Monday, April 11, 2022

Kalinaw News: PA holds command briefing for National Defense College of the Philippines faculty and MNSA RC 57 members

Posted to Kalinaw News (Apr 11, 2022): PA holds command briefing for National Defense College of the Philippines faculty and MNSA RC 57 members

FORT BONIFACIO, Metro Manila – Acting Army Commanding General and Army Vice Commander Maj. Gen. Henry M. Doyaoen led the command briefing on April 8, 2022 for National Defense College of the Philippines (NDCP) faculty and Master of National Security Administration (MNSA) Regular Class (RC) 57 members at the Philippine Army Officers Clubhouse in Fort Bonifacio, Metro Manila.

Maj. Gen. Doyaoen, in his keynote speech, lauded the 65 members of the MNSA Class 57. “This is indeed a big step not only towards your self-development but it also spells your opportunity for advancement in your respective organizations and countries as well,” the acting Army Chief said.

Maj. Gen. Doyaoen challenged MNSA Class 57 members to become strategic leaders “who look into the larger picture” and use a wider perspective in their assessments and analysis. “Becoming the best also means gearing up for the tasks ahead of you by using your experiences and competencies to the fullest extent. Doing so will manifest your commitment to strengthen your country’s national security,” the acting Army Chief remarked.

The NDCP delegation led by NDCP President Brig. Gen. Archimedes H. Viaje (Ret.) and MNSA Class 57 members who come from the AFP major branch services, government agencies, private sector and foreign militaries attended the PA’s command briefing.

NDCP, the government’s highest center for education, training and research on national defense and security, offers the one-year MNSA program that is the only graduate level degree program in the country that covers a broad spectrum of national security policy formulation and administration.

[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: Military rescues 9 passengers off waters in Sulu

Posted to Kalinaw News (Apr 11, 2022): Military rescues 9 passengers off waters in Sulu

Kuta Heneral Teodulfo Bautista, Jolo, Sulu – Troops of the 4th Marine Brigade of the Joint Task Force (JTF) Sulu rescued nine (9) passengers of a capsized boat off waters of Barangay Tandu Bato, Luuk, Sulu, on April 10, 2022.

In a statement, Maj. Gen Ignatius Patrimonio, Commander of JTF-Sulu and 11th Infantry Division, said that nine (9) recued passengers are composed of two (2) adults and seven (7) minors, and were identified as @Alpi, 28 years old; @Katrina, 21 years old; @Karina, 18 years old; @Sarimah, 17 years old; @Junaipa, 15 years old; @Analiza,14 years old; @Malia, 14 years old; @Sindah, 13 years old; and, @Monisa 12 years old.

“Based on the report submitted by Col. Vincent Mark Anthony Blanco, Commander of the 4th Marine Brigade, they deployed immediately their rescue unit following an information from a concerned fisherman of the capsized boat off waters of Barangay Tandu Bato in the municipality of Luuk, Sulu,” said Maj. Gen. Patrimonio.

Col. Blanco narrated that the boat was overloaded as it heads towards Sitio Taindi of Barangay Kan Mindus of Luuk, Sulu, when it chanced upon a strong wave and current which caused it to capsize.

“Our marines brought the rescued individuals for first aid treatment and medical management at the Luuk District Hospital. As of this reporting, the rescued passengers are in good condition and we turned-over them to the Municipal Disasters Rescue Management Office (MDRMO) of Luuk, Sulu,” added by Col. Blanco.

Meanwhile, Maj. Gen. Patrimonio lauded the marines of their prompt response to the incident. He further urged the marines to continue their tasks of saving lives and assist the community in providing services.

“I commend you of your quick response to the incident that saved the lives of our fellows. This is a manifestation of your professionalism and readiness to take action when needed,” said Maj. Gen. Patrimonio.

“As we continue to march in unison in bringing lasting peace in the province of Sulu, I enjoin every marine to remain focus of your tasks. Our countrymen are counting for us especially in a situation where our expertise is needed most. You have my respect and admiration. Keep up the good works!,” Maj. Gen. Patrimonio ended.

[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:]

Groups demand release of Anakpawis nominee nabbed in Nueva Vizcaya

From the Philippine Daily Inquirer (Apr 11, 2022): Groups demand release of Anakpawis nominee nabbed in Nueva Vizcaya (By: Kimberlie Quitasol)

Isabelo Adviento (Photo from the Facebook account of Danggayan Cagayan Valley)

Human rights and peasant groups are calling for the release of Anakpawis party list’s fourth nominee Isabelo Adviento, who was arrested on April 8 while eating in a fast-food restaurant in Bayombong town, Nueva Vizcaya, over a “trumped-up” case.

Adviento was taken around 8 p.m. by operatives from the military, police and the National Intelligence Coordinating Agency on the strength of an arrest warrant issued by Judge Pablo Manuel Agustin of Branch 10 of the Regional Trial Court in Tuguegarao City on June 17, 2021, for alleged illegal possession of firearms and explosives, the groups said.

The state forces also cited a Dec. 2, 2020, operation where they allegedly confiscated firearms, ammunition and explosives from Adviento’s home in Barangay Carupian in Baggao town, Cagayan province.

