Thursday, May 6, 2021

Support new PNP chief, Sinas tells cops

From the Philippine News Agency (May 6. 2021): Support new PNP chief, Sinas tells cops (By Christopher Lloyd Caliwan)

PNP chief, Gen. Debold Sinas (File photo)

Outgoing Philippine National Police (PNP) chief, Gen. Debold Sinas on Thursday urged all members of the police force to rally behind his successor, Lt. Gen. Guillermo Eleazar.

“I urge you to give my classmate, Police Lt. Gen Guillermo Lorenzo T Eleazar, the same 100 percent support you gave during the past six months under my watch,” he added.

Sinas will retire from the service on Saturday upon reaching the mandatory retirement age of 56. He will formally relinquish the PNP's top post to Eleazar in a change of command ceremony in Camp Crame, Quezon City on Friday.

“Every Chief PNP appointed to the post carries with him the full trust and confidence of the President of the Republic of the Philippines, therefore, he deserves the unqualified support of all the officers and personnel under his command,” Sinas said.

Sinas, meanwhile, believed he was able to do his best to serve the country during his stint as PNP chief.

“It has been probably the longest six months tour of duty we have served together to accomplish our mission for the Filipino people. And I honestly believe we have been able to deliver more than what we promised to the President and the Filipino people, because everyone stood by me, from the ranking officers in the headquarters to the last beat patroller in the streets,” he added.

Both Sinas and Eleazar are members of the Philippine Military Academy Class of 1987.

Eleazar graduated cum laude as Top 4 of the class.

He gained popularity in 2016 when he took the helm of the Quezon City Police District (QCPD) where he waged relentless anti-crime and anti-illegal drug operations that led to the arrest of notorious street criminals; dismantling of notorious robbery-holdup groups; and arrest and neutralization of drug targets including rogue police personnel involved in crime.

Under his leadership, QCPD was recognized in a survey commissioned by the National Police Commission as the “most trusted Police District in NCRPO”. He was eventually promoted as regional director of the Police Regional Office 4A (Calabarzon) and the National Capital Region Police Office.

In 2019, he rose to the PNP Command Group after being named chief of the directorial staff, the fourth top post in the police force.

He was later elevated to the position of deputy chief for operations where he concurrently headed the Joint Task Force Covid Shield, the law enforcement and public safety arm of the Inter-Agency Task Force on Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID).

He was then promoted as deputy chief for administration in September 2020.

PH to defend territory even without PCA ruling: DND

From the Philippine News Agency (May 6. 2021): PH to defend territory even without PCA ruling: DND (By Priam Nepomuceno)

DND Secretary Delfin Lorenzana (File photo)

The Philippines is committed to protecting its rightful territories even without the 2016 Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) ruling which invalidated Chinese claims over the West Philippine Sea, the Department of National Defense (DND) said on Thursday.

"What President (Rodrigo) Duterte said last night regarding the PCA ruling is correct. There is no international law enforcement body that can enforce it. However, even without the PCA ruling, we will continue to defend what is rightfully ours," Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said in a statement.

This came after President Rodrigo R. Duterte, in his public address on Wednesday night, claimed that invoking the 2016 PCA ruling is just a waste of time.

“Iyang papel, sa totoong buhay between nations, iyang papel, wala iyan (The document showing our victory, in real life, that is nothing between nations),” he said.

Duterte also said he attempted to assert the ruling but the country gained nothing from it.

“Tayo nanalo. Ngayon pagdating ko, ang barko nandiyan sa West Philippine Sea, China ship. Tayo wala na. Tapos sabi nila itong papel sa kaso na nanalo tayo, i-pursue mo. Pinursue ko, walang nangyari (We won. Now, China’s ships are still there in the West Philippine Sea when I assumed office. However, we already withdrew ours. And they are convincing me to pursue the ruling. I pursued it but nothing happened),” he added.

On July 12, 2016, the Philippines won its case against China after the PCA ruled that China has “no legal basis” to claim historic rights over almost the strategic waters.

