Wednesday, November 23, 2022

Army facilitates burial of slain rebel leader

The Visayan Daily Star (Nov 24, 2022): Army facilitates burial of slain rebel leader (BY GILBERT P. BAYORAN)

After being abandoned by his comrades at the encounter site, the Army’s 62nd Infantry Battalion facilitated the decent burial of the suspected rebel leader who died in an encounter on November 21 in Sitio Banderahan, Guihulngan City, Negros Oriental.

The remains of Victoriano Baldonado, commanding officer of the Section Guerilla Unit of the Central Negros 1, which is under the supervision of the Komiteng Rehiyonal Negros/Cebu/Bohol/Siquijor, were turned over to his family on Nov. 22, as facilitated by the Guihulngan City Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (GCTF-ELCAC), of which the 62IB is a member.

In a statement issued by the 62IB, the family of the slain rebel leader thanked the Guihulngan TF ELCAC for the proper handling of the cadaver of their departed member, which provided the coffin and a sack of rice, through the efforts of the City Social Welfare and Development Office.

The 62IB issued statement said that the cadaver of Baldonado was abandoned by his fleeing comrades, in order to save their own lives.

Army soldiers also recovered an M-16 assault rifle with three magazines and a back pack containing personal belongings at the encounter site.


The Philippine Army further said that the communist terrorist group does not value the lives of their comrades.

Only the concerned family and the government took care of his remains until the last moment. This is a lesson that the family should not be sacrificed and neglected for the sake of false ideology, the statement stressed.

MILF turns over 9 drug suspects to Army in Lanao del Sur

From MindaNews (Nov 18, 2022): MILF turns over 9 drug suspects to Army in Lanao del Sur (By MARIVIC OMANDAM DAVIS)

Lanao del Sur. Map courtesy of Google

ILIGAN CITY (MindaNews / 18 November) — The Moro Islamic Liberation Front on Wednesday turned over nine suspected drug personalities to 103rd Infantry Brigade commander Colonel Billy O. Dela Rosa at the headquarters of Alfa Company of the 5th Infantry Battalion in Barangay Liong, Bayang, Lanao del Sur.

Cosain Amerol a.k.a. Commander Amerol of the MILF made the turnover days after the brigade received complaints that some civilians were being detained by the MILF.

The nine individuals, all residents of Binidayan in Lanao del Sur, underwent a 20-day “rehabilitation” at the MILF camp in Marogong town where they were reoriented on Islamic values and taught the bad effects of illegal drugs.

Dela Rosa thanked Amerol for heeding his request for the safe release of the suspects back to their families and the good intention of the former in rehabilitating them.

The military official advised the suspected users in the presence of their families to desist from using illegal drugs, saying it will destroy not only the good relations within the community but also in the family.

He also asked their families to not hold grudges against the MILF.

The turnover was witnessed by 5IB commander Lt. Col. Czar Victor Villanueva, Mr. Ayob Khan Usman of the Ad Hoc Joint Action Group (AHJAG), Mr. MacLary Macadato of the Coordinating Committee on the Cessation of Hostilities, and Sultan Hadji Moner, a member of the Local Monitoring Team.

The AHJAG is the cooperative mechanism between the government and the MILF that responds to criminality and terrorism in areas with MILF presence.

BRP Antonio Luna shows high-tech weapons, sensors in DAGIT-PA

From the Philippine News Agency (Nov 22, 2022): BRP Antonio Luna shows high-tech weapons, sensors in DAGIT-PA (By Priam Nepomuceno)

Crew members of the Philippine Navy's missile frigate BRP Antonio Luna (Photo courtesy of BRP Antonio Luna Facebook page)

MANILA – BRP Antonio Luna (FF-151), the Philippine Navy (PN)'s second guided missile frigate, demonstrated its advanced weapons and sensor capabilities during naval shore bombardment and air defense drills in the just-concluded "DAGIT-PA" exercises.

The BRP Antonio Luna simulated the firing of its Oto Melara 76mm Super Rapid Multi-Feeding (SRMF) Gun during a "Naval Surface Fire Support" (NSFS) at Brooke's Point, Palawan last week.

