Saturday, August 14, 2021

CHR condemns alleged NPA’s killing of Army officer in Capiz

From GMA News Online (Aug 14, 2021): CHR condemns alleged NPA’s killing of Army officer in Capiz

The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) on Saturday condemned the New People’s Army’s alleged abduction and killing of Army Corporal Frederick Villasis in Tapaz, Capiz.

Atty. Jacqueline Ann de Guia, CHR spokesperson, cited reports that Villasis was riding a motorcycle with a civilian when they were stopped by around 40 armed men on their way to the town hall.

The Army officer was reportedly taken, tortured, and shot from behind while his hands were tied.

The civilian was left unharmed, but the motorcycle they were using was said to have been set on fire.

“Such senseless violence is an affront to human rights, particularly to the sanctity of human life. We urge the government to apply the force of law in ensuring that the perpetrators are held accountable for these transgressions,” De Guia said.

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De Guia said the commission will conduct an independent probe on Villasis’ killing “in aid of serving justice.”

The CHR also extended its condolences to the family and friends of Villasis.

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) on Friday called for justice for Villasis.

The AFP said the Army officer was deployed to conduct community support for peace and development in an isolated area of Barangay Lahug in Tapaz.

On Wednesday, AFP chief Lieutenant General Jose Faustino Jr. slammed the NPA over the “cold-blooded murder” of Villasis

“The AFP extends its condolence to the family and loved ones of Corporal Villasis who left behind a wife, and two young children,” he said in a statement.

“The AFP will exhaust all available resources to achieve justice for our comrade and put an end to the decades-old problem of armed conflict so that our nation may enjoy genuine peace and development,” he added.

2 years and 2 failed attempts to seek justice, Valle goes to SC to fight “until the end”

From MindaNews (Aug 14, 2021): 2 years and 2 failed attempts to seek justice, Valle goes to SC to fight “until the end” (By CAROLYN O. ARGUILLAS)

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 14 August) – She was freed after a harrowing 13-hour ordeal of being arrested and detained on June 9, 2019 but two years and two failed attempts to hold the perpetrators accountable, Davao City-based journalist Fidelina Margarita “Gingging” Avellanosa Valle continues to fight for justice that would liberate her from the trauma that continues to hound her, and hopefully allow her to “claim back my equilibrium that has long been destroyed and so difficult to take back.”

Valle will appeal before the Supreme Court the Ombudsman’s ruling clearing military and police officials of accountability for her arrest and detention in what officials claimed to be a case of “mistaken identity.”

Fidelina Margarita “Gingging” Valle, File photo from her FB page

The Ombudsman on August 10 last year dismissed the criminal charges filed in 2019 by Valle, development worker, freelance writer and Davao Today columnist, against 17 police and military officials and other unidentified suspects, stating she was not able to establish probable cause to charge them with arbitrary detention, kidnapping and serious illegal detention, violation of RA 9745 or the Anti-Torture Act of 2009, and RA 7438 or the rights of person arrested, detained or under custodial investigation and the duties of the arresting, detaining and investigating officers.

The Ombudsman also dismissed the administrative charges she filed for grave misconduct, grave abuse of authority, and conduct unbecoming of a public official against 15 of 17 military and police officials named in the complaint and held liable only two officers – Colonel Tom Tuzon, then Regional Commander of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) in the Zamboanga Peninsula and Moh Madzie-Aziz Mukaram, then OIC of CIDG Zamboanga del Sur — ordering their suspension for three months without pay for “simple neglect of duty.”

Valle, now chair of the Davao City chapter of the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) and vice chair of the International Association of Women in Radio and Television (IAWRT) Philippines, filed a motion for reconsideration on November 3, 2020 which the Ombudsman denied. In a decision dated June 24, 2021 but received only a few days ago, the Ombudsman reiterated that Valle “failed to adduce any newly discovered evidence which could materially affect the outcome of this case, or proofs that grave errors of facts or laws , or serious irregularities were committed by this Office.” It added that the matter raised by Valle’s motion “are mere rehash of the arguments that this Office has already considered and passed upon.”

