Wednesday, February 22, 2023

Kalinaw News: 29 BIFF surrender in Maguindanao del Norte

Posted to Kalinaw News Facebook Page (Feb 22, 2023): 29 BIFF surrender in Maguindanao del Norte

29 VTICs (victims of terrorist ideology and circumstance) handed themselves into the military forces along with their firearms in Maguindanao del Norte.

Read: https://bit.ly/3m3u5ST
#KapayapaanParaSaLahat
#PhilArmy
#ARMY125



[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.]

https://www.facebook.com/kalinawnews/photos/a.449700745237950/2190950754446265/

https://www.facebook.com/kalinawnews/

Kalinaw News: Philippines-Australia Army-to-Army Exercise 2023-1 held its opening ceremony

Posted to Kalinaw News Facebook Page (Feb 22, 2023): Philippines-Australia Army-to-Army Exercise 2023-1 held its opening ceremony

LOOK: The Philippines-Australia Army-to-Army Exercise 2023-1 held its opening ceremony at the 6th Infantry "Kampilan" Division Grandstand, Camp Siongco, Awang, Datu Odin Sinsuat, Maguindanao del Norte on Monday, February 20.

Said joint exercise aims to pave way for the participating soldiers to acquire new skills, sharpen existing ones, perform better, increase productivity, and be better leaders.

6th Infantry "Kampilan" Division, Philippine Army
#KapayapaanParaSaLahat
#PhilArmy
#ARMY125








[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.]

https://www.facebook.com/kalinawnews/photos/pcb.2190994814441859/2190994751108532/

https://www.facebook.com/kalinawnews/

Police link narco group member to ambush of Lanao del Sur governor

From Rappler (Feb 22, 2023): Police link narco group member to ambush of Lanao del Sur governor (By FERDINANDH CABRERA, HERBIE GOMEZ)



One of the primary suspects is a nephew of a former mayor, and the two are among those linked to the ambush of narcotics agents in Lanao del Sur in 2018

COTABATO CITY, Philippines – Police have linked a member of one of the biggest groups of suspected narcopoliticians in Mindanao to the ambush that wounded Lanao del Sur Governor Mamintal Adiong Jr. and killed four of his security aides in the province on Friday, February 17.

Lanao del Sur police spokesperson Major Alvison Mustapha identified two primary suspects but asked Rappler to withhold their names for police reasons on Wednesday, February 22.


At a news conference in Cagayan de Oro on February 18, Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) Interior Minister Naguib Sinarimo said at least 10 suspects were identified to be responsible for the ambush of the 57-year-old Adiong and his aides, mostly non-commissioned police officers and one Army soldier.

One of the primary suspects identified by the police had previously been charged with multiple murder and double frustrated murder in connection with the killing of five narcotics agents and wounding of two other members of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) in Kapai town, Lanao del Sur, five years ago.

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Mustapha said a third suspect, who was killed during pursuit operations launched by the police and military in Maguing town hours after the ambush of Adiong’s group, was identified as a man Friday of the two primary suspects.

The fresh information came after the Philippine National Police (PNP) in the Bangsamoro region created the Special Investigation Task Group Adiong to focus on identifying suspects and determining the motive for the attempt on the life of the governor.

In 2018, police pressed charges against eight suspects in the ambush of PDEA members who were on their way to Marawi City from a drug symposium in Tagoloan II town in Lanao del Sur on October 5 that same year.

One of the primary suspects in the February 17 ambush of Adiong’s group is a nephew of a former Lanao del Sur town mayor, and the two were among the eight men linked by the police to the killing of PDEA agents in 2018.

His other uncle was killed in a shootout during an anti-drug operation in Marawi City in August 2018, just two months before the Kapai town ambush.

The 2018 ambush also came weeks after the PDEA pulled off what it called the biggest catch of alleged Lanao del Sur-based narcopoliticians in 2018 during a raid in Tubod, Iligan City on September 19 that year.

Arrested during the 2018 Iligan raid were a provincial board member of Lanao del Sur and his wife and son-in-law, a Marawi City councilor, and a former barangay chairman of Maguing, the same town where Adiong and his group were ambushed five years later.

Investigators noted that the ambush of Adiong’s seven-vehicle convoy came on the same day that police and PDEA agents discovered a marijuana plantation in Maguing town and destroyed an estimated P5 million in marijuana plants in the hinterland village of Bato-bato.

Law enforcers uprooted approximately 25,000 fully grown marijuana plants in the outlying village that same day, according to Brigadier General John Guyguyon, the Bangsamoro police director. No arrests were made.

https://www.rappler.com/nation/mindanao/police-report-suspect-ambush-lanao-del-sur-governor-mamintal-adiong-jr/

Marcos: Australian defense chief visit ‘important part of response’ to China aggression

From Rappler (Feb 22, 2023): Marcos: Australian defense chief visit ‘important part of response’ to China aggression (By BEA CUPIN)



Defense officials from Australia and the Philippines earlier discussed the 'possibility of exploring joint patrols' in the South China Sea

MANILA, Philippines – President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. on Wednesday, February 22, welcomed a visit from Australia’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defense Richard Marles, noting this “will be an important part of the response” to China’s increasing acts of aggression in the South China Sea.

Marles paid a call to Marcos in Malaca├▒ang Palace Wednesday afternoon after visiting the Department of National Defense, and holding a joint press conference with defense Senior Undersecretary Carlito Galvez Jr.