"Prior to this event, a series of lectures and conferences were conducted with the Marine Battalion Landing Team (MBLT-6) to properly execute this serial," a post on the BRP Antonio Luna's Facebook page said on Tuesday.

NSFS is defined as shore bombardment which aligns with the seizure of the objective by destroying or neutralizing defenses that oppose the landing and troop advancement.

"In advantage, the rapid loading ability of naval guns such as the 76mm SRMF makes it possible to deliver a large volume of fire in a short period of time and their small dispersion and deflections make them effective and valuable for close support fire of troops," it added.

Earlier, BRP Antonio Luna won third place in the NSFS Rodeo competition in this year's Rim of the Pacific exercise besting 14 other vessels from various allied navies.

Aside from the NSFS, BRP Antonio Luna also successfully participated in simulating the detection and engagement of air contacts.

The BRP Antonio Luna and its sister ship, BRP Jose Rizal (FF-150), are equipped with MBDA Mistral 3 surface-to-air missiles.

" 'DAGIT-PA' exercise thru ADEX (air defense exercise) has provided the ship’s crew a learning experience in the dynamics of air threats and further test their readiness to respond in a real-time scenario," the Facebook post added.

"DAGIT-PA" stands for “Dagat-Langit-Lupa” which focuses on enhancing the readiness of the Philippine Army, PN, and Air Force in joint operations that mirrors a real-world scenario.

This year's "DAGIT-PA" which ran from Nov. 7 to 18 is the sixth iteration of the joint exercise unilaterally conducted by the Armed Forces of the Philippines.

Japan Air Force to deploy F-15 jets for drills with PAF

From the Philippine News Agency (Nov 22, 2022): Japan Air Force to deploy F-15 jets for drills with PAF (By Priam Nepomuceno)

MANILA – The Japan Air Self-Defense Force (JASDF) will be deploying two McDonnell Douglas F-15 "Eagle" jet fighters and 60 personnel for exercises with the Philippine Air Force (PAF) from Nov. 27 to Dec. 11.

The unit-to-unit exercise will be held at Clark Air Base, Pampanga.

"Deployed units from both parties will undergo exchange programs aimed at promoting mutual understanding and defense cooperation and exchanges," the Japanese Embassy in Manila said in a statement Tuesday.

The F-15s are a twin-engine, all-weather tactical fighters designed initially to meet the United States Air Force's requirement for a dedicated air superiority fighter.

It has a maximum speed of Mach 2.5 and a combat range of 1,061 nautical miles and is armed with a 20mm cannon and capable of carrying a variety of air-to-air missiles.

Exchanges will be held mainly at the Clark Air Base, Pampanga and the surrounding airspace.

Previously, the JASDF and PAF also conducted bilateral exercises on humanitarian assistance and disaster relief (HADR) in July 2021 and June 2022.

These exercises aimed to enhance the JASDF and PAF HADR capabilities, particularly in the delivery of relief goods to affected people in severe emergencies.

US to stand with PH on South China Sea issue

From the Philippine News Agency (Nov 22, 2022): US to stand with PH on South China Sea issue (By Joyce Ann L. Rocamora)

SPECIAL GUEST. United States Vice President Kamala Harris (3rd from left) gets a briefing on Philippine Coast Guard operations onboard BRP Teresa Magbanua in Puerto Princesa City, Palawan on Tuesday (Nov. 22, 2022). Harris praised the Coast Guard for standing up for international rules and upholding norms that are vital to Filipinos. (Courtesy of PTV via PCG)

MANILA – Vice President Kamala Harris, the highest-ranking United States official to visit Palawan, reiterated on Tuesday their commitment to the Philippines as its longstanding ally.

Harris' visit to the island is highly symbolic, given its proximity to the contested Spratly Islands.

In a speech delivered onboard the BRP Teresa Magbanua in Puerto Princesa City, Harris explained that Washington DC, like the broader international community, has a "profound stake" in the future of the region.

