Thursday, February 16, 2023

Kalinaw News: One NPA Filipino-Japanese captured in Cagayan

Posted to Kalinaw News Facebook Page (Feb 15, 2023): One NPA Filipino-Japanese captured in Cagayan

One NPA Filipino-Japanese captured by government forces in Cagayan.


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.

Kalinaw News: A CTG with a Japanese race, cornered by PNP and Philippine Army in Baggao, Cagayan

From Kalinaw News Facebook Page (Feb 16. 2023): A CTG with a Japanese race, cornered by PNP and Philippine Army in Baggao, Cagayan

A Filipino-Japanese member of the Communist Terrorist Group (CTG) was captured by the joint forces of PNP Region 2 and 17th Infantry Battalion, Philippine Army in a clearing operation conducted at 11:30 a.m. today, February 14.

The so-called rebel alias “Brown” is a former student in a big university in Manila and the wife of a alias “Dessa”, a member of KOMPROB Isabela under the leadership of Commander “Rannie”.

Remember that there was an encounter between the military and fifteen members of the leftist group at around 3:30 in the afternoon of February 13 in Sitio Nangbaggayan, Sta. Margarita, Baggao, Cagayan where the exchange of shots lasted almost 30 minutes.

Some documents were recovered from the scene and will be used to indoctrinate new and former members of the anti-government group. Several items were confiscated including a laptop computer.

The aforementioned CTG member is currently in custody Philippine Army.

Police Brigadier General Percival A Rumbaoa, PRO2 Acting Regional Director assured that the PNP Region 2 will continue to communicate and cooperate with the Philippine Army and other branches of government to push the problem of insurance and terrorism in Cagayan Valley. “The police will not allow CTGs to poison the minds of the citizens through their twisted doctrines and beliefs,” said PBGEN RUMBAOA.

Furthermore, the Director-General also called on not to be deceived by the sweet words of the rebels, instead to hold hands with the government to enjoy lasting peace and tranquility in Region Two.
PNP Region 2 remains on alert for any action from the communist rebel.

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.

Kalinaw News: Cops serve arrest warrant against CTG member with three counts of attempted murder

From Kalinaw News Facebook Page (Feb 16. 2023): Cops serve arrest warrant against CTG member with three counts of attempted murder

CAMP MELCHOR F DELA CRUZ, Upi, Gamu, Isabela- The San Mariano Police served the warrant of arrest against a member of the Communist Terrorist Group on February 15, 2023, at Camp Melchor F Dela Cruz Station Hospital.

The accused was identified as Yusida Orion alias Brown. He was charged of three counts of Attempted Murder with criminal case numbers: 9272, 9273, and 9274 issued by Judge Isaac De Alban of Regional Trial Court, 2nd Judicial Region, Branch 16, Ilagan City, Isabela. He is allowed to post a bail amounting to 120,000 pesos each criminal case for his temporary liberty.

Alias Brown was a member of Kabataan Makabayan, an underground organization while studying at Dela Salle University. He became a regular armed member of Benito Tesorio Command in 2015 in the Province of Isabela.

He was then assigned as a Squad Leader of Komiteng Larangan Guerilla Quirino-Nueva Vizcaya in 2018 and he became the Secretary of the Regional Sentro De Gravidad (RSDG), Komiteng Rehiyon-Cagayan Valley until it was dismantled in year 2022.

Recently, alias Brown was abandoned by his comrades after the firefight in Baggao, Cagayan. Upon further investigation, it was revealed that he has a standing warrant of arrest issued on June 05, 2022.

Currently, alias Brown is confined at Camp Melchor F Dela Cruz Station Hospital for his medical treatment.

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.

Kalinaw News: “Arms Cache” of the New People’s Army Revealed by the Surrendering NPA!

From Kalinaw News Facebook Page (Feb 16. 2023): “Arms Cache” of the New People’s Army Revealed by the Surrendering NPA!

After the consecutive battles at the end of Bondoc peninsula in Quezon province that resulted in the loss of three (3) NPAs and the successive surrender of others; another NPA member disguised as Nana voluntarily surrendered at Lopez MPS, 2nd QPMFC and 85th Infantry Battalion on February 13 current year. Along with his surrender, alias ka Nana also revealed the weapons left behind and hidden by the NPA.

Some of the recovered weapons were two (2) M16 rifles, one (1) Carbine two (2) calibres. 38, magazines and bullets; and 1 improvised explosive device.

