Sunday, February 20, 2022

EASTMINCOM: 28th Infantry Battalion conducts anti-communist/anti-NPA film showing in remote barangays of Mibini

Posted to the Eastern Mindanao Command (EASTMINCOM) Facebook Page (Feb 20, 2022): 28th Infantry Battalion conducts anti-communist/anti-NPA film showing in remote barangays of Mibini

28th Infantry (Kamagong) Battalion

28th Infantry (Kamagong ) Battalion conducted a film showing activity entitled "Luha ng Pagsuko" and "Mga Batang NPA, sumuko", a documentary Vlog by John Paul Seniel, to the residents of Special Brgy Singapore, Brgy Anitapan, Mabini, DDO on February 17, 2020.

Said activity was done purposely to discourage residents in far-flung areas from joining the CPP-NPA-NDF terrorist group by educating them and showing them the struggles of former NPA members while inside the terrorist organization and how were they deceived to join the armed group.
Also, the troops were able to distribute information materials (leaflets) bearing information about the Enhanced Local Integration Program (E-CLIP) and give simple gifts (candies) to the children aged from 2 to 7years old.


WESTMINCOM: Peace Conversation with former extremists in the Province of Basilan

Posted to the Western Mindanao Command (WESTMINCOM) Facebook Page (Feb 20, 2022): Peace Conversation with former extremists in the Province of Basilan

4th Civil Relations Group

Peace Conversation in the Province of Basilan

With the new AS2G CARE (Advancing and Sustaining Good Governance and Community Actions towards Resilience and Empowerment), Peace Conversation with the Former Extremists was held at Sumisip, Basilan Province on February 16, 2022.

AS2G CARE is a continuation of a program of the now-defunct ARMM called Program Against Violent Extremism (PAVE). It is a collaboration between BMFI and the Provincial Government of Basilan; Joint Task Force Basilan-Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP); Nagdilaab Foundation Inc.; Office of Deputy Speaker Hataman; and the Office of the Presidential Assistant on the Peace Process (OPAPP), with the support of the Government of Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT).
This activity let these Former Violent Extremists share their stories of transformation and proved that violent extremism is not the solution to their problems.

Said Peace Conversation was also witnessed by BGEN DOMINGO B GOBWAY, JTF Basilan Commander, Steven J Robinson AO, an Australian Ambassador to the Philippines, and Secretary Carlito G Galvez Jr of the PAPRU.

AFP-CRS: Two Abu Sayyaf Group members nabbed, firearms seized in Basilan

Posted to the Armed Forces of the Philippines-Civil Relations Service (AFP-CRS) Facebook Page (Feb 20, 2022): Two Abu Sayyaf Group members nabbed, firearms seized in Basilan

CAPTURED| Two members of the Abu Sayyaf Group were captured in a joint entrapment operation in Lamitan City, Basilan. The entrapment operation was conducted by joint elements of the 18th Infantry Battalion and 4th Special Forces Battalion at Public Market Place, same city.

AFP-CRS: Enlightened Daulah Islamiyah members surrender in Marawi City

Posted to the Armed Forces of the Philippines-Civil Relations Service (AFP-CRS) Facebook Page (Feb 20, 2022): Enlightened Daulah Islamiyah members surrender in Marawi City

ENLIGHTENED| The joint efforts of Joint Task Group Haribon and the local government of Piagapo resulted in the surrender of three members of Daulah Islamiyah-Maute Group idetnified as Ebra Apil, 58 years old; his son Munder Ebra Apil, 29 years old, both residents of Barangay Tapurog, Piagapo, Lanao del Sur; and Darda Lidasan, 17 years old, resident of Barangay Lininding, Piagapo, Lanao del Sur. They handed over one M16A1 rifle with a magazine and four ammunition, two cal. 45 pistols, and one cal. 45 magazine with seven ammunition.
The former violent extremists said they decided to surrender for fear of losing their lives knowing that the military continues to intensify its operations to quell all violent extremist activities.

Marine Corps Assault Boat Battalion receives Boat Maintenance Facility at Marine Base Ternate

Posted to Philippine Defense News (Feb 18, 2022): Marine Corps Assault Boat Battalion receives Boat Maintenance Facility at Marine Base Ternate

Philippine Marine Corps photo

A newly constructed maintenance bay and boat ramp for the Marine Corps Assault Boat Battalion (MCABBN) was turned-over on February 10, 2022 in a ceremony attended by BGen. Raul Jesus L. Caldez PN(M), Deputy Commandant, Philippine Marine Corps.