"America's prosperity relies on the billions of dollars that flow through these waters every day. And we are proud to work with you in your mission," she said, addressing the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG). "As an ally, the United States stands with the Philippines in the face of intimidation and coercion in the South China Sea."

China and other neighboring states lay competing claims over Spratly Islands, which include the Kalayaan Group of Islands.

In a 2016 arbitral ruling, a Hague-based court invalidated China's nine-dash line covering majority of the South China Sea.

Harris repeated that the decision is "legally binding and must be respected."

"We will continue to rally our allies and partners against unlawful and irresponsible behavior. When the international rules-based order is threatened somewhere, it is threatened everywhere," she added.

Chinese Communist Party-affiliated Global Times, meanwhile, accused Harris of "fanning conflicts surrounding the South China Sea."

In a separate statement, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mao Ning said Beijing sees nothing wrong with American interaction with states as long as it is "not damaging to other countries' interests."

On the eve of Harris' Palawan stop, the Western Command accused the Chinese Coast Guard of "forcefully" retrieving a debris fished out by Philippine Navy personnel off Pag-asa Island.

The Chinese belied the accusation, saying the Filipino side returned the object "after friendly consultation".


Tokyo, for its part, sees Harris' remarks as a reflection of synergy between Japan, the US and the Philippines.

"US Vice President Kamala Harris' visit to Japan-made BRP Teresa Magbanua stationed in Palawan is a milestone for US-Philippines-Japan cooperation," Japanese Ambassador Kazuhiko Koshikawa said in a statement Tuesday. "May we witness more maritime collaborations like this as we navigate for a free and open Indo-Pacific."

In explaining why the vessel was chosen to host part of Harris' visit, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) cited Washington DC's expanded cooperation with the PCG, particularly through capacity-building programs.

"The BRP Teresa Magbanua is one of the two flagship Multi-Role Response Vessels that are part of the PCG's modernization program," the DFA said.

"It stands as a concrete example of the commitment of the previous administration and our Japanese partners to transform the PCG into a capable and reliable service that can enforce all applicable laws within Philippine waters, conduct maritime security operations, safeguard life and property at sea, and protect the maritime environment and resources," it added.

Harris also announced a fresh USD7.5 million funding to boost the capacity of Philippine maritime law enforcement agencies; a new initiative to upgrade PCG's vessel traffic management system; and the Quad's Indo-Pacific Maritime Domain Awareness initiative.

Meanwhile, Department of National Defense (DND) officer-in-charge Undersecretary Jose Faustino Jr. met US Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III for the second time at the sidelines of the ASEAN Defense Ministers’ Meeting (ADMM) Retreat and 9th ADMM-Plus in Cambodia on Tuesday.

In a statement, DND spokesperson Arsenio Andolong said the two top officials reaffirmed the Philippines-US alliance to be on a very strong footing, as manifested in the recent bilateral meeting between Harris and President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. in Manila

“Other discussions during the meeting were the current regional security outlook and bilateral initiatives to deepen further the defense partnership between the Philippines and the US,” he added.

Military ICT trends take center stage in Army 'signal exhibit'

From the Philippine News Agency (Nov 23, 2022): Military ICT trends take center stage in Army 'signal exhibit' (By Priam Nepomuceno)

LATEST TRENDS. Acting Army chief-of-staff and concurrent Army Inspector General Maj. Gen. Jose Eriel Niembra (2nd from left) fits out a helmet-mounted night vision gear during the information and communications technology (ICT) exhibit at the Philippine Army Officers' Clubhouse in Fort Bonifacio Tuesday (Nov. 22, 2022). The exhibit is part of the Philippine Army's two-day Signal Family Conference. (Photo courtesy of Philippine Army)

MANILA – The Philippine Army (PA) on Wednesday formally concluded its two-day "Signal Family Conference" with an exhibit showcasing the latest information and communication technology (ICT) trends.

Army spokesperson Col. Xerxes Trinidad, in a statement, said the conference which started on Tuesday was held at the Philippine Army Officers' Clubhouse in Fort Bonifacio.

