Monday, November 8, 2021

WESTMINCOM: GPH-MNLF Coordinating Committee signs resolution approving Security Component Framework of Transformation Program

Posted to the Western Mindanao Command (WESTMINCOM) Facebook Page (Nov 8, 2021): GPH-MNLF Coordinating Committee signs resolution approving Security Component Framework of Transformation Program

4th Civil Relations Group


The Government of the Philippines and the Moro National Liberation Front under the leadership of Chair Muslimin Sema marked another milestone in the GPH-MNLF Peace Process with the signing of a resolution approving the implementing arrangements and mechanisms under the security component of the Transformation Program for MNLF combatants and members.

The agreed framework, which was signed last October 29, outlined the stages and corresponding process in the disposition of MNLF forces. These stages, which include the validation, verification, and profiling of MNLF combatants, will be the prerequisites for the delivery of initial socio-economic interventions to members of the revolutionary group.
The framework also itemized the socio-economic packages, as well as the interventions to be provided to individual combatants, their families and communities.
The GPH-MNLF Coordinating Committee (GMCC), led by its chairpersons Presidential Adviser on Military Affairs Undersecretary Arthur Tabaquero and Datu Ali Montaha Babao, signed the resolution in the presence of Presidential Peace Adviser Secretary Carlito G. Galvez, Jr. and MNLF Central Committee Chairman Datu Muslimin G. Sema.

Galvez lauded the GMCC for its commitment to lay the foundations for the complete implementation of the Transformation Program of the MNLF combatants and members.

The resolution also included the establishment of various mechanisms and joint bodies that would champion specific requirements under the security component such as the Joint Body on Disposition of Arms and Forces (JBDAF), Joint Security Monitoring and Coordinating Team (JSMCT), Joint Verification Team, and Joint Validation Team.
The implementation of the signed resolution will begin this year covering MNLF combatants in the Province of Sulu. Its coverage will be expanded to other areas identified in the 1996 Final Peace Agreement, and will be subject to further discussion of the GMCC.
Meanwhile, the issues on the disposition of MNLF firearms and munitions is still subject to further discussion of the GMCC. This will also involve a phased approach similar to the disposition of MNLF forces.
Also present during the signing of the resolution were GPH Coordinating Committee members Brig. Gen. (Ret) Buenaventura Pascual and Head of Secretariat OPAPP Director Jana Gallardo.
The MNLF Coordinating Committee was also represented by Uttoh Salem Cutan, Datu Faizal Karon and Head of Secretariat Oscar Barandia Jr. |

EASTMINCOM: EastMinCom’s Air Power Boosted with 4 Newly Acquired Black Hawk Choppers

 Posted to the Eastern Mindanao Command (EASTMINCOM) Website (Nov 2, 2021): EastMinCom’s Air Power Boosted with 4 Newly Acquired Black Hawk Choppers

NSFA, Panacan, Davao City – The Armed Forces of the Philippines, in a bid to enhance the operational capabilities of its frontline units, assigned four new S-70i Blackhawk helicopters to Eastern Mindanao Command (EastMinCom) which are expected to amplify its air capabilities especially in conducting intensified military combat operations, humanitarian assistance, and disaster response during calamities.

This came a week after the death of Jorge Madlos alias “Ka Oris,” a notorious Communist Terrorist Group (CTG) leader, in a legitimate encounter with the security forces of EastMinCom in the hinterland of Impasug-ong, Bukidnon on October 30, 2021.

The four new air assets, two of which are stationed at Tactical Operations Wing Eastern Mindanao (TOW-EM), Davao Air Station, Barangay Sasa, Davao City, and another two at Tactical Operations Group 10 Headquarters, Lumbia Airport, Cagayan de Oro, City, were formally received by BGen. Maurito L. Licudine, the Deputy Commander of EastMinCom, and LtCol. Omar FridzKhan S. Alpa, the Officer-in-Charge of TOW-EM/Group Commander of Tactical Operations Group 11 on November 4.

The S-70i Black Hawk helicopter is the latest in the family of Black Hawk multi-mission aircraft built by Poland-based Sikorsky Aircraft subsidiary PZL Mielec. These air assets can be configured according to specific missions including troops transport and air assault, command and control, border patrol, search and rescue, disaster response, cargo lift, and VIP transport.

EastMinCom Commander LtGen. Greg T. Almerol said that these new air assets will enhance the troops’ mobility in the fight against the CTG including the ability to conduct Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief operations, especially that troops in Eastern Mindanao have always been on the frontlines during natural calamities and disasters.

Aside from that, LtGen. Almerol said that these new air assets will also help the troops of EastMinCom attain its goal of ending the local communist armed conflict by 2022 as it will advance its intensified focused military operations against the CTG.

“The arrival of these Black Hawk choppers happened at a very opportune time to aid our hardworking troops in the pursuit of genuine peace and development in Eastern Mindanao. There is no doubt that these air capabilities will improve the conduct of military operations against the CTG and other threat groups both on land and sea,” LtGen. Almerol said.

The EastMinCom Commander also expressed his gratitude to the Commander-in-Chief and President Rodrigo Roa Duterte for his continued support in improving military capabilities, adding that the president has always been responsive to the needs of the military in order to protect the interest of the country and the people.

