Wednesday, April 21, 2021

US ready to help in securing PH exclusive zones: envoy

From the Philippine News Agency (Apr 20, 2021): US ready to help in securing PH exclusive zones: envoy (By Joyce Ann L. Rocamora)

PH PROPERTY. The National Task Force-West Philippine Sea reiterates the country’s assertion of sovereignty and jurisdiction over the Kalayaan Island Group and the West Philippine Sea. The country has also protested the continuing presence of Chinese vessels in its seas, as shown in this undated photo. (Photo courtesy of NTF-WPS)

The United States government is "obviously waiting" for Manila to call if it needs assistance in removing foreign vessels staying unauthorized in the country's exclusive economic zone (EEZ), Philippine Ambassador to the US Jose Manuel Romualdez said Tuesday.

"So we were working round the clock, so to speak, in terms of being able to navigate or making sure that there’s the freedom of the sea and that Code of Conduct that we are pushing,"
he said in a pre-taped briefing with Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque.

"At the same time, the United States is obviously waiting for us to call them if we need their assistance in removing or asking the vessels that are parked in our area of responsibility or economic zone. And both our Philippine Navy and the US Navy are working on this,"
he added.

The envoy issued the statement when asked if there were any commitments from the US side in securing the West Philippine Sea.

Romualdez said both the Pentagon and the Armed Forces of the Philippines are communicating on the matter.

"(Defense) Secretary (Delfin) Lorenzana had a recent telephone conversation with Secretary (of Defense Lloyd Austin) in the United States. Both are obviously working together and the United States has just recently sent their USS Theodore Roosevelt and they had an operation there at the West Philippine Sea," he said.

The Philippine government, through the Department of Foreign Affairs, earlier issued a barrage of diplomatic protests against the continued presence of Chinese vessels in the Julian Felipe Reef and several areas within the country's EEZ.

In a public address on Monday, President Rodrigo Duterte warned China that he will send “gray ships” to the West Philippine Sea should it start drilling for oil in the disputed waters.

The Philippines appreciates the statements of support from its international partners who share common adherence to rules-based order consistent with international law, according to the National Task Force-West Philippine Sea.

PH Navy eyes tie-up with Turkey for modernization efforts

From the Philippine News Agency (Apr 21, 2021): PH Navy eyes tie-up with Turkey for modernization efforts (By Priam Nepomuceno)

(Photo courtesy of Turkey Ministry of National Defense)

MANILA – The Philippine Navy (PN) is exploring ways to collaborate with the Turkish government in its ongoing modernization efforts, its chief said Tuesday night.

"The objective of the visit was for the PN to explore methods of collaboration with the Turkish government in terms of pursuing current and future modernization efforts," Vice Adm. Giovanni Carlo Bacordo said in a message to the Philippine News Agency (PNA) when asked regarding the visit of a PN delegation to Turkey last week.

Bacordo said the delegation’s visit was at the invitation of the Askeri Fabrika ve Tersane İşletme, Military Factory, and Shipyard Management (ASFAT, Inc.), a state-owned defense contractor that is directly under Turkey's Defense Ministry.

"The visit was also an opportunity for the Turkish government to showcase their defense capabilities to us through ASFAT, the Turkish Navy, and other agencies," he said.

The ASFAT develops, manages, and uses the facilities and capabilities of the 27 ordnance factories and three public naval shipyards in Turkey.

"They are particularly interested in providing capability and technology solutions and be able to participate in the different acquisition projects for naval vessels and other defense equipment. Their main selling point is their centuries-old and proven shipyard capability that guarantees the quality of work and long-term integrated logistics support," he said.

Bacordo, meanwhile, noted that the successful engagement with the Turkish Navy is perceived as a significant opportunity that would jumpstart future cooperation in maritime security through naval exercises, personnel exchanges, and education and training, among others.

Don't use community pantries in anti-gov't propaganda: PNP

From the Philippine News Agency (Apr 21, 2021): Don't use community pantries in anti-gov't propaganda: PNP (By Christopher Lloyd Caliwan)

A community pantry in Malabon (Photo courtesy of Nina Louise Tesorero)

Groups and individuals are free to set up community pantries to help the needy but using these to incite hatred against the government is a different story, the Philippine National Police (PNP) said on Wednesday.

PNP spokesperson, Brig. Gen. Ronaldo Olay, made this remark, following reports of some community pantries where anti-government leaflets are being distributed to beneficiaries.