"Acting Army chief-of-staff and concurrent Army Inspector General Maj. Gen. Jose Eriel M. Niembra, together with Army Signal Regiment (ASR) commander Col. Alejandro J. Papa, and PA assistant chief-of-staff for command and control, communications, and cyber systems (G6) Col. Constancio M. Espina II, led the exhibit's ribbon-cutting rites that featured booths from local and foreign partner companies of PA," Trinidad said.

He added the exhibit gave the PA signal and cyber personnel a glimpse of the latest information and communication technologies that have military applications.

The exhibit highlighted the two-day PA Signal Family Conference 2022 which is geared at providing updates on the Army’s command and control communications, and Cyber Systems (C4S) projects and programs that are anchored on the golden triangle of “people, process and technology."

“Military operations that are carried out in the digital sphere have a significant impact on vital infrastructures and services that could severely affect the whole country,” PA chief Lt. Gen. Romeo S. Brawner Jr. said.

He also said the PA's cybersecurity posture must be strengthened in terms of people, processes, and technology.

"In our current situation where the fight is extended into cyberspace, I cannot further stress the importance of being adept in cyber warfare,” Brawner added.

4 dead, 2 hurt in Cotabato City night gun attacks

From the Philippine News Agency (Nov 22, 2022): 4 dead, 2 hurt in Cotabato City night gun attacks (By Edwin Fernandez)

DEAD END. Two suspects lay dead following a shootout with Cotabato City police on Sinsuat Avenue on Monday night, Nov. 21, 2002. At least two shooting victims were killed and two others were hurt in a series of gun attacks in the city on the same night. (Photo courtesy of DXMS - Cotabato)

COTABATO CITY – Four persons were killed while two others were hurt in a series of shootings here Monday night, police said.

Lt. Col. Carmelo Mungkas, the city police spokesperson, identified the four slain as Norhamin Usman Guiadel, 23; a certain Rasiden Angas; and the two shooting suspects as Naif Kasim, 22, and Lamudin Mohammad, 26.

Mungkas said Guiadel was shot by two motorcycle riding assailants on Dorotheo Street at 6 p.m.

“Guiadel, a resident of Bulalo, Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao, died on the spot,” he said in a media interview Tuesday.

At 6:30 p.m., Angas was also shot dead by unidentified gunmen inside a fastfood outlet on Sinsuat Avenue, Barangay Rosary Heights 10.

“His (Angas) lady companion was injured,” he said.

Meanwhile, a 40-year-old staffer of Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA), Rahib Payapat of Barangay Bagua 2, was shot by unidentified assailants while driving a government pick-up vehicle on Sinsuat Avenue at 7 p.m.

Upon receiving information on the incidents, Mungkas said police personnel were sent to go after the perpetrators.

“In one instance, police were pursuing two men on a motorbike believed to be behind the shooting at a (food) outlet when the suspects opened fire on responding police officers,” he said.

“After they shot at our law enforcers, police were forced to return fire, killing them in the process,” Mungkas said.

He said Payapat is now undergoing medication.

The woman hurt in the Angas shooting also remained in the hospital.

Mayor Bruce Matabalao condemned the shootings and directed the police to arrest the perpetrators.

He also appealed to the residents “not to put political color in the series of shootings” and help instead the police prevent crimes in whatever way possible.

NPA unit commander killed in Guihulngan encounter: Army

From the Philippine News Agency (Nov 22, 2022): NPA unit commander killed in Guihulngan encounter: Army (By Mary Judaline Partlow)

RETRIEVAL. The body of a Communist Party of the Philippines-New People's Army rebel is recovered in Barangay Trinidad, Guihulngan City, Negros Oriental following an early morning encounter with government troops Monday afternoon (Nov. 21, 2022). He was the third rebel to be killed in separate encounters in Guihulngan in recent weeks. (Photo courtesy of the 62IB Philippine Army)

DUMAGUETE CITY – The rebel who was killed in a clash with government troops in Guihulngan City, Negros Oriental was a local guerrilla unit commander of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) in Central Negros, a Philippine Army official said on Tuesday.

