Wednesday, November 10, 2021

Only 1% or 26 out of over 2,000 NTF-ELCAC projects completed

From Rappler (Nov 11, 2021): Only 1% or 26 out of over 2,000 NTF-ELCAC projects completed (By AIKA REY)

'Di natin sila kailangan bigyan ng COVID response program eh wala namang COVID doon,' says Senator Ronald dela Rosa, who would rather rural barangays get anti-insurgency programs

Out of over 2,000 projects spearheaded by President Rodrigo Duterte's controversial anti-insurgency task force, only 26 of them were completed.

This is according to a letter submitted on Monday, November 8, by the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) to the Senate finance committee.

At the plenary debates for the P5.024-trillion national budget bill for 2022, Senator Ronald dela Rosa asked Senator Sonny Angara, sponsor of the bill and Senate finance panel chair, why the NTF-ELCAC budget for social welfare programs was slashed by P24 billion.

Dela Rosa, as he did in previous year's budget hearings and plenary debates, defended the NTF-ELCAC and the need for social welfare programs in making his case.

Senate President Vicente Sotto III interjected, saying that the better question, instead of asking why it was slashed, is how the fund was spent. NTF-ELCAC's Barangay Development Program has a P16.4 billion budget in 2021.

"The reasons for NTF-ELCAC are given already. That's why we approved that. The point now is how it was spent, how it was executed," said Sotto.

According to Angara, only 26 out 2,318 projects were completed and the rest are in various stages of completion:

Over 900 projects in pre-procurement stage
Over 700 in procurement stage
Some 560 ongoing projects

Angara explained to Dela Rosa that the Senate finance committee only received NTF-ELCAC's letter when they were already routing for senators' signatures the committee report for the appropriations bill.

He also said that the committee had to slash the budgets of other agencies in order to allocate some P51 billion to fund the pandemic war chest, specifically for the compensation of health workers and the COVID-19 booster shots.

"In fact, we even left around P4 billion [for NTF-ELCAC] without knowing. This is a blind allocation because there was no report for us," said Angara in a mix of English and Filipino.

COVID or anti-insurgency?

Dela Rosa argued that if NTF-ELCAC was not performing and its budget gets cut, then other agencies should have experienced the same.

In response, Angara said: "Actually, that's what we have been doing, your Honor. When the [budget] utilization rate is low, when the obligation rate is low, we really cut their budgets."

Dela Rosa tried to push his point: "Where the road ends, insurgency begins. Kung gagawing rason ang COVID, tingin ko hindi gano'n kabigat na rason 'yan dahil itong mga barangay na 'to, karamihan dito ay COVID-free.… In the spirit of social justice, let us give what this community needs. 'Di natin sila kailangan bigyan ng COVID response program eh wala namang COVID doon," said Dela Rosa.

(If we will use COVID as an excuse, I don't think that is a very good excuse because these barangays, many of these are COVID-free.… In the spirit of social justice, let us give what this community needs. We don't need to give them a COVID response program when there is no COVID there.)

Angara said that he believed the principle behind the anti-insurgency program was good, but added that: "Even the best programs on paper must be justified by good implementation. That's the point that we are making here."

The police chief-turned-senator also tried to "allay fears" that the NTF-ELCAC fund would be used as an election giveaway by the administration bets in the 2022 polls. Dela Rosa has filed his candidacy for president under the faction led by Duterte.

"Nanalo ako bilang isang senador. Ni piso wala akong natanggap sa Malacañang. (I won as a senator. Not even a peso, I did not receive anything)," Dela Rosa said.

Sotto replied: "Of course, that is contrary to what the newspapers said."

Dela Rosa asked if the committee would be amenable to introduce institutional amendments for the anti-insurgency fund. Angara answered in the affirmative.

While the Senate panel slashed the NTF-ELCAC fund, it remained to be seen what would be the approved amount when the general appropriations bill is sent for Duterte's signature.

After the Senate approves the budget on final reading, the two chambers will still have to meet for the bicameral conference committee to iron out the differences between the two versions.

Palawan rebel forces down to mere 9 armed regulars, WESCOM says

From Palawan News (Nov 11, 2021): Palawan rebel forces down to mere 9 armed regulars, WESCOM says (By Aira Genesa Magdayao)

The military strength of the New People’s Army (NPA) in Palawan is down to only nine armed regular fighters, according to Western Command (WESCOM) commander Vice Admiral Ramil Roberto Enriquez.

