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11 killed in Surigao firefight, military overruns NPA camp

May 27, 2020

CAMP EVANGELISTA, Cagayan de Oro City--The military overran a communist rebel camp in the mountains of Surigao del Sur after a six-day running gun battle, killing 11 rebels, the military reported Thursday, the military reported here Thursday. Capt. Al Anthony B. Pueblas, Chief of the army’s Public Affairs Division here, said that the gun battle started Tuesday dawn on May 14, 2020 until May 19, 2020 capturing the large rebel camp that could accommodate 120 people. He said that the military were in hot pursuit of four top ranking NPA rebels of the Northeastern Mindanao Revolutionary Committee (NEMRC) believed to be hauled in the Andap Valley Complex in Surigao Del Sur. The military received reports of the presence of the top communist rebels of the “Komisyon Mindanao” (KOMMID) in the area resulting in the security operation. Pueblas said that Myrna Sularte a.k.a “Malaya”, the Secretary of NEMRC, Alvin Loque a.k.a “Joaquin Jacinto”, the spokesperson of KOMMID, Alfie Masinatao Basa a.k.a “Momoy”, the vice commander of the Regional Headquarters (RHQ), NEMRC, and Lorna Pamutongan Gomez a.k.a “Momay”, the Medical Staff of RHQ, NEMRC, were believed wounded in the six-day skirmishes. He said that unpredictable weather, the rugged and mountainous terrain made it difficult for the army soldiers to retrieve bodies of slain NPAs in the area. Pueblas said that, as of press time, the government troopers were still on a search and retrieval operation in the area as the military received reports about the wounded hiding in the area. No casualties were reported on the military side. Seized in the encounter site were five firearms, two laptops, one overhead projector, flash drives, external hard drives, two anti-personnel mines, hand grenades, bandoleers, assorted ammunition and magazines, handheld radios, food and medical supplies, personal belongings, and high value subversive documents. On May 10, 2020, the military pounded on the NPA’s regional command in the border of Agusan Del Norte and Misamis Oriental, killing 15 rebels, including four ranking officers of the North Central Mindanao Revolutionary Committee (NCMRC).

