Wednesday, November 17, 2021

Kalinaw News: 6 CTG Members Yield After Ka Oris’ Death, Largest Arms Cache Found in Eastern Mindanao

Posted to Kalinaw News (Nov 17, 2021): 6 CTG Members Yield After Ka Oris’ Death, Largest Arms Cache Found in Eastern Mindanao

NSFA, Panacan, Davao City – Six members of the Communist Terrorist Group (CTG) capitulated on November 14, 2021, after their fate was in limbo following the death of top communist terrorist leader Jorge Madlos alias “Ka Oris,” while the largest CTG arms cache was also discovered by the troops on a separate occasion, leading to the seizure of several high-powered firearms.

The six communist terrorists who yielded to the troops of the 4th Infantry Division (4th ID) in Cabanglasan, Bukidnon were composed of a high-ranking leader identified as Bernie M. Sinunta alias Boboy, the Intel Officer/Vice Commanding Officer of the North Central Mindanao Regional Committee’s Sub-Regional Committee 2 (NCMRC, SRC2) and five other members namely Junie Orque alias Bigboy, Squad Leader of Squad 1, Platoon Bagsik, Guerilla Front Malayag, SRC2; Ting Arellano alias Ting, Team Leader Abe of Squad 2, Sub-Regional Sentro de Gabidad (SRSDG) peddler, SRC2; Jorlito Arellano alias Jimboy, the Team Leader Baking of Squad 2, SRSDG Peddler, SRC2; Rickian Ampildon alias Pikoy, Security Officer/Team Leader Baking of Squad 1, SRSDG Peddler, SRC2; and Marjon Pasco alias Reden, the Team Leader Abe of Squad 2, SRSDG Peddler, SRC2.

The communist terrorists also surrendered six high-powered firearms consisting of an M4 Rifle, three M16 Rifles, and two M14 Rifles.

The six communist terrorists bared that internal crisis within their group brought by the absence of Ka Oris prompted them to surrender to government forces on top of other reasons such as scarcity of food and other supplies and the relentless focused military operations launched by the troops of Eastern Mindanao Command (EastMinCom).

Meanwhile, troops of 10th Infantry Division’s (10th ID) 1002nd Brigade seized a total of 30 high-powered firearms comprised of a Cal .30 machine gun; seventeen M16 rifles, seven AK47 rifles, four M14 rifles, an M203 Grenade Launcher and an upper receiver each for an M16 and Carbine rifle following the discovery of an arms cache during intel operations launched at Sitio Bagyang, Barangay Upper Suyan, Malapatan, Sarangani from November 11 to 16, 2021. This is deemed a major breakthrough since it is the largest arms cache discovered by the troops in the whole history of EastMinCom.

EastMinCom Commander LtGen. Greg T. Almerol said that the surrender of the CTG members is a strong indicator that many of Ka Oris’ comrades are dispirited following his death. The EastMinCom Commander assessed that more CTG members under Ka Oris’ leadership are expected to surrender in the following weeks as a result of massive demoralization within their group.

Ka Oris’ death served as an awakening for some communist terrorists in Eastern Mindanao that continued resistance against the government is futile and will only end in tragedy, the EastMinCom Commander added.

“Once and for all, I call upon the remaining communist terrorists to 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,” LtGen. Almerol stressed.

The EastMinCom Commander also did not let a moment pass without commending the troops of 4th ID and 10th ID, saying that the two divisions are doing a “marvelous job in tackling communist terrorism in Eastern Mindanao.”

“Your exemplary job is a true source of inspiration for all of us who strive to make the country better in pursuit of peace and development. Keep up the good work!” The EastMinCom Commander said.

EastMinCom continues to conduct relentless focused military operations and enhance cooperation with the police, the Local Government Units, the communities, and former rebels as part of its bid to put an end to the communist armed conflict by 2022.

[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: 25 IPDWA members completed their livelihood training

Posted to Kalinaw News (Nov 17, 2021): 25 IPDWA members completed their livelihood training

CAMP DOWNES, Ormoc City, November 16, 2021– The Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) awarded Certificates of Completion of Training, National Competency (NC) II, to each of the 25 TESDA Scholars who are members of the Culaba Integrated Peace and Development Workers Association (CULIPDWA) who have successfully completed the 32-day Training on Animal Production (Poultry Chicken) during the culmination program at the covered court of Brgy. Bool West in Culaba, Biliran on November 15, 2021.

No less than TESDA 8 Regional Director Engr. Gamaliel B. Vicente Jr. led the distribution of certificates to the 25 graduates along with the distribution of cheques representing their training allowances amounting to Php 10,000.00 each plus an additional Php 1,000.00 each as Internet Allowance. Municipal Mayor Humphrey B. Olimba, 802nd Brigade Commander Brig. Gen. Zosimo A. Oliveros, and Bool West Punong Barangay, Alma C. Relox, assisted in the distribution of the certificates.

To complete the livelihood package, 100 broiler chicks, a sack of feeds and medicines were also given to the graduates as their starter kit.

Member agencies of the Biliran Provincial Poverty Reduction, Livelihood and Employment Cluster (PRLEC) like the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), Cooperative Development Authority (CDA), Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), Philippine Information Agency (PIA), Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR), Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), Department of Education (DepEd), Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR), Provincial Social Welfare and Development Office (PSWDO), Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office (PENRO), Office of Provincial Agriculturist (OPAS), Department of Science and Technology (DOST), and Biliran Police Provincial Office, PNP graced and presented their commitment of support during the historic event.

In return, Class President Alfred Custodio and CULIPDWA President Franco Porbosa extended the words of appreciation to TESDA together with other agencies, 802nd Infantry Brigade, LGUs, SAMBAYANAN Eastern Visayas, and private individuals who extended their support to the first to be conducted livelihood skills training for IPDWA members in Biliran province.

“I would like to request the indulgence of our lawmakers to continue to support the NTF-ELCAC as we are the living proof as beneficiaries of the programs implemented on the ground. The training and livelihood package provided to us would surely improve the lives of our members who were then exploited by the cpp-npa-ndf and its allied organizations.”, Alfred Custodio stressed during his message.

On the other hand, Brigadier General Zosimo A Oliveros expressed his congratulations to all the different agencies and organizations who in simple way made the completion of the training. Other peace and development workers association in Biliran are set to complete other livelihood training in the coming days and this is all part of the promise of the RTF-ELCAC then to deliver government services to the former members of People’s Surge Alliance. He also challenged the graduates to apply the knowledge and skills they acquired by ensuring the growth of the livelihood package provided to them.

“This training is just the beginning and the success of your livelihood depends upon your cooperation and commitment to help yourselves and the organization. We, the army and the other government agencies under the TF-ELCAC, has already provided you the means, now work hard for it, nurture it and soon we will reap the fruits of our labor.”, BGen Oliveros concluded.