"Yan ay binabato sa mga commanders on the ground namin kaya yun ang tinitingnan namin na huwag naman ito abusuhin o sakyan ng mga grupo. Sa amin ay kung in the spirit of bayanihan ay talagang nagbibigay sila ng ayuda at walang kulay ay wala pong masama doon dahil pagtulong ito pero kapag sinakyan na ito ng mga ibang organisasyon na may ibang pakay ay doon na magkakaroon ng ibang interpretasyon ang kanilang mga gawain (We have relayed this to the commanders on the ground because what we are after is that these should not be abused or taken advantage of by some groups. As for us, there is nothing wrong with helping one another in the spirit of bayanihan but if these are taken advantage of by other organizations that have other motives. This gives a different interpretation of their acts)," Olay said in a Laging Handa briefing.

Olay added that community pantry organizers have nothing to fear about the presence of police officers, stressing that their only concern is to ensure orderly distribution and observance of health protocols.

“The police officers were only deployed to ensure peace and order for people lining up at the pantries. Para walang mag unahan (So that no one will skip the lines)," he added.

Olay also added that PNP chief, Gen. Debold Sinas, has ordered an investigation into the alleged profiling and red tagging of community pantry organizers by police officers.

"Inatasan niya ang CIDG (Criminal Investigation and Detection Group) at saka ang ACG (Anti-Cybercrime Group) on Facebook accounts ng PNP na nag-share ng mga posts na nagbibigay bahid sa mga gawaing ito (He has ordered the CIDG and the ACG to probe these Facebook accounts of the PNP that shared alleged red-tagging posts),” he said.

Meanwhile, Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Undersecretary and spokesperson Jonathan Malaya also appealed to groups and people to spare the noble cause from politics.

Spare from politics

"Whatever they say during those community pantries, if they put on signs, are part of protected speech. We are a democratic society and people can say whatever they want. However, we in the DILG would rather that people do not include politics in the community pantry,’’ Malaya said in an interview with ABS-CBN News Channel.

Malaya emphasized that adding political color to community pantries may turn these acts into an act of propaganda.

The DILG official noted that the department appeals to the public and organizers of the community pantry “to keep this initiative politically zero so that we do not further complicate (current health situation).’’

“We are already in a disaster and then we are ascribing politics to what should be selfless acts of kindness,’’ said Malaya.

The DILG earlier denied that it has tapped the PNP to conduct profiling and surveillance of community pantry organizers.

"In fact, we support the existence of these pantries. We offered the help of the PNP and barangays if needed so these community pantries may operate freely," he added.

With regards to declarations attributed to the National Task Force To End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) pertaining to leftist groups using community pantries for propaganda purposes, Malaya explained that this is different from the statement coming from the DILG.

“We are part of the NTF-ELCAC but we are not the head of the communications cluster. It's headed by someone else, by Usec. (Undersecretary) Lorraine Badoy so the statements coming from the NTF-ELCAC are different from those coming from the DILG. I do not wish to intrude with what the NTF-ELCAC is doing," he said, adding that the DILG is mandated to supervise peace and order, public safety and good local governance.

Panelo backs ‘probability’ Reds taking advantage of pantries

From the Philippine News Agency (Apr 21, 2021): Panelo backs ‘probability’ Reds taking advantage of pantries

File photo

Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo on Wednesday said the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) should be allowed to do its mandate, citing “probability” that communist terrorist groups (CTGs) may use community pantries to raise funds for their operations in the country.

This, after acknowledging concerns raised by the NTF-ELCAC that community pantries may be used by groups linked to the Communist Party of the Philippines and New People’s Army (CPP-NPA).

“Hayaan niyo na. ‘Yun naman ang trabaho nila para suriin. Kasi meron naman talagang probilidad na magagamit ng mga komunista ito (Just let them be. It’s their job to look into this. There is really a probability that they may be used by communists),” Panelo said in his online commentary show “Counterpoint.”

He, however, allayed fears over the safety of community pantry organizers, saying only those who are actually part of leftist groups should fear for their safety.

“Pagdating naman ho sa red-tagging, yung kanilang profiling, huwag niyo na ho alalahanin ‘yan. Kasi kung kayo naman, yung mga nag-organize… e talagang wala naman kayong dapat na ipangamba na kayo’y miyembro ng ganito o ganyan. Tuloy niyo lang ‘yan. Maganda ho ‘yan (When it comes to red-tagging or profiling, don’t worry about it. Because you have nothing to fear if you’re not a member of this or that. Just continue. That’s a good initiative),” he added.