“He was the head of a local NPA unit that was responsible for the death of a CAFGU (Civilian Armed Forces Geographical Unit) armed auxiliary (CAA) and other atrocities in Guihulngan and nearby areas,” Lt. Col. William Pesase, 62nd Infantry Battalion (62IB) commanding officer, said in an interview with the Philippine News Agency.

Victoriano V. Baldonado, alias Rudy, 34, from Sitio Amumuyong in Barangay Trinidad, Guihulngan City, was the commanding officer of Section Guerrilla Unit (SGU), Central Negros Front 1 (CN1), Komiteng Rehiyon Negros, Cebu, Bohol, and Siquijor (KR-NCBS).

The group operates in the tri-boundaries of Guihulngan City and Canlaon City in Negros Oriental and Moises Padilla, Negros Occidental, the Army official said.

Baldonado was killed during a five-minute encounter between his group of five NPA rebels and 62IB troops in Sitio Banderahan, Barangay Trinidad, early Monday.

Local police, City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (CDRRMO) personnel, and soldiers recovered the body of Baldonado hours after the clash and brought it to a funeral parlor in the city proper. His family was already informed, the police said.

Pesase said Baldonado and his group were responsible for the killing of CAA Joselito Raboy on Sept. 24 in Barangay Montilla, Moises Padilla, Negros Occidental, and the harassment of a Philippine National Police detachment in Barangay Trinidad on Sept. 10, 2022, and Nov. 1, 2022.

“Ito pa rin yung armadong grupo sa mga areas na iyan na pag may pinaghihinalaan silang na kahit sa isip-isip lang nila ay supporter daw namin, pinapaalis nila (this is the same armed group in the tri-boundary hinterland areas that drive away residents who they think are supporting government forces),” he said.

“They also harass and threaten former rebels and those who intend to surrender to the government,” he added.

Baldonado is the third NPA member to be killed in separate encounters in Guihulngan City since late October as Army troops continue relentless anti-insurgency operations in Negros Island.

Pesase said the deaths of the three rebels is a “big blow” to the NPA.

Meanwhile, in a statement, Brig. Gen. Inocencio Pasaporte, 303rd Infantry Brigade commander, lauded the locals of Guihulngan City for their continued support especially in providing timely information to the troops of 62IB regarding the presence of rebels in their area.

He also expressed his appreciation to the 62IB, saying their dedication to duty exhibited during the encounter is "incomparable".

“Continue to be the best in going after the NPA. I am proud of the efforts and selfless dedication to service that you have rendered. I know that you are always prepared and ready to conduct security operations and employ the legitimate use of force against threat groups that endanger the well-being of the people, especially the Guihulnganons,” he added.

Pasaporte called for unity as he urged the remaining NPA members to surrender and avail of the government’s Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP).

NegOcc builds barracks for Army soldiers as gesture of support

From the Philippine News Agency (Nov 23, 2022): NegOcc builds barracks for Army soldiers as gesture of support (By Nanette Guadalquiver)

NEW BARRACKS. Negros Occidental Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson (left) and Brig. Gen. Inocencio Pasaporte, commander of the Philippine Army’s 303rd Infantry Brigade, unveil the marker on the barracks unit donated by the provincial government during the inauguration rites held on Monday afternoon (Nov. 21, 2022). The additional three units of enlisted personnel barracks are situated inside the brigade headquarters at Camp Gerona in Murcia town. (Photo courtesy of the 303rd Infantry Brigade, Philippine Army)

BACOLOD CITY – Negros Occidental’s provincial government has constructed additional staff houses for the Philippine Army’s 303rd Infantry Brigade (IBde) based in Murcia town as a gesture of support for the troops for defending the province from the threat of insurgency and providing humanitarian assistance in times of disaster.

The three units of enlisted personnel barracks situated inside Camp Gerona were inaugurated in rites led by Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson and Brig. Gen. Inocencio Pasaporte, commander of 303IBde, on Monday afternoon.

In a statement on Tuesday, Pasaporte acknowledged the support and generosity of the province for the programs of the Philippine Army.

“May this development help improve the condition of our soldiers inside the camp, as well as uplift their morale and welfare,” he added.