After the graduation ceremony, the PRLEC Team conducted site visit to other livelihood training venues for IPDWA members, who are also granted scholarship by TESDA, in Brgy Villa Vicenta, Caibiran for Animal Production (Chicken) Training NC II; Canaan Hill Farms in Brgy Uson, Caibiran for Animal Production (Swine) and Artificial Insemination (Swine) Training NC II; and in Cabucgayan National School of Arts and Trade (CNSAT), Brgy Libertad, Cabucgayan for another Animal Production (Chicken) Training NC II.

The 25 IPDWA members-TESDA scholars of Culaba were the first batch who completed the livelihood training out of the IPDWAs in the 7 municipalities of Biliran conducted by the PRLEC of RTF-ELCAC 8 and PTF-ELCAC of Biliran.

[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: CNT members and supporters pledge allegiance to government in Flora, Apayao

Posted to Kalinaw News (Nov 16, 2021): CNT members and supporters pledge allegiance to government in Flora, Apayao

CAMP MELCHOR F DELA CRUZ, Upi, Gamu, Isabela- 24 members of Milisya ng Bayan, two regular Communist NPA Terrorist and one member of Sangay ng Partido sa Lokalidad (SPL) took oath of allegiance to the government on November 16, 2021 in Barangay Bagutong, Flora, Apayao.

As a sign of sincerity in returning to the folds of the law, the former rebels burned the flag of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF).

Alias Kira, one of the former rebels revealed her reason in abandoning the terrorist group. She shared in her testimony that sexual harrassment is rampant inside the Communist Terrorist Group (CTG), “wag nilang itatanggi na walang harrasment sa loob ng kilusan sa mga kababaihan. Ako mismo ang naging biktima ng pagtangkaan akong hubaran ng komander ko. Kaya nag aalala ako sa mga kababaihang NPA na kumikilos pa rin sa loob ng kilusan.”

“Nagbalik-loob ako sa pamahalaan dahil gusto ko nang magbagong buhay. Ayoko nang magpagamit sa teroristang NPA sa kanilang pananakot at pangingikil. Namulat na ako at hindi na ako magpapalinlang pa sa kanila,” alias Kira added. She then urged the youth to honor their parents and avoid to be deceived by the terrorist NPAs.

The two former regular CNTs surrendered one Cal. 45 pistols with a magazine and ammunition, one anti-personnel mine, and subversive documents with high-intelligence values.

Moreover, Mayor Rodolfo Juan Sr. of Flora town pledged his support to the government forces in advocating peace and inclusive development in their community. “We support the Philippine Army and the PNP in the fight against insurgency. We are one in advocating peace and development. Together, we will attain insurgency-free community.”

LtCol Angelo C Saguiguit, Commander of 17th Infantry Battalion thanked the former rebels in answering the call of the government to embrace a peaceful way of life. “Nandito kaming mga sundalo para tumulong sa ating mga kababayang nalinlang ng teroristang NPA. Sa inyong pagsuko, kami’y nagagalak dahil alam namin na malaki ang pwede ninyong mai-ambag sa ating pagkamit ng katahimikan sa inyong komunidad.”

“Tuluy-tuloy ang inyong kasundaluhan sa pagsasagawa ng Operasyong Militar upang tiyakin ang kapayapaan sa inyong lugar. Our objective is to dismantle all the Front Committees of the CTGs in Cagayan and Apayao provinces,” BGen Steve D Crespillo, Brigade Commander of 501st Infantry Brigade said in his message.

Further, MGen Laurence E Mina, Commander of 5th Infantry Division, Philippine Army commended the 17IB Startroopers for facilitating the surrender of CNT members and supporters. “I am greatly elated with the display of commitment of our troops to end insurgency in their area of operations. The successive surrender and withdrawal of support of the people from the CNTs will result to their certain downfall.”

[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: Tabak Divison welcomes 200 Army recruits

Posted to Kalinaw News (Nov 16, 2021): Tabak Divison welcomes 200 Army recruits

CAMP SANG-AN, ZDS—A new batch of recruits took their oath during the opening ceremony of the Candidate Soldiers Course Class 687-2021 Monday, November 15, at the Tabak Parade Ground.

The 200 privates, consisting of 24 females and 176 males, were enlisted in the Philippine Army after satisfying the qualifications for special enlistment.

The recruits will undergo 16 weeks of rigorous basic military training and seven weeks for the Infantry Orientation Course (INFOC) at the 1st Division Training Schol (1DTS). The course aims to develop the new Privates to be competent, confident, and capable soldiers guided by the Army core values and embrace the warrior ethos ready to serve the Army.

Col. Pompeyo Jason Almagro, the Division Chief of Staff, welcomed the new batch of soldiers and reassured them that they will be trained with professional and competent officers and enlisted personnel of the 1DTS.

Meanwhile, Brig. Gen. Jose Maria Cuerpo ll, the 103rd Infantry Brigade Commander and the event’s keynote speaker, encouraged the recruits to put their expertise and abilities to good use to help the organization complete its mission.

“You are now considered soldiers because you were selected and chosen by the Armed Forces of the Philippines,” said Brig. Gen. Cuerpo. “We will train you to be more effective, disciplined, and professional soldiers of the Philippine Army.”

The recruits were formally accepted through the traditional reception rites to test their physical strength and mental endurance.

[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: Philippine Army, Japanese Ground Self-Defense Force commence joint HADR exercise

Posted to Kalinaw News (Nov 16, 2021): Philippine Army, Japanese Ground Self-Defense Force commence joint HADR exercise

FORT BONIFACIO, Metro Manila – The Philippine Army and Japanese Ground Self-Defense Force formally opened the first-ever Japan-Philippines Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Response (HADR) Training Exercise today, November 16, at the Mandirigtas Training Area, Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City.

Japanese Ministry of Defense representative Maika Saito and Col. Yu Nakano, Japan’s defense attache to the Philippines and Col. Jt Bajet, Commander of the Army’s 51st Engineer Brigade (51EBde), graced the event.

“We in the 51st Engineer Brigade and 525th Engineering Combat Battalion will roll up our sleeves and take more actions in preparing and capacitating our troops,” Col. Bajet said in his remarks. As the Philippine Army’s primary disaster response unit, 525ECB is committed to preventing loss of lives and mitigating disasters through effective HADR operations,” he added.

Meanwhile, a team from 525ECB demonstrated the unit’s collapsed structure search and rescue (CSSR) capabilities following the opening ceremony. The team performed techniques necessary for locating, stabilizing, and extricating victims trapped within collapsed structures.

The 525th Engineering Combat Battalion of the 51EBde and Japan Ground Self-Defense Force’s (JGSDF) 43rd Infantry Regiment will start the joint HADR practical exercises tomorrow, November 17, at the venue.

Last month, DND Sec. Delfin Lorenzana, Army Commanding General, and now AFP Chief Staff Lt. Gen. Andres Centino, received 46 million pesos worth of HADR equipment donations from the Japanese government. The equipment such as lifeboats, life vests, search and rescue equipment sets are now part of the Philippine Army’s HADR assets.