“I truly believe that the future lies in strong alliances and in a united front in promoting again the values that we consider important to our countries,” Marcos said during Marles’ call.


“You are going now to Southern Philippines to welcome a contingent from Australia. So this is extremely important that we are seeing constantly in consultation, and we are seeing to continuously promote the rule of law and the sovereignty of nations,” the Presidenrt added.

Hours prior, Galvez and Marles confirmed they discussed the possibility of conducting joint patrols in the South China Sea.

These talks and Marles’ visit comes as China escalated its harassment of Philippine vessels in the West Philippine Sea, or parts of the South China Sea under the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone.

Foreign Affairs Enrique Manalo has described Chinese harassment as a “daily” occurrence in the resource-rich and strategic waterway.

In early February, a Chinese Coast Guard ship used a military-grade laser against the BRP Malapascua near Ayungin (Second Thomas) Shoal in the West Philippine Sea.

Marcos summoned Chinese Ambassador Huang Xillian, telling him that the laser-pointing incident “was only a part of what we are seeing as a – intensifying or escalating of the actions of the marine militia of China, the coast guard of China, and the navy of China.”

Recalling the meeting days later, Marcos said he told Huang that the two countries “have to find a way around this.” Marcos said he told Huang: “Because if we are such close friends, such as China and the Philippines, these are not the kinds of incidents that we should be talking about – between the president and the ambassador to the Philippines from China.”

Just months prior, during an early January state visit to Beijing, both Marcos and Chinese President Xi Jinping promised a “new golden age” of relations between the two countries.

https://www.rappler.com/nation/marcos-australian-defense-chief-visit-important-part-of-response-to-china-aggression/

Adm. Abu tells PCG sailors to have presence of mind, continue bravery in WPS despite challenges

 From Palawan News (Feb 22, 2023): Adm. Abu tells PCG sailors to have presence of mind, continue bravery in WPS despite challenges (By Celeste Anna Formoso)

PCG commandant Adm. Artemio Abu delivers his speech following the ceremony to recognize the bravery of the men and women of the vessels BRP Malapascua and BRP Teresa Magbanua at the city port on February 21. | Photo from the Coast Guard District Palawan

The presence of mind and the bravery of the men and women of the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) at sea are essential now that it is at the forefront of the government’s efforts to assert its sovereignty in the West Philippine Sea.

PCG commandant Adm. Artemio Abu underscored this Tuesday as he led the ceremony to honor the courage of the 133 commanders and crew members of BRP Malapascua and BRP Teresa Magbanua, the two multi-role response vessels (MRRVs) deployed in the troubled waters to conduct maritime patrol missions.

He acknowledged that the recent events that took place in the West Philippine Sea (WPS)—a China Coast Guard (CCG) laser attack on February 6 and a radio challenge against a Vietnamese-flagged trawler on February 9—were “highly contentious” and had been a challenge to the PCG, but should not break its resolve to defend the rights of the Filipino people.

“For whatever interpretations [they] may bear, I am enjoining our PCG sailors to continue to master the much-needed determination and courage to act positively, to endure, and to overcome,” Abu said, wanting them to keep in mind that the PCG has a responsibility on the frontlines of the Philippines’ sovereign powers in the region.


PCG commandant Adm. Artemio Abu delivers his speech following the ceremony to recognize the bravery of the men and women of the vessels BRP Malapascua and BRP Teresa Magbanua at the city port on February 21. | Photo from the Coast Guard District Palawan

Abu further highlighted that they must uphold President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.’s declaration that the country will not cede a single square inch of its territory to other claimant states.

Citing the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and the ruling of the International Tribunal, he asserted that the location near Ayungin Shoal where the laser-pointing incident occurred rightfully belongs to the nation.

“Malinaw ang pahayag ng ating pangulo sa lahat ng engagement that what is ours will remain to be ours—and the coast guardians are expected to do that. Not only us, but the entire government of our country. Hindi lang tayo ang naatasan niya [kundi] lahat ng antas ng pamahalaan. Yan ang posisyon ng ating commander-in-chief,” he said.

“Our position in this matter is recognized and supported by the community of like-minded nations. While we may not have the advantage of having larger and more sophisticated vessels, our unwavering determination and strong will to uphold our dignity as one solid independent nation and assert our sovereign rights will undoubtedly make a significant difference,” Abu added.

On February 6, while escorting Philippine Navy vessels bringing supplies to military soldiers in Ayungin Shoal, CCG ship 5205 prevented the BRP Malapascua from progressing by blinding its bridge crew with military-grade laser light.

According to the PCG, the BRP Malapascua shifted course from Ayungin to Lawak Island in compliance with her deployment plan in order to continue her maritime patrol and support the BRP Teresa Magbanua (MRRV-9701) with her RORE mission to its sub-stations in Kalayaan.

On February 9, BRP Teresa Magbanua radio challenged a Vietnamese fishing vessel at Recto Bank in the West Philippine Sea. The PCG said the MRRV deployed an inflatable rigid-hull boat for boarding and inspection purposes. However, when the crew spotted it, they left the bank.

The government has documented a spate of harassment tactics by China in the WPS, of which the two incidents are examples.

Abu went to the city to congratulate Capt. Rodel Hernandez of BRP Malapascua (MRRV-4403) and Cdr. Erwin Tolentino of BRP Teresa Magbanua (MRRV-9701) and gave them each the Distinguished Coast Guard Cross Medal and Ribbon.

