Monday, June 26, 2023

122 AFP officers complete 9-month command course class

From the Philippine News Agency (Jun 26, 2023): 122 AFP officers complete 9-month command course class (By Priam Nepomuceno)

(Photo courtesy of AFP)

MANILA – Some 122 student officers have successfully hurdled the Command and General Staff Course Class (CGSC) Class 72, which would provide the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) with its next generation of leaders.

In a statement over the weekend, AFP public affairs office chief Lt. Col. Enrico Gil Ileto said these officers graduated from the prestigious CGSC last June 23 during rites held at Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City.

"The CGSC is a course taken by AFP officers which aims to equip them with necessary skills for higher responsibilities and to become effective military commanders, leaders, and managers," he added.

The guest-of-honor for this event was AFP chief Gen. Andres Centino who expressed confidence that these newly-graduated CGSC-qualified officers will uphold the professionalism and excellence of the Armed Forces.

"Remember that the knowledge and skills you have acquired come with a responsibility to serve our country with honor, integrity and dedication. Each of you is part of the proud legacy of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, joining the ranks of leaders and visionaries who have come before you and served our nation with distinction," Centino said.

The CGSC Class 72 consists of 122 student officers from the AFP's major services, technical administrative services, and other agencies.

Ileto said these military officials were declared graduates after completing the course for nine months.

Hunt on for ex-Sulu vice mayor as 6K evacuated due to clashes

From the Philippine News Agency (Jun 26, 2023): Hunt on for ex-Sulu vice mayor as 6K evacuated due to clashes (By Christopher Lloyd Caliwan)

MANILA – Authorities continue to mount pursuit operations against a former vice mayor of Maimbung, Sulu and his private armed group (PAG) who figured in a gunfight with government troops over the weekend which left two dead, including a policeman.

In a presser in Camp Crame, Quezon City on Monday, Philippine National Police (PNP) Public Information Office chief Brig. Gen. Redrico Maranan said the suspect Pando Mudjasan is reported to be employing armed civilians and keeping in his possession loose firearms and explosives.

Joint police and military units encountered an undetermined number of armed men during the service of a warrant of arrest for murder and implementation of search warrants against Mudjasan for violation of Republic Act (RA) 10591 (illegal possession of firearms) and RA 9516 (illegal possession of explosives) in Barangay Bualo Lipid, Maimbung, Sulu at around 7 a.m. on June 24.

“Accordingly, the subject of the SW, Pando Mudjasan, was in the area which is fortified, which means the area where he is staying has layers of defense. While government troops led by the CIDG and supported by the SAF and the AFP were approaching vice mayor Mudjasan’s place an encounter ensued which eventually became intense as there was a heavy exchange of gunfire,” Maranan told reporters.

He also said the PRO Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) was placed on the highest security alert status as part of the defensive measures and pursuit operations against the subjects of warrant of arrest.

Meanwhile, the Sulu Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (PDRRMO) said 1,174 families or 6,674 individuals in three barangays were evacuated due to the clashes.

“Ayon sa report ng ating RD (regional director) at yung mga inilikas na sibilyan doon sa lugar kung saan naganap yung engkuwentro ay hindi pa natin pinababalik sapagkat naroon pa rin yung ating mga hinahanap at possible magkaroon pa ng mga engkuwentro. (According to the report of our RD and evacuated civilians, the encounter took place and we have not sent them back because the ones we are looking for might still be there and it is likely that there would be clashes again),” Maranan said.

The PDRRMO also said one member of the SAF was killed while 14 troops were wounded in the clash. Some of the wounded personnel were brought to an undisclosed medical facility for immediate treatment.

Maranan said that upon the instruction of PNP chief Gen. Benjamin Acorda Jr., those wounded will be receiving the necessary medical attention and that their families will get all necessary assistance to aid in their fast recovery

Additionally, one member of the 7th Special Action Battalion unit, identified as Pat. Regim Gacod was declared dead on arrival at Maimbung Hospital.

The government forces were not able to arrest Mudjasan because he was alerted due to the early start of the firefight.

Recovered items from the operation include one M14 rifle, four magazines, assorted ammunition and personal items.

The CIDG has taken custody of the seized pieces of evidence for documentation and proper disposition. The cadaver of a neutralized individual identified as Muhammad Ladja, who is allegedly from Mudjasan's side, was claimed by immediate relatives.