Launching of BP2 shows Duterte’s political will, commitment: Go

May 23, 2020

MANILA – Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go on Wednesday lauded the official launching of the Balik Probinsya, Bagong Pag-asa (BP2) Program as a testament of President Rodrigo Duterte’s political will and his administration’s commitment to help poor urban families return to their home provinces and start anew with new-found hope for a better life.     The BP2 program was launched in Quezon City with a send-off of the first batch of 112 individuals returning to the province of Leyte.     In an interview at the send-off ceremonies, Go pointed out while there were similar programs under past administrations, it is only under the present administration that the program got fully underway.     “Ngayon lang po merong political will ang ating gobyerno, si Pangulong Duterte, na i-implementa ang programang ito. Pinirmahan niya ang executive order para po magtulungan ang lahat ng resources ng gobyerno para po makatulong sa mga kababayan natin na gusto nang umuwi (It is only now that our government has the political will, President Duterte, to implement this program. He signed the EO to coordinate government resources help our countrymen who wished to return to the provinces),” he said.     The BP2 program was institutionalized after President Duterte signed Executive Order No. 114, to “ensure balanced regional development and equitable distribution of wealth, resources and opportunities through policies and programs that boost countryside development and inclusive growth; provide adequate social services; and promote full employment, industrialization and an improved quality of life in rural areas.”     Go, chair of the Senate Committee on Health and Demography and Balik Probinsya proponent, said the launching of the BP2 program came in the most opportune time as many “probinsyanos” (province folks) living or working in urban areas, particularly Metro Manila, have expressed their willingness to go home after their painful experiences during the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic.     As a probinsyano himself, Go said he understands the fascination of the people with Metro Manila as a center of education, employment, as well as entertainment.     “Halos lahat kami fascinated dito sa Metro Manila. Pero bakit ngayun marami ng gustong umuwi? Kasi marami na pong nadala. Ngayon po sila apektado at naipit sila sa sitwasyon dito (Almost all of us were fascinated with Metro Manila. But why is it that many wanted to go home now? It’s because many have had it. They were affected and stranded by the situation here),” he said.     Go, however, clarified that the program is not mandatory for those who wished to stay in the cities.     For those who will avail of the program, he assured that the government is there to assist them with all their needs.     “Bibigyan po kayo ng Duterte administration ng bagong pag-asa pag-uwi nyo po sa inyong mga probinsya. Ang gagawin nyo lang po ay umuwi kayo at trabaho na po ng gobyerno kung papaano kayo papauwiin (The Duterte administration will give you fresh hope upon your return to your provinces. All you have to do is go home and it will be the responsibility of government on how you could get home),” Go said, citing the provisions provided by various national government agencies for the first batch of BP2 beneficiaries.     Under EO 114, almost all agencies of the Executive department are part of the Balik Probinsya, Bagong Pag-asa Council.     The returnees to Leyte underwent testing and other quarantine protocols from the Department of Health (DOH) to ensure that they would not be carriers of the dreaded virus to their respective communities.     They were provided by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) with transportation assistance, food packs, hygiene kits, family kits, and other non-food items.     Go said his office, along with several private entities, have also extended additional financial support to the returnees.     Upon their arrival in their home destination, their respective local government units (LGUs) will be on hand to welcome them and endorse them to the regional offices of national government agencies for assessment on what type of livelihood or job they are most fitted.     Go said the housing needs of BP2 beneficiaries would also be provided under the long-term phase of the program.     “Sa abot po ng makakaya ng ating gobyerno, gagawin po namin ang lahat (The government will do everything to the best of its capabilities),” he stressed.     As a legislator, Go likewise assured that he will continuously think of legislative measures that would help Duterte’s BP2 program succeed.     Already pending in the Senate is a proposed measure seeking to provide additional incentives to investors and businesses that would invest in the countryside.     “Pag dumami ang mga factories, plants, o mamumuhunan sa probinsya, mas maraming trabaho na pwede nilang ibigay para sa mga bablik sa probinsya (If factories, plants or investors increase in the countryside, there would more employment opportunities to the returnees),” Go said.     He has also filed Senate Bill No. 203, or the “National Housing Development, Production and Financing (NHDPF) Act of 2019,” which aims to significantly reduce the country’s housing backlog through continuous funding support.     Go, however, admitted that there is no assurance that BP2 beneficiaries would not go back to Metro Manila or other urban centers.     Nevertheless, he urged his fellow probinsyanos to avail of the program and stay in the province, since government will always be there to help them.     “Sa mga kapatid kong Pilipino, sa mga Bisaya, Ilonggo, Ilocano, sa mga uuwi sa probinsya, huwag po kayong mawalan ng pag-asa, nandito naman po ang gobyerno. Kailangan lang po natin ng kooperasyon ng bawat Pilipino para malampasan po natin itong nangyari sa atin (To my fellow Filipinos, Bisaya, Ilonggos, or Ilocanos, to those going back to the provinces do not lose hope, the government is always here. All we need is a little cooperation from every Filipino to overcome this problem),” he said.     “Basta kami po ni Pangulong Duterte at sa adminsitration, lahat ng mga agencies na kasama sa BP2 program, magtutulungan po tayo at makauwi po kayo sa inyong mga probinsya na ligtas (President Duterte and everyone of us in the administration, including all the agencies that are part of the BP2 program, we must all work together and you will safely return to your provinces,” he added. (PNA)