Enriquez said during a program last week hosted by Laban Kasama mo ang Bayan that the government armed forces have been
successful in blocking attempts by the armed left to reinforce their ranks in the province following a series of setbacks.

“Marami na sa kanila ang nagkakasakit. In fact ang kanilang acting leader dito na si Charity Diño ay on medical leave at nagpapagaling sa bandang Batangas. Marami na sa kanila ang nawawalan ng pag-asa dahil sa tuloy-tuloy nating pagsugpo sa kanilang samahan,” Enriquez said.

He added that they are exerting efforts to convince the remaining rebels to peacefully surrender.

“Right now, aside from monitoring and preventing [them from] entering Palawan, our government team is in the forefront of persuading the nine NPA regulars to surrender. We are still giving them an opportunity to peacefully surrender,” he said.

Enriquez noted that from 2017 to 2021, Palawan had confiscated around 106 firearms and facilitated the surrender of some 300 members and sympathizers.

“Before the Duterte administration ay medyo malaki ang problema ng Palawan in terms of insurgency. We also have [a] terrorist group coming from Western Mindanao attempting to disrupt the peace and order situation here,” Enriquez said.

Enriquez disclosed there were two incidents of attempted reinforcement of the rebels in Palawan, including a group whose members claimed to be media practitioners covering the COVID-19 situation.

This occurred, he said, following the death of their top leaders in Brooke’s Point town in September last year during a military operation there.

He identified Bonifacio “Salvador Luminoso” Magramo, daughter of late NPA spokesman Ka Roger Rosal, as the secretary of Unite 4E of the Southern Tagalog Regional Party Committee. Andrea “Ka Naya” Rosal and RJ Manalo were among the five rebels slain in the clash with the Philippine Marines’ Force Reconnaissance Group (FRG) and police officials.

“Immediately, we noticed the several attempts to reinforce their kadres here. Ang kagandahan lang doon ay because we are really operating here in a whole of government approach, we [prevented] two major attempts to bring in several group of people na alam namin na hindi talaga sila normal na mamamayan. Nanggaling sila sa iba’t ibang lugar at ang tinutumbok nila na lugar ay nandoon ang remnants [ng mga NPA],” Enriquez said.

Army officer gets 3 medals for bravery

From the Visayan Daily Star (Nov 11, 2021): Army officer gets 3 medals for bravery (By GILBERT P. BAYORAN)

An Army soldier gets a Military Merit Medal from Maj. Gen. Benedict Arevalo, 3rd Infantry Divisio, during the 15IB founding anniversary held at Brgy. Tiling in Cauayan, Negros Occidental.* Spearhead photo

Army 2Lt. Levin Hayes Legaspi was conferred with three medals for bravery and heroic acts by Maj. Gen. Benedict Arevalo, 3rd Infantry Division commander, during the 15th Infantry Battalion anniversary rites on November 8 in Cauayan, Negros Occidental.

Arevalo said that Legaspi and 26 others earned the Military Merit Medals in recognition of their successful military operations against the New People’s Army in Hinobaan and Ilog towns, in previous months that left four rebels dead and seizure of a rebel camp.

Legaspi serves as platoon leader of 15IB’s Charlie Company.

Arevalo said he is proud of the 15IB’s accomplishments in southern Negros.

“You are an asset not only to your unit but also to 3ID. Best soldiers like you are truly the source of the Division’s pride and honor,” he told members of 15IB.

Arevalo also bestowed merit medals to personnel of 79th Infantry, 12th Infantry Battalion and 94th Infantry Battalion in Negros and Panay, respectively, last month in recognition of their exemplary performances, especially on combat operations.

Such practice of Arevalo started while he was still serving as 303rd Infantry Brigade commander in Negros Island, which is part of his leadership philosophy that adopted a customer-friendly culture focusing on the welfare of the soldiers as the 3ID’s primary customers.

Madlos’s cremains turned over to brother

From MindaNews (Nov 19, 2021): Madlos’s cremains turned over to brother (By FROILAN GALLARDO)

IMPASUG-ONG, Bukidnon (MindaNews / 10 Nov) – Exactly a week after his body was cremated, the cremains of slain communist leader Jorge Madlos aka “ Ka Oris” were turned over by town officials here to his younger brother Rito on Tuesday.