In a statement she read during an online press conference on Thursday morning, Valle said, “’simple’ neglect of duty as they call it, now easily excuses command responsibility and accountability, and therefore, only the small fry are made responsible, while the big, fat asses go scot-free.”

“Big bullies that they are, we just cannot allow this transgression to continue without a fight. Yes, we may be small and insignificant against their boastful might, but when we band together and speak up, no matter if our voices may seem just mere whimpers as against their loud mouth curses and insults, we shall prevail,” Valle said.

Accountability and justice

It has been a painful two-year journey for the 63-year old Valle who has had to seek professional and spiritual help to address her trauma.

“Two years have passed, and though my heart, head and hands long to go back to take on writing, all I can muster each and every day is do mundane tasks as household chores, pretending that I am ‘okay’ so far. I have wanted to believe that nothing’s changed, that I am doing ‘well,’ but deep inside, I am far from my true self,” she said, adding she has been having difficulties writing and she hates “every moment that a blank wall stares at me each time I attempt at writing my ‘usual’ stuff. Because it’s just hard, blanko lang talaga.”

“I seem to be falling off a bottomless pit in my mind, and yet, out there in the sun, everything seems so painfully ‘normal’…Lies. Maneuverings. Paulit-ulit na bumabalik sa akin yong mga excuses ng mga pulis at military” (The excuse of the police and military are repeatedly coming back), she recalled.

Jonathan de Santos, NUJP chair, said “more than an apology and a slap on the wrist, we call for accountability and justice for the arrest of Margarita Valle.”

Lynda Garcia, President of the IAWRT Philippines, said “reducing (Valle’s) plight as a mere simple neglect of duty is unacceptable to the attack made against her and her profession and duty as a truth-teller.”

Valle was arrested at around 10 a.m. on June 9, 2019 at the Laguindingan Airport in Misamis Oriental and transported to Pagadian City, a 200-kilometer, four-hour ride away, on the basis of warrants of arrest against suspect Elsa Renton, allegedly a leader of the New People’s Army, for “multiple murder with quadruple frustrated murder and damage to property” issued by the Regional Trial Court in Calamba, Misamis Occidental in December 2011 “with no bail recommended” and for arson issued by the RTC in Pagadian City in September 2006 with bail recommended at 24,000 pesos.

The warrants did not bear Valle’s name but Renton’s whose alias on the warrant was Tina Maglaya. Valle said her name was inserted on the warrants of arrest when they passed by Iligan City for her mug shots and fingerprints. “Didto sa gipapirmahan nga mug shots, giinsert ang Valle” (They inserted Valle when they had the mug shots signed), she said.

Colonel Bernard Banac, then spokesperson of the Philippine National Police (PNP) told reporters that evening that Valle would be released because according to the witness, she “has major resemblance but is not the actual suspect who is the subject of the warrant.”

The next day, Tuzon in a statement apologized to Valle, saying they “should have headed your call regarding your identity from the start and have released you at the airport.” Valle did not accept the apology.

Kathy Panguban of the National Union of People’s Lawyers (NUPL) said Valle has resolved to go to the Supreme Court to appeal the decision. because there is “enough evidence to say na hindi lang po ito simplc case of mistaken identity and to overturn disputable presumption of regularity in performance of duty.”

Valle, she said, was arrested without legal cause as she was not the subject of the warrants of arrest “and mistaken identity has never been a lawful cause to arrest and detain a person.”

Panguban said they will file with the Supreme Court a petition for certiorari for grave abuse of discretion on the part of the Ombudsman which dismissed the charges and denied the motion for reconsideration.

Arrest warrants served instead of breakfast

Valle, a 1982 graduate of BA Communication Arts at the Ateneo de Davao University, was a reporter of the Media Mindanao News Service from the 1980s until it ceased operations in1996. She was a correspondent of Mr & Ms Special Edition until People Power ousted the Marcoses in 1986. She also served as Administrative Officer of MindaNews on its first year in 2001.

Valle was a columnist of SunStar Davao until early 2018 and wrote a column, Kanak Gamay na Kyatigaman (My Little Understanding) for the online paper, Davao Today, as Fides Avellanosa.

Valle went to Pagadian City for a data gathering mission on June 6, 2019. Three days later, she traveled to Laguindingan Airport to wait for her evening flight back to Davao.