The 131 officers and crewmembers of both vessels, including the ladies who issue radio challenges known as Angels of the Sea, were awarded too the Coast Guard Bronze Cross Medal and Ribbon.

The brief ceremony took place onboard the BRP Teresa Magbanua, which was docked at the city port on February 21.

Abu was joined in the event by the commander of the Coast Guard Fleet, Rear Adm. Charlie Rances; the new commander of the PCG in Palawan, Capt. Dennis Rem Labay; his deputy commander, Capt. Dorothy Manglicmot; and station commander of the PCG Central Palawan, Capt. Antolin Cayabo.

https://palawan-news.com/adm-abu-tells-pcg-sailors-to-have-presence-of-mind-continue-bravery-in-wps-despite-challenges/

PH, CH coast guards exchange radio challenges in WPS

From Palawan News (Feb 23, 2023): PH, CH coast guards exchange radio challenges in WPS (By Celeste Anna Formoso)

This image captured on February 21 by a PCG aircraft conducting a marine domain awareness flight shows Chinese maritime militia vessels anchored in the West Philippine Sea around Sabina Shoal. | Photo from the PCG

The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) and the China Coast Guard (CCG) had a brief encounter over the airwaves as they exchanged radio challenges on the disputed waters of the West Philippine Sea on Tuesday, February 21.

According to the PCG, CCG vessel 5304 issued radio challenges to its Cessna Caravan 2081 aircraft twice during a routine maritime domain awareness (MDA) fly over the Sabina and Ayungin shoals, which are within the country’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ).

“As PCG Cessna Caravan 2081 approached the airspace over Sabina Shoal it received inaudible radio challenges, both in English and Chinese, from CCG-5304 currently continuing to maintain presence in the area. The PCG aircraft issued its own radio challenge emphasizing that it is conducting MDA flight within airspace over the Philippine EEZ and directing CCG-5304 to leave the area immediately,” the PCG said.

Aerial photo of the CCG vessel 5304 on Ayungin Shoal, in close proximity to the BRP Sierra Madre. | Photo from the PCG

“[When the patrol] approached within ten nautical miles off Ayungin Shoal, CCG-5304 once again issued an unclear radio challenge. The PCG aircraft responded by repeating that it was conducting MDA flight in airspace within Philippine EEZ and again challenged CCG-5304 to leave the area immediately,” the also read.

The PCG also observed at least 26 suspected Chinese maritime militia (CMM) vessels anchored around Sabina Shoal, while CCG 5304 remained within one nautical mile off Ayungin with four more of the armed fishing fleet.

Throughout their MDA flight, PCG Cessna Caravan 2081 continued to issue radio challenges to CCG and suspected CMM vessels in the vicinity of the Ayungin and Sabina shoals.

The PCG ordered the CMM vessels to leave the Philippine EEZ immediately and advised their crew members that they’re not permitted to loiter or swarm its shoals or other claimed features.

PCG pilots also communicated patrol data and observations to Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) officers stationed aboard BRP Sierra Madre (LS-57). This was done to assure the AFP officers of the unwavering support and immediate assistance that the PCG is capable of providing.

CCG 5304 and four CMM vessels near Ayungin. | Photo from the PCG

This latest incident occurred two weeks after CCG vessel 5205 pointed a military-grade laser light onto BRP Malapascua (MRRV-4403) while it was escorting a Philippine Navy resupply and rotation mission to Ayungin, where government forces are stationed on BRP Sierra Madre.

The PCG stated that the CCG’s aggressive play to block its vessel briefly blinded its bridge personnel.

“The presence of CCG vessels in Ayungin and Sabina shoals was further confirmed by their Automatic Identification System (AIS) signatures. AIS data processed by the PCG indicated that while CCG 5205—the vessel that harassed BRP Malapascua with weapons grade laser—had on February 8, 2023, departed the Kalayaan Island Group (KIG) en route to Hainan, China, another CCG vessel, CCG 5304, continued to maintain presence in Ayungin Shoal to date,” the PCG further stated.

PCG commandant Adm. Artemio Abu said that as a result of these incidents, and to assure the public, they have ramped up their patrolling of the West Philippine Sea (WPS) using their assets.

“They can rely on the PCG and the AFP troops to realize the commitment of our president, that we will not abandon even a square inch of the territory of the Republic of the Philippines to any foreign power,” Abu said.Watch the video from the PCG.

https://palawan-news.com/ph-ch-coast-guards-exchange-radio-challenges-in-wps/

15,000 security personnel to be deployed for MiceCon

From the Mindanao Times (Feb 22, 2023): 15,000 security personnel to be deployed for MiceCon (By RHODA GRACE SARON)
 


The security cluster is deploying 15,000 personnel for the upcoming Meetings, Incentive Travel, Conventions, and Exhibitions Conference (MiceCon) next month.

The deployment of these personnel is part of the ramping up of security measures for the three-day event that opens in March.

MiceCon is the country’s premier gathering for professionals in the MICE industry.

City Public Safety and Security Office head Angel Sumagaysay said personnel from the Davao City Police Office and other security and safety clusters of the city have been doubling their security efforts for the event.


“We are expanding our security coverage, this number is even bigger than what we had pre-pandemic and the Kadayawan festival last year. As MiceCon Davao also falls during the Araw ng Dabaw celebration, we are expecting more events,” he added.

Sumagaysay said locals and tourists can expect to see increased visibility of security personnel during the whole duration of the conference.