[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: Top ranking NPA personalities in Cagayan Valley, arrested; firearms and explosives seized

Posted to Kalinaw News (Nov 16, 2021): Top ranking NPA personalities in Cagayan Valley, arrested; firearms and explosives seized

Camp Melchor F Dela Cruz, Upi, Gamu, Isabela –

Camp Melchor F Dela Cruz, Upi, Gamu, Isabela – Top ranking personalities of the Komiteng Rehiyon Cagayan Valley (KR-CV) were arrested by the Joint elements of 5th Infantry Division (5ID), 7th Infantry Division (7ID), Joint Task Force NCR, AIR PA and PNP-CIDG in Bulacan and Quezon City early morning today.

Gil Peralta alyas Elmo, Secretary of KR-CV and a member of the Central Committee of the Communist Terrorist Group was arrested at San Pedro Bautista St., Brgy Mariblo, Quezon City by the combined security forces through the Warrants of Arrest (WOA) for Arson and Murder, both issued by Judge Conrado T. Tabaco of the RTC Branch 09, Aparri, Cagayan. Simultaneously, the security forces also served the WOA for Murder issued by Judge Isaac R De Alban of RTC Branch 16, Ilagan City, Isabela against the Executive Committee (EXECOM) members of the KR-CV at Venezia and Selera Subdivision, Brgy San Vicente, Santa Maria, Bulacan that resulted to the arrest of Irene Agcaoili alyas Ayang, the head of Finance of KR-CV; Lourdes Bulan alyas Simang, Executive Committee member of KR-CV; Roy Dela Cruz alyas Bonel, Intel Officer; Arcaido Tangonan alyas Mariano G Ramos, former Squad Leader of the recently dismantled Central Front Committee and Natividad Santos y Manuel.

As the secretary of the KR-CV, Gil Peralta is responsible for all the terroristic acts including the extortion activities of the Communist NPA Terrorists (CNTs) in Cagayan Valley Region.

Seized during the arrest of KR-CV Secretary, Gil Peralta were an M16 rifle, Cal. 45 pistol, three anti-personnel mines, and a hand grenade. Two Cal. 45 pistols, two anti-personnel mines and two hand grenades were also confiscated during the arrest of the EXECOM members.

The high ranking members of KR-CV left their lair in Cagayan Valley to evade the ongoing intensified focused military and PNP operations in the region against the Communist Terrorist Group (CTG). But through the collective effort of the security forces, the arrested NPA personalities were tracked down in their locations.

MGen Laurence E Mina, Commander of 5ID lauded the government troops for the successful Law Enforcement Operation. “The arrested high ranking CNTs are the very same people giving direction to the Regional Committee of Cagayan Valley. Their successful arrest will create a huge impact in their organization due to leadership vacuum. This in effect will eventually lead to their collapse.”

He also called on the remaining CNT members to return to the folds of the law. “While the members of the armed group are living a difficult life in the mountains, their so-called leaders are resting luxuriously in the cities and urban areas. Let this be an eye opener for the remaining members of the CNT. Lay down your arms and chose to live a peaceful life with your families. “

[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: Top NPA commander in Northern Luzon falls

Posted to Kalinaw News (Nov 16, 2021): Top NPA commander in Northern Luzon falls (By Agatha Yowzha Arreola)

Camp Aquino, Tarlac City – As Northern Luzon Command (NOLCOM) makes its final push to totally decimate the communist terrorists in North and Central Luzon, a joint law enforcement operation was launched on Tuesday which resulted to the apprehension of six top ranking NPA commanders in Northern Luzon. They were identified as Gil Peralta alias “Elmo”, the Secretary of Komiteng Rehiyon – Cagayan Valley (KR-CV) who was nabbed at Barangay Mariblo, Quezon City; Irene Agcaoili alias “Ayang”, Head Finance of KR-CV; Lourdes Bulan alias “Simang”, EXECOM member of KR-CV; Arcadio Tangonan alias “Tiago”, IO of KR-CV; alias “Bonel”, Intelligence Officer of KR-CV; and alias “Bebang” who were all apprehended at Barangay San Vicente, Sta. Maria, Bulacan.

Recovered in their possession are; one M16 rifle, three Cal. 45 pistols, five anti-personnel mines, and three hand grenades.

Three of the apprehended personalities, particularly Gil Peralta, Irene Agcaoili, and Lourdes Bulan have pending arrest warrants for murder, multiple murder, multiple attempted murder, arson, and robbery.

MGen Laurence E Mina, Commander of the Army’s 5th Infantry Division who closely supervised the operation, lauded the troops involved and expressed that, “The recent setback of the communist terrorists at the hands of the government forces is a testament of our steadfast commitment to end the communist terrorists’ reign of terror in Northern Luzon.”

With reports of a continuous winning streak against the New People’s Army, NOLCOM further intensifies its internal security efforts to permanently clear Northern and Central Luzon from communist terrorists.

Lieutenant General Arnulfo Marcelo Burgos Jr, Commander of the Northern Luzon Command, emphasized that they are executing their final push to totally decimate the NPAs in North and Central Luzon.

“We are right on track, and we are taking the extra mile to ensure that we will further hasten the decimation of the communist terrorists in Northern Luzon to comply with the President’s directive to end the communist insurgency by the end of his term,” he said.

It can be recalled that on November 13, members of the 50th Infantry Battalion encountered a group of communist terrorists under Kilusang Larangang Gerilya – BAGGAS at Barangay Bagtayan, Pasil, Kalinga which resulted in the death of Julio Dumalyung alias “Poli”, a regular member of the said terrorist group and the recovery of one M16 rifle, two magazine assembly, 25 rounds of 5.56mm live ammunition, transistor radio, and other personal belongings.

Lt Gen Burgos then stressed that the series of setbacks will have detrimental effects on the Communist terrorists, saying that “The series of debacles suffered by the Communist terrorists in North and Central Luzon will further drag down the morale of their members while causing leadership vacuum in their group, which will eventually lead to the downfall of their reign of terror in this part of the country.”

He called out the remaining members of the communist terrorists to answer the call of the government for them to return to the folds of the law, “We urge the remnants of the communist terrorists in Northern Luzon to lay down your arms and abandon your armed struggle. Heed the call of the government for you to return to the folds of the law and avail its local integration program. If you insist, we will not hesitate to use the full force of the law.”

[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: Demoralization within the ranks of the CTG continues; 6 CTG members with high powered firearms surrender to 4ID troops in Bukidnon

Posted to Kalinaw News (Nov 16, 2021): Demoralization within the ranks of the CTG continues; 6 CTG members with high powered firearms surrender to 4ID troops in Bukidnon

CAMP EVANGELISTA, Cagayan de Oro City – The indicative demoralization among the leaders and members of the CPP-NPA-NDF in Bukidnon continues as six (6) CPP-NPA Terrorists (CNTs), voluntarily surrendered to the government troops under the 4th Infantry (Diamond) Division on Sunday night, November 14, in Cabanglasan, Bukidnon.

