Municipal Police Station while awaiting charges.

Nolcom reports surrender of 364 Reds in first quarter of 2021

From the Philippine News Agency (Apr 1, 2021): Nolcom reports surrender of 364 Reds in first quarter of 2021 (By Zorayda Tecson)

A total of 364 members of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People's Army (CPP-NPA) operating in Northern and Central Luzon returned to the fold of the law and yielded some 34 assorted firearms in the first quarter of this year.

Lt. Gen. Arnulfo Marcelo B. Burgos Jr., chief of the Northern Luzon Command (Nolcom), said on Thursday that the continuous collapse of the CPP-NPA leadership and the influx of surrenderers from their ranks are manifestations that the terrorist group’s defeat is inevitable.

“Sustained internal security operations and law enforcement operations coupled with the overwhelming support from the local government units and the general public enabled the government troops to successfully thwart any terroristic action by communist terrorists in Northern and Central Luzon. Their leaders continue to fall while their disgruntled members surrender in droves to government forces. These are manifestations that the NPA’s defeat in this part of the country is inevitable,” Burgos said in a statement.

The new surrenderers are in addition to the 396 former rebels who returned to mainstream society last year and yielded a total of 191 firearms. All of them have received various government assistance under the national government’s Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP).

Burgos said 322 of those who returned to the fold of law in January and February are awaiting the release of their respective E-CLIP grants while the remaining 42 rebels who surrendered in March are currently processing their requirements to avail of the government’s local integration program benefits.

Aside from the surrenderers, he said there were several high-profile communist terrorists neutralized during the conduct of internal security operations and law enforcement operations by the government forces in the first quarter period.

Among them were Rommel Tucay, the secretary of Kilusang Larangang Gerilya Sierra Madre; Rudy Daguitan alias Pinpin, the political officer of Kilusang Larangang Gerilya Baggas; Nora Miguel alias Gemay, the medical officer of Kilusang Larangang Gerilya Baggas; Delfin Pimentel of Central Luzon Regional Committee; and Rosalio Canubas alias Yuni, the leader of the NPA’s Regional Operations Command and concurrently the 2nd Deputy Secretary of Komiteng Rehiyon–Cagayan Valley.

“We are determined to totally defeat the communist terrorists by the end of this year. We are right on track in winning the peace and promoting development for the peace-loving citizens of this part of the country. We will press on the fight and end the local communist armed conflict once and for all,” Burgos said.

The Nolcom chief has called on the few remaining members of the communist terrorists in Northern and Central Luzon to go back to mainstream society and live peacefully with their families.

“As the whole Christendom observes the Holy Week, we are appealing to our misguided brothers and sisters in Northern and Central Luzon to contemplate and do the right thing. Lay down your arms, abandon your armed struggle and return to government fold for your sake and for the sake of your families,” he said.

AFP chief wishes for healing of PH, world on Lent

From the Philippine News Agency (Apr 1, 2021): AFP chief wishes for healing of PH, world on Lent (By Priam Nepomuceno)

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

As the nation observes Holy Week, Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief-of-staff, Lt. Gen. Cirilito Sobejana, said he continues to pray for the healing of the country and the rest of the world from the sorrow and suffering brought by the coronavirus pandemic.

"Hiling ko ang taimtim at makabuluhang pagdiriwang sa Semana Santa para sa ating lahat. Patuloy natin ipanalangin ang tuluyang paghilom sa lahat ng klase ng sugat at sakit na iniinda ng atin bansa at buong mundo. Pagpalain nawa tayong lahat (May fervent wish is for a solemn and worthwhile observance of Holy Week for all us. Let us pray for the healing of all wounds and sickness being experienced by our country and the rest of the world. May God bless us all)," Sobejana said in his Lenten message sent to reporters on Wednesday night.

As the AFP joins the rest of the Christian world in the annual religious observation, Sobejana urged every Filipino to remember all the sacrifices of Jesus Christ and live in accordance with his teachings.