Source: Public Information Office, Eastern Mindanao Command, AFP

EASTMINCOM: No Truth on CPP’s Claim of ‘Fake Clash’ Over Ka Oris Death – EastMinCom Commander

Posted to the Eastern Mindanao Command (EASTMINCOM) Website (Nov 2, 2021): No Truth on CPP’s Claim of ‘Fake Clash’ Over Ka Oris Death – EastMinCom Commander

NSFA, Panacan, Davao City - The Eastern Mindanao Command (EastMinCom) under the leadership of LtGen. Greg T. Almerol lambasted the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) for perpetuating lies that Communist Terrorist Group (CTG) leader Jorge “Ka Oris” Madlos was killed in an ambush instead of a legitimate encounter, stressing that this is nothing but their final attempt to save face using a tired trope to discredit the accomplishment of EastMinCom hardworking and dedicated troops.

LtGen. Almerol, along with the whole EastMinCom units, urged the populace not to be swayed by the statement released by the CPP spokesperson. “There is not a single honest bone in the CPP leaders’ and members’ bodies. They have been lying to the people for decades in order to advance their agenda of violence and rob the people of peace and development that they should have been enjoying in their communities many years ago,” LtGen. Almerol said.

“The CPP’s official statement of lies is nothing new. It was nothing but an overused line that the CPP has been using for many years whenever they find themselves in a disadvantaged position. If they must lie, they should at least be original to be sound convincing. In this case, they have failed to persuade the people by using the same lie over and over again,” LtGen. Almerol expressed.

The EastMinCom Commander said that Ka Oris’ loss is major setback to the CPP; hence, they will publicize lies to discredit the efforts of the military in pursing peace and development in the country. He added, however, that the Filipino people are too smart to be persuaded by their acts of deception.

EastMinCom ensured the public that Ka Oris died in a legitimate encounter with the government forces, which was the result of the collective valuable efforts of the different operating troops from the 403rd Brigade, 4th Infantry Division, PA, and intelligence units. LtGen. Almerol added that the successful operations were the result of the military’s careful and deliberate plan to neutralize CTG leaders.

The EastMinCom Commander stressed that the government forces in Eastern Mindanao are strictly adhering to the rules of engagement and the provisions of international treaties such as the Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law, unlike the CPP’s consistent violation of these standards through their shameless use of anti-personnel mines, ambushing of civilians, recruitment of child warriors, and exploitation of the Indigenous People.

“Our troops had done an excellent job by eliminating hardcore CTG leaders who are hounding the people with their terroristic activities and wreaking havoc in the countryside. Our brave and courageous soldiers displayed their bravery, and dedication to their sworn duties by exemplifying outstanding training skills and strategy in serving the Filipino people,” the EastMinCom Commander expressed.

On the other hand, EastMinCom welcomed the Mindanao Indigenous Peoples Council of Elders and Leaders’ statement expressing a celebratory mood over the death of Ka Oris whom they dubbed as “the butcher” of Indigenous Peoples in Mindanao for being the chief implementer of the CPP’s terroristic activities.

“The Indigenous Peoples in Mindanao have a million reasons to be happy about the news of Ka Oris’ death as they have borne the brunt of the CTG’s atrocities under Ka Oris’ direct orders for many years. With Ka Oris out of the picture, tribal groups can finally live in peace and in harmony with each other,” LtGen. Almerol expressed.

Meanwhile, LtGen. Almerol and the whole EastMinCom expressed condolences to the bereaved family of Ka Oris, assuring them of the intent to release his dead body so that a decent funeral will be accorded to him once the proper procedure set under existing Covid-19 protocols is completed.

LtGen. Almerol also assured the public that the whole EastMinCom will be tireless in its intent to win the peace in Eastern Mindanao to allow development to flourish in the area.

“There will be no letup. We will remain aggressive in pursuing the remaining communist terrorists. Hence, I am appealing to our brothers and sisters who remain fighting under the CTG to lay down their arms and embrace our government’s offer of a better future,” LtGen. Almerol reiterated.

Source: Public Information Office, Eastern Mindanao Command, AFP

EASTMINCOM: EastMinCom Statement on the Death of CPP Leader ‘Ka Oris’

Posted to the Eastern Mindanao Command (EASTMINCOM) Website (Oct 31, 2021): EastMinCom Statement on the Death of CPP Leader ‘Ka Oris’

NSFA, Panacan, Davao City - The Eastern Mindanao Command (EastMinCom) headed by LtGen. Greg T. Almerol commends all the combat and combat support units under his Command for their successful operations which resulted to the death of Jorge Madlos alias Ka Oris, who was the New People’s Army National Operations Command Spokesperson and EXECOM member of Communist Party of the Philippines Central Committee, on October 30, 2021.

The collective efforts of the different operating troops, primarily composed of the 403rd Brigade, 4th Infantry Division, PA, and intelligence units and as well as the timely use of the Philippine Air Force capability made the operation successful leading to the death of Ka Oris.

The successful operations were carried out based on the guidance set forth by LtGen Almerol when he assumed command of Eastern Mindanao Command in March 2021. Since then, intelligence fusion, and careful and progressive planning to ensure a better focus military operations were undertaken. Evidently, the hard-work and cooperation among the EastMinCom’s units has paved the way to the neutralization of the high-ranking CTG leaders including Ka Oris.

Ka Oris’ death serves as a main deterrence against communist terrorists’ atrocities in Eastern Mindanao and his loss is bound to cause the Communist Terrorist Group (CTG) forces into splinters.