"As I said in my previous statement, the President’s orders have been firm and straightforward: we defend what is rightfully ours without going to war and maintain the peace in the seas," Lorenzana said.

He added that the Philippine Coast Guard and the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources will not stop their patrols on the West Philippine Sea and the Kalayaan Island Group.

High-powered guns seized in Eastern Samar clash

From the Philippine News Agency (May 4. 2021): High-powered guns seized in Eastern Samar clash (By Sarwell Meniano)

FRESH CLASH. The map of Borongan City in Eastern Samar. The Philippine Army has recovered several firearms in a clash with the communist terrorist group New People’s Army (NPA) on Monday (May 3, 2021) at the outskirts of the city. (Google image)

The Philippine Army has recovered several firearms in a clash with the communist terrorist group New People’s Army (NPA) at the outskirts of Borongan City, Eastern Samar on Monday.

Lt. Col. Oliver Alvior, commanding officer of the Philippine Army’s 78th Infantry Battalion, said that no one was hurt among government troops while bloodstains were seen in the rebel’s escape routes after the 25-minute gunfight that started around 2:20 p.m. in the upland village of San Andres.

The fleeing rebels left behind different types of rifles: four M16, an M653, an AK47; documents with high intelligence value, and numerous personal belongings, the military said in its report sent to reporters on Tuesday.

The soldiers have stepped up their patrol in the area acting on reports of concerned civilians regarding the presence of armed rebels in their village attempting to extort food and intimidate residents.

“The active participation of the local populace is vital in the government’s campaign in ending local communist armed conflict. From the provision of the timely and accurate information regarding the presence of the NPA in the community to the extension of services directly to the community,” Alvior said in a statement.

The military attributed the villager’s support to the fight against the communist terrorist group to the recent community outreach activity last March 25, 2021.

The activity included the validation of issues and concerns identified during the community support program immersion at the grassroots level.

Residents received family food packs, hygiene kits, medicines, vegetable seeds from the Department of Agriculture, toys for children, free medical checkups, and cash assistance from the Department of Social Welfare and Development.

“While the local populace and the government work hand in hand for the peace and development of the community, the communist rebels are stalling development and attempting to maliciously obtain the sympathy of the locals through acts of force, intimidation, and fraud,” Alvior added.

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

NoCot guv assures ex-NPA rebels of gov’t support

From the Philippine News Agency (May 4. 2021): NoCot guv assures ex-NPA rebels of gov’t support (By Edwin Fernandez)

FULL SUPPORT. North Cotabato Governor Nancy Catamco gives her all-out support to the Army’s program for former rebels dubbed as “Deradicalization to former rebels” in North Cotabato during a welcome ceremony held Monday (May 3, 2021) in Kidapawan City. She fist-bumped with one (inset) of the 50 former members of the communist New People’s Army who had joined the program. (Photo courtesy of NoCot PIO)

North Cotabato Gov. Nancy Catamco has assured at least 50 former communist rebels that government will not turn its back on them.

"We already have a government ready to support your needs. Let this program be your legacy for your children and the generations to come,”
Catamco told former communist rebels during the program. The government is ready to help you, especially my administration," Catamco said during the 15-day “deradicalization to former rebels” initiative of the Army’s 1002nd Infantry Brigade (Bde) in Kidapawan City on Monday.

Catamco vowed to support the deradicalization initiative, assuring that government intervention will not end after you laid down your guns.

"It will continue to support you until you become productive citizens of our province," she added. "I am willing to support you. I understand you have reasons, but what is important is we understand to whose interest prevails in the insurgency,” she said. “Let us stop fighting each other, we are all Filipinos.”

Meanwhile, Brig. Gen Potenciano Camba, 1002 Brigade commander, said the deradicalization to former rebels program aims to redirect the former rebels’ outlook in life to allow them to fully reform and live normal lives.

Camba urged the ex-NPA members to maintain their stance and decision to live normal lives with their families.

