Friday, December 30, 2022

Philippines protests Chinese aggression off Palawan

From the Mindanao Examiner (Dec 29, 2022): Philippines protests Chinese aggression off Palawan

THE PHILIPPINES has filed a diplomatic protest against Beijing after a Chinese Coast Guard vessel intruded in Filipino waters and forcefully grabbed a Chinese rocket debris retrieved by the Philippine navy in the West Philippine Sea.

The Department of Foreign Affairs said the incident occurred only last month off Pag-asa Island in Palawan, an archipelagic province located in the Mimaropa. Palawan is the largest province in the country in terms of total area of 14,649.73 km².

Beijing strongly denied there was force involved, claiming it was a friendly consultation between the parties. The Chinese Embassy in Manila said it has no information yet on Beijing's response to the latest diplomatic protest.

The DFA initially issued a note verbale seeking clarification from China, upon instructions of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.

The Philippine Senate also passed a resolution condemning what it described as China's continued bullying in the West Philippine Sea.

Gunmen kill 3 village officials, injure 2 others

From the Mindanao Examiner (Dec 29, 2022): Gunmen kill 3 village officials, injure 2 others

PAGADIAN CITY – Two unidentified gunmen barged into a karaoke house and shot dead three village officials and wounded two other civilians in a daring broad daylight attack in Dumalinao town in the southern Filipino province of Zamboanga del Sur, police said.

Police said the victims - Richard Evidientes, 38; Arnold Evidientes Duhaylungsod, 44; and Joel Mendez Spadilla, 48; died on the spot from the assault while Eugene Borja and Cerillo Saranillo were wounded in the shooting. The attack occurred on Friday, December 16, but it was only announced recently.

“Investigation disclosed that prior to the incident the victims were having a drinking spree at the videoke house owned by certain Romeo Evedientes when suddenly two unidentified male suspects without any apparent reason shot the victims several times using caliber .45 pistol and caliber 9mm,” said Maj. Shellamie Chang, a regional police spokeswoman.

Chang said the attackers escaped on a motorcycle after the shooting. “Personnel of Dumalinao municipal police are now conducting a pursuit operation for the possible arrest of the suspects,” she said, adding, they are now investigating the motive of the attack.

No individual or group claimed responsibility for the shooting. The families of the victims have not issued any statement.

531 ex-NPAs in Caraga get P10.6-M livelihood aid in ‘22

From the Philippine News Agency (Dec 29, 2022): 531 ex-NPAs in Caraga get P10.6-M livelihood aid in ‘22 (By Alexander Lopez)

BRIGHT FUTURE. The Department of Social Welfare and Development in the Caraga Region said some 531 former New People’s Army (NPA) combatants receive PHP10.6 million in livelihood grants under its Sustainable Livelihood Program in 2022. Photo shows the latest release of grants to 73 former NPA rebels on Dec. 14, 2022 in Tandag City, Surigao del Sur. (Photo courtesy of DSWD-13)


BUTUAN CITY – At least 531 former fighters of the communist New People’s Army (NPA) in the Caraga Region received some PHP10.6 million worth of livelihood grants from the regional Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD-13) office this year.

In a statement Thursday, DSWD-13 said the grants were distributed under the agency’s Sustainable Livelihood Program (SLP).

Data provided by the agency indicated that 188 former rebels from Agusan del Sur got PHP3.8 million in livelihood cash aid this year, while 162 ex-combatants benefited from the PHP3.2 million assistance in Surigao del Sur.

Other program beneficiaries are the 160 former rebels from Agusan del Norte with a PHP3.2 million grant, and 21 others in Surigao del Norte got PHP42,000 in aid.

The latest distribution of SLP assistance this year was held in Tandag City, Surigao del Sur, on Dec. 14 where 73 ex-guerillas got PHP1.5 million in financial grants.

Among the beneficiaries was alias Jim, who spent more than three years of his life fighting the government under the NPA organization.

