Friday, March 8, 2024

Military airstrikes cause class suspensions in parts of Quezon

From GMA News Online (Mar 6, 2024): Military airstrikes cause class suspensions in parts of Quezon

Quezon province map

Classes in some schools in mountain areas of Tagkawayan, Quezon were suspended on Tuesday amid the ongoing firefight between state forces and rebels.

“For security purposes, there is a necessity to declare that classes in the mountain zone areas and others affected be suspended until the fighting has ended and with the green light confirmation of the Military and PNP,” said Tagkawayan Mayor Luis Oscar Eleazar

“All students are suggested to stay indoors to mi\nimize the aggravation and to prevent more compromises to peace and security,” he added.

Among the affected schools were Mapulot, Maguibay, Tunton, and Munting Parang.

The military is conducting operations against supposed New People’s Army (NPA) members who are allegedly planning an attack ahead of it anniversary.

“Nagsagawa po tayo ng combat operation (We are conducting a combat operation),” Major Frank Roldan, the 9th Infantry Division Public Affairs Office (DPAO) chief, told Super Radyo dzBB in an interview on Wednesday.

“Kasama naman po yun sa capability ng ating nga kasundaluhan, yung tinatawag nating close air support sa tuwing engkwentro,” he added. (Close air support is included in the capability of our army in every encounter.)

So far, Roldan said there have been no reported casualties yet as the military operation is still ongoing. —Joviland Rita/ VAL, GMA Integrated News

3ID: Visayas nears 'total victory' vs communist insurgency

From Sun Star-Iloilo (Mar 7, 2024): 3ID: Visayas nears 'total victory' vs communist insurgency (By Leo Solinap)

Contributed photo

GOVERNMENT forces in the Visayas region are nearing "total victory" against the communist New People's Army (NPA), paving the way for potential declarations of "stable internal peace and security" (Sips) in Negros and Panay Islands.

The 3rd Infantry (Spearhead) Division has conducted operations against the NPA, leading to 20 encounters initiated by the government.

They have engaged in two major and decisive battles, resulting in the neutralization of 16 NPA members, surrender of nine NPA members, capture of one NPA member,
and seizure of 47 firearms.

The last guerilla front in Negros has been dismantled, leading to a recommendation for the province to be declared a Sips zone.

The Negros Occidental Joint Peace and Security Coordinating Committee has signed a resolution in support of this declaration.

On the other hand, a key leader of the NPA group in Bohol and his associates were neutralized, which led to a weakening of the group's influence in the province

Panay Island's Central and Southern Panay Fronts have experienced setbacks, leading to the possibility of the Sips project being implemented, which could benefit the island's residents.

"We will not be swayed by their fabricated stories. Instead, we will relentlessly pursue our shared goal of establishing Stable Internal Peace and Security for all Visayans. We anticipate achieving this target sooner than expected, given the support and trust the people have placed in the security forces. This is evident in the influx of quality and reliable information received, leading to encounters with significant results favorable to us," 3ID Commander Major General Marion Sison said.

Sison criticized the NPA in the Visayas and its affiliated organizations for creating false stories to discredit the security forces and regain public support.

"This black propaganda, however, is nothing new. This is done on purpose to keep alive the dying spirit of the remaining members of the communist terrorist group (CTG) in order to prevent them from abandoning their futile and senseless revolutionary cause," Sison said.

He said this tactic of spreading misinformation is a common strategy used by the NPA to maintain the morale of its members and prevent them from giving up on their cause.

“This accusation and allegation of violations of Human Rights and disproportionate use of military power are mere desperate propaganda and disinformation campaign thrown at us by the remnants of CTG," Sison said.

He said the NPA and its allies use deceptive propaganda to distort the public's view of military and police operations, aiming to undermine the credibility of security forces. This tactic is a known strategy employed by the NPA when they are facing defeat or are in a difficult situation.

"As protectors of peace and the communities, our government forces maintain a high level of professionalism and consistently observe, uphold and protect human rights, the International Humanitarian and the Rule of Law in all of our endeavors and operations, at all times," Sison added.

The commander said the whole-of-nation approach, localized peace engagements, and support to barangay development programs have been instrumental in improving peace and security and liberating communities from the NPA's influence.

“We are winning, and we are committed to sustaining our gains at all costs. With the people on our side, we will undoubtedly achieve "Total Victory" against the CTG. And all together, we will reap the rewarding benefits of a region with a Stable Internal Peace and Security,” Sison said.

General Romeo S. Brawner Jr., chief of staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), visited the Visayas Command and the 301st Infantry (Bayanihan) Brigade. He directed the commanders to end the threat of insurgency during his visit.