Fr. Arnel Villamino, parish priest of the Immaculate Conception Church, officiates the Mass for slain communist leader Jorge Madlos aka “Ka Oris” before his ashes were given to his younger brother Rito in Impasug-ong, Bukidnon on Tuesday (9 November 2021). MindaNews photo by FROILAN GALLARDO

The ashes of his medical aide, Eighfel de La Peña, who was also killed in the October 29 clash, were turned over to her mother last Monday, the military said.

The ashes of Madlos, which were placed inside a simple white box, were turned over by Impasug-ong town Mayor Anthony Uy to Rito in a simple ceremony at the municipal hall.

Fr. Arnel Villamino, parish priest of the Immaculate Conception Church, officiated the Mass before the turnover ceremony.

Rito, who travelled all the way from Surigao City, said it was a sad ending for the rebel leader whose exploits enthralled thousands of Mindanao residents in the past five decades.

“Now my brother is dead. Let us move on,” he said.

Rito extended the gratitude of his family to Mayor Uy and the Philippine Army for the proper treatment of his brother’s remains and the warm welcome he received in the town.

“We already offered his life to the God Almighty. His time is up,” Rito said.

During the turnover, Lt. Abigail Lorenzo, of the Army’s 8th Infantry Battalion, gave the box containing the ashes to Mayor Uy who in turn gave it to Rito.

The town officials also processed the slain rebels’ death certificates and other documents of Madlos.

Rito, the younger brother of slain Communist leader Jorge Madlos aka “Ka Oris,” wipes tears after he received the box containing the ashes of his older brother in Impasug-ong, Bukidnon on Tuesday (9 November 2021). MindaNews photo by FROILAN GALLARDO

Rito was finally able to bring home the box of his brother’s ashes home to Surigao City a week after swabs taken on the body of Madlos and De la Peña came out positive in reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) tests at the Philippine Red Cross’s laboratory in Manila.

The Army said Madlos and De la Peña were killed during a military operation in Sitio Gabunan, Barangay Dumaalaguing in Impasug-ong last Oct. 29.

In a statement signed by Madlos’s wife, Myrna Sularte aka “Maria Malaya,” the New People’s Army claimed that the rebel leader was killed in an ambush by the military.

The local Inter-Agency Covid Task Force took over the remains of Madlos and De la Peña after the Philippine Red Cross made known its findings.

The local IATF sent the bodies for cremation at the Divine Shepherd Memorial Chapels in Barangay Bulua, Cagayan de Oro last week.

Mayor Uy turned over the ashes of De la Peña to her mother Normelita, who brought her cremains back to their hometown in San Luis, Agusan del Sur last Monday. (Froilan Gallardo / MindaNews)

6 officials get new assignments in latest PNP reshuffle

From the Philippine News Agency (Nov 10, 2021): 6 officials get new assignments in latest PNP reshuffle (By Christopher Lloyd Caliwan)

Philippine National Police headquarters (Contributed photo)

Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Gen. Guillermo Eleazar has ordered the reshuffle of six police officers effective Wednesday as another ranking official reaches the mandatory retirement age.

In a special order dated November 9, Regional Director of Police Regional Office-6 (Western Visayas) Brig. Gen. Rolando Miranda, who is set to retire on November 16, is reassigned to the Office of the chief PNP.

He will be replaced by Brig. Gen. Flynn Dongbo, current chief of the Integrity Monitoring and Enforcement Group (IMEG).

Brig. Gen. Oliver Enmodias from the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) will replace Dongbo as IMEG chief, while Col. Leumar Abugan, from the Maritime Group, will take the post of Enmodias.

Col. Genaro Sapiera from the PNP Drug Enforcement Group (PDEG) will be headed to the Maritime Group and Col. Fernando Ortega from the Directorate for Plans will replace him.

Meantime, President Rodrigo Duterte has yet to pick the next head of the PNP who will succeed Eleazar.

Eleazar, set to retire on November 13, is the sixth PNP chief appointed by Duterte.