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.

Permit not needed

Panelo added that organizers need not to apply for permit before putting up community pantries to help those in need of food and other essentials amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) earlier said it is up to barangay officials to determine whether to impose permit requirements for community pantry organizers.

He said it is enough for organizers to give their local officials a head’s up about their plans so that they could be assisted in terms of implementing minimum health and safety standards.

“Yung mga permit-permit, hindi naman kailangan ng permit. Actually, ang kailangan lang diyan, siguro ipaalam mo lang para alam ng munispyo at ng city hall na ikaw ay nandiyan, eto yung gagawin mo at padalhan ka ng mga tutulong sa iyo upang mapanatili yung kaayusan (Permits are not necessary. Actually, all you need is to inform your municipality or city hall about what you’re doing so they can send help in maintaining order),” he said in his online commentary show “Counterpoint.”

DILG Undersecretary Martin Diño earlier asserted the need for a permit before setting up community pantries to prevent overcrowding.

DILG spokesperson Jonathan Malaya later clarified that barangays should not compel organizers to apply for permits.

Malacañang said President Rodrigo Duterte wants officials of the NTF-ELCAC to refrain from impeding efforts being carried out by organizers of community pantries.


Panelo said the government encourages setting up community pantries, noting that Filipinos are naturally helpful.

He said that showing love and concern for fellow Filipinos is the “essence of being a Christian.”

“Kung kayo ay Kristiyano, ‘yun ang esensya ng pagkaka-Kristiyano niyo, magiging mapagmahal at mapagmalasakit kayo sa inyong kapwa. Di ba sabi ni Kristo (If you are a Christian, that is the essence of being a Christian, being loving and having concern for others. Didn’t Christ say), what you do to the least of your brothers or sisters, you do unto me,” he said.

Community pantries have sprouted across the country amid the government’s ongoing distribution of assistance to 22.9 million low-income individuals or families affected by the two-week enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) imposed in the National Capital Region Plus (NCR plus) area from March 29 to April 11 to contain surge of Covid-19 cases.

A total of PHP23 billion was allotted as aid for residents of NCR Plus area composed of Metro Manila, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, and Rizal.

Each qualified resident may receive cash or in-kind assistance of PHP1,000 each or up to a maximum of PHP4,000 for a family.

The DILG earlier announced that the aid distribution has been extended to May 15 to provide local officials enough time to rollout aid utilizing different schemes such as house-to-house distribution, automated financial system, or designated public distribution points.

WPS security assured with more assets

From the Philippine News Agency (Apr 21, 2021): WPS security assured with more assets (By Priam Nepomuceno)\

The National Task Force for the West Philippine Sea (NTF WPS) is coordinating for the deployment of more assets needed by Area Task Forces (ATF) in securing the country's control and sovereignty over the maritime territory.

"In compliance with the directive of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte to sustain our sovereignty patrols in the WPS, increase the safety of life at sea operations and intensified operations against Illegal, Unreported, Unregulated Fishing (IUUF), the NTF WPS has coordinated for the deployment of more assets under the control of its ATF," NTF WPS spokesperson, Assistant Secretary Omar Romero, said in a statement Wednesday.

To augment the vessels and aircraft currently under the country of the ATFs, he said, the government has deployed four Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) vessels, one PCG aircraft, five Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) vessels for WPS maritime patrols, and Philippine National Police-Maritime Group (PNP-MG) high-speed tactical watercraft and rubber boats for maritime law enforcement in the coastal areas.

The Philippines, he said, has sovereignty over the features and the surrounding territorial seas in Kalayaan, Palawan, and enjoys sovereign rights over its exclusive economic zone (EEZ) within the West Philippine Sea.

9 island detachments

"ATF-West maintains nine island detachments in the Municipality of Kalayaan with the biggest contingent at Pag-asa Islands, the seat of the Municipality. Pag-asa Islands host the Rancudo Airfield which was built in 1978.,” he added. “ATF-West covers the Malampaya Gas Field and the resource-rich Recto Bank.”

Meanwhile, ATF-North covers Bajo de Masinloc, the islands north of Cagayan, Batanes Province, the Philippine Rise, and the latter’s Extended Continental Shelf (ECS).

It also maintains detachments on the islands of Batanes.

"The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), through the Western and Northern Luzon Commands, continues to support law enforcement and sovereignty patrols of the BFAR, PCG, and PNP (Philippine National Police), utilizing Philippine Navy (PN), and Philippine Air Force (PAF) maritime and air assets under its disposal," Romero said.