The MiceCon2023 also falls during the month-long celebration of the 86th Araw Ng Dabaw.

For delegates and visitors who want to explore beyond the city, Sumagaysay said the city’s security cluster is coordinating closely with the Police Regional Office in Davao and the 10th Infantry Division to secure safety and peaceful experience for visitors.

Hailed as one of the safest cities in the world, the city has cemented this title with its state-of-the-art Public Safety and Security Command Center, the first and only of its kind in the Philippines.

The center is home to the city’s 911 Emergency Response System, which provides emergency medical assistance, urban search and rescue, fire auxiliary services, and K9.

This makes the cityas the only city outside the United States and Canada to have this emergency response capacity. What’s even better is the city government provides the service for free, he added.

The PSSCC facility serves as the nerve center for 173 Security Cameras installed in strategic areas in the city, including the entry and exit points to and from the city and its populated areas. Also, 17 cameras monitor the traffic at the major road intersections in the city.

All these were also made possible because of the effective local governance and coordination among security and safety agencies.

Several regulations, policies, and ordinances are also being implemented in the city to make it safe, livable, and progressive.

In July 2022, the Police Regional Office in Davao (PRO-Davao) reported decreased crime incidents by 5.8 percent compared to the previous year.

The city is also conducting regular security and cluster simulation exercises for bomb-throwing, shooting, and hostage-taking.

“We are in a constant effort to make this city safe for our locals and tourists. We always do these exercises and coordination because we want to be ready when big events and conferences are being held in the city, may it be government or private-led events,” Sumagaysay added.

He underscored that the safety and peace situation in the city is everyone’s concern.

“We encourage all the residents and even the tourists and visitors to help us keep the city safe,” Sumagaysay added.

Organizers of the tourism-related event expressed their gratitude to the city government, DOT Region XI, Tourism Promotions Board, Waterfront Insular Hotel Davao, Dusit D2 Hotel, SM Lanang Premier, Royal Mandaya Hotel, Acacia Hotel, Rogen Inn, Seda Abreeza Hotel, The Ritz at Garden Oases, Pearl Farm Beach Resort, Discovery Samal, Agriya, Villa Margarita, Davao Region Cacao Council, Mr & Mrs B, Habi at Kape, Davao Region Coffee Council, Annipie Bakery Cafe, Maan’s Bakeshop, and the Zegen Management Group.

https://mindanaotimes.com.ph/2023/02/22/15000-security-personnel-to-be-deployed-for-micecon/

AFRAID OF PROBE: Soldier in custody for Plaza murder case

From the Mindanao Times (Feb 23, 2023): AFRAID OF PROBE: Soldier in custody for Plaza murder case (By RHODA GRACE SARON)
 


The 10th Infantry Division has announced that they have in custody the soldier who went absent without official leave and was tagged in the murder case of Yvonette Chua Plaza.

Captain Mark Anthony Tito, Public Affairs Office head of the division, said Private First Class Dolly Cabal has been in their custody since the previous week at the Division headquarters in Barangay Tuboran, Mawab, Davao de Oro.


When asked how Cabal was found, Tito said, “Naningkamot ta maam na ma reach out siya and ma convince na magbalik.”

Cabal went missing after his colleagues were called by the division due to the Plaza murder.

Tito explained: “Naghawa siya kay nahadlok siya maam sa investigation na e conduct kay gipatawag na man pud to iyang mga kauban that time.” Meanwhile, efforts are still being made to locate abducted personnel Corporal Longakit.

The Philippine Army has filed charges against former Presidential Security Group (PSG) commander Jesus Durante III and his deputy, Col. Michael Licyayo, for their involvement in the killing of Plaza on December 28, 2022.

The two officers are facing a court-martial, which is not prejudicial to the criminal charges against them.


Army Chief Romeo Brawner Jr. said that the case is in the pre-trial investigation stage, and the Provost Marshall and Judge Advocate General are studying the counter-affidavit submitted by the two after they were served with a copy of the charges.

The Army filed charges for violation of Article 96 or “conduct unbecoming an officer and gentleman” and Article 97 or “conduct prejudicial to good order and military discipline” of the Articles of War.

Brawner said that an additional charge may be added depending on the results of the pre-trial investigation. Durante and Licyayo remain in the custody of the Army headquarters in Fort Bonifacio, Taguig city while the investigation is ongoing.

As for two other individuals who were not identified in the case, a man only identified as a master sergeant and a civilian, Captain Tito said that the unit has no update yet, as it has also been providing security to the three other soldiers who were tagged as involved in the killing and have already executed their extrajudicial confessions.

https://mindanaotimes.com.ph/2023/02/23/afraid-of-probe-soldier-in-custody-for-plaza-murder-case/

2-NIGHT SIMEX| Preparation intensified for March events

From the Mindanao Times (Feb 23, 2023): 2-NIGHT SIMEX| Preparation intensified for March events (BY RHODA GRACE SARON)



The security sector of the city recently conducted two-evening simulation exercises at the Roxas Night Market and Nova Plaza Food Park as part of the city’s preparation for the upcoming 86th Araw ng Dabaw celebration and other major events in March.

Col. Darren Comia, Task Force Davao commander, said the responding personnel from the Safety and Security Cluster performed well, despite encountering minor glitches.

“Maganda naman pagkaka-perform ng ating Safety and Security Cluster. May minor glitches pero overall maganda naman pagkaka-perform based on security tasks ng ating simulation exercises. Tinitingnan natin ang response ng cluster during night time,” said Comia.