Fidelina Margarita “Gingging” Valle awaits release from detention in the CIDG office in Camp Abelon, Pagadian City evening of June 9, 2019. The CIDG regional chief apologized for the “wrongful arrest” in Laguindingan Airport, Misamis Oriental. She stepped out of the camp at 11:24 p.m. or 13 hours after her arrest. Photo courtesy of Faye Reyes

Valle was waiting to be served her late breakfast of brewed coffee and sandwich at the Dunkin’Donuts stall inside the airport at around 10 a.m. and had not even warmed her seat when she was served – not her breakfast – but warrants of arrest that the arresting team did not give her to read.

She recalled a team of “six to eight” men in civilian clothes approached and surrounded her, the head of the team telling her she was under arrest. She questioned her arrest and demanded her right to a phone call. She called her relative, Sister Mila Gimeno of the Missionaries of the Assumption in Davao City, at 10:07 a.m. to inform her she was being arrested.

From Laguindingan, Valle was brought to Iligan City where she was ordered to wear a “CIDG Detainee” shirt and was subjected to fingerprinting and the taking of mug shots. “Grabe ka dehumanizing. Gi fingerprint pa gyud ko,” Valle told MindaNews the next day.

Valle was held incommunicado and managed to phone Siter Mila only about eight hours after her arrest. Sister Mila had repeatedly phoned Valle after her 10:07 a.m. call but her two phones were in the possession of her arresting team. It took hours before reporters were told Valle was in Camp Abelon in Pagadian City.

Tuzon and Mukaram also filed a motion for reconsideration of the Ombudsman’s August 10, 2020 decision suspending them for three months without pay but the June 2021 decision of the Ombudsman denied their motion. The Ombudsman reminded respondents that “every public officer is bound to perform the duties of his office faithfully and to use reasonable skill and diligence and to act primarily for the public.”

Maximum accountability

What kind of justice would liberate her from the trauma she continues to suffer, MindaNews asked Valle.

Justice not just for journalists but “justice for those whose rights have been violated, especially the marginalized,” she said in Filipino.

“If you think of it, what happened to me might be a small thing compared with what others experience but it is heavy. So heavy,” she sadded.

Valle’s son, Rius, spokesperson of Save Our Schools Network, said their family wants “maximum accountability.”

“We want people ma hold sila behind bars. Kailangan may managot,” (Somebody should be held accountable) Rius said, adding there are so many cases of state-perpetrated human rights violations but no one has been accountable or “kung meron man, talagang one in a million” (or if there is, it’s just one in a million).

“We want justice – accountability yun – kailangan may managot especially the arresting officers,” he said, adding they also hope what happened to his mother will not happen again, not just to other journalists but also to indigenous peoples and other marginalized sectors.

Valle’s last word at the press forum: “Patuloy tayo. Ilalaban natin ito hanggang sa dulo” (Let us continue. We will fight for this until the end).

Legal pushback vs abuses ‘on a roll’ as courts, prosecutors junk cases vs activists

From ABS-CBN (Aug 14, 2021): Legal pushback vs abuses ‘on a roll’ as courts, prosecutors junk cases vs activists (Mike Navallo)

Rights groups are celebrating successive wins in different courts and even in the justice department’s own prosecutor’s office in several cases filed against individuals whom authorities have tried to connect to the communist insurgency.

“We are so glad and relieved that this legal pushback is on a roll and that our courts are stepping up the plate to assert judicial independence against excesses, shortcuts, abuses and even incompetence of our law enforcement agencies in the dubious legal assault on activism,” said NUPL President Edre Olalia in a statement.


Among the raps dismissed are the kidnapping and child abuse complaints filed by the Philippine National Police (PNP) Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) and a certain Jovita Antoniano against officers of the progressive group Anakbayan.

Antoniano claimed her daughter Trishia stopped schooling and joined protest actions without her knowledge, eventually supposedly becoming part of Anakbayan and League of Filipino Students.

A rebel returnee supposedly identified Trishia in one of the meetings and claimed that Anakbayan and LFS are front organizations of underground group Kabataang Makabayan.