The construction of the maintenance bays and beaching ramps was supported by the Joint U.S. Military Assistance Group (JUSMAG)-Philippines. It was a result of the combined efforts of the Naval Small Craft Instruction and Technical Training School and JUSMAG-Philippines for Mobile Training on Diesel Engine, Outboard Engine, and Hamilton Waterjets, as well as the maintenance capability of the MCABBN for the arrival from the U.S. of Small Unit Riverine Craft.

U.S Embassy in the Philippines ChargĂ© d’Affaires ad interim Heather Variava turned over the facility key to the Commander of the Combat Service Support Brigade, BGen. Ruben C. Candelario PN(M), with MCABBN Commander, Lt. Col. Roderick H. Bunyi PN(M).

BGen. Caldez emphasized the need to capitalize not just on the acquisition of the material component but also on the other spectrum of capability development, particularly at the maintenance level. He acknowledged the support of the U.S. government to the Philippines in promoting the shared interest on regional cooperation and mutual capability development.

Commandant MGen. Ariel R. Caculitan PN(M), who is currently attending the annual Philippine Marine Corps-U.S. Marine Corps Forces, Pacific (PMC-MARFORPAC), Marine to Marine Staff Talks in Hawaii, extends his gratitude to the JUSMAG-Philippines for the accomplishment of the project.

Joint Task Force Tawi-Tawi visits Panguan Island for all-in-one mission

Posted to Philippine Defense News (Feb 18, 2022): Joint Task Force Tawi-Tawi visits Panguan Island for all-in-one mission

Photo courtesy of Western Mindanao Command, AFP

Commander of 2nd Marine Brigade/Naval Task Group/ Joint Task Force Tawi-Tawi BGEN ROMEO T RACADIO PN(M), together with his Battalion Commander LTCOL CHARLIE S CANA PN(M), PN Vessel (BRP Jose Loor Sr-PC390) Commanding Officer CDR JULIUS D TUTTOH PN, Naval Installation Unit Commander LT MARLON M YBERA, Founder/ School Admin of JADES Badjao Learning School Mr. & Mrs. Elie Arana, and civilian Geodetic Engineers conducted All-in-One Mission in Panguan (Pangungan) Island, Tawi-Tawi on February 16, 2022.

Several activities were conducted during the mission which include the initial mapping survey of the island conducted by the volunteer-Geodetic engineers for future master development planning; hydrographic survey by 61st Force Reconnaissance Company (FRC) divers for possible boat wharf/pier establishment; Groundbreaking for the construction of multi-purpose facility thereat through the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) CSR for the Badjao community in partnership with 2MBDE and JLBCI; medical consultation and minor treatment of Badjao patients by Forward Support Medical Team (FSMT) led by CPT PACION MC; resupply of water and reprovision/food to deployed troops and Badjao community in partnership with JLBCI Administrators and Teachers; tree planting of fruit bearing plants/ coconut and lastly, environmental scanning of the island through interviews conducted by JLBCI to Badjao residents in the island.

All activities including the conduct of communication exercise among island-deployed and patrolling JTF units were conducted during the regular TDO patrol of PC390 along the Trilateral Cooperative Arrangement (TCA) common and unilateral corridors and in the waters of Sibutu Strait, Tawi-Tawi.

Panguan Island (locally known as Pangungan or resting place) is the most remote island of the southernmost province Philippines, Tawi-Tawi. It is located at the marginal area of the Philippines, Malaysia, and Indonesia. It is also called Malamanok island by some locals. A white beach and turquoise waters gateway.

The island is 100 km away from mainland Bongao but 17 km away only from the nearest island of mainland North Borneo. The said island was once used by terrorist group, Abu Sayyaf and lawless criminals/ smugglers as one of their hideouts in the Sulu Archipelago.

The mission was conducted in line with the thrust of the C, JTF-TT/2MBDE BGEN RACADIO PN(M) to promote and sustain peace and development initiatives in the province through inter-agency partneships that would address the root causes of armed conflict from advocating good governance; promotion of socio-economic, cultural cohesiveness and harmony; good enviromental management and dissemination of good information particularly to the vulnerable and marginalized sectors in the farthermost island/ islets in the south western frontier of the country.