Bernie M. Sinunta alias Boboy, the Intel Officer/Vice Commanding Officer (VCO) of the North Central Mindanao Regional Committee’s (NCRMC) Sub-Regional Committee 2 (SRC2), led the surrenderers. They disclosed that they are demoralized as a result of the internal (organization) crisis caused by Ka Oris’ death, as well as the scarcity of food, and supplies and the incessant focus at military operations in the area.

5 other CNTs who surrendered were identified as: Junie Orque alias Bigboy, the Squad Leader of Squad 1, Platoon Bagsik, Guerilla Front Malayag, SRC2; Ting R Arellano alias Ting, the Team Leader Abe of Squad 2, SRSDG Peddler, SRC2; Jorlito R Arellano alias Jimboy, the Team Leader Baking of Squad 2, SRSDG PEDDLER, SRC2; Rickian D Ampildon alias Pikoy, the Security Officer/Team Leader Baking of Squad 1, SRSDG PEDDLER, SRC2; and Marjon T Pasco alias Reden, the Team Leader Abe of Squad 2, SRSDG PEDDLER, SRC2.

The CNTs also surrendered six (6) high-powered firearms, consisting of a Cal 5.56mm Colt M4 Rifle, three (3) Cal 5.56mm M16 Rifles, and two Cal 7.62mm M14 Rifles.

The surrender of the said CNTs was facilitated jointly by the 4ID intelligence unit, the 88th Infantry Battalion under the leadership of Lt Col Christian James P Vingno, and the 403rd Infantry Brigade under Brigadier General Ferdinand T Barandon.

In his statement, Major General Romeo S Brawner Jr believed that there is a mass demoralization that is spreading like wildfire within the Communist Terrorist Group (CTG) since the series of surrenders and arrests of its leaders, and its successive defeats during armed encounters.

He added that the death of Jorge Madlos alias Ka Oris is one of the key reasons of the demoralization. With the death of Ka Oris, who is one of the few remaining veterans and cornerstones of the CTG, during an encounter with government troops last month after decades as a fugitive, the morale and fighting spirit of the CTG’s rank and file have collapsed.

“After Ka Oris’s death, we expected a spring of surrenderers from the CTG as many of its members will realize that the armed struggle is a lost cause that has only wasted the lives of so many innocent Filipinos, and that the long arms of justice will eventually catch those who choose violent lives”, MGen Branwner Jr said.

“Hence, we reiterate our call for peace. We are always ready to accept those who want to lay down their firearms. It is not too late for them to avail of the E-CLIP. The Army, together with the support and commitment of the LGUs and LGAs, will help them build their lives anew, ” MGen Brawner Jr. added.

Since the assumption of MGen Brawner Jr as the 4ID Commander last July 5 this year, 4ID has inititated 78 encounters against the CNTs, neutralizing 70 CNTs and seizing 119 high-powered and low-powered firearms. Likewise, a total of 102 CNTs surrendered, and also yielded 55 high-powered and low-powered firearms.

[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:]

Slain NPA chief to be laid to rest in Surigao City on November 20

From Rappler (Nov 16, 2021): Slain NPA chief to be laid to rest in Surigao City on November 20 (By ROEL CATOTO)

The cremains of Jorge 'Ka Oris' Madlos were also brought to General Luna town in Surigao del Norte where he grew up as a child

Slain New People's Army leader Jorge "Ka Oris" Madlos will be laid to rest in Surigao City on Saturday, November 20.

Madlos' ashes were brought to Surigao City on Tuesday, November 16, for a four-night wake at the Aldonza Funeral Homes across the Bilang-Bilang Church before he is laid to rest at the Surigao Memorial Park this weekend.

His siblings said Madlos' cremains were first brought by his younger brother Rito to Siargao on November 12, after claiming the urn in Bukidnon.

It was in General Luna town in Surigao del Norte where he grew up as a child.

Bukidnon town gives ashes of NPA leader Jorge Madlos to his brother

"We held two wake nights at the house of his foster parents in General Luna," Rito said.

The old house was built by the late General Luna mayor Mauricio "Oris" Ravelo, whose nickname Madlos would subsequently use as nom de guerre.

The late mayor had no child, and adopted Jorge when he was one year old.

Madlos' urn was placed inside an approximately eight-kilogram marble jar and displayed in the hall at the second level of the old house.

Embedded on the floor is a star made of hardwood, but it had nothing to do with the symbol of the communist insurgency.

"The big star on the hall was there already during the construction period," said 79-year-old Anne Madlos-Caraballe, Jorge's older sister.

Military launches fresh offensive against Madlos followers in Bukidnon

The house stands between Rizal and Clarin streets, just a block away from the General Luna municipal hall.

The wake was solemn, and there were only a few people there – just relatives and some family friends who knew Jorge's ashes were brought there.

In Dapa town, where his ashes were brought to the house of his sister Anne earlier, a few people also came because there was no announcement.

Before that, his ashes were brought to his beachfront property which he inherited from his foster parents.

Madlos was the seventh of nine siblings.

Military sees Madlos' widow as slain rebel leader's successor

The military said the 72-year-old Siargao-born NPA chief was killed on October 29, along with an aide, in what the military claimed to be a clash between rebel and government forces in Sitio Gabunan, Barangay Dumalaguing, Impasug-ong, Bukidnon.

The military said their bodies were recovered the following day, and had to be cremated after samples showed they were COVID-19-infected.

The National Democratic Front (NDF) refuted the claim, saying that the ailing Madlos and his medical aide, identified as Eighfel Dela Peña, were killed a night earlier, before the air strikes and the supposed encounter.

AFP demos firepower in Antique, Capiz drills

From Panay News (Nov 18, 2021): AFP demos firepower in Antique, Capiz drills (By Panay News)

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) is holding today a military exercise dubbed “DAGIT-PA” (dagat/sea, langit/sky, lupa/land) in the northern coastal municipality of Patnongon.

Yesterday, there was a live firing and urban operation exercise by the government forces at Camp Peralta, Jamindan in Capiz.

The fifth one for 2021, “DAGIT-PA” showcases the country’s military capabilities, said Captain Kim Apitong of the Philippine Army’s 3rd Infantry Division.

In Patnongon, the one-day joint exercise will be held at La Parola Beach Resort because of its being a suitable area for the amphibious capability demonstration, he said.

The amphibious capability demonstration, which will showcase the latest military assets from shore to land, will be participated in by the Philippine Marines, Naval Special Operation Units, Philippine Army, Air Force, and Philippine Navy Reservists.

Apitong said the joint exercise further aims to develop interoperability among the military forces of the government.