LTC JOEL R JONSON, the Commanding Officer of 85IB, expressed gratitude for the continuous pouring of heartfelt support and solidarity of the citizens in the campaign of 85IB, PNP and TF-ELCAC. The recovered weapons could still be used to commit violence and kill the lives of our innocent citizens if we neglect them. He also called for stronger unity for the complete depletion and termination of insurance in the province.

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.

Chinese envoy meets with AFP chief Centino after laser incident in West PH Sea

From Rappler (Feb 16, 2023): Chinese envoy meets with AFP chief Centino after laser incident in West PH Sea (By SOFIA TOMACRUZ)

(1st UPDATE) Armed Forces of the Philippines spokesperson Colonel Medel Aguilar says the courtesy call was an activity that ‘has long been scheduled’ and that efforts to sustain peace and stability in the region were discussed

MANILA, Philippines – Following recent tensions in the West Philippine Sea, Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Huang Xilian met with Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief of Staff General Andres Centino to discuss “peace and stability” in the region.

The courtesy call, which took place in the military’s headquarters in Camp General Emilio Aguinaldo, comes after the Philippine Coast Guard disclosed that a China Coast Guard used a military-grade laser against the BRP Malapasuca near Ayungin Shoal in the West Philippine Sea.

AFP spokesperson Colonel Medel Aguilar said on Thursday, February 16, that the courtesy call by Huang was an activity “that has long been scheduled.”

Huang had shared photos of the meeting on Facebook Wednesday night, February 15, saying his meeting with Centino had been “cordial and constructive.”

Other Stories

West PH Sea laser incident makes first test case for new PH-China communication line

'We hope that future communications, whether its done through regular diplomatic channels or this communication mechanism would be grounded on facts and done in good faith,' says DFA Spokesperson Ma. Teresita Daza

Marcos summons China envoy over laser incident

(2nd UPDATE) This is the first time a Philippine leader summoned a Chinese ambassador in recent years, with Rodrigo Duterte refusing to do this in his six years in office

According to Aguilar, talks between Centino and Huang “focused on military to military exchange and cooperation that will promote peace and stability in the region.”

The meeting on Wednesday, February 15, comes just a day after President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. summoned Huang to Malacañang on Tuesday, February 14, to express “serious concern over the increasing frequency and intensity of actions” by China against Filipino fishermen and the Philippine Coast Guard.

China has so far continued to deny the PCG’s account of the laser incident, saying instead that its CCG vessel used a “hand-held laser speed detector and hand-held green light pointer” to “measure the distance and speed of the Philippine vessel and signal directions to ensure navigation safety.”

The PCG earlier said that China’s actions caused “temporary blindness” lasting some 10 to 15 seconds among crew at the BRP Malapascua’s bridge, and had been accompanied by unsafe maneuvers by the CCG ship.

The BRP Malapascua had been supporting a Philippine Navy resupply mission to Ayungin Shoal, where the Navy’s BRP Sierra Madre was aground as a permanent outpost.

In response to the incident, the Philippines lodged a strongly-worded diplomatic protest calling out China’s “acts of aggression” against the PCG in the West Philippine Sea.

Under the Marcos government, Manila has filed at least 75 diplomatic protests against Beijing.

Philippine news sites score moderate disinformation risk level

From Rappler (Feb 17, 2023): Philippine news sites score moderate disinformation risk level (By GEMMA B. MENDOZA)

The Global Disinformation Index, which covered over 20 countries, works with newsrooms and journalists to improve their disinformation risk ratings. The intention is not to 'label' or 'shame.'

MANILA, Philippines – Philippine news sites collectively scored a “moderate level of disinformation risk” in the newly launched Philippine report of the UK-based not for profit Global Disinformation Index (GDI).

Released on Wednesday, February 15, the index examined a total of 35 “influential and widely read news sites” in the Philippines in written English, Tagalog, and Cebuano. Collectively, the websites received an average score of 55.32 on a scale of 0 to 100.

Broken down by domain, 23 websites scored medium to minimum risk, while 12 received high risk ratings. None of the websites made it to the maximum risk category. On the other hand, only one website got a minimum disinformation risk rating.

Editor’s Note: An earlier version of this story said only one site received a low risk score. This was corrected to say only one site received a minimum risk score.

DISINFORMATION RISK SCORES. The graph shows how Philippine websites evaluated fared when they were assessed using the Global Disinformation Index methodology.