The simulation exercises were conducted in the Roxas Night Market and Nova Plaza Food Park, which are popular destinations for Dabawenyos. The chosen locations aimed to test the capabilities of the Security Cluster in responding to incidents that may happen in these areas.


City Information Office (CIO) officer-in-charge Harvey James Lanticse said: “Gi-simulate ra ang scenario kung adunay untoward incident nga mahitabo sa dakbayan to test the capabilities of the Security Cluster, at the same time sa atong LGU ug katawhan.”

The simulation exercises were unannounced to make them more realistic and similar to untoward incidents. The TFD thanked the people of Davao for their understanding, support, and participation in the crucial exercises to help boost the city’s Safety and Security Cluster’s readiness to respond to untoward incidents.

Comia added, “Pagpasensyahan nyo na po at nagpi-prepare tayo sa parating at maraming activities na kailangang paghandain ang Safety and Security Cluster.”.

The Culture of Security Campaign is a regular exercise to strengthen the people’s awareness of security and their participation.

“Ikaunom na ni nga simex, dili first-time kay regular na ni ginapraktis aron sa pagpakusog sa atong culture of security. Gina-encourage ang participation and awareness sa atong mga igsoong Dabawenyo,” Lanticse said.

Executive Order No. 23, Series of 2021, was issued to encourage Dabawenyos to adopt the Culture of Security as part of their way of life. The simulation exercises, along with other preparations, aim to ensure the safety and security of the people in Davao during major events and celebrations.

https://mindanaotimes.com.ph/2023/02/23/2-night-simex-preparation-intensified-for-march-events/

Soldiers participate in mental health event

From the Mindanao Times (Feb 23, 2023): Soldiers participate in mental health event (By RHODA GRACE SARON)



The Mental Health Teams of Camp General Manuel T. Yan Senior Station Hospital have conducted a Mental Health Seminar and Workshop for selected personnel of 10th Infantry Division post units in Mawab, Davao De Oro.

The workshop aimed to determine the mental health status and stress levels of 65 personnel from the 10th Installation and Management Battalion, 10th Division Training School, and 10th Company of K-9 Battalion, said Captain Mark Anthony Tito, head of the Public Affairs Office of the division.

The teams conducted a focused group discussion to identify mental health challenges and coping strategies among the personnel and assisted them in determining their strengths and abilities to bounce back to a normal state of mental well-being.

Major Gen Jose Eriel M Niembra, 10ID Commander, praised the initiative of CGMTYSSH in ensuring the good mental health status of 10ID personnel.


“Our soldiers are exposed to stressful situations, and it is our prime duty to look for the well-being not only for mission accomplishment but for the betterment of our organization,” Niembra added.

The teams plan to implement the program to all personnel of 10ID headquarters until Feb. 25 and intend to reach out to all 10ID subordinate units.

The teams have made it a priority to ensure good mental health status among 10ID personnel.

As soldiers are exposed to stressful situations, the Mental Health Teams seek to promote their well-being not only for mission accomplishment but also for the betterment of the organization.

The initiative has been well-received by the 10th Infantry Division, and the Mental Health Teams are set to implement the program to all personnel of 10ID headquarters until Feb. 25. They also intend to reach out to all 10ID subordinate units to promote mental health and resilience.

The importance of mental health and well-being has become increasingly recognized in the armed forces, and initiatives such as this are essential to ensuring that soldiers can cope with the challenges they face. By addressing mental health challenges and promoting resilience, soldiers can perform their duties more effectively while maintaining their well-being.

Overall, the Mental Health Seminar and Workshop conducted by the teams of CGMTYSSH have been a step towards ensuring the good mental health status of the 10th Infantry Division personnel, and this initiative will have a positive impact on the organization, said Tito.

https://mindanaotimes.com.ph/2023/02/23/soldiers-participate-in-mental-health-event/

Philippine Army troops conduct joint exercises with Australian counterparts

From MindaNews (Feb 22, 2023): Philippine Army troops conduct joint exercises with Australian counterparts (By FERDINANDH B. CABRERA)

COTABATO CITY (MindaNews / 22 February)— A platoon of Australian Army soldiers have started exercises with their counterparts in the Philippine Army at the headquarters of the 6th Infantry Division starting Feb. 20 until March 31.

Philippine and Australian soldiers at the start of joint exercises at the 6th ID’s Camp Siongco. Photo courtesy of 6ID

The Australian soldiers of the 6th Battalion of the Royal Australian Regiment—led by Lt. Col. Timothy Lopsik, the Assistant Defence Attach├ę—are now at Camp Siongco in Awang, Datu Odin Sinsuat municipality in Maguindanao del Norte for the six-week joint exercise.

The joint exercises aim to share experiences and improve security in the areas of garrison maintenance, military tactics, techniques and procedures.


The joint forces held the opening ceremony at the 6ID grandstand on Monday, presided over by Brig. Gen. Jovencio Gonzales, assistant division commander for operations in
behalf of the division commander, Maj. Gen. Alex Rillera.

Gonzales expressed his gratitude to the Australian government for choosing 6ID as their partner on this endeavor.