Navy holds experts dialogue headlining Asia Pacific key security flashpoints

Posted to Philippine Defense News (Feb 19, 2022): Navy holds experts dialogue headlining Asia Pacific key security flashpoints

The Philippine Navy’s Office of Naval Strategic Studies (ONSS) conducted this year’s Experts’ Dialogue with the theme “Key Security Flashpoints and Regional Risks in the Asia-Pacific” on Wednesday, February 9.

The virtual dialogue was attended by eight emerging experts from the Asia-Pacific region to explore, examine, and share perspectives on the current trends and developments happening in the region’s four key security flashpoints, namely the Korean Peninsula, the East China Sea, the West Philippine Sea, and the Taiwan Strait.

Apart from providing local and international experts an avenue to discuss possible tipping points in these four key areas that may pose regional risks, usher in pivotal regional changes, and influence the security trajectory of the Asia-Pacific; the dialogue also focused on identifying possible recommendations that countries and other non-state actors could undertake to evade regional risks that may threaten the region’s long-peace.

For this year’s Experts’ Dialogue, the Chief of Naval Staff, Rear Adm. Caesar Bernard Valencia, opened the virtual event by delivering the opening remarks. Meanwhile, Professor John Blaxland from the Australian National University delivered the keynote speech which set the agenda for discussion. This was followed by the roundtable discussion among the emerging experts which was moderated by Professor Francis Domingo of the De La Salle University. The event’s closing remarks were delivered by the PN Vice Commander, Major Gen. Nestor Herico.

Law will decide on doc’s fate, not academic records: ELCAC

From the Philippine News Agency (Feb 20, 2022): Law will decide on doc’s fate, not academic records: ELCAC (By Marita Moaje)

Dr. Maria Natividad Castro (File photo)

Instead of condemning the arrest of a doctor, who has been identified as a Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) official, the more important issue is how even innocent civilians are being victimized by communist terrorist groups, according to the Western Visayas Regional Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (RTF6-ELCAC) on Sunday.

Prosecutor Flosemer Chris Gonzales, RTF 6-ELCAC spokesperson, said Dr. Maria Natividad Castro was nabbed in San Juan City on Friday morning on the basis of a legitimate and judicially issued court warrant.

"It makes no difference if she graduated top of her class from St. Scholastica’s College or the UP-PGH (University of the Philippines - Philippine General Hospital). Nor does it matter which awards she won. A medical license and an exemplary academic record do not grant anyone immunity from the law,”
Gonzales said in a statement.

RTF6-ELCAC likewise assured the Department of Health and all health care workers, especially doctors, that their contributions are highly appreciated but law enforcers must also perform their jobs.

“Let the law enforcement agencies do their jobs and be reminded to never ever think that medical doctors are immune from criminal prosecutions. Trust the legal and judicial processes,” the statement read. “Like you in the medical profession, we must also recognize the contributions of the other sectors in government, especially those who opted to work with the poorest of the poor and those who work to make our communities safe and secure from criminals and terrorists.”

Undersecretary Lorraine Marie Badoy, National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict spokesperson for sectoral concerns, said Castro (alias Ka Yammy/Ka Ami/Dok) is not a simple member of a terrorist organization.

“She is a Central Committee member of the CPP-NPA-NDF (New People’s Army-National Democratic Front). She is also secretary general of a terrorist front, Karapatan-Caraga that lawyers for NPA (rebels),” Badoy said in another statement.

Badoy said Castro “is in the inner sanctum of this terrorist organization and is one of the chief architects of some of the most atrocious crimes committed on the most helpless among us: human trafficking, recruitment, radicalization, kidnapping, murder, homicide, terrorist financing, sexual abuse, child abuse, slavery, etc. She is among the most guilty”.

Gonzales asked the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) to be impartial and fair in their press releases, which claimed that Castro was red tagged.

“While the CHR shows extreme enthusiasm, zeal, passion, and dispatch in attending to the alleged indication of possible violations committed allegedly by police officers on the occasion of the service of arrest warrants to Dr. Castro, we call the attention of the CHR on your less enthusiastic response on the series of killings and ambushes perpetrated by the CPP-NPA in Negros Island during the past few days where the CPP-NPA-NDF terrorists claimed responsibility for the brutal killings of at least four civilians and the wounding of five police officers,” the statement read.

The CHR statement gave “the Filipino people the impression that you are somewhat selective in your issuances of press statements on incidents that are of concern to your office,” the statement added.