GDI research director Talia Hagerty stressed that GDI’s risk rating methodology is not meant to label a disinformation source.

“If a site is rated to be at high risk for disinforming its readers, it is just that it is a risk rating. It means that there are areas for improvement and potentially areas of concern. But it does not mean that a particular news outlet is a disinformation source,” Hagerty said.

The index reviewed top news websites such as ABS-CBN News, GMANews, Inquirer,, and Rappler. It also included regional newsrooms such as Mindanews, which is based in Davao City, and Daily Guardian in Iloilo.

While the GDI identified the news websites that were part of the sample, it chose not to release the actual rating that each of the site received.
Not meant to ‘label,’ ‘shame’ news sites

The point is not to “name and shame,” explained Hagerty at the launch on Wednesday at the De La Salle University McKinley Microcampus in Taguig.

The index, which covered over 20 countries so far, should be used to help newsrooms and journalists improve their disinformation risk ratings, according to Hagerty. A number of the rated news organizations have already reached out and asked how their ratings could be improved, she added.

Hagerty said the UK-based non-profit, whose avowed goal is to “defund and downrank disinformation,” works with country teams to implement a global methodology for assessing news sites. In the Philippines, GDI worked with the De La Salle University’s Dr. Andrew L. Tan Data Science Institute which hosted the launch event.

The report explained that the GDI views disinformation through the lens of “adversarial narrative conflict,” meaning intentionally misleading narratives, often cherry-picked and combined with fabrications that are adversarial in nature and create harm against an at-risk group or institution.

Hagerty said GDI shares information with policy makers, newsgroups and industry. The report said trust ratings are used by advertisers, ad tech companies, and platforms to redirect their online ad spending, in line with their brand safety and disinformation risk mitigation strategies.

The end goal is to “catalyze industry to reduce disinformation and its harms by going after the financial incentives to create disinformation.”
Risk, not actual false content

In terms of content, Philippines news sites generally performed well under the content pillar with an average score for the 35 sites included in the sample of 85 out of 100. The content pillar ratings ranged from 68 to 93.

This was determined through an anonymous review of a sample of 20 articles from each site. Researchers who made the assessment did not know the news outlet that published the story. The sampled articles were anonymized by stripping them of any information that allowed the analysts to identify the publisher or the author of the articles.

Indicators under this pillar include visual presentation, headline accuracy, article bias, byline information, sensational language, negative targeting, recent coverage, lede present, and common coverage.

Here, the news sites scored highest for visual presentation (average of 95) and headline accuracy (average of 92). The indicators with the lowest scores under the content pillar were lede present (average of 78) and common coverage (average of 72).

Lede present is the rating for when the article starts with a fact-based lede. Common coverage, on the other hand, is defined as whether the same event has been covered by at least one other reliable local media outlet. Cleve Arguelles, one of the country level researchers who worked on the study, said this was likely because the sample included regional websites which were focused on local stories.
Operational risks

Where most sites falter is in the operations pillar. Ratings for this pillar among Philippine news sites reviewed ranged from 11 to 50, with 80% (28 out of 35) of the sites receiving a score below 40 out of 100.

The operations pillar assesses the operational and editorial integrity of the site, as scored by country reviewers. On the whole, Philippine news sites performed worst in the areas of attribution, ensuring accuracy, funding, and ownership transparency.

This noticeable disparity between sites’ scores on the content pillar and the operations pillar, the report said, means that most of the disinformation risk stems from operational shortcomings, particularly in the areas of ensuring accuracy, attribution, funding and ownership transparency, and comment policies.

For the most part, Hagerty said news websites could improve on their ratings by being more transparent about their operational policies.
Recommendations for improvement

According to the country team, the selection of websites examined was based on Alexa ranking and relevance, with a mind to ensure geographic representation. Below is the list of the websites reviewed.


NEWS WEBSITES REVIEWED. The table lists the 35 news websites that the Philippine country reviewers assessed using the Global Development Index methodology.

Because of the disparity between the sites’ scores in the content and preparations pillars, the study noted that opportunities for improving disinformation risk ratings lies in establishing and publishing policies that ensure the editorial integrity of news sites.

For instance, to address low scores on attribution, news sites should set and publish policies regarding articles’ sources and bylines.

To improve scores on ensuring accuracy, news sites must set and publish policies for pre-publication fact-checking and post-publication error correction.

To improve risk ratings in terms of funding and ownership transparency, news sites must disclose their sources of funding and revenue, as well as the persons and/or legal entities that own and manage their organizations.