Adviento, the Anakpawis coordinator in Cagayan Valley, is currently held at the police station in Bayombong town.

The peasant group Taripnong Cagayan Valley on Sunday insisted the case against Adviento was trumped up, claiming that soldiers and policemen who entered his home in the December 2020 raid allegedly “planted” the firearms and grenades found in his home.

The group added that Adviento was not around when the government forces raided his home because he was busy distributing relief goods to farmers at the time.


Members of Katribu Kalipunan ng Katutubong Mamamayan ng Pilipinas, a national alliance of regional and provincial indigenous peoples’ organizations, have held a protest action in front of the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) in Quezon City on Saturday to condemn Adviento’s arrest.

According to the protesters, Adviento’s arrest was part of the state’s systemic persecution of activists and human rights defenders. They reiterated their opposition to Red-tagging, filing of trumped-up cases, unjust arrests, harassment and all forms of human rights violations.

Anakpawis president Ariel Casilao, in a press statement on Sunday, said Adviento had endured continued harassment and Red-tagging for years prior to his arrest.

“Adviento, a known peasant activist, has been a constant target of Red-tagging, threat, harassment and intimidation by state forces. His arrest is meant to harass Anakpawis party list and its supporters,” Casilao further said.

Casilao said that for several years now, Adviento was subjected to nonstop Red-tagging, including posts on social media of various Philippine National Police pages. His name and photos were plastered on tarpaulin posters and fliers across Cagayan towns, unjustly branding him as an “NPA (New People’s Army) recruiter.”

Adviento also received threatening text messages.

Hands off

The continued Red-tagging prompted Cagayan Valley activists to launch the “Hands Off Isabelo Adviento” campaign in November 2021 to seek assistance from the CHR, the Department of Justice and concerned groups to look into his case and “stop this dangerous pattern of Red-tagging and judicial harassment against activists and human rights defenders.”

In 2015, Adviento was also among 76 activists falsely charged with kidnapping and homicide.

Agnes Mesina, who was arrested on March 2 in Aparri by virtue of an expired warrant, and peace consultant Randy Malayao, who was murdered in a passenger bus on his way home in Nueva Vizcaya in 2019, were among the 76.

The case against Mesina, which also charged Cordillera People’s Alliance chair Windel Bolinget and four others, was dismissed by Tagum Regional Trial Court Branch 30 on July 12, 2021, her lawyers said.

The case stemmed from the killing of Garito Tiklonay Malibato, an indigenous leader of Karadyawan group in Kapalong, Davao del Norte, on March 22, 2018.

Daughter of slain Anakpawis chair nabbed for alleged possession of guns, explosives
DILG to file criminal charges vs ex-Anakpawis solon, 6 relief workers
Bulacan cops detain ex-Anakpawis rep, other activists set to deliver aid to farmers — Bayan Muna

NDFP consultants missing after arrested by police at vaccination site

Posted to Yahoo! News (Apr 11, 2022): NDFP consultants missing after arrested by police at vaccination site (By Pola Rubio)

FILE PHOTO: (L-R) Silvestre H. Bello, Hernani Braganza, Angelia Trinidad, Rene Sarmiento, Antonio Arellano and Edgardo Pamintuan of the Philippine government and Luis Jalandoni, Benito Tiamzon, Asterio Palima, Coni Ledesma, Julie de Lima, Fidel Agcaoili and Jose Maria Sison of the the National Democratic Front (NDFP) during the peace talks with the Philippine government and the National Democratic Front (NDF) in Asker, Norway October 9, 2016. Rights groups called to surface an NDFP peace consultant who was arrested and had gone missing since. NTB Scanpix/Torstein Boe/via REUTERS

Police have arrested two retired National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) consultants, aides, and their driver while queueing up for COVID-19 vaccination in Parañaque City, rights group Karapatan Southern Tagalog reported on Monday (April 11).

The group has identified the persons arrested as retired NDFP consultants Ernesto Lorenzo and Maria Fe Serrano, along with their driver Andrei Medina, their aide Plinky Longhas, and another person.

Karapatan said that Lorenzo, bearing Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG) identification number 978299 under the assumed name Lean Martinez, was the NDFP's consultant in Southern Tagalog, and was granted liberty in 2016 to participate in the peace talks between the Philippine government and NDFP in Europe.

“Their whereabouts, and the charges filed against them, are unknown as of press time,” Karapatan added.

JASIG is an agreement signed by the Philippine government and the NDFP in 1995. It essentially guarantees the immunity and safety of individuals involved in the peace talks.

The individuals are entitled to “free and unhindered passage” across the Philippines and also outside the country in relation to their responsibilities in the negotiations. Additionally, they are also immune from “surveillance, harassment, search, arrest, detention, prosecution and interrogation or any other similar punitive actions.”

In 2017, President Rodrigo Duterte announced the termination of negotiations after he canceled the ceasefire with the Communist Party of the Philippines’ armed wing, the New People’s Army (NPA).

This is not the first time this year that state forces have arrested NDFP consultants.