“The three years I spent with the communist movement was useless. It contributed nothing to myself and my family,” Jim said in the vernacular during an interview.

Jim said he decided to return to his family mid-last year as he worried about his family, especially his two children, amid the threats of the pandemic.

“Our leaders refused to allow me to go home. I asked them about their plans for our families, especially during the pandemic, but they have no plan for us,” he said.

Jim said he will use the PHP20,000 assistance he received to improve his farm in one of the communities in Surigao del Sur.

Another beneficiary, alias Arlo, 37, of Agusan del Norte said he received his livelihood assistance earlier this year.

“Now my family is benefiting from the livelihood venture I’ve been to for more than four months now,” he said.

Aside from his store, Arlo said he is also making money from electrical repairs because of the training he got from the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority.

“My life is productive now. I hope my former comrades who are still roaming around the mountains disturbing the communities will open their eyes and leave the movement,” he said.

Under the SLP, the former rebels are assisted to increase their capabilities and productivity through different livelihood activities in their communities.

After surrendering, the recipients underwent various capability-building activities through training programs provided by different government agencies and local government units.

NPA courier surrenders in Zambo Sibugay

From the Philippine News Agency (Dec 29, 2022): NPA courier surrenders in Zambo Sibugay (By Teofilo Garcia, Jr.)

ZAMBOANGA CITY – A courier of the communist New People’s Army (NPA) has surrendered to authorities in Zamboanga Sibugay province after three years with the rebel group, a police official said Thursday.

Col. Eduard Mallo, the provincial police director, said Albert Tinaypan yielded around 11:50 a.m. Wednesday at the municipal police station of Titay.

Tinaypan, 42, surrendered following a series of negotiations by the Titay police station together with the Regional Intelligence Unit-Zamboanga Peninsula (RIU-9) and Regional Investigation Division-9.

Investigation showed that Tinaypan was recruited into the NPA by a certain Ka Alice in 2019. He served as a courier of food and medicine supplies for the NPA Guerrilla Front-13, Western Mindanao Regional Party Committee.

The surrenderer was placed under custodial debriefing and released to village officials for reintegration back into mainstream society.

No ceasefire with rebels in Negros amid New Year revelry

From the Philippine News Agency (Dec 30, 2022): No ceasefire with rebels in Negros amid New Year revelry (By Nanette Guadalquiver) December 29, 2022, 7:33 pm

BACOLOD CITY – The Philippine Army will not declare a truce with the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People's Army (CPP-NPA) in Negros Occidental during the New Year holidays to prevent the enemy from taking advantage of the situation.

"We have learned our lesson from the past. They just took advantage of it," Col. Michael Samson, acting commander of the Philippine Army's 303rd Infantry Brigade, said on Thursday.

In previous years, the CPP-NPA would continue its recruitment activities and even attack government forces whenever a ceasefire was declared by the government.

Samson said if communist rebels want to spend time with their families in welcoming the New Year, they can come home but should not carry firearms.

"But it's even better that they abandon going to the mountains so they can always be with their families. They can become productive persons and help their communities instead," he added.

Meanwhile, the Negros Occidental provincial government has directed all city and municipal disaster risk reduction and management offices (DRRMOs) to raise a blue alert status from Dec. 30 to Jan. 2 as a precaution for possible weather disturbance coinciding with the New Year celebrations.

Provincial Administrator Rayfrando Diaz said all DRRMOs will be on a heightened alert level.

"We're all preparing for the festivities that will happen in the New Year. We are hoping and praying that everyone of us will put our safety to mind, as our top priority," he added.

Blue alert status requires 50 percent of concerned personnel to be in their posts at any time.

In a memorandum, Vice Governor Jeffrey Ferrer, who is the acting governor until Jan. 3, said there should be continued monitoring and preparedness of all concerned agencies, offices and disaster councils.

"Let us pray, prepare and be pro-active for a resilient and safer Negros Occidental," he added.