The death of Ka Oris, who was the face of communist terrorism in Mindanao for many years, is a major loss to the CTG as his influence had been a unifying force for its followers and supporters in the area. With him out of the picture, the CTG’s operational balance could easily cave in like a house of cards.

His demise signals a new era for the people of Eastern Mindanao who had long been living in the shadows of terror sowed by the CTG under his reign. With his followers shattered into smaller group, is a result of the relentless focused military operations launched by EastMinCom troops.

His death is also a major victory not only for the military but as well as the peace-loving communities of Eastern Mindanao who finally enjoy an unhampered peace and development.

May Ka Oris’ death serve as an awakening for the remaining CTG forces that continued resistance against the government will only results in tragic endings. The whole EastMinCom calls upon Ka Oris’ fellow leaders and followers to embrace the government’s sincere offer to help them start a new life under the fold of the law through the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (ECLIP).

We reiterate our call for peace to the remaining CTG members. May you follow the steps of your former comrades who are now living a peaceful and comfortable life under the care of the government. All you need to do is make that decisive action to peacefully surrender and we will ensure your safety and protection.

Meanwhile, EastMinCom also applauds the people living in the communities for their proactive sharing of information to the military which has been instrumental in the success of its operations in Eastern Mindanao. The people’s eagerness to help only manifests their desire to put an end to the menace and anti-development sentiments of the CTG in their communities.

The voluntary acts of ordinary citizens in sharing vital information to the military speak volumes about the dissipating support for the CTG. It is clear that we have been able to win their complete trust and we will never smear this relationship with them.

Rest assured that EastMinCom will never stop working day and night to bring lasting peace and development in Eastern Mindanao by 2022.

Source: Public Information Office, Eastern Mindanao Command, AFP

Kalinaw News: Two new people’s army terrorist die in a series of clashes with government

Posted to Kalinaw News (Nov 8, 2021): Two new people’s army terrorist die in a series of clashes with government

Prosperidad, Agusan Del Sur – The 401st Infantry “Unite N’ Fight” Brigade of the 4th Infantry “Diamond” Division, Philippine Army composed of the 3rd Special Forces Battalion, 75th Infantry Battalion and the 41st Division Reconnaissance Company launched a simultaneous Focused Military Operations (FMO) against elements of the Regional Operational Command (ROC) led by Edilberto Dabal Y Reponte aka Bong/Waco and Regional Sentro de Grabidad (RSDG) led by Judel Vertudazo Y Cayapos aka Janjalani/ Jerby of the Northeastern Regional Committee (NEMRC) on November 07, 2021 in the vicinity of P-4, Brgy Villa Undayon, Bayugan City, Agusan Del Sur.

The 401Bde troopers carried out the successful FMO at around 12:05 noon when the 3SFBn troopers encountered more or less forty (40) CPP-NPA Terrorists (CNTs) of the said Communist Terrorist Groups (CTGs). Firefight lasted for about 45 minutes, after which the enemy tried to withdraw towards west direction but was intercepted by the 41st Division Reconnaissance Company where a firefight ensued for about five (5) minutes, then the CTGs tried to withdraw again towards southeast direction where other elements of the 3SFBn troopers encountered them where another thirty (30) minutes of firefight ensued.

The successive encounters resulted to the death of two (2) CNTs identified as certain @Joseph and @Kaykay, both members of RSDG and the recovery of two (2) high powered firearms, ammunitions, two (2) commercial radios, one (1) detonating switch, forty-five (45) meter detonating cord, two hundred (200) meter firing wire, one (1) piece pipe bomb (IED), seven (7) improvised firing device, one (1) piece portable generator, medical items, five (5) cellphones (keypad), blasting cap and backpacks w/ personal belongings. Blood stains were discovered in the encounter sites during the clearing operations believed to be from their wounded comrades.

It can be recalled that Brgy Villa Undayon is one of the recipient barangays of the Barangay Development Program of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC). The civilian populace of the said barangay who have enjoyed relative peace and discarded CNT atrocities reported to proper authorities the presence of a large number of CNTs temporarily encamping near their area that later acted on by 401st Brigade.
Meanwhile, Brigadier General Allan D Hambala, the Commander of 401st Brigade said, “We launched the combat operations in swift response to the information voluntarily given by concerned local populace. The civilians in the barangay were alarmed by the presence of the armed groups and we deployed to ensure the safety and security of the people in Brgy Villa Undayon and the neighboring communities.”

“Again, I call on the members of the CPP-NPA to lay down your arms and surrender peacefully. Through the good programs of the NTF-ELCAC, we will help you live a peaceful life and be together with your families again. Do not suffer the same faith as those two CNTs who were killed today in the firefight. We will not hesitate to employ our resources to protect our peace-loving people and communities from your atrocities”- Hambala said.

[Kalinaw News is the official online source of information on the pursuit for peace in the Philippines This website is a property of the Civil-Military Operations Regiment, Philippine Army located at Lawton Avenue, Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City Contact us:]

Kalinaw News: 2 NPA Terrorists Nabbed for Illegal Possession of Firearms and Explosives in Calinog, Iloilo

Posted to Kalinaw News (Nov 8, 2021): 2 NPA Terrorists Nabbed for Illegal Possession of Firearms and Explosives in Calinog, Iloilo

CAMP PERALTA, Jamindan, Capiz – The Army’s 12th Infantry Battalion and Calinog Municipal Police Station captured two CPP-NPA terrorists (CNTs) in Barangay Cahigon, Calinog, Iloilo, on Sunday, November 07, 2021.