Some nine detachments under Philippine control, he said, are continuously being developed to further strengthen the country's position in the WPS.

Other infra

"On Pag-asa, the Department of Transportation (DoTr) constructed a PHP 1.1 billion sheltered port and beaching ramp, while the PAF is overseeing the rehabilitation of the airstrip. These will greatly improve the transport of goods, people, and services in and out of Pag-asa, and boost investments in fisheries and seasonal tourism," he said.

A telecommunications company has facilities to provide cellular services and data connection to residents of Pag-asa.

"Moreover, to further enhance the communication services, the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) is developing a facility to provide free Wi-Fi internet coverage over the whole island.

"To promote the safety of navigation, the PCG has constructed five lighthouses at the following features: Pag-asa, Patag (Flat) Island, Panata Island, Parola Island (Northeast Cay), and Likas (West York) Island. The PN has provided desalination and solar-powered lighting facilities for these features in support of our law enforcers stationed at the detachments," Romero said.

PhP8.8-B development

He added that for other medium-term developments, the government is presently undertaking a PHP8.869-billion development program, consistent with the overall plan of the Palawan Council for Sustainable Development, for the environmental protection, security, safety, and sustainable development in Kalayaan.

The BFAR, Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Department of the Interior and Local Government, and local government units shall collectively implement, as mandated, the establishment of Fishery Management Areas.

The DENR, he said, has further proposed the declaration of a marine protected landscape and seascape covering the Pag-asa Islands and eastern parts of the Kalayaan Island Group.

Whole-of-Nation approach

"The foregoing whole-of-nation approach to protect our national interest in the WPS manifests the firm rejection of the Philippine Government of any attempt to undermine the 2016 Arbitral Award. We are exhausting all means possible to protect our territory and EEZ," Romero said.

It can be recalled that Duterte declared before the UN General Assembly on September 22, 2020, and during the ASEAN Summit on November 2020, that the 2016 Arbitral Award is “now part of international law, beyond compromise and beyond the reach of passing governments to dilute, diminish or abandon,” at the same time affirming the Philippines’ commitment to the peaceful settlement of disputes in the South China Sea.

The NTF WPS remains firm in upholding sovereignty over its territory as mandated by the Constitution, and protecting the country's sovereign rights over the Philippine EEZ in accordance with international law, he added in the statement.

Primary suspect in 2018 twin bombings in S. Kudarat yields

From the Philippine News Agency (Apr 21, 2021): Primary suspect in 2018 twin bombings in S. Kudarat yields (By Noel Punzalan)

VOLUNTARY SURRENDER. The mug shot of Norton Saptula, the principal suspect in the 2018 twin bombings in Isulan town of Sultan Kudarat province who voluntarily surrendered to authorities on Wednesday (April 21, 2021). The suspect is implicated in the Aug. 28, 2018 and Sept. 2, 2018 bombings that killed three persons and wounded 36 others. (Photo courtesy of Ampatuan MPS)

The principal suspect in the 2018 twin bombings in Sultan Kudarat province yielded to authorities Wednesday through the intervention of the local government of Ampatuan, Maguindanao.

Brig. Gen. Eden Ugale, director of the Police Regional Office-Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao,
identified the suspect as Norton S. Saptula alias Jihad who voluntarily surrendered to authorities from his hideout in Barangay Poblacion, Ampatuan town.

“He yielded with no resistance,” Ugale said in a report.

He said authorities were set to serve a warrant of arrest by the Regional Trial Court 12th Judicial Region Branch 19 for multiple murder and multiple frustrated murder charges on the suspect at 10 a.m. when town officials led by Ampatuan Mayor Bai Leah G. Sangki intervened and convinced the latter to surrender peacefully.

Saptula is listed as the top wanted person in Ampatuan town and is also among the top five most wanted individuals in the region by the Police Regional Office-12.

The suspect is linked to the Daesh-inspired Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters-Karialan faction operating in the peripheries of Maguindanao and Sultan Kudarat provinces.

NPA member yields, turns over firearm to W. Visayas police

From the Philippine News Agency (Apr 21, 2021): NPA member yields, turns over firearm to W. Visayas police (By Perla Lena)

SURRENDER. Alias “Toto”, a member of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA), turns over his firearm to PRO-6 Director, Brig. Gen. Rolando Miranda, on Wednesday (April 21, 2021). He said he decided to surrender due to the hardships that he experienced while in the mountains. (PNA photo courtesy of PRO6 RPIO)

An active member of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) in Iloilo has given up the armed struggle to lead a normal life.