"We are very hopeful and optimistic that by the end of the year 2024, we can really achieve "Total Victory" and we can defeat the communists,” Brawner said. (SunStar Philippines)

No recorded encounters since Davao declared insurgency-free

From the Sun Star-Davao (Mar 7, 2024): No recorded encounters since Davao declared insurgency-free (By David Ezra M. Francisquete)

AP Photo/File

THE Police Regional Office-Davao Region (PRO-Davao) has reiterated that they have not recorded any violent plots and encounters between the government and the Communist Terrorists Groups (CTGs) since the region was declared insurgency-free.

This means that the entire region has sustained its peace and stability following the implementation of strict security measures at every border.

“Since the declaration of Davao Region as insurgency-free, wala na tayong record for skirmishes or any encounter with the enemy” (Since the declaration of Davao Region as insurgency-free, we have no record for skirmishes or any encounter with the enemy) Dela Rey said in an AFP-PNP Press Corps Southern Mindanao Media Forum on Wednesday morning, March 6, 2024.

Dela Rey added that the police office and the Philippine Army (PA) have been continuously conducting grassroots and community-level activities regarding insurgency awareness and government efforts symposia for the youths.

“Ang pledge sa Police Regional Office 11 is dili i-pull out ang revitalized place sa barangay diha sa mga areas nga na reclaim na nato from the enemy. Maintain gihapon ang ilahang activities. Naga-tudlo pud sila sa kabatan-onan nga naa didto. Gina-enhance pud nato, gina-intensify nato ang activities anang mga lugara, para makita nila nga naay gobyerno nga motabang sa ilaha,” the police spokesperson said.

(The pledge of the Police Regional Office 11 is not to pull out the revitalized [Revitalized Pulis sa Barangay] placed in the barangay in the areas that we have reclaimed from the enemy. [It is] to maintain their activities. They also teach the youth in the communities. We are also enhancing the activities in those areas so that they will be enlightened that there is a government that will help them).

One of the latest encounters being reported was the death of the notorious political leader of the Regional Sentro De Grabidad, North Eastern Mindanao Regional Committee (RSDG, NEMRC), Joedil Cayapos Virtudazo known as “Jerby” or “Janjalani” last December 26, 2023.

However, the brief encounter was operated by soldiers of the 67th Infantry Batallion (67IB) operating under the 701st Infantry Brigade and not the police.

It can be recalled that 10th Infantry (Agila) Division (10th ID), Division Public Affairs Office (DPAO) spokesperson Major Mark Anthony Tito divulged that Virtudazo along with his comrades were killed while slowly moving to the Southern Mindanao area of responsibility (AOR).

The Regional Peace and Order Council Davao Region (RPOC Davao) officially declared Davao Region as insurgency-free on October 12, 2022.

After years of fighting 15 Guerilla Fronts (GFs) and six Pulang Bagani Command/Company (PBCs) that affected 190 barangays in the region, RPOC signed a statement declaring the Davao Region as insurgency-free. DEF

Army’s 3rd ID predicts ‘total victory’ against insurgency

From the Daily Guardian (Mar 8, 2024): Army’s 3rd ID predicts ‘total victory’ against insurgency (By Jennifer P. Rendon)

Brigadier General Marion Sison

The Philippine Army’s 3rd Infantry Division (3rd ID) has expressed confidence in achieving “total victory” in the ongoing fight against the New People’s Army (NPA) insurgency.

This “optimism” is buoyed by the recent strategic advancements of government forces, particularly the disbandment of the remaining guerilla front in Negros Island.

According to Major General Marion Sison, commander of the 3rd ID, this significant progress has poised Negros Island to be designated as a zone of “Stable Internal Peace and Security” (SIPS), a status that signifies a considerable reduction in local terrorist threats.

The Negros Occidental Joint Peace and Security Coordinating Committee (JPSCC) has approved and signed a resolution recommending the declaration of SIPS status for the province as of March 1, 2024.

The JPSCC is composed of the 302ND and 303RD Infantry Brigades, Negros Occidental PNP, and the Philippine Coast Guard.

Moreover, Sison reported that attempts by the NPA to regain a foothold in the province of Bohol have been thwarted.

This was exemplified by the neutralization of a key group led by a certain Domingo Compoc, alias Silong, on February 23, 2024.

Panay Island has also seen a weakening of NPA fronts, evidenced by successive losses and setbacks which indicate a shift towards stable internal peace for the region.

The 3rd ID, through coordinated operations of its three Infantry Brigades—the 301st, 302nd, and 303rd—has been instrumental in confronting the NPA in the Visayas.

The engagements have resulted in the demise of 16 NPA members, with nine surrendering and one being captured, along with the confiscation of a substantial cache of firearms.

“These series of accomplishments have been an unassailable proof of the success not only of the government forces but also of the people in the Visayas in the fight against insurgency,” Major General Sison stated.

He emphasized that their success is more than just rhetoric but is substantiated by “facts and figures.”

The 3rd ID commander said they would not be stayed by their fabricated stories.

“Instead, we will relentlessly pursue our shared goal of establishing Stable Internal Peace and Security for all Visayans,” he said.