"We need to reset our minds to become productive members of the community. We appreciate Gov. Catamco because of her all-out support to our program,” he said.

Ka Elsa, a former NPA female member, said the program is much suited for them to change for the better.

“We need to change our views in life for the better and get rid of the rebel life for our families. This program is just what we need to do that,” she said in the vernacular after the ceremonies.

Major Ferdinand Mopal, the 1002Bde civil-military operations chief, said the project forms part of the End Local Communist Armed Conflict (ELCAC) program of the national government.

Under the ELCAC, a national task force (NTF) was formed to ensure the efficient and effective implementation of a "whole-of-nation approach" of the program under Executive Order No. 70 signed by President Rodrigo Roa Duterte in 2018.

The NTF-ELCAC is tasked with carrying out the government’s call for participation in attaining a just, comprehensive, and lasting peace in the country under the rule of law, and convergence efforts in providing a complete package of assistance to former rebels and their families.

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.

Military service has no gender, says top PMA female cadet

From the Philippine News Agency (May 4. 2021): Military service has no gender, says top PMA female cadet (By Liza Agoot)

A female top graduating cadet of the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) Class 2021 has advised young aspirants to prepare if they want to enter the academy.

Christine Joyce Lodovico Andog, 25, of Cabanatuan, Nueva Ecija, said this during the press conference for the announcement of the top 10 graduates on Monday.

“To all the Filipino youth who aspires to be a cadet, first ask yourself, is this what you really want? This is because passion will be your driving force in achieving your dream. If you want it, prepare ahead of time,” she said.

Andog is among the 26 females in the 164 members of the “MASALIGAN” (Mandirigmang Samahan ng Lakas at Sandigan ng Bayan) Class who will be graduating on May 10 and joining the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP). There are 138 male cadets in the class.

Of the 26 females, seven are among the 16 awardees. They are Andog who is top 5; Valerie Mae Vicente Dicang of La Trinidad, Number 3; Pamela Avila Calleja of Malinao, Albay at number 8; and Shirly Fatima Eguia Lim of Tacloban City at number 10.

The female cadets who will receive special awards are Lady Deane Balboa Sarmiento of San Fernando, Pampanga as the Athletic Saber awardee for the female cadets; Mae Pearl Alarcon Agustin of Malinao, Aklan will receive the Military Justice award; and Annie Mazo Chen of Sta. Rosa, Nueva Ecija will get the Journalism award.

Andog said that reviewing and knowing one’s weakness and doing something about it will help the aspirant pass the initial screening which is the entrance exam.

“Review a lot. Life does not always depend on luck. If you want to be a PMA cadet then work hard for it, pray for it,” Andog said. "Preparing the physique of the person does not only start from the time the result of the written examination is released but must be a way of life. Exercise should be a part of life,” she added.

She said the physical and mental abilities are not the only factor that aspirants should have but also the character needed which includes integrity, perseverance, self-respect, and strong faith in God.

On her part, Dicang said that as a female cadet, the most difficult thing "is proving yourself in all aspects. Like a small girl competing in physical, academic, military excellence along with 138 males is absolutely preposterous.”

She encouraged female aspirants saying “service has no gender, believe in God and believe in yourself.”

Jan Hernan Rebadulla Perez of Alabang, Muntinlupa, the Brigade commander and number 4 graduating cadet, said having the right and proper mindset "is a big challenge, emotionally draining and physically restricting that has affected my mental stability. But in PMA, I managed to conquer my fears."

"Survival is by adhering to the honor code and system, studying hard, and clinging to God,” he said.

Perez said as the Brigade Commander and a top student, the passion of serving the country is a by-product of the purpose for which he was able to succeed as a cadet and achieve many things while in the academy.