Through a mother’s lens: My son Mark exposed ROTC corruption and lost his life

From Rappler (Feb 17, 2023): Through a mother’s lens: My son Mark exposed ROTC corruption and lost his life (By BONZ MAGSAMBOL)

Amelita Chua, mother of slain Mark Welson Chua, says there are little to no discussions on why mandatory ROTC was stopped in the first place

MANILA, Philippines – It was a fine Thursday afternoon over two decades ago when Mark Welson Chua, 19 years old back then, told his mother Amelita that he would expose corruption in their Reserve Training Officers Training Corps (ROTC) program in their campus publication.

Amelita thought it was just a simple campus issue. Little did she know that it would cost her son’s life.

“Noong one time na nagpunta siya sa ‘kin dito sa bahay, sabi ‘nya sa ‘kin na mommy, may i-e-expose po kami. I told him, ‘Mark, you have to be careful kasi delikado ‘yang ginagawa niya. Sabi ko, puwede ka patayin niyang kinakalaban ‘nyo,'” Amelita recalled in an interview with Rappler on Tuesday, February 14.

(One time he visited me here in the house, he told me that they would expose something. I told him, “Mark, you have to be careful because what you’re doing is dangerous. I said you could get killed by that person you’re challenging.”)

“Then he told me, ‘If that’s the price I have to pay, then so be it,'” Amelita recalled.

It’s been over two decades ago but Amelita could still vividly remember how the news about Mark’s demise shattered their family’s hearts and dreams for their son.

“Hindi talaga ako supportive doon sa pag-e-expose niya ng sa ROTC. Nag-advise lang ako sa kanya (I am not really supportive of his decision to expose the ROTC corruption. I advised him not to do so). We never thought that it was going to happen,” Amelita said.

Mark was murdered by his fellow cadet officers in their ROTC program. He exposed practices of corruption, bribery and extortion in the ROTC unit of the University of Santo Tomas (UST) in their campus publication Varsitarian in 2001.

Mark’s body, wrapped in a carpet, was found decomposing in the Pasig River on March 18, 2001. His head was wrapped in cloth and packing tape, with his hands and feet bound by shoelaces.

The murder of Mark led to the abolition of the mandatory ROTC program in 2002. It became optional through Republic Act No. 9163 or the National Service Training Program Act of 2001.

He wanted to be president

Amelita described her son as soft-spoken, reserved, and kind. He was also idealistic, she added. “Idealistic siya eh kasi gusto niyang maitama ang mga mali. Ma-prinsipyo siya na tao.” (He was really idealistic because he wanted to correct the flawed system. He was a principled man.)

While he was taking up engineering in UST, Amelita said Mark would tell her that he wanted to be president of the country someday.

“Kung nabubuhay pa siya, baka successful siya na engineer. At one point, he said gusto niyang maging presidente ng Pilipinas. Look at how idealistic he was,” she added.

(If he were still alive, maybe he would have been a successful engineer. At one point, he said that he wanted to be president of the Philippines.)

Mark grew up with his grandparents since his parents were separated. But Amelita said that despite their family situation, Mark would always make sure that he would visit her.

The night Mark went missing, Amelita said that she didn’t think that brutal incident would happen. She added that Mark was the type who would always tell them about his whereabouts.

“Noong midnight na ‘yon, nag-alala na kami. Nagtanong-tanong na kami sa mga classmates niya kung natulog ba sa kanila or magkakasama ba sila,” Amelita recounted, adding that the whole incident traumatized her.

(That midnight, we were really worried. We asked his classmates if Mark slept with them or if they were together.)

“Talagang heartbreaking ‘yung nangyari na ‘yon,” Amelita said, continuing:

Halos maloka ako for three years. Nakatitig lang ako sa ceiling. Sobrang sakit.AMELITA CHUA

(That incident was really heartbreaking. For three years, I felt like I was losing my mind. I was just staring at the ceiling. It was really painful.)

But these struggles that Mark’s family went through seems to be disregarded by government, as the passage of the bill making ROTC mandatory looms.

Amelita said that much of the discussions now are too focused on pushing to make ROTC mandatory again, and there have been little to no discussions on why it was stopped in the first place.

“Ang always nilang sinasabi, ibabalik ang ROTC, i-a-abolish ang ROTC. Pero paano ‘yung root cause ng pagkawala ng ROTC? Hindi nila pinag-uusapan ‘yan,” she told Rappler.