Sison said they anticipate achieving this target sooner than expected, given the support and trust the people have placed in the security forces.

The influx of information reaching the soldiers is evident that the government has the upper hand in the fight against local terrorism.

Further, he also attributed the improving peace and security landscape and success of the government’s campaign against terrorism in the Visayas Region to EO 70 or the Whole-of-Nation Approach in Ending the Local Communist Armed Conflict and the continued implementation of Localized Peace Engagements (LPEs) and Support to Barangay Development Programs (SBDPs).

This mechanism is implemented in full force and has proven effective in liberating conflict-ridden areas from the shackles of insurgency and converting them into more conflict-resilient communities.

“We are winning, and we are committed to sustaining our gains at all costs. With the people on our side, we will undoubtedly achieve total victory against the local terrorist group,” Sison said.

General Romeo Brawner Jr., AFP Chief of Staff, echoed this sentiment during his visit to Visayas Command and the 301st Infantry Brigade.

Brawner has instructed commanders to persist in their efforts, with the aim of decisively defeating the communists by the end of 2024.

“We are very hopeful and optimistic that by the end of the year 2024, we can really achieve total victory and we can defeat the communists,” he said.

Amid these successes, Sison criticized the NPA for their attempts to undermine the legitimacy of the military and police actions through the spread of false accusations.

He assured that the security forces adhere to the highest standards of professionalism, human rights, and international law.

Military aids wounded NPA amazon in Iloilo

From the Manila Bulletin (Mar 8, 2024): Military aids wounded NPA amazon in Iloilo (By TARA YAP)

ILOILO CITY – The Philippine Army 3rd Infantry Division (ID), through the 301st Infantry Brigade (IB), provided medical and financial assistance to a lady New People’s Army (NPA) rebel wounded in an encounter with government forces in Iloilo recently.

THE family of wounded New People’s Army (NPA) rebel Rocel Nabua Esmediana reunites with her in a hospital in Iloilo. (Army 3ID)

The Army facilitated the transfer of Rocel Nabua Esmediana, alias Ka Michelle, to a hospital in Iloilo City for further treatment as she sustained injuries that caused deformity and hematoma in her right face.

Esmediana surrendered to authorities after she was wounded in an encounter between the 61st Infantry Battalion and the
NPA Southern Front Committee in San Joaquin town, Iloilo province last February 28.

Under the leadership of Brig. Gen. Michael Samson, 301st IB has also facilitated assistance from partner government agencies and local government units to help pay for Esmediana’s medical treatment.

Lt. Luisita Clavecillas II, commander of the 3rd CMO Battalion under the 301st IB, was able to facilitate a reunion between Esmediana and her family.

2 alleged rebels in Caraga bare funds from construction firms

From GMA News Online (Mar 8, 2024): 2 alleged rebels in Caraga bare funds from construction firms (By GMA Integrated News)

Two alleged members of the New People's Army (NPA) surrendered to the police in the Caraga region, and divulged that some of their funds came from two construction companies.

The two rebels were among the 13 who yielded to authorities and turned over high-caliber firearms as they bid their life in the jungles farewell, according to a "24 Oras" report by John Consulta.

In an affidavit
"Ka Ann" said she had been collecting 'revolutionary taxes' from several businesses as the finance officer.

From 2016 to 2018, she said the two construction firms were able to give at least P3 million every year to their group.

“Bilang isang finance officer, ako ang nakikipagusap sa mga kumpanya na totoong sumusuporta sa kilusan...salapi na pambili ng armas,” she said.

(As a finance officer, I am the one talking to the companies that support the movement. to buy weapons.)

Although it is not clear whether they provided the funds voluntarily or under compulsion, the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) previously issued a warning against giving any financial and material support to the Communist Party of the Philippines–New People's Army-National Democratic Front of the Philippines (CPP-NPA-NDFP), which are considered terrorist groups by the Anti-Terrorism Council.

“Meron tayong mga ebidensya ng bank transaction at bank transfer na nakita po ng ating Anti-Money Laundering Council. Bukod pa rito ang salaysay ng mga nagsisukong rebelde kung saan isinasalaysay nila kung paano itong mga construction companies na ito ay nagbibigay ng pera sa kanila,” said Police Regional Director (PRO 13), Brigadier General Kirby John Kraft.

(We have evidence of bank transactions and bank transfers that our Anti-Money Laundering Council has seen. In addition, the surrendered rebels' narrative tells how these construction companies give them money.)

Along with the Department of Justice and AMLC, the PNP Caraga filed a complaint against two construction companies in Surigao, which did not respond to any calls and texts from the media.

"This is in violation of Republic Act 10168 or the Terrorism Financing Prevention and Suppression Act of 2012," Kraft added.

According to PNP-PRO 13, this is the first time such a case has been filed against a private company. —Sherylin Untalan/LDF, GMA Integrated News