According to LTC Joseph Jason Estrada, Commanding Officer, 12IB, they received information from the civilian populace on the presence of armed communist-terrorists in the said barangay.

LTC Estrada immediately coordinated with Calinog Municipal Police Station and instructed his troops to conduct security operations to verify the report.

Upon reaching the area, the Army and PNP personnel spotted two armed individuals on board a motorcycle trying to escape and evade government forces, which prompted them to conduct pursuit operations.

The pursuit operations resulted in the capture of Lilibeth Gimong alias Juana, Platoon Medic and Nelson Gimong Jr., alias Yohan/Tawi/Arnold, Medic, all of SDG Igabon Platoon, Central Front, Komiteng-Rehiyon Panay. Gimong Jr has a pending case in court for attempted murder with criminal case no. C-17-1863-10.

Seized from the possession of captured personalities were one (1) homemade M16 pistol; two (2) rifle grenades; one (1) hand grenade; three (3) 5.56 live ammunition; assorted medical supplies; one (1) cellphone; personal belongings and identification cards.

“I would like to congratulate 12IB and Calinog-PNP for the successful inter-agency security operations. The capture of the two CNTs will not be the last; more inter-agency operations will be launched to go after wanted communist-terrorists, including those who are continuously terrorizing the people and communities,” said MGen Benedict Arevalo, Commander, 3rd Infantry (Spearhead) Division.

The captured CNTs were immediately brought to Calinog MPS for proper disposition.

Cases for violation of RA 10591 (Comprehensive Firearms and Ammunition Regulation Act) and RA 9516 (Illegal/Unlawful Possession, Manufacture, Dealing In, Acquisition or Disposition of Firearms, Ammunition or Explosives) will be filed against the captured CNTs.

[Kalinaw News is the official online source of information on the pursuit for peace in the Philippines This website is a property of the Civil-Military Operations Regiment, Philippine Army located at Lawton Avenue, Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City Contact us:]

2 ‘rebels’ captured in Calinog

From Panay News (Nov 9, 2021): 2 ‘rebels’ captured in Calinog (By Ruby Silubrico)

Two suspected members of the New People’s Army (NPA) were captured on Sunday in Barangay Cahigon, Calinog town.

They were Lilibeth Gimong and Nelson Gimong Jr., both under the SDG Igabon Platoon, Central Front, Komiteng-Rehiyon Panay, according to Army Lieutenant Colonel Joseph Jason Estrada, commanding officer of the Philippine Army’s 12th Infantry Battalion (12IB).

The two were riding a motorcycle around 1 p.m. when intercepted by the 12IB troops and personnel of the Calinog police station.

Tipsters told the authorities about the rebels’ presence.

Recovered from them were a homemade M16 pistol, two rifle grenades, one hand grenade, three M16 ammunitions, assorted medical supplies, a cellphone, personal belongings, and identification cards.

Cases for violation of Republic Act (RA) 10591, or the Comprehensive Firearms and Ammunition Regulation Act, and RA 9516 or illegal possession, manufacture, dealing in acquisition or disposition of firearms, ammunition or explosives would be filed against the suspects.

They were detained at the Calinog police station.

The younger Gimong also has a pending case in court: attempted murder with Criminal Case No. C-17-1863-10 with a P120,000 recommended bail.

Major General Benedict Arevalo, commander of the 3rd Infantry Division, commended his men and the police.

“The capture of the two rebels will not be the last. Expect more inter-agency operations against terrorists,” Arevalo said.

2 injured soldiers get medals

From the Visayan Daily Star (Nov 8, 2021): 2 injured soldiers get medals (BY GILBERT P. BAYORAN)

An injured member of the 79th Infantry Battalion receives a medal for gallantry from Maj. Gen. Robert Dauz, VISCOM commander, at Camp Lapulapu Station Hospital in Cebu City.* AFP photo

Two Army soldiers, who were injured in recent encounters with New People’s Army rebels in Moises Padilla, Negros Occidental, have been conferred with Wounded Personnel Medal for gallantry at Camp Lapu-Lapu Station Hospital in Cebu City.

Maj. Gen. Robert Dauz, commanding general of the AFP Visayas Command, yesterday personally pinned the medals to two Army soldiers, who are members of the 79th Infantry Battalion stationed in Brgy. Bato, Sagay City, Negros Occidental.

Two soldiers died, while four others were injured in the gun battle on November 3 in Brgy. Quintin Remo, Moises Padilla.

The slain and injured Army soldiers were immediately evacuated from the encounter site in Moises Padilla, by two Air Force Black Hawk helicopters, which brought them to a hospital in Cebu City.

The encounter prevented plans of communist rebels to stage attacks and extortion activities in the area, according to Brig. Gen. Inocencio Pasaporte, 303rd Infantry Brigade commander.

Dauz reminded soldiers of his marching order of enforcing the rule of law, as he encouraged them to remain motivated and steadfast to their mandate of protecting the Filipino people and the state.

Combatant awaiting decommissioning: “They are lucky they were not born during wartime and did not spend most of their years in a war situation”

From MindaNews (Nov 8, 2021): Combatant awaiting decommissioning: “They are lucky they were not born during wartime and did not spend most of their years in a war situation” (By BONG S. SARMIENTO)

CAMP DARAPANAN, Maguindanao (MindaNews / 08 Nov) — “Nay, ang hirap po pala pag-ipinanganak ka sa panahon ng gyera ano, lalaki ka rin na makipag gyera (Mother, it’s difficult to be born during wartime, you grow up becoming a warrior),” Abu Nasif Sarip recalls telling his mother decades ago.