(They would always call to bring back mandatory ROTC or abolish ROTC. But have they discussed what was the reason for scrapping it in the first? They’re not talking about it.)

Despite opposition from students and various groups, mandatory ROTC is among the priority measures expected to be passed on June 2.

The total projected budget of P61.2 billion for the implementation of mandatory ROTC can already build an estimated 24,480 classrooms.

President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. included mandatory ROTC in his priority agenda in his first State of the Nation Address, as Vice President and Education Secretary Sara Duterte also pushed for this proposal.

The Vice President’s support for mandatory ROTC has been criticized, with activist groups saying compulsory military service sends a strong message that “any dissent will be met with force.” When she was campaigning to be the country’s second highest official, Duterte was already vocal about her plans to push for mandatory military service training.

It can be recalled that her father, former president Rodrigo Duterte, also made a bid to make ROTC mandatory for all college students early in his presidency, but this plan fizzled out.
Reopen the case

If there’s one thing that Amelita would ask from the government, it is to reopen Mark’s case.

“After so many years, wala naman nangyayari. Wala naman gustong tumulong sa amin. If you would be able to find my son’s killer, saka ‘nyo na pag usapan na yang ROTC na mandatory,” Amelita said.

(After so many years, nothing has happened. No one wanted to help us. If you’d be able to find my son’s killer, then you could talk about bringing back mandatory ROTC.)

According to a report by the Varsitarian, the corruption exposé of Mark and his fellow cadet, Romulo Yumul, led to the relief of Major Demy Tejares and other Department of Military Science and Tactics officials.

In an interview with the campus publication in 2021, Amelita said that she wanted the case reopened since two of the four persons implicated in Mark’s murder, Paul Tan and Michael Rainard Manangbao, remained at large.

Meanwhile, one of the accused Arnulfo Aparri was sentenced to life imprisonment, while another accused Eduardo Tabrilla pleaded guilty to homicide in 2006.

“Sana i-open nila ang kaso. At ituloy nila ang paghahanap sa killers para magkaroon kami ng peace of mind, pati na rin si Mark,” Amelita appealed to the government.

(I hope they reopen the case. And they will continue to look for my son’s killers so we, as well as Mark, would have peace of mind.) –

3ID gets new commander

From the Visayan Daily Star (Feb 17, 2023): 3ID gets new commander (By GILBERT P. BAYORAN)

Brig. Gen. Marion Sison

Lt. Gen. Benedict Arevalo yesterday confirmed that he will be replaced by his deputy, Brig. Marion Sison, as the incoming commander of the Army’s 3rd Infantry Division.

The new Command given to Sison, as approved by Malacañang, came more than two weeks after he assumed the position as Assistant Division Commander of 3ID.

Arevalo, who is also the chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines Visayas Command, said the date of the 3ID turnover of command ceremony is yet to be determined, as of this time.

Army chief Lt. Gen. Romeo Brawner Jr. is expected to preside over the change of 3ID leadership, from Arevalo to Sison.

Arevalo also announced that the status of appointment of Negrense Col. Michael Samson as commander of Army’s 301st Infantry Brigade in Panay, has been changed from acting, to permanent in nature.

He replaced Sison, who relinquished the command of 301st Infantry Brigade, after being designated as 3ID deputy commander.

Samson, Sison and Brig. Leonardo Peña, commander of the 302nd Infantry Brigade stationed in Negros Oriental, are all members of the Philippine Military Academy Class of 1991.

The 3ID supervises the internal security operations of three Army infantry brigades 301st, 302nd and 303rd in Regions 6 and 7.

Continued use of banned mines justifies NPA's terrorist tag: AFP

From the Philippine News Agency (Feb 17, 2023): Continued use of banned mines justifies NPA's terrorist tag: AFP (By Priam Nepomuceno)

AFP spokesperson Col. Medel Aguilar (File photo)

MANILA – The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) said the New People's Army’s (NPA) continued use of anti-personnel mines (APMs), which recently killed a young soldier and wounded three others in Albay, justifies their tagging as a terrorist organization.

"The CTG’s (communist terrorist group) persistent use of APM that is banned under the International Humanitarian Law cements their status as a terrorist organization," AFP spokesperson Col. Medel Aguilar said in a statement late Thursday.

The NPA’s continued use of APMs poses a huge security threat to everyone as it could cause crippling injuries or even death, Aguilar said.