“This training will pave a way for our soldiers to acquire new skills, sharpen existing ones, perform better, increase productivity, and be better leaders. Our cooperation truly promotes our shared vision for a peaceful, inclusive, and resilient region of sovereign states,” he said.

https://www.mindanews.com/top-stories/2023/02/philippine-army-troops-conduct-joint-exercises-with-australian-counterparts/

Police identifies suspects behind Gov. Adiong ambush

From MindaNews (Feb 22, 2023): Police identifies suspects behind Gov. Adiong ambush (By FERDINANDH B. CABRERA)

COTABATO CITY (MindaNews / 22 Feb)—The Lanao del Sur police has given out names of suspects behind the ambush of the convoy of Lanao del Sur Governor Mamintal “Bombit” Adiong Jr., as well as that of one of the attackers killed after the conduct of hot operation by police and military troops.

Gov. Mamintal “Bombit” Adiong Jr. Photo from the Lanao del Sur provincial government Facebook page

But Maj. Alvison Mustapha, spokesperson of Lanao del Sur police, only mentioned a certain Kumander Lumala and Oscar Gandawali as suspects behind the ambush in the municipality of Maguing Friday last week that killed four people and injured the governor.

Mustapha refused to provide more details.

Oscar Capal Gandawali was among 10 suspects in the ambush of Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) agents in the Lanao del Sur town of Kapai on October 5, 2018 wherein five were killed and two others were wounded.

Police, meanwhile, identified the cadaver of certain “Alyas Otin,” an alleged follower of the suspects, who was killed during a hot pursuit operation conducted by joint security forces in the evening of the ambush also in Maguing.


Over the weekend, Bangsamoro Minister for Interior and Local Government Naguib Sinarimbo also announced that 10 suspects have already been identified but did not divulge the names pending results of the investigation being conducted by the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).

“We know who these suspects are. It would be better for them to surrender peacefully,” Sinarimbo said as he asked the mayors belonging to the League of Municipalities of the Philippines (LMP) Lanao del Sur chapter to negotiate for the surrender of the suspects to the authorities.

Unidentified gunmen ambushed the convoy of Adiong in barangay Delimbayan, Maguing town while the governor was on his way to Wao town in Lanao del Sur.

Adiong, along with two others, was wounded but four of his security escorts died in the ambush.

The governor was brought to Cagayan de Oro where doctors at the Polymedic General Hospital removed a slug from his right hip last Friday.

The 57-year-old governor was declared out of danger after the successful operation.

https://www.mindanews.com/top-stories/2023/02/police-identifies-suspects-behind-gov-adiong-ambush/

Suspect in ambush of Lanao Sur guv killed

From the Philippine News Agency (Feb 22, 2023): Suspect in ambush of Lanao Sur guv killed (By Christopher Lloyd Caliwan)



(Photo courtesy of PNP Public Information Office)

MANILA – An armed man believed to be among the suspects in the assassination attempt on Lanao del Sur Governor Mamintal Alonto Adiong Jr. was killed in a police operation.

Speaking to reporters in Camp Crame, Quezon City on Wednesday, Philippine National Police-Public Information Office (PNP-PIO) chief, Col. Redrico Maranan, identified the suspect as alias "Otin", the son of an alias "Fighter" who is among the five main suspects in the ambush.

Maranan said this was based on the report of Brig. Gen. John Guyguyon, director of the Police Regional Office in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region (PRO-BAR).


“Noong Feb. 18 ay nagkaroon ng resulta yung hot pursuit operation na ginagawa ng ating kapulisan sa PRO BAR sa pangunguna ng ating regional director na si (Brig.) Gen. John Guyguyon at sa hot pursuit operation na ito ay nakasagupa ng mga elemento ng ating pambansang pulisya ang isang kinilala na isang alias Otin at ito ay base sa pagkilala ng mga testigo ay isa sa mga responsible sa pag-ambush kay Governor Adiong (Last Feb. 18, a hot pursuit operation was conducted by the PRO BAR led by regional director, Gen. John Guyguyon. And in this operation, the cops encountered a person identified as an alias Otin and it is based on the identification of the witnesses that he is one of those responsible for the ambush of Governor Adiong),” Maranan said.

Seized from the suspect was a Colt MK IV .45-caliber pistol with serial number 79234, loaded with six live ammunition.

PNP chief, Gen. Rodolfo Azurin Jr., said an investigation is underway to determine the motive for the ambush, which includes a possible retaliation against the governor's crackdown on marijuana plantations in the province.

“We will continue investigating and determine the real motive of the ambush of Governor Adiong. But we are very careful in investigating and looking at the possible persons of interest in order to ensure that we get the right persons,” said Azurin in a separate statement.

He also said PNP investigators are constantly monitoring and coordinating with the victims and their families to obtain their statements regarding the incident for the filing of appropriate criminal complaints.

"We condemn this senseless act of violence against our public servants. We assure the public that the PNP will exhaust all efforts to bring the perpetrators to justice. We stand in solidarity with the families of the victims, and we will not rest until those responsible are held accountable for their actions," said Azurin.

Adiong and one of his staff members were wounded while three of his security personnel were killed in the attack that took place in Maguing town, Lanao del Sur on Feb. 17.

https://www.pna.gov.ph/articles/1195784

PH, Australia commit to further deepen defense ties

From the Philippine News Agency (Feb 22, 2023): PH, Australia commit to further deepen defense ties (By Priam Nepomuceno)



Australian Deputy Prime Minister and Defense Minister Richard Marles (left) and Department of National Defense (DND) officer-in-charge Undersecretary Carlito Galvez Jr. (right) (PNA photo by Priam Nepomuceno)

MANILA – The visit of Australian Deputy Prime Minister and Defense Minister Richard Marles to the Philippines highlights the two nations' commitment to enhancing their defense relations.