DSWD urges LGUs to complete SAP wave 1 distribution

May 21, 2020

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY -- Now at 96.49 percent completion of the Social Amelioration Program (SAP) first wave distribution nationwide, Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Sec. Rolando Bautista urged local government units (LGUs) to complete the distribution as well as the liquidation to gear up for the second wave of distribution during the Network Briefing, May 20.     In an interview with Presidential Communications Operations Office Sec. Martin Andanar, Bautista said about P98 billion has already been distributed to 17.36 million beneficiaries throughout the country. In Region 10, DSWD is already at 99.47 percent completion of the SAP serving 624,925 families with a total P3,748,677,950 disbursement.     “Madaliin natin, tapusin na ang pagbibigay ng ayuda kasi ang implication ‘pag nagkaroon ng delay, hindi kayo makapagliquidate. May domino effect po ‘yan,” Bautista added.      (Let us speed up, complete the distribution of assistance because there are implications on that. If there are delays, you will not be able to liquidate. Such will have a domino effect)     The social welfare secretary said delays would also affect the validation of the beneficiaries for the second wave since it will take about 20 days to validate the names of the waitlisted as well as in ensuring that there will be no duplication of entries.      “May mga high-risk areas for COVID-19 pero sana po gamitin niyo [LGUs] ang alternative plan niyo para makapagbigay kayo ng ayuda on time (There are high-risk areas for COVID-19 but hopefully you [LGUs] will use your alternative plan so you can provide the assistance on time),” DSWD secretary said.     In ensuring a smooth and speedy way to distribute assistance for the second wave, Bautista said they already came up with a digital payment platform.      To enforce such, DSWD-10 launched the Offline SAP (OSAP) - an offline Social Amelioration Card encoding application for LGUs developed by the department to come up with a user-friendly application for SAC encoding by the LGU encoders.      Such aims to eliminate invalid data entries and provide convenience to LGU SAC Focal Persons in consolidating SAC data into CSV formats for uploading to the online SAP Information System.     The OSAP will be shared to the LGUs who will then use the said application to encode the SAC forms in their areas. DSWD-10 shall monitor that they will be able to use and access OSAP and to provide them technical assistance when necessary. (RTP/PIA10)

Andanar proposes use of IBC-13 as an educational channel

May 18, 2020

As the government looks for alternative ways for learning during this pandemic, Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Secretary Martin Andanar offers the “underutilized” Intercontinental Broadcasting Corporation (IBC-13), to be used as an educational platform for the Department of Education.     Andanar made the proposal to make use of the state-owned broadcast network on Thursday (May 14), during the joint online hearing of the House committees on basic education and culture and on higher and technical education.     “If the DepEd uses this then this entire frequency can be dedicated solely to DepEd,” Andanar said. The school year 2020-2021 is set to begin on August 24, 2020, as announced by the Department of Education.     The PCOO chief said some technical issues have to be addressed first, like increasing the transmission power from 60 to 100 kilowatts, at least in the National Capital Region (NCR) to improve the audience reach of IBC-13 and People’s Television Network (PTV-4).     Currently, both stations are operating below this transmission power range, with IBC-13 operating at a low 20 kilowatts.     “But this is not to say that we cannot solve this problem. In fact, this is a wake-up call that the government should be strengthening and investing in both TV network agencies that we have,” assured Andanar.     He said IBC-13 is a reasonable choice to be turned to an educational channel, adding that “By using IBC, we don’t have to disrupt the regular programming of PTV, a channel that is also serving all other government departments and all branches of government including the lower house.”     Andanar suggests that government work with direct-to-home satellite TV companies supply students in the provinces with satellite boxes to enable them to attend classes through their television at home.     The PCOO Secretary said that government would need to invest around P50 million to P100 million in order to keep the network “up to speed.”