"The CTG use of APM poses a threat to the limbs and lives of people. With this incident, the AFP, in partnership with other government agencies through the NTF-ELCAC (National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict), will not stop until we have eliminated this threat," he added.

This came in the wake of the death of 2nd Lt. Nico Malcampo of the 9th Infantry Division in Oas, Albay after an APM attack by the NPA on Feb. 15.

"2nd Lt. Malcampo was killed in action in Oas, Albay on Feb. 15 while responding to the call for help of unarmed civilians who were threatened by the presence of the communist terrorists. He was leading his team when he was fatally wounded by (a) cowardly act of the communist terrorists who employed APM that also wounded three soldiers," Aguilar said.

While condoling with the family of the fallen officer, the AFP spokesperson said Malcampo's sacrifice would not be in vain.

"His sacrifice will not be in vain as we push forward in our mission to bring to justice every communist terrorist and fully end the communist armed conflict in the country," he said.

The AFP Center for Law of Armed Conflict earlier said it has submitted a list of recorded Communist Party of the Philippines – NPA – National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF) human rights abuses to the Commission on Human Rights.

It included 2,443 cases of abuse and human rights and international humanitarian law violations by the CPP-NPA-NDF from 2010 to the first semester of 2022.

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

Ex-generals call on government, public leaders to fight corruption

Posted to the Mindanao Examiner (Feb 14, 2023): Ex-generals call on government, public leaders to fight corruption

MANILA - A group of retired Philippine military generals and senior government officials on Tuesday called on public leaders to fight corruption, saying the problem remains the same even under the new Marcos administration.

The Department of Social Welfare and Development says there are over 5.6 million families living in poverty as of 2022. The Asian Development Bank reports that economic growth has gone through boom and bust cycles, and recent episodes of moderate economic expansion have had limited impact on the poor. Great inequality across income brackets, regions, and sectors, as well as unmanaged population growth, are considered some of the key factors constraining poverty reduction efforts. (Photos by Al Jacinto)

Calling their group “Advocate for National Interest”, some 20 former military officials, including past Chiefs of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, released a signed statement and a copy furnished The Mindanao Examiner also urging electoral reforms.

“We, retired, senior military officers and government officials who advocate national interest support the call of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr to tighten checks and balances in order to revitalize the economy, the proper usage of public funds so they are not reduced by the corrupt, not squandered, and not wasted. As we usher in a new administration, the enemy remains the same. It is corruption, it is corruption. That feeds crime, it worsens poverty, it erodes hope,” the statement reads.

It also cited a 2012 report by the Transparency International that ranked the Philippines – then under President Benigno Aquino 11 - 105th in the Global Corruption Index, but four years later in 2016 - during the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte - the country was rated 85th, but slid down to 117th out of 180 countries in 2021.

The group said the worsening state of corruption was supported by the statement of the Deputy Ombudsman in 2019 when he estimated that the country was losing P700 billion annually.

“Very recently, 13 out of 19 captains of major industries revealed that corruption is the biggest risk to economic recovery and the top deterrent factor in expanding foreign investments, based on a survey by two highly credible NGOs.”

“Other scandals in the past involving corruption, include the coco levy fund, unabated smuggling of illegal drugs rampant, misuse of PhilHealth funds, bribery in the Bureau of Immigration and overpriced purchases by the Department of Budget and Management Procurement Service of medical supplies involving Pharmally and laptop computers for the Department of Education,” the statement further said.

These scandals occurred during the time of the Duterte administration.

“It is widely believed that the mislabelling of pork barrel funds to circumvent the Supreme Court decision outlawing the PDAF allows the continuance of misuse of the funds such as for commissions of some legislators and government officials in charge of public works. The public funds diverted for private gains have deprived our people of resources that would otherwise have been wisely spent for improving basic government services,” the group said, referring to the scandalous and controversial Priority Development Assistance Fund, a discretionary fund available to members of Congress.

The group admitted that the limited data above do not represent the entire picture of actual circumstances on the ground, “but they reflect a microcosm that needs our attention.”

“We observe that self-interest and disregard for the common good is pervasive among many public officials from the highest levels to the lowest, instead of honesty, sacrifice and discipline for the benefit of the majority. We believe that addressing these societal dysfunctions - corruption, poverty and injustice - will require good governance by elected and appointed officials imbued with integrity, intelligence and competence,” the statement said.