He was born in the 1970s, when the Moro rebellion started to flare in pockets of Mindanao, fueled by their bid for self-rule in the southern Philippines. His father and other uncles fought under the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF), which was founded by Nur Misuari.

Sarip and his five brothers also became combatants mostly under the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), which split from the MNLF in the late 1970s and waged a war with the government for nearly four decades.

Abdulgapor Shariff, chief of the General Staff Special Task Force, aka Abu Nasif Sarip, at his office inside Camp Darapanan in Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao on Monday, 8 November 2021. MindaNews photo by GREGORIO C. BUENO

In 2014, the government and the MILF signed the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB), their final peace agreement, after 17 years of negotiations, which was disrupted by major wars that displaced tens of thousands of civilians, mostly in Maguindanao and neighboring North Cotabato.

The 48-year old Sarip has five children, the eldest of whom died shortly after birth due to alleged poisoning from a gas lamp as the family hid under the tunnel during a heavy artillery bombardment in Camp Abubakar, then the main camp of the MILF. Abubakar fell in the hands of the government following the all-out war waged by then President Joseph Estrada in 2000.

The eldest among the remaining four children is now in college, two are in high school and the youngest is a four-year old boy named Gil Nasif.

“My children are lucky, they’re reaping the gains of our sacrifices with the peace taking place in our midst since the signing of the final peace agreement,” Sarip, a high school graduate, told MindaNews at his office in the sprawling Camp Darapanan, now the main headquarters of MILF that traverses six villages.

Sarip is his nom de guerre. He adopted the name Abu Nasif Sarip, the name on his uniform’s nameplate, because of their four-year-old Gil Nasif, whom he calls a “peacetime baby,” having been born three years after the forging of the CAB. Abu Nasif means the “father of Nasif.”

Sarip’s real name is Abdulgapor Shariff, chief of the General Staff Special Task Force, the security force for Camp Darapanan. To his men, he is popularly called Commander Garex.

Sarip is a hardcore MILF combatant. He rose from the ranks, starting out as a private and now referred to as ‘brigadier general,’ to use the Philippine military rank description. Combat-wise, he could not forget the 2000 all-out war in Camp Abubakar.

“We faced the full military might of the Philippines. If it was just pure ground combat – without their air and artillery assets – we could have stood our ground in Camp Abubakar with our strategic bunkers and familiarity with the terrain,” he recalled.


Seven years after the signing of the CAB on March 27, 2014, Sarip has yet to be decommissioned. But a number of his fellow combatants will be decommissioned starting Monday, November 8.

November 8 is the ceremonial launching of the Phase 3 of the decommissioning process for MILF combatants and their weapons at the old Provincial Capitol in Barangay Crossing Simuay, the same venue for Phase 1 in 2015 and Phase 2 in 2019.

Only the state-owned information agency, however, was allowed to cover. Independent private media was not allowed even as they were present during the ceremonies during the first and second phases.

Members of the Marine Battalion Landing Team-5 flag down vehicles passing along the Old Provincial Capitol in Barangay Crossing Simuay, Sultan Kudarat for security check on Monday, 8 November 2021, as the Phase 3 of the decommissioning process for MILF combatants and their weapons starts. MindaNews photo by BONG S. SARMIENTO

Last Saturday, the government-MILF Joint Communication Committee held a press briefing, facilitated by the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process, for Monday’s decommissioning rites. Among the resource speakers were top officials from the Independent Decommissioning Body, which is overseeing the decommissioning process.

MILF fighters who will be decommissioned during this phase are staying in the MILF’s main camp, in Simuay, and are brought to the Old Provincial Capitol for processing, to ensure health protocols are followed.

The decommissioning of 40,000 MILF combatants and their weapons is at the core of the normalization phase of the CAB. Normalization also includes the transformation of at least six recognized MILF camps into productive economic zones.

For Phase 3, at least 14,000 MILF combatants, or 35 percent of its forces, and about 2,500 weapons will be decommissioned.

William Hovland, IDB vice chair, said during Saturday’s press briefing that from November 8 to December 17, 2021, at least 175 MILF combatants will be decommissioned per day, or a total of 7,000 individuals during the period.

The decommissioning for the remaining 7,000 is expected to resume next year.

Hovland said they will ensure that COVID-19 health and safety protocols will be followed in the decommissioning process.

Peace is ‘enough reward’

Under the normalization aspect of the CAB, MILF combatants will be decommissioned as key milestones of the peace agreement are achieved.

Phase 1 of the decommissioning process took place in June 2015, in the presence of President Benigno Simeon Aquino III. It involved 145 MILF fighters and 75 high-powered weapons.

Phase 2 commenced in September 2019 with President Duterte gracing the event. It was completed in March 2020 with the decommissioning of 12,000 MILF combatants, at least 2,100 assorted weapons and at least 500 ammunition.

MILF combatants included in the Phase 3 decommissioning process wait to be fetched inside Camp Darapanan in Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao for processing at the Old Provincial Capitol on Monday, 8 November 2021. MindaNews photo by BONG S. SARMIENTO

Each deactivated MILF fighter received P100,000 cash and a package of socio-economic promises all totaling to P1 million, including education and livelihood training programs.

Sarip said he was not included in the third decommissioning phase.