Duterte names Dionardo Carlos as next PNP chief

From the Philippine News Agency (Nov 10, 2021): Duterte names Dionardo Carlos as next PNP chief (By Ruth Abbey Gita-Carlos and Christopher Lloyd Caliwan)

Lt. Gen. Dionardo Carlos (Photo courtesy of PNP)

President Rodrigo Duterte has named Lt. Gen. Dionardo Carlos as the next chief of the Philippine National Police (PNP), Malacañang announced on Wednesday.

Duterte signed Carlos’ appointment paper on Wednesday, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in a press statement.

Roque said Carlos' appointment will take effect on Nov. 13.

“We confirm that President Rodrigo Roa Duterte signed today, November 10, 2021, the appointment of Dionardo Bernardo Carlos as the new Chief of the Philippine National Police (PNP), effective November 13, 2021,” Roque said.

Roque said the Palace is confident that Carlos could lead the police force.

“We are confident that Gen. Carlos will continue making the PNP a professional, capable and reform-oriented organization that we envision it to be. We wish Gen. Carlos all the best as the new PNP Chief,” he said.

Carlos will replace PNP chief Gen. Guillermo Eleazar who will bow out of the service on Nov. 13 upon reaching the mandatory retirement age of 56.

Prior to his new stint, Carlos served as the PNP chief of the Directorial Staff.

He is holding the fourth highest position in the PNP before being named as the country’s top cop.

Carlos, a member of the Philippine Military Academy “Maringal” Class of 1988, also became the PNP Director for Integrated Police Operations in Visayas and in Southern Luzon.

He also served as head of the PNP’s Highway Patrol Group, the Directorate for Information and Communication Technology Management, and the Directorate for Police Community Relations.

Carlos was also the former spokesperson of the PNP during the tenure of erstwhile police chief and now Senator Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa.

‘Very professional’

Department of the Interior and Local Government Secretary Eduardo Año also confirmed the appointment of Carlos whom he described as “very professional police officer.”

“I have observed the way he performed, and I can say that he is capable of doing the job as next chief PNP, he went through the ladder,” he said in a statement.

Año said Duterte’s decision placing Carlos at the helm of the PNP is guided, as always, “by cautious consideration of a candidate’s seniority, merit, track record, and service reputation.”

“Lahat naman sila kasi ano magagaling talaga, may mga tinatawag tayo na magagandang service reputation, mga tinatawag natin na mga high caliber, pero ang tingin ko ang isa sa naging edge nya ay (They [candidates] are all really good, we what we called good service reputation, high caliber, but I think his edge is) seniority so, and you know that’s very important also because he will be working hand in hand with the Armed Forces,” he added.

He said he expects Carlos to hit the ground running and intensify efforts to counter illegal drugs, fight criminality, and end the communist armed conflict in the country.

“We expect that he will set the highest standards for himself and the rest of the PNP organization on their performance and discipline especially on the goal of cleansing the police organization, leaving no room for scalawags,” Año said.

“We look forward with optimism that his leadership will bring about innovation and reform in the police organization in the fulfillment of the PNP’s duty to serve and protect the people, especially during the Covid-19 public health emergency,” he added.

He said the turnover ceremony will be held on Friday.

Rally behind new leadership

Meanwhile, Eleazar urged PNP’s 222,000-strong officers and rank-and-file personnel to rally behind the leadership of Carlos.

“The President has decided, now is the perfect time for the PNP to express our unity and solidarity behind the chain of command as we welcome a new leader who will ensure continuity of command in our organization,” Eleazar said in a statement.

“General Carlos possesses all qualifications for the position, and President Duterte found him tailor-fit for the criteria he wants for the Chief PNP,” he said.

He said Carlos became instrumental in promoting the PNP flagship reform agenda of intensified cleanliness policy by ensuring timely and hands on implementation of actionable program by PNP Units.

“The mission ahead is as huge as the responsibility that rests on the shoulders of General Carlos. I wish him all the best in the new post even as I offer myself in my humble capacity as a retired PNP Chief in whatever assistance I can provide,” he added.

Eleazar served for 38 years in the uniformed services.

Remain loyal to the Constitution, AFP personnel told

From the Philippine News Agency (Nov 10, 2021): Remain loyal to the Constitution, AFP personnel told (By Priam Nepomuceno)

PNA file photo

Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief-of-staff, Gen. Jose Faustino Jr., on Wednesday reminded all military personnel to remain loyal to the Constitution as it celebrated the 31st anniversary of the AFP Code of Conduct.