Last March 8, NDFP consultant Edwin Alcid, who supported calls to resume peace talks, was abducted by military personnel in Catubig, Northern Samar along with two other farmers. Their whereabouts are still unknown to date.

On March 17, the NDFP reported that Ezequiel ‘Ka Rey’ Cortes Daguman, another consultant, was abducted by members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) while en route to a peasant community in New Corella town in Davao del Norte.

Ten days later, Daguman ended up dead, as troops of the 1001st Infantry Brigade declared on March 27 that they killed Daguman and two of his companions identified as Ruel Baylon and Quirino Remegio.

Health workers ask PRC to revoke doctor’s license of Badoy

From the Philippine Daily Inquirer (Apr 12, 2022): Health workers ask PRC to revoke doctor’s license of Badoy (By: Gabriel Pabico Lalu)

Presidential Communications Undersecretary Lorraine Badoy, also spokesperson of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict, appears before the hybrid hearing of the Committee on National Defense and Security, Peace, Unification and Reconciliation, Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2020, on the issue of red-tagging/red-baiting of certain celebrities, personalities, institutions, and organizations. (File photo by ALBERT CALVELO / Senate PRIB)

The Alliance of Health Workers (AHW) asked the Professional Regulation Commission (PRC) on Monday to revoke the certificate of registration as a physician of Undersecretary Lorraine Badoy for her repeated red-tagging of the alliance.

The AHW had earlier filed administrative complaints against Badoy at the Office of the Ombudsman for the same reason.

In its complaint to the PRC on Monday, the group said Badoy of violating the code of conduct and ethical standards of the medical profession “through persistent, relentless red-tagging and vilification of AHW national leaders and the organization.”

Badoy’s statements against the group and its members were uncalled for, according to nurse Cristy Donguines, the president of the AHW chapter at the Jose Reyes Memorial Medical Center.

“We are upset by this red-tagging issue. We are in the midst of a pandemic wherein we risked our lives and health in fighting the deadly virus. Many of our fellow health workers died in combating COVID-19 and yet we are being maliciously attacked and accused of being terrorists by Ms. Badoy and the entire NTF-ELCAC,” Donguines said.

The NTF-ELCAC is the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict, where Badoy is a spokesperson.

“The false, baseless and dangerous allegations of Badoy have caused intense anxiety and sleepless nights to AHW’s national leaders and members and have also caused the same level of distress to people who are close to us,” Donguines added.

Badoy had linked AHW officials — including its president, Robert Mendoza, and its secretary-general, Benjamin Santos — to communist rebels.

Badoy, a doctor by profession, is facing several complaints about her red-tagging — linking legitimate organizations and progressive individuals to groups such as the Communist Party of the Philippines, the New People’s Army, and the National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF).

Badoy has also repeatedly accused the Makabayan bloc in the House of Representatives of being members of front organizations of the CPP-NPA-NDF.

President Rodrigo Duterte has backed Badoy’s statements.

Meanwhile, Badoy clarified last March that she was unfazed by the complaints against her. She said they were only “propaganda” and a means by party-list groups to campaign for the 2022 general elections.

Complaints lodged in Ombudsman vs NTF-Elcac spox
CSC, Ombudsman urged to probe Badoy for red-tagging health workers’ group
Health workers file raps vs Badoy on Ombudsman for alleged red-tagging
NTF-Elcac spokesperson unfazed by complaints
Badoy says red-tagging not dangerous but 427 slain activists show otherwise

2 alleged top rebel group leaders in Southern Tagalog nabbed

From the Philippine Daily Inquirer (Apr 11, 2022): 2 alleged top rebel group leaders in Southern Tagalog nabbed (By: Delfin T. Mallari Jr.) stock photo

Government forces arrested Monday two alleged top leaders of communist insurgents in the Southern Tagalog Region, a police official said.

Police Brig. Gen. Antonio Yarra, Police Regional Office 4-A director,
identified the arrested rebels as Ernesto Lorenzo and Rosita Celino-Serrano, alleged ranking officials of the CPP-NPA-NDF (Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front) Southern Tagalog Regional Party Committee.

Yarra said the two and an alias “Gigi”, whose identity is still subject to verification, were arrested at Nayong Pilipino in Pasay City early morning Monday.

According to the police report, the three were in the area for their COVID-19 vaccination when they were nabbed by combined police operatives and Army soldiers armed with warrants of arrest.

Report said Lorenzo alias “Adil”, has two outstanding warrants of arrest for kidnapping and serious illegal detention and attempted murder issued by Judge Napoleon Matienzo of Regional Trial Court in Gumaca, Quezon with no bail recommended.

Celino-Serrano alias “Ester”, “Bebang”, “Tonying”, “Norming”, and “Pola” likewise has a pending warrant of arrest and also has a P5 million cash reward for her capture.

Yarra described their arrest as “timely.”