"I would like to express my deepest condolences to the family and loved ones of Pat Gacod, rest assured that the benefits due our fallen comrade will be given immediately to his family. I also extend my sympathies to those operating members who were injured in the recent firefight," Acorda said in a separate statement.

"I commend the valor and dedication displayed by our law enforcement personnel who participated in the operations. Despite the inherent risks involved, they fearlessly carried out their duty to serve and protect our communities. Their commitment to upholding the rule of law and maintaining peace and order is truly admirable. The PNP will use all our assets and forces to hunt down those people who are involved and we will not stop until they are behind bars," Acorda added.

He also stated that the PNP remains steadfast in its commitment to protect and serve the Filipino people and will continue to enhance its operational capabilities to go after private armed groups.

The former vice mayor has standing warrants of arrest for double murder, multiple murder, two counts of frustrated murder and for violation of the Comprehensive Firearms and Ammunition Regular Act.

The Area Police Command-Western Mindanao (APC-WM) said Mudjasan's group is a potential private armed group that may be utilized in the Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan Elections on Oct. 30.

NCRPO gets new chief in latest PNP reshuffle

From the Philippine News Agency (Jun 26, 2023): NCRPO gets new chief in latest PNP reshuffle (By Christopher Lloyd Caliwan)

MANILA – The National Capital Region Police (NCRPO) has a new head following the latest reorganization of police officials.

In an order which took effect Monday, Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Gen. Benjamin Acorda Jr. reassigned Directorate for Intelligence (DI) chief Brig. Gen. Jose Melencio Nartatez Jr., as the new acting regional director of the NCRPO.

Nartatez replaced Maj. Gen. Edgar Alan Okubo, who was named the new chief of the Directorate for Police Community Relations (DPCR).

Meanwhile, then DPCR director Maj. Gen. Mario Reyes was designated to head the Directorate for Logistics while Maj. Gen. Jon Arnaldo replaced Nartatez as the new DI chief.

Brig. Gen. Ronald Oliver Lee was designated as the new chief of the Directorate for Human Resource and Doctrine Development (DHRDD), replacing Arnaldo.

Maj. Gen. Eric Noble, director of the PNP Academy (PNPA), was named the new head of the Directorate for Investigation and Detective Management (DIDM) while Brig. Gen. Samuel Nacion will be the acting PNPA director.

Brig. Gen. Alan Nazarro from the Directorate of Information and Communication Technology Management (DICTM) was named the acting director of the Highway Patrol Group (HPG).

Galvez back as OPAPRU chief; Gadon gets poverty alleviation post

From the Philippine News Agency (Jun 26, 2023): Galvez back as OPAPRU chief; Gadon gets poverty alleviation post (By Anna Leah Gonzales)

Presidential Adviser for Poverty Alleviation Lorenzo "Larry" Gardon and Presidential Adviser on Peace, Reconciliation and Unity Carlito Galvez Jr.

MANILA – President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. sent back Carlito Galvez Jr. as head of the Office of the Presidential Adviser on Peace, Reconciliation and Unity (OPAPRU) while lawyer Lorenzo “Larry” Gadon was appointed Presidential Adviser for Poverty Alleviation, the Presidential Communications Office said.

Galvez, a former Armed Forces of the Philippines chief, served as OPAPRU head under the administration of Rodrigo Duterte shortly after his retirement from the military in December 2018.

His tenure at the OPAPRU was extended during the Marcos administration.

On Jan. 9, Galvez was named Defense department officer-in-charge until June 6 when President Marcos appointed Gilberto Teodoro Jr. as secretary.

Meanwhile, Gadon's appointment "reflects the government's commitment to address one of the most pressing challenges faced by our nation," the PCO said in a statement.

Gadon obtained his Bachelor of Science in Management and Law degrees from Far Eastern University in Manila.

Prior to his appointment, he served as managing partner of Gadon and Associates Law Office and as associate at Antonio Abad and Associates Law Office.

The PCO said Gadon will play a pivotal role in advising the President on strategies and policies to combat poverty and improve the lives of the most vulnerable sectors of society.

"He will work closely with government agencies, non-governmental organizations, and other stakeholders to design and implement comprehensive programs to address the root causes of poverty," the PCO said.

"His wealth of experience as a corporate executive and legal counsel in diverse sectors, including manufacturing, information technology, realty development, healthcare, resorts and hotels, construction, and trading, will contribute to the formulation of innovative and sustainable poverty alleviation strategies."