But the DOJ panel of prosecutors headed by Senior Assistant State Prosecutor Rassendell Rex Gingoyon rejected the kidnapping and child abuse raps because at the time Trishia left her house, she was no longer a minor.

Even assuming she was a minor then, no evidence was presented to show that the Anakbayan officers named in the complaint were entrusted with her custody and that they failed to return her to her parents, the 15-page resolution dated May 28, 2021 said.

Prosecutors also found no probable cause to charge the Anakbayan officers with violations of the Anti-Trafficking law (RA 9208), the Special Protection of Children in Situations of Armed Confict Act (RA 11188) and the Philippine Acts on Crimes Against International Humanitarian Law (RA 9851) because there was no evidence presented that Trishia was a member of Anakbayan.

“Also, complainants failed to introduce evidence that the Anakbayan organization is an armed group that recruits and/or uses children to participate in hostilities or armed confrontation or a recruitment front of the CPP-NPA and its underground organization is the Kabataang Makabayan (KM),” they said.

“Further, we cannot consider joining and participating in rallies and conducting peaceful assemblies as acts of armed struggle,” they added.

DOJ prosecutors, in October last year, junked similar complaints against Kabataan Party-list Rep. Sarah Elago and former Rep. Neri Colmenares involving another student whose parents also claimed was supposedly kidnapped by Anakbayan on the same grounds.

DOJ junks kidnapping, other raps vs Colmenares, Elago, etc. over 'missing' student-activist


In General Santos City, a court declared illegal the warrantless arrest of a couple accused of being members of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF).

Edgard and Regina Patulombon were arrested in July 2015 allegedly for taking part in the kidnapping of soldiers in June 2013.

A gun and 2 grenades were supposedly recovered from the couple which supposedly justified their arrest even without a court order.

But GenSan RTC Branch 23 Judge Dennis Velasco noted that the authorities failed to inform the couple of their constitutional rights to remain silent and to have a lawyer representing them.

“These are the so-called ‘Miranda rights’ so oftenly disregarded by our men in uniform. Infractions thereof render inadmissible the extrajudicial confession or admission made during custodial investigation,” he said in granting the demurrer to evidence (essentially a motion to dismiss based on insufficiency of evidence) and dismissing the case.

Lawyer Emilio Pana, who represented the couple, welcomed the ruling as a “great day for justice,” noting that both of the accused were elated.

“But the damage to the spouses Patulumbon and their family is incalculable. They languished in jail for more than five years on the basis of trumped-up charges. This is reprehensible because these charges are intentionally committed by state agents,” he said.


Meanwhile, a Legazpi court quashed search warrants and junked the illegal possession of firearms, ammunitions and explosives charges against Pastor Dan Balucio, an alleged NPA member.

Cops secured search warrants from another Legazpi City court claiming that Balucio, with other companions, were supposedly peddling firearms.

The search warrants were served in May this year that led to Balucio’s arrest, with the police allegedly recovering a gun with several bullets, a grenade and flag of the CPP-NPA.

But Legazpi City RTC Branch 10 Judge Maria Theresa San Juan-Loquillano questioned how the search warrants were issued in the first place when the applicant police officers did not have personal knowledge about the supposed crime, as required under the Constitution.

Instead, it was only a tipster who supposedly knew about Balucio’s activities but the judge also had reservations about his testimony.

Among her reservations — how the tipster managed to travel to Metro Manila from his house in Daraga, Albay to report the matter to CIDG NCR when there were no public transportation due to pandemic restrictions imposed earlier this year.

The judge reminded authorities what the laws and the Constitution require of every law enforcer applying for a search warrant.

“When the Constitution mentioned the term ‘the witnesses he may produce,’ the framers of the Constitution had in mind that the application for the issuance of a search warrant must not be supported by only one witness, but by at least two witnesses and the latter must also possess personal knowledge about the matters that they are testifying to. This is to ensure that the search warrant will not be issued on the whims and caprices of the applicant or the lackadaisical attitude of the issuing judge,” she said.

The dismissal of cases based on improperly-issued search warrants follows the dismissal of charges against journalist Lady Ann Salem and trade unionist Rodrigo Esparago in February this year, also accused of illegal possession of firearms and explosives.