“We are just taking steps in securing the upcoming election in May by putting behind bars the possible threats in the region,” Yarra said. INQ

Alleged NPA rebel, also Calabarzon’s most wanted, falls in Quezon

Cambodia's help sought in demining Philippine territo

From UCA News (Apr 11, 2022): Cambodia's help sought in demining Philippine territory

The Bangsamoro Autonomous Region remains littered with landmines and unexploded ordnance

Magawa, an African giant pouched rat with an uncanny knack for sniffing out landmines and unexploded ordnance, at work in Cambodia on Sept. 25, 2020. (Photo: AFP/PDSA)

The Cambodian Mine Authority has received a request from the Philippines to help it demine the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region, which remains littered with landmines and unexploded ordnance (UXO).

This was revealed by the Cambodian Mine Action and Victim Assistance Authority (CMAA) in a statement saying the issue came up during a meeting between its vice president Ly Thuch and Philippine ambassador Amelita Aquino, who led a mine action delegation to Cambodia last week.

“Aquino requested the Cambodian government, through CMAA, to cooperate in helping their demining efforts, especially in the Bangsamoro region, so recently affected by war,” the CMAA said.

The region, officially the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM), is an autonomous region located in the southern Philippines and has struggled to rebuild since 2014 when the Moro Islamic Liberation Front ended its 44-year separatist insurgency after signing a peace pact with the Philippine government.

Cambodia has gained a wealth of experience with its demining efforts, which have substantially reduced the number of landmines and UXO across the country since United Nations peacekeepers arrived in 1992 and the final end to the 30-year civil war in 1998.

Between 4-6 million landmines and other munitions were originally scattered across the country and Phnom Penh wants Cambodia to be free of landmines and UXO by 2025.

“This event has brought together representatives from mine action programs from around the ASEAN member states to share their considerable knowledge and experience with our neighbors from the Philippines"

About half have been removed but monsoonal rains and shifting geography persistently hamper deminers, particularly in sloping and heavily forested areas. Cambodia has said it will redouble its efforts with the deployment of 2,000 soldiers to be trained in demining.

After conducting demining workshops with his Philippine counterparts, Ly Thuch said Cambodia had learned all aspects of mine clearance and now wanted to help people in other countries in need of mine clearance expertise.

He said Cambodia placed a high value on its close relationship with the Philippines, which included the deployment of peacekeepers under the United Nations Transitional Authority in the early 1990s.

While casualties — often children playing with war relics — have fallen dramatically over the last decade, deaths still occur. In January, an anti-tank mine killed three members of a Cambodian demining team while they were carrying out their work.

Prum Suonpraseth, executive director of the ASEAN Regional Mine Action Center, praised a three-day workshop that was co-hosted by the Fondation Suisse de Déminage France and the Philippine Campaign to Ban Landmines.

“This event has brought together representatives from mine action programs from around the ASEAN member states to share their considerable knowledge and experience with our neighbors from the Philippines who are in the midst of developing their own explosive hazard management mechanisms, particularly in western Mindanao,”
he said.

“It resulted in a detailed road map of possible future policy, operational and capacity development activities to be considered by the Philippine authorities."

U.S. hands over boat maintenance facility in Palawan to Philippine Marine Corps

From Palawan News (Apr 11, 2022): U.S. hands over boat maintenance facility in Palawan to Philippine Marine Corps (By Celeste Anna Formoso)

U.S. Senior Defense Official to the Philippines and JUSMAG-Philippines Chief Col. Stephen Ma and Philippine Marine Corps Commandant Maj. Gen. Nestor Herico lead the April 9 turnover of an assault boat maintenance bay facility to the PMC in Puerto Princesa.

The United States has handed over a newly-constructed assault boat maintenance bay facility in Puerto Princesa to the Philippine Marines Corps (PMC) as part of a small-scale construction Foreign Military Financing (FMF) grant.

The boat maintenance bay, which was turned over on April 9, is one of three FMF construction works worth P256.9 million ($5 million), according to a statement released Monday by the US Embassy in Manila.

The remaining two, in Zamboanga and Ternate, Cavite, were handed over in November 2021 and February 2022, respectively. On April 4, the PMC completed a final examination and acceptance of the Puerto Princesa facility.

The embassy stated the structure in Puerto Princesa is worth about P17.5 million ($340,000) and consists of a 30-meter-long, 16-meter-wide, 4.5-meter-high maintenance bay and a 5-ton gantry crane.

The Assault Boat Battalion (ABB), as well as other tenant units co-located at the 3rd Marine Brigade (3MBde) Headquarters at Marine Base Rodolfo Punsalang in Barangay Tiniguiban, Puerto Princesa, will use the facility.

The Assault Boat Battalion’s goal is to perform amphibious operations from sea to shore, as well as maritime interdiction takeoffs and landings at sea.

The grant was provided as the PMC pursues bold and vital modernization to expand its presence and maintain its maritime fleet to meet the full range of challenges in the archipelagic waters, according to US senior defense official and chief of the Joint US Military Assistance Group-Philippines Col. Stephen Ma.

Ma said the PMC’s efforts are inspiring and are important in enhancing the U.S. and the Philippines’ alliance.

“Together, the United States and the Philippines will continue to make great strides in the pursuit of free and open waters,” he said.

Maj. Gen. Nestor Herico, commandant of the PMC, expressed gratitude for the facility and the country’s strong alliance with the United States.