"We welcome the visit of Australian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defense during his official visit here in the Philippines. This visit has demonstrated the steadfast commitment of the Australian and the Philippine government to further deepen our bilateral defense relations between our nations," said Undersecretary Carlito Galvez Jr., Department of National Defense (DND) officer-in-charge, during Wednesday's joint press conference in Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City.

He also appreciated the fact that Australia's relationship with southeast Asian nations is mutual and founded on solid ground.

"As Deputy Prime Minister Marles said, Australia's relationship across the region are founded on history, personal connections and shared interest," Galvez said.

The DND chief said both the Philippines and Australia are looking forward to elevating their partnership as agreed by the leaders of the two nations in November.


"During our meeting, the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defense and I discussed the defense cooperation between our countries. In particular we recall the successful conduct of last year's bilateral dialogue platforms and various engagements across several areas of collaboration," he added.

While the Philippines and Australia have agreed to explore other areas of cooperation, Galvez said counter-terrorism and maritime security remain the "core pillars" of the two nations' bilateral defense relations.

"We reaffirm the need to continue working together towards a common goal of maintaining a free, open and secure Indo-Pacific Region. The Philippines also reiterated its appreciation to Australia for its consistent support to the 2016 Arbitral Tribunal Award and at the same time its continued support during the Covid (-19) pandemic," he added.

During that time, the DND chief recounted that the Australian government donated more than 8 million doses of the Covid-19 vaccine.

Also, Galvez said both the Philippines and Australia believed in the importance of collaboration of like-minded security partners to achieve collective security.

"In the region where nations could freely exercise their sovereign rights while pursuing stability and prosperity in the Asia Pacific and Indo-Pacific region. Building on the consensus between our defense departments to regularly meet through the establishment of a Defense Ministerial Meeting or (DMM), I look forward to the next meeting with Deputy Prime Minister Marles in Australia, a homecoming for me considering I really love Australia with my family, and explore joint patrols and joint patrols and joint trainings with friends and allied countries," he added,

Meanwhile, Marles said there is a "sense of friendship" in ties between Manila and Canberra.

"There are deep connections over a long period of time between Australia and the Philippines, deep people and people connections. Today the Filipinos community numbers 400,000 which is one of the largest in our country and what that means is that there are so many people across both of our countries who have deep connections with each other in our respective countries, and those connections underpin a sense of trust, a sense of affection," he added.

He also said the two nations have a strong relationship that could be taken to a higher level.

"Later this year we look forward to signing the strategic partnership between our two countries which comes on top of the first meeting between Prime Minister (Anthony) Albenese and President (Ferdinand) R. Marcos Jr. in November last year," he added.

https://www.pna.gov.ph/articles/1195792

Australia eyes joint naval patrols with PH in South China Sea

From the Philippine News Agency (Feb 22, 2023): Australia eyes joint naval patrols with PH in South China Sea (By Priam Nepomuceno)



Australian Deputy Prime Minister and Defense Minister Richard Marles (Photo courtesy of DND)

MANILA – Australian Deputy Prime Minister and Defense Minister Richard Marles said Wednesday they are looking at ways to conduct joint patrols in the South China Sea and more military exercises with the Philippines.

"(We are) looking at ways which we can pursue joint patrols together in the South China Sea, and looking at ways in which we can do more exercises together," Marles said during the joint conference held at the Department of National Defense headquarters in Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City shortly after his meeting with DND officer-in-charge Senior Undersecretary Carlito Galvez Jr.

No other details were given on how this proposal will be carried out.


In line with this development, Marles said Australia is sending one of its largest contingents ever to this year's iteration of "Exercise Balikatan," which will take place in April.

"And we look forward to the Philippines, for the first time, sending observers to Exercise Talisman Sabre in Australia in August," he added.

Marles said all of these engagements speak of deepening relations between the two nations, which are based on a "very strong foundation."

"All of these speak to a deepening relationship, a relationship built on a very strong foundation both at the level of government and at the level of people. And we're really excited and filled with optimism about where this relationship goes," he added.

Marles also said the Philippines would be “very central” to their Indo-Pacific Endeavor, which is Australia's naval regional flagship engagement to be held later this year.

"We look forward to a visit here as part of the Indo-Pacific Endeavor in the coming months," he added.

Marles also said Australia and the Philippines have a greater strategic alignment than they had at any moment in their respective histories.

"Both countries are allies of the United States, both countries have China as our largest trading partner. Both the Philippines and Australia are completely committed to a global rules-based order," he added.

This affirmation, Marles said, is "deeply connected to the two nations' respective national interests that the rules of the road as they apply to a body of water such as the South China Sea, the UN (United Nations) Convention of the Law of the Sea, the freedom of navigation (and) the freedom of overflight."

"All of these principles are completely central to our national interests, and to our collective security," he added.

https://www.pna.gov.ph/articles/1195811

PH condemns N. Korea’s long-range ballistic missile test

From the Philippine News Agency (Feb 22, 2023): PH condemns N. Korea’s long-range ballistic missile test (By Joyce Ann L. Rocamora)



Department of Foreign Affairs in Pasay City (PNA photo by Avito Dalan)

MANILA – The Philippine government on Wednesday night denounced North Korea’s test of an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), saying it undermined peace in the region and the world.