NPA agitates public to fan discontent: ex-rebel

From the Philippine News Agency (May 4. 2021): NPA agitates public to fan discontent: ex-rebel (By John Rey Saavedra)

AGITATION STRATEGY. Virgilio Quisto, a former rebel, takes off his hat for a photo after testifying about the agitation strategy of the CPP-NPA to feed the people's discontent and rise in arms against the government. Quisto, who is now working for peace in Bohol, is one of the beneficiaries of the government's Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program, receiving a 2.14-hectare land. (Photo courtesy of PIA-Bohol)

A rebel returnee who is now working with a group advocating peace in Bohol province warned the public about the strategy of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) to survive, that is to feed the people’s discontent.

Virgilio Quisto, a former rebel, said preying on people who feel helpless is the expertise of CPP-NPA for them to rise in arms against the government.

"Agitation as a strategy to keep discontent high,” Quisto said in his confession included in the information which he shared before testifying on government’s goodwill to returnees like him after deciding to go back to the fold of the law.

Among the issues raised to agitate the people against government evolved on social issues including land reform, palm oil, poverty and alleged militarization.

He said the CPP-NPA’s agitation strategy has special training and admitted he once worked as a key agitator and leader of the underground movement.

"Then, it was always easy to hit the raw nerve of the poor people, because we trained for that. Now, however, no matter how good the agitation is, somehow the government can easily get and appease the sentiments of the people," Quisto said in front of hundreds of land reform beneficiaries accepting their Certificates of Land Ownership Awards and Agricultural Free Patents during the service caravan in San Vicente village in Trinidad, Bohol on April 27.

Quisto's family received 2.14 hectares of land which they have cultivated since they occupied a portion of the government-sequestered lands of the abandoned Bohol Cattle Corporation.

"Ang ila, programa alang sa kagubot, wala silay Department of Agrarian Reform nga tinuod nga manghatag og yuta, wala silay programa alang sa mga kabus, ang ila, ang pagdakop sa emosyon sa tawo aron mo-alsa (Their program is all for disturbance. They don’t have DAR that distributes lands, they don’t have programs for the poor, what they have, is to capture people’s emotion to rise),” he said.

Quisto joined the CPP-NPA in Surigao del Sur in 1987 and served the armed wing of the National Democratic Front for 12 years.

He said after sensing that the government was getting serious in the campaign against the underground movement in Surigao peninsula, he and his family went home to Bohol.

"It was the government’s offensive against the rebels and overhead, we could see cannonballs flying and exploding in the hills," he said, describing his return to Bohol as a “rather comfortable situation”.

While in Bohol, he worked with the Bohol Guerilla Front 3 based in the mountains of Maribojoc, Loon, San Isidro, Calape Tubigon and Antequera.

He claimed he was present during the encounter in Tan-awan village in Tubigon in 1995 where, he said, they had two casualties.

Quisto went down from hiding in the mountains in 2016 and joined the legal front.

Between 2019 and 2020, Quisto again went active in the Sandatahang Yunit Pampropaganda operating in the forests of Bilar, Batuan, and nearby towns but admitted he was too old for the mountain treks.

After he felt the disillusionment over empty promises in the movement, he decided to make it to the lowlands and live in peace.

Quisto, a member of the Talibon Trinidad Farmers Association (TTFA), is now helping the government in convincing former comrades to go back to the fold of the law.

In his testimony, he prodded his comrades who are still in the mountains fighting the lost cause to put cooperation and unity with the government in their hearts.

"Wala na ba diay gyuy luna sa inyong kasingkasing ang tinabangay ug hangopay sa masa? Wala na tay rason pa, kay ania na ang atong gitagna niadto nga dili madayon. Ania na, nagpang-apod-aporan na kita sa yuta, ug dili ang kalihukan ang nakahimo niini. Mabuhi ang mga mag-uuma, Mabuhi ang DAR (Is there no room in your heart for the cooperation and harmony of the masses? We have no more reason, for here is it today what we predicted then that will not be successful. Here it is, we are already distributing the land, and it is not the movement that is doing it. Long live the farmers. Long live DAR,” Quisto said.

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.