“It is important in forwarding the maintenance of the PMC’ water assets. It is essential as well in the performance of the mission of marine operating forces in Palawan,” Herico told Palawan News on Monday.

“The facility will also support the humanitarian assistance and disaster relief (HADR) in partnership with local government units (LGUs) and other agencies,” he added.

Herico said the ceremony was meaningful in commemorating the 80th anniversary of the Bataan Death March and the 75th year of the alliance with JUSMAG.

The United States has committed about P15.8 billion ($302.3 million) in grant assistance to the Philippines through the FMF in just the last five years to support the country’s sovereignty and modernization efforts.

4 NPA rebels killed in clash with army

From the Mindanao Times (Apr 11, 2022): 4 NPA rebels killed in clash with army (By RHODA GRACE SARON)

FOUR COMMUNIST rebels were killed during an armed confrontation in South Cotabato, on Friday evening, April 8.

Maj. Gen. Juvymax Uy, commander of the Joint Task Force Central, identified the rebels as Ariel Moca Lasib, 2nd deputy secretary of Guerilla Front Musa, Johndel Limosnero, a supply officer of GF Musa; and alias Rex and Nomer, both members of the Yunit Milisya.

Photos courtesy of Western Mindanao Command

According to Uy, the soldiers of the 5th Special Forces Battalion conducted a checkpoint at Sitio Limite, Upper Maculan, Lake Sebu, South Cotabato to possibly intercept the members of the Guerilla Front Musa, Far South Mindanao Region.

“Our intelligence operatives were strictly monitoring the movements of the group. Due to the development of our intel operations, troops organized a checkpoint and successfully intercepted four CTG personalities onboard two motorcycles, however, one of the suspects immediately fired upon the government forces which led to an armed confrontation,” Uy said.

The firefight resulted in the deaths of the four, he added.

Seized from their possession were four cal. 45 pistols, three improvised explosive devices, and several pieces of communication equipment.

Also, in his statement, Lt. Gen. Alfredo Rosario, Jr., commander of Western Mindanao Command, said, “Amid the preparations for the upcoming national and local elections, your armed forces continue to conduct focused and civil-military operations to ensure the safety and security of the people.”

“Rest assured that with the support from the local government and the populace, we will be able to sustain the peace and order here in Mindanao,” he added.

Two rebels arrested in Himamaylan

From the Visayan Daily Star (Apr 11, 2022): Two rebels arrested in Himamaylan (By GILBERT P. BAYORAN)

Jayson John Gazon and Kenneth Nabong (right)*

Two suspected members of the New People’s Army who are facing murder charges are now locked up, following their arrests on April 7 in Himamaylan City, Negros Occidental.

Nabbed during the joint operations of the Himamaylan City Police Station and 94IB were Jayson John Gazon, 30, and Kenneth Nabong, 31, both members of the Sentro De Grabidad Platoon of Central Negros (Front) 2.

Gazon, a resident of Purok 2, Brgy. San Antonio, Himamaylan City, and Nabong, of Sitio Uwakan, Brgy. Buenavista, also of Himamaylan City, serve as couriers of CN2, according to Lt. Col. Van Donald Almonte, 94IB commander.

Almonte lauded the timely information of Himamaylan City residents that led to the arrest of two rebel fugitives.

The arrest of two rebels came almost a week after the death of Elbert Quillano, deputy secretary of CN2, and his wife, Jessa, following an encounter on April 2 in Brgy. Buenavista, also in Himamaylan City.

Almonte said that the security cluster of Himamaylan City Task Force in ending Local Communist Armed Conflict will not stop in hunting rebel remnants in the area.

The safest choice you can only make now is to surrender, he added.

Army on alert after foiled bomb plot in Maguindanao town

From the Philippine News Agency (Apr 11, 2022): Army on alert after foiled bomb plot in Maguindanao town (By Edwin Fernandez)

ON ALERT. Soldiers inspect a powerful bomb that was eventually deactivated by Army explosive ordnance demolition personnel Sunday (April 10, 2022) at a roadside in Barangay Matagobong, Ampatuan, Maguindanao. Troops are on alert as the national and local elections on May 9 are fast approaching. (Photo courtesy of 6th Infantry Division)

CAMP SIONGCO, Maguindanao – Government forces in this province have been placed on alert after Sunday's recovery of an improvised explosive device (IED) on a roadside in Ampatuan town.

Soldiers under the Joint Task Force (JTF)-Central removed the IED on a cornfield near the road in Barangay Matagobong after a tip-off from residents in the area, Col. Oriel Pangcong, the Army's 601st Infantry Brigade commander, said Monday.

Pangcong said they immediately cordoned the place where the bomb was found to prevent people to pass by the area, adding that the IED was safely deactivated by Army explosive ordnance demolition personnel.

Pangcong said the recovered IED is a highly explosive anti-personnel mine (HE-APM) with an 81-millimeter mortar shell as the main charge. Also recovered were an electric blasting cap and a battery.

Maj. Gen. Juvymax Uy, JTF-Central commander, described the IED as the "kind of explosive that, if not properly disposed of, could destroy properties and cause the loss of innocent lives."