The priority of the MILF leadership in the deactivation process are our older comrades who dedicated their lives to the Moro revolution, he added.

At 48, Sarip believes he will be decommissioned in Phase 4, among the 14,000 MILF fighters or the remaining 35 percent of the front’s forces.

Sarip is not keen on the benefits he will receive as a decommissioned combatant.

He stressed that seeing the peace process holding and benefitting the younger Moro generation, referring to his children, and the rest of the Filipinos “is enough reward for me.”

“They are lucky they were not born during wartime and did not spend most of their years in a war situation,” Sarip said.

Gov't, MILF start 3rd phase of decommissioning

From the Philippine News Agency (Nov 8, 2021): Gov't, MILF start 3rd phase of decommissioning (By Edwin Fernandez)

DECOMMISSIONED. A former MILF combatant (right) belonging to the third phase of the decommissioning process undergoes the procedure at the old capitol grounds in Sultan Kudarat town, Maguindanao province on Monday (Nov. 8, 2021) under the facilitation of the international decommissioning body. Some 5,000 former MILF fighters (Inset), which form part of the targeted 14,000, are set for deactivation in the third phase that will continue up to January next year. (Photos courtesy of OPAPP)

The Government of the Philippines (GPH) and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, with the help of the International Decommissioning Body (IDB), on Monday started decommissioning the third batch of MILF combatants here.

Former members of MILF’s Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Forces (BIAF) patiently waited for their turn here to hand over their firearms for safekeeping and deactivation later.

The IDB will safely keep the firearms while other government agencies will attend to the reintegration process of the GPH-MILF peace agreement.

Those who were decommissioned on Monday were part of the estimated 5,000 to 7,000 former MILF fighters set for decommissioning until December this year. Some 9,000 others will undergo processing by early next year.

Undersecretary David Diciano, chairman of the GPH peace implementing panel, and his counterpart, Mohagher Iqbal, the MILF peace panel chair, led the opening ceremonies held at 8 a.m. at the old provincial capitol building in Barangay Crossing Simuay here.

Diciano said aside from the decommissioning of combatants, the government is determined to push with the other aspects of the peace process.

"The panels are also committed to the implementation of all other components for the full transformation of the combatants and their communities in the Bangsamoro," Diciano said.

"The normalization, including the process of decommissioning, is and has always been a joint effort between the GPH and the MILF," he added.

Iqbal, concurrent education minister of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, has stressed the need for both parties to continue with the commitment and the active participation of third parties to ensure the peace process will move forward.

"Today, our determination to fulfill the 2014 Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) led us to a critical component of the normalization process -- and that is the third phase of decommissioning," Iqbal said.

"We are grateful that the GPH-MILF (peace process) is enforced by [a] robust partnership and commitment by stakeholders. I thank our local and international partners for the unwavering support," Iqbal, who also served as chief MILF peace negotiator, added.

The IDB, led by Turkish Ambassador His Excellency Ahmet Idem Akay, facilitated the decommissioning, the third since the peace accord was forged in 2014.

"We would like to congratulate the GPH and MILF for attaining yet another important chapter in the peace process not only in Mindanao but in the entire Filipino nation and beyond, "Akay said.

"The implementation of the decommissioning process despite the pandemic is a testament of the commitment of parties to attain peace in the Bangsamoro," the visibly optimistic Turkish envoy added.

He assured both sides that the IDB and the international community will continue what it had started until sustainable peace is achieved in Mindanao.

While here, government leaders, the MILF, the BARMM, and peace advocates signed the "Wall of Commitment for the Phase 3 Decommissioning Process of MILF Combatants and Weapons," as a symbol of support for the success of the government peace process.

Health protocols set forth by the BARMM Ministry of Health, including coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) swab testing for all the attendees, were strictly observed during the program held at the old capitol building here.

Others in attendance were Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) Director Farrah Grace Naparan; GPH Coordinating Committee on the Cessation of Hostilities (CCCH) chair Brig. Gen. Antonio Nafarrete; GPH Ad Hoc Joint Action Group (AHJAG) Chairman Maj. Gen. Nickson Muksan; and IDB Vice-Chair William Hovland.

Also present were BARMM Minister of Finance Eduard Guerra, co-chair of the MILF Joint Normalization Committee (JNC); lawyer Laisa Masuhud-Alamia, co-chair of the GPH Task Force for Decommissioned Combatants and their Communities (TFDCC); and BARMM Deputy Minister of Transportation and Communication Von Al Haq, concurrent co-chair of the MILF Joint Peace and Security Committee, among others.

A total of 40,000 combatants are expected to be decommissioned by the end of 2022.

Benefits pour in for insurgency-cleared Bacolod village

From the Philippine News Agency (Nov 8, 2021): Benefits pour in for insurgency-cleared Bacolod village (By Nanette Guadalquiver)

BENEFICIARIES. Barangay Banago, the lone insurgency-cleared village among 61 villages in Bacolod City, receives assistance under the Barangay Development Program. Residents gathered at the Banago Elementary School Gym on Nov. 4, 2021 for the distribution of cash aid taken from the PHP20-million funding from the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict. (Photo courtesy of Bing Leonardia Facebook)

Residents of Barangay Banago, the lone insurgency-cleared village here, has received various benefits under the Barangay Development Program (BDP) of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC).

As of Monday, at least 313 were granted medical, burial, and educational assistance from a portion of the village’s PHP20-million funding provided by the BDP -- 202 recipients on Nov. 4, 2021 and 111 during the September 22 payout.