The Mandaluyong court voided the search warrant for being vague.

Court junks case vs journalist, trade unionist; calls search warrants 'fishing expedition'
Court orders release of journalist, trade unionist arrested on Human Rights Day


In yet another dismissal, a court in Angeles, Pampanga junked on July 1 the illegal possession of firearms case against former CPP-NPA leader Rodolfo Salas alias Kumander Bilog due to insufficiency of evidence by granting his demurrer to evidence.

Salas was arrested in February 2020 based on charges of murder over his alleged role in the “purge” of NPA members from 1985 to 1992.

A gun and ammunitions were supposedly recovered during his arrest, which led to a separate charge.

Supreme Court grants bail to ex-NPA chief 'Kumander Bilog'

Angeles RTC Branch 58 Judge Assisting Judge Ramon Corazon Blanco however disregarded the evidence because they were taken as a result of an illegal search, violating Salas’ constitutional rights against unreasonable search and seizure.

Since there was no search warrant for the gun and ammunitions, authorities tried to justify it as having been seen in plain view to justify warrantless search but conflicting testimonies contradict this position.

And while a search is allowed after a lawful arrest, the court said that it appeared from the conflicting testimonies that the search was not limited within the immediate control of Salas to justify the search as an incident to a lawful arrest.

Salas continues to face the murder charges, which he claims to be already covered by his prior conviction for rebellion based on a plea bargain agreement in 1991. He was in jail for 6 years.

The accused/respondents in the General Santos, Legazpi and DOJ cases were represented by NUPL while the Free Legal Assistance Group lawyer for Salas.

BIFF leader, 10 members surrender in Maguindanao

From GMA News Online (Aug 14, 2021): BIFF leader, 10 members surrender in Maguindanao

A leader of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) and 10 of his followers yielded to the military in Barangay Kuloy, Shariff Aguak, Maguindanao on Friday morning, August 13, 2021.

Lt. Gen. Corleto Vinluan, Jr., Commander of the Western Mindanao Command, said on Saturday that combined elements of the 33rd Infantry Battalion and the intelligence operatives facilitated
the surrender of a BIFF leader identified as a.k.a. Molawin.

Ten of his followers were identified only with the following aliases: Rahib, Nasrullah, Salahuddin, Esmail, Rahim, Haron, Tapa, One Eye, Naser, and Kasim.

“A.k.a. Molawin and his followers belong to the BIFF Karialan Faction,” Vinluan said in a statement.

According to Col. Pedro Balisi, Jr., Commander of the 1st Mechanized Infantry Brigade, the successful surrender of the BIFF personalities was made possible through the support of the barangay chairpersons of Kuloy and Tapikan, both of Shariff Aguak town.

Balisi said the BIFF members surrender their weapons including:

two cal. 30 Barret,
one cal. 30 M1 Garand converted to M14 rifle,
one cal. 30 M1 Garand,
one cal. 5.56mm M16 rifle,
one cal. 45 pistol,
one cal. 45mm Thongram Submachine Gun,
one 60mm Mortar,
two improvised explosive devices,
four rounds cartridge of 7.62mm ball, and
two round cartridge of 60mm high explosives

According to the military, the BIFF members have surrendered as military strength is invincible that group's dwindling manpower cannot match in battle.

“The influx of surrenders exemplifies that we are winning not only the people’s trust but that of the enemies as well”.

Joint Task Force Central has reported a total of 87 surrenders for this year alone. It can be recalled that last August 7, 13 members of the same group also surrendered to the military in President Quirino, Sultan Kudarat, Maj. Gen. Juvymax Uy, Commander of JTF Central said.

“The spate of surrenders in central Mindanao signifies a breakthrough in our peace efforts to end terrorism in the area. We are hopeful that soon enough we will be able to totally dismantle the BIFF and all other threat groups,” Vinluan said.

The BIFF members were brought to 33IB headquarters in Barangay Zapakan, Rajah Buayan, the same province for custodial debriefing and proper disposition.

