Sunday, August 8, 2021

'Martabbat’ may have factored in Sulu shootout

From Rappler (Aug 8, 2021): 'Martabbat’ may have factored in Sulu shootout (ByFRENCIE CARREON)

'[D]o not shame [the Tausug] because he is prepared to kill and die for his dignity,' says Philippine Center for Islam and Democracy convenor Mehol Sadain

Cultural differences and insensitivity may have factored in the shooting deaths of provincial police director Colonel Michael Bawayan Jr. and his subordinate Staff Sergeant Imran Jilah in Sulu province, a history and political science professor from Western Mindanao said on Saturday, August 7.

Bawayan, 49, was an Igorot from Baguio, while Jilah, 43, was a Tausug.

Both men were pronounced dead at a local hospital shortly after the staff sergeant shot his superior at close range, and was gunned down in turn by the colonel's aides at a quarantine checkpoint in Barangay Asturias, Jolo, at around 4:20 pm on Friday.

Western Mindanao State University (WMSU) professor Henry Solomon said there may be more to the incident than meets the eye – that it wasn't just a case of insubordination and instilling discipline.

For some Tausugs, according to Solomon, some conflicts are about "martabbat" (dignity and honor).

“(It's) not about disrespect toward a superior officer, disobeying the police code of ethics, policies, and organizational leadership and chain of command, but a case of mishandling a non-officer of the PNP, if the intention was to inculcate the right discipline and boost the morale of the members of the organization," Solomon said.

Initial reports said Jilah pulled a gun and shot Bawayan after the latter called him out at a checkpoint inspection, pointing out Jilah's untidy hair and trying to cut some of it with a pair of scissors.

Philippine Center for Islam and Democracy convenor Mehol Sadain said, "The Tausug (recognizes) authority, and has a high respect for authority, from the time of the Sultanate to the present secular governance. But do not shame him because he is prepared to kill and die for his dignity.”

Thoney Jacoba, supervising tourism operations officer of Parang town, Sulu, said Jilah had "reached his boiling point" because he felt that his self-respect had been trampled on.

Jacoba said, "No ethnicity, no gender, can define what a human can do when one’s self- dignity is crushed.”

History of conflict

Police said it was not the first time that Bawayan had confronted Jilah.

There was talk among Tausug circles of an earlier incident, in which the staff sergeant was slapped and kicked as soon as he turned his back on his superior officer, an allegation that could not be independently verified as of this posting.

Sulu police has kept mum on the allegations and only said that an investigation was ongoing. However, several personnel from the command attended Jilah's Saturday funeral dressed in civilian clothes instead of their uniform, which could be construed as a jab at authority.

Professor Solomon said there were better ways of instilling discipline among police officers, and that the confrontational approach could have been avoided. Superior officers, he suggested, should check on attendance, uniforms, firearms, haircuts, nails, and the like during regular formations instead.

"This must be the proper way to do it, instead of cutting the hair of the policeman while on duty," Solomon said.

Police culture

“It is very unfortunate," Sulu Governor Abdusakur Tan said of the incident.

He called Bawayan a "fine officer who was performing his duty at that time to ensure that everything was in order."

Tan recalled that when Bawayan paid him a courtesy call after the colonel assumed the role of Sulu's police director in March 2020, he emphatically told the police official that he wanted him to “maintain discipline and professionalism in the ranks" of the province's police force.

Tan said he also told Bawayan to put a premium on "good appearance" because he was convinced this was a big factor in gaining the respect of citizens.

Tan said Bawayan's way of disciplining his subordinates was part of police culture.

He said the objective was to make the Sulu police at par with other police commands elsewhere in terms of discipline, behavior, and appearance. –

Frencie Carreon is a Mindanao-based journalist and an awardee of the Aries Rufo Journalism Fellowship.

Navy officer is new Westmincom deputy chief of command staff

 From the Philippine News Agency (Aug 7, 2021): Navy officer is new Westmincom deputy chief of command staff (By Teofilo Garcia, Jr.)