“La Parola Beach Resort in Patnongon had been chosen as the site for the Antique exercise because the vicinity is not heavily populated and there is a good viewing site from the shore for those who will be coming for the event,” he added.

The capabilities of the Armed Forces of the Philippines are being showcased in joint military exercises in Jamindan, Capiz and Patnongon, Antique. BRP Tarlac (A) of the Philippine Navy is in Patnongon for today’s amphibious exercise. Yesterday, on the other hand, there was a live firing and urban operation exercise (B, C. D) by the government forces in Camp Peralta. PHILIPPINE NAVY PHOTO

Organizers expect the local chief executives (LCEs) in the province and other guests to witness their capability demonstration.

Apitong said they released information ahead of the event so that the public would be aware and won’t panic when they see various military assets of the government in the province.

300 finish BMT course

 From the Mindanao Times (Nov 16, 2021): 300 finish BMT course (BY RHODA GRACE SARON)

Photos courtesy of 10th Infantry Division

THE military reported that about 300 trainees finished the Basic Military Training (BMT) course as they participated in the commencement exercise at the Sgt Demerin Grandstand, Camp General Manuel T Yan Sr., Brgy. Tuboran, Mawab, Davao De Oro on Monday.

Captain Mark Anthony Tito, 10th Infantry Division Public Affairs Office chief, said of the trainees, 32 were women and 109 were members of the indigenous communities.

Photos courtesy of 10th Infantry Division

Secretary Allen Capuyan of the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples, also the executive director of the National Task Force in Ending Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC), graced the event as the guest of honor and speaker.

“Kung babalikan ko ang nakaraan, babalik pa rin ako, kasi if there’s one thing na napakagandang experience ng isang mamamayan, ay yung e give-up niya nag kaniyang freedom for the sake of the country,” said Capuyan during the ceremony.

Photos courtesy of 10th Infantry Division

He also reminded the graduates that their being members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines is a privilege and that they must perform their best.

“Make it personal, that the ancestral domain be finally liberated from the lies, deception and fears created by the Communist Party for the last 50 years,” he added.

Relatives, childhood friends recall the island life of ‘Ka Oris’

From MindaNews (Nov 17, 2021): Relatives, childhood friends recall the island life of ‘Ka Oris’ (By ROEL CATOTO)

Relatives and friends reminisced the childhood life of Jorge “Ka Oris” Madlos, the slain communist guerilla leader, in this idyllic island where he grew up.

The Madlos family. Standing, from left: Jorge, Leopoldo, Anne, Josefa, Lucy, Vicente and Rito. Seated: Salvador, Andres Sr., Dorotea and Andres Jr. Dorotea is holding the first grandchild, Sophia, daughter of Andres Jr. Photo courtesy of the Madlos family, reproduced by ROEL N. CATOTO / MindaNews

Memories with him flashed back randomly as his ashes were brought to General Luna, the surfing capital in Siargao, now a world-famous island. Grieving relatives and childhood friends paid their last respects to the fallen rebel leader.

Wake was solemnly held at the house of the late General Luna Mayor Mauricio “Oris” Ravelo, who adopted Jorge when he was only a year old as he and wife Nieves had no children of their own. Nieves is sister of Jorge’s biological mother Dorotea.

Madlos’ “Ka Oris” nom de guerre comes from the late mayor’s nickname.

Jorge was the eighth among nine siblings (not seventh as earlier reported).

“The old glory days, we cherished the island life as it was etched in our memories. Jorge was truly and immensely loved by both his biological and adoptive parents,” said Epefania Conte-Espejon, a 71-year-old retired public school teacher.

Epefania said she and Jorge, along with other relatives, grew up together in the house of the late mayor.

“There were times when we went in droves to the white sand beach, with friends, relatives and neighbors and played in the waters and ran on the beach,” she said, adding that their house was just two blocks away from the beach.

Epefania could still remember the tension at the Ravelo household when Jorge’s biological parents – Andres Sr. and Dorotea – came to ask the mayor to let go of Jorge so he could be with them again in Surigao City to study high school.

“There were arguments in the house. I witnessed it,” she said.

In the end, Jorge went with his biological parents to study in a private school in Surigao, where his siblings were also studying.

Jorge Madlos and his biological father, Andres Madlos Sr., in Malaybalay City, Bukidnon. He was 19 years old when the photo was taken. Photo courtesy of the Madlos Family

“Jorge lived a happy life here, Epefania said, adding that the mayor even had househelps to attend to Jorge’s needs.

Epefania last saw “Ka Oris” in 1991 when he came out from jail in Camp Crame.

“It was noon time when he sneaked into our house through the backdoor at our dirty kitchen. I was shocked and got mad at him for not having sent a word that he was coming. I scolded him but after that, we gave him a warm welcome,” Epefania said.

Jorge’s brother Rito recalled their adventure riding a horse together when their father asked him to fetch Jorge in General Luna.

“I hopped on the horse and went to General Luna to get Jorge. We had fun together riding the horse traversing the mangroves and the beaches back then,” he said.

Rito recalled Jorge was fond of martial arts. “He was a good boxer and was into karate,” he said.

Once, Jorge had a fist fight with the young Ernesto Matugas over a girl in Dapa, Rito claimed. It was not a fair fight, he noted, because of his brother’s martial arts exploits.

Matugas later served as three-term mayor of Surigao City and now the city’s incumbent vice mayor.

Rito said Jorge had a brilliant mind; he could anticipate dangers.

He recalled that once, Jorge handed him subversive documents in their house in Espina Village in Surigao City for safekeeping, knowing that elements of the defunct Philippine Constabulary (PC) would come to search their house.

“When the PC came to the house to search for evidence, they found nothing as I smuggled the documents away,” Rito said.

Rito Madlos shows a photo of the young Jorge, who was then a worker at the Surigao Parish Church. MindaNews photo by ROEL N. CATOTO

Rito said Jorge and several student activists in Surigao – belonging to prominent families in the city – were arrested and jailed during martial law at the barracks where the Provincial Police Office now stands. They spent about a month in jail – doing manual labor like cleaning and washing the dishes – and freed later after Christmas.

Jorge was arrested again in Manila in 1989 but was freed in 1991 after he got an amnesty from President Corazon Aquino.

“He was always mild-mannered, soft-spoken, charismatic, deep thinker and very organized in things he wanted to do,” Rito added.

He narrated that in college, he went into advanced military training as he wanted to be a soldier. “It’s nice to wear Army uniform with heavy guns,” Rito smiled.

But when Jorge, already a rebel by then, learned about it, he got mad at his younger brother.

“These were the exact words he told me: ‘Are you really sure about it? If you continue with it, I’ll meet you in the mountains and see you in hell.’”

Rito backed out, dropped his military ambitions, and became a salesman.

Jorge’s 79-year-old sister Anne Madlos-Caraballe had fond memories of Jorge at the Ravelo household, which she visited often.