CHR should also refrain from using the term "Lumad" to refer to Mindanao indigenous peoples (IP) tribes where Castro allegedly served, according to RTF6-ELCAC.

“Lumad is a term that was coined not by the indigenous peoples themselves but by the CPP-NPA-NDF to collectively refer to members of the tribe,” the statement read.

Badoy said that while with the IP community, Castro “has worn the mask of champion of the indigenous peoples while committing the worst offenses on them. And she has paraded them before the UN (United Nations) and the international community to parrot the CPP-NPA-NDF lies of government atrocities that they themselves committed in order to destroy the image of our country and raise millions/billions from the international community that they then use to fund poverty and terrorism in our country”.

Finally, RTF6-ELCAC said it will pray for the enlightenment of the nuns who issued a statement of concern on the arrest of Castro.

In the absence of proof to substantiate their rants, Gonzales said their statements are “basically irresponsible”.

“Do not judge the merits of the cases filed against Dr. Castro in your statement. You are not the court. You are actually doing injustice to the complainants who filed the cases. Let us allow the judicial processes to proceed and take its rightful course,” the statement read.

RTF6-ELCAC said Filipinos should rally behind the government and educate themselves about the enemies of the state and the damage they have done for over five decades.

“Instead of defending terrorists who wear masks of nobility, the ones we must be defending are our children and our indigenous peoples, the prime targets of these communist terrorists,” he said. “If we are to end this 53-year travesty wrought by the communist terrorist CPP-NPA-NDF on our people we must stand together, impregnable in our shared love for country."

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 inseparable part” of the CPP-NPA that was created in April 1973.

Doctor Natividad Castro faces more cases in Butuan City

From Rappler (Feb 20, 2022): Doctor Natividad Castro faces more cases in Butuan City (By FROILAN GALLARDO, HERBIE GOMEZ)

Physician and community development worker Natividad 'Naty' Castro is included in another set of charges filed against dozens of other human rights activists before the prosecutor's office in Butuan City

Aside from kidnapping and serious illegal detention cases in Agusan del Sur, the physician arrested by the police in San Juan City on Friday, February 28, is also facing at least two more in Butuan City.

Lawyer Beverly Musni of the Union of Peoples’ Lawyers in Mindanao (UPLM) said Dr. Natividad “Naty” Castro was included in another set of charges filed against dozens of other human rights activists before the prosecutor’s office in Libertad, Butuan City.

Musni said the charges were filed against Castro and 45 others for violation of the Philippine Act on Crimes Against International Humanitarian Law, Genocide, and Other Crimes Against Humanity and the expanded Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act of 2012.

One of the respondents is Renalyn Tejero, a paralegal of Karapatan, who was arrested in Cagayan de Oro and brought to Butuan City on March 21, 2021.

Tejero, who was 25 then, was arrested based on a warrant for murder and multiple attempted murder cases in Caraga. Her arrest also caused a stir because no one could say where she was for hours since her arrest.

Like Dr. Castro, Tejero was also linked to the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA).

Tejero remains in detention while awaiting trial.

The UPLM said the cases filed against human rights workers and activists showed a pattern of harassment and trumped-up charges.

In the case of Tejero, she was accused of non-bailable offenses.

“While the cases are likely to be dismissed, it could take so much time before they are freed. And so, they suffer in detention. The effects are chilling,” said Musni.

Dr. Castro was arrested on Friday morning based on a warrant issued by Judge Fernando Fudalan Jr. of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 7 in Bayugan City, Agusan del Sur.

Incidentally, Fudalan is the same judge who dismissed kidnapping and robbery cases against 17 human rights workers and activists in November 2021.

The court threw out the cases because the accused were detained in Sibagat town for more than a year without the “benefit of a speedy trial” due to delays in the prosecution.

Brigadier General Roderick Augustus Alba, chief of the Philippine National Police’s information office, said Dr. Castro’s arrest was the result of “her alleged criminal actions that constitute participation in a case of kidnapping with serious illegal detention,” and not because of her alleged links to the communist rebel organization.

Dr. Castro’s younger sister Menchi, who spoke on behalf of the family, denied that the doctor has ties with the CPP-NPA.

Menchi told Rappler that Dr. Castro never espoused violence, and that the CPP-NPA’s “philosophy is not congruent with what she believes in.”