TURNOVER. Capt. Robeline Carpio (center) hands over the symbol of the Assistant Chief of the Unified Command Staff for Personnel to Brig. Gen. Antonio Nafarrete, Western Mindanao Command deputy commander for administration at Camp Navarro, Zamboanga City on Friday (Aug. 6, 2021). Carpio has retired and will be replaced by Navy Commander Edwin Ello (left). (Photo courtesy of Westmincom-PAO)

ZAMBOANGA CITY – The Western Mindanao Command (Westmincom) has installed a new Assistant Chief of Unified Command Staff (ACUCS) for Personnel at Camp Navarro here on Friday.

Navy Commander Edwin Ello assumed the ACUCS for Personnel
post from Capt. Robeline Carpio, who has reached the mandatory retirement age of 56, the Westmincom said in a statement issued on Saturday.

Ello said in his speech he would give his best to fulfill his duty as one of the unified command staff.

Brig. Gen. Antonio Nafarrete, Westmincom’s deputy commander for administration who presided over the turnover of duties, extended his greetings to Ello and gratitude to Carpio.

“Despite the casual change in leadership, continuity becomes our conclusive rule. We manage to succeed despite the transition. There may be a change in leadership style or the system that the new leader adopts, but all leaders have one thing in common. They lead their men to accomplish the mission,” Nafarrete said in his speech.

“Remember, retirement is not the end of the road. It is only the beginning of the open highway and it’s time to finally enjoy the view after climbing the many mountains and sailing the seas,” he told Carpio.

Nafarrete presented the Command Plaque, Major Service Plaque, Plaque of Honorable Service, Encased Philippine Flag, and Framed Medals to Carpio.

A plaque of appreciation was also awarded to his wife.

“I am very proud and humbled to stand before you today to share this momentous occasion with all of you after serving 37 years, 11 months, and 22 days in the military service. I’m very grateful that I’ve finished the race with flying colors. I will miss what I have established here but I will leave with a heart full of gratitude,” Carpio said in his valedictory address.

Following the Change of Chief of Office Ceremony, a departure honors ceremony was tendered to Carpio at the parade ground of Camp Navarro, home of the Westmincom headquarters.

The ceremony was participated in by the officers, enlisted personnel, and civilian human resources of the command led by Nafarrete and Brig. Gen. Arturo Rojas, Westmincom deputy commander for operations.

Aurora rebel gives up fight to 'peacefully live' with family

From the Philippine News Agency (Aug 8, 2021): Aurora rebel gives up fight to 'peacefully live' with family (By Jason De Asis)

NEW LIFE. A member of Militia ng Bayan of the New People's Army surrenders with his firearm to military authorities in Aurora on Saturday (Aug. 7, 2021). Lt. Col. Reandrew P. Rubio, commanding officer of the Philippine Army's 91st Infantry Battalion said the surrenderer is eligible for a package of benefits under the government’s Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program. (Photo courtesy of 91IB)

BALER, Aurora – A guerrilla of the New People's Army's (NPA) Militia ng Bayan (MB) voluntarily surrendered and turned over his firearm to military authorities in this province on Saturday afternoon.

Lt. Col. Reandrew P. Rubio, commanding officer of the Philippine Army's 91st Infantry (Sinagtala) Battalion (91IB), on Sunday said
a total of 38 regular NPA fighters and 19 MB members have so far opted to return to the fold of law in Aurora this year.

The latest surrender, he noted, was made possible through the efforts of the 91IB’s Bravo Company, Dinalungan Municipal Police Station and 2nd Provincial Mobile Force Company of the Aurora Police Provincial Office.

The surrenderer was identified as “Ka Orlan” (not his real name), 47, married, a resident of Barangay Calaocan, Dipaculao, Aurora.

He turned over to the military his defaced .22 caliber pistol, four rounds of 40 millimeters explosive cartridge, one portable generator, one flashlight, acupuncture materials and subversive documents with high intelligence value.

Rubio said the realization of the meaningless revolution and terrorist activities, hunger, and hardships were among the reasons cited by Ka Orlan for deciding to yield to the authorities.

“I surrendered for my family. I am thinking about my wife and children. I want to live peacefully,” the former rebel was quoted as saying.