Other appointees

Aside from Galvez, the PCO also announced the appointment of Isidro Purisima as senior undersecretary in OPAPRU.

Purisima served as acting OPAPRU chief during Galvez's stint in the Defense department.

OPAPRU congratulated Galvez and Purisima on their appointments.

"(OPAPRU) proudly congratulates Secretary Carlito Galvez and Senior Undersecretary Isidro Purisima on their appointments within the office," the agency said in a Facebook post Monday.

"Their unwavering dedication and exemplary leadership truly have been instrumental in advancing our nation's journey towards lasting peace and unity.”

The PCO likewise announced the appointment of Ruel Rivera as chief of the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology under the Department of the Interior and Local Government.

Other appointees:
--Dan D. Baliao as chief of aquaculture of the Department of Agriculture
--Nolasco A. Mempin as undersecretary of Department of Education (DepEd)
--Noel T. Baluyan as DepEd assistant secretary
--Vener S. Baquiran as deputy commissioner of Bureau of Customs
--Aileen S. Manalo as acting chairperson and member, Board of Trustees of Asian Productivity Organization Production Unit, Inc.
--Arlene Romasanta (Director IV), Cleo D. Sabado-Andrada (Director III) and Felix C. Taguba (Director III) at Department of Environment and Natural Resources
--Federico M. Marquez Jr. and Michael Democrito C. Mendoza as members of National Tripartite Industrial Peace Council
--Pia Charmane O. De Jesus as deputy executive director IV and Warren Gregorio A. Manilay as member of Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Board, Region 12.

--Aurelio C. Angeles Jr. (member), Michael Dennis M. Ballesteros (member), Conrado G. Marty (member), Armando P. Rubia (member), Pablo M. Gancayco (acting member), and Benjamin M. Tancio (acting member) of the Board of Directors of Authority of the Freeport Area of Bataan.
--Liberito V. Espiritu (chairman), Francis Gerard S. Cañado Jr. (member), Noel S. Flores (member), Ronaldo R. Elepaño Jr., and Dino Mae D. Suelto (member) of Philippine Domestic Construction Board.

AFP welcomes latest rating as among ‘most trusted gov’t agencies’

From the Philippine News Agency (Jun 27, 2023): AFP welcomes latest rating as among ‘most trusted gov’t agencies’ (By Priam Nepomuceno)

MANILA – The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) has expressed its gratitude to the Filipino people for their continued trust in the institution, which remains to be among the top three most trusted government agencies in the country.

"The AFP remains thankful for the trust and confidence of the Filipino people as we remain to be among the top-rated government agencies as shown in the PUBLiCUS (Asia) 'PAHAYAG' survey," AFP public affairs office chief Lt. Col. Enrico Gil Ileto said in a message to reporters Monday night.

This came after the results of PUBLiCUS Asia's "PAHAYAG Q2" survey released on Monday showed that the AFP garnered an approval rating of 66 percent and trust rating of 56 percent, sharing second and third place with the Department of Science and Technology.

The Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) emerged as the top ranking agency with an approval rating of 72 percent and trust rating of 58 percent.

The survey attributed TESDA's good standing to its commitment of providing quality and technical education skills.

"Nonetheless, we will take this as a challenge to further improve in the performance of our mandate as protector of the people and the state. We have gotten in touch with Publicus Asia regarding this to better understand what areas of our services could be further improved to ensure that we remain worthy of the Filipino's trust and approval," Ileto said.

The AFP also thanked TESDA for being one of its reliable partners in helping and providing better opportunities to people in areas the military is deployed, including former rebels.

"This shows that their efforts are effective in reaching underprivileged Filipinos and are appreciated by the people they have served," Ileto said.

The "PAHAYAG 2023" Second Quarter Survey is an independent and non-commissioned survey conducted by PUBLiCUS Asia Inc. from June 7 to 12.

It is a nationwide purposive survey with 1,500 respondents randomly drawn from a market research panel of over 200,000 Filipinos maintained by PureSpectrum, a US-based panel marketplace with a multinational presence with respondents, and distributed across five geographical areas: National Capital Region, North Central Luzon, South Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao.

Only registered Filipino voters were included in the sample, ensuring that the results accurately represent the sentiments of the voting population.

Centino pushes for ROTC restoration

As this developed, AFP chief Gen. Andres Centino batted for the restoration of the Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC), citing its high public approval rating, during a dinner with UP Diliman ROTC cadet officers in Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City last June 26.