The house of the late Mayor Mauricio Ravelo of General Luna, Siargao Island located at the junction of Rizal and Clarin Streets, where Jorge Madlos grew up. MindaNews photo by ROEL N. CATOTO

“We had fun playing hide and seek and other games at the house of our uncle and auntie,” Anne said, referring to Mauricio and Nieves Ravelo.

She remembers Jorge as compassionate and an honest person. “He was respectful and sincere always when we were young,” Anne said.

“Without the traits and characteristics Jorge possessed, he couldn’t have become who he was in his organization,” said Anne, referring to the underground rebel movement. Jorge became one of the most visible personalities in the National Democratic Front as spokesperson of NDF-Mindanao.

Jorge “Ka Oris” Madlos comes home to Siargao before burial in Surigao

 From MindaNews (Nov 16, 2021): Jorge “Ka Oris” Madlos comes home to Siargao before burial in Surigao (By ROEL CATOTO)

The cremated remains of New People’s Army (NPA) leader Jorge “Ka Oris” Madlos, will be buried on Saturday, November 20 in Surigao City, after spending a few days in the place

Madlos’ cremains were brought to his hometown in General Luna, Siargao Island by his younger brother Rito on November 13, four days after he claimed his urn from Mayor Anthony Uy of Impasug-ong town where Madlos was killed in what the military claimed was an encounter on October 30 but which the NPA claimed was an ambush on October 29.

“We held two nights’ wake at the house of his foster parents in General Luna town,”
Rito said, referring to the house of the late mayor Mauricio “Oris” Ravelo.

The late mayor, who was married to Madlos’ aunt, had no child so they took him in – the seventh of nine children — when he was a year old, until high school.

When Madlos joined the armed struggle, he chose his foster father’s nickname, “Oris,” as his nom de guerre.

The military identified Madlos as head of the NPA’s National Operations Command. But he was more known as the long-time spokesperson of the National Democratic Front (NDF) in Mindanao.

His cremains were transferred from the wooden box which Rito fetched in Bukidnon, to a marble urn that was laid on a table at the hall on the second floor.

Red star

A huge red star on the floor, the symbol of the ideology of the fallen communist revolutionary, has been there since they were children, the 79-year old Anne Madlos-Caraballe, Madlos’ elder sister, said.

“The big star on the hall was there already during construction period,” said Caraballe.

“We used to play there when we were little and we saw that star already inscribed there on the floor,”  she said


The marble urn containing the cremated remains of Jorge “Ka Oris” Madlos, was brought to his hometown in General Luna, Siargao for a two-night wake. His cremains wer transported to Surigao City on Tuesday, November 16, 2021, and will be buried on Saturday. Photo courtesy of Rito Madlos

The house is located along Rizal corner Clarin Streets, a block away from General Luna municipal hall. On the first floor of the two-story house is Lava Lounge, a laundry shop.

The wake was solemn, she said, as only relatives and a few friends who knew Jorge had come home, albeit only for two nights.

“Only relatives and some of his close childhood friends went there,” said Anne.

In Dapa town, where a wake was held on November 12 and 15, only few people came.

“We never announced to the public at that time,” Anne said.

From Bukidnon to Siargao to Surigao

Jorge’s urn was also brought on Monday afternoon to his beachfront property , where the Barrel Restobar and a resort are situated. He acquired the property from his foster parents.

Early Tuesday morning, November 16, 2021, the urn containing the cremains was ferried to Surigao City and brought to the Aldonza Funeral Homes across the Bilang Bilang Church.

“There will be a four night wake in Surigao City and he will be laid to rest on Saturday,” Rito said.

Anne Madlos-Caraballe, elder sister of Jorge “Ka Oris” Madlos recalls their childhood days during the wake in Dapa town, Siargao Island. The marble urn containing Madlos’ cremains were brought to Siargao for a wake in Dapa on November 12 and 15, and in General Luna town on November 13 and 14. The cremains were tansported on November 16 to Surigao City for burial. MindaNews photo by ROEL N. CATOTO

The 72-year-old, Siargao-born rebel leader was killed, according to his death certificate, on October 30, along with an aide, in what the military claimed to be a clash between rebel and government forces in Sitio Gabunan, Barangay Dumalaguing, Impasug-ong, Bukidnon.

The NDF refuted this claim, saying the ailing Ka Oris and his medical aide, identified by the military as Eighfel Dela Peña, were killed in an ambush on Friday night.

COVID and cremation

According to Ka Oris’ wife, Maria Malaya, NDF spokesperson for Northeast Mindanao, her husband and Dela Peña were on a motorcycle on their way to get medical treatment, but never reached the highway.

Madlos and De la Peña, whose dead bodies were swabbed for COVID-19 testing, tested positive, according to the results of the reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test at the Philippine Red Cross’s laboratory in Manila.

Impasug-ong town Mayor Anthony Uy gives the box containing the ashes of slain rebel leader Jorge Madlos aka “Ka Oris” to his younger brother Rito as Capt. Richie Morallon, municipal police chief, stands beside them on Tuesday (9 November 2021). MindaNews photo by FROILAN GALLARDO

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, and sent the bodies for cremation at the Divine Shepherd Memorial Chapels in Barangay Bulua, Cagayan de Oro.

Rito brought the cremains of his brother to Surigao City from Bukidnon. He said they passed through six checkpoints and were asked several times if they could see the remains of Madlos. “Most of them did not know that he was cremated already,” Rito said.

Madlos left behind Ka Maria Malaya, his wife; Malaya, his daughter working in the United States as a nurse and Vincent Isagani, who was a call center worker, now in hiding as he was falsely charged of being part of the simultaneous NPA raid on the mining firms in Claver town in Surigao del Sur in 2011.

Madlos’ eldest brother Vicente, an engineer, took care of his children.

Troops expand outreach to counter NPA influence

From the Philippine News Agency (Nov 17, 2021): Troops expand outreach to counter NPA influence (By Richelyn Gubalani)

Government troops have stepped up their peace and development efforts in parts of Sarangani and Davao del Sur to counter the remaining influence of a dismantled front of the New People’s Army (NPA).

Col. Ted Dumosmog, deputy commanding officer of the Army’s 1002nd Infantry Brigade, said on Wednesday they have increased their collaboration with local government units and other concerned stakeholders to reach out to areas previously operated by the NPA’s defunct Guerilla Front Tala.

He said they have been conducting community outreach activities and facilitating the provision of various services and projects, including livelihood, to the concerned areas in partnership with the task forces to end local communist armed conflict (ELCAC).

Front Tala, one of the fronts under the NPA’s Far South Mindanao Revolutionary Committee, was dismantled by government troops late last year following a series of operations.

“Front Tala is no longer a threat to the communities but our efforts continue to ensure that this will be sustained,” Dumosmog said in a press conference at the 1002nd Brigade headquarters in Barangay Pulatana, Malungon town in Sarangani.