2 NPA 'spies,' 2 others surrender in Zamboanga

From the Philippine News Agency (Dec 30, 2022): 2 NPA 'spies,' 2 others surrender in Zamboanga (By Teofilo Garcia, Jr.)

Google map of Zamboanga Peninsula.

ZAMBOANGA CITY – Four New People Army (NPA) rebels, including two "spies," have surrendered to authorities in Zamboanga Sibugay and Zamboanga del Sur provinces, a top police official said Friday.

Col. Richard Verceles, operations chief of the Area Police Command-Western Mindanao, identified the four NPA surrenderers as Ronald Langcunoy, 26; Ericjun Zacarias, 24; Ronilo Malig, 33; and Darlyn Montemayor, 22.

Verceles said Langcunoy surrendered around 2 p.m. Thursday in Barangay Lumbog in Imelda town, Zamboanga Sibugay, following a series of negotiations by police and military operatives.

Langcunoy said he served as a supply courier and cook of the NPA Main Regional Guerrilla Unit (MRGU), Western Mindanao Regional Party Committee (WMRPC).

Zacarias and Malig, on the other hand, surrendered Thursday afternoon at the municipal hall of San Miguel town, Zamboanga del Sur, where they turned over a .38-caliber revolver.

The duo’s surrender was facilitated by the police, military, and National Intelligence Coordinating Agency.

Zacarias and Malig claimed to have served as spies and couriers for the NPA Guerrilla Front Kara under the WMRPC.

Meanwhile, Montemayor surrendered around 4 p.m. Thursday at the municipal hall of Guipos, Zamboanga del Sur.

Verceles said the surrenderers pledged allegiance to the government and were released to the custody of their village officials for reintegration into mainstream society.

They were also given food packs by their respective local government units as initial assistance.

511 NPA fighters yield, 147 captured by Caraga cops in ‘22

From the Philippine News Agency (Dec 30, 2022): 511 NPA fighters yield, 147 captured by Caraga cops in ‘22 (By Alexander Lopez)

NPA DECLINE. Brig. Gen. Pablo Labra II, Police Regional Office director in the Caraga Region, considers 2022 as the year of major decline for the communist New People’s Army (NPA) in the region. Intensified police operations this year have resulted in the surrender of 511 NPA members and the capture of 147 other combatants. (Photo courtesy of PRO-13)


BUTUAN CITY – At least 511 members of the communist New People’s Army (NPA) have surrendered to the various field units in the Caraga Region this year, according to the Police Regional Office in Caraga (PRO-13) on Friday.

Likewise, PRO-13 said 147 other NPA combatants – some holding high positions in the rebel organization – were also captured by the police during the period.

A total of 225 firearms of different calibers were also either surrendered or seized from the rebels.

In a statement Friday (Dec. 30), PRO-13 Director, Brig. Gen. Pablo Labra II said the arrest and surrender of NPA combatants in the region are the result of the continuous internal security operations by the local police units in the region.

“The PRO-13 was able to conduct 126 major combat operations, 241 minor combat operations, and 62 joint operations with the Armed Forces of the Philippines this year,” Labra said.

Intensified police law operations this year also dismantled the underground movements of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP)–NPA in Caraga and prevented its resurgence to protect the communities.

“This year marked the decline of the CPP-NPA activities in the region, Labra said, pointing out that three NPA guerrilla fronts (GFs) were weakened – Guerrilla Fronts 16, 21, and 30.

Three GFs and two sub-regional committees (SRCs) in Caraga were also dismantled this year, particularly GFs 4A, 88, and 19, and SRCs 1 and 3.

Police operatives also managed to arrest top rebel leaders, Dr. Maria Natividad Silva Castro, also known as Dr. Maria Natividad and "Alias Yam," as well as Atheliana Hijos alias "Ka Atel."

Natividad, considered as a priority target, is an alleged member of the CPP Central Committee and heads the group’s National Health Bureau, while Hijos is Gabriela’s secretary-general in the region.

The PRO-13 vowed to continue the fight against the CPP-NPA in 2023 to fully free the region from communist cruelties.