"Tayo ngayon ay nahaharap sa mga matitinding pagsubok, mas lalo dapat natinng ipadama ang pagmamahal sa atin kapwa. Hindi man natin mayakap at mahagkan ang isa't isa dahil sa banta ng pandemya, ipadama natin ang init ng atin pagmamahal sa pamamagitan ng pagkalinga sa isa't isa lalo na sa mga higit na nangailangan (We are now facing severe tests which requires us to show our love to our fellow human beings. We might not be able to embrace and kiss one another due to the threat of the pandemic but we can still show our love to one another for showing care and compassion to each other, especially to those needing it more)," he added.

Sobejana also said despite challenges and hardships, the AFP continues to pray that Filipinos will continue to have strength, clear-mindedness, and genuine compassion in facing the present crisis.

"Maniwala at manalig tayo, lilipas din ang lahat ng ito. Matatapos din ang unos. (Believe and have faith. All of this will come to pass, the storm will soon end)," he added.

Illegal structures spotted in PH feature in WPS: AFP

From the Philippine News Agency (Apr 1, 2021): Illegal structures spotted in PH feature in WPS: AFP (By Priam Nepomuceno) 

File photo

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP)'s maritime patrol off Pagkakaisa Banks last March 30 have resulted in the discovery of illegal man-made structures constructed in some of its features.

"During this patrol, we were able to document man-made structures that were built on some of the features. These structures are illegal,"
said AFP chief-of-staff Lt. Gen. Cirilito Sobejana, in a statement Thursday.

Pagkakaisa Banks is under the jurisdiction of the Municipality of Kalayaan, Palawan while Julian Felipe Reef is a large boomerang-shaped shallow coral reef at the northeast of Pagkakaisa Banks and Reefs (Union Reefs), located approximately 175 nautical miles west of Bataraza, Palawan.

Earlier, the National Task Force West Philippine Sea (NTF WPS) expressed concern about a Philippine Coast Guard sighting report where around 220 Chinese fishing vessels, believed to be manned by Chinese maritime militia personnel, were sighted in line formation at the Julian Felipe Reef last March 7.

"The Laws of the Sea gives the Philippines indisputable and exclusive rights over the area. These constructions and other activities, economic or otherwise, are prejudicial to peace, good order, and security of our territorial waters," Sobejana said.

He added that the AFP, through the Western Command, regularly conducts maritime patrols in the West Philippine Sea as part of its constitutional mandate to protect the country's sovereignty and sovereign rights.

"We have already updated our higher civilian authorities such as the Department of Foreign Affairs and Department of National Defense about these offenses to our sovereignty," Sobejana said.

He also assured every Filipino that AFP efforts continue to dutifully perform its mandate to protect and advance our national interests in the area.

Arms cache, explosives seized from house of Reds’ labor organizer

From the Philippine News Agency (Apr 1, 2021): Arms cache, explosives seized from house of Reds’ labor organizer (By Christopher Lloyd Caliwan)

ARMS CACHE. Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) chief, Maj. Gen. Albert Ignatius Ferro (right), inspects one of the several assorted high-powered firearms seized from the house of a female labor organizer, Maritess Santos David alias "Teacher Laly", in Sta. Rosa, Laguna on March 30. (CIDG photo)

MANILA – Police seized some eight assorted high-powered firearms, ammunition, and explosives from a female labor organizer's house in Sta. Rosa, Laguna on March 30.

Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) chief, Maj. Gen. Albert Ignatius Ferro, in a report released on March 31, identified the house owner as Maritess Santos David alias "Teacher Laly", a resident of No. 3275 Blk 2 Street, Oval Subdivision, Barangay Market Area, Sta Rosa, Laguna.

David, who reportedly has links to the Communist Party of the Philippine – New People’s Army (CPP-NPA), was not around when a search warrant was implemented for violations of Republic Act 10591 (Comprehensive Firearms and Ammunition Regulation Act), and Republic Act 9516 (Illegal Possession of Explosives), issued by Presiding Judge Charito M. Macalintal-Sawali of RTC Branch 66, Fourth Judicial Region in Tanauan Batangas.