Alias “Toto”, 23, a resident of Lambunao, Iloilo, was presented to the media at the Police Regional Office 6 (PRO-6) headquarters on Wednesday following his surrender to the Regional Intelligence Division in Calinog town on April 10.

He was an active member of the Squad 2 Sandatahang Yunit Pampropaganda (SYP), Baloy Platoon, Central Front, of the Komiteng Rehiyon (KR) Panay.

"Toto" said he was recruited sometime in November 2016 by a certain Eldie Labinghisa or Ka “Itik” and had engaged in not less than 10 violent incidents perpetrated by the communist terrorist group (CTG) from 2018 to 2020.

He said he decided to surrender because he realized he had nothing to gain from being with the local terrorist group. While in the mountains, he only experienced hunger, hardships, and lack of sleep, especially during encounters.

The surrenderer turned over his M14 rifle with 82 rounds of ammunition to the Philippine National Police (PNP).

In an interview with the media, "Toto" said he has full trust in the government, and called on the remaining members of the CPP-NPA to also give up their armed struggle.

During his presentation, the former rebel received financial assistance from PRO-6 regional director Brig. Gen. Rolando Miranda.

In a statement, PRO-6 also called on the remaining members of the CPP-NPA in Western Visayas to lay down their arms and surrender to the government instead of sacrificing themselves and being used by the communist group's grand extortion strategy.

The CPP-NPA, which has been waging a five-decade armed struggle against the government, is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines.

High-powered firearms, ammunition recovered in Masbate

From the Philippine News Agency (Apr 20, 2021): High-powered firearms, ammunition recovered in Masbate (By Connie Calipay)

RECOVERED. Government troops recovered two M-16 rifles, two bandoliers, 12 magazines, ammunition, and personal belongings after an armed encounter on Tuesday (April 20, 2021) with rebels in Sitio Valley farm, Barangay Tigbao in Milagros, Masbate. Capt. John Paul Belleza, 9th Infantry Division (9ID) spokesperson, said the troops fought with at least 10 rebels, after which the enemies withdrew. (Photo courtesy of 9ID)

Government troops recovered two M-16 rifles, two bandoliers, 12 magazines, ammunition, and personal belongings after an armed encounter with rebels in Sitio Valley farm, Barangay Tigbao in Milagros, Masbate on Tuesday night.

Capt. John Paul Belleza, 9th Infantry Division (9ID) spokesperson, in a statement on Wednesday said soldiers received a tip-off from the residents about the communist terrorist groups' (CTGs) presence in the area.

“While conducting security operation, the troops encountered at least 10 communist New People’s Army (NPA) rebels. After a few minutes of firefight, the enemies withdrew and no one was harmed on the government side,” he said.

Meanwhile, the new brigade commander of the 903rd Infantry Brigade, Col. Aldwine Almase, called on the rebels to withdraw their membership and support from the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF) and return to the fold of the law.

"When you harm the innocent civilians and terrorize their communities, we will fight back. But when you choose to abandon the CTG, our arms are wide open to welcome you back," Almase said.

In Masbate, the government has been receiving continuous support from the residents who have denounced the CTGs' terrorism which, for so long a time, has been threatening the peace and progress of the province.

The Joint Task Force Bicolandia (JTFB) under Maj. Gen. Henry Robinson Jr. is confident that the communist insurgency can no longer gain its ground in the province.

"The snowballing of surrenderers and the growing support of the local populace in Masbate are the fruits of our unyielding efforts to eradicate the communist insurgency. Wala ng puwang ang CTG sa lipunang ito lalo na sa puso ng mga Bicolano na ayaw ng magpalinlang pa sa walang saysay na ideolohiya ng teroristang grupong ito. Matagal na kayong talo sa labang ito, ayaw n'yo lang tanggapin (CTG has no space in society particularly for Bicolanos, who do not want the deceiving and nonsense ideology of this terrorist group. You have long been defeated but you deny it) that is why all you can do are desperate retaliations and treacherous attacks," Robinson said.