Recipients of educational assistance included college, senior high and junior high school students who each got cash assistance of PHP10,000, PHP6,000 and PHP3,000, respectively, according to a statement.

Andrea Gatilago, 21, a village scholar and junior student at the Technological University of the Philippines-Visayas, said she is blessed to have received the financial assistance which she will use for her school expenses.

Romelette Coquilla, 20, also a junior student of Carlos Hilado Memorial State College-Talisay City, said the cash aid can help her purchase a computer laptop or mobile phone and purchase data load.

“This is a big help for us,” Coquilla said, as quoted by village officials.

Barangay Banago will also use the BDP funding for the construction of a multi-purpose evacuation center, burial assistance, medical assistance, educational or scholarship program, livelihood program, and training assistance.

Barangay Banago, once under the influence of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA), is among the 26 insurgency-cleared villages in Negros Occidental.

The BDP is directed to rehabilitate and develop 822 barangays that were formerly guerrilla fronts of the CPP-NPA-National Democratic Front (NDF) in the countryside.

Each barangay is allotted PHP20 million for their projects.

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.

The Anti-Terrorism Council also formally designated the NDF as a terrorist organization on June 23, 2021, citing it as “an integral and separate part” of the CPP-NPA that was created in April 1973.

PMA honors Eleazar's 30 years of service

From the Philippine News Agency (Nov 8, 2021): PMA honors Eleazar's 30 years of service (By Christopher Lloyd Caliwan)

TRIBUTE. PNP chief Gen. Guillermo Eleazar is given arrival honors during the testimonial parade and review for him at the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) in Baguio City on Sunday (Nov. 7, 2021). Eleazar urged future police officers and soldiers to initiate reforms once they get to assume leadership of any organization, office or unit. (Photo courtesy of PNP)

The Philippine Military Academy (PMA) on Sunday honored outgoing Philippine National Police (PNP) chief, Gen. Guillermo Eleazar, for his over three decades of service to the country as a police officer.

In his speech, Eleazar also thanked the institution, noting it served as the foundation for him to become a good police officer.

“Let me say that the PMA has indeed given me this opportunity na siyang nagbago sa buhay naming mga PMAers. Na siyang nagbigay ng pagkakataon upang mas lalo tayong maging karapat-dapat sa paglilingkod sa ating bayan (which has changed the lives of our PMAers and gave us the opportunity to be even more worthy to serve our people),” he said in his speech during the testimonial parade and review held in his honor at the PMA campus in Fort del Pilar, Baguio City.

Eleazar, a member of the PMA Hinirang Class of 1987, said PMA alumni always welcome the opportunity to return to the academy to reminisce and share their experiences and lessons learned through the years with the cadets.

“I can’t help but reminisce sa nakaraan (from the past). April 1, 1983 when I reported here. At iyon na, nagbago ang lahat sa aking buhay. But after 34 years, nandito ako ngayon. Humaharap sa inyong mga kadete ng PMA na nagsasabing nabigyan ng pagkakataon ang inyong abang lingkod, kagaya ng iba pa nating alumni ng PMA, na makapaglingkod sa ating bayan (And that’s it, everything changed in my life. After 34 years, I am here again addressing you, PMA cadets, to be servants like our other PMA alumni, who have been given the opportunity to serve our country),” he said.

“Ito ay napakahalagang pagbibigay pugay ng ating mga alumni sa ating institusyon na nagbigay daan upang marating natin ang aming kinalalagyan ngayon. Na nagbigay ng pagkakataon na maglingkod sa ating bayan (It is a very important tribute by our alumni to our institution that has paved the way for us to reach where we are today. It gave us the opportunity to serve our people),” he added.

At the same time, he urged PMA cadets to enforce reforms once they get the chance to lead any organization, office, or unit.

“The small problems must be addressed immediately to prevent these problems from getting worse. Maliit na problema pa lang, itinatama na, inaayos na para hindi ito lumaki, lumala, makahawa at maging problema pa (Small problems must be fixed immediately so that they won’t get worse and lead to bigger problems),” Eleazar said.

Eleazar is set to retire from the service on November 13. He is the sixth PNP chief appointed by President Rodrigo Duterte.

Since his assumption as PNP chief in May, Eleazar focused on the implementation of the Intensified Cleanliness Policy (ICP) -- the moral compass of the police force, is divided into three main thrusts which cover the entire continuity of reform in the organization -- cleanliness in offices, cleanliness among ranks, and cleanliness in the community.

PNP chief in League Magazine cover

Meanwhile, Eleazar was featured on the cover page of the League Magazine, a publication that shares inspiring stories about Filipino leadership and local governance.

The League Magazine chose Eleazar for its fourth-anniversary issue because of his inspiring career in law enforcement, dedication to public service, and unwavering resolve to bring the police force to new heights.

Eleazar thanked the magazine for recognizing his efforts to serve the public for more than three decades. .

“I am hoping that the experiences I have shared in the feature story will inspire the next generation of leaders, not only in the PNP, but in other agencies as well, to always think first of the welfare of our kababayans. Sana ay makakuha sila ng inspirasyon mula sa aking mga pinagdaanan upang maging tapat sila sa kanilang sinumpaang tungkulin,” Eleazar said in a statement.