In a statement, the Department of Foreign Affairs said the tests provoke tension as it reiterated the Philippines' call on North Korea to “immediately put a stop” to its missile launches and comply with United Nations Security Council resolutions.

“The Philippines condemns the test of an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) on February 18, 2023 by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) as well as the other ballistic missile tests,” the statement read.

It also asked North Korea to engage South Korea through diplomacy and peaceful dialogue.


The ICBM was fired off from Pyongyang into the sea about 200 kilometers west of Oshima Island in Japan on Saturday and was followed by two short-range ballistic missile launches on Monday.

The long-range ballistic missile test was North Korea’s first ICBM launch since November 2022.

https://www.pna.gov.ph/articles/1195874

CHR slams NPA attack vs. troops in Albay

From the Philippine News Agency (Feb 22, 2023): CHR slams NPA attack vs. troops in Albay (By Connie Calipay)



Commission on Human Rights (PNA)

LEGAZPI CITY – The Commission on Human Rights in Bicol (CHR-5) Wednesday condemned the latest attack by suspected members of the New People’s Army against government troops doing a rescue mission in Albay recently.

Lawyer Arlene Alangco, CHR Bicol regional director, said the assault against two soldiers of the Philippine Army’s 31st Infantry Battalion last Monday in barangay Cotmon, Camalig town, was also an attack on the country’s peace and stability.

"(The) attack on the security sector is an attack on the peace and stability of the country, and the people they have sworn to serve and protect," Alangco said.

Privates John Paul C. Adalim and Mark June D. Esico, who were buying supplies for the search and rescue operation of the crashed Cessna aircraft in Albay, died on the spot after they were shot multiple times in a market in barangay Cotmon, said Capt. Frank Roldan, 9th Infantry Division Public Affairs Office (DPAO) chief.

Roldan said the communist rebels took advantage of the situation where members of the military were busy assisting other government agencies to search for the Cessna plane that crashed in Albay on Friday.

Then they found an opening to stage an attack against government troopers, he added.

Both slain soldiers were part of the security detail of an ongoing infrastructure project of Centerways Construction in Barangay Sulong in Camalig.

https://www.pna.gov.ph/articles/1195791

29 BIFF militants yield in Maguindanao Norte

From the Philippine News Agency (Feb 22, 2023): 29 BIFF militants yield in Maguindanao Norte (By Edwin Fernandez)



Google map of Maguindanao del Norte.

SULTAN KUDARAT, Maguindanao del Norte – Twenty-nine members of the outlawed Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) have voluntarily surrendered with their firearms to authorities here, an Army official said Wednesday.

Brig. Gen. Leodevic Guinid, the Army’s 1st Brigade Combat Team commander, said the surrenderers
turned over assorted high-powered rifles, homemade explosive devices, mortar rounds and ammunition on Tuesday afternoon at the brigade headquarters in Barangay Pigcalagan here.


“I commend the decision of the surrenderers to lay down their arms and denounce the terrorist organization,” Guinid said in a statement.

The surrenderers belong to the BIFF-Kagui Karialan faction operating in the provinces of Maguindanao del Sur, Maguindanao del Norte and North Cotabato.

During the surrender rite attended by police, military, and local officials, Guinid urged the former militants to “tell your companions still out there to come forward, surrender and the government will help all of you become productive citizens.”

Datu Anwar Emblawa, Shariff Aguak's municipal executive secretary, handed over financial assistance to the former extremists who were from their town in Maguindanao del Sur.

Some 50 BIFF have surrendered to military forces in the area of operation of the Army’s 6th Infantry Division that included the provinces of Maguindanao del Sur, Maguindanao del Norte, Sultan Kudarat, South Cotabato, and parts of Sarangani, North Cotabato, and Lanao del Sur.

https://www.pna.gov.ph/articles/1195793

Army disaster response in E. Visayas gets boost with add’l troops

From the Philippine News Agency (Feb 22, 2023): Army disaster response in E. Visayas gets boost with add’l troops (By Roel Amazona)



MORE SOLDIERS. The additional troops for Eastern Visayas during their arrival in the region in this Feb. 20, 2022 photo. The troops are also trained on post-disaster response. (PNA photo by Sarwell Meniano)

TACLOBAN CITY – The arrival of additional troops in Eastern Visayas would not only help end the insurgency in the region but to boost the Philippine Army's capability on post-disaster response.

Their deployment in the region is an edge considering the region's location in the storm path, said Capt. Jefferson Mariano, spokesperson of the Philippine Army's 8th Infantry Division, in an interview Wednesday.

"They are here for the peace and development, but because of the geographical location of the 8th ID which is we are along the storm path that would be their second concern, the humanitarian assistance and disaster relief (HADR),” Mariano said.

The official made the remarks days after the arrival of two Army battalions composed of 1,000 soldiers.


The two battalions – the 74th and 42nd Infantry Battalions – were previously assigned to fight armed rebels in Mindanao.

“Part of their training was HADR. It involves search and rescue and relief assistance distribution during times of calamities and disasters," Mariano added.

The two additional battalions are expected to advance the anti-insurgency campaign in the region, especially since four of the last five remaining guerrilla fronts in the country are on Samar Island.

Since last year, a total of four additional battalions have been deployed to Eastern Visayas to help eliminate the New People's Army in the region, considered the country's last bastion of insurgency.

https://www.pna.gov.ph/articles/1195830