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

Community support program sways 'Reds' to rejoin gov't

From the Philippine News Agency (Apr 20, 2021): Community support program sways 'Reds' to rejoin gov't (By Perla Lena)

SURRENDERED. Some of the 30 firearms surrendered by 26 Milisyang Bayan on April 17, 2021. Major Cenon Pancito III, the spokesperson of the Philippine Army’s 3rd Infantry Division (3ID), said on Tuesday (April 20, 2021) that the surrender was due to the efforts of the Community Support Program teams deployed in rebel-influenced areas. (Photo courtesy of 301st Infantry Brigade, Philippine Army)

The community support program (CSP) deployed in areas influenced by communist terrorist groups (CTGs) in Iloilo province and this city was able to convince 26 Milisyang Bayan and 19 members of various sectors allied with the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) to return to the government fold.

The 26 Milisyang Bayan were presented to their local chief executives in a simple ceremony held at the Camp Ceferino in Barangay Libot, Calinog, Iloilo on April 17 while the 19 others took their oath of allegiance to the government on April 14 in Mandurriao District here.

Major Cenon Pancito III, the spokesperson of the Philippine Army’s 3rd Infantry Division (3ID), said that Milisyang Bayan
is being used by the CPP-NPA as part of its intelligence network and tactical offensive.

“We are thankful because of this CSP we are able to convince these people to turn their back from the NPA and support the government’s efforts of genuine peace,” he said on Tuesday.

The Milisyang Bayan surrenderers are composed of six from the municipality of Calinog, seven from the municipality of Lambunao, and 13 from the municipality of Janiuay.

They yielded to the 12th Infantry Battalion (12IB) and the Municipal Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict in their respective municipalities.

They also turned over 15 short and 15 long firearms following their presentation to their local government units (LGUs).

Pancito said the Milisyang Bayan were presented to their mayors because the LGU has a say in terms of the provision of livelihood assistance.

They will be subjected to validation to be able to avail of the firearm remuneration and cash and livelihood assistance as provided for under the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP).

“We will work it out that they avail of the support,” he said.

Present during the event were 12IB commanding officer Lt. Col. Joseph Jason Estrada, Janiuay Mayor Bienvenido Margarico, Calinog Municipal information officer Chester Larroder, and Iloilo Police Provincial Office director Col. Gilbert Gorero.

Meanwhile, the 19 members and officers of Katilingban Sang Imol Sa Syudad Organisadong Grupo (KAISOG) led by Evelyn Pinuela; Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA) under Alex Pinuela; Anak-Bayan member Francis Pinuela, and transport group led by Evan Pinuela took their oath of allegiance as one of the highlights of the multi-sectoral meeting facilitated by the CSP team of the 33rd Civil-Military Operation (CMO) Company.

Pancito added that with the CSP, people will have a change of heart the moment the team speaks to them.

“Our CSP is our primary tool in clearing the barangays of the influence of the CPP-NPA,” he added.

Brig. Gen. Marion Sison, commander of the 301st Infantry Brigade, in a statement said the mass surrender of CPP-NPA members is “a strong manifestation that the former rebels can no longer be deceived by the false ideologies of the communist terrorist group”.

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

1ID promotes 2 medical front-liners, dons rank to 8 reservists

From the Philippine News Agency (Apr 20, 2021): 1ID promotes 2 medical front-liners, dons rank to 8 reservists (By Teofilo Garcia, Jr.)

The Philippine Army’s 1st Infantry Division (1ID) promoted to the next higher ranks two medical front-liners of the command, an Army official said Tuesday.

Maj. Gen. Generoso Ponio, 1ID commander, said the two promoted medical front-liners are Major Lorelyn Cabute, who was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel, and 1st Lieutenant Naciba Guro to Captain.

Ponio said Cabute, a chief nurse, and Guro, of the medical corps, are both assigned at 1ID Station Hospital.

At the same time, the 1ID donned ranks to eight newly-commissioned reservists in a ceremony Monday at Camp Major Cesar Sang-an that houses the 1ID headquarters in Labangan, Zamboanga del Sur.

Commissioned to Lieutenant Colonels were Mister Simlo Lomarda (public school district supervisor), and Miss Dinah Ortezuela (teacher); for Majors were Mister Joel Siotong (Dean of Student Affairs at the Mindanao Autonomous College Foundation, Inc. in Basilan), Mister Ricky Alagase (teacher), Mister Junard Sagape (teacher); for Captain was Pagadian City Councilor Sam Tyra Co; and for 1st Lieutenants were Mister Ronnel Montebon (school registrar) and Mister Jeffrey Tagapulot (teacher).

“We the Army, will continuously evolved into a professional organization, it will tap the vast resources afforded to us by our citizenry. We should instill patriotism, love of country in our young professionals and encouraged them through the spirit of volunteerism to serve our country and our people as reserve officers,” he said.