Citing the Pulse Asia survey last March, which showed 78 percent of Filipinos approve of the mandatory training, the AFP chief stressed that it reflects the country's appreciation of the importance of military training in society.

"As we witness the growing support for mandatory ROTC, we are reminded of the power of the collective voice of the Filipino people. Their approval reflects their trust in the power of military training to shape the character and future of our nation. It is a call to action for all of us to continue championing the values of Duty, Honor, and Country," Centino said.

The dinner was attended by UP Diliman ROTC training staff, cadet officers, and key officers from the UP Vanguard led by its national commander, Luis Juan Oreta.

"Let tonight’s gathering strengthen our resolve and our commitment to the ROTC program as we work hand in hand to nurture a generation of leaders who will embody the values that our nation holds dear. Together, let us build a stronger, more disciplined, and more united Philippines," Centino pointed out.

AFP exec cites importance of cyber ops to PH security

From the Philippine News Agency (Jun 27, 2023): AFP exec cites importance of cyber ops to PH security (By Priam Nepomuceno)

AFP vice chief of staff Air Force Lt. Gen. Arthur Cordura (Photo courtesy of AFP)

MANILA – A ranking military official underscored the importance of cyber operations as part of the "collective means" to defend the nation.

Speaking at the fifth anniversary celebration of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Cyber Group (AFPCyG) in Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City on Monday, AFP vice chief of staff Air Force Lt. Gen. Arthur Cordura said "cyber operation is part of our national and collective defense means".

He also echoed Defense Secretary Gilberto Teodoro Jr.'s guidance of recognizing the significance of cyber capabilities as a command and leadership tool.

“Those [are] capabilities that provide situational awareness and actionable intelligence for military and decision-makers to guide and execute their command and control directives,” he added.

Cordura also said cyber operations are the heart of the military's C4ISTAR systems.

C4ISTAR refers to the "Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance, Targeting Acquisition and Reconnaissance".

"It is a game changer. The application of cyber fundamentally changes the nature of war thereby inevitably shifting the paradigm on how we operate in a continuum of peace, conflict, crisis, and war," he added.

Cordura also commended the AFPCyG, headed by Army Col. Walter Icaro, for their unwavering service in cyberspace operations.

The AFPCyG also renewed commitment to the mission of defending cyberspace as one of the AFP's domains and building its robust cyberspace capabilities.

PH Navy deploys 2 modern anti-sub assets in Palawan

From the Philippine News Agency (Jun 27, 2023): PH Navy deploys 2 modern anti-sub assets in Palawan (By Priam Nepomuceno)

(Photo courtesy of Western Command)

MANILA – The Philippine Navy (PN) has deployed two of its more modern and capable assets, the missile and anti-submarine warfare (ASW) frigate BRP Antonio Luna (FF-151) and its partner AgustaWestland (now Leonardo) AW-159 "Wildcat" helicopter, to beef up the capabilities of the Western Command (Wescom) based in Puerto Princesa, Palawan.

In a Facebook post on Tuesday, the Wescom said these two anti-submarine assets have recently arrived in its area of responsibility.

"These two tandem ASW platforms have been deployed on the country’s western border for maritime and sovereignty patrols that ensure effective maritime presence, particularly, in the West Philippine Sea (WPS)," it added.

The post did not say when the frigate and helicopter arrived at the Wescom area for security reasons.

Wescom said the deployment of the BRP Antonio Luna and the "Wildcat" anti-submarine helicopter represents a full-mission deployment for the PN.

It also added that inclusion of the AW-159 also beefed up the warfighting package of BRP Antonio Luna.

"The tandem platforms engage in different tests and training activities while patrolling the WPS," Wescom stressed.

It added that the presence of these modern naval and air assets in Wescom's joint operational area ensures the Armed Forces of the Philippines' (AFP)'s readiness and commitment to defending the country's maritime interests against any potential threats.

"The deployment of these warfighting assets is a necessary step to protect the nation's sovereignty and territorial integrity. The FF-151 and AW-159 crews have also been working together to ensure maximum readiness during any eventualities," Wescom pointed out.

It also said that the deployment of these assets serve as a critical deterrent to any hostile forces in the region.

"The combined warfighting capabilities of FF-151 and AW-159 better equip the AFP to defend the country's sovereignty against any potential threat in its western frontier," Wescom pointed out.

An AW-159 landing made its first landing on the flight deck of BRP Antonio Luna while the ship was underway off Corregidor Island last April 27.