Army confirms death of 4 NPA leaders in Northern Mindanao

May 15, 2020

CAMP EVANGELISTA, Cagayan de Oro City--The military on Friday confirmed that four ranking leaders of the New People’s Army (NPA) in Northern Mindanao were among the 15 fatalities in an armed encounter in the border of Agusan Del Norte and Misamis Oriental. Capt. Anthony B. Pueblas, chief of the Public Affairs Office of the army’s 4ID here, said that the military encountered about 80 fully armed NPAs, which resulted in a four-day running gun battle that started Sunday dawn. Pueblas identified the four top NPA leaders as Ian Dela Rama a.k.a “Gian”, the Front Secretary, Rio Amor Yuson a.k.a “Lema”, the Finance Officer, Paquito Namatidong a.k.a “Sangka”, the Platoon Leader of SPP Sikop, Peter Mansaginda Pinakilid a.k.a. “Aloy" – Political Officer, GF4A, all officers of the Guerilla Front 4A, North Central Mindanao Revolutionary Committee (NCMRC). He said that the four top-ranking NPA leaders were among the 15 casualties of the communist insurgents who were initially identified along with two others earlier identified as Gladys Joy Hiponia; a.k.a "George", a member of SPP Kingdom, GF4A, NCMRC; a.k.a "Santol"; and a.k.a "DELFIN” of Lamusig, Butuan City while the remaining other cadavers were still for identification. According to Pueblas, the armed encounter was one of the worst encounters between the state forces and the communist rebels in recent years, killing 15 insurgents and inflicting no casualties on the government side. He said that the military was still on a hot pursuit against the fleeing communist rebels as the military command appealed for them to surrender in the nearest military or police outpost. Major General Franco Nemesio M Gacal, the army’s 4ID division commander, said that the death of the NPA leaders has taken a blow on the communist terrorist group in the region. “The death of the leaders of the NPA’s NCMRC brings us closer to eliminating the threats that these groups pose to our security,” Gacal said.

Hospitals, LGUs in Covid-stricken areas get PPEs from Filinvest

May 13, 2020

THE Filinvest group responded to the call of its partner local government units (LGUS) that have recently recorded positive cases of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). Recently, the Filinvest distributed the initial allocation of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM), Philippine General Hospital (PGH), Lung Center of the Philippines, Taguig Pateros District Hospital, and Ospital ng Muntinlupa, as well as to the local government of San Mateo, Rizal. The donation, through the Filinvest City Foundation, is part of Filinvest’s pledge to provide P100 million worth of PPE for the front liners and health workers. Filinvest is also set to turn over the PPE donation for Cebu City, Cagayan de Oro City and Misamis Oriental. “Filinvest supports medical front liners in the communities we operate in. It is our company’s way of giving back to the people and the local governments. Filinvest will assist in the best way it can as we face this health crisis together,” said Josephine Gotianun Yap, Filinvest Development Corp. President and CEO. The initiative from Filinvest comes in very timely as the latest reports from the Department of Health (DOH) recorded a total of 3,660 positive cases in the country, 38 of which was recorded in Cebu City, while San Mateo in Rizal has 3 confirmed cases. Cagayan de Oro has 14 Persons under Investigation and one positive case. “Filinvest is one with the nation in its fight against COVID-19. As the number of cases continue to spread across the country, we need to help the community protect our front liners and prevent the further spread of the virus,” Gotianun Yap added. Recently, Filinvest, together with The Palms Country Club opened its doors to the health workers of RITM by providing temporary shelter that is accessible to their place of work. “This is Filinvest’s service from the heart. At this time of crisis, we are heeding the call of our partner LGUs for the benefit of our community. We believe that being in the business of building the Filipino dream means that we need to come together and help our country,” added Gotianun Yap. Filinvest enjoins everyone to continue to pray for the health and safety of our kababayan, trusting that the Filipino spirit, resiliency and bayanihan will prevail and overcome this health crisis. *** About Filinvest Development Corp. Filinvest Development Corp. (FDC) is one of the leading, most stable and diversified conglomerates in the Philippines. Through its diverse businesses, FDC has established a strong reputation as a dependable partner in economic development. FDC currently has strategic holdings in key industries such as real estate development and leasing, banking and financial services, hotel and resort management, power generation and sugar. FDC aims to grow this legacy of success by continuing to strengthen its position in the industries where it competes and embarking on new endeavors that will bolster its role in nation building. Visit for information on the company.


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