Uy, also the Army's 6th Infantry Division commander, reiterated his call for residents to immediately report any suspicious and unattended objects found in their communities.

“With the community, local government units, and security forces working together to attain peace and security, a harmonious and prosperous community can be attained,” he said.

Ex-Moro rebels’ integration into PNP begins

From the Philippine News Agency (Apr 11, 2022): Ex-Moro rebels’ integration into PNP begins (By Edwin Fernandez)

Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao Chief Minister Ahod Balawag Ebrahim. (Photo courtesy of BARMM)

The integration of former Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) combatants into the Philippine National Police (PNP) has begun as set by the Mindanao peace process, officials said Monday.

This came after the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) signed an agreement with the National Police Commission (Napolcom) over the weekend for the
Special Qualifying Eligibility Examination (NSQEE) for MILF and Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) members.

“After three years of the transition period, we are happy that we are finally taking the first step into making this provision a reality,” BARMM Chief Minister Ahod Balawag Ebrahim said in a statement Monday.

In a video conference Saturday, Ebrahim and Napolcom Vice Chairperson and Executive Officer Alberto Bernardo signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) concerning the integration process.

As agreed, the qualifying examinations for integration aspirants are set to be held on May 29 this year in the cities of Cotabato and Zamboanga.

Under the MOA, 5,060 successful examinees will be granted eligibility for temporary appointment as patrolman or patrolwoman of the PNP.

After signing the MOA, Ebrahim created an ad hoc office and designated Senior Minister Abdulraof Macacua as its head to facilitate administrative support in the application process set forth by the Napolcom.

Ebrahim, who is also the MILF chair, lauded the Intergovernmental Relations Body Technical Working Group (IGRB-TWG) for the realization of the provision in the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) allowing qualified MILF and MNLF members to join the PNP.

The Organic Law is the enabling law that created BARMM, and defined several provisions for the integration of former Moro rebels into the PNP.

Macacua said the MILF and MNLF are now working together to come up with a list of qualified members who could avail the integration program.

“At a personal level, the lives of the 5,060 individuals and their families can change for the better as they benefit from the stable career in the police service,” Bernardo said.

Bernardo said the qualified aspirants for integration will undergo rigorous training to broaden their minds, sharpen their skills, and deepen their value to become professionals.

Once NPA haven, AgNor's remotest village gets electricity

From the Philippine News Agency (Apr 11, 2022): Once NPA haven, AgNor's remotest village gets electricity (By Alexander Lopez)

LET THERE BE LIGHT. Residents of Sitio Baboy-baboy, Camagong, Nasipit, Agusan del Norte, hold the solar lights before the actual installation on Sunday (April 10, 2022). The project in a village formerly influenced by the communist rebels was a convergence effort under the Provincial Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict, which included the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority and the Army's 23rd Infantry Battalion. (Photo courtesy of 23IB)

A remote tribal village in Nasipit, Agusan del Norte finally got its own electricity over the weekend after the Provincial Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (PTF-ELCAC) partnered with other government agencies to secure solar lights.

Residents of Sitio Baboy-Baboy, Barangay Camagong, Nasipit, also received a four-day training on basic solar power installation to be able to maintain the lights themselves, PTF-ELCAC officials said.

In a statement Monday, TESDA-ADN Director Rey Cueva said the residents installed the solar lights Sunday following the April 4-7 training, benefiting at least 36 Higaonon families in the village.

Cueva said the lack of access to electricity remains one of the basic challenges in far-flung areas such as Sitio Baboy-Baboy, which the military described as under the influence of the communist New People's Army (NPA).

In a phone interview, Sitio Baboy-Baboy tribal leader Doven Talja said the community has also received several projects through the PTF-ELCAC's Poverty Reduction, Livelihood, and Employment Cluster (PRLEC).

"We thank the government for the projects initiated in our community, the latest of which is the solar light project to illuminate our houses," Talja said in vernacular.

The Higaonon elder said for the past decades, their village's development was hampered by the presence of the NPA rebels.

“After we abandoned the communist movement and returned to the government, developments, through the different programs and services of the agencies started to arrive in our community,” Talja added.

In a statement, the Army's 23rd Infantry Battalion (23IB) said the residents of Sitio Baboy-Baboy are among the 278 members of the Underground Mass Organization who surrendered to the government on Nov. 20, 2020.

The Army unit also underscored the importance of PRLEC's development initiatives in remote communities, noting that the solar project was a convergence initiative led by the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority in Agusan del Norte and the 23IB.

Japanese destroyer JS Suzutsuki makes port call in Subic Bay

From the Philippine News Agency (Apr 11, 2022): Japanese destroyer JS Suzutsuki makes port call in Subic Bay (By Priam Nepomuceno)

Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force ship JS Suzutsuki (DD-117) (Photo courtesy of Philippine Navy)

A Japanese destroyer, the JS Suzutsuki (DD-117), is now docked at Subic Bay, Zambales for an official port call and overseas training of its crew, the Philippine Navy (PN) said Sunday.

"The visit to the country of JS Suzutsuki is intended for routine port replenishment and rest for the crew who are having their overseas training cruise,"
PN spokesperson Commander Benjo Negranza said.