"On the morning of 27 April 2023, the Philippine Navy achieved another significant milestone in its development of anti-submarine warfare capability as the PN AW-159 Mk220 'Wildcat' helicopter, with tail number NH-441, successfully conducted its first deck landing aboard BRP Antonio Luna, an ASW guided missile frigate, while underway at vicinity 30 nautical miles southwest of Corregidor Island," a post on the BRP Antonio Luna's Facebook page said.

This achievement demonstrates the growing capability and readiness of the Navy's crews and platforms as a team for ASW operations.

"Both the JRCFs (Jose Rizal Class Frigates) and the PN Wildcats were products of the 1st Horizon Projects under the Revised AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines) Modernization Program, which were delivered and commissioned into the service in 2020/2021 and 2019, respectively. The JRCFs were built by Hyundai Heavy Industries of South Korea while the PN ‘Wildcats’ was built by Leonardo Helicopter Limited UK (LHUK)," the post further said.

The PN's "Wildcat" aircrew are still undergoing the contracted in-country training with LHUK while the JRCFs are being used in the various operational areas of the country.

The AW-159s, which the PN has two, were acquired to increase the ASW capabilities of the JRCFs.

"The PN through the Naval Air Wing and Offshore Combat Force are taking steps to complete the integration of these game-changer assets in order to be deployed together in securing our maritime domain," the BRP Antonio Luna said.

It added that these initiatives are a great contribution to fulfilling the Navy’s vision of becoming a modern, multi-capable naval force responsive to our maritime nation's defense and development.

CHR to proceed with series of probes on Negros family massacre

From the Philippine News Agency (Jun 26, 2023): CHR to proceed with series of probes on Negros family massacre (By Nanette Guadalquiver)

BACOLOD CITY – The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) in Negros Occidental will proceed with a series of investigations in the coming days as part of the agency’s efforts to seek justice for the victims of the massacre of the Fausto family members in Barangay Buenavista, Himamaylan City.

Vincent Parra, officer-in-charge of the CHR here, said on Monday they have already initiated a follow-up investigation in the village.

They will next visit Barangay Carol-an in neighboring Kabankalan City, where the family previously lived.

“We conducted a follow-up investigation last Thursday (June 22). We focused first in Barangay Buenavista. We discovered that the female victim, on separate days, was able to report to the barangay alleging that their home was ransacked. Prior to the killing, they were probably being tracked by armed men,” he told reporters.

However, based on the barangay entries in March and in May, the complainant did not identify the armed men, which group they belonged to, and what they looked for.

“These are public records and can be verified with the barangay,” Parra said.

Couple Rolly and Emilda Fausto and their two minor sons were gunned down by perpetrators believed to be members of the New People’s Army (NPA) in their house in remote Sitio Kangkiling, Barangay Buenavista on the night of June 14.

The incident was reported by their eldest daughter, Emily, the following morning to the Himamaylan City Police Station.

Parra said during their visit to the village, they were unable to locate Emily.

“They no longer know her whereabouts. The police said they could not also locate her. We left a message with the barangay, to a councilman, if we can talk to her once she comes back,” he added.

Parra said they have not yet verified the reports that the family of Emily’s husband are NPA members.

Last week, Lt. Col. Reynante Jomocan, city police chief, said they have secured the judicial affidavits of two witnesses as investigators continue to build up the charges.

He added that about 15 armed men killed the victims, who all sustained gunshot wounds.

Rights group condemns Sulu clash, calls for speedy probe

From the Philippine News Agency (Jun 26, 2023): Rights group condemns Sulu clash, calls for speedy probe (By Edwin Fernandez)

EVACUEES. Civilians displaced by armed hostilities in Barangay Bualo Lipid, Maimbung, Sulu, on Saturday (June 24, 2023) are now housed in the town’s covered court and their immediate needs are being addressed by the local government unit. Skirmishes have already ceased and civilians are awaiting the green light from law enforcers to return home. (Photo courtesy of Maimbung LGU)

COTABATO CITY – The Bangsamoro Human Rights Commission (BHRC) has strongly condemned the tragic clash between government troops and the group of ex-Vice Mayor Pando Mudjasan in Maimbung, Sulu over the weekend and has called for a speedy probe into the incident.

The clash in Barangay Bualo Lipid, Maimbung town left a police officer killed and about 13 others injured, including six police officers.