Each unit can accommodate up to 12 soldiers and has two bathrooms and two toilets.

Lacson said government troops never ceased to provide security and protection to the province by being with the healthcare workers on the front lines at the height of the pandemic and never wavered to pursue the collective goal to end insurgency and armed conflict.

“This is the least that we, in the provincial government, can accord to show our appreciation to your contribution to the peace and development goals of Negros Occidental, and needless to say, for your selfless and courageous service,” he added.

Surrender of ex-rebels to boost Antique tourism industry

From the Philippine News Agency (Nov 23, 2022): Surrender of ex-rebels to boost Antique tourism industry (By Annabel Consuelo Petinglay)

ASSISTANCE. A former rebel (2nd from right) receives his PHP5,000 cash assistance and relief goods during the turnover ceremony on Tuesday (Nov. 22, 2022). Vice Governor Edgar Denosta (2nd from left) said the return of the former rebels to the government fold would bring peace and boost Antique’s tourism industry. (PNA photo by Annabel Consuelo J. Petinglay)

SAN JOSE DE BUENAVISTA, Antique – The return of former rebels (FRs) to the government will bring peace to Antique and boost its tourism industry.

“The FRs’ surrender will greatly contribute to the peace and order that tourists from other places will no longer be afraid to visit our beautiful destinations,” Antique Vice Governor Edgar Denosta said in his message during the release of the twice-a-year PHP5,000 financial assistance and relief goods to each of the 39 former members of the New People's Army (NPA) on Tuesday.

Denosta added that some of the beneficiaries of the financial assistance are from barangays Imparayan, Igpanulong, and Cabladan, which had been declared as part of the Sibalom Natural Park through Republic Act 11038 and was opened to tourists on March 1 this year.

The natural park is home to some endemic flora and fauna, such as the Rafflesia, Visayan Warty Pig, Visayan Tarictic Hornbill, and Visayan Spotted Deer.

“With the peace and order in these barangays, the tourists will be interested to see also the beautiful views and be willing to spend money for their food and souvenirs during their stay there,” he said.

The presence of tourists will redound to the creation of employment for the local people, including the surrenderers.

Denosta said he is contemplating on passing legislation urging the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) and the provincial government to provide skills training on tour guiding, food preparations, or housekeeping to enable them to have sustainable livelihood.

“The PHP5,000 financial assistance to be given to the FRs every six months will not be enough for their needs so I am thinking of letting them undergo skills training to sustain them,” he said.

DSWD 6 (Western Visayas) employee Yasser Maminggen said the financial assistance is part of the commitment of their department to release cash assistance to the former rebels every six months as additional support aside from their technical assistance as they transition to normal society.

The financial assistance covered the January to June 2022 period.

Carol, a former rebel from Culasi town, said she is grateful for the assistance.

She said she had lived as a rebel for seven years and met her husband.

Carol surrendered to the government two years ago after her husband was arrested.

Her husband, a suspect in the killing of the former mayor of Culasi town in 1986 and the ambush of a policeman in Sebaste in 1990, is currently detained at the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology.

NPA surrenderer in Samar yields 19 firearms

From the Philippine News Agency (Nov 23, 2022): NPA surrenderer in Samar yields 19 firearms (By Sarwell Meniano)

TURNED OVER. Some of the firearms turned over to the Philippine Army by a New People's Army(NPA) member when he surrendered on Nov. 19, the military reported on Wednesday (Nov. 23, 2022). The surrender was made just days after soldiers of the 46th Infantry Battalion and former NPA members held a dialogue with parents and relatives of active NPA members in Calbiga town. (Photo courtesy of Philippine Army)

TACLOBAN CITY – A fighter of the New People’s Army (NPA) has surrendered to the Philippine Army in Samar province and also turned over 19 firearms.

The Army's 46th Infantry Battalion reported on Wednesday that Anthony Encinas, 19, walked for 37 hours on Nov. 18 from the mountains of Basey, Samar to his family in Antol village in Calbiga, Samar to give himself up to authorities.