It added: “We therefore strongly recommend to the public officials concerned, that to institutionalize good governance, the Constitutional provision on removing political dynasties be legislated as soon as possible and that electoral reforms to do away with money politics be initiated and implemented in due time, before the next national and local elections in May 2025.”

The former officials said corruption is indeed the enemy. “The tone, the example, the first step - it must start from the Government. Corruption first festers, and is most corrosive, in public office. And it is most damaging when perpetrated against the public coffers. We know the enemy, it’s time to slay it,” they said.

Yano, in a phone interview, said their group is not siding with any political leaders, not even President Ferdinand Marcos, but is just raising the corruption issue that is houding the progress of the country. “Walang personalan ito at issue lamang. Ngayon kung may tamaan, bahala na sila,” he said.

Those who signed the statement were Ramon Farolan, Renato de Villa, Rodolfo Biazon, Edilberto Adan, Emmanuel Bautista, Guillermo Cunanan, Plaridel Garcia, Alejandro Flores, Victor Librado, Emilio Narayag, Eduardo Oban, Alexander Yano, Plaridel Abaya, Roberto Yap, Mariano Santiago, Renato Valencia, Recaredo Sarmiento, Mariano Santiago, Niceto Festin and Eliseo Rio. (Mindanao Examiner)

Navy fast attack boat intercepts tanker carrying unmarked fuel

From the Philippine News Agency (Feb 16, 2023): Navy fast attack boat intercepts tanker carrying unmarked fuel (By Priam Nepomuceno)

(Photo courtesy of BRP Lolinato To-Ong)

MANILA – The Philippine Navy (PN) announced that one of its two newly-acquired missile boats, the BRP Lolinato To-Ong (PG-902), intercepted an oil tanker carrying some PHP50.8 million worth of unmarked diesel fuel during operations off Corregidor Island.

In a report Thursday, the PN's Naval Forces Southern Luzon (NFSL) identified the intercepted tanker as the M/T Braleman 1 with 11 crew members on board and carrying around 847,000 liters of diesel.

NFSL spokesperson Lt. Regeil G. Gatarin said the ship was intercepted at 6 p.m. Wednesday some 8.8 nautical miles southwest of Corregidor Island.

"Before the interception, on February 14, 2023, NFSL received information regarding an apprehension alarm issued by Coastguard District Palawan dated February 12, 2023 on the said vessel. Furthermore, NFSL tracked M/T Braleman 1 in the vicinity of Cabra Island, Mindoro as it moved towards Manila Bay until intercepted by BRP Lolinato To-Ong," he added.

This prompted NFSL's Naval Task Force 31 to immediately deploy BRP Lolinato To-Ong, which was docked at the Lucena Port in Lucena City, Quezon province.

"Prior to the conduct of the interception and apprehension operations, BRP Lolinato To-Ong embarked five customs officers from the Bureau of Customs at Batangas Port to serve a seizure and detention warrant on the aforementioned vessel," Gatarin said.

He added that the PN will continue to assist the government in its campaign against fuel smuggling.

BRP Lolinato To-Ong is the second ship of the new Acero-class fast attack interdiction craft-missiles (FAIC-Ms) patrol gunboats of the PN procured from Israel and commissioned last Nov. 28, 2022 and placed under the operational control of Naval Forces Southern Luzon.

Seven more FAIC-Ms are expected to enter PN service within the next two years.

The M/T Braleman 1 is now being escorted to Manila Bay where it will be handed over to the proper authorities.

Soldier dead, 3 others hurt in Albay NPA mine blast

From the Philippine News Agency (Feb 16, 2023): Soldier dead, 3 others hurt in Albay NPA mine blast (By Connie Calipay)

FALLEN HERO. A soldier identified as 2Lt. Nico Malcampo died while three other soldiers were injured in an anti-personnel mine explosion in Oas town, Albay province on Wednesday (Feb. 15, 2023). After the blast, a 30-minute firefight ensued between the troops and the rebels, resulting in the killing of an insurgent and the recovery of high-powered firearms. (Photo courtesy of 9ID)

LEGAZPI CITY – A soldier died while three others were wounded on Wednesday when the New People's Army (NPA) detonated anti-personnel mines in Barangay Ramay in Oas, Albay.

Capt. Frank Roldan, 9th Infantry Division Public Affairs Office (DPAO) chief, said the incident occurred around 9 a.m. after the 49th Infantry Battalion received a report regarding an extortion activity.