The JS Suzutsuki was escorted by missile frigate BRP Jose Rizal (FF-150) which earlier conducted passing exercises (PASSEX) with the Japanese warship prior to its arrival and docking at Subic Bay on April 10.

The PASSEX includes communications exercises between the two ships.

"The arrival of the Japanese contingent in the country and the accommodation and support being extended to them underscores the strong bilateral relations between the Philippines and Japan. Both countries espouse the promotion of peace, stability, and maritime cooperation in the region," Negranza said.

JS Suzutsuki is one of the Akizuki-class destroyers of the Japan Maritime Self Defense Force which was designed to escort its helicopter-class destroyers and other larger surface combatants.

The class provides defense against surface, airborne and undersea threats. The Philippine Navy did not give any official announcement on how long the ship and its crew will be staying in the country.

Earlier, the foreign and defense ministers of Japan and the Philippines aired "serious concern" over the situation in the East and the South China Sea, where China and other littoral states have an ongoing maritime dispute.

Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr., Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, Japanese Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi, and Japanese Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi "strongly opposed" actions that may increase tensions in the area and agreed on ensuring the observance of the 2016 Arbitral Award and international law, particularly the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.

"Japan concurred with the Philippines’ long-standing objections to unlawful maritime claims, militarization, coercive activities, and threat or use of force in the South China Sea, and expressed its support for the July 2016 arbitral award on the South China Sea," a joint statement following the two nations' 2+2 talks read Saturday.

The Philippines emphasized that the arbitral award on the South China Sea is final and legally binding. China, the Philippines, and other littoral states are locked in a dispute over the South China Sea, where Beijing claims about 80 percent of the strategic water based on what it calls "historic rights".

Japan, meanwhile, is involved in a territorial row with China over Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea.

Reg'l ELCAC gains in Caraga get spotlight during PRRD visit

From the Philippine News Agency (Apr 11, 2022): Reg'l ELCAC gains in Caraga get spotlight during PRRD visit (By Priam Nepomuceno)

President Rodrigo Duterte

The massive gains of the Regional Task Force to End Communist Armed Conflict (RTF-ELCAC) in Region 13 (Caraga) in the campaign against the communist terrorist New People's Army (NPA) will be showcased in the upcoming visit of President Rodrigo Duterte in the region Tuesday.

National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) vice chair Hermogenes Esperon Jr. on Monday said Duterte would hold a dialogue with Caraga's local officials and see for himself the peace and development accomplishments there.

Citing intelligence reports in 2021, Esperon said roughly 83 percent of rebel returnees were recruited by the NPA from the ranks of the IP (Indigenous Peoples) sector.

Caraga is home to numerous IP communities and has been the focus of the communist terrorist's propaganda and disinformation.

Due to the geographical and social limitations of the IP communities, they are considered as priorities of the government’s intervention and development initiatives, Esperon said.

Esperon, who is also National Security Adviser, said the Caraga has been historically among the hotbeds of communist terrorism in the country.

At the start of the Duterte administration in 2016, there were a total of 11 guerilla fronts (GFs) in Region 13.

"Since then, three of these GFs were completely dismantled while two are significantly weakened. The remaining six GFs are in the process of being cleared by our security forces,"
Esperon said.

"In fact, in less than three years, the combined AFP-PNP (Armed Forces of the Philippines-Philippine National Police) efforts have neutralized 978 NPA regulars, and seized 290 firearms. I wish to highlight the neutralization of 37 high-ranking officials of CTG in the region," he added.

Another significant accomplishment of Caraga's RTF-ELCAC is the closure of the Alternative Learning Center for Agriculture and Livelihood Development and Tribal Filipino Program in Surigao del Sur in 2020.

These schools were found to be illegally operating with the purpose of indoctrinating and radicalizing the youth and IP sectors for their recruitment as NPA armed combatants.

"On the status of Barangay Development Program in the Caraga Region for 2021, 191 barangays were covered in the flagship program with a total of 359 infrastructure and non-infrastructure priority projects. For 2022, another 94 barangays were added as recipients of BDP in the region. In particular, the BDP beneficiaries for 2022 include three in Butuan City, eight in Agusan del Norte, 45 in Agusan del Sur, 20 in Surigao del Norte, and 18 in Surigao del Sur," Esperon said.

He thanked Duterte for the "unceasing support and inspired leadership" in the campaign to end the insurgency.

"With the impending collapse of the CPP-NPA (Communist Party of the Philippines-NPA) the Duterte administration stands at the cusp of leaving its legacy of a conflict-free and development-ready Philippines," he added.

The presidential visit is expected to be attended by local officials from the region, Cabinet members, national officials, senior officers of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, Philippine National Police, and NTF-ELCAC.

Takedown of Reds’ over 400 FB pages has ‘far-reaching’ effects

From the Philippine News Agency (Apr 11, 2022): Takedown of Reds’ over 400 FB pages has ‘far-reaching’ effects (By Marita Moaje)

NTF ELCAC Spokesperson for Sectoral Concerns Undersecretary Lorraine Marie Badoy (File photo)

The National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF ELCAC) expressed its “profound” gratitude to Meta for its recent decision to take down over 400 Facebook pages of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People's Army-National Democratic Front of the Philippines (CPP-NPA-NDF).