'Negotiations' led to surrender of 17 rebels in Bukidnon

From the Philippine News Agency (May 4. 2021): 'Negotiations' led to surrender of 17 rebels in Bukidnon

SURRENDER. The firearms and other war materiel from the 17 communist rebels who surrendered on May 3, 2021 in Manolo Fortich, Bukidnon, are displayed by the Army's 1st Special Forces Battalion under 403rd Brigade (403rd Bde) on Monday. The Army unit attributed the surrender to persistent negotiations with the rebels. (Photo courtesy of 4ID)

The Army's 1st Special Forces Battalion (1SFB) under 403rd Brigade (403rd Bde) said Tuesday the surrender of 17 communist New People's Army (NPA) rebels in Bukidnon was part of its "continuous negotiations" with the guerillas in the area.

Lt. Col. Vercisio San Jose, 1SFB commander, said the surrenderers belong to the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) NPA Sub-Regional Committee 4 (SRC) of the North Central Mindanao Regional Committee led by a certain Dionisio Micabalo.

“Our relentless military operations against this NPA unit and continuous negotiations forced them to surrender bringing with them eleven high-powered firearms,” San Jose said.

He said the rebels surrendered on May 3 in Barangay Mampayag, Manolo Fortich, Bukidnon.

Maj. Gen. Andres Centino, commander of the Army's 4th Infantry Division, said the latest batch of surrenderers weakened further the communist rebel movement in Bukidnon.

“We will continue to press the fight against the CTG (Communist Terrorist Group) in our area of operations first to pressure them to surrender or decimate their forces through armed engagement if necessary,” he said.

The 17 surrenderers received cash assistance and a sack of rice from the province of Bukidnon through Gov. Jose Maria R. Zubiri Jr., while the Department of Social Welfare and Development also provided cash and food assistance as part of the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program by the Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict.

DavNor guv to lead rescue of 125 IPs in Haran

From the Philippine News Agency (May 4. 2021): DavNor guv to lead rescue of 125 IPs in Haran (By Prexx Marnie Kate Trozo)  May 4, 2021, 11:50 pm

Davao del Norte Governor Edwin Jubahib (PNA file photo)

DAVAO DEL NORTE – With the issuance of the arrest warrant by the Davao City Regional Trial Court (RTC) against six administrators of the United Church of Christ in the Philippines (UCCP) Haran Center for child abuse, Governor Edwin Jubahib said they are planning to rescue the remaining 125 Indigenous People (IP) families locked up at the facility.

“We had an initial meeting and we will pull out the IPs inside [Haran Center]. We have already prepared the shelter of the IPs,”
he said Tuesday.

Jubahib was referring to the housing projects of the National Housing Authority (NHA) and the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) housing in Sitio Dulian and Sitio Tibukag, Barangay Dagohoy in Talaingod, Davao del Norte.

“This is really for them. If the rescue commences, we will immediately turn over the housing units to them and will give them livelihood,” he added.

Jubahib said the Regional Regional Peace and Order Council of Region 11 (RPOC-11) will continue to file charges against other UCCP Haran administrators.

The April 21 arrest warrant was issued against UCCP Bishop Hamuel Tequis, Rev. Daniel Palicte, Ephraim Malazarte, Jong Monzon, secretary-general of Pasaka Confederation of Lumad Organizations in Southern Mindanao (Pasaka-SMR), Lindy Trenilla, and Grace Avila.

All have been charged with two counts of violation of RA 7610 or Child Abuse Law.

However, a bail bond was secured for the child abuse cases, and arraignment is scheduled for July 16, 2021.

The omnibus motion filed by the accused was denied by Judge Baguio on April 28, prompting them to secure bail last April 29.

“It does not mean that they are free from the case. They will still be facing charges of illegal detention. Not only that, they used the IPs in doing rallies,” Jubahib said.

The Haran Center, he said, is not a recognized institution and a school as well.

“The IPs inside the facility are being exploited by the communist rebel movement for various terroristic activities,” Jubahib said.