“It is our responsibility to uphold integrity and honor as we execute our mandated duty to serve the nation. We must always be reminded of our sworn duty and loyalty to the Constitution and its democratic institutions,”
he said in a statement.

The AFP chief's message was also read simultaneously by unit commanders nationwide followed by the reading of the renewal of Pledge of Allegiance to the AFP Code of Conduct by officers and personnel.

“I urge everyone to continue to contribute and cooperate in maintaining a transparent and accountable Armed Forces, one that will help us realize our vision of becoming a source of national pride,” Faustino said.

All AFP Major Services, Unified Commands, units and offices nationwide joined the renewal of pledge through virtual teleconferencing in accordance with coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) health and safety protocols.

The AFP Office of Ethical Standards and Public Accountability (OESPA) spearheaded the activities for the annual commemoration.

It also facilitated the OESPA Family Conference on the proper accomplishment of the Citizens Charter, in compliance with the Anti-Red Tape Act of 2007.

The AFP Code of Conduct Day is one of the ways that continuously remind soldiers of the firm respect for law and its legal processes. It further reiterates to members the utmost degree of fidelity and good faith in public service.

The code serves as a framework on how officers and personnel ought to carry themselves with professionalism and transparency.

Since its implementation, it became a strong foundation for every AFP member to walk with the highest conduct of decorum and integrity.

Take advantage of new PSG hospital services, PRRD tells aides

From the Philippine News Agency (Nov 10, 2021): Take advantage of new PSG hospital services, PRRD tells aides (By Ruth Abbey Gita-Carlos)

STATE OF THE ART. The Presidential Security Group (PSG) Station Hospital at the PSG Compound in Malacañang Park, Manila. President Rodrigo Roa Duterte led the inauguration of the hospital on Nov. 10, 2021 as he encouraged his security aids to avail of the services and state-of-the-art facilities of the “admirable” hospital. (Presidential photo by Ace Morandante)

President Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday encouraged his security aides to avail of medical services at the newly-built Presidential Security Group (PSG) Station Hospital (PSGSH) at Malacañan Park in Manila.

Duterte made the call, as he acknowledged that the creation of the new PSGSH, especially amid the prevailing coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic, would "greatly benefit PSG personnel, their dependents, and other primary stakeholders."

He also hailed the establishment of the "admirable" and "most beautiful" medical facility for the PSG personnel.

"Actually, it’s the most beautiful [hospital] I’ve ever seen in my life," Duterte said during the inauguration of the newly-constructed PSG Station Hospital. "I encourage all PSG personnel to take advantage of the broad range of hospital services and state-of-the-art facilities made available to you."

Duterte also lauded the PSG officials and their partners for working hard to make the PSGSH "a reality."

He expressed confidence that the "highly-skilled" medical staff of the new hospital would provide the PSG personnel and their dependents with the "best quality of service."

"This new PSG hospital is a testament to the administration’s commitment to providing quality medical services to our troops. It is my hope that your health care needs will be adequately addressed by this facility, especially in these challenging times," Duterte said.

Duterte also vowed that his administration would continue to give the PSG members all the support and assistance they need in order for them to fulfill their mandate of protecting the country and the Filipino people.

The PSGSH, an 800-square meter hospital located at Malacañan Park, is built to cater to the needs of the Philippine president, PSG troopers, and their dependents.

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte inspects the facilities of the Presidential Security Group (PSG) Station Hospital following the inauguration ceremony at the PSG Compound in Malacañang Park, Manila on Nov. 10, 2021. (Presidential photo by Ace Morandante)

The new hospital features state-of-the-art facilities, including an emergency room, intensive care units, outpatient department, laboratory, dental complex, radiology or imaging area, hyperbaric oxygen treatment complex, neuro, and physical services, nursing unit or ward, private rooms, and a presidential suite.

Build a 'peaceful, safe' PH

During the event, Duterte also witnessed the formal turnover of the book, which was titled "Philippine Tactical Combat Care Course Manual" and published by the Philippine Center for Advanced Surgery of Trauma (PCAST), to the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP).

Duterte thanked the Philippine Center for Advanced Surgery of the Cardinal Santos Medical Center, the Philippine Society for the Surgery of Trauma, the PNP Special Action Forces, and the PNP Aviation Security Group for their efforts to publish the manual.