Ex-BIFF combatants complete livelihood training

From the Philippine News Agency (Aug 14, 2021): Ex-BIFF combatants complete livelihood training (By Edwin Fernandez)

READY FOR REINTEGRATION. Former members of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) complete a three-day livelihood training at the Army’s 601st Infantry Brigade in Barangay Kaladagan, Tacurong City on Friday (Aug. 13, 2021). The entrepreneurial training (inset), facilitated by the BARMM’s Ministry of the Interior and Local Government, is seen as a vehicle for the reintegration of the former BIFF combatants into mainstream society. (Photo courtesy of 601Bde)

A total of 26 former members of the local terror group Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) in this province on Friday completed a livelihood training workshop to make them productive as they reintegrate into mainstream society.

Brig. Gen. Roy Galido, commander of the 601st Army Infantry Brigade (601Bde), said Saturday the three-day training, held at the military unit’s camp in Tacurong City, Sultan Kudarat was provided and facilitated by the Ministry of the Interior and Local Government - Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (MILG-BARMM).

“It was part of the 'Project Tugon' (Tulong ng Gobyerno sa Nangangailangan) initiative of BARMM under the national government’s thrust of ending local armed conflict nationwide,” Galido said.

He added that more projects from BARMM are in the pipeline for surrendering local terrorists in Maguindanao and North Cotabato.

Since January, some 100 BIFF members have yielded with the help of the provincial governments of Maguindanao and North Cotabato.

Maj. Gen. Juvymax Uy, commander of the Army’s 6th Infantry Division, lauded the 601Bde, MILG-BARMM, and the local government units for actively pushing for projects that would improve the lives of former rebels.

“With this project, more BIFF who are still out there can be convinced to follow suit and live normal and productive lives,” Uy said.

Wife of NPA-slain Army soldier demands justice

From the Philippine News Agency (Aug 14, 2021): Wife of NPA-slain Army soldier demands justice (By Perla Lena)

JUSTICE. The family of Cpl. Frederick Villasis of the 12th Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army, who was brutally killed by communist terrorists in Lahug in Tapaz, Capiz on Aug. 11, 2021, is demanding justice. His wife Shella on Saturday (Aug. 14, 2021) said her husband died a painful death. (Photo from Frederick Villasis FB page)

The wife of Cpl. Frederick Villasis, who was on non-combat duty during a community support mission when brutally killed by New People's Army (NPA) terrorists in Barangay Lahug in Tapaz, Capiz, has demanded justice for his death on behalf of their two children.

“Nagapangayo ako bulig nga mahatagan sang hustisya ang gin obra sa iya. Pwerte gid ka brutal. Sakit-sakit gid ya ang natabo sa iya. (I am asking for help so justice would be served. It was too brutal. What happened to him was very painful),” Shella Villasis told the Philippine News Agency (PNA) over the phone on Saturday.

Cpl. Villasis of the 12th Infantry Battalion (12IB) was the leader of the Philippine Army's (PA) left-behind force when the Community Support Program (CSP) in Barangay Lahug ended in March.

The CSP is the Army's people-centered program to bring peace and development to conflict-affected barangays. It is an initiative to bring the government closer to the people through the immediate delivery of basic services.

While on his way to the town’s municipal hall with two other village officials to follow up on development projects for the barangay on August 11, the soldier was snatched by a group of NPA rebels while his companions were set free.

He was later fatally shot three times with his hands tied behind his back.

“Waay gid tinyo kaluuy insa ginpatay gid ninyo asawa ko. Waay gid kamo ka sayod nga may darwa pa tamon ka unga, mga gagmay pa (You showed no mercy in killing my husband. You have no idea that we have two children who are still small),” Shella said, directing her grief to the NPA terrorist group.

She described the 33-year-old Villasis, who entered the military in 2012, as dedicated to his work. He was also a caring husband and a loving father to their two children, a girl who is turning nine years old next month and a three-year-old son.

She said she has no idea how to explain to their children that their father is dead, especially to their youngest, who is a Daddy’s boy.

At home, Villasis did not talk about the risks of his job but spent his time keeping their house spic and span and bonding with the kids, Shella said.

His last visit to his family was more than a month ago and his last phone call was on August 10.

The slain soldier's remains will be brought to his parent’s house in Barangay Jaena Norte in Jamindan, Capiz at 2:30 p.m. on Saturday for a five-day wake upon the request of his father.