Rubio said Ka Orlan is eligible to receive a package of benefits under the government’s Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP) including immediate assistance amounting to PHP15,000, firearm remuneration based on the type of surrendered firearm, and PHP50,000 livelihood aid.

The surrenderer is now undergoing tactical interview and documentation at the Bravo Company headquarters.

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

‘Deceived’ IPs return home, cite abuses inside Haran

From the Philippine News Agency (Aug 8, 2021): ‘Deceived’ IPs return home, cite abuses inside Haran

FREE ONCE MORE. Some of the families of the 99 indigenous peoples (IPs) of Talaingod municipality who were rescued from Haran by the provincial government of Davao Del Norte and Talaingod municipality undergo medical and psychological assessment on Sunday (Aug. 8, 2021). After years of deliberate neglect for their well-being and being held against their will by Haran organizers, the victims are highly likely to have suffered and developed serious health and psychological trauma problems that urgently need to be addressed. (Photo courtesy of 10th Infantry Division)

A total of 99 indigenous peoples (IPs) on Sunday finally returned home from Haran after being deceived by the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF) of false promises.

The IPs also cited abuses while they were inside the United Church of Christ in the Philippines (UCCP) Haran compound in Davao City.

Datu Tungig, a resident of Talaingod and one of the hundred victims of "Taktikang Bakwit" of the CPP-NPA-NDF, led the ritual called “panubadtubad” inside the Haran compound before they traveled to return to communities in Talaingod, Davao del Norte after years of being captive by the Haran administrators and facilitators.

Last July 20, some 69 IPs were also rescued from UCCP Haran. Upon arrival in Talaingod, the local government unit (LGU) welcomed them and provided appropriate medical attention.

They also received food packs and enough supplies as they went back to their houses in Sitio Dulian, Barangay Palma Gil in Talaingod.

The local government of Davao City and Talaingod, together with other government agencies including the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police, for so long, took numerous efforts in rescuing the IPs brought by organizers of CPP-NPA-NDF and allied groups to UCCP Haran.

The 56th Infantry Battalion under the 1003rd Brigade of 10th Infantry Division (10ID), on the other hand, coordinated with the provincial, municipal and barangay governments and local government areas (LGAs) and other stakeholders to operationalize the Balik Community Assistance Team (BCAT) as some remaining IPs in Haran finally break free from their captors.

RETURNED HOME. Members of the 5th Infantry Battalion under the 103rd Brigade of 10th Infantry Division help the 99 indigenous peoples (IPs) as they return from Haran to their communities in Talaingod, Davao del Norte on Sunday (Aug. 8, 2021). (Photo courtesy of 10th Infantry Dvision)

BCAT will be employed for any necessary assistance to the IPs such as the shelters for the families and classrooms for the students thru bayanihan.

Transition to normal life

Livelihood will also be provided to the IPs to start anew while the 10ID and Police Regional Office in Region 11 (Davao Region) will also assist them in coordinating with other government and IP officials of the community for them to have a smooth transition to a normal life free from CPP-NPA-NDF intimidations.

The 10ID will also help distribute relief goods “BOSS” (bugas, odong, sardinas ug sigarilyo) in coordination with the Davao Del Norte governor's office, Indigenous People Mandatory Representative (IPMR), LGU Talaingod and other stakeholders.

Treat meals will also be provided while they are in the municipal consolidation and processing area prior to returning back to their respective communities. For the meantime, toys for the children will be distributed.

Meanwhile, Kindemin, former Platoon Commander of Sub-Regional Guerrilla Unit (SRGU), is hopeful to see his party wife Trisha Apoga, sister of alias Macky, commanding officer of CTG's SRGU, was among the IPs rescued from Haran.

The 10ID troopers, through its broadest means of protecting the people, will always be at the service of the people whom they have sworn to serve.

All government instrumentalities are also ready to perform their respective mandates for the people, especially the most vulnerable.

The Anti-Money Laundering Council earlier issued a freeze order on four accounts being used by UCCP Haran and facilitators to feed the terrorist units of Southern Mindanao Regional Command (SMRC) while IPs in Haran suffered famine and malnutrition.

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