In a statement on Saturday, February 19, the PNP said Castro was booked in San Juan City on Friday morning, and was “immediately flown to Bayugan City, Agusan del Sur where she is presently detained.”

Jun Castro, in a Facebook post on Saturday night, confirmed that her sister was located by family members, lawyers, and the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) in a detention facility in Bayugan.

Alba said Dr. Castro was provided a hygiene kit, clothes and toiletries, while the local office of the CHR was informed of her status.

He said the physician would be presented to a court in Bayugan.

“It must be understood that the accused is wanted by the law to stand trial in Criminal Case No. 6527… Her appearance in court will allow her to further enjoy all the guaranteed rights of an accused person,” read part of the PNP statement.

Carlos defends arrest of community doctor

From the Manila Bulletin (Feb 20, 2022): Carlos defends arrest of community doctor (By Aaron Recuenco)

Gen. Dionardo Carlos, chief of the Philippine National Police (PNP), defended on Sunday, Feb. 20, the police operation that led to the arrest of community doctor Maria Natividad Castro in San Juan City.

Carlos said they expect negative reactions especially on the side of the relatives but insisted that it was a legitimate operation.

He was reacting to the statements issued by the relatives of Castro, saying that the police forcibly barged into the house being occupied by the doctor and that the arrest warrant has no specific name.

“They will always say something that would defend what was the subject of the warrant of arrest. But at the end of the day, what was our basis? What was the legal order of the court?,” said Carlos.

“If there is a legal order of a competent court as law enforcers we follow it. Everybody will tell their innocence,” he added.

Castro was arrested based on the arrest warrant issued by a Regional Trial Court of Bayugan City for a case of kidnapping with serious illegal detention involving a government militiaman in 2018. There was no bail recommended.

In a statement, the PNP described Castro as a high-ranking officer of the Communist Party of the Philppines- New People’s Army (CPP-NPA).

Carlos then advised those who are questioning the operation to bring their concerns to the court.

After her arrest, Castro was immediately flown to Agusan del Sur.

NPA ‘secretary,’ wife slain in Misamis Oriental encounter

From the Manila Bulletin (Feb 20, 2022): NPA ‘secretary,’ wife slain in Misamis Oriental encounter (By Martin Sadongdong)

A suspected leader of the New People’s Army (NPA) and his wife were killed in an armed encounter with the military over the weekend while they were allegedly conducting extortion activities to influence the outcome of the local elections in Gingoog City, Misamis Oriental.

Courtesy of 402nd Infantry Brigade

Courtesy of 402nd Infantry Brigade

A report reaching Camp Aguinaldo identified the slain suspects as Jelan Pinakilid alias “Baking” or “Matrix,” alleged secretary of the NPA’s Guerilla Front 4A; and Darling Pinakilid, alleged medical officer of the Squad 3, Platoon Sagay of the North Central Mindanao Regional Committee (NCRMC).

According to the report, operatives of the 402nd Infantry Brigade were conducting an intelligence operation in Brgy. Odiongan last Friday, Feb. 18, when they encountered around five suspected rebels.

Brig. Gen. Adonis Ariel Orio, commander of the 402nd Infantry Brigade, said they received a tip from an informant that the suspects were extorting residents and imposing “permit to campaign” and “permit to win” among candidates of the local elections in the area.

The military said that a brief firefight occurred between the suspects and the operating troops which led to the death of the Pinakilid couple.

Courtesy of 402nd Infantry Brigade

Courtesy of 402nd Infantry Brigade

Jelan, according to the military, was “one of the most wanted and notorious” NPA personalities in Calabarzon (Region 4A) as he was facing multiple warrants of arrest for murder, frustrated murder, and rebellion.

After the encounter, a caliber .45 pistol, various ammunition, a hand grenade, and personal belongings were seized from the slain suspects, the military said.

“While we extend our sympathies to the families of those killed, let this be, once again, a visible reminder that CPP [Communist Party of the Philippines] – NPA’s ideology is no longer fighting for the rights of the people,” Orio said.

“Instead, it promotes injustice and terror that bring sufferings to our community,” he added.

Visayas Command condemns death of Vallerhermoso chief's husband, son

From The Manila Times (Feb 21, 2022): Visayas Command condemns death of Vallerhermoso chief's husband, son (By Francis Earl Cueto)

THE Visayas Command condemned the killing by members of the New People's Army (NPA) on the family of a village chairwoman in Vallehermoso, Negros Oriental on February 16 for refusing to withdraw her support to the government. 