He will then be transferred to their house in Barangay Cogon, Sigma to be buried at the municipal cemetery on a date yet to be determined.

Tapaz Mayor Roberto Palomar condemned what he called a barbaric act “to the highest level.”

The Western Visayas Regional Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (RTF6-ELCAC) likewise denounced the slaying as “an act of terror designed to undermine the peace efforts of the government in the hinterland barangays of Tapaz, Capiz.”

Brig. Gen. Marion R. Sison, commander of the 301st Infantry Brigade, called it a “cowardly act of desperation by the communist terrorist group.”

The commander of the 3rd Infantry Division, Maj. Gen. Eric C. Vinoya, assured that what Villasis had started in Barangay Lahug would be continued until the local communist armed conflict comes to an end.

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

4 soldiers hurt, 3 Reds' guns seized in Isabela clash

From the Philippine News Agency (Aug 14, 2021): 4 soldiers hurt, 3 Reds' guns seized in Isabela clash (By Villamor Visaya, Jr.)

Four government troops were wounded in a clash with 10 New People's Army (NPA) rebels at the mountains of Barangay Capellan in Ilagan City on Friday.

Maj. Jekyll Dulawan, 5th Infantry Division spokesperson, said the wounded soldiers were airlifted from the site by the Philippine Air Force - Tactical Operations Group 2 members and brought to the military hospital for treatment.

Recovered from the rebels after the 30-minute encounter between a platoon of soldiers of the 95th Infantry Battalion and the communist terrorists at about 7:30 a.m., were an M-16 Armalite rifle, two shotguns, three magazines, 53 bullets for M-16 rifle, five shotgun bullets, and personal belongings.

Bloodstains were reportedly seen along the withdrawal route of the communist rebels, indicating casualties.

Dulawan said villagers had tipped off the presence of rebels belonging to the Regional Sentro De Gravidad (RSDG) of the Komiteng Rehiyon - Cagayan Valley (KR-CV) who were allegedly extorting for food.

Lt. Col. Carlos Sangdaan Jr., 95th Infantry Battalion commander, said they would continue to focus their efforts on getting rid of insurgents.

Meanwhile, Brig. Gen. Danilo Benavides, 502nd Infantry Brigade commander, urged the rebels to surrender.

“Army troops will not stop from chasing you so better grab the opportunity to yield to the government troops. Benefits from the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP) await you,” he said.

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

BIFF subleader, 10 followers yield in Maguindanao

From the Philippine News Agency (Aug 14, 2021): BIFF subleader, 10 followers yield in Maguindanao (By Noel Punzalan)

SURRENDER. The 11 BIFF surrenderers who yielded to the Army’s 33IB in Barangay Kuloy, Shariff Aguak, Maguindanao on Friday (Aug. 13, 2021). The group also turned over a set of firearms (inset). (Photo courtesy of 33IB)

A sub-commander of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighter (BIFF) and 10 of his followers yielded in Maguindanao, the Army announced Saturday.

Lt. Col. Benjamin Cadiente Jr., Army’s 33rd Infantry Battalion (IB) commander, said
the surrender took place in Barangay Kuloy, Shariff Aguak, Maguindanao on Friday afternoon.

“Village chairmen Remmy Degay and Mohamad Dawaling, of Barangays Kuloy and Tapikan, respectively, helped us in convincing the BIFF batch to surrender,” he said.

Citing security reasons, Cadiente declined to name the surrenderers but said they are members of the BIFF-Karialan faction.

The group also yielded a 60 mm mortar launcher, two .50 caliber Barrett sniper rifles, an M14 rifle, two Garand rifles, an M16 rifle, a Thompson submachine gun, two improvised explosive devices, and ammunition.

Cadiente said the relentless military operations against the extremist group pushed the BIFF batch to yield.

A certain alias Datu, one of the surrenderers, said the provincial government’s promise of giving them a chance for a peaceful life under the AGILA-HAVEN (Anak na may GInintuang Layunin upang Hintuan Ang Violent Extremism Ngayon) program further made them change their minds to abandon the futile BIFF cause and be with their families again.