"Your competence and knowledge and skills are vital in developing the capacity of our troops and ensuring the success of their operations. This manual also exemplifies the effective collaboration of various institutions to help safeguard the lives of Filipinos," he said.

Duterte also emphasized that government troops, especially those engaged in field combat, must continue to get support to maintain peace and order in the country.

He also expressed confidence that the state forces would exhaust all efforts to build a "peaceful and safe" nation for the Filipino people.

"I urge you to further uphold excellence, integrity, and compassion in the provision of tactical field care. With the same dedication and commitment, may you inspire your peers to help build a peaceful and safe country for our people. I trust that all of you will be relentless in upholding our national security," Duterte said.

Human rights defender bill ‘flawed, unconstitutional’

From the Philippine News Agency (Nov 10, 2021): Human rights defender bill ‘flawed, unconstitutional’

The Human Rights Defenders bill being pushed anew by the Makabayan bloc in Congress is unnecessary, unconstitutional and will only serve and protect the interest of terrorist organizations such as the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF).

This is what several legal and human rights experts explained during the special edition of the ‘virtual’ press conference of the National Task Force to End Local Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) on Wednesday.

Undersecretary Severo Catura, NTF-ELCAC spokesperson on International Affairs, Peace Process and Human Rights Concerns, said there are “many legal infirmities” to the proposed Human Rights Defenders’ Bill.

The proposed legislation seeks to institutionalize in the government certain groups that are known to be fronts of CPP-NPA-NDF, such as Karapatan Alliance for the Advancement of People's Rights (Karapatan) and the National Union of People's Lawyers (NUPL), which shall become mandatory members of the so-called “Human Rights Defenders Protection Committee” that will be created once the law is enacted.

Catura said even the United Nations (UN) does not have any pronouncement on who should be classified as “human rights defenders.”

“Human rights defender is not a job title,” Catura explained, adding that defending human rights should be pursued by everyone in accordance with UN’s declarations, but should be done in a “peaceful manner.”

What the UN has directly stated is that the government, police and military are the defenders of human rights, according to Catura.

He also questioned the motivations of the Makabayan bloc in pushing for the proposed legislation since the bill did not even have the courage to denounce the proven atrocities committed by Communist Terrorist Groups (CTGs).

“This is a travesty and mockery of human rights,” Catura said.

Lawyer Marlon Bosantog, NTF-ELCAC spokesperson for Legal Affairs and Indigenous People (IP) Concerns, cited the case of Jorge “Ka Oris” Madlos, a most wanted NPA leader who was killed during an encounter with government troops in Bukidnon, is being readied to be “sanctified” as a freedom fighter by proponents of the bill.

“For IPs, he (Madlos) was their butcher. But under the bill he can be defended,” Bosantog said, explaining that the bill could be misused and abused by CTGs to claim that human rights violators such as Madlos are the victims.

On the other hand, lawyer Rhowee Buergo, a member of the NTF-ELCAC Legal Cooperation Cluster, said that the bill “must adhere to existing laws.”

She, however, said the provisions of the bill “contradicts existing laws” like the Republic Act 9160 or the Anti-Money Laundering Act of 2001 (AMLA), RA 11479 or the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020 (ATA) and RA 10173 or the Data Privacy Act of 2012.

Brig. Gen. Joel Alejandro Nacnac, director of the Armed Forces of the Philippines-Center for Law of Armed Conflict (AFP-CLOAC), stressed the bill “is not necessary,” because the country has already enough laws and the Constitution has enough measures and protections in place against human rights violations.

Nacnac added that this bill will be abused by “false claimants,” especially from the affiliated organizations of the CPP-NPA-NDF. “Congress should look into the backgrounds of the proponents of the one-sided bill.”

His former colleague, retired Lt. Gen. Antonio Parlade Jr., now Deputy Director-General of the National Security Council, revealed in various videos and photos several members of the CPP-NPA-NDF who claim to be human rights defenders.

Parlade showed photographs of members of Karapatan, such as Glendyl Malabanan and Alex Pacalda, actively participating in a weapons training exercise of the NPA while holding automatic rifles. He reiterated that many of the so-called human rights defenders are active members of CTGs.

“Patunayan ninyo sa amin na ito ay legitimate na (Prove to us that these are) human rights defenders,” Parlade said.

