Sunday, April 3, 2022

Four soldiers wounded, gunmen killed in Sayyaf clashes

From the Mindanao Examiner (Apr 3, 2022): Four soldiers wounded, gunmen killed in Sayyaf clashes

Zamboanga - Four soldiers were wounded and a still unknown number of gunmen were killed in fierce clashes with Abu Sayyaf militants in the southern island-province of Basilan, about 29 nautical miles south of here.

Officials said the fighting broke out over the weekend after troops launched a combat operation against the pro-Islamic State fighters in Sumisip town, a known stronghold of the Abu Sayyaf.

The military’s Western Mindanao Command also announced this on Sunday, quoting a report by the army commander on the island, Brig. Gen. Domingo Gobway, who said that an undetermined number of militants were believed killed in the fighting in Sucaten village.

The report said the fighting involved at least nine militants, who eventually withdrew but had been caught up by government reinforcements sparking a violent gun battle.

“The violent extremists withdrew shortly after the engagement, but responding government forces caught up with them while they were fleeing which led to another armed confrontation. Based on reports, the armed confrontations resulted in an undetermined number of casualties on the enemy side and the recovery of war materials including three M16A1 rifles, 20 long magazines, five short magazines, three bandoleers, and 619 rounds of M16 ammunition,” the report said.

No bodies of slain militants were recovered in the areas where the clashes occurred. Gobway said four soldiers were wounded in the firefight. “Battle casualties were immediately extricated from the area and were given proper medication. They are all in stable condition as of press time,” he said.

Lt. Gen. Alfredo Rosario, Jr., chief of the Western Mindanao Command, commended the soldiers – all under Gobway’s Joint Task Force Basilan - for “their selfless service and untiring dedication to their sworn duty.”

“The remaining members of the terror group who refuse to return to the fold of the law are doing desperate moves to gain popular support after they’ve lost it due to the neutralization of their top leader Radzmil Jannatul, Rosario said, referring to the Abu Sayyaf leader wanted by the United States for the for the kidnapping of an American woman, 43-year old Gerfa Yeatts Lunsmann, and her son, Kevin, 14; and a Filipino nephew Romnick Jakaria, 19, while on a holiday in Zamboanga on July 12, 2011.

The hostages were forced into boats at gunpoint, brought to Basilan and forced to march to a camp where they were held until September 2011. The kidnappers released the mother on October 2, 2011, but retained her son as a hostage, and demanded that she pay a large ransom for his freedom.

Jakaria managed to escape from his captors on November 13, 2011; and the teenager eventually escaped from his captivity on December 9, 2011. Jannatul and three other Abu Sayyaf fighters Indama, Muadz, and Abu Basim were indicted by the U.S. Department of Justice for the kidnappings.

The U.S. Embassy has not released any statement on Jannatul’s slaying, but Rosario said: “The military continues to intensify the conduct of combat and non-combat operations to end terrorism in Mindanao.”

Palparan interview has BuCor approval: NTF-ELCAC

From the Philippine News Agency (Apr 3, 2022): Palparan interview has BuCor approval: NTF-ELCAC (By Lade Jean Kabagani)

Maj. Gen. Jovito Palparan (ret.) (SMNI interview screenshot)

The recent interview of Presidential Communications Operations Office Undersecretary Lorraine Badoy with retired Army general Jovito Palparan delved into insurgency which has been plaguing the country for more than five decades.

Palparan was inside the New Bilibid Prison in Muntinlupa City all throughout the interview. Hence, no prior leave was necessary, according to a statement of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) Legal Cooperation Cluster on Sunday.

The online interview with Badoy and Franco Baranda was aired over SMNI’s "Laban Kasama ang Bayan (LAKAB)" program on March 30.

Also interviewed were Datu Jake Lanes of the Mandaya-Manobo tribe and Lt. Col. Celeste Frank Sayson, group commander of the Armed Forces of the Philippines' 7th Civil Relations Group.

The NTF-ELCAC said it was not surprising that communist supporters would quickly and negatively react over the government's relentless effort to expose the lies and deception of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People's Army-National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF).

The legal cluster said one of the sympathizers active in hurling insults on the government's pursuits is the National Union of People's Lawyers (NUPL), represented by its president, lawyer Edre Olalia.

Olalia questioned why Palparan was allowed to give a media interview and whether the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor), Department of Justice (DOJ), and the Malolos, Bulacan Regional Trial Court which sentenced Palparan to life imprisonment for kidnapping and serious illegal detention in 2018 were aware of it.