Maj. Gen. Robert Dauz said that Barangay Malangsa chief Beatriz Perater is one of the many people in Negros who is an active supporter of the government's peace and development initiatives in her community. 

According to a police report, Perater supported the call of her constituents for the establishment of an army detachment in their village. 

Soon afterward, a group of armed men believed to be members of the NPA approached her and demanded that she withdraw her support. 

The armed suspects shot mercilessly at her husband, Lucio Perater, and her son Fernando Perater. Dauz vowed justice for the slain individuals.

'Merge high-risk areas in Lanao del Norte'

From The Manila Times (Feb 21, 2022): 'Merge high-risk areas in Lanao del Norte' (By Asangan Madale)

THE Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) have proposed the consolidation of "high-risk" voting places in six municipalities in Lanao del Norte during the May 9 national and local elections.

The Manila Times learned of this development after the briefing of top MNLF leader Adrian Dowa on the political situation in the province of Lanao del Norte during the two-day consultation meeting held in Cagayan de Oro City attended by the two biggest Moro former group leaders and fighters.

The joint study group has recommended to higher authorities the clustering of these polling places in order to prevent the resurrection of old conflicts between clans.

To neutralize the situation, the group offered to deploy its members in these identified hot spots areas to help the military and police secure the elections. Dowa said Hanif Salindawan of the MILF's 102nd base command identified these towns as Nunungan, Munai, Pantar, Tagoloan, Matungao and Magsaysay. Some of the factors that trigger violence during the conduct of the election are massive vote-buying, deployment of flying voters, the presence of armed groups, existing rido (clan feud) among candidates, and the possibility of biased election officials and teachers — will be present in these towns during an election.

The groups also recommend that voters should not be allowed to use their gadgets/mobile phones to avoid any disruptions in the electoral process.

The group recalled the Tagoloan town incident involving armed rebels of the New People's Army, who took advantage of its location near the borders of Lanao del Sur and Cagayan de Oro City.

"These are our findings based on the history of these towns during election day," Salindawan said.

Musa Sanguila of the Pakigdait Inc., an interfaith nongovernment organization, said these factors are the same old problems encountered during elections in Lanao del Norte.

"It's the same old problems during every election, but what is significant here is that the fighters of the two rebel groups have come together to help," Sanguila said.

He said the fighters are determined to have peaceful and orderly elections on May 9.

Lanao del Norte Police Director Col. Isaias Bacurnay Jr. said the findings of the joint MILF and MNLF study group differ slightly from the assessment by the police.

Bacurnay said the Philippine National Police (PNP) has only two towns — Salvador and Munai — as "areas of concern" in the coming elections.

"We based our assessment on the history of violence of these towns every election, but these findings by the MILF and MNLF are new developments that should be carefully looked into," he said.

Meanwhile, the PNP has arrested a total of 76 persons for violating the gun ban in connection with this year's election.

Confiscated from these violators were 12 firearms, 148 ammunition and one unidentified deadly weapon, the PNP reported.

NPA surrenderee facilitators in Samar get cash rewards

From the Philippine Star (Feb 18, 2022): NPA surrenderee facilitators in Samar get cash rewards (Miriam Desacada, John Unson)

The Samar provincial government has given cash rewards to those who facilitated the recent surrender of New People’s Army (NPA) rebels.

A civilian, three militiamen and two former rebels, who were not identified for security reasons, received their reward at the 87th Infantry Battalion command post in Paranas town.

The civilian, two militiamen and one of the former rebels got P10,000 each while another militiaman and one of the former rebels received P20,000 each.

The Samar provincial government gives a cash reward of P10,000 each to any person who facilitates the surrender of NPA rebels under the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration program and amnesty program cluster of the Samar Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict.

In South Cotabato, two NPA rebels surrendered to the Army’s 5th Special Forces Battalion on Wednesday.

Maj. Gen. Juvymax Uy, 6th Infantry Division (ID) commander, said the rebel returnees turned over an M16 and a .30-caliber rifle.

The military said the surrenderees belonged to the NPA’s Guerrilla Front 73-Far South Mindanao Region.

More than 100 NPA guerrillas have surrendered to the 6th ID since last year.