PH Navy eyes stronger ties with France

From the Philippine News Agency (Nov 11, 2021): PH Navy eyes stronger ties with France (By Priam Nepomuceno)

STRONG TIES. French Ambassador to the Philippines Michele Boccoz (left) receives a token of appreciation from Navy chief, Vice Adm. Adeluis Bordado (right), during her visit at the PN headquarters on Wednesday (Nov. 10, 2021). The two officials discussed various collaborations and partnerships between the PN and the French Navy, including port calls, naval exercises, and training. (Photo courtesy of Naval Public Affairs Office)

The Philippine Navy (PN) is eyeing stronger defense relations with France in the near future.

"The introductory courtesy call of the newly-designated French Ambassador to the Philippines, Her Excellency Michele Boccoz, on PN chief Vice Admiral Bordado served as an avenue for discussions centered on bolstering the defense and armed forces relations between the two countries, rule-based order, and the observance of international law in freedom of navigation,"
Navy spokesperson Commander Benjo Negranza said in a statement Wednesday night.

Boccoz visited the PN headquarters at Naval Station Jose Andrada in Manila and made a courtesy call on Bordado on Wednesday.

She also conveyed her pleasure of being at the PN headquarters as "maritime is an area where France and the Philippines collaborate very closely."

Meanwhile, Bordado discussed various collaborations and partnerships between the PN and the French Navy, including port calls, naval exercises, and training.

"Building a relationship with France and the PN through future engagements, training, and capability development were also among the highlights of today's courtesy call," Negranza said.

Bordado also received the newly-designated Defense Attaché of Spain to the Philippines, Col. Javier Martin Gil, who formally made his introductory courtesy call to the PN chief Wednesday.

"The Chief of Naval Staff, Commodore Caesar Bernard Valencia, and Colonel Gil had a fruitful discussion regarding possible areas of collaboration between the two country's militaries and defense. Fostering strong bilateral ties, particularly among the armed forces of the Philippines and Spain, was also one of the discussion's high points," Negranza added.

As the defense attaché of Spain to the country, Gil is responsible for the bilateral defense relations of the Philippines and Spain. He began his duties and responsibilities as defense attaché last August 1.

Interventions to IPs, former rebels continue

From the Philippine News Agency (Nov 11, 2021): Interventions to IPs, former rebels continue

PRLEC logo taken from its Facebook page

The Poverty Reduction, Livelihood and Employment Cluster (PRLEC), together with its partner agencies nationwide continue to assist indigenous peoples (IPs) and former rebels.

PRLEC, which the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) chairs, has been going to far-flung communities in the country to empower its residents through livelihood and other skills training.

The PRLEC is also one of the clusters under the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) that aims to develop self-reliant, productive, resilient and sustainable communities through harmonized and culturally responsive development programs.

Last August 31, TESDA Region VI, together with PRLEC-member agencies in Negros Occidental launched a project in two insurgency-cleared barangays in San Carlos City.

Dubbed as “Vamos sa Barangay Buluangan at Guadalupe para sa Kapayapaan at Kaunlaran,” TESDA will be conducting training on Shielded Metal Arc Welding (SMAW) NC I for 50 San Carloseños, 25 from each barangay.

In Region II, a total of 25 formal rebels and their wives in San Mariano, Isabela have started their training on Electrical Installation and Maintenance NC II and Cookery NC II last September 4.

The training is currently implemented under TESDA’s Training for Work Scholarship Program (TWSP) and Special Training for Employment Program (STEP).

Likewise, TESDA Isabela launched its Project IRIK or " Implementation of Resources for Isabeleños towards Key employment and livelihood as intervention" in the municipality of Jones last September 7.

A total of 125 residents from Barangays Napaliong, Minuri, Namnama, Villa Bello, Sta. Isabel and Sto Domingo have started their training on Shielded Metal Arc Welding NC I and Tailoring NC II.

TESDA Secretary Isidro Lapeña earlier said that the agency’s commitment is to provide interventions to help the country become insurgency-free by providing livelihood opportunities to those living in vulnerable areas.

“TESDA has various scholarship and livelihood programs for the beneficiaries such as members of the communist terrorist groups who decided to return to the government fold, residents of various geographically isolated and disadvantaged communities, including indigenous peoples in far-flung areas of the country,” he said.