Ferro said David, a known labor sector in Calabarzon, has direct links to members of Alyansa nang Manggagawang sa Enklabo (AMEN)), Pagkakaisa ng mga Manggagawa sa Timog Katagalugan (PAMANTIK ), Revolutionary Council Trade Union(RCTU), Organized Labor Association in Line industries and Agriculture (OLALIA), allegedly provides safe haven and arms stash for NPA hitmen known as Sparu Units.

The police operation was witnessed by barangay officials of the locality.

Seized from David’s house were: one M-1 .30 caliber carbine rifle with Serial Number (SN): 953078; one M-2 30cal carbine rifle w/ scope and silencer and w/o SN; one Bushmaster rifle with SN: L767622; one unit M-16 Elisco Rifle with defaced SN; one unit M-16 Colt AR-15 rifle with defaced SN; three .45 caliber pistols; nine long magazines for M-16 rifle; three short magazines for M-16 rifle; 530 rounds of M-16 ammunition; two magazines for a carbine rifle; 17 rounds of M-14 ammunition; three pieces of .45 caliber magazines; 21 rounds for .45 caliber pistol; holster for .45 caliber pistol; one suppressor for .45 caliber; nine M-203 grenades; one improvised anti-troop carrier mine; three improvised claymore mines; 15 pieces of improvised anti-personnel mine; one claymore mine; one roll detonating cord; 10 blasting caps; one claymore mine switch; 50 meters of claymore wire; one M-16 bandolier; one M-203 bandolier; one M-16 rifle bag; Samsung laptop with charger and case; four envelopes containing subversive documents; several subversive streamers.

Election materials for Kabataan Party-list Rep. Sara Elago and former Bayan Muna Party-list Rep Neri Colmenares were also found at David’s house.

Ferro said the confiscated subversive documents contain materials related to the armed anti-government activities of the CPP-NPA and National Democratic Front. (NDF), as follows:

* Dalawang Mahalagang Tungkuin Partido ng Maynila-Rizal;

* Intermedyang Kurso ng Partido (IKP);

* Pagbubuo ng Pambansang Nagkakaisang Prente;

* Istruktura ng mg Rekisito sa Pagbubuo ng Rebolusyonaryong Prente;

* Saligang Alyansa ng Uring Manggagawa at Magsasaka. Nagkakaisang Prente para sa Armadong Pakikibaka;

* Memo from NOC-NMC Para sa: ROC ng mga KR sa Pamamagitan ng KIKR (Pebrero 25, 2018);

* Pagbubuo ng Komprehensibong Organisasyong masa ng Kabataan (Augusto 2, 1998);

* Paglilinaw sa Ilang usapin sa hakbang-hakbang pag-oorganisa sa Kanayunan (Komiteng Tagapagpaganap ng Konite Sentral ng PKP (Septembre 2000);

* Angating paglalagom ng Paglubos ng IDKP sa Timog Katalugan;

* Mga Rebolusyong Militar na dapat mahigpit na panghawakan ng BHB;

* Ang 5 Taong Programa ng Johnson & Johnson;

* Mahahalagang Sipi sa Tungkulin ng Partido at Rebolusyonaryong Kilusan sa TK batay sa 5-taong Programa ng KR;

* Hinggil sa Mabilis na Pagpapalawak ng Baseng Masa at Partido KTKR MMR;

* Pahayag ng Pakikiisa ng Pagdiriwang ng ika-46 Anibersaryo ng Pagkakatatag ng Partido Komunista ng Pilipinas;

* Magkakasunod na taktikal na opensiba ng NPA-Laguna Tagumpay! Jaime “Ka Doego” Padilla Spokesperson NPA-Southern Tagalog (Melito Gior Command);

* Bayarin ng mga Sub-Rehiyon sa 50% Share sa Procurement ng Military Hardware;

* MEMO SIRKULAR ukol sa Pinakahuling Sitwasyong Militar sa Rehiyon at mga Tagubilin;

* PAMANTIK-KMU Press Release on Kontratwalisasyon, Labor only Contracting; and

* 12 Puntong Programa ng Pambansa-Demokrattikong Prente.

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