22 face raps over ambush in Maguindanao

From the Philippine Star (Feb 20, 2022): 22 face raps over ambush in Maguindanao (John Unson)

Twenty-two people have been charged in connection with the ambush in Guindulungan, Maguindanao on Feb. 12 that left 10 persons dead and three others wounded.

Jordan Mama, leader of an armed group, and his son Morshid were among those charged with multiple murder and frustrated murder,
Lt. Col. Cristio Lagyop Jr., spokesperson for the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region police, said.

Mama’s group and the fatalities, including community leader Pegez Mamasainged, have been locked in rido or clan war over land disputes and politics.

Mamasainged and Mama, who are cousins, are members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.

The victims were in two sport utility vehicles on their way to another town when they were attacked.

Three sons of Mamasainged were also killed.

EU to give P605.4 million for peace initiatives in Bangsamoro

From the Philippine Star (Feb 20, 2022): EU to give P605.4 million for peace initiatives in Bangsamoro (By: Ryan D. Rosauro)

SEAT OF POWER | The Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao Government Center in Cotabato City houses the offices of the members of the Bangsamoro Transition Authority. (Photo courtesy of the BANGSAMORO INFORMATION OFFICE)

The European Union is set to pour in €10.4 million (about P605.4 million) for initiatives that support the normalization program of the Bangsamoro peace process.

The Project Steering Committee (PSC)o f the Mindanao Peace and Development Program-Peace and Development in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) has just approved four projects for funding by the EU, according to Director Wendell Orbeso of the Office of Presidential Adviser on Peace, Reconciliation and Unity,

The PSC is co-chaired by the presidential peace adviser, Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr.;
BARMM Education Minister Mohagher Iqbal, who is also peace implementing panel chair of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF); and Christoph Wagner, head of cooperation of the EU Delegation to the Philippines.

Wagner said the projects, which are expected to start within two months, “will primarily focus on camps transformation, socioeconomic interventions for the acknowledged camps and Marawi City, and the decommissioning process for MILF combatants.”

The project implementers are the United Nations Development Programme, Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue, Initiatives for Dialogue and Empowerment through Alternative Legal Services, and United Nations Children’s Emergency Fund.

Orbeso said the projects would specifically address pressing issues on poverty, peace, and security.

MNLF, MILF men clash in North Cotabato; 2 killed

From the Philippine Star (Feb 20, 2022): MNLF, MILF men clash in North Cotabato; 2 killed (John Unson)

PIKIT, North Cotabato , Philippines — Two members of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) were killed in a clash with Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) fighters here on Friday.

Police and the military confirmed that the clash occurred in Sitio Buguak in Barangay Kalakakan.

The MILF group is led by Gampong Olimpain whose clan is involved in armed conflict with leaders of the MNLF in Barangays Kalakakan and Balatikan.

Dozens of families were forced to evacuate their homes to avoid being caught in the crossfire.

Pikit Mayor Sumulong Sultan, chairman of the municipal peace and order council, sent emissaries to talk to both sides. He said he would also seek the help of MNLF and MILF leaders.

Nabbed drug suspect turns out to be Abu Sayyaf member

From the Philippine Daily Inquirer (Feb 20, 2022): Nabbed drug suspect turns out to be Abu Sayyaf member

DUAL PERSONALITY | Police present Abu bandit Fahad Dumayag. (Photo courtesy of the Southern Police District )

A man who was earlier arrested on drug charges turned out to be a member of the terrorist Abu Sayyaf Group involved in the 2001 Lamitan siege and the 2002 kidnapping of six members of the Jehovah’s Witness.

Brig. Gen. Jimili Macaraeg, director of the Southern Police District, identified the arrested suspect as 31-year-old Fahad Dumayag, alias Rustom and Abu Cola. Macaraeg said Dumayag was arrested on Jan. 28 in a buy-bust operation in Taguig City.

Seized from him were 12 grams of crystal meth (shabu) worth P81,600, an M203 grenade launcher, and a rifle grenade.

A confidential informant later revealed that Dumayag was a member of the Abu Sayyaf, which Dumayag eventually admitted, according to Macaraeg.

“A victim-witness physically identified Abu Cola as one of her kidnappers and a member of [Abu Sayaff],” Macaraeg said.

Dumayag has been in detention at Taguig City Police Station.

Macaraeg said the suspect was under leaders Ispilon Hapilon, Nur Hassan Jamiri, and a certain Undanan. Hapilon was killed in October 2017 while Jarmiri surrendered in March 2018.