Palparan was convicted for the disappearance of University of the Philippines students Sherlyn Cadapan and Karen Empeno in 2006, both suspected CPP-NPA supporters.

The DOJ said it would conduct an inquiry on how Palparan was interviewed.

“The protestation of Atty. Olalia is clearly misplaced while the planned inquiry of the DOJ would certainly result in a finding that the questioned interview was in accordance with prevailing rules, legal precepts, and jurisprudence,” the NTF-ELCAC statement read.

Under Republic Act 10575, or the Bureau of Corrections Act of 2013, it is the policy of the State to promote the general welfare and safeguard the basic rights of every prisoner incarcerated in our national penitentiary.

BuCor is charged with the safekeeping of national inmates.

“Consistently, the Supreme Court jurisprudential pronouncement, in the matter of Writ of Habeas Corpus vs. De Lima (GR No. 215585, Sept. 8, 2020), provides that the BuCor has authority under the law and existing rules and regulations to determine the movement of national inmates, provided that these are done within the penal institutions. Any movement outside the penal institution, such as court appearances, must have prior court authorization,” the statement added.

BuCor complied with the protocols as stated in its manual of operation before the interview was approved, the NTF-ELCAC emphasized.

“BuCor exercised due diligence and has authority over the movement of Gen. Palparan, a national inmate, within the penal institution. Relevantly, a prior leave of court is required only if the movement is outside the penal institution,” the statement read.

The NTF-ELCAC Legal Cooperation Cluster said Olalia's “overzealous questioning” was “utterly baseless”.

“We thus ask this lingering question. Why are you so quick to assail the government’s effort to provide lasting peace to the Filipino people, but never once called out the crimes of CPP-NPA-NDF against Filipino soldiers and civilians?” the cluster asked Olalia.

As fellow legal practitioners, the group said Olalia and the NUPL lawyers must live true to their oath: Maintain allegiance to the Republic of the Philippines, support the constitution, and obey the laws and the legal orders of the duly constituted authorities.

“Support NTF-ELCAC and denounce CPP-NPA-NDF. Only then can you be truly called the people’s lawyers,” the statement read.

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.

NOLCOM: Exercise Balikatan

Posted to the Northern Luzon Command (NOLCOM) Facebook Page (Apr 2, 2022): Exercise Balikatan

Exercise Balikatan 

Armed Forces of the Philippines and U.S. forces operate equipment and exchange knowledge throughout the Philippines during Balikatan 22.

The United States remains committed to the Republic of the Philippines, promoting military-to-military relations, as well as advancing interoperability and coordination with the AFP, to promote regional security and stability. Balikatan advances combined military modernization and capability development by furthering the opportunities for both militaries to work together in complex and realistic training environments.  Photos by Sgt. Melanye Martinez and Lance Cpl. Madison Santamaria

NOLCOM: "Labis na Hirap ang Dulot ng Komunistang Teroristang Grupo sa Aming Pamilya"

Posted to the Northern Luzon Command (NOLCOM) Facebook Page (Apr 3, 2022): "Labis na Hirap ang Dulot ng Komunistang Teroristang Grupo sa Aming Pamilya" ("The Cause of the Communist Terrorist Group Made is Extremely Difficult for Our Family")

Extremely Difficult

1st Civil Relations Group, CRS AFP

NOLCOM: Balikatan 37-2022 Update

Posted to the Northern Luzon Command (NOLCOM) Facebook Page (Apr 3, 2022): Balikatan 37-2022 Update

Armed Forces of the Philippines

Balikatan 37-2022 Update

Countering IEDs Training |Troops from the Philippine Army and U.S. Army Pacific concluded the four-day Counter-Improvised Explosive Device (C-IED) Training on April 1 at Fort Magsaysay, Nueva Ecija as part of the Combined Interoperability Events of this year's Balikatan Exercise.
The 1st Brigade Combat Team and Army Support Command’s Explosive Ordnance Disposal Battalion and USARPAC’s Asia Pacific C-IED Center, G33 Protection Directorate participated the C-IED lessons which included identifying insurgent IED tactics, techniques and procedures among others.
Balikatan 2022 is the 37th iteration of the combined/ joint military exercises aimed at improving interoperability and military readiness.