“We really miss our families,” Datu, 33, said in the vernacular during a media interview.

Records from the Army’s 6th Infantry Division here showed that some 130 BIFF combatants had surrendered to military and police in Central Mindanao since January this year.

Troops seize NPA arms cache, war materiel in N. Ecija

From the Philippine News Agency (Aug 14, 2021): Troops seize NPA arms cache, war materiel in N. Ecija (By Zorayda Tecson)

RECOVERED. Government troops recover a cache of weapons and war materials belonging from the New People’s Army (NPA) in Nueva Ecija on Saturday (Aug. 14, 2021). The troops discovered high-powered firearms and other war materials in the mountainous area of Barangay Sampaloc, Pantabangan, Nueva Ecija. (Photo by PRO-3)

Government troops on Saturday recovered a cache of weapons and war materiel belonging to the communist terrorist New People's Army (NPA) in Nueva Ecija.

Col. Rhoderick Campo, director of the Nueva Ecija Police Provincial Office, said government security forces discovered high-powered firearms and other war materiel in the mountainous area of Barangay Sampaloc in the town of Pantabangan.

Campo said the recovered items were an M203 40MM grenade launcher ammunition; two rocket-propelled grenade ammunition; 29 cartridges of 5.56-mm; 18 cartridges of caliber 7.62; among others.

Brig. General Valeriano de Leon, director of the Police Regional Office 3, said the latest recovery of a cache of high-powered firearms further incapacitates the enemies’ key operatives.

He also commended the troops for successfully implementing President Rodrigo R. Duterte's Executive Order 70 which aims to end the local communist armed conflict.

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

Army’s outreach program benefits Muslim kids in Aurora

From the Philippine News Agency (Aug 14, 2021): Army’s outreach program benefits Muslim kids in Aurora (By Jason De Asis)

OUTREACH PROGRAM. Hundreds of children from the Muslim community benefit from the joint outreach program of the military and local government unit of Barangay Pingit, Baler, Aurora on Saturday (Aug. 14, 2021). During the event, a total of 200 children benefited from the feeding program while 50 others availed themselves of free haircuts. (Photo by Jason de Asis)

BALER, Aurora – Hundreds of children from a Muslim community benefitted from the joint outreach program of the military and local government unit of Barangay Pingit, Aurora on Saturday.

The outreach program was organized by the 91st Infantry “Sinagtala” Battalion, 7th Infantry, "Kaugnay" Division, Philippine Army, 307th Community Defense Center (CDC), 3rd Regional Community Defense Group (3rd RCDG), Army Reserve Command (Arescom), and Aurora Ready Reserve Infantry Battalion (ARRIBn).

During the event, a total of 200 children benefited from the feeding program while 50 others availed themselves of free haircuts.

Some 200 notebooks and 200 toys were distributed during the activity at the covered court of Barangay Pingit.

The outreach program was led by Lt. Col. Valentino P. Azarcon, battalion executive officer with the participation of Miss Universe candidate Charissa Claire Gonzalez, Yes For Peace headed by Sangguniang Kabataan chairwoman Judith Sindac of Barangay Calabuanan and local barangay officials headed by village chair Lysander Ritual Querijero of Barangay Pingit.

Lt. Col. Reandrew P. Rubio, commander of the Army’s 91st Infantry “Sinagtala” Battalion, lauded the joint efforts of giving importance to the Muslim community, saying that the outreach program shows that the government is caring for them.

“Our soldiers will continue to support and provide activities that aim to strengthen our partnership with the local governments, national government agencies, and other stakeholders to improve the economic, health and social well-being of our Muslim community in the province,” Rubio said in an interview.

Arescom director, Maj. Alfadzhar M. Salim, who is also a Muslim, said they want to make sure that the free government services will reach the people at the grassroots level.

“We are reaching out to the people to provide assistance as part of our mandate to serve the people just like the 91st IB while securing the land,” Salim said.

On the other hand, Maj. Edward Pineda, ARRIBn commander, said with the help of the different stakeholders, the Philippine Army reservist will continue to extend government programs and stakeholders’ support to help the Muslim communities.

“We are so grateful to get the chance to talk and serve them,” Pineda said.