Prior to his appointment as the country's 26th top cop in May, he was the first commander of the Joint Task Force Covid Shield, the law enforcement and public safety arm of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) amid the Covid-19 pandemic

He also led the Administrative Support to Covid-19 Operations Task Force (ASCOTF), which is tasked with coordinating all PNP administrative actions in support of police operational response to Covid-19.

Eleazar also became the chief of the Calabarzon police and the National Capital Region Police Office. In 2016, he became the commander of the Quezon City Police District (QCPD) where he led the relentless anti-crime and anti-illegal drug operations.

AFP forms secretariat for joint peace, security body

From the Philippine News Agency (Nov 8, 2021): AFP forms secretariat for joint peace, security body (By Priam Nepomuceno)

AFP'S JPSCC SECRETARIAT. AFP deputy chief of staff Vice Adm. Erick Kagaoan (center) leads the ceremony for the activation of the AFP's secretariat for the Joint Peace and Security Coordinating Council Monday (Nov. 8, 2021). Brig. Gen. Alex Rillera (left), current assistant deputy chief of staff for operations (A-J3), will lead the secretariat. (Photo courtesy of AFP)

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) on Monday activated its secretariat for the Joint Peace and Security Coordinating Council (JPSCC).

This office will be the focal point for the military and will perform secretariat functions for the AFP chief, who co-chairs the council along with the chiefs of the Philippine National Police (PNP) and Philippine Coast Guard (PCG).

“The recent decisive accomplishments in terms of internal security and law enforcement operations clearly demonstrate the close cooperation and collaborative efforts of the AFP, PNP, and PCG,”
AFP chief of staff Gen. Jose Faustino Jr. said in a speech delivered by deputy chief of staff Vice Adm. Erick Kagaoan in a short ceremony at Camp Aguinaldo in Quezon City.

“The importance of this newly activated office is made more relevant and timely as we sustain the tempo of our security operations to weaken our state's adversaries,”
he added.

Formerly enclosed in the Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations or J-3 in military parlance, the secretariat was elevated in response to the increased operational and administrative requirements with the inclusion of the PCG as a member of the JPSCC and ramping up of collaborative efforts among the member agencies.

Brig. Gen. Alex Rillera, current assistant deputy chief of staff for operations (A-J3), will lead the secretariat.

The inclusion of the PCG as a member of JPSCC is expected to complement and expand capabilities on enforcing maritime law and in protecting our maritime environment.

Earlier in July, the AFP and the PNP signed Resolution No. 11-2021 that included the PCG into the JPSCC and designated its Commandant as one of the co-chairpersons.

The three chiefs also signed JPSCC Letter Directive No. 03-2021 which called for the reorganization of the coordinating center. In the revised structure, the National JPSCC will now be headed by the AFP, PNP, and PCG chiefs while AFP Unified Commanders, PNP Directors for Integrated Police Operation, and PCG Area Commanders will exercise supervision over the Regional and Provincial JPSCCs.

The directive also stipulates that cooperation and coordination among the AFP, PNP, and PCG complemented by collaboration and consultation with all stakeholders shall be the guiding principle in addressing peace and security concerns.

“The volatility and complexity of the security environment compel us to review and assess our approaches and formulate new strategies. We in the AFP are profoundly committed to working closely with the PNP and the PCG in order to maximize the effectiveness and reach of our efforts,” Faustino said.

AFP starts week-long cyber defense exercise

From the Philippine News Agency (Nov 8, 2021): AFP starts week-long cyber defense exercise (By Priam Nepomuceno)

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) on Monday formally started its week-long Cyber Defense Exercise (CYDEX) which is part of the ongoing AFP Joint "DAGIT-PA".

"DAGIT-PA" refers to the annual unilateral maneuver that seeks to further enhance its land, air, and maritime assets in joint interoperability operations.

The CYDEX is being held both physically and virtually in order to enhance the readiness and competency of the military’s cyber forces in the conduct of Joint Cyberspace Operations.

“The goal of this year’s CYDEX is to protect, detect, respond, and recover from cyber-attacks in order to maintain the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of the AFP Cyber Infostructure and Systems,”
said Maj. Gen. Francisco Ariel Felicidario III, AFP Education Training and Doctrine Command chief and AJEX DAGIT PA exercise director, in a statement.

The exercise involves the AFP Cyber Units from the AFP Cyber Group; Communications, Electronics and Information Systems Service AFP; and the Major Service Cyber Units including the composite cyber units under the operational control of the Visayas Command.

They will participate in both physical and online activities from November 8 to 12 which include knowledge sharing on response and recovery procedures as well as vulnerability assessment; defensive cyber operations; and a simulation exercise on active defense operations.

The CYDEX is being conducted under an operating environment wherein cyberspace has been adopted by the AFP as the fourth domain of operations.

In this scenario, Cyber Warfare and Cyberspace Operations Strategy were formulated to synchronize the effort of the AFP Cyber Forces in conducting various virtual operations.

In the exercise, the AFP shall protect its Infostructure through a closed network capable of providing secured means of communications and transmission of classified documents among its units.

“The end state of our CYDEX is a capable and competent AFP Cyber Defense Force that is well-equipped with the necessary skills in executing Joint Cyberspace Operations for the protection of the AFP Infostructure,” Felicidario said.

This AJEX "DAGIT-PA" is being conducted from November 8 to 19 to integrate the joint operations capabilities of the Major Services in a training environment that replicates events in the battlefield arena.

It likewise endeavors to foster unity of effort with all the AFP Units and strengthen its interoperability.