"The report said the terrorist group was conducting extortion in a construction project. Upon reaching the area, there was a blast of anti-personnel mine (APM) from the communist terrorist group (CTG) that caused the immediate demise of 2Lt. Nico Malcampo and injured three other soldiers," Roldan said in a message to the Philippine News Agency on Thursday.

He said after the explosion, a 30-minute firefight ensued between the government troops and the rebels, resulting in the killing of a CTG member and the recovery of three high-powered firearms.

"As to the three injured soldiers, one of them is in stable condition while the two soldiers need to go for medical operations," Roldan added.

Maj. Gen. Adonis Bajao, commander of the 9th Infantry Division, and Joint Task Force Bicolandia (JTFB), extended condolences to the bereaved family of Malcampo and ensured that the young officer's sacrifice will not be wasted.

“Tayo po ay nakikisimpatiya at nagpapaabot ng taos-pusong pakikiramay sa naulilang pamilya ni Lt. Malcampo. Ang kanya pong ipinakitang kabayanihan ay hindi matatawaran para lamang ipagtanggol ang ating bayan sa mga mapang-abusong communist terrorist group (CTG). Habang atin naman pong kinokondena ang patuloy na paglabag ng CTG sa International Humanitarian Law at Geneva Convention of 1949 dahil sa pagamit ng mga anti-personnel mine. Sa kabila nito, hindi po tayo papanghinaan ng loob, bagkus lalo po nating paiigtingin ang ating operasyon upang matiyak na ang ating komunidad ay hindi madedehado sa paghahasik ng karahasan ng mga teroristang grupo (We sympathize and extend our heartfelt condolences to the bereaved family of Lt. Malcampo. The heroism he showed is priceless just to defend our country from the abusive CTG. While we condemn CTG's continued violation of International Humanitarian Law and the Geneva Convention of 1949 due to the use of anti-personnel mines. Despite this, we will not be discouraged, but we will intensify our operation to ensure that our community will not suffer from the sowing of violence by terrorist groups)," Bajao said.

Malcampo, 31, was from Basilan and a graduate of the Officer's Candidate Course Class 54-2020.

157 artillery troopers join mental health awareness drive

From the Philippine News Agency (Feb 16, 2023): 157 artillery troopers join mental health awareness drive (By Jason De Asis)

MENTAL HEALTH DRIVE. A total of 157 enlisted personnel from different line units and separate batteries of the Army Artillery Regiment (AAR) attend the Troops Information and Education (TI&E) on Feb. 13, 2023. The activity which was held at the AAR Headquarters, Fort Magsaysay, Palayan City in Nueva Ecija, aimed to look after the mental health and physical well-being of the military troops. (Photo courtesy of Army Artillery Regiment)

BALER, Aurora – A total of 157 enlisted personnel from different line units and separate batteries of the Army Artillery Regiment (AAR) attended the Troops Information and Education (TI&E) on mental health awareness early this week.

Organized by the regiment's Office of the Regiment Sergeant Major (ORSM), the activity was held at Fort Magsaysay, Palayan City in Nueva Ecija last Feb. 13, with the aim to look after the mental health and physical well-being of the military troops.

The regiment also aimed to raise social awareness on mental health issues through psychosocial education to combat the stigma of having these conditions and prevent their development.

Lt. Col. Ronnie Santa Catalina, civil-military officer (G7) of the AAR, said in a phone interview on Thursday that the activity is a regular program being conducted quarterly to give Army troops confidence and the right direction in their career enhancement as well as family life.

“Buong taon namin itong ginagawa para sa empowerment ng ating mga sundalo upang maging maayos ang kanilang direksiyon kasama ang kanilang pamilya. Ang kasundaluhan ay masa ng organisasyon kaya kailangan natin silang tulungan upang maging maayos sila para sa kanilang kapakanan. At kapag maayos sila mas magiging maganda ang direksiyon ng buong organisasyon at mapaghuhusayan pa nila ang serbisyo para sa bansa (We do this all year round for the empowerment of our soldiers so that they can be well directed, including their families. The military is a mass organization so we need to help them to be well-behaved for their welfare. And when they are well, the whole organization will have better directors and they will be able to improve their services for the country),” Catalina said.

The program was participated in by personnel from the 1st and 2nd Air Defense Artillery Battery, 1st and 2nd Multiple Launched Rocket System (MLRS) Battery, Long-Range Ballistic System (LBMS), 3rd Self Propelled 10th Field Artillery Battalion, students and personnel of Artillery Training School and Army Artillery Regiment.