Encinas brought with him a .45 caliber pistol when he surrendered to soldiers on Nov. 19 while the 18 other cache firearms were retrieved a day after in Calbiga town.

“I surrendered as my comrades and cadres frequently had disagreements. I wasted one year of my life,” Encinas told soldiers.

He was part of Bugsok Platoon of the NPA’s Eastern Visayas Regional Party Committee operating in Samar province.

Philippine Army’s 8th Infantry Division (ID) spokesperson Capt. Ryan Layug said the rebel yielded four M14 rifles, six M16 rifles, four AK47 rifles, a shotgun, a KG9, a .38 caliber revolver, an M79 GL, a .45 cal pistol, and 14 magazines of AK47.

Layug said Encinas surrendered just days after soldiers of the 46th Infantry Battalion (IB) and former NPA members held a dialogue with parents and relatives of active NPA members in Calbiga town.

Among those who attended was Thelma Encinas, Anthony’s mother.

“When Anthony showed up at their house on the night of Nov.18, Thelma was surprised since they had no contact with Anthony for one year. She told her son to immediately surrender to the military,” Layug added.

In a statement, 8th ID Commander Maj. Gen. Camilo Ligayo lauded the Army’s 801 Brigade and 46th IB for the accomplishment.

"I congratulate both units for their effort to reach out to parents and relatives. This is a result of local peace engagement, which is effective in ending the local communist armed conflict,” Ligayo said in a statement.

He appealed to families and relatives of active NPA members to help convince them to surrender.

6 NPA fighters killed in Northern Samar clash

From the Philippine News Agency (Nov 23, 2022): 6 NPA fighters killed in Northern Samar clash (By Sarwell Meniano)

AFTER THE GUNFIGHT. Bodies of New People's Army (NPA) rebels lay outside the municipal hall of Las Navas, Northern Samar. Six NPA members were killed in a fierce gun battle with government forces in an upland village in Las Navas town on Wednesday (Nov. 23, 2022). (Photo courtesy of Philippine Army)

TACLOBAN CITY – Six New People's Army (NPA) fighters were killed in a fierce gun battle with government forces in an upland Imelda village in Las Navas, Northern Samar early morning of Wednesday.

Capt. Valben Almirante, spokesperson of the Philippine Army’s 803rd Infantry Brigade, said in a phone interview that the firefight destroyed a major lair with about 60 rebels.

Government troops met strong resistance en route to the rebel's heavily fortified hideout which prompted the request for close air support and artillery fires, according to Almirante.

“After the firefight, several rebels were wounded since there are many blood stains in the area. Some managed to escape from our troops. We have to use air assets to attack them since their hideout is surrounded by prohibited anti-personnel mines,” Almirante told the Philippine News Agency (PNA), adding that no one was hurt from the government side.

Troops recovered 16 firearms and several personal belongings.

Government forces managed to locate the lair through information given by the villagers.

The official said that the slain rebels were from the group belonging to the NPA’s Eastern Visayas Regional Party Committee and which they have been hunting down for attacking Dorillo village in Jipapad, Eastern Samar where two soldiers were killed.

The same attack injured a 10-year-old child and two soldiers tasked to monitor the implementation of government projects in the area.

The attack also left hundreds of bullets that pierced at least 15 houses, community stage, communal toilet and the newly constructed village hall.

Imelda village is the most remote in Las Navas town that can be reached through two hours of motorboat ride and three hours of hiking. It is close to the boundary of Eastern Samar province.

In a statement, Philippine Army’s 8th Infantry Division commander Maj. Gen. Camilo Ligayo said the military will never allow rebels to penetrate villages.

"People have been complaining of their extortion and terroristic activities. We are the protector of our people and locals appeal to us to secure them. They have been providing information to us about the presence of NPA in their areas,” Ligayo said in a statement.

The Army’s 803rd Infantry Brigade has been monitoring the movement of four remaining guerrilla fronts in Eastern Visayas, all operating in Northern Samar.

The military estimated that there are still about 300 NPA fighters belonging to the four fronts and their supporters hiding in the mountains.