He said they have been also coordinating with former members of the unit to recover firearms stashed in its previous area of operations.

From Nov. 11 to 16, he said they recovered some 31 high-powered firearms, including an M203 grenade launcher and caliber .30 machine gun, hidden in a hinterland area in Malapatan town, Sarangani.

Since last year, he said dozens of combatants and supporters of Front Tala surrendered to their troops through collaborative efforts of the task force ELCAC of Sarangani and Davao Occidental.

He said many of them were convinced to surrender under the 73rd Infantry Battalion’s “Tala approach,” which involved the contact tracing of the NPA combatants through their families.

This included reaching out to the families of active NPA members and conducting security awareness on the “deception and manipulation of the communist terrorist group,” he said.

The Army official said they educated them on the benefits awaiting the surrenderers, especially in terms of financial and livelihood assistance, through the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program.

“We’re happy that the Tala approach was given importance by their family members and that made many of its former members surrender,” Dumosmog said.

Maj. Gen. Ernesto Torres Jr., commanding officer of the 10th Infantry Division (10ID), appealed to the public and local government leaders to help sustain the fight against the remaining NPA units in the area.

He said it is time to end the decades-old “armed conflict” by way of peace and development programs and the “whole-of-nation approach” as mentioned in Executive Order No. 70 of President Rodrigo Duterte.

“This continues to gain more ground and help our efforts to totally eradicate insurgency through effective projects and programs,” he said.

Torres said this complemented their sustained intensified operations in the area against the already “decimated and weakened” NPA units.

From January to October, he said a total of 605 NPA rebels and supporters, including 27 high-ranking leaders, have either surrendered or were neutralized by units under the 10ID, which covers four regions, 12 provinces, seven cities, 72 municipalities, and 1,681 barangays in Mindanao.

Some 240 assorted firearms were recovered by their units in various operations, which resulted in the dismantling of three NPA fronts.

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.

13 ASG bandits surrender in Sulu

From the Philippine News Agency (Nov 17, 2021): 13 ASG bandits surrender in Sulu (By Teofilo Garcia, Jr.)

NEW LIFE. Maj. Gen. William Gonzales, the Army’s 11th Infantry Division commander, puts his arm on the shoulder of one of the 13 Abu Sayyaf men who surrendered to them in Patikul, Sulu on Sunday (Nov. 14, 2021). The surrenderers said they are tired of fighting and want to start a new life with their families. (Photo courtesy of 11ID)

A member of the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) who decided to surrender in Patikul, Sulu sees no relevance in killing each other, especially fellow Filipinos.

“I don’t want to continue fighting. I see no relevance in killing each other since we are all Filipinos,”
said 37-year-old Tista Hussien, who surrendered to military authorities Sunday in Sulu, along with his brother Sibar and 12 others.

In a statement Wednesday, Hussein, who is from Barangay Pansul, Patikul, said he grew up with the ASG bandits.

“I was brought by my father to the mountains that is why my entire life, the only places I know are Pansul and the mountains,” Hussien said.

“I was told by my father before that we will be killed once we approach the soldiers. But here I am now having a nice conversation with them and the mayor,” he added.

He said his deceased father, Juhurim, was the right-hand man of Radulan Sahiron, the oldest remaining ASG leader.

Hussien said when they surrendered on Sunday, it was the first time that he and his brother had stepped into the town of Jolo, the capital of the province.

Brig. Gen. Benjamin Batara, the Army’s 1103rd Infantry Brigade (Bde) commander, identified the other ASG surrenderers as Ladok Alina; Alkaiser Ladjahali; Bennajar Jalmaan; Asaral Asorani; Almujir Salammudin; Juli Uppih; Randimar Kiram; Makrim Habbisi; Hakem Asanji; Aisari Sadri; and, Jabir Nuni.

The surrenderers were followers of different ASG leaders, Batara said.

They also turned over 10 Garand rifles, two M16 rifles, an M79 grenade launcher, and a 9mm pistol when they surrendered Sunday at the headquarters of the 1103Bde in Barangay Bon-Bon, Patikul.

“As the father of the municipality, I am very happy that you returned. Together with Gen. Batara and Maj. Gen. William Gonzales, we are developing the town of Patikul to make it a better place to live,” Patikul Mayor Kabir Hayudini said

Gonzales, the commander of the 11th Infantry Division, assured the ASG surrenderers that they will have a bright future since many groups want to help them.

These include the members of the Municipal Task Force in Ending Local Armed Conflict and non-government organizations.

“We will help you to start a new life,” Gonzales told the ASG surrenderers.

PH, US seek enhanced alliance to address new, emerging challenges

From the Philippine News Agency (Nov 17, 2021): PH, US seek enhanced alliance to address new, emerging challenges (By Joyce Ann L. Rocamora)

(From left) Assistant Secretary of Defense for Indo-Pacific Security Affairs Ely Ratner, Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Daniel Kritenbrink, Philippine Ambassador Jose Manuel Romualdez, Foreign Affairs Undersecretary for Bilateral and Asean Affairs Ma. Theresa Lazaro, and Defense Undersecretary Cardozo Luna. (Photo courtesy of US Embassy in the Philippines)

The United States and Philippine governments are looking at enhancing their alliance to address new and emerging challenges, the two nations' joint vision for a 21st-century partnership has indicated.

During their ninth bilateral strategic dialogue, Manila and Washington, D.C. recognized their long-standing partnership that allowed them to collaboratively address security challenges across the Indo-Pacific region.

"Looking ahead, we seek to enhance the posture of our alliance to address new and emerging challenges. We intend to ensure the Mutual Defense Treaty’s (MDT) continued relevance to addressing current and emerging threats,"
the two said in a joint vision statement on November 17.

The nations plan to develop
"new bilateral defense guidelines" that support a mutual understanding of roles, missions, and capabilities within the framework of the MDT alliance.

The two are also exploring additional Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) sites for "further development" as they continue infrastructure projects in current locations.

Among others, they agreed to enhance the capabilities of the Armed Forces of the Philippines,
"more so given the prevailing geopolitical tensions, especially in the maritime areas of the Philippines."

One of the avenues the two partners are looking at are funding arrangements.

The two likewise reaffirmed commitments to the MDT Article IV to respond to an armed attack in the Pacific area on either the US or the Philippines, including the South China Sea.

'Affirming the 2016 ruling'

Manila is currently locked in a maritime dispute with other littoral states, including China which lays claim in several parts of the West Philippine Sea, including the country's exclusive economic zone (EEZ).

In the same vision statement, the US and the Philippines sought to "further coordinate" diplomatic efforts in building an international coalition that supports the international law-based maritime order.

"We share the view that the People’s Republic of China’s (PRC) expansive maritime claims in the South China Sea are inconsistent with the international law of the sea as reflected in the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, and with the unanimous July 12, 2016 Award in the South China Sea Arbitration (The Republic of Philippines v. The People’s Republic of China), a decision that, pursuant to the Convention, is legally binding on the Philippines and the PRC," it read.