Some 5,000 people were also displaced from their homes, further exacerbating their already vulnerable situation, the BHRC said.

In addition, it added that the incident resulted in the loss of a police officer's life and left several individuals wounded, including innocent civilians.

“We express our deepest condolences to the family of the fallen police officer and extend our sympathies to all those affected by this unfortunate event. Our thoughts and prayers are also with the injured civilians, and we hope for their speedy recovery,” BHRC chairperson Abdul Rashid P. Kalim, a lawyer, said in a statement Monday.

BHRC assured it is working towards providing the residents with the necessary assistance to help restore normalcy in the area.

Meanwhile, BHRC has called for an impartial investigation into the incident.

“The investigation must be conducted promptly, transparently, and in adherence to due process, ensuring that accountability is upheld and that the rights of all parties involved are respected,” it said.

BHRC also urged all parties involved to exercise restraint and prioritize peaceful means of resolving conflicts.

“Dialogue and negotiation must be given precedence to prevent the further loss of lives and the displacement of innocent civilians, it said.

3 dead in separate Maguindanao Sur ambuscades

From the Philippine News Agency (Jun 26, 2023): 3 dead in separate Maguindanao Sur ambuscades (By Edwin Fernandez)

ROAD AMBUSH. A police officer conducts an ocular inspection on the site where a motorist was shot dead on Sunday (June 25, 2023) in Talayan, Maguindanao. The victim was killed on the spot while his back rider survived unharmed. (Photo courtesy of Talayan MPS)

SOUTH UPI, Maguindanao del Sur – Unidentified gunmen shot dead Sunday afternoon two fishermen here while a motorist was killed in another ambush in Talayan, also in Maguindanao del Sur.

Major Dareen Tolosa, South Upi municipal police station chief, identified the slain fishermen as Danny Ramas, 57, and Jeperson Berman, 25, both of Barangay Romangaob in this town.

Tolosa said the victims were on board a motorbike heading for home after selling fish in different villages when attackers on board a separate motorbike opened fire on them at past 5 p.m.

Ramas died on the spot while Bernan later expired in the hospital.

Police said robbery may have been the motive since the sling bag that contained the victims’ undetermined amount of sales was missing.

Police found empty shells for a .45-caliber pistol at the crime scene.

Earlier on the same day, gunmen also shot a motorist dead along the national highway in Barangay Tambunan, Talayan.

Major Zukarnain Kunakon, Talayan municipal police chief, identified the fatality as Misuari Manap, 35. His back rider, Kagi Aladin, 33, escaped unhurt.

Both are Datu Anggal Midtimbang town residents, also in Maguindanao del Sur.

9K Visayas LGUs declare CPP-NPA 'persona non grata'

From the Philippine News Agency (Jun 26, 2023): 9K Visayas LGUs declare CPP-NPA 'persona non grata' (By John Rey Saavedra)

PERSONA NON GRATA. Visayas Command chief Lt. Gen. Benedict Arevalo meets with unit commanders during the Military Operations Coordinating Conference at the headquarters in Camp Lapu-Lapu in Cebu City on Sunday (June 26, 2023). Arevalo said a total of 8,895 LGUs in the Visayas declared CPP-NPA persona non grata. (Photo courtesy of Viscom PIO)

CEBU CITY – The Armed Forces of the Philippines’ (AFP) sustained community engagement in the Visayas has gained grounds, with close to 9,000 local government units declaring the Communist Party of the Philippines- New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) “persona non grata," an Army official said on Monday.

“These denouncements and mass declaration in the Visayas region is a clear manifestation that our people are already fed up with the deception, treachery, and cruelty of the CPP-NPA. This will serve as a motivation for us to boost our efforts to push the CPP-NPA on the brink of irreversible collapse,” Visayas Command commander, Lt. Gen. Benedict Arevalo, said in a statement.

He said the communist armed struggle in the Visayas has been fast becoming irrelevant after a total of 8,895 LGUs condemned CPP-NPA atrocities in the Visayas -- 13 are provinces, 364 are municipalities and the rest are barangays.

The figure was revealed during the Viscom’s Military Operations Coordinating Conference in Camp Lapu-Lapu here.

With the declaration, party leaders, NPA fighters, and their supporters are not welcome or prohibited to enter the jurisdiction of these LGUs.

The continuous increase of localities that denounced and declared the CPP-NPA as persona non grata has been attributed to the sustained community engagement and continued implementation of the Barangay Development Program.