“The effects of this takedown are far-reaching and will help slow down the free fall of our children into the deceptive recruitment of the CPP-NPA-NDF that have offered them as living sacrifices on the altar of the terrorist, Joma Sison, to wage a senseless war that’s been going on for the past 53 years now and where the cost in terms of Filipino lives and the progress of our country can no longer be measured,” NTF ELCAC Spokesperson for Sectoral Concerns Undersecretary Lorraine Marie Badoy said in a statement on Sunday.

Badoy said the terrorist CPP-NPA-NDF is a well-organized crime syndicate – the biggest in the country and one of the largest in the world.

“This linking of arms of Facebook with the NTF ELCAC underscores the Truth that terrorism is a crime that does not respect borders and that in the battle to end the grief and destruction wrought by terrorists, the community of nations must stand shoulder-to-shoulder in battling this scourge to humanity,” she said

In Northern America, she said the CPP has created the International League of Peoples’ Struggle and Bayan USA together with other CPP-NPA-NDF’s fronts like GABRIELA, Anakbayan, MIGRANTE, and League of Filipino Students that have infiltrated campuses, unwitting civic organizations, and other communities.

“This is duplicated in Europe,” Badoy said.

She said the CPP-NPA-NDF has used Facebook to foment violence and hatred and “with brazen impunity, time and again, called for the overthrow of a legitimate government and the ouster of a constitutionally elected President who was given a strong mandate by the Filipino people.”

“They use Facebook to implement their despicable and venomous AOM method (AROUSE, ORGANIZE, MOBILIZE) to sow division among the Filipino people and to teach the Filipino people to hate and mistrust a government sincere and effective in its efforts to care for its citizens–more so during a time of the pandemic,” Badoy said.

She said Facebook Threat Disruption Director David Agranovich has a “notable” revelation that the CPP-NPA-NDF launched attacks on legitimate websites and pages on Facebook, offering protection from “the very same attacks they carry out.”

“Sa Tagalog pa, RAKET maliwanag (In Tagalog, it is a clear racket). A CPP-NPA-NDF modus we are all familiar with,” Badoy said.

She said there is no doubt that the takedown of those poisonous pages “has moved us forward in our fight to end and destroy the terrorist CPP-NPA-NDF.”

“And it has made cyberspace a much safer, more respectful, and smarter place to be in,” she added.

She said the only the CPP-NPA-NDF fronts will “raise a cry of protest” against the takedown of over 400 Facebook pages just like what the KARAPATAN did recently.

“We are confident that the collaborative work we’ve started with our global partners who are like us, ceaseless in building a global community more in keeping with who it is we truly are as a race, will bring about the defeat of terrorists like the CPP-NPA-NDF,” Badoy said.

She urged Filipinos to help in the government’s fight against terrorism.

“Indeed, it takes a village to shelter and protect and raise a child. And this whole-of-nation approach is evolving into what it ought to be: a whole-of-nations approach,” she said.

Badoy said the NTF-ELCAC is “truly grateful that Facebook has stepped up and dealt a mighty blow to these communist terrorists.”

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

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

GPH-MNLF's final framework on healing, reconciliation out soon

From the Philippine News Agency (Apr 11, 2022): GPH-MNLF's final framework on healing, reconciliation out soon (By Lade Jean Kabagani)

Government of the Philippines - Moro National Liberation Front Coordinating Committee’s Community Healing and Reconciliation Subcommittee meeintg on March 25 and 26, 2022 in General Santos City (Photo courtesy of OPAPRU)

The Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace, Reconciliation and Unity (OPAPRU) on Monday said it will finalize the framework for the Community Healing and Reconciliation Program, between the Government of the Philippines and Moro National Liberation Front (GPH-MNLF).

OPAPRU Director, Jana Gallardo, also the head of the secretariat for the Community Healing and Reconciliation Subcommittee, said in a social media post that a series of consultations for the finalization of the framework will start next month while the final draft will be presented to the GPH-MNLF Coordinating Committee by June for approval.

The framework is part of the committee’s efforts and fulfillment of the signed commitments made under the 1996 GPH-MNLF Final Peace Agreement (FPA).

Gallardo said the MNLF Transformation Program aims to implement, and provide socio-economic interventions to the former MNLF combatants and their families as well as entire communities.

“Through the program’s various components – socio-economic, confidence-building measures, security, and community healing and reconciliation – we seek to address the needs, as well as respond to the concerns of our MNLF brothers and sisters,” she said.

The sub-committee on Community Healing and Reconciliation of the GPH-MNLF Coordinating Committee is conducting a step-by-step collection of resources and identifying immediate courses of action "to further push key programs" that will address the needs and concerns of the former MNLF combatants.

On Feb. 25, 2021, President Rodrigo Duterte signed Executive Order 125 creating the National Amnesty Commission and Proclamation 1091 granting amnesty to MNLF members who have committed crimes due to their political beliefs, punishable under the Revised Penal Code and special penal laws.