The US also reiterated its July 2020 position, which rejects Chinese maritime claims in areas that the Permanent Court of Arbitration found to be in the Philippines' EEZ and continental shelf.

"The United States and the Philippines affirm that the PRC cannot lawfully assert a maritime claim – including any Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) claims derived from Scarborough Reef and the Spratly Islands – vis-a-vis the Philippines in areas that the Tribunal found to be in the Philippines’ EEZ or on its continental shelf," the statement said.

"Additionally, the PRC’s harassment of Philippine fisheries and offshore energy development within those areas is unlawful, as are any unilateral PRC actions to exploit those resources."

In his rejoinder, Assistant Secretary of State Daniel Kritenbrink said Manila can rest assured that Washington, D.C. will uphold its policy on maritime claims in the South China Sea.

“You have our word and our commitment,” he said.

'Emerging threats'

Channels of communication, meanwhile, will remain open between the two to discuss the application of the MDT to emerging threats, including diseases, cyber threats, and transnational criminal and terrorist networks.

"[W]e commit to maintaining open channels of communication, to discussing the application of the MDT to new and emerging threats, while respecting human rights and fundamental freedoms, and tirelessly pursuing our commitment to shared principles of democratic governance," the statement read.

Washington, DC. said it also supports the recently launched Philippines-United Nations Joint Program on Human Rights (UNJP).

It acknowledged its potential as a "model of meaningful cooperation on human rights promotion and protection" between a sovereign member state, the UN, and the international community, and that it could strengthen Philippine institutions and support domestic processes through technical cooperation.

The nations also recognized the need to address the drivers of violent extremism and counter violent extremist ideology.

The US and the Philippines held the ninth Bilateral Strategic Dialogue from November 15 to 16 in Washington, D.C.

The Philippine side was represented by Ambassador to the United States Jose Manuel Romualdez, Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Ma. Theresa Lazaro, and Defense Undersecretary Cardozo Luna.

The US delegation, on the other hand, was led by Kritenbrink and Assistant Secretary of Defense Ely Ratner.

Aside from the signing of the Joint Vision Statement for a 21st Century US-Philippines Partnership, both sides signed the Strategic Policy Guidance to the Mutual Defense Board-Security Engagement Board.

The two nations also agreed to hold their first Maritime Dialogue in 2022.

At the end of the meeting, Romualdez, said: “The Philippines and the United States must work together to address current realities and challenges. Frank exchanges and regular interactions between both sides must be sustained."

He also underscored that an economically prosperous Philippines with a strong, capable military is "in the best interest of both nations and will make for an indomitable alliance and partnership."

Lorenzana positive anew for Covid-19

From the Philippine News Agency (Nov 17, 2021): Lorenzana positive anew for Covid-19 (By Priam Nepomuceno)

National Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana (File photo)

Department of National Defense (DND) Secretary Delfin Lorenzana on Wednesday night confirmed that he tested positive again for the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).

"Hello everyone, yes, I am Covid (-19) positive. This morning I got the result of my swab test yesterday (Tuesday) afternoon after the Senate hearing. I am symptomatic," he said in a message when asked to confirm reports that he is positive again for the sickness.

This is the second time for this year that Lorenzana tested positive for Covid-19. Last April, he went on quarantine to avoid infecting others in the DND after being positive for the disease.

In 2020, the DND chief tested negative for Covid-19 in March and April after coming into close contact with people infected with the virus.

Lorenzana added that he is fully vaccinated.

"Yes, I'm fully vaxxed. I'll observe myself for several days after that I'll have another swab (test)," he added.

Lorenzana has just returned home after making official trips to Spain and Poland last week.

Duterte, Kishida renew PH-Japan strategic ties

From the Philippine News Agency (Nov 17, 2021): Duterte, Kishida renew PH-Japan strategic ties (By Ruth Abbey Gita-Carlos)

BILATERAL COOPERATION. President Rodrigo Roa Duterte congratulates newly-elected Japan Prime Minister Kishida Fumio while engaging in a phone conversation at the Malacañang Palace on (Wednesday) Nov. 17, 2021. The two leaders spent more than 20 minutes discussing how to further strengthen and deepen bilateral cooperation.(Presidential photo by King Rodriguez)

President Rodrigo Duterte and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida on Wednesday renewed their resolve to bolster the strategic relations between the Philippines and Japan.

The two leaders’ commitment was made through a telephone conversation, the Office of the President (OP) said in a press statement.

“President Rodrigo Roa Duterte and Prime Minister Kishida Fumio of Japan renewed commitment to further deepen the Strategic Partnership between the Philippines and Japan,” the Palace said.

The phone call between Duterte and Kishida came a week after the latter was reelected as Japan’s prime minister by parliament.

Duterte, during the phone call, congratulated Kishida on his reelection, Malacañang said.

“The President also recalled Prime Minister Kishida’s visit in Davao in August 2016 when the latter paid a courtesy call as Foreign Minister of Japan. Prime Minister Kishida was the first Foreign Minister received by President Duterte,” it added.

Duterte and Kishida, the Palace said, agreed to undertake an exchange of visits “at a mutually agreed time to further reaffirm the Philippines-Japan partnership and personal friendship.”

“They likewise exchanged views on regional developments and multilateral issues, including the South China Sea issue, the situation in Myanmar and the Korean Peninsula and non-proliferation,” the OP said.

Malacañang said Duterte also told Kishida that Japan is “indeed a friend closer than a brother,” citing its timely assistance in the Philippines’ coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic response and recovery efforts.

Duterte likewise thanked Japan for supporting his administration’s ambitious “Build, Build, Build" infrastructure program, the peace process and grassroots development in Mindanao, and the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao’s ongoing transition process.

Kishida, on the other hand, acknowledged that Japan’s ties with the Philippines “have indeed reached its golden age under President Duterte’s administration.”

The Palace said Duterte also informed Kishida that he is looking forward to the “successful” implementation of projects and activities aimed at enhancing Philippines’ cooperation with Japan in the field of maritime security, specifically in maritime domain awareness, maritime connectivity, and preservation of the marine environment.

“Japan is unrivaled among our bilateral partners,” Duterte, as quoted by the OP, told Kishida.

Kishida, the OP said, agreed with Duterte and conveyed his government’s readiness to further strengthen Japan’s partnership in maritime security by supporting the upgrading of the Philippines’ maritime law enforcement capabilities.

“President Duterte and Prime Minister Kishida agreed that it is high time for the Philippines and Japan to pursue deeper security engagement and coordination by launching a Foreign and Defense Ministerial Meeting or 2+2 meeting,” Malacañang said.

The Philippines and Japan celebrate this year 65 years of normalized diplomatic relations and 10 years of Strengthened Strategic Partnership.