NOLCOM: Indignation Rally vs. CPP-NPA-NDF Sadiay Abra, Pinasetan Dagiti Sigud a Rebelde

Posted to the Northern Luzon Command (NOLCOM) Facebook Page (Apr 3, 2022): Indignation Rally vs. CPP-NPA-NDF Sadiay Abra, Pinasetan Dagiti Sigud a Rebelde (Former Rebels from Sadiay Abra Conduct Indignation Rally vs. CPP-NPA-NDF)

NAKIKAYKAYSA dagiti sigud a rebelde iti Sallapadan, Lacub ken Malibcong iti probinsiya ti Abra iti impatungpal ti 24th Infantry Battalion a condemnation ken indignation rally kagiddan ti anibersaryo ti New People's Army (NPA) idi kalman.

Dagiti nasao nga ili ket sigud a pagum-umokan ti NPA ngem iti napalabas a tallo a tawen ket in-inot a nalawlawagan ti puso ken panunut dagiti umili a talikdan ti terorista a grupo ken simmuporta da iti gobyerno.

Sigun kenni 24th IB commander LtCol. Ricardo Gary Garcia III, ti nasao nga addang ket wagas ti pananggibus iti 53 a tawen a kinaranggas ken panangloko ti terorista nga NPA. Impanamnama na met ti tuloy-tuloy a panangprotektar da kadagiti umili ti Abra nangruna ti komunidad dagiti Indigenous Peoples.

Kinondenar met dagiti sigud a rebelde ti terorista nga NPA gapu iti panangbutbuteng ken panangloko da kadagiti umili. Inawis da met dagiti nabatbati a kameng ti grupo nga agsubli dan iti gobyerno.
Ti nasao nga aktibidad ket pinasetan metlaeng dagiti kameng ti gobyerno, opisyal dagiti barangay, pulisya, ken dagiti elders.

Immunan a kinuna ti tropa ti gobyerno a naan-anayen a kimmapsot ti Agustin Begnalen Command ken asidegen a mapukaw da iti probinsiya ti Abra, pammaneknek ditoy dagiti naipatungpal a mass withdrawal of support ken panagsubli iti gobyerno dagiti rebelde.
Tagalog translation:

Nakiisa ang mga dating rebelde sa Sallapadan, Lacub at Malibcong sa lalawigan ng Abra sa inilunsad ng 24th Infantry Battalion na condemnation at indignation rally kasabay ng anibersaryo ng New People's Army (NPA) nitong Martes.

Ang mga nabanggit na bayan ay dating pinamumugaran ng mga NPA pero sa nakalipas na tatlong taon ay unti-unting naliwanagan ang puso at isip ng mga residente na tumalikod sa teroristang grupo at sa halip ay sumuporta sa gobyerno.

Ayon kay 24th IB commander LtCol. Ricardo Gary Garcia III, ang nasabing hakbang ay paraan ng pagwakas sa 53 taon na karahasan at panlilinlang ng teroristang NPA. Tiniyak naman nito ang patuloy na pagprotekta nila sa mga mamamayan ng Abra lalo na sa komunidad ng mga Indigenous Peoples.
Kinondena naman ng mga dating rebelde ang teroristang NPA dahil sa pananakot at panloloko nila sa mga mamamayan. Hinikayat nila ang mga nalalabing kasapi ng grupo na magbalik-loob na sa pamahalaan.

Nakibahagi rin sa naturang aktibidad ang mga miyembro ng gobyerno, opisyal ng mga barangay, pulisya, at mga elders.

Una nang sinabi ng tropa ng pamahalaan na tuluyan nang humina ang Agustin Begnalen Command at malapit na silang mawala sa Abra, patunay umano rito ang mga isinagawang mass withdrawal of support at pagbabalik-loob sa gobyerno ng mga rebelde. (Source: 5ID, PA)

English Translation:

Former rebels in Sallapadan, Lacub and Malibcong in Abra province joined in the condemnation and indignation rally launched by the 24th Infantry Battalion in conjunction with the anniversary of the New People's Army (NPA) on Tuesday.

The aforementioned towns were formerly infested by NPAs but over the past three years the hearts and minds of the residents have gradually been enlightened to turn away from the terrorist group and instead support the government.

According to 24th IB commander LtCol. Ricardo Gary Garcia III, said the move is a way of ending 53 years of violence and deception by the terrorist NPA. This ensured that they continued to protect the people of Abra, especially the Indigenous Peoples community.
The former rebels condemned the terrorist NPA for threatening and deceiving the people. They urged the remaining members of the group to return to the government.

Government members, barangay officials, police, and elders also participated in the activity.

The government troops had earlier said that the Agustin Begnalen Command had weakened and that they would soon disappear from Abra, as proof of this were the mass withdrawal of support and conversion to the government by the rebels.

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