Saturday, January 15, 2022

Sulu-based ASG member arrested

 From the Sun Star-Zamboanga (Jan 15, 2022): Sulu-based ASG member arrested

GOVERNMENT forces have arrested a member of the Sulu-based Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) in a law enforcement operation in Zamboanga City, the police reported.

Police Captain Abdullah Jamiri, Regional Special Operations Unit (RSOU)-Zamboanga Peninsula,
identified the arrested ASG member as Aldamir Sajirin, 23, who is currently residing in Pasobolong village, Zamboanga City.

Jamiri said Sajirin was arrested around 5:33 p.m. Friday, January 14, along General Vicente Alvarez Street in Zone 4 village, Zamboanga City.

Jamiri said Sajirin has a pending warrant of arrest for the crime of kidnapping and serious illegal detention with no recommended bail issued by the court of Parang, Sulu.

He said Sajirin was allegedly involved in the kidnapping of a child on June 6, 2017 in Jolo, the capital town of Sulu.

He said the arrested suspect was placed under the custody of the Zamboanga City Police Office’s Station 11. (SunStar Zamboanga)

CPP/NPA-Southern Mindanao: It is the AFP, not the NPA, that receives billions to finance terroristic activities

Propaganda statement posted to the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) Website (Jan 15, 2022): It is the AFP, not the NPA, that receives billions to finance terroristic activities

Rigoberto F. Sanchez
Southern Mindanao Regional Operational Command (Merardo Arce Command)
New People's Army

January 15, 2022

Akin to Duterte’s narco-list of his proscribed individuals embroiled in the illegal drug trade, the 1001st Infantry Brigade has recently warned unnamed companies and persons, saying it has a “list” of supposed supporters financing the New People’s Army. This latest psywar ploy by the Armed Forces of the Philippines invoked the insidious Anti-Terrorism Act and the Terrorism Financing Prevention and Suppression Act to send a thinly-veiled threat to every individual and organization the fascists have tagged as supporters or sympathizers of the revolutionary movement.

But in truth, if ever there is an organization that consistently and without compunction receives billions of pesos and dollars to finance its terroristic activities, it is the fascist AFP itself, along with the equally fascist and corrupt Philippine National Police. Together, they are sole beneficiaries of high grade albeit second-hand war materiel from the US and its warmongering military allies. They are the recipient of destructive military technology such as drone surveillance systems, 500-pound bombs and jet fighter planes that have terrorized peasant and Lumad communities in the countryside.

Since 2020, as the Covid-19 pandemic raged on and aggravated the economic suffering of the masses in the region, the 10th ID and the Eastern Mindanao Command went on a spending spree using precious taxpayers money and military aid to acquire deadlier and more sophisticated military armament for their anti-people counterinsurgency war. As reward for its focused terrorist operations in Southern Mindanao, the 10th ID earlier this month received Israeli-made armored mortar carriers, KM250 trucks, sports utility vehicles and other military assets.

In addition, it is in fact the greedy officials of the AFP and their minions who were caught many times extorting money and resources and receiving protection money from illegal logging operators, mining companies, contractors of construction companies, and other businesses. Their lavish lifestyles are being financed both by taxpayers’ money and other mercenary activities.

With nothing but mere allegations to back its recent preposterous claim, the AFP makes a mockery of its own reactionary judicial system, attacking its perceived civilian enemies as guilty until proven innocent. It is a time-tested terroristic tactic, in the mold of the US Patriot Act, contrived by its US imperialist master in order to justify its wars against just resistance and national liberation movements by the peoples of the world.

Since its fascist crusade under the auspices of the two draconian laws in Southern Mindanao, the AFP has largely victimized activists and leaders of the legal democratic movement and even ordinary civilians. It jeopardized the essential operations of religious institutions, Lumad schools, non-government organizations, even well-meaning individuals who set-up community pantries to aid people in dire need at the height of the pandemic. All these victims were first red-tagged, harassed with legal action using the ATL and other such oppressive laws, vilified in traditional and social media, and later closed down, with their leaders arrested or killed summarily.

In brutishly continuing to push civilians and organizations to the wall and putting a target on their backs, the AFP will soon find itself in a catch-22 situation. Even as it unwittingly recognizes the status of the people’s democratic government by admitting its influence and belligerency, the AFP likewise generates even greater resistance from the millions of people it antagonizes and victimizes.

Even so, the AFP has always chosen to forget that the source of strength of the NPA comes from the abject conditions that the fascists and mercenaries adamantly perpetuate and the unwavering support of the millions of masses who struggle to be freed from the oppressive semi-colonial and semi-feudal system.

Kalinaw News: Gov’t troops confiscate CTG extorted food supply

Posted to Kalinaw News (Jan 15, 2022): Gov’t troops confiscate CTG extorted food supply

CAMP MELCHOR F DELA CRUZ, Upi, Gamu, Isabela- “The remaining members of the Communist Terrorist Group (CTG) will surely come to their senses as they will experience more hunger, more so starve to death, while they are hiding and running away from our troops!”

MGen Laurence E Mina, Commander of 5th Infantry Division, Philippine Army, exclaimed as the troops of 17th Infantry Battalion and the PNP recovered food cache at Sitio Nagattatan, Barangay Bural, Rizal, Cagayan on January 14, 2022.

A former rebel tipped off the location of the food cache. The troops immediately verified the information wherein they were able to unearth four plastic containers containing rice, a sack of canned goods & instant noodles.

“The series of recovery of CTG’s food cache and confiscation of their food supply will eventually hit their weakest point. I am certain that they are demoralized, hungry, and tired,” the general added.

LtCol Angelo C Saguiguit, Battalion Commander of 17IB said that based on the revelation of the former rebel, the food supply was stored by the members of the Komiteng Probinsya Cagayan, Komiteng Rehiyon-Cagayan Valley through their Militia ng Bayan. “Sa rebelasyon ng ating Former Rebel, itong mga narekober natin ay mula sa mga residente ng Barangay Bural. Tinatakot ng mga teroristang NPA ang mga residente upang magbigay ng pagkain.”

On January 04, 2022, the said troops recovered the food supply in Barangay San Juan of the same municipality that was extorted and forcibly taken by the CTGs from the residents. Barangay San Juan is a nearby barangay of Bural.

Meanwhile, MGen Mina applauded the partnership of the troops and the former rebels in the campaign against insurgency. “Kung mayroong pagtutulungan, mayroon tayong patutunguhan. Napakaganda ng ipinapakita ninyong pagkakaisa upang tuluyan ng masugpo ang insurhensiya. Ipagpatuloy natin ang ating pakikipag-ugnayan hanggang sa makamtan natin ang tunay na mapayapa at maunlad na komunidad.”

[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:]

PH procures $370-M anti-ship missile project from India

From Rappler (Jan 14, 2022): PH procures $370-M anti-ship missile project from India (By JAIRO BOLLEDO)

The Philippine Marines' Coastal Defense Regiment will be the end user of the project, Defense Secretary Lorenzana says

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana on Friday, January 14, announced that the Philippines has bought a $370-million shore-based anti-ship missile project from India.

In a Facebook post, the defense chief said he signed the Notice of the Award as the Department of National Defense’s head of procuring entity. Based on the document, the project costs $374,962,800 and will be used by the Philippine Navy.

The project was bagged by India’s BrahMos Aerospace Private Ltd., according to Lorenzana. The deal also includes three batteries, training for operators and maintainers, and the necessary Integrated Logistics Support package.

The Philippine Marines’ Coastal Defense Regiment will also be the end user of the said project.

According to Lorenzana, the anti-ship missile project was approved in 2020.

“Conceptualized as early as 2017, the Office of the President approved its inclusion in the Horizon 2 Priority Projects in 2020,” the defense chief said.

In 2021, then-Navy chief Vice Admiral Giovanni Carlo Bacordo said the BrahMos missile was the ideal weapon for the Philippine Navy’s shore-based anti-ship missile project.

According to a report by the Philippine News Agency, “the BrahMos cruise missile can be launched from a ship, aircraft, submarine, or land and has a top of Mach 3 and capable of carrying warheads weighing 200 to 300 kilograms.”

The missile also has a flight range of up to 290 kilometers with supersonic speed, according to BrahMos.

Police tighten security in Cotabato over spate of violence

From Rappler (Jan 15, 2022): Police tighten security in Cotabato over spate of violence (By ROMMEL REBOLLIDO)

'We are on double alert status,' says Lieutenant Colonel Bernard Tayong, Cotabato deputy police provincial director

Police tightened security measures in Cotabato due to a recent spate of violence in the province like the killing of a barangay official in Pikit town, a bombing of a bus in Aleosan town, and an explosion at a police-military outpost in Pikit.

Tighter security measures were imposed as the police linked a group of extortionists to the bombing of a Mindanao Star bus that was traveling from Davao City to Cotabato City on the morning of January 11. The explosion killed a five-year-old boy and injured six others.

The measures seek to prevent similar attacks in the province, Cotabato deputy police provincial director Lieutenant Colonel Bernard Tayong said on Friday, January 14.

“We are on double alert status,”
Tayong said.

He dismissed speculations that the attacks were meant to avenge the killing of six people during a police operation to serve a warrant of arrest against a crime suspect in Barangay Gokotan, Pikit.

Tayong said the investigation pointed to the Al-Khobar extortion group as behind the bus bombing.

He said the evidence gathered bore the signature of the extortion group.

The Al-Khobar is known to target business firms in the province and nearby areas, and was blamed for several bus bombings in the region in the past.

Tayong, however, said they were not discounting the possibility that other groups such as the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) were involved.

He said there was also no indication that the incidents were linked to the December 29, 2021 clash between the police and an armed group in Barangay Gokotan that resulted in the killing of six suspected members of a carnapping syndicate. Four cops were wounded in that encounter.

In that clash, authorities were serving an arrest warrant against the suspect, Joel Manampan, for a string of murder cases.

Authorities subsequently stumbled on a cache of high-powered firearms, including anti-tank rockets, and at least 442 motorcycles believed to have been stolen.

A day after the bombing of the Mindanao Star bus, Samsudin Masulot, a barangay official of Gokotan, was shot dead while he was riding his motorcycle.

Soccsksargen rpolice chief Brigadier General Alexander Tagum denied that the barangay official was killed because he helped authorities in their operation in Gokotan.

[Rommel Rebollido is a Mindanao-based journalist and an awardee of the Aries Rufo Journalism Fellowship]

2 Anakpawis members gunned down in Sorsogon

From Rappler (Jan 15, 2022):2 Anakpawis members gunned down in Sorsogon (By JAIRO BOLLEDO)

Silvestre Fortades Jr. and Rose Marie Galias were shot dead in Barcelona town in Sorsogon, say police

Two members of farmers group Anakpawis were gunned down in Sorsogon on Saturday, January 15, police confirmed.

In a phone interview with Rappler, town police chief Captain Rey John Renoria said
live-in partners Silvestre Fortades Jr. and Rose Marie Galias were shot dead in Barangay San Vicente, Barcelona town in Sorsogon at around 7 am on Saturday.

Renoria said the two were killed by still unknown assailants. The victims were residents of Barangay Poblacion Norte in the same town.

Quoting rights group Karapatan, Anakpawis said in a statement that the victims were killed by four unidentified assailants, who used two motorcycles. The group also said that the victims were members of Anakpawis Sorsogon chapter.

“Ang mag-asawa ay miyembro ng Anakpawis Partylist Sorsogon chapter at parehong nagtitinda lamang ng mga bawang, sibuyas, at iba pang sangkap sa pagluluto sa pinangyarihan (The couple were members of Anakpawis Partylist Sorsogon chapter who used to sell garlic, onion, and other ingredients),” Anakpawis said in a Facebook post.

Renoria said they have yet to establish the motive behind the killing. The police are still trying to find a witness, he added.

Exactly a week prior to the couple’s death, a former rebel was gunned down in the same town on January 8, according to Renoria.

2nd SOU-MG tree planting activity, isinagawa sa Brgy. Sta. Lourdes

From Palawan News (Jan 15, 2022): 2nd SOU-MG tree planting activity, isinagawa sa Brgy. Sta. Lourdes (By Ruil Alabi)

Nasa 30 punong kahoy ang itinanim ng mga kawani ng 2nd Special Operations Unit-Maritime Group (2nd SOU-MG) sa isinagawang tree planting activity sa Sitio Magarwak, Barangay Sta. Lourdes, sa lungsod ng Puerto Princesa, nitong araw ng Huwebes, Enero 13.

Ayon kay P/Lt. Anna Viola Abenojar, public information officer ng 2nd SOU-MG, ang aktibidad na ito ay bilang bahagi ng unti-unting pagpapalit sa mga nabuwal na puno sa lungsod, dulot ng nagdaang bagyong Odette.

Dagdag niya, bahagi rin ito ng kanilang programa sa environmental protection and conservation para sa mga komunidad na magiging malaking tulong hindi lamang sa tao kundi maging sa mga buhay ilang na naninirahan sa kagubatan.

“Environmental protection is one of the PNP Maritime Group’s missions, and in addition to enforcing maritime laws, we hope to plant more trees in collaboration with other government agencies and non-government organizations. This will also help raise awareness and encourage the community, that now is the time to save our planet earth,” pahayag ni Abenojar.

Dagdag pa niya, dahil sa maraming puno ang nasira matapos manalasa ang bagyong Odette ay ang pagtatanim at reforestation ang isa sa mga pangunahing aktibidad na tutukan nila sa mga munisipyo, lalo na sa bahaging norte ng lalawigan na muling magkaroon ng mga bagong puno sa tulong ng kanilang mga hanay, mga barangay at komunidad.

Sunod-sunod din ang kanilang isinagawang coastal cleanup sa lungsod ng Puerto Princesa at sa lalawigab sinula noong unang linggo ng Enero, upang linisin ang mga dalampasigan at tanggalin ang ilang mga basurang iniwan ng bagyo.

MBLT-3 namahagi ng tulong sa Roxas mula sa donasyon ng mga foundation

From Palawan News (Jan 15, 2022): MBLT-3 namahagi ng tulong sa Roxas mula sa donasyon ng mga foundation (By Alex Baaco)

Photo courtesy of MBLT-3

Namahagi ng tulong sa mga residenteng nasalanta ng bagyong Odette sa Brgy. San Miguel sa munisipyo ng Roxas ang Marine Battalion Landing Team-3 (MBLT-3) mula sa mga indibidwal at foundation sa bansa noong Enero 14.

Una rito ay nakapagbigay din ang Marines ng tulong sa mga residente ng Brgy. Tinitian sa natura pa rin na bayan noong Enero 12 sa pamamagitan ng pamumuno nina Maj. Ryan Lacuesta, commander ng MBLT-3, at Brig. Gen. Jimmy Larida, commander ng 3rd Marine Brigade (MBde) sa ilalim ng direktiba ng Western Command (WESCOM) ng Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), ayon kay 1Lt. Maria Cristina Mojica.

Sa Brgy. San Miguel, ang mga ipinamahaging tulong na 112 relief goods para sa seniors at 25 hygience kits para sa mga kabataan, at 35 na reading glasses ay sama-samang tulong mula sa kay Henry Dumasig, ABS-CBN Sagip Kapamilya Foundation, Alagang Kapatid Foundation, Makati Medical Centre Foundation, GT Foundation at NDRRMC.

Sa Brgy. Tinitian, ang relief operation ng MBLT-3 ay nakapagkaloob naman tulong sa 100 households at 100 na kabataan.

“Ang mga donasyon na ipinamahagi po ng MBLT3 ay mula din po sa iba’t ibang indibidwal, pribadong organisasyon at ilang ahensya ng gobyerno na nais magpaabot ng tulong sa mga mamamayan ng lalawigan ng Palawan na higit na nasalanta ng bagyong Odette,” ayon pa kay Mojica.

Rebels, gov’t troops clash in Tapaz brgy

From Panay News (Jan 15, 2022): Rebels, gov’t troops clash in Tapaz brgy (By Ruby P. Silubrico)

Soldiers of the Philippine Army’s 82nd Infantry Battalion (82IB) encountered New People’s Army (NPA) rebels in Barangay Taganghin, Tapaz, Capiz.

There was a short exchange of fire at around 10 a.m. on Thursday, according to Army Captain Kim Apitong, spokesperson of the 3rd Infantry Division (3ID).

The rebels retreated after 15 minutes of gunfire.

“No casualties in the government forces but there could be casualties on the NPA side,” said Apitong.

This was the second Army-NPA encounter this month. On Jan. 9, troops of the 82IB and 15 rebels clashed in Sitio Masnang, Barangay Marandig, Calinog, Iloilo. It lasted for some 25 minutes until the rebels retreated.

Recovered from the encounter site were an anti-personnel land mine with some 30-meter long tripwires, four short and one long magazines of an M16 with ammunition, four backpacks, medical paraphernalia, subversive documents, and personal belongings.

“Ito po resulta ng ating tactical operations. Ang mga tao na mismo nagbibigay ng information sa atin about the presence of the NPA,” Apitong said.

Disinformation threatens elections integrity, says Rappler CEO

Posted to the Mindanao Examiner (Jan 15, 2022): Disinformation threatens elections integrity, says Rappler CEO

TO HAVE an integrity of elections, the country should defeat disinformation as soon as possible, Rappler CEO and Nobel Peace Prize winner Maria Ressa said at the Senate committee investigation on the disinformation machinery online.

“If we don’t have an integrity of facts, we will not have integrity of elections. If you look at every study of fascism globally, they first tear down the facts,” said Ressa at the third hearing of the Senate Committee on Constitutional Amendments and Revision of Codes.

“Facebook is now the world’s largest distributor of news and yet studies have shown that lies laced with anger and hate spread faster and further than the really boring facts. So the reality is, the platforms that deliver the facts to you are biased against facts, they are biased against journalists. And they are, by design, dividing us and radicalizing us,” she added.

Senator Francis Pangilinan, who heads the Senate committee conducting the hearing, said the unprecedented scale, speed, and scope of technology used in disinformation distorts the truth that allows people to make informed decisions.

“Ganito kasama ang kasinungalingan. Apektado ang kalusugan at kaligtasan nating lahat, ang kaban ng bayan, at ang kaayusan ng ating lipunan. Masama na nga ang sitwasyon, sinasamantala pa ang pagka-desperado ng ating mga kababayan sa mga pakalat ng mga paninira,” he said after citing the disinformation on the volunteer-driven program on online consultation and the Typhoon Odette relief operations in Siargao.

“Ano ang pinapatay ng infodemic na ito? Ang katotohanan. At pag patay na ang katotohanan, paano pa nating malalaman kung ano totoo sa hindi totoo. Sa kasinungalingan sa katotohanan? Paano tayo magpapasya nang maayos kung kasinungalingan ang basehan ng ating pagpapasya?” Pangilinan asked during his opening statement.

According to Ressa, one of the faster ways to defeat disinformation is to create a law that would penalize technology and social media companies that continue to allow disinformation and misinformation to proliferate in their platforms.

“In our country, what can we do? The quick solution would be to actually hold the platforms accountable for what they spread, what they allow to spread. And when you do that, I bet you that you would automatically see a shrinking of information operations,” Ressa said.

For Ressa, the infodemic online has catapulted the narratives of populist regimes, including President Rodrigo Duterte’s “us vs them” narrative, which has now further divided the Filipinos.

As to the fears that the legislation might trample on freedom of speech, Ressa argued that it is the algorithm of the distribution channels that are seeking to be controlled and not the content. “So where are you going to intervene? Don’t intervene in the content because you can actually be accused of censorship. But if you go to the algorithms of amplification…because everyone can say what they think. But what your neighbor said never reaches broadcast scale until today, because there have been no guardrails on the distribution of lies,” she explained.

“Infodemic threatens the very fiber of our decency as a people. The situation has gone so very bad that even the traditionally quiet community of 18 business groups issued a statement against disinformation and hate speech,” Pangilinan said, adding, he will support any move that will hold accountable the individuals behind the proliferation of fake news and the channels that amplify the same.

“We must have laws that are up-to-date, responsive to the needs of the times, fool proof as best at it can be against the ingenious minds of criminals ika' nga... We have to craft new laws or legislation cognizant of the new complications that technology poses,” Pangilinan said. “Sama-sama po nating iilawan ang madilim na mundo ng infodemic. As we grapple for sharper weapons to defeat the night, we shall remember that our torches are puny when alone. Light shines brightest when all the torches stand together in firm defiance of evil.”

In 2016 the National Public Radio quoted Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg in a report as saying his company has studied fake news and found it is a “very small volume” of the content on Facebook. Zuckerberg also said his team has studied the filter bubble effect and the research shows that almost everyone has some friend on the other side of the aisle. The social network's ability to connect people makes it “inherently more diverse” than the major news stations of 20 years back.

He said right now the problem is not that diverse information is not there. It is there more than it was in the days of traditional media. The problem, he said, is that people do not click on things that do not conform to their worldview. And, he said “I don't know what to do about that.”

He said Facebook is not a free speech platform. It has a long list of rules, called Community Standards, of things you're not allowed to say or share.

“When we started, the North Star for us was: We’re building a safe community,” Zuckerberg said. He thought about how to control for bullies. One of the things that have shifted, he said, is that now news is a more important part of Facebook content. “We’re still working through what that means,” he said. (Mindanao Examiner contributed to this report.)

Eastmincom, ‘good samaritans’ aid ‘Odette’ survivors

From the Philippine News Agency (Jan 14, 2022): Eastmincom, ‘good samaritans’ aid ‘Odette’ survivors (By Che Palicte)

RELIEF GOODS DELIVERED. Army troops through the Joint Task Force (JTF) “Sambisig” provide manpower assistance for the loading and unloading of relief goods at Barangay Sta Cruz, San Jose, Dinagat Islands on Jan. 11, 2022. Through the JTF Sambisig, more donations poured in for the typhoon victims. (Photo from Eastmincom)

The Eastern Mindanao Command (Eastmincom) on Friday thanked all the "good samaritans" who channeled their donations through the military command to help the survivors of Typhoon Odette in various parts of Eastern Mindanao.

Eastmincom said in a statement Friday, that through its disaster response-focused unit dubbed as Joint Task Force (JTF) Sambisig, more donations were poured in for the typhoon victims.

LtGen. Greg Almerol, commander of the Eastmincom, thanked the various organizations, companies, and families for their generosity and compassion for the people who were struck by Typhoon Odette and continues to urge others to exhibit the spirit of giving by donating through the "Tulong Bayanihan para sa Sambayanan" program.

“Many of our countrymen were robbed of their homes but through your support and donations, we can help typhoon survivors rise above the challenge a little kindness at a time with newly-restored and resilient homes and a renewed hope for the future,” he said.

He added that the Eastmincom continues to utilize its air, naval, and land assets to efficiently transport relief goods and construction materials that were dropped by various organizations and private individuals at its Headquarters in Naval Station Felix Apolinario, Panacan in this city to typhoon-hit areas.

Almerol bared that Eastmincom troops under the 52nd Engineer Brigade also helped in the rehabilitation of homes and other buildings that were destroyed by the typhoon, including the construction of temporary shelters for typhoon survivors.

The Eastmincom’s medical teams under the JTF Sambisig’s Task Force Kalusugan also utilized the naval asset BRP Ang Pangulo, which was converted into a floating hospital to cater to the medical needs of the typhoon survivors in Surigao City, Siargao Island, and Dinagat Islands.

The JTF Sambisig also continues to provide feeding programs, free haircuts, free medicines and supplements, set up charging stations, and administer psychological first aid, art therapy for children, free medical consultations, and wound suturing for the people.

“Troops also continue to ferry stranded foreign and local tourists to help them travel back to their homes safe and sound,” Almerol added.

Almerol also lauded the efforts of the troops and the benevolent donors for their strong determination to help typhoon survivors recover from the devastation caused by super typhoon Odette, stressing further that ‘a little kindness and compassion could go a long way.’

Slain NPA leader ‘Ka Bok’, kids separated for 20 years

From the Philippine News Agency (Jan 15, 2022): Slain NPA leader ‘Ka Bok’, kids separated for 20 years (By Che Palicte)

END OF THE ROAD. The body of slain New People’s Army leader, Menandro Villanueva, is now with his children. The children traveled from Cavite to Mabini, Davao de Oro, where the most wanted NPA Mindanao leader was killed in an encounter on Jan. 5, 2022. (PNA file photo)

The remains of New People’s Army (NPA) leader Menandro Villanueva (alias Bok), killed in an encounter with government troops in Mabini, Davao de Oro on January 5, has already been claimed by his family.

Villanueva’s body was taken by his children who flew in from Cavite two days after his death, Capt. Robert Escalona, Civil-Military Officer of the 1001st Infantry Brigade, said in an online interview over John Paul Seniel Reports.

“They said they heard the news about his death and they decided to go to Davao de Oro to make sure if it is really their father,” he said.

At the funeral parlor, the children identified that it was indeed their father whom they have not seen for two decades. One said she was only three years old when she last saw him and could no longer recall how he looked like.

Before releasing the body, the children had to provide government-issued identification cards and birth certificates indicating Villanueva as their father.

“We made sure that they are really the children of Bok. We already had a sad experience before wherein the dead body was claimed by somebody who is not a family member of the slain NPA rebel,” Escalona said.

He added that Villanueva’s children were very cooperative during the entire process and understood his fate.

“They do not have the same principles. One of his children commented that they cannot meddle with their father’s principle,” he said.

Escalona assured them that they took care of the body of Villanueva, who is reportedly 70 years old, and did not immediately bury him, giving ample time for his family to claim his body and pay their final respects.

"We took care of him because like us, he is also human despite having a different principle. In fact, after the encounter, we tried our best to save Villanueva but unfortunately, he was declared dead on arrival at the hospital," he said.

The Eastern Mindanao Command said Villanueva was a student activist of Kabataang Makabayan from Philippine Science High School before going underground during Martial Law in the 1970s.

He was the national operations commander of the NPA, long-time secretary of the National Democratic Front’s (NDF) Southern Mindanao Regional Committee, and served in the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) central committee.

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

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

IPs demolish Salugpongan school in Davao Oro town

From the Philippine News Agency (Jan 15, 2022): IPs demolish Salugpongan school in Davao Oro town (By Che Palicte)

DEMOLITION. Indigenous people (IP) residents of Purok 6, Sitio Cambudlot, Barangay San Miguel, Compostela, Davao de Oro lead the demolition of the Salugpongan Ta' Tanu Igkanogon Community Learning Center on Friday (Jan. 14, 2022). The demolition came after the IP community filed a resolution in April last year requesting a Department of Education-run school in their area, expressing concern that the Salugpongan might be teaching its students to revolt against the government. (PNA photo by Che Palicte)

COMPOSTELA, Davao de Oro – Members of indigenous peoples (IP) led the demolition of the Salugpongan Ta' Tanu Igkanogon Community Learning Center, Inc. (STTICLCI) in Purok 6, Sitio Cambudlot, Barangay San Miguel here Friday.

The demolition came after the IP community in April last year filed a resolution requesting a school run by the Department of Education (DepEd) in their area, expressing concern that the Salugpongan might be teaching its students to revolt against the government.

The resolution said Barangay San Miguel’s local government unit approved the request for the security, welfare, and common good of its constituents, and the benefit of their people.

San Miguel village chairperson Joel Balili said in an interview that the Salugpongan was built in 2011 and stopped operations in 2017.

He said he was happy with the recent development as he described the place as being indoctrinated by the communist New People’s Army (NPA), considering that it is the farthest sitio in the barangay.

“The government services were brought here, like road access, electrification, and now the soon-to-be-established DepEd school,” Balili added.

He also thanked the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police for the security they have provided in the area.

“The lay-outing of the school building by the provincial engineering office will commence as soon as this area will be free. I do not have the idea of the budget but it will be built through bayanihan,” Balili added.

‘Right thing’

San Miguel resident, Rodolfo Eceja, thanked the government for doing the "right thing" about the STTICLCI.

“We all know that it was run by the NPA but they used the non-governmental organizations to establish this school,” he said in the vernacular.

Eceja recounted that he was forced to enroll his children in the school because, at the time, they never felt the services of the government in their community.

“During that time, they (NPA) told us that the government does not care for us. We somehow believe(d) it because that is what we saw. We never experienced the services of the government here, unlike now,” he added.

Roselyn Anfone, whose children were former students of the STTICLCI, said the demolition does not affect them at all since they knew that the government is on their side and a new school would rise in the area.

“We do not regret losing it because we receive various interventions from the government now, like school supplies for our students,” she added.

Anfone looks forward to the speedy establishment of the new school for her to enroll her children, which she said is closer to their residence.

Good governance

Lt. Col. Julius Munar, commander of the 66th Infantry Battalion, said the demolition was a symbol of good governance.

“From the previous years, the presence of the communist NPA is visible. But this time, we already have a peaceful community here,” he said.

Munar added that the establishment of the DepEd-run school would provide a better future for the children.

“Rest assured that we will always support you, along with other government agencies, we will continue to provide services here to help you improve your lives,” he added

Meanwhile, Maj. Jason Baria, Compostela town police chief, said the demolition proved that the community does not want the presence of the NPA in the area.

“It only shows that they do not want them. This will be a mark that we will show to them (NPA) that the government is sincere in their programs,” he added.

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

Cops foil bombing in Lamitan City

From the Philippine News Agency (Jan 15, 2022): Cops foil bombing in Lamitan City (By Teofilo Garcia, Jr.) 

State security forces foiled a bomb attack against an aspirant for town mayor as they prevented an improvised explosive device from blowing up Saturday in Lamitan City, Basilan province.

Maj. Nurhaib Bungkac, Lamitan City police chief, said they coordinated with the Provincial K9 Unit after a suspicious item was found around 8:30 a.m. in front of the house of Hadja Arsima Gappar in Barangay Matibay.

Gappar is the incumbent barangay chairperson of Semut in Akbar town and is a mayoralty aspirant.

Bungkac said the K9 and explosive ordnance demolition personnel of the Philippine National Police-Special Action Force (PNP-SAF) confirmed after a thorough assessment that the suspicious item was a cellular phone-triggered IED.

“The EOD team immediately conducted render safety procedure through disruption operation using disruptor,” Bungkac said in a phone interview.

He said the EOD recovered the following IED component: a cellular phone with subscriber identification module (SIM) card; a blasting cap; 143 two-inch concrete nails as shrapnel; one and three-fourth kilogram C4 explosive; steel pipe covered with a galvanized sheet; wire; and, plastic bag.

He said the investigation continues to identify the suspects behind the foiled bombing.

He also alerted the police forces to prevent a repeat of the bombing in the city.

Mastermind in NoCot bus blast, 3 cohorts killed in Army ops

From the Philippine News Agency (Jan 15, 2022): Mastermind in NoCot bus blast, 3 cohorts killed in Army ops (By Noel Punzalan)

END OF THE ROAD. Four suspected Dawlah Islamiya terrorists lay dead after a clash with military troops in Carmen, North Cotabato on Friday (Jan. 15, 2022). A certain Norodin Hassan (left) alias Andot, the alleged emir for military affairs of the Dawlah Islamiya Hassan Group and mastermind of the Jan. 11 bombing in Aleosan, North Cotabato, was one of those killed during the operation. (Photo courtesy of 6ID)

State forces killed during a manhunt operation Friday the alleged mastermind in the bus bombing in Aleosan, North Cotabato together with three cohorts.

Maj. Gen. Juvymax Uy, Army’s 6th Infantry Division commander, identified three of the four slain suspects as Norodin Hassan alias Andot, the known emir for military affairs of the Dawlah Islamiya Hassan Group, Abdonillah Hassan alias Don, and Abdonhack Hassan alias Abdon.

The suspects were killed during an Army operation in a remote village in Carmen, North Cotabato.

Recovered from them were M14 and M1 Garand rifles, ammunition and magazines for different firearms, analog cellphones, solar panels, handheld radios, and other subversive documents with high intelligence value.

“The death of alias Andot and three of his cohort only shows that justice is given to the victims of the Mindanao Star Bus bombing,” Uy, concurrent head of Joint Task Force Central, said in a statement.

On Tuesday, an improvised explosive device (IED) was set off inside a Mindanao Star Bus while plying along the national highway of Aleosan, North Cotabato, killing a five-year-old child and wounding six others.

Military and police explosive ordnance disposal teams immediately conducted a post-blast investigation to determine the identify the suspects through their IED signature style.

Intelligence reports and information from the civilian populace helped security forces to track down the perpetrators in a massive manhunt operation launched a day after the explosion.

Col. Jovencio Gonzales, Army’s 602nd Infantry Brigade commander, said troops under his unit pursued the suspects after their location was pinpointed by tipsters.

“After we identified the perpetrators who are responsible for the bombing attack, we immediately launched the manhunt operation to prevent them from doing similar atrocities in other areas thus preventing further loss of lives and damaged to properties,” he said.

Since the last quarter of last year, 6ID forces neutralized several DI leaders that included DI emir Salahuddin Hassan who was killed during a clash in Talayan, Maguindanao on Oct. 29, 2021.

Other top DI leaders slain in separate military operations were alias Adsam, a DI sub-leader, on Dec. 1, 2021 in Datu Salibo, Maguindanao; and also Asim Karinda alias Abu Azim, the newly-appointed DI emir, on Dec